More than 500 people gathered for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Kaohsiung Taiwan Temple on Nov. 25, and many more watched online as construction begins on the second house of the Lord on the island.
Community and religious leaders attended the event, including Niaosong District Mayor Hsueh-Hung Lu.
Elder Tai said the temple on the island is due to a “remarkable legacy of faith and dedication” by Church pioneers who “at great personal sacrifice helped to establish the Church here in southern Taiwan.”
“As a young boy, I never would have imagined that one day, a temple will be built here, because temples always seemed so distant and few in number,” said Elder Tai, who spent several years of his childhood in Kaohsiung, which is on the southeastern side of Taiwan.
The first house of the Lord on the island was the Taipei Taiwan Temple, which was dedicated in 1984 and is on the northern end of the island. Since then, Latter-day Saints in the south have regularly made all-day trips to Taipei to worship in the house of the Lord, Elder Tai said.
Elder Tai used the groundbreaking as a metaphor: to break through the barriers of misunderstanding and conflict to choose peace; to turn hearts like soil toward God, righteousness and their relationships; and to grow spiritually on a solid foundation of testimony.
“Temple groundbreakings remind us of the need to dedicate ourselves to the purpose for which we are here on earth and to our important role in the Lord’s work of salvation,” Elder Tai said.
Latter-day Saints consider a temple to be the “house of the Lord” and the most sacred places of worship on earth. Temples differ from the Church’s meetinghouses, or chapels. All are welcome to attend Sunday worship services and other weekday activities at local meetinghouses. The primary purpose of temples, however, is for faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ to participate in sacred ceremonies that unite families forever.
Shen Huang Mei-Hui, who had lost her husband, said, “I’m more grateful now that God grants us temples. … Although death has separated [my husband and me] briefly, I always recall our eternal connection. I want to be with my husband forever. This love gives me the courage to keep going. I know if I endure to the end, we will be an eternal family.”
Kaohsiung Taiwan North Stake President Lee Chun-Chia echoed the teachings of President Nelson. “The ordinances and covenants of the temple hold eternal importance. We keep building more temples so we each can more easily gain spiritual refinement,” he said.
Today, there are more than 62,000 Latter-day Saints and around 100 congregations across the island.
There are 335 Latter-day Saint temples around the world, including those dedicated, under construction and announced.
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