Houses of the Lord in far-away places cause great rejoicing

As LDS temples continue to dot the world, more and more members are able to experience the blessings of temple worship, and many relate special, tender moments.

The Church News is publishing pictures of the temples, along with a vignette relating to each temple. This is part 5 of the series and features temples in the Pacific and Asia.

Apia Samoa Temple

Ground broken Feb. 19, 1981, by President Spencer W. Kimball, assisted by the head of state, Malieotoa Tanumafil II.

Dedicated Aug. 5, 1983, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located at the site of Church school and mission home in Apia.

Modern design.

APIA, SAMOA - "The heart of Polynesia" was warmed by more than sunshine during the seven dedicatory sessions of the Apia Samoa Temple, several of which were held in the nearby Apia Samoa East Stake center. A culminating moment seemed to be after the final session. As General Authorities and their wives left the stake center, members gathered outside spontaneously sang, "Tofa Mai Feleni," Samoan for "Goodbye my Friends." (Please see Aug. 14, 1983, Church News.)

Presiding over the services was President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency, who brought tears to the eyes of many as he spoke of President David O. McKay. The then-apostle came to Samoa in 1921 and gave a blessing to members and the islands at Sauniatu, a village where members once had gathered for refuge from persecution.

"I am confident the veil is thin and that on the other side there are many missionaries who served here in years past and many people of simple faith who accepted the message and endured much for it," President Hinckley said.

Attending the services was Laiula Stehlin, who said that seeing the temple dedicated fulfills "a dream we have had so many years - now we have had it come true. As I sat in the dedicatory session, I thought of my grandfather, who was the first in our family to join the Church. I know, on the other side of the veil, he is rejoicing."

Hawaii Temple

Ground broken June 1, 1915; site dedicated by Joseph F. Smith.

Dedicated Thanksgiving day, Nov. 27, 1919, by President Heber J. Grant.

Located on the northeast side of the island of Oahu, 32 miles from Honolulu.

Shaped like a Grecian cross, suggestive of ancient temples found in South America.

Rededicated June 13, 1978, by President Spencer W. Kimball.

LAIE, HAWAII - Four of the 13 stakes in the Hawaii Temple District are located on neighboring islands and getting to the temple requires additional planning and expenses for airplane fare, car rentals, hotel rentals and meals. Many use their vacation time and some take time off from work in order to participate in temple excursions.

The Kahului 2nd Ward on the island of Maui concluded a highly successful week at the Hawaii Temple last March. Approximately 60 adults and 21 youth participated in the temple ordinances. The members brought 397 family file names and had all the temple ordinances done for them.

Preparations for the event started a year in advance. Ward members were encouraged to work on their family file names and have them ready to take to the temple. A temple theme was emphasized every other month. Hotel reservations had to be made early. The participants started saving funds to cover expenses. Seven members were prepared to receive their own endowments.

The week began with a meeting in the temple visitors center on Monday. A feeling of excitement and anticipation could be felt in that meeting.

From Tuesday through Friday, members began their temple activities at 7 a.m. with great enthusiasm and excitement, and completed each day after 6 p.m.

The ward concluded the event with a banquet and a testimony meeting where members expressed their gratitude for the rewarding time spent in the temple. They felt spiritually uplifted and unified as a ward family. The participants were so pleased that they decided to return to the temple for a week again next year. - Pres. Albert Y. G. Ho, Hawaii Temple

Hong Kong Temple

Announced Oct. 3, 1992, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Ground broken Jan. 22, 1994, by Elder John K. Carmack.

Status: under construction

HONG KONG - "Let the work begin," Elder John K. Carmack of the Seventy proclaimed during the groundbreaking for the Hong Kong Temple. Elder Carmack, president of the Asia Area and acting under direction of the First Presidency, presided over the groundbreaking services. (Please see Feb. 5, 1994, Church News.)

In his remarks, Elder Carmack called the services the "third great historic event for China and Hong Kong." He said the first great event was the dedication of China, of which Hong Kong was then a part, for the preaching of the gospel by then-Elder David O. McKay on Jan. 9, 1921. Elder McKay offered the dedicatory prayer within the walls of the "Forbidden City," the former home of emperors and nobility.

The second great event was when Elder Matthew Cowley led a group of Church members on July 14, 1949, to what is known as the Peak, the highest point overlooking the city of Hong Kong. There Elder Cowley and Henry Aki, a native of China, offered prayers opening missionary work.

"What we do here is spiritually significant and historic as we break ground and start the Hong Kong Temple," Elder Carmack said. "Elder McKay dedicated the land, Elder Cowley commenced the missionary work from the Peak, and we commence a temple to the Lord. This day will loom large for Hong Kong and all of Asia."

Manila Philippines Temple

Ground broken Aug. 25, 1982, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Dedicated Sept. 25, 1984, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located in Quezon City.

Modern adaptation of earlier six-spire design.

QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES - These beautiful people come from far, far distances to be sealed as an eternal family in the House of the Lord. They come by boat and by land, by bus, by "Jeepney" and by tricycle, often traveling two or three days and nights to come to the temple.

They come with great faith and a longing desire to become an eternal family.

Because many are very poor, it becomes a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some of them to come to the temple. They will give all that they have for this wonderful opportunity. They never seem to complain about the trials and hardships they may endure.

Some come with seven or eight or more children and little babies in their arms. Some come with only a few of their children, hoping that in the future they will have enough money to bring the rest of their children to be sealed.

I will never forget the experience I had when I sealed 10 children, all dressed in white, to their parents. As they all looked at me with such childlike faith, I could feel their joy and happiness. We felt very close to our Father in Heaven and the tears filled our eyes.

Yes, the temple is an experience of love: our love for our Father in Heaven and His children and His great love for us. - Pres. Myron L. Francom, Manila Philippines Temple

New Zealand Temple

Ground broken Dec. 21, 1955, by Ariel Ballif, Wendell B. Mendenall and George R. Biesinger.

Dedicated April 20, 1958, by President David O. McKay.

Located at site of Church College of New Zealand in Temple View, outside of Hamilton, which is 75 miles south of Auckland.

Modern-contemporary design.

TEMPLE VIEW, N.Z. - Jared Horomona is a cheerful 23-year-old who regularly walks one mile from his home and up the long flight of steps to serve in the New Zealand Temple. Jared has cerebral palsy and uses crutches wherever he goes.

Despite physical and speech difficulties, Jared's ready smile and determination to do all he can for himself makes him loved by all. Elder Geoffrey Garlick, director of the visitors center by the temple, suggested to the temple missionaries that for Christmas all might contribute toward a new three-wheel cycle to replace one that Jared had worn out years earlier.

The culminatin of the 1993 temple missionary Christmas social was the surprise presentation to Jared with a new tricycle, safety helmet and new surgical footwear.

Jared's response while thanking the missionaries was saying how much he loved his Savior, thanking Him for all his blessings, for the missionaries who help him dress and for his parents.

Both the givers and receiver returned home that evening with hearts overflowing for temple experiences and associations.

Nuku'alofa Tonga Temple

Ground broken Feb. 18, 1981, by President Spencer W. Kimball with Tonga's King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV.

Dedicated Aug. 9, 1983, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located at site of Church's Liahona College, several miles outside of Nuku'alofa.

Modern design.

NUKU'ALOFA, TONGA - The faith of the members in the Nuku'alofa Tonga Temple district is very powerful, said Patrick D. Dalton and his wife, Lela, who recently served as president and matron of the temple.

Fiji is in the temple district and some of those who come from those islands are able to come only once in a lifetime, said Sister Dalton.

On one occasion, a woman, Marica Hussain, who spoke only Hindi, came on a temple excursion with a group of Fijian Saints.

"Although we couldn't communicate with her in words, the sisters communicated with loving arms around her," she said.

Fortunately, one of the Fijian sisters spoke Hindi and translated for her. However, the Daltons were concerned that she comprehend what was going on about her. Their fears were allayed later when Sister Hussain sent them a letter.

"I miss seeing the temple," she wrote. "I feel like I can see, feel and hear clearly the experience. I feel like I had the chance to visit heaven and then come back. I felt Heavenly Father's presence in all the sessions we attended, and it was highlighted in my soul when my husband and I, with our children, were sealed for time and all eternity."

Concluded Sister Dalton, "I really have strong emotional feel for these people who gave up so much to make that trip to the temple."

Papeete Tahiti Temple

Ground broken Feb. 13, 1981, by President Spencer W. Kimball.

Dedicated Oct. 27, 1983, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located in Pirae, adjacent to Papeete, on Rua de Pierri Loti.

Design shows some European elements of French influence as well as Polynesian culture.

PIRAE, TAHITI - Recently, two members came to the temple in Tahiti to receive their endowments and to be sealed, then to have their children sealed to them. The husband had been a member for a number of years but his wife was a more recent convert.

As a young man, our friend was very active in sports, particularly boxing. He became the champion boxer in French Polynesia and also on the large island of Madagascar when he was a soldier in the French military. He had a well-proportioned body and was known for his great strength and quickness. Subsequently, he became involved in a business venture in Polynesia and was very successful in material matters.

After he and his wife had knelt at the alter of our sacred temple and had been sealed, their children were directed to kneel at the alter beside them. Hands were joined and the sacred ceremony was performed. There must have been literally thousands of times when the gloves of this man's powerful opponents made contact with his face and body causing real pain, but it is doubtful that he ever shed a single tear. On this sacred occasion in the temple while kneeling with those whom he loved most of all in life, the tears flowed freely - tears of unspeakable joy. A few days later he confided that never in his life had he felt such joy and happiness.

Isn't it amazing that such blessings are free to all people everywhere, who make themselves worthy, to come to the House of the Lord and partake of life's greatest fulfilling experiences. - Pres. C. Jay Larson, Papeete Tahiti Temple

Seoul Korea Temple

Ground broken May 9, 1983, by Elder Marvin J. Ashton.

Dedicated Dec. 14, 1985, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located in Seodaemun-ku west central Seoul.

Modern adaptation of earlier six-spired design.

SEOUL, KOREA - After the Seoul Korea Temple was dedicated, many of the Korean members gained testimonies of the importance of doing work for their kindred dead.

Among them was Kim Jung Shik, whose family had kept diligent genealogy records. "As we learned about the Church family history program, I became even more interested in my personal family records," he said.

He said that after the Korea temple was announced and dedicated, he submitted to the temple his direct line back to his first known ancestor, more than 50 generations.

Another who gained a testimony of doing work for his kindred dead was Whang Chung Youl, who had not submitted family records.

On Jan. 28, 1988, he went to the temple as he had often done, and during the random assignment of names from the temple's general file, he was given a slip with his father's name on it. He and those around him were very surprised.

"I never had such a meaningful endowment session as I had that day," he said. "That night, going home, I truly felt that my heart had been turned to my father and my ancestors. My father had worked so long for me when he was alive and now he had waited for me. . . . I was able to know how much my father loved me." - From Early Korean Saints, an anthology of personal histories compiled by Spencer J. Palmer and Shirley H. Palmer.

Sydney Australia Temple

Ground broken Aug. 13, 1982, by Elder Bruce R. McConkie.

Dedicated Sept. 20, 1984, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located in suburban Carlingford, 15 miles northwest of downtown Sydney.

Modern design.

CARLINGFORD, AUSTRALIA - From my office window, I can see patrons as they congregate in the beauty of the temple gardens after a temple experience. Faithfulness, sacrifice and resultant joy is written all over their faces.

Recently, I asked Brother Geoffrey Spiller (Sydney Australia Parramatta Stake patriarch) and Sister Thelma Spiller about their thoughts and feelings as they now begin to see grandchildren receive their temple ordinances.

Brother Spiller remarked, "I see in them, as they progress, the fulfillment of the promises made to us, their forbears. I see grandchildren achieving wonderful things in their Church life."

Sister Spiller noted: "The grandchildren have come through the programs of the Church, progressing until they receive their own temple ordinances, but it hasn't always been easy for them. These things don't happen by chance; you've got to work at it!"

I had invited Brother and Sister Spiller into my office to explore their thoughts and feelings about the joy of temple attendance. Through the office window they could actually see some of their own children and grandchildren mingling after a granddaughter had received a temple marriage only a few minutes previously.

Brother and Sister Spiller said, "This is a little of what we expect it to be like in the eternities, to have your family there and for it to be just like this. Look, how they love and respect each other!" - John Parton, recorder, Sydney Australia Temple

Taipei Taiwan

Ground broken Aug. 27, 1982, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Dedicated Nov. 17, 1984, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located in the Taipei business district.

Modern adaptation of earlier six-spired design.

TAIPEI, TAIWAN - A typhoon was headed toward Taiwan on the second day of the dedication of the Taipei Taiwan Temple, but regardless, members stood in lines, enduring the rain. (Please see Nov. 25, 1984, Church News.)

And the sacrifices of those attending the two-day event were great. Many traveled great distances, often at personal sacrifices of wages from time taken off from jobs.

Some gave other kinds of sacrifices, such as Yang Tsung Ting, who supervised ushers during the open house and the dedication. His father had died Oct. 11 while the open house was in progress. The funeral was held weeks later, in accordance with Chinese tradition, in this case on Nov. 16, the day before the dedication.

Brother Ting attended the funeral, but wasn't able to be with his family during the following days, which, according to Chinese tradition, is important. "I had to make a choice. I decided to come to the temple and serve as I had been asked to do.'

He said that the opening of the temple lessened the sorrow of his father's death. "Just think, one year from now (at the time of the dedicaiton) I will be able to do his work in this temple. I know he will accept the gospel message now being taught him on the other side of the veil."

Toyko Temple

Groundbreaking not held.

Dedicated Oct. 27, 1980, by President Spencer W. Kimball.

Located opposite Arisugawa park in Toyko.

Modern-contemporary design.

TOKYO, JAPAN - The Tokyo Temple, the first built in the Orient, was where Sakae Nagao fulfilled a longtime dream. She and her husband, Yoshio Nagao, were sealed in the temple March 19, 1982, when both were 89 years old.

Sister Nagao had been a member of the Church for 70 years before her dream was realized, according to a story in the July 31, 1982, Church News.

"I have waited for today," Sister Nagao said after she was sealed to her husband. "Now I can die happy."

Sister Nagao joined the Church 11 years after President Heber J. Grant opened the Japan Mission in 1901.

She said there were no translations of the scriptures in Japanese at that time because it was a "very difficult job for the American elders. Unlike American missionaries today, they were not given a chance to study Japanese prior to their missions."

She remained faithful even while living for several years in Manchuria, China, where she had no contact with the Chhurch. And during years of patience and faithfulness, her husband was not a member and remained indifferent toward the Church.

"I never gave up," she said. "It was my dream to be sealed to Yoshio for eternity. I knew I had to stay true to the Church and to keep working on him."

Then in 1980, Brother Nagao was baptized. Six months later he was ordained an elder and finally made it to the temple with his wife.

"This is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me," Sister Nagao said.

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