Last night, I had the opportunity to go the Laie Temple open house. The temple has been closed for renovations for about two years so the campus has been bubbling with news of it's re-dedication for months now.
We went as a ward for FHE to help clean, but we were able to have a tour first. It was ten at night, so we were the only tour going through and our guide indulged us by giving us more information than was usual.I won't give a huge detailed description of the tour, but there were a few things he said that stood out to me.
First, the Laie Temple has a lot of unique designs. Hawaiian patterns, mostly, which is to be expected. Almost all of the ceilings were bordered with gold leaf traditional Hawaiian quilt designs, all hand laid. But probably the most beautiful addition to this temple is the presence of the Kukui nut. In pre-contact Hawaii, they used Kukui nut oil to light their huts. The only other option was fire and that could potentially burn their homes to the ground. Through out the temple, you could see Kukui nuts subtlety featured, representing light and guidance.
When he took us to the Bride's Room, there was, of course, a chorus of "oohs" and "aahs" from the girls. And with good reason. It was beautiful. Our guide went on to explain why there is a Bride's Room and not a Groom's Room and the point he made was one I had not thought of. He told us that the importance of the Bride's room is to make her feel special and prepare her for the journey she is about to embark on. He brought up the divine blessing we have to be mothers; to be, in that way, creators. Men, he told us, have the gift of the priesthood. Both of these responsibilities are essential and of equal importance. Of course, I have always know about both of these roles within the church, but I had never placed them side by side and realized how they synchronize. People who believe our church teaches that men should dominate women do not understand the gospel. He told us how a Catholic Vicar had come through the open house and made the comment that he liked the Mormons because "they take care of their women". And while in some individual cases that is unfortunately not true, the Church itself praises and honors womanhood. There is just no denying it. I was touched last night as we went from room to room in the temple, crowding in because there was so many of us, and I watched almost all the young men let the girls go first. I thought about the stripling warriors who learned how to be righteous and worthy by their mother's examples. That is how motherhood and the priesthood work together.
So....that concludes our lesson for today! Hank, will you give the closing prayer?