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