One of the great sites of Latter-day Saint history is the beautiful town of Laie, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Located on the northeast shore of Oahu, Laie has had a presence and history in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for well over a century and a half. This history is rife with stories of remarkable sacrifice and faith, including those of latter-day apostles and prophets.
A view looking toward the ocean from the Laie Hawaii Temple. | Kenneth Mays
In their book "Sacred and Historical Places: Hawaii," Mary Jane Woodger, Riley Moffat and Fred Woods recount the story of Laie being chosen as a place for LDS Church members to gather as far back as the 1860s under a directive of Brigham Young. Missionaries such as 15-year-old Joseph F. Smith, Lorenzo Snow and George Q. Cannon labored under extreme conditions, developing a love for the land and its people.
Initial land acquisitions by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints included a plantation of over 6,000 acres. Efforts to produce a consistent cash crop lead to discouragement. Joseph F. Smith encouraged them to stay and be patient.
Years later, while visiting the area, President Smith dedicated a site in Laie for a temple to be built. He passed away just before its dedication. The temple was dedicated by President Heber J. Grant.
Today, Laie is home to a vibrant Latter-day Saint community, the temple, Brigham Young University-Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center. While most original structures and facilities have been lost over time, efforts have been made to identify and mark the sites where those chapters of LDS historical events unfolded. The book by Woodger, et al., represents such an effort recently undertaken.