“Holy Place: A Story About the Laie Hawaii Temple,” Friend, Apr. 2002, 5
In 1919, Abigail Kailimai was four years old. She lived with her mother and father and all her older brothers and sisters in the town of Hilo on the big island of Hawaii. From her house, she could see the beautiful ocean where seals, turtles, whales, and many colorful fish swam.
Towering over her town was the large mountain called Mauna Kea. Thick rain forests and green pastures grew between her house and the mountain. Abigail could sometimes see puffs of smoke in the sky from volcanoes on the other side of the mountain.
Her father often told her wonderful stories. Her favorite story was about the temple then being built almost two hundred miles away on the island of Oahu. Father told her how, long ago, Joseph F. Smith had come to Hawaii as a missionary. The year Abigail was born, he had returned as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had dedicated a sugarcane field where the Church would build a temple. Father told her the ground there was now holy because the prophet had blessed it.
Father told Abigail how much the Hawaiian people loved President Smith. They called him Iosepa, the Hawaiian name for Joseph. Father’s eyes sparkled when he told Abigail what a wonderful place the temple would be. He promised to take her and her family to the temple when it was built so that they could be sealed together forever.
On Sundays, Abigail’s family went to church. Some people walked to church, and some rode horses. Father had an automobile. The whole family climbed inside it and rode to church. She loved learning about Jesus there. Her teacher often talked about the holy temple that was being built.
One day, Abigail’s mother told her the temple was almost finished! Their family needed to get ready to make the long journey there. Mother sewed new white dresses for Abigail and her sisters. They had been saving their money for a long time so that they could sail to Oahu.
Father told them that they needed to get ready to go to the holy temple in other ways, too. They needed to try to act as Jesus would, so that they would be worthy to go inside His house. Mother wrote down the names of her grandparents and great-grandparents and other relatives who had died so that they could be sealed to the family, too.
Finally the day came for them to leave. Abigail wore her prettiest dress and carried a small bag with her new white dress in it. Their friends came to give them flower leis to wear around their necks and to wish them a good journey. Abigail and her family climbed into the boat and were soon far out on the ocean.
Father showed Abigail how smoke and steam came out of the boat’s smokestack. The steam made the boat go. Abigail liked to watch the boat slice through the waves and to see the dolphins swimming alongside. After a very long day, they finally arrived in Oahu.
Abigail and her family went to the town of Laie, where the new temple had been built. One of the families living there invited them to stay in their home. Abigail shared a room where all the girls slept. In the morning, the children went outside and played in the sand dunes near the beach.
The next day, November 27, 1919, President Heber J. Grant came to dedicate the temple. Abigail could feel that the temple was a wonderful, holy place. After the dedication, the Saints held a luau, or big feast, to celebrate. They ate pork, chicken, fish, bananas, rice, and coconuts. They sang beautiful songs.
One week after the temple was dedicated, Abigail and her family went inside it to be sealed together. She wore her new white dress. Father told her that now their family could be together even after they went to heaven. Abigail felt so happy!
Fifteen years later, Abigail fell in love with David, a fine young man. They wanted theirs to be a “forever family,” too, so they went to the temple in Laie to be married. She loved being there; it was a holy place. She dreamed that one day she would be a temple worker and help other people who came to the temple.
Sixty-five years later, another temple was dedicated in Hawaii. This one was on Abigail’s island, in a town called Kona. President Gordon B. Hinckley came to dedicate it. Abigail was there, leading the choir. After the dedication, she went to the temple each week to help those who came to that beautiful, holy place.