Hawaii edifice to help establish eternal families

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — Not only are families basic and important, but they can also be eternal, Elder John B. Dickson of the Seventy declared during the groundbreaking services of the Kona Hawaii Temple March 13.

And, he continued, "the building that will rise on this sacred piece of property is a building dedicated to the proposition of helping us to establish eternal families."

Some 1,200 people, including members, Church and community leaders, and other guests, gathered in the Kona Hawaii Stake center for the groundbreaking services of the second temple in the Hawaiian Islands. The new edifice will be built on property adjacent to the stake center on the big island of Hawaii. It was truly an "Aloha" gathering, filled with anticipation and emotion. Providing music for the groundbreaking was a combined choir from the Hilo and Kona stakes. The choir members were dressed in white, accented with colorful island floral leis.

The construction site is one of flowering shrubbery and trees, overlooking the ocean with a view east to Mount Haulalai. The Kona Hawaii Temple, one of the new smaller temples in the Church, will serve 6,000 members in its temple district.

After the services in the stake center, the gathering moved to the construction site where Elder Dickson, who is also North America West Area president, conducted the ceremonial turning of the first shovelful of soil. Helping him were Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, an Area Authority Seventy, and other current and former stake leaders. Then others attending the groundbreaking, including many children, were invited to take a turn with a shovel.

In his earlier remarks, Elder Dickson told those gathered that different ordinances of the gospel will be performed in this holy house. "One of the crowning ordinances will be the sealing of husband and wife, parents to children. When couples are married here, it is not for time only or until death do us part, but for time and eternity."

Continuing, he spoke of the prophecy in Mal. 4:5-6 about the coming of Elijah. "We know that in these latter days, as a part of the Restoration, the prophet Elijah truly has come and the keys of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers have been committed unto man."

Since then, when the keys were committed in the Kirtland Temple in 1836, "we have seen an ever-expanding interest in families and family history. Not only does the Church have the largest family history library in the world to seek out our kindred dead, but millions of people worldwide are showing tremendous interest in their family histories, in their roots and in their past.

"What a great blessing it is that we can break ground this day for a temple wherein sacred ordinances for the living and the dead can be accomplished very close to where you live here on the island of Hawaii."

Elder Dickson also spoke of three "holy places," as referred to in D&C 87:8. "The first one would be our own homes. The second would be the ward meetinghouse or chapel. The third one, of course, would be the holy temple."

He urged those listening to prepare their families to come to the temple, to make their homes "an oasis from the world," and to look to a stake of Zion as "a refuge from the storm."

Also speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony were Elder Hallstrom, Hilo stake Pres. John Sakamaki and Kona stake Pres. Philip A. Harris.

Elder Hallstrom proclaimed this a "historic occasion and perfect . . . to be recorded in our journals and in our hearts of the Lord's blessings to the Hawaiian people in the islands of the earth's largest ocean."

He also rejoiced that "one of 46 small temples announced by President [Gordon B.] Hinckley would provide the means for more Saints to partake of the crowning blessings of the gospel through temple activity, and today we are going forward to assure it."

Pres. Harris referred to this "much-anticipated day as a reality of yesterday's dream. . . . We will write our legacy through faithfulness to temple opportunities and service. We are here because of leadership and vision of real Saints. Now to fill this temple with worthy members will be our legacy."

In his remarks, Pres. Sakamaki said, "This day is a thrill to participate in; all islands are represented."

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