The Apia Samoa Temple (formerly the Samoan Temple) was the 24th constructed and 22nd operating temple. It was the first temple built in Samoa and the third to be built in Polynesia. After it was destroyed by fire, a new temple was built and dedicated on the same grounds. The Apia Samoa Temple and serves members from 20 stakes in American Samoa, and the islands of Upolu and Savai’i.
The Church’s history in the South Pacific began when missionaries first came to the islands of the Pacific in 1843, just 13 years after the Church was officially organized in the United States. Two missionaries came to Samoa from Hawaii in 1863 and labored for 20 years. A mission was formally created in the area in 1888, with its headquarters near Apia. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ was translated into Samoan and published in 1903. As of 2010, members of the Church made up more than 25 percent of the population in Samoa.
On 15 October 1977, the Church announced that it would build a temple in American Samoa that would serve the 50,000 members in Samoa, Fiji, French Polynesia (Tahiti) and Tonga. Members in those areas were, at that time, traveling over a thousand miles to attend the temple in New Zealand.
However, on April 2, 1980, the Church announced plans to build seven new smaller temples in different areas, several of which were in the Pacific: Papeete Tahiti; Nuku’alofa Tonga; Apia Samoa; and Sydney Australia.“Fire destroys 20-year-old Samoan temple,” Church News, 12 July 2003 (a Temple for Pago Pago American Samoa would again be announced in April of 2019 by President Russell M. Nelson.)
With these additional temples in the Pacific, the location of the previously announced temple changed from Pago Pago, American Samoa, to Apia, Western Samoa — a location more central to the Samoan members.
Nearly 4,000 people attended the Apia Samoa Temple groundbreaking ceremony held on February 19, 1981. Church President Spencer W. Kimball dedicated the site and was assisted in the groundbreaking by Malieotoa Tanumafil II, the Samoan head of state. Local members helped to build the temple and rotated assignments to help in its construction.”Apia Samoa Temple,” Church Accessed 8 January 2005
The temple was completed in 1983.
an open house was held from July 19 to 30. The head of state attended and rejoiced that members of the Church would now be able “to worship and to observe all the requirements of their faith right here in Samoa.” “Island’s Leaders Impressed by Samoa Temple,” Church News, July 31, 1983, 3. 60,000 people attended during the 17 day open house, an average of 3,529 per day.
The temple was dedicated in seven sessions from August 5 to 7, 1983, by Gordon B. Hinckley, a member of the Church’s First Presidency.
It was the second temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built in the South Pacific, following the Hamilton New Zealand Temple. Dedication Order
The decision was made to upgrade the mechanical systems and furnishings on the temple, as well as expand it to add a more functional baptistry. Other temples of the same design had already been expanded in a like manner. The temple closed for expansion in the spring of 2003, and by July of 2003 the process was nearing its end, The temple having been scheduled to be rededicated in October of that year.Taralyn Trost, “Fire Destroys Samoa Temple,” Ensign, September 2003.
On July 9, 2003, a fire destroyed the temple. Although the cause of the fire is unknown, no one was hurt due to it being closed for expansion and renovation. The fire occurred in the evening after workers had gone home. 100 volunteers were on hand to help the firefighters douse the blaze, with at least 20 , at least 20 members attempted to put out the flames with hoses and buckets of water, prior to the arrival of fire trucks. Airport Authority firefighters from Faleolo International Airport were called in to help due to the size of the blaze.Taralyn Trost, “Fire Destroys Samoa Temple,” Ensign, September 2003. The cause of the fire is unknown.
A sudden rain 30 minutes after the start of the blaze prevented the spread of the fire to other buildings on the site.Taralyn Trost, “Fire Destroys Samoa Temple,” Ensign, September 2003.
At the end of the night, the only portion of the temple undamaged by fire was the Angel Moroni Statue, which was salvaged and placed in storage for re-use on the rebuilt temple.Sarah Jane Weaver, “Remains of Samoa temple demolished”, Church News, 2 August 2003
One week later, on July 16, 2003, the First Presidency sent a letter to the people of the area telling them that the temple would be rebuilt.
Three months later, on October 19, 2003, the site was rededicated and a groundbreaking ceremony was held. As part of the construction process, the church demolished a building on the property and built a new chapel across the street from the temple.Jerry L. King, “Samoan Temple to be Rebuilt on Site,” Church News, 25 October
On 5 May 2004 Joseph Stalin, a former block mason, laid thee first stone for the new temple. Brother Stalin had laid the first block on the original Apia Temple as a Bishop in January of 1982.Rawinia S. Chadderton, “Block mason does double duty at temple in Samoa,”Church Nees, 29 May 2004.
On January 25, 2005, the angel Moroni statue that had survived the fire was placed on the new temple.“Statue of Angel Moroni placed on temple,” Church News 5 February 2005.
An open house for the newly rebuilt Apia Samoa Temple was held 6-27 August 2005 excluding Sundays. 45,004 people toured the temple during the 19 day open house, an average of 2,369 people per day.Gar and LeAnn Walton, “Pearl of Pacific,” Church News 20 August 2005“Apia Samoa Temple,” Church News, 10 September 2005
A Cultural Celabration was held prior to the rededication of the new Apia Samoa Temple on 3 September 2005. 5,000 members participated in the event held at Apia Park Stadium.“A ‘Talofa’ evening for LDS Samoans,” Church News, 10 September 2005.
President Gordon B. Hinckley rededicated the temple on 4 September 2005.Jason Swensen, “Precious Gift Returns to Samoa,” Church News, 10 September 2005. 16,037 members participated in the 2 rededicatory sessions.“Apia Samoa Temple,” Church News, 10 September 2005
He began the dedicatory prayer by saying, “Our Eternal Father in Heaven, we rejoice in the knowledge that there is again in these favored islands of Samoa a sacred house.”Apia Samoa Temple dedicatory prayer, in Church News, Sept. 10, 2005,
December 14, 2012
The Apia Samoa Temple suffered minor damage when Cyclone Evan battered the Samoan islands.
September 30, 2009
A massive earthquake and tsunami struck the Samoan Islands, with much damage being reported to members’ homes and to 2 meetinghouses. The Apia Samoa Temple suffered no structural damage other than Moroni losing it’s horn.
|Temple President||Years Served|
|President Beaver T. Ho Ching||2017–|
|President Douglas W. Jessop||2014–2017|
|President Alema S. Fitisemanu||2011–2014|
|President J. Phillip Hanks||2008–2011|
|President Suau’upaia K. Pe’a||2005–2008|
|President Daniel A. Betham||2000–2003|
|President R. Wayne Shute||1997–2000|
|President Harold R. Johnson||1995–1997|
|President Percy Syddall||1992–1995|
|President Burton H. Price||1989–1992|
|President Tufuga S. Atoa||1986–1989|
|President Charles I. Sampson||1983–1986|
Testifying to the large number of Mormon members in the area, a Samoan postage stamp features the Apia Samoa Temple with the official cancellation mark featuring a line drawing of the angel Moroni statue.
The Temple is built on a 2-acre (8,100 m2) site located at Vaitele Street, Pesega, Apia Samoa.
The beautiful Apia Samoa Temple, which stands in front of Mt. Vaea, is a landmark in Samoa’s capital city.
The Apia Samoa Temple has a unique history, as it is one of only two Mormon temples (the other being Nauvoo) to be completely destroyed and rebuilt.
The granite structure sits on 1.7 acres of land that is beautifully landscaped and lined with palm trees. Adjacent to the temple is a Church-owned complex that features accommodations for temple patrons visiting from afar, a meetinghouse, a family history center, a service center, the home for the mission president of the Samoan mission and the Church College of Western Samoa.
The original temple was 14,560 square feet (1,353 m2), approximately 148 feet (45.11 m) long, and 115 feet (35.15 m) wide.
With the rebuilding of the temple after the fire the total floor area is now 18,691 square feet (1,736.5 m2). The temple is 225 feet (65.58 m) long and 128 feet (39.01 m)
The exterior of the temple is finished with a stone granite facade.
The original temple was built of R-wall construction, a type of insulated cinder block wall, and covered in Stucco.
The rebuilt temple features ribbed metal roofing.
The original Apia Samoa Temple was roofed with split cedar shake shingles.
There are windows of varying size on the apia temple, ranging from smaller windows that fill half the height of a wall, to near full height windows, to very large windows on the celestial room. Each window is of a stained art glass construction.
The Apia Temple has two inscriptions. The first sits on the east north east face at the base of the spire, above the entryway. It is a Samoan inscription, engraved in the stone and is painted black:
E PAIA I LE ALII
O LE MAOTA O LE ALII
The Second inscription is similarly formatted and sits above the transom above the entry doors on the east north east face of the temple. The inscription is in Samoan, and is engraved in a stone panel and is painted black.
E PAIA I LE ALII
O LE MAOTA O LE ALII
The original Apia Temple Inscription was to the right (North) of the entryway and were formed of raised brass, as was common with the Temples of that time period:
I LE ALI’I
O LE ALI I
Spires and Moroni
Both the original temple and the rebuilt temple use a classic modern design with a single spire. The spire is a single three stepped construction on the east center of the temple. The spire of the original temple was 78 feet (23.77 m), with the rebuilt spire being 75 feet (22.86 m)
On the new temple, the spire and the Moroni were lifted into place as a single pre-built segment.“Apia Samoa Temple,” religionforums.com
|Version||1982 Shorter closed left fist and tight sleeves|
|Placed||1 May 1983|
|Faces||East North East|
The original temple was a 14,560-square-foot building featuring a modern design with concrete walls and cedar roofing. An expanded and more efficient floor plan measuring 18,691 square feet was used for the new temple.
The Apia Temple has 2 endowment rooms, set up in a 2 stage progressive fashion. Prior to the remodel the temple had 3 stationary rooms
Both the new and the original temple has 2 sealing rooms.
Individuals and Contractors
|Architect||Emil B. Fetzer|
|Architect 2003||John D. Rather|
|Architect 2005||Naylor, Wentworth, Lund|
|Construction Advisors||Dale Cook and Richard Rowley|
|Project Manager 2005||William Naylor|
|Contractor||Utah Construction and Development|
|Contractor 2003||Westland Construction|
|Contractor 2005||Bud Baily Construction|
|Contractor 2005||Jacobsen Construction|
|Exterior Stone||Merrimack Stone|
|Concrete Work||WW Construction Inc.|
|Structural Engineering 2003||D. George Hansen Inc|
|Plumbing 2005||Kozco Mechanical|
Sources and Links
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||“Fire destroys 20-year-old Samoan temple,” Church News, 12 July 2003|
|2, 4.||↑||”Apia Samoa Temple,” Church Accessed 8 January 2005|
|3.||↑||“Island’s Leaders Impressed by Samoa Temple,” Church News, July 31, 1983, 3.|
|5, 6, 7.||↑||Taralyn Trost, “Fire Destroys Samoa Temple,” Ensign, September 2003.|
|8.||↑||Sarah Jane Weaver, “Remains of Samoa temple demolished”, Church News, 2 August 2003|
|9.||↑||Jerry L. King, “Samoan Temple to be Rebuilt on Site,” Church News, 25 October|
|10.||↑||Rawinia S. Chadderton, “Block mason does double duty at temple in Samoa,”Church Nees, 29 May 2004.|
|11.||↑||“Statue of Angel Moroni placed on temple,” Church News 5 February 2005.|
|12.||↑||Gar and LeAnn Walton, “Pearl of Pacific,” Church News 20 August 2005|
|13, 16.||↑||“Apia Samoa Temple,” Church News, 10 September 2005|
|14.||↑||“A ‘Talofa’ evening for LDS Samoans,” Church News, 10 September 2005.|
|15.||↑||Jason Swensen, “Precious Gift Returns to Samoa,” Church News, 10 September 2005.|
|17.||↑||Apia Samoa Temple dedicatory prayer, in Church News, Sept. 10, 2005,|
|18.||↑||“Apia Samoa Temple,” religionforums.com|