Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated the Okinawa Japan Temple on Sunday, November 12. The temple is the fourth in Japan and the 186th worldwide.
A land of deep spirituality and ancestral connection, Japan is a temple-going society with “some of the most active temple-going, temple-attending, temple-worshipping Latter-day Saints in the whole world,” said Elder Stevenson.
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The first missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints arrived in Tokyo, Japan, in 1901, according to a short history of the Church in Japan. Almost 45 years later, during World War II, American servicemen became the first Latter-day Saints to visit the Ryukyu Islands in Okinawa.
The final battle of World War II, which took place in Okinawa, claimed the lives of 240,000 Japanese and U.S. servicemen and Okinawan civilians.
Today, the Okinawa temple district includes 5,500 Latter-day Saints in 12 congregations — including members of the Japanese-speaking Okinawa Japan Stake and the English-speaking Okinawa Japan Military District who will worship in the temple together.
“To have the history that is part of both of those groups come together in a temple … is really quite a remarkable thing,” said Elder Stevenson.
You can read more about the tender dedication ceremony on Church Newsroom.
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