Chapter 6 Section D
“Then must those who are unworthy cease to expect a blessing from their attendance at the Temple while sin unrepented of still casts its odor about them, and while bitterness or even an unforgiving coolness exists in their hearts against their brethren and sisters.
“On this latter subject we feel that much might be said. In the striving after compliance with the apparently weightier matters of the law, there is a possibility that the importance of this spirit of love and kindness and charity may be underestimated. For ourselves, we cannot think of any precept that at present requires more earnest inculcation.
“During the past eighteen months there has been a division of the Latter-day Saints upon national party lines. Political campaigns have been conducted, elections have been held, and feelings, more or less intense, have been engendered in the minds of brethren and sisters upon one side and the other.
“We have been cognizant of conduct and have heard of many expressions that have been very painful to us and have grieved our spirits.
“We know they have been an offense unto the God of peace and love, and a stumbling block unto many of the Saints.
“We feel now that a time for reconciliation has come; that before entering into the Temple to present ourselves before the Lord in solemn assembly, we shall divest ourselves of every harsh and unkind feeling against each other; that not only our bickerings shall cease, but that the cause of them shall be removed, and every sentiment that prompted and has maintained them shall be dispelled; that we shall confess our sins one to another, and ask forgiveness one of another; that we shall plead with the Lord for the spirit of repentance, and, having obtained it, follow its promptings; so that in humbling ourselves before Him and seeking forgiveness from each other, we shall yield that charity and generosity to those who crave our forgiveness that we ask for and expect from heaven.
“Thus may we come up into the holy place with our hearts free from guile and our souls prepared for the edification that is promised! Thus shall our supplications, undisturbed by a thought of discord, unitedly mount into the ears of Jehovah and draw down the choice blessings of the God of Heaven!
“As your brethren, sustained by your vote and in your faith as the First Presidency of the Church, we have this to say to the Latter-day Saints, in our individual as well as our official capacity: If there is a single member of the Church who has feelings against us, we do not wish to cross the threshold of the Temple until we have satisfied him and have removed from him all cause of feeling, either by explanation or by making proper amends and atonement; neither would we wish to enter the sacred portals of that edifice until we have sought an explanation, or amends, or atonement, from any against whom we may have either a real or fancied grievance.
“In now announcing this course for ourselves, we say to all the other officers of the Church that we desire them to follow our example. We wish them from the highest to the lowest and throughout all the stakes and wards of Zion to take heed of this counsel. Let them invite all who may have feelings against them to come forward and make them known; let them then endeavor to correct any misapprehensions or misunderstandings which may exist, or give redress for any wrong or injury that may have been done.
“We say the same-and when the officers have taken the course indicated we wish them to say the same-to the individual members of the Church. We call upon them to seek to have the fellowship of their brethren and their sisters, and their entire confidence and love; above all to seek to have the fellowship and union of the Holy Ghost. Let this spirit be sought and cherished as diligently within the smallest and humblest family circle, as within the membership of the highest organization and quorum. Let it permeate the hearts of the brothers and sisters, the parents and children of the household, as well as the hearts of the First Presidency and Twelve. Let it mellow and soften all differences between members of the Stake Presidencies and the High Councils, as well as between neighbors living in the same ward. Let it unite young and old, male and female, flock and shepherd, people and Priesthood, in the bounds of gratitude and forgiveness and love, so that Israel may feel approved of the Lord, and that we may all come before Him with a conscience void of offense before all men. Then there will be no disappointment as to the blessings promised those who sincerely worship Him. The sweet whisperings of the Holy Spirit will be given to them and the treasures of heaven, the communion of angels, will be added from time to time, for His promise has gone forth and it cannot fail!
“Asking God’s blessing upon you all in your endeavor to carry out this counsel, and desirous of seeing it take the form of a united effort on the part of the whole people, we suggest that Saturday, March 25, 1893, be set apart as a day of fasting and prayer. On that occasion we advise that the Presidencies of Stakes, the High Councils, the Bishops and their Counselors, meet together with the Saints in their several meeting houses, confess their sins one to another, and draw out from the people all feelings of anger, of distrust, or of unfriendliness that may have found a lodgment; so that entire confidence may then and there be restored and love from this time prevail through all the congregations of the Saints.”
It was evident that the authorities of the Church realized the importance of preparing for the great event of the dedication in other ways than by material construction and costly furnishings. The hearts of the people had to be made ready; it was necessary that Israel be sanctified. Throughout the length and breadth of Zion there was a general cleansing of mind and soul; enmity was buried; bickering ceased; differences between brethren were adjusted; offenses were atoned and forgiven; a veritable jubilee was celebrated.
The finishing touches to the interior of the building were made late in the afternoon of April 5th, and in the evening of that day, the Temple was thrown open to general inspection. Not only were members of the Church admitted; many honorable men and women who had never affiliated with the Church were invited to the number of over one thousand, and they passed through the Temple from basement to top. In view of the current belief that the Temples of the Latter-day Saints are never open to the gaze of non-members, this fact is of significant importance.
On the morning of the 6th of April, 1893, Wilford Woodruff, President of the Church, led the way through the south-west door into the sacred precincts. The event has been not inaptly likened to that of Joshua leading Israel into the promised land. The venerable President was followed by the rest of the general authorities of the Church, and these in turn by other Church officials and such members as had been specially designated to take part in the first dedication service. Of the tens of thousands of Saints who desired to be present, whose rightful privilege it was to attend, and who had contributed of their substance to the building of the greatest Temple of modern times, but few could be accommodated on the day of dedication. The assembly room, which with its vestries occupies the entire upper floor, had been furnished with seating accommodations for two thousand two hundred and fifty-two persons. It was arranged, therefore, that services be repeated twice daily, to continue from April 6th until all who were entitled to admission had had opportunity to be present.
On the first day, the following were admitted to take part in what will always be remembered as the official dedicatory session: The First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve Apostles, the Presiding Patriarch, the First Council of the Seventy, the Presiding Bishopric, and all other general authorities of the Church, and in addition, Presidents of Stakes and their Counselors, members of Stake High Councils, Patriarchs, Presidents of High Priests’ Quorums and their Counselors, Presidents of Quorums of Seventies, Bishops of Wards and their Counselors. Admission was extended to the wives and immediate families of all the Church officials named. To the later sessions, admission was regulated so that particular wards and stakes had each a special assignment as to time.
No one was admitted without a formal certificate, conventionally known as a “recommend,” signed by the Bishop of his ward and the President of his stake. In a circular of instruction relating to the dedication the following appears: “It will be necessary for each applicant to show his or her recommend to the gate-keeper, in order to pass. The recommend will then be taken up by a ticket-man inside the gate. No person will be admitted without a recommend, on any occasion.” Services were held daily from April 6th, to April 18th, inclusive, and again on the 23rd and 24th. Usually two sessions were held each day, but on the 7th of April, an evening session was added. While children under eight years of age, and therefore unbaptized, were not admitted to the general sessions, special days were set apart for their accommodation; thus April 21st and 22nd,-Friday and Saturday,-were reserved for Sunday School children, under the prescribed age for baptism.
At the first service,-the official dedication,-the prayer was offered by President Wilford Woodruff, and at each succeeding session the prayer was read. The prayer itself is at once a sermon and a supplication; it is expressive of the inmost thoughts of the people; it is an epitome of the history of the Saints and the condition of the Church at that time.
The prayer follows in full:
“Our Father in heaven, thou who hast created the heavens and the earth, and all things that are therein; thou most glorious One, perfect in mercy, love, and truth, we, thy children, come this day before thee, and in this house which we have built to thy most holy name, humbly plead the atoning blood of thine Only Begotten Son, that our sins may be remembered no more against us forever, but that our prayers may ascend unto thee and have free access to thy throne, that we may be heard in thy holy habitation. And may it graciously please thee to hearken unto our petitions, answer them according to thine infinite wisdom and love, and grant that the blessings which we seek may be bestowed upon us, even a hundred fold, inasmuch as we seek with purity of heart and fullness of purpose to do thy will and glorify thy name.
“We thank thee, O thou Great Elohim, that thou didst raise up thy servant, Joseph Smith, through the loins of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and made him a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and through the assistance and administrations of angels from heaven, thou didst enable him to bring forth the Book of Mormon,-the stick of Joseph, in the hand of Ephraim,-in fulfilment of the prophecies of Isaiah and other prophets, which record has been translated and published in many languages. We also thank thee, our Father in heaven, that thou didst inspire thy servant and give him power on the earth to organize thy Church in this goodly land, in all its fullness, power and glory, with Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, and Teachers, with all the gifts and graces belonging thereto, and all this by the power of the Aaronic and Melchisedek Priesthood, which thou didst bestow upon him by the administration of holy angels, who held that Priesthood in the days of the Savior. We thank thee, our God, that thou didst enable thy servant Joseph to build two temples, in which ordinances were administered for the living and the dead; that he also lived to send the Gospel to the nations of the earth and to the islands of the sea, and labored exceedingly until he was martyred for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
“We also thank thee, O our Father in heaven, that thou didst raise up thy servant Brigham Young, who held the keys of thy Priesthood on the earth for many years, and who led thy people to these valleys of the mountains, and laid the corner-stone of this great Temple and dedicated it unto thee, and who did direct the building of three other temples in these Rocky Mountains which have been dedicated unto thy holy name, in which temples many thousands of the living have been blessed and the dead redeemed.
“Our Father in heaven, we are also thankful to thee for thy servant John Taylor, who followed in the footsteps of thy servant Brigham, until he laid down his life in exile.
“Thou hast called thy servants Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith, to hold the keys of the Presidency and Priesthood this day, and for these shepherds of thy flock we feel to give thee thanksgiving and praise. Thy servant Wilford is bound to acknowledge thy hand, O Father, in the preservation of his life from the hour of his birth to the present day. Nothing but thy power could have preserved him through that which he has passed during the eighty-six years that thou hast granted him life on the earth.
“For the raising up of the Twelve Apostles, we also thank thee, our God, and for the perfect union which exists among us.
“We thank thee, O Lord, for the perfect organizations of thy Church as they exist at the present time.
“O Lord, we regard with intense and indescribable feelings the completion of this sacred house. Deign to accept this the fourth temple which thy covenant children have been assisted by thee in erecting in these mountains. In past ages thou didst inspire with thy Holy Spirit thy servants, the prophets, to speak of a time in the latter days when the mountain of the Lord’s house should be established in the top of the mountains, and should be exalted above the hills. We thank thee that we have had the glorious opportunity of contributing to the fulfilment of these visions of thine ancient seers, and that thou hast condescended to permit us to take part in the great work. And as this portion of thy servants’ words has thus so marvelously been brought to pass, we pray thee, with increased faith and renewed hope, that all their words with regard to thy great work in gathering thine Israel and building up thy kingdom on earth in the last days may be as amply fulfilled, and that, O Lord, speedily.
“We come before thee with joy and thanksgiving, with spirits jubilant and hearts filled with praise, that thou hast permitted us to see this day for which, during these forty years, we have hoped, and toiled, and prayed, when we can dedicate unto thee this house which we have built to thy most glorious name. One year ago we set the capstone with shouts of Hosanna to God and the Lamb. And today we dedicate the whole unto thee, with all that pertains unto it, that it may be holy in thy sight; that it may be a house of prayer, a house of praise and of worship; that thy glory may rest upon it; that thy holy presence may be continually in it; that it may be the abode of thy Well-Beloved Son, our Savior; that the angels who stand before thy face may be the hallowed messengers who shall visit it, bearing to us thy wishes and thy will, that it may be sanctified and consecrated in all its parts holy unto thee, the God of Israel, the Almighty Ruler of mankind. And we pray thee that all people who may enter upon the threshold of this, thine house, may feel thy power and be constrained to acknowledge that thou hast sanctified it, that it is thy house, a place of thy holiness.
“We pray thee, Heavenly Father, to accept this building in all its parts from foundation to capstone, with the statue that is on the latter placed, and all the finials and other ornaments that adorn its exterior. We pray thee to bless, that they decay not, all the walls, partitions, floors, ceilings, roofs, and bridging, the elevators, stairways, railings and steps, the frames, doors, windows, and other openings, all things connected with the lighting, heating, and sanitary apparatus, the boilers, engines, and dynamos, the connecting pipes and wires, the lamps and burners, and all utensils, furniture and articles used in or connected with the holy ordinances administered in this house, the veils and the altars, the baptismal font and the oxen on which it rests, and all that pertains thereto, the baths, washstands and basins. Also the safes and vaults in which the records are preserved, with the records themselves, and all books, documents, and papers appertaining to the office of the recorder, likewise the library with all the books, maps, instruments, etc., that may belong thereto. We also present before thee, for thine acceptance, all the additions and buildings not forming a part of the main edifice but being appendages thereto; and we pray thee to bless all the furniture, seats, cushions, curtains, hangings, locks and fastenings, and multitudinous other appliances and appurtenances found in and belonging to this Temple and its annexes, with all the work of ornamentation thereon, the painting and plastering, the gilding and bronzing, the fine work in wood and metal of every kind, the embroidery and needlework, the pictures and statuary, the carved work and canopies. Also the materials of which the buildings and their contents are made or composed-the rock, lime, mortar and plaster, the timbers and lath, the wood of various trees, the gold and silver, the brass and iron, and all other metals, the silk, wool, and cotton, the skins and furs, the glass, china, and precious stones, all these and all else herein we humbly present for thine acceptance and sanctifying blessing.