LAIE, Hawaii — Open-house sessions that began Wednesday started the countdown to next month's rededication of the LDS Church's Laie Hawaii Temple.
Local officials and dignitaries were invited for Wednesday's first day of open-house visits. Public tours begin Friday and run daily through Saturday, Nov. 13, excluding Sundays.
The temple is scheduled to be dedicated in three sessions on Sunday, Nov. 21, with a cultural celebration planned for Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Cannon Center on the BYU-Hawaii campus.
Closed since Jan. 1, 2009, for renovations, the Laie Hawaii Temple will reopen for regular temple work on Tuesday, Nov. 23.
Originally dedicated Nov. 27, 1919, by President Heber J. Grant and rededicated June 13, 1978, by President Spencer W. Kimball after its initial renovation, the Laie temple will be the second temple to be renovated and rededicated a second time by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The other twice-renovated temple is the Cardston Alberta Temple, which was dedicated in 1928, just after its Laie predecessor. The two were the first temples built outside of both Utah and the United States after the Mormon exodus from the Midwest to the Rocky Mountains began in 1847.
The renovation included seismic upgrades, restoration of ordinance rooms to their original appearance — including the preservation and restoration of the original LeConte Stewart murals — and repairs and enhancements to the baptistery, including backlit art-glass panels.
Other improvements include new lighting based on original historic fixtures, native koa wood used in hardwood trim and inlaid panels, and a new presentation of interior bas-relief friezes and glass panels in the reception area.
Outside, the upper-floor bas-relief friezes depicting scriptural scenes have been restored, while the lower level features new art-glass window panes by Utah artist Tom Holdman, with the new panes patterned after original celestial-room scenes in the 1919 temple.
The 42,100-square-foot temple sits a half-mile from the Pacific Ocean on grounds and gardens covering 7.6 acres, part of the original 6,000-acre Laie Plantation purchased in 1865 for $14,000. It is one of three temples — the Cardston and Mesa Arizona temples being the other two — that do not feature towers or spires in their design.
The Laie temple was first renovated in 1976, with a new front entrance added as well as the patron and administration areas.
When it returns to service, the temple will join the 134 LDS temples in operation throughout the world, with an additional 23 in planning or construction stages. The Laie Hawaii Temple serves Latter-day Saints living on the islands of Oahu and Kauai and in the Marshall Islands.