Laie Hawaii Temple…undergoing renovations

The Laie Hawaii Temple on March 6, 2009,
stripped of its gleaming white paint while construction
workers totally overhaul the 90-year-old edifice.

[Story and photo by Mike Foley, originally published in Kaleo, April 2009]

While we’re happy that the Laie Hawaii Temple is undergoing renovations (for approximately the next 16 months) that will enhance and improve the facility, it still seems so strange to see the beautiful building stripped of its gleaming white paint. It’s also strange to not see it at night, because the lights have been turned off for now…which doesn’t mean “temple work” has stopped. For example:

Those of us who normally use the Laie Temple have been encouraged  to go to the Latter-day Saint Temple in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island as individual circumstances allow. I’ve heard a number of people and even wards (parishes or congregations) have already done so, which illustrates several points:

  • We who live within a few blocks of the Laie Temple begin to get a little sense of the sacrifice other people make to get to one. For example, in a recent church meeting it was mentioned that there are still places in South America where Latter-day Saints travel five days by bus each way to do so. When I was in Mongolia in May 2007 I was told some of the Saints there have to take a three-day train ride to Hong Kong where their nearest temple is located; and in New Zealand a number of years ago I learned Latter-day Saints in the “Northland” (northern part of North Island), arrange a 24-hour excursion once a month to Temple View near Hamilton: They leave about midnight, sleep through the five-hour drive, do as much “temple work” as they can during the daylight hours, then head back north, arriving about midnight.
  • In Church parlance, Kona has a “small temple” — only about half the size, or less, of the Laie Temple — which means it can’t accommodate as many people at one time, has no clothing rental or cafeteria, and a much smaller volunteer staff of temple ordinance workers. For example, former Laie residents Opura and Vickie Mo’o, president and matron respectively of the Kona Hawaii Temple, do a lot of the cleaning and laundry as part of their responsibilities:
  • Even some Latter-day Saints may not realize that volunteer temple ordinance workers are authorized only to serve in a specific temple, so when Laie’s closed, the approximately 200 volunteers here were “released” (when the Laie Temple resumes operations, the volunteers will have to be “recalled”). When groups from Oahu and Kauai (who previously used the Laie Temple) go to Kona, they have to bring some of these volunteers; but under special arrangements, President Mo’o must interview and authorize them temporarily to assist over there.
  • To be assured of a seat in a Kona Temple “endowment session,” visiting Latter-day Saints are asked to call 866-344-0727 — or email — to make a reservation. Small temples throughout the Church are starting to use a similar reservation system. Prior to a session starting, the “recommend desk” receives patrons and asks if they have reservations. If they were made, their names will be on the list for that session. If they do not have reservations, they will be admitted on a space-available basis.
  • Some temple-attending Latter-day Saints in Laie are now planning to attend one of the other nearly 130 other temples around the world during their travels over the next year-and-a-half.

Also, remember, attending services and ordinances in a Latter-day Saint temple is not the only way to do “temple work”: Regional Family History Centers and online resources ( make it easier than ever for people to do genealogical research and seek information on their ancestors.

You don’t have to be a Latter-day Saint (i.e. a member of the Church) to use these resources . . . and you will quickly be infected by a special feeling of kinship to these long-departed people that the Old Testament prophet Malachi described as turning the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers (Malachi 4:6).

In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted from time-to-time about progress on the Laie Hawaii Temple. Aloha.


  1. Carrie Best says:

    My family and I are looking forward to visiting the Laie temple when it is reopened. We are anxious to make travel reservations as we are coming from Utah. We will keep checking back to see when dates are set for the open house, dedication, and reopening of the temple. If you receive any information before it is posted online, please notify us via email. This would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

  2. Bob Butler says:

    How is the remodel coming along? Will it be done and reopened by this summer?
    Thanks, Bob Butler

  3. Mikaele says:

    No official word about completion and reopening of the Laie Hawaii Temple has been released, but anyone driving by can see that the work is still in progress as of early June.

  4. Melelei says:

    The Open House for the La’ie Temple has been announced:,12357,1934-1-41-0,00.html

    We are pleased to announce the dates for the open house, cultural celebration, and rededication of the Laie Hawaii Temple. They are as follows:

    The public open house will begin Friday, October 22, 2010, through Saturday, November 13, 2010; excluding Sundays.

    The Cultural Celebration is on Saturday, November 20, 2010.

    The Laie Hawaii Temple will be rededicated on Sunday, November 21, 2010 (three sessions: 9:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, and 3:00 p.m.)

    Information regarding obtaining reservations for the public open house will be made available at a later date.

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