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Posted 11 Jun 2001   For week ended June 08, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 10Jun01

By Kent Larsen

Returned Missionaries Plan Trip for Japan Centennial

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- A group of returned missionaries who served in Japan are planning to take part in centennial celebrations for the 1901 dedication of Japan by then-Apostle Heber J. Grant. The group plans to leave the US during the last week of August and fly to Japan for the September 1st Centennial Celebration.

Japan was dedicated for the "proclamation of the Truth and for the bringing to pass of the purposes of the Lord," on September 1, 1901 by Elder Grant, who was there along with three other missionaries, Horace S. Ensign, Louis A. Kelsch and Alma O. Taylor. While the pioneering group of missionaries worked hard to establish the Church in Japan, translating the Book of Mormon into Japanese and baptizing some, Grant, as President of the Church, closed the mission in 1924 to wait for a more "favorable time." In 1937, missionary work re-opened, headquartered in Hawaii, and missionaries returned to the islands in 1948.

Centennial plans will include the unveiling of two commemorative plaques in Yokohama, near the location where Elder Grant dedicated the country, the groundbreaking ceremony for a new chapel on the site, as well as a commemorative meeting. The plaques will eventually be installed in a special garden in front of the site for the new chapel, which will be built for the Naka Ward, currently meeting nearby. The commemorative meeting will feature the hymns sung in 1901 at the dedication, and church members relating the history of the Church in Japan. Those members will include Kenji Tanaka, first Tokyo Stake President. Asia North Area Presidency officials expect some 400 people to attend the ceremonies.

The US group traveling to Japan for the ceremonies plans to either charter a plane or buy tickets together and travel on about August 29th to be in Japan in time for the ceremony. The group's leader, George M. McCune, hopes to get at least 165 participants, the same number as the number of Japanese saints who joined the country's first temple trip (to the Hawaiian Temple) in 1965. He says more than 150 have already expressed interest, and he will begin collecting deposits in the next few days.

In addition to the dedication, those on the trip will have the option to tour the sites of branches in Tokyo and visit the Tokyo Temple. The preparations include lodging and a Japan Rail pass.


George M. McCune


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