“Ground Broken for Temple in Hong Kong,” Ensign, Apr. 1994, 79–80
Three great events have shaped the Church in China and Hong Kong, said Elder John K. Carmack of the Seventy, and breaking ground for a temple in Hong Kong is the third of those events. Elder Carmack, president of the Asia Area, noted the historical Church events in his address at the January 22 ground breaking.
Also attending the ground breaking were Elders Kwok Yuen Tai and David E. Sorensen of the Seventy, counselors in the area presidency; President David E. Lowe, president of the Hong Kong Mission; Brother Johnson Ma, regional representative; and many local leaders and their wives.
The first great historical event for the Church in China occurred in 1921, when Elder David O. McKay, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, dedicated the whole country of China for the preaching of the gospel while he was visiting what is now Beijing. “Elder McKay had been given authority to dedicate China by offering a solemn dedicatory prayer if he felt so inclined and the Spirit moved him,” explained Elder Carmack.
The second historic event involved Elder Matthew Cowley of the Quorum of the Twelve and a group of Church members who hiked to the Peak in Hong Kong, the highest point overlooking the area, on 14 July 1949. Elder Cowley and Henry Aki, a native of China, then offered prayers officially opening missionary work.
“When the complete gospel plan is on the earth and among a people, a temple is at the center of it,” Elder Carmack continued. “This, then, is the third great historic event for China and Asia—the breaking of ground for the Hong Kong Temple.
“What we do here is spiritually significant and historic as we break ground and start the Hong Kong Temple. Elder McKay dedicated the land, Elder Cowley commenced the missionary work from the Peak, and we commence a temple to the Lord.”
In October 1992, President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency announced that the Hong Kong Temple would be built. Several possible sites were considered before the final location was selected: the site of the Hong Kong mission home in Kowloon Tong on the Kowloon Peninsula.
In his remarks, Elder Tai noted the history of the property. “This site has grown in the last fifty-seven years from an ordinary residential plot to sacred land to hold the Lord’s temple. The building of a temple has ushered the Church’s development in Hong Kong into a new era.”
Elder Tai encouraged those in attendance to pray daily for a smooth completion of the temple, to live worthy of holding a temple recommend, to prepare to perform temple ordinances, and to share the gospel with others.