Laie temple open house
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More than 45,000 people visited the renovated Laie Hawaii Temple — the Church's first temple constructed outside the continental United States — during a public open house that began Oct. 22 and concluded Nov. 13.
Elder Scott D. Whiting, an Area Seventy and coordinator of the Church's local temple committee, said everyone — Church members and special guests alike — who saw the temple were complimentary of the renovation work, which began almost two years ago. "They were thrilled to see various elements of Hawaii."
Calling the open house a great success, Elder Whiting said hundreds of Church members volunteered to make the event possible. "We had a great group of volunteers," he said.
Hawaii State Gov. Linda Lingle visited the temple on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11.
"It was a great privilege, not being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to be able to actually see such a sacred temple that's held in the place that it is by the people of the religion; and for our community to have this opportunity is very, very meaningful," the governor said soon after finishing the open house tour.
The Church's first congregations in Hawaii were organized on Maui, Lanai and Oahu. Early missionaries included Joseph F. Smith, who later became president of the Church, and George Q. Cannon, who later served as a member of the First Presidency.
The Laie Hawaii Temple, which is situated on land adjacent to BYU-Hawaii on the northeast shore of Oahu, was originally dedicated Nov. 27, 1919, by then President Heber J. Grant. It was the fifth operating temple in the world.
Today the temple serves Church members living in Hawaii and the Marshall Islands.
There are 134 operating temples worldwide, including one in Kona, Hawaii.
President Thomas S. Monson is to dedicate the renovated temple on Nov. 21.
"As we move into the dedication, everyone is very excited and can't wait to have our temple reopened," Elder Whiting said.