LAIE, Hawaii -- Thousands of Latter-day Saints are gathered Sunday on the Hawaiian island of Oahu for the rededication of their temple.
President Thomas S. Monson is leading the three dedicatory services.
The Hawaii Laie Temple has both historic and modern significance. It was the first leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built outside the continental United States.
First dedicated in 1919, the temple was also rededicated in 1978. This year's renovations are the second to be completed. But on the islands, this temple and its beautiful gardens hold a special significance.
Over the years, they have become a tourist attraction. Many who drive the main road around Oahu stop to take pictures and ask about the temple. Saturday night, President Monson pronounced a blessing on the thousands gathered, particularly the young people, telling them God loves them.
"I bless you that you will ever have a desire to serve Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. I bless you that you will always face the light and walk in the truth," he said.
Thousands gathered Saturday for a cultural celebration. Young people of the faith performed the songs and dances of the many countries represented in the Church's Polynesian Cultural Center.