I was just saying, brethren and sisters (Brother Woolley had finished speaking to the Saints in the Hawaiian language), that this land, the land of Laie, was one of the cities of refuge in olden times and I was telling them that now it is a city of refuge indeed, both to the spirit and body of man. William W. Cluff saw in vision President Young upon this land and talked with him, and President Young told him that “upon this land we will build a Temple unto our God.” Later on when President George Q. Cannon visited here, fifty years after the Gospel had been established, he told us, both at Laie and Honolulu, that the time would come when we would have a house in which to perform the ordinances necessary for the salvation of the living and the dead. 1
Physical and Historical Description
The erection of a Temple in the Hawaiian Islands has been the dream of many devoted and faithful Saints of the Polynesian Race since the Gospel was first promulgated to them in 1850 by George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, and hundreds of other faithful Elders. The native Saints looked forward to the time when the prophecy made by George Q. Cannon would be realized, namely, the erection of a Temple in those far off islands. Its fulfillmentbegan when President Joseph F. Smith and party visited the Island of Hawaii and dedicated the site for a Temple on June 1, 1915, at Laie, on the Island of Oahu, one of the northern group of the Hawaiian Islands.
The Hawaiian Temple is located on what is known as the “Plantation of Laie,” a 6,500-acre tract located about thirty-two miles north of Honolulu, purchased for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Elder Francis A. Hammond in 1865, and in part has been utilized since as a sugar plantation and the gathering place for the native Latter-day Saints of the Hawaiian group of islands. The site of the Temple is on a moderately high hill of eminence commanding an unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean. 2
By President Heber J. Grant (November 27, 1919)
O God, the Eternal Father, we, Thy servants and handmaidens, thank Thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, Thy well-beloved Son, with all the power of our being, that we are privileged this day to be present in this beautiful land, to dedicate into Thy Most Holy Name, a temple of the Living God.
We thank Thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that Thou and Thy Son, Jesus Christ, didst visit the boy, Joseph Smith, Jr., and that he was instructed by Thee, and Thy beloved Son.
We thank The that Thou didst send Thy servant, John the Baptist, and that he did lay his hands upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and ordain them to the Aaronic, or Lesser Priesthood.
We thank Thee for sending Thy servants Peter, James, and John, apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, who ministered with the Savior in the flesh and after His crucifixion, and that they did ordain Thy servants Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, and bestowed upon them the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, by which authority and apostleship we do dedicate unto Thee, this day, this holy edifice.
We thank Thee for the integrity and the devotion of Thy servants, the Prophet and the Patriarch, Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith. We thank Thee that they labored all the days of their lives, from the time of the restitution of the Gospel of Jesus Christ until the day of their martyrdom, and that they sealed their testimony with their blood.
We thank Thee for Thy servants Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and Joseph F. Smith, who have severally stood at the head of Thy Church since the martyrdom of Thy servant Joseph Smith, and who have led and directed Thy people by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit, and who have sent forth representatives to proclaim the everlasting gospel in nearly every land and clime.
We thank Thee for all the faithful members of the First Presidency of the Church, and for the Apostles, in this last dispensation; and for each and all of the faithful men who have held office as general authorities of the Church.
O God, our Eternal Father, we pray Thee to bless the Presidency of Thy Church, Thy servants Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, and Charles W. Penrose. May these men, O Father, be guided by the unerring counsels of Thy Holy Spirit, day by day. May they be even as a three-fold cord that cannot be broken. May they see eye to eye in all matters for the upbuilding of the Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth.
Bless, O Father, each and all of the Apostles, the Presiding Patriarch, the First Council of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric.
Bless, we beseech Thee, those who preside in all the stakes of Zion, and in all the wards and branches of the Church.
Bless those who preside over the missions of the Church throughout the world together with all Thy servants and handmaidens who have gone forth to proclaim to the peoples of the world the restoration again to the earth of the plan of life and salvation.
Bless those, O Father, who preside in the temples that have been erected to Thy Holy Name in the land of Zion. Bless, also, those who preside and who labor in the Church schools which have been established from Canada on the north to Mexico on the south.
O God, accept of the gratitude and thanksgiving of our hearts, for the very wonderful and splendid labors performed in the land of Hawaii by Thy servants President George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith. We thank Thee for their devotion to the gospel and to the people of this land. We thank Thee for raising up Thy servant Elder J. H. Napela, that devoted Hawaiian, who assisted Thy servant President Cannon in the translation of the Book of Mormon, which is the sacred history of the Nephites, the Lamanites, and the Jaredites. We thank Thee that the plates containing the Book of Mormon were preserved so that they could be translated, and that Thy words to the Prophet Joseph Smith might be fulfilled; namely, “That the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord, and that they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified through faith in His name, and that through their repentance they might be saved.”
We thank Thee, that thousands and tens of thousands of the descendants of Lehi, in this favored land, have come to a knowledge of the gospel, many of whom have endured faithfully to the end of their lives. We thank Thee, our Father and our God, that those who are living and who have embraced the gospel are now to have the privilege of entering into this holy house, and laboring for the salvation of the souls of their ancestors.
We thank Thee that on this occasion the widow of Thy beloved servant, George Q. Cannon, even Thine handmaiden, Sister Sarah Jenne Cannon, is present with us today, and is permitted to participate in these dedicatory services.
We thank thee, O Father in Heaven, for our families, our friends, our relatives, and for all the many blessings which Thou hast bestowed upon us.
We thank Thee for all of the temples that have been erected in this last dispensation, and we pray Thy choice blessings to be and abide with all those who minister therein. We pray that that same sweet spirit which is present in all of the temples, may abide with those who shall labor in this holy house.
We thank Thee, O Father, this day, that the promise made in a dream to Thy servant William W. Cluff, by Thy Prophet Brigham Young, that the day would come when a temple should be erected in this land, is fulfilled before our eyes.
We thank Thee, O God, that Thy faithful and diligent servant, President Joseph F. Smith, was moved upon, while in this land, on the birthday of Thy servant President Brigham Young, in the year 1915, to dedicate this spot of ground for the erection of a temple to the Most High God.
We thank Thee for the long and faithful and diligent labors of Thy servant President Samuel E. Woolley, who has so faithfully presided over this mission for these many years. We thank Thee for his labors in the erection of this temple, and beseech Thee, O Father, that Thou wilt bless him and all of his associate workers.
We pray Thee, O Father, to bless the son of Thy beloved servant President Joseph F. Smith, E. Wesley Smith, who now presides over the Hawaiian mission. May the missionary spirit be and abide with him. May he have that same splendid love for the people of this land which his dear departed father possessed.
We now thank Thee, O God, our Eternal Father, for this beautiful temple and the grounds upon which it stands, and we dedicate the grounds and the building, with all its furnishings and fittings, and everything pertaining thereunto, from the foundation to the roof thereof, to Thee, our Father and our God. And we humbly pray Thee, O God, the Eternal Father, to accept of it and to sanctify it, and to consecrate it through Thy Spirit for the holy purposes for which it has been erected.
We beseech Thee that no unclean thing shall be permitted to enter here, and that Thy Spirit may ever dwell in this holy house and rest mightily upon all who shall labor as officers and workers in this house, as well as all who shall come here to perform ordinances for the living or for the dead.
May Thy peace ever abide in this holy building, that all who come here may partake of the spirit of peace, and of the sweet and heavenly influence that Thy Saints have experienced in other temples, and that has also been experienced in visiting the monument and cottage erected at the birthplace of Thy servant Joseph Smith, the great latter-day prophet.
May all who come upon the grounds which surround this temple, in the years to come, whether members of the Church of Christ or not, feel the sweet and peaceful influence of this blessed and hallowed spot.
And now that this temple is completed and ordinance work will soon be commenced, we beseech Thee, O Father, that Thou wilt open the way before the members of the Church in these lands, as well as of the natives of New Zealand, and of all the Pacific islands, to secure the genealogies of their forefathers, so that they may come into this holy house and become saviors unto their ancestors.
We thank Thee, O God, our Eternal Father, that the land of Palestine, the land where our Savior and Redeemer ministered in the flesh, where He gave to the world the plan of life and salvation, is now redeemed from the thralldom of the unbeliever, and is in the hands of the great, enlightened and liberty-loving empire of Great Britain. We acknowledge Thy hand, O God, in the wonderful events which have led up to the partial redemption of the land of Judah, and we beseech Thee, O Father, that the Jews may, at no far distant date, be gathered home to the land of their forefathers.
We thank Thee that Thy servants, the Prophets Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, were moved upon to send holy apostles to Jerusalem to dedicate that land for the return of the Jews.
We acknowledge Thy hand, O God, our Heavenly Father, that one of the benefits of the great and terrible world war, through which the nations of the earth have recently passed, will be the opportunity for the Jews to return to the land of their fathers.
We thank Thee, our Father in Heaven, for the victory which came to the armies of the Allies, and we beseech Thee that that victory may lead to increased liberty and peace throughout all the nations of the earth.
We pray for Thy blessings to be upon the kings, and upon the nobles, and upon the rulers in all nations, that they may have it in their hearts to administer justice and righteousness and to give liberty and freedom to the peoples over whom they rule.
We thank Thee that Thou didst inspire the noble men who wrote the Constitution of our beloved country, and we beseech Thee that the principles of that inspired document may ever be maintained; that the people may overcome selfishness and strife, and contention, and all bitterness, and that they may grow and increase in the love of country, in loyalty and patriotism, and in a determination to do that which is right and just.
We thank Thee for this land of liberty in which we dwell, which Thou hast said is choice above all other lands. We do thank Thee, O God our Father, for the noble men who have presided over our country from the days of George Washington until the present time.
We pray Thee to bless Woodrow Wilson, the president of these United States. Touch him with the healing power of Thy Holy Spirit and make him whole. We pray that his life may be precious in Thy sight, and may the inspiration that comes from Thee ever abide with him.
We pray for the vice-president of the United States, for the members of the president’s cabinet, for the senators and congressmen, and for all the officers of this great and glorious government in every state and territory, and in every land where the United States bears rule. We also remember before Thee, all those who have been selected to administer the law in this favored land of Hawaii.
We beseech Thee, O God in heaven, that the people of the United States of America may ever seek to Thee for guidance and direction, that Thy declaration and promise that this is a land choice above all other lands, and shall be protected against all foes, provided the people serve Thee, may be realized and fulfilled, and that the people may grow in power and strength and dominion, and, above all, in love of Thy truth.
We thank Thee, O God, that Thy Son, our Redeemer, after being crucified and laying down His life for the sins of the world, did open the prison doors and proclaim the gospel of repentance unto those who had been disobedient in the days of Noah, and that He subsequently came to the land of America, where He established His Church and chose disciples to guide the same.
We thank Thee for restoring again to the earth the ordinances of the gospel of Thy Son Jesus Christ whereby men and women can be, in very deed, saviors upon Mount Zion, and where they can enter into Thy holy temples and perform the ordinances necessary for the salvation of those who have died without a knowledge of the gospel.
We thank Thee, O Father, above all things upon the face of the earth, for the gospel of Thy Son Jesus Christ, and for the Priesthood of the living God, and that we have been made partakers of the same, and have an abiding knowledge of the divinity of the work in which we are engaged.
We thank Thee for the words of Thy Son Jesus Christ to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon: “This is the gospel, the glad tidings which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us, that He came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness, that through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him; who glorifies the Father and saves all the works of his hands.”
We thank Thee, O Father, that Thou didst send Thy Son Jesus Christ, to visit Thy servants Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland temple, the first temple ever erected by Thy people in this last dispensation. We thank Thee for the words of our Redeemer: “I am the first and the last. I am He who liveth. I am He who was slain. I am your advocate with the Father. Behold your sins are forgiven you, you are clean before me, therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice, and let the hearts of your brethren rejoice, and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have with their might, built this house to my name, for behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here, and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.”
We thank Thee, O God, that Thou hast accepted, by the testimony of Thy Holy Spirit, all of the temples that have been erected from the days of Kirtland until this present one.
We also thank Thee for sending Thy servants, Moses and Elias and Elijah, to the Kirtland temple, and delivering to Thy servants, Joseph and Oliver, the keys of every dispensation of the gospel of Jesus Christ from the days of Father Adam down to the present dispensation, which is the dispensation of the fulness of times.
We thank Thee, that Elijah has appeared and that the prophecy of Thy servant Malachi, that the hearts of the fathers should be turned to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest the earth be smitten with a curse, has been fulfilled in our day, and that our hearts in very deed, go out to our fathers; and we rejoice beyond our ability to express that we can, through the ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, become saviors of our ancestors.
We thank Thee, O God, with all our hearts and souls for the testimony of Thy servants Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony last of all, which we give of him, that he lives; for we saw him, even on the right hand of God, and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father; that by him and through him, and of him the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.”
We thank Thee, O Father, for the knowledge that we possess in our very souls, that Thou dost live, and that Thy Son Jesus is our Redeemer, and our Savior, and that Thy servant, Joseph Smith, Jr., was and is a prophet of the true and living God. And, O Father, may we ever be true and faithful to the gospel of Thy Son Jesus Christ, revealed through Thy servant Joseph.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, that Thou wilt stay the hand of the destroyer among the natives of this land, and give unto them increasing virility and more abundant health, that they may not perish as a people, but that from this time forth they may increase in numbers and in strength and influence, that all the great and glorious promises made concerning the descendants of Lehi, may be fulfilled in them; that they may grow in vigor of body and of mind, and above all in a love for Thee and Thy Son, and increase in diligence and in faithfulness in the keeping of the commandments which have come to them through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We pray Thee, O Father, to bless this land that it may be fruitful, that it may yield abundantly, and that all who dwell thereon may be prospered in righteousness.
Bless all Thy people who have named Thy name in all parts of the world. Especially bless Thy people in the Valleys of the Mountains, whereunto they were led by Thy divine guidance, and where the greatest of all temples in this dispensation has been erected, and where Thou hast blessed and prospered Thy people even beyond anything that could have been expected.
Bless, O Father in Heaven, all Thy servants and handmaidens who hold responsible positions in all the various auxiliary organizations of Thy Church, whether as general, stake, ward, or mission authorities; in the Relief Societies, in the Mutual Improvement associations, in the Sunday schools, in the Primary association, and in the Religion Class organizations. Bless each and every one who is laboring for the benefit of the members, as well as the members themselves, in these associations.
We especially pray Thee, O Father in Heaven, to bless the youth of Thy people in Zion and in all the world. Shield and preserve and protect them from the adversary and from wicked and designing men. Keep the youth of Thy people, O Father, in the straight and narrow path that leads to Thee; preserve them from all pitfalls and snares that are laid for their feet. O Father, may our children grow up in the nurture and testimony of the divinity of this work as Thou has given it unto us, and preserve them in purity and in the truth.
O God, our Heavenly and Eternal Father, sanctify the words which we have spoken, and accept of the dedication of this house, we beseech Thee, in the name of Thine Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ our Redeemer. We have dedicated this house unto Thee by virtue of the Priesthood of the Living God which we hold, and we most earnestly pray that this sacred building may be a place in which Thou shalt delight to pour out Thy Holy Spirit in great abundance, and in which Thy Son may see fit to manifest Himself and to instruct Thy servants. In the name of Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen and Amen. 3
Samuel E. Woolley, Proceedings of the Dedication of the Hawaiian Temple on November 27, 1919.
N. B. Lundwall, Temples of the Most High [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993], 151.