Read previous parts at: http://www.ldsworld.com/gems/wws/country/1,2626,New%20Zealand,00.html The following account of the selection and acquisition of the site on which the Hamilton New Zealand Temple now stands is not sequential in this series but is included because of it's obvious connection to New Zealand and for its teachings that the Lord makes his work possible and that latter-day prophets are indeed his servants. This account comes from the book titled "Temples of the Most High," written by N. B. Lundwall. (Bookcraft, Collector's Edition, 1993) This account includes quotes of an interview with Wendall B. Mendenhall, who was instrumental in the selection of the site and building of the temple. ("Temples of the Most High" is included in Deseret Book's electronic reference library, "GospeLink 2001." A purchase link to "GospeLink 2001" is included at the end of this message.) SITE FOR NEW ZEALAND TEMPLE SELECTED AND ACQUIRED The story of a temple to be erected by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the far off South Pacific islands began when President David O. McKay assigned President Wendell B. Mendenhall of the San Joaquin Stake to a special mission, that of investigating possible temple sites in the lands of the South Seas. President Mendenhall accepted this confidential appointment. He investigated available lands in Auckland, New Zealand, where mission headquarters are located. But the satisfaction of obtaining the proper place for the temple was not experienced as yet. "Then one day I felt I should go to Hamilton to visit the college," (eighty miles southeast of Auckland), President Mendenhall related to the writer. "While in the car on the way, the whole thing came to me in an instant. The temple should be there by the college. The Church facilities for construction were already there, and that was the center of the population of the mission. Then, in my mind, I could see the area even before I arrived, and I could envision the hill where the temple should stand. As soon as I arrived at the college and drove over the top of the hill, my whole vision was confirmed. In my heart I felt that the Lord had especially made this hill for his temple, everything, about it was so majestic and beautiful." Without discussing the matter of a temple site with anyone, President Mendenhall investigated the possibility of purchasing this land for an addition to the Church property but received a negative response. This was the only strip of property separating the college grounds from the extensive Church farm lands; if the property could be acquired, it would join the land together into one choice whole. Two weeks later, President McKay arrived late one evening. Being travel weary, he retired at once, and it was not until early the next morning that President Mendenhall greeted him while in the company of three other brethren. Consequently, there could be no mention of a site for the temple. President McKay, President Mendenhall, and the other three brethren drove out to look over the college construction and the farm lands. "As we drove up the road, there was that noble hill," continued President Mendenhall. "We directed our travel around the back of it to the farm lands. After we stepped from the car and were looking around, President McKay called me to one side. By the way he was looking at the hill, I could tell immediately what was on his mind. I had not said a word to him. He asked, "What do you think?" I knew what his question implied, and I simply asked in return, "What do you think, President McKay?" And then in an almost prophetic tone he pronounced `This is the place to build the temple.'" The Lord had again revealed his will unto his servant, a prophet of God. ". . . Then a week later President McKay came to this beautiful spot," President Mendenhall related, "and I bear witness to you, . . . that I saw the prophet of this Church in the spirit of vision, and when he walked away from that hill, he knew the house of the Lord was to be erected upon that particular spot." President Mendenhall had found that the Murray family, the property owners - three brothers, their mother and a sister - were not willing to sell. But the day President McKay returned to the hill, the three brothers watched as he walked around it. Then as the brethren went to get in the car to leave the hill, one of the three approached President Mendenhall and said they did not want to sell the property, but suggested they discuss the matter after President McKay had finished his tour. As the car drove away, President McKay said in a tone of reassuring confidence, "They will sell it; they will sell it." Accordingly, the day President McKay left, President Mendenhall and Elder George Biesinger, supervisor of Church construction in New Zealand, went to see the Murray brothers. That morning they sat upon the hill itself as they discussed the property, and by eleven o'clock the owners had agreed to see an attorney about the sale. There were two of the brothers present at the morning meeting, so they called the other brother, who was fishing, the sister from another community, and their mother, and all went into town. At three o'clock that afternoon the Murray family had definitely decided to sell the property. "Elder Biesinger and I previously had gone over the property very thoroughly and had put a valuation on it by breaking it down into various lots and acres," President Mendenhall reported. "When we met with the attorney, we found the sellers had over-priced the property considerably. After debating the matter for about an hour, the attorney said, `Would you be willing to consider this purchase if I break the property down my way and arrive at its valuation?' We told him we would." After working a while, he passed his figures to President Mendenhall and Elder Biesinger. As they looked at it, the figures were difficult to believe - the proposal was, to the penny, the evaluation they had computed. By late afternoon the Church had a signed agreement from the owners to sell. A family of five all decided in a few hours against their negative decision of the week before. "And today," President Mendenhall explains, "they can't understand why they ever sold the land." But this was not the only marvel in the acquisition of the land. The purchase naturally had to be approved by the New Zealand Land Aggregation Court. The day the local court turned it down, Mr. Corbett, the National Minister of Lands, went with President Mendenhall to look over the property. He did not know of the local denial. As he drove past the Church construction, he was impressed by the college and by the Church belief of developing the Maori people to the highest standard. Genuinely pleased, he turned to President Mendenhall and asked him to take this dictation: "Received personal assurance this day from the Minister of Lands and Maori Affairs that the New Zealand Government will not oppose the acquisition of this property." The Spirit of the Lord had moved: The property was now owned by the Church; the temple would arise from the spot pronounced by a latter-day prophet as the place where the house of the Lord should be built. (From "Temples of the Most High," Bookcraft, 1993) NEXT WEEK: Part 10: Prominent Figures Related to Church History in New Zealand ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Returned missionary? Foreign-language speaker? Interested in the worldwide Church? Do you know someone who is? If so, you may want to consider a subscription to the Liahona, the official international magazine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Available in 44 languages (including English), the Liahona may be sent to subscribers living anywhere in the world. Each issue contains original articles from members around the globe, as well as articles selected from the Ensign, New Era, Friend, and Church News. The Liahona is identical in every language except for a 16-page customized insert describing local Church news and events. It is the ideal gift for returned missionaries, helping them maintain their language skills and keeping them up-to-date on Church developments in their country of service. Frequency and prices vary by language. For subscriptions in the United States and Canada, call 1.800.537.5971. Credit card orders (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) may be taken by phone. To subscribe outside the United States and Canada, contact your local distribution center. You may visit www.lds.org to read current editions of the Liahona in some languages, to read the past 25 years of the English Liahona, and to read and/or listen to general conference in many languages. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CultureGrams, a division of MSTAR.NET, sponsors GEMS Worldwide Saints messages. Material related to this and upcoming Worldwide Saints series can be sent to email@example.com CultureGrams publishes concise, reliable cultural reports on more than 175 countries. For more information on CultureGrams, visit http://www.culturegrams.com "Temples of the Most High" (Bookcraft, 1993) from which the account in this message comes, is included in Deseret Book's electronic reference library, "GospeLink 2001." You can buy "GospeLink 2001" online at http://deseretbook.com/ldsworld.tcl?sku=4028853 GEMS is grateful to R. Lanier Britsch for his support of this series. Brother Britsch's book "Unto the Islands of the Sea, A History of the Latter-day Saints in the Pacific" (Deseret Book, 1986) is available on "GospeLink 2001." Purchase link given above. ------------------------------------------------- Copyright 2001, Millennial Star Network. Distributed on the Internet via the LDSWorld-Gems mailing list. Messages may be forwarded to individuals if this trailer is included but may *not* be reposted publicly or reprinted in any other form without explicit permission. LDSWorld-Gems Web page: http://www.ldsworld.com/gems/ To subscribe to Gems, send a message to "firstname.lastname@example.org" with "subscribe ldsworld-gems" (without quotes) in the message body; or to leave the list, write "unsubscribe ldsworld-gems"
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