Laie Hawaii

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Laie Hawaii Temple Wiki


The Laie Hawaii Temple is a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) located on the northeast shore of the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu. The temple sits on a small hill, a half-mile from the Pacific Ocean, in the town of Lāʻie, 35 miles (56 km) from Honolulu. Along with Brigham Young University–Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center, the Laie Hawaii Temple plays an important role in the town of Lā’ie,[1]with the Visitors’ Center attracting more than 100,000 people annually.[2]

In addition to initial building and construction, the temple has been dedicated for use by several presidents of the LDS Church. The temple site was dedicated by Joseph F. Smith on June 1, 1915, with Heber J. Grant dedicating the completed structure on November 27, 1919. Spencer W. Kimball rededicated the Temple after significant expansion on June 13, 1978. After seismic upgrades and remodeling, Thomas S. Monson rededicated the Temple on November 21, 2010.

The Laie Hawaii Temple was the first temple built by the LDS Church outside of the contiguous United States. The temple is also the oldest to operate outside of Utah, and the fifth-oldest LDS temple still in operation. The Laie Hawaii Temple was formerly known as the Hawaiian Temple or the Hawaii Temple until the implementation of the standard naming convention for LDS temples.[3]




In 1865, the Church purchased a 6,000-acre (2,400 ha) sugarcane plantation as a gathering place for the Latter-day Saints in the area.While on a mission to the Sandwich Islands, Joseph F. Smith first proposed building a temple in Hawaii during a meeting in Lāʻie on February 15, 1885.[4] George Q. Cannon, one of the original ten missionaries, visited Lāʻie in 1900 and became revered as a prophet for promoting the idea of a new Hawaiian temple among his congregations.[5]

On 3 October 1915 at the general conference of the Church, Joseph F. Smith, then sixth president of the LDS Church, announced plans for a temple to be built in the “Sandwich Isles,” and chose Lāʻie for its construction.[6]


Prior to the public announcement of the temple President Joseph F. Smith, himself an early missionary to the islands, dedicated the site for the temple at Laie on 1 June 1915.[7]


When news of the new Laie Hawaii Temple reached Native Hawaiian converts (and other Polynesians) living far from home in the town of Iosepa, Utah, many decided to emigrate back to Hawaii. Although the Hawaiians had lived in Iosepa since 1889, the closest temple, Salt Lake Temple, was 75 miles away from the colony. Moving to Laie gave the Hawaiians the ability to be closer to the new temple and allowed them to perform sacred ordinances without having to travel great distances. By January 1917, most of the Hawaiians returned home, leaving Iosepa a ghost town.[8]


Hawaii Temple at the time of dedication.

 LDS Church President Heber J. Grant presided over the Hawaiian Temple’s dedication on November 27, 1919. Grant called the Hawaiian people “descendants of Lehi” (a prophet in the Book of Mormon), and saw the future of the new temple in Lāʻie as a magnet for Polynesian converts.[5] After the temple was completed, more Polynesians moved to Lāʻie, hoping to participate in temple ordinances.[5] Tourists were also drawn to the area, and guide books of the time compared the Lāʻie temple to the Taj Mahal.[5]

Dedicatory Prayer

Dedication Order

The Hawaii Temple was the 5th active temple dedicated, The first Temple completed outside of the State of Utah, and the first temple built within the United States and it’s Territories that was outside of the lower 48 United States.

One other temple was under construction at that time, the Alberta Temple (Cardston Alberta Temple.) The Cardston Temple had it’s groundbreaking before the Hawaii Temple was announced, but would not be completed for another 4 years.

One more temple had been announced just a month prior to the Laie Temple dedication for Arizona (Mesa Arizona Temple,) but groundbreaking for that temple would not occure for another 3 years.

Temples Under Construction Temples Announced
Cardston Alberta Mesa Arizona

2003 Landscaping


Original expansion of the Hawaii Temple

Early photos of the temple, usually dated prior to World War II, show small extension wings to either side of the entrance.


Further wing extensions

Photos During World War II show an extra set of extensions of the previous wing additions to the temple. During the war it was not uncommon for American Soldiers to tour the grounds, spending many hours relaxing on the grounds. It is not uncommon to hear stories of Soldiers joining the Church and being baptized int he temple. [9]

Renovation 1976

Laie Hawaii Temple after the 1976-78 remodel. Exterior remains largely unchanged after 2008 -10 remodel, save for a new covered porch.

Beginning in May 1976, the temple was closed for a two-year remodeling project, expanding from 10,500 square feet (980 m2) to over 47,000 square feet (4,400 m2).


Church president Spencer W. Kimball rededicated the temple on 13 June 1978.[10]

Rededicatory Prayer

Rededication Order

There were 16 dedicated Temples when the Laie Temple was rededicated in 1978. Additionally 3 temples were under construction. 2 temples had been announced at that time and were awaiting groundbreaking. Additionally the Logan Utah Temple was undergoing rennovation at that time, making the number of active temples at the time 15 (including Laie.)

Temples Under Construction Temples Announced Temples Undergoing Rennovation
 São Paulo Brazil  Jordan River Utah  Logan Utah Utah
 Tokyo Japan
 Seattle Washington

2003 Landscaping

A $5.5 million renovation, renewal, and beautification project along Hale Laʻa Boulevard leading to the temple began in 2003, lasting 14 months:[11] Norfolk pines suffering from termite infestation were replaced with royal palms, new decorative lighting was added to the terraces, and landscaped roundabouts were put in place. At the same time, the Visitors’ Center was upgraded with interactive kiosks and new displays.[2]

Renovation 2008

The 2010 Remodel, featuring the new covered porch/entryway.

In December 2008, the Laie Hawaii Temple closed again for structural and seismic upgrades and to restore the ordinance rooms to their original appearance and progressive-style presentation of the endowment (still using film). The baptistry was repaired and renovated.

Open House

An Open house for the newly renovated temple was held from 22 October to 13 November 2010. More than 45,000 people attended the open house during its 20 days of operation, an average of 2,250 per day.[12]

Cultural Celebration

A cultural celebration was held on 19 November 2010. It was held at the Cannon Activities Center at BYU-Hawaii. 2,00 individuals danced, sang, and presented a visual history of the the islands and their culture.[13]


The temple was rededicated on 21 November 2010, by President Thomas S. Monson over 3 sessions.[12]

Rededicatory Prayer

Rededication Order

At the time of the second rededication of the Laie Hawaii Temple there were 134 temples in operation. Additionally there were another 9 Temples under construction, and another 8 announced awaiting groundbreaking. There were 2 additional temple undergoing rennovation at the time, reducing the total number of active temples to 132 (including Laie.)

Temples Under Construction Temples Announced Temples Undergoing Rennovation
San Salvador El Salvador Fort Lauderdale Florida Atlanta Georgia
Quetzalenango Guatemala Phoenix Arizona Buenos Aires Argentina
Kansas City Missouri Payson Utah
Manaus Brazil Trujillo Peru
Brigham City Utah Indianapolis Indiana
Calgary Alberta Tijuana Mexico
Tegucigalpa Honduras Sapporo Japan
Gilbert Arizona Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Cordoba Argentina

Myths And Legends

Timely materials

According to the folklore, precious materials arrived just in time to complete the building of the temple: Temple builders ran out of wood (a scarce commodity on the islands) during initial construction, but local members received lumber when a ship ran aground and needed to unload some of its cargo of wood. The temple builders volunteered to help the ship and were given the lumber out of gratitude. The lumber taken from the ship proved to be just enough to finish the temple.[][14]

This story has been recounted many times, and there are multiple variations. There are those who doubt it’s credibility on several factors. One being that the first recorded copies of this story appear in 1970, 64 years after the event was reported to have occurred. The individual who first shared the story had shared other talks previously about the problems and difficulties with the temple construction, but had not mentioned this incident in earlier talks.[15][16]

During his visit to the temple for the Dedication, Rudgar Clawson cataloged many of the difficulties that had been experienced during construction of the temple. This story was not among those shared.[15][17]

The account is not recorded in any missionary journals or official histories of the time. There are also no records of ships running aground near Laie during the time period, and it was rare for large ships to travel along that portion of the island at all.[15][18]

There are however, at least three women, children at the time who remembered the incident when interviewed in 1990, and one Man, in his thirties at the time who recalled the incident when interviewed in 1970. [15][19][20]

Pearl Harbor

The 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor gave rise to another popular tale about the Laie Hawaii Temple in Mormon folklore. According to variations on this story, Japanese aircraft pilots attempted to bomb or strafe the Hawaiian Temple just prior to, or just after, the attack, but were thwarted by mechanical failure or from an unseen protective force.[21] Some stories suggest that the Japanese pilot who attempted to attack the temple was converted to the LDS Church after he saw a picture of the temple in the possession of Mormon missionaries in Japan.[10]

There is an eyewitness who believes he saw the attempted bombing. He first reported the story to his daughter in law in 1965, More than 2 decades after the attack.[22]

There is a former missionary who says he met the Japanese pilot, but with no indication that he joined the Church. (Church records do not include a Pearl Harbor pilot who became a church member.)[23]

Any other sources outside of these two tend to be “friend of a friend” or “met someone who met” leaving these two stories the only valid sources to pull from. It is difficult to prove or disprove the veracity of either of these stories, leaving the veracity of this story up in the air.[24]


President James Kealoha 2015–
President Patrick K. Kanekoa 2012–2015
President H. Ross Workman 2007–2012
President Wayne O. Ursenbach 2004–2007
President Glenn Y. M. Lung 2001–2004
President J. Richard Clarke 1998–2001
President T. David Hannemann 1995–1998
President Albert Y. G. Ho 1992–1995
President Victor B. Jex 1989–1992
President D. Arthur Haycock 1986–1989
President Robert D. Finlayson 1982–1986
President Max W. Moody 1978–1982
President C. Lloyd Walch 1971–1978
President Harry B. Brooks 1965–1971
President Edward L. Clissold 1963–1965
President H. Roland Tietjen 1959–1963
President Ray E. Dillman 1956–1959
President Benjamin Bowring 1953–1956
President Ralph E. Woolley 1944–1953
President Edward L. Clissold 1943–1944
President Albert H. Belliston 1941–1943
President Castle H. Murphy 1938–1941
President Edward L. Clissold 1936–1938
President William M. Waddoups 1931–1936
President Castle H. Murphy 1930–1931
President William M. Waddoups 1919–1930







Spires and Moroni




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Sources and Links

External links

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Additional Articles


  1. [1]Hokulani K. Aikau (Winter 2008). “Resisting Exile in the Homeland: He Mo’olemo No Lā’ie”. American Indian Quarterly. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 32 (1): 70–95. doi:10.1353/aiq.2008.0003. ISSN 0095-182X.
  2. [2] Kayal, Michele, “Mormons Spruce Up Their Aging Hawaiian Outpost”. The New York Times, 27 November 2004. Accessed 10 October 2012.
  3. [3] “Temples renamed to uniform guidelines”. Church News, Deseret News, October 16, 1999. Retrieved 2012-10-10
  4. [4]BYU–H, “The Destiny of La‘ie” (PDF), Office of Planning, Institutional Research, Assessment and Testing, Brigham Young University–Hawaii, 2009. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
  5. [5] T.D. Webb,. “Profit and Prophecy: The Polynesian Cultural Center and La’ie’s Recurrent Colonialism” (PDF), The Hawaiian Journal of History. Honolulu, Hawaii: Hawaiian Historical Society, 1993. 27: 127–150. ISSN 0440-5145.
  6. [6]Baldridge, Kenneth W., ed., “Proceedings, 9th Annual Conference, 21 May 1988”, Mormon Pacific Historical Society, Mormon Pacific Historical Society, 9 (1) , 1988.
  7. [7]“Latter-day Temples” Ensign, January 1972. Accessed 7 July 2017.
  8. [8]Richard Poulsen, “A History of Iosepa, Utah”, The Polynesian Gift to Utah, KUED, 1999, archived from the original on 21 February 2012, retrieved 10 October 2012
  9. [9]Shawn Young Guest Post: Stories from the Construction of the Laie Temple(Comments), 28 June 2011. Accessed 7 June 2017.
  10. [10]Rick Satterfield, “Laie Hawaii Temple”. Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  11. [11]Mary Adamski,  (2004-12-11). “Dedication is set for Laie project”. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 11 December 2004. Retrieved 10 October 2012
  12. [12]“Laie Hawaii Temple Rededicated,” 19 November 2010. Accessed 2 July 2017.
  13. [13]“Laie Hawaii Temple rededicated by President Monson” Mormon Newsroom. Accessed 8 July 2017
  14. [14]Burlingame, Burl, “X Marks the Spot: Mormon temple a Laie landmark since 1919”, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, April 2 2004. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
  15. [15]Richard J. Dowse, “The Laie Hawaii Temple, A History from Conception to Completion,” BYU Scholars Archive, 12 July 2012. Accessed 7 June 2017.
  16. [16]Romania Woolley, “Laie Hawaii Temple Jubilee Celebration.” Audio Recording. Laie, Hawaii, 1969.
  17. [17]Rudger Clawson, “The Hawaiian Temple.” Millennial Star, November 1919.
  18. [18]Hallstrom, James E. “Information of the December 7th Incident and the Miracle of All Miracles,” edited by John L. Hepworth. Honolulu, Hawaii, 1992.
  19. [19]Gus Kaleohano interviewed by Clinton Kanahele, 1970; as cited in Moffat, Gathering to Laie, 114–115.
  20. [20]Fugal, Viola Kawahigashi Interview.
  21. [21]Kenneth W. Baldridge,; Lance D. Chase. “The Purported December 7, 1941, Attack on the Hawai’i Temple”. In Grant Underwood. Voyages of Faith: Explorations in Mormon Pacific History. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press. pp. 165–190. ISBN 0-8425-2480-0.
  22. [22]Lance D. Chase, “The Attempted Attack on the Hawaii Temple, December 7 1941,” BYU Scholars Archive.
  23. [23]Jan Harold Brunvand, “HAWAIIAN TEMPLE SPARED FROM WAR’S BOMBING?,” Deseret News, 12 December 1989.
  24. [24]Cummings, Casey, “Talk Faves”, – the Mormon Urban Legends Website


This post currently has 2 responses

  • I am doing an architectural project in which we have to pick a famous building and redesign additions and annexes that have been added through the years to make them more faithful to the original structure, and I thought it would be a challenge to try out the idea with the temple in Laie. I attended it before the 1970’s additions and was familiar with the original layout, and then I returned to Hawaii about ten years later and saw the changes, not all of them faithful to the original building in my opinion. I have the old book “Temples of the Most High” by Lundwall, which gave me the basic ground floor dimensions up through the 1962 additions, but no height dimensions. To create your amazing 3D renderings, you must have found the height dimensions — can you share them or at least point me in the right direction? My project is going to be on the idea that the Church builds a temple in Honolulu, where the majority of the members live or fly into the island, and after this fictitious Honolulu temple is built they down-scale the Laie temple from 40,000+ square feet to as close to the original 10,000+ square feet yet still retain modern improvements such as a waiting area for those who aren’t endowed. (essentially making it once more the “small temple” that was original built.) I have some interesting ideas how smaller additions could be built in the rear for elevator and additional sealing rooms that would be far less intrusive than those built in the 70’s.

    • I love this project! It reminds me of what they plan to do at St. George, and will kind of almost due at Salt Lake, and what I wish they would have done at Mesa and Laie. I will send you what I can find, but I think I just guessed! Give me some time to dig through my research!

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