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A Special Place

La’ie, located on Oahu's North Shore about 35 miles from Honolulu, is unusual among Hawai'i's many "company towns." While sugar and pineapple plantations were responsible for the establishment of many communities in the late 19th century, La’ie was-and is-a product of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although there was a small Hawaiian village on the 6,000 acre site purchased by the Church in 1865, the character of the community was changed from that time forth. Originally conceived as a "gathering place" where Mormons could live together in peace and safety, the community soon became the center of a Church-owned sugar plantation complete with mill, a rail system and elementary school. Subsequently the Church gave up the milling operations and eventually leased the sugar lands to the neighboring Kahuku Plantation. The dedication of the Hawai’i Temple in 1919 firmly established La'ie as the ecclesiastical center of the Church in Hawai'i. The establishment of the Church College of Hawai’i in 1955—which became Brigham Young University-Hawai’i in 1974—and the Polynesian Cultural Center in 1963 has added educational, cultural, and economic bases which have assured La'ie a unique spot in the history of both Hawai'i and the LDS Church. By: Kenneth W. Baldridge, PhD.

President David O. McKay to the People of La’ie…
“Now just words to you citizens of Laie…keep your streets clean and make it an attractive village, the best in the Hawaiian Islands. Why shouldn’t it be? In the shadow of the House of God, standing out in beautiful white in the daytime and as an illuminated building at night…but above all, may the beauty of your town with no hatred, no backbiting, no faultfinding, that you may love and live in peace so the people who enter this village will feel that there is something different here from any other town they have ever visited, and that isn’t imagination. I have heard leading men make the statement of our own city and they’ll make that same statement about La’ie.

President McKay’s Groundbreaking message for CCH, February 12, 1955…
“I commend you for the progress you have made, the transformation that has taken place and I express hope that you’ll make it even more beautiful. Homes will surround this college. Houses inhabited by members of the Church who have come here to partake of the educational and spiritual inspiration of La’ie.”

President McKay’s dedicatory prayer for Groundbreaking for CCH, February 12, 1955…
May it (La’ie) from this moment forward be what Thou would have it become, be what the early fathers blessed this land to become. May their vision then, and the vision of these choice men who stood so valiantly by the prophecy, be realized, and to that end we again consecrate this land.”

“We dedicate our actions in this service unto Thee and unto Thy glory and to the salvation of the children of men, that this college, and the temple, and the town of La’ie may become a missionary factor, influencing not thousands, not tens of thousands, but millions of people who will come seeking to know what this town and its significance are.”

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