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Pacific Ponderings

One Ohana Sharing Aloha

The Polynesian Cultural Center has adopted the motto “One ‘Ohana Sharing Aloha.” We spoke about this motto at the PCC Board Meeting recently. We even heard a new song that features the motto as part of an inspiring new show that is being developed. I love this phrase. I am glad that our students who work at the PCC will be exposed to it daily. It captures a gospel ideal that we should all strive to live, whether at the PCC, here on campus, or across cultures internationally.

I am grateful to be partnered with the PCC. BYU–Hawaii is bound to the PCC by myriad intimate ties—legal, historical, and human. It has rightly been said that that BYU–Hawaii and the PCC are bound at the heart. PCC employees are our students and often our graduates. Their campus is an extension of ours and, as such, the PCC is able to employ our international students. It has helped thousands of students afford an education.

Its mission is also congruent with ours. We are both intended to be living laboratories in gospel-infused intercultural learning. I like the fact that the PCC has an educational as well as an entertainment mission—namely, to preserve and celebrate the cultures of Polynesia. An apostle referred to the temple, the university, and the PCC as constituting an “educational triad,” with the temple at the apex. I like this metaphor.

Above all, BYU–Hawaii is linked to the PCC by a shared prophetic origin and destiny. The same prophet who founded the Church College founded the PCC. Not only that, President David O. McKay predicted the PCC’s origin in the very prophecy he pronounced in 1955 when he broke ground for the Church College. He prayed that “this college and the temple 3and the town may become a missionary factor influencing not thousands, not tens of thousands, but millions of people who will come seeking to know what this town and its significance are” (italics added). Laie, was only a sleepy little village that few outsiders visited when President McKay uttered these bold, astonishing words. The tourists who have come here by the millions do so in literal fulfillment of this prophecy uttered at our dedication

I have observed that some people define the relationship between BYU–Hawaii and the PCC not by our shared origins and purpose but by the fence that separates us. While a fence is a practical necessity, it is a problematic symbol. And what I call the “felt fence” has grown far too high in the minds and hearts of some. As Robert Frost said, “something there is that does not love a wall.” “Mending Fences”

So let us take down the felt fence in our minds and hearts. I encourage you to cross the fence. Your BYU–Hawaii ID card gives you free admission to the PCC anytime through the back gate. Mingle with the guests and with our students in their roles at the PCC and feel the spirit of aloha there—much of which our students bring to the experience. Let us embrace our wonderful and venerable neighbors in the spirit of neighborliness that Christ taught. I believe that both the Lord and President McKay would love, as I do, and would want us to live, the motto “one ‘ohana sharing aloha.”