Temple in Tonga Open for Public Tours

News Story

The doors of the newly refurbished temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, will open to the public on 29 September 2007 and will remain open for tours until 20 October 2007.

The king of Tonga, His Majesty George Tupou V, described the temple as “magnificent” and “a tribute to the glory of God” at an event for the opening of the temple.

The temple in Tonga originally opened in August 1983. In 2006 it was closed for a significant expansion, which has added more that 5,000 square feet to the structure. Following the open house, the temple will be closed to the public, and only eligible members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be able to enter.

The temple differs from traditional chapels in that chapels are primarily used for Sunday worship services that anyone may attend. In the temple, Church members take part in the highest sacraments that unite families for eternity.

For the Mormons in Tonga, “the temple will help cement their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ and encourage them to continue making a positive contribution to their communities,” said Elder Spencer J. Condie, the senior Church leader in the New Zealand/Pacific Area.

The Church has had a presence in Tonga for over 100 years. There are over 41,000 Mormons in the country today — the largest number of Mormons per capita of any nation in the world.

The Church has established schools in Tonga, with the Liahona High School being one of the largest and most successful institutions in the country. The Church’s support of education has benefited “thousands” of Tongans according to Prime Minister Dr. Feleti V. Sevele.

“The contributions of the Church to the education of our youth in Tonga are of great significance,” said Queen Halaevalu Mata’aho. “Its continuous assistance to the less privileged and needy is noteworthy and greatly appreciated.”

The temple will be officially dedicated on Sunday, 4 November 2007.

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