Acknowledgments, in The Tabernacle: An Old and Wonderful Friend, ed. Scott C. Esplin (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2007), xi–xii
Scott C. Esplin
Like anything that might be of enduring value, this book is the product of numerous gifted, kind, and dedicated individuals. First and foremost, the work stands on the shoulders of Professor
Stewart L. Grow, historian and author of the accompanying thesis on the Salt Lake Tabernacle. His research, published in this volume as it was written sixty years ago, remains the foundational work on the history of the Tabernacle’s original construction. Furthermore, help and support from the Stewart Grow family organization made this production possible. Desiring to bring his important contribution to a new generation of Latter-day Saints, they gave permission to republish his thesis and provided the funding necessary for the numerous historical and modern images of the magnificent building.
Special thanks are also extended to the faculty and staff of Religious Education at Brigham Young University for supporting the project and encouraging me to pursue it. Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Devan Jensen of the Religious Studies Center have been especially helpful in conceiving the idea and guiding me through the sometimes complicated process of creating a manuscript. Nathan Richardson has done a masterful job typesetting the book and locating historic photos. My efforts were particularly enhanced by Patty Smith’s tedious transcribing of the thesis and Beth Sutton and Beth Hixon’s painstaking review of original sources. Their thorough checking verified the careful source work done by Grow on the original thesis and, where necessary, aided in the minor corrections required to accurately document the Tabernacle’s history. Furthermore, my able assistant Mickell Kitchen helped research and review new sources. In addition, the staff and resources of the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have improved the work, especially Kirk Henrichsen’s insights into the Tabernacle time line.
Most important, I express appreciation to my wife Janice and our daughter McKenna, who patiently allow me to dabble in the past while supporting me in the present. Finally, like Stewart Grow before me, I voice my admiration for “those pioneer builders who showed such skill and determination” in erecting the magnificent Salt Lake Tabernacle (Grow, foreword, v). “The Tabernacle,” observed President Boyd K. Packer recently, “stands here next to the temple as an anchor and has become symbolic of the Restoration. It was built by very poor and very, very ordinary people. It is now known worldwide” (“The Spirit of the Tabernacle,” Ensign, May 2007, 28). To those pioneer builders and their magnificent monument of faith, I express my grateful appreciation:
They, the builders of the nation,
Blazing trails along the way;
Stepping-stones for generations
Were their deeds of every day.
Building new and firm foundations,
Pushing on the wild frontier,
Forging onward, ever onward,
Blessed, honored Pioneer!
(“They, the Builders of the Nation,” Hymns, no. 36)