History

Laʻie is thought to have been the site of an ancient Hawaiian puʻuhonua – a place where kapu (taboo) breakers could escape being put to death. And it was a refuge for the Mormon missionaries as well; after an attempt to create a ‘City of Joseph’ on Lanai failed, the church purchased a 6000-acre plantation here in 1865. In 1919 construction began on a smaller version of the Salt Lake City, Utah, temple at the foot of the Koʻolau Range. This dazzling, formal white edifice – open only to practicing Latter Day Saint (LDS, also known as Mormon) church members – stands at the end of a wide boulevard and may be one of the most incongruous sights on Oʻahu.