The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Mormon Temples

Papeete Tahiti

Papeete Tahiti Temple

On an island known for its black sand beaches and rare dark pearls, the Papeete Tahiti Temple stands as a treasure to Latter-day Saints living in French Polynesia and the Cook Islands. It is the 25th temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Before three Pacific island temples were dedicated in 1983 — in Samoa, Tonga and Tahiti — Latter-day Saints living in these remote areas traveled to the Hamilton New Zealand Temple when they wished to participate in temple worship.

Designed in a modern style with French and Polynesian influences, the Papeete Tahiti Temple’s exterior pays homage to its tropical location. It has a blue slate tile roof, reminiscent of the ocean depths, and white sand stucco covering its walls. Beautiful stained glass windows shine over the entrance and below the temple’s spire. Capping the spire is a gold-leafed statue of the angel Moroni raising a trumpet to the sky, symbolic of Jesus Christ’s gospel spreading to all the earth. The temple is situated on a five-acre lot alongside a Church meetinghouse. The grounds are landscaped with lovely blooming plants and palm trees.

The Papeete Tahiti Temple originally had 9,936 square feet, and a 2005–2006 renovation increased the square footage to 12,150. Inside the temple, a celestial room represents heaven on earth. The temple also contains a baptistry; instruction rooms, where patrons learn more about God; and sealing rooms, where couples are married. Latter-day Saints believe marriages solemnized in temples can endure beyond the grave and that baptisms performed in temples on behalf of their forbears can be efficacious in the next life. Hence, attending the temple is of high importance to all faithful members of the Church.

Latter-day Saints have lived in Tahiti since the earliest days of the Church, when the Prophet Joseph Smith sent volunteer missionaries to the Pacific Islands. These missionaries arrived in French Polynesia in 1844, becoming the first Mormons to teach in a non-English-speaking country. Church membership in Tahiti grew, and in 1972 the first Tahitian stake was organized (a stake is similar to a Catholic diocese). Today Church membership in French Polynesia is over 23,500.

The Papeete Tahiti Temple was announced on April 2, 1980, and dedicated in six sessions from October 27 to 29, 1983, by President Gordon B. Hinckley, a counselor in the First Presidency. In his dedicatory prayer, he noted the growth of Church membership in French Polynesia and called the temple a capstone to the Saints’ faithful efforts over the preceding years.

In 1994, the Papeete Tahiti Temple was featured on a colorful national postage stamp, commemorating the arrival of Mormon missionaries on the island 150 years before.

Following renovation in 2006, the Papeete Tahiti Temple opened to the public for tours during an open house prior to the rededication. Despite a national transportation strike and road blockades during the beginning of the open house, over 36,000 people came to see the notable landmark that had stood near the island’s northwestern shore for 23 years.

Elder L. Tom Perry, an apostle, rededicated the building on November 12, 2006, in two sessions. Services were broadcast to meetinghouses, allowing 10,000 Tahitians to participate. In his dedicatory prayer, he said: “Wilt Thy Holy Spirit dwell here at all times. Safeguard it from any destructive hand. May all who enter its portals be worthy in every respect. Safeguard it from the storms of nature, and let it stand as a haven of peace and security.”1

Through seasons of sun and tropical rain, the Papeete Tahiti Temple is a peaceful place of worship for Tahitian Latter-day Saints and a beautiful sight for the surrounding community.

 

1 Papeete Tahiti Temple dedicatory prayer, in Church News, Nov. 12, 2006, http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/49774/Papeete-Tahiti-Tahiti-temple-has-served-well-the-Saints.html.

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