NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga — “Taking a visit to the temple is one of those memorable events in my life,” said Moimoi Hola, a Tongan native and a member of the Wesleyan faith.

Hola was among the 40,000 visitors who attended the recent month-long open house for the newly renovated Tonga temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The number of visitors constitutes 40 percent of the total population of the island nation. The guests included Her Royal Highness Princess Pilolevu and Mrs. Ainise Sevele, wife of Tongan Prime Minister Feleti Sevele.

Princess Pilolevu of Tonga visited the Church’s temple in Tonga during the open house in which the public was invited to tour the renovated building. © 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

“My visit to the temple was a personal journey into the realm of all that is holy, which is peace, serenity, hope, happiness and joy,” Sevele explained.

Another guest and also a member of the Wesleyan faith, Finau Nisa, added, “I felt like I was in heaven while I was in the temple.”

According to Latter-day Saint teachings, the temple is recognized as a place of holiness and peace, a place where the highest sacraments of the faith occur. For example, Latter-day Saints believe family members who accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ and follow His example can be together forever through ordinances performed in the temple.

The Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple was first dedicated in 1983. In 2006, it was closed for a significant expansion, which has added more that 5,000 square feet to the structure. Following a dedicatory service, the temple will be open only to members of the Church fully engaged in the faith. Sunday worship services in Latter-day Saint chapels or meetinghouses throughout the world, however, are open to all visitors.

Tongan Latter-day Saints worship in more than 160 different congregations, a membership that ranks as the highest per capita of any country in the world.

This article was prepared by the LDS Newsroom at lds.org.