The following is excerpted from the Church News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE. 

It has been almost eight decades since the final battle of World War II claimed the lives of 240,000 Japanese and U.S. servicemen and Okinawan civilians here in Japan’s southernmost prefecture.

Now, this place, once defined by war and made sacred by the blood that was shed, has a new symbol of peace and unity — the Okinawa Japan Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the Okinawa Japan Temple on Sunday, Nov 12. The temple is the fourth in Japan and the 186th worldwide.

“The gospel of Jesus Christ navigated its way through difficulties, through cultural differences and through language barriers to find itself established on the island of Okinawa,” said Elder Stevenson.

The Okinawa temple district includes 5,500 Latter-day Saints in 12 congregations — members of the Japanese-speaking Okinawa Japan Stake and English-speaking Okinawa Japan Military District who will now worship in a house of the Lord 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.

In celebration of both groups, the dedication included two dedicatory sessions — one in English and one in Japanese. “Every member was able to attend a session in the language of their heart,” said Elder Stevenson.

Okinawa’s temple-loving people have been “longing to have a temple for generations,” he added. “And, their thoughts and feelings are even more tender, and really quite deep, because of the history that we have in Okinawa.”

In the 12,437-square-foot temple, Okinawan Latter-day Saints will honor their ancestors — “many who faced an untimely death associated with war.”

The temple, he said, “can bring peace and comfort and unity of heart and mind and respect and devotion to our departed ancestors.”

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.