Tonga stake commemorates pioneers

Church members in the Nuku'alofa Tonga Liahona Stake commemorated the 150th anniversary year of the Mormon pioneers' arrival in the Salt Lake Valley by doing temple work.

Every Friday during the month of December, stake members worked in the temple all night. Regular sessions in the Nuku'alofa Tonga Temple end at 8 p.m. However, to observe the pioneer sesquicentennial, special sessions started at 9 p.m. and were held every hour throughout the night."The first night we averaged about 50 endowments per session," said Norman Harris, temple recorder and high councilor in the stake over temple work. "During the four nights we did a total of 1,254 endowments."

Brother Harris said Church members thought staying up all night to do temple work would be a good way to remember the pioneers. "People were very, very excited, very happy to come," he said.

He noted that all of the endowments completed during the four all-night sessions were from family file names, and said members researched their family history in preparation for the temple sessions.

The all-night special sessions were so successful that plans are to continue them during the first half of 1997. "We have also submitted, and it has been approved by the temple presidency, that we will do this the last Friday of every month until July," said Brother Harris. "This is for our commemoration of the pioneers."

He said the faith of the Mormon pioneers, as well as modern pioneers throughout the world, has been the focus of stake programs, conferences and sacrament meeting talks in Tonga - and will continue to be throughout this year.

Most of the 400 temple recommend holders in the stake participated in the pioneer temple program. "I think the great thing about

the special sessionsT is that it has brought a real good spirit and closeness to the stake and its leaders, and has helped draw us much closer to the Savior."

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed