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Carole Mikita ReportingTens of thousands of Latter-day Saints celebrated the reopening of their temple in Tonga. They welcomed many dignitaries, most especially their king, who spoke at a special open house event.
The choir sang a familiar and favorite Latter-day Saint hymn, "Come, Come Ye Saints." In Tonga, the singers are remembering their own pioneers and celebrating the renovation of their temple.
At a special open house service, they welcomed a special guest, the king of their nation, who is not a member of their faith. He was there to tour the Temple and show his support.
King George V said, "We are gathered here today to celebrate the completion of this magnificent temple, which is a tribute to the glory of God."
Tonga is known abroad as the Jewel of the Pacific. The temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is located outside the capitol, Nuku'alofa. President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated it in 1983, but it has been closed for the past two years for expansion and renovation.
One of the church's early missionaries is now the temple president.
President Eric B. Shumway said, "It will have special meaning for members of the church, but its beauty, light and influence will radiate outward and embrace the entire kingdom with a majestic force for good."
This meeting was the prelude to more spiritual moments much anticipated.
Carole will be reporting by satellite from Tonga both Saturday and Sunday with the cultural celebration and temple rededication.