The Laie Hawaii Temple is a sight to behold on Oahu’s windward coast. The imposing white temple stands between the green mountains and blue ocean, so stately that it’s nicknamed the “Taj Mahal of the Pacific.”
Today, we’re learning all about this glistening structure and how you can see it during your Hawaii vacation.
“Brought to the People”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opened the temple in 1919. It was their first temple outside of Utah, and is said to be “brought to the people” since it opened so far from the church’s headquarters.
At 10,500 square feet, this was the smallest temple the church had constructed. However, today, it is more than 40,000 square feet.
Where to Find the Laie Hawaii Temple
The Laie Hawaii Temple is located on Oahu’s northeast shoreline, in the town of Laie. It’s near Brigham Young University, which is operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Also nearby is the Polynesian Cultural Center, a theme park and luau that the church also owns.
Many visitors to the Polynesian Cultural Center also stop by the Laie Hawaii Temple to see some of its grounds and exterior.
A Rare Visit Inside the Temple
The temple is only open to church members, but an onsite visitors center is free and open to the public. You’ll be able to learn more about the temple, see it from the outside, and walk through some of its gardens.
However, way back in 2010, we were granted a rare opportunity to tour the Laie Hawaii Temple. After remodeling, the temple was rededicated, complete with a three-week open house period where the public could come and tour the temple.
One church volunteer estimated that 10,000 people toured the temple in just one day of its open house period.
A Look Inside
This temple is one of three built with no towers or spires. It is in the shape of a Grecian cross, inspired by ancient temples found in South America.
We were struck by the hand-painted murals in the ordinance rooms, which are used for teaching. Many other paintings depicting the life of Jesus Christ decorate hallways and a small chapel.
The most unique room is the baptistry, where a large baptismal font rests on the backs of twelve stone oxen representing the twelve tribes of Israel.
This room was repaired and renovated as part of the 2010 construction project. Church members not only undergo baptism themselves but also perform baptisms for ancestors who have died.
Similarly, marriages of the faithful and their ancestors are “sealed” for eternity in the temple. On the tour, we saw several sealing rooms.
Our tram driver assured us there would be a flood of marriages as soon as the temple was rededicated.
Another Hawaii Temple
For 80 years, this place was known simply as “Hawaii Temple.” But in 1999, it received its new name, Laie Hawaii Temple. This was when the Kona Hawaii temple opened, so the specific name helped differentiate the two buildings.
Laie Hawaii Temple Information
The Laie Hawaii Temple is open for members only, but you can access its visitors center at 55-600 Naniloa Loop in Laie, Hawaii. It’s open from 10 AM to 8 PM, so you can decide if you’d like to see it in the daylight or illuminated after dark.
Contact Hawaii Aloha Travel to book your tickets to the Polynesian Cultural Center, complete with an itinerary to also see the Laie Hawaii Temple Visitors Center.