First Presidency Messages at Temple Dedication Opening Session

Sunday Morning, March 11, 1956

Richard O. Cowan, "First Presidency Messages at Temple Dedication Opening Session" in A Beacon on A Hill: The Los Angeles Temple (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2018), 322–333.

President David O. McKay

“It is highly fitting that our minds should be centered upon the first great vision of which the choir has just now sung so impressively. We certainly can feel close to our Heavenly Father here in his holy house and realize the reality of that great revelation to the children of men.

“This is one of the most memorable dedicatory services, if not in many respects the most memorable temple dedicatory service, ever held in the Church. All of the General Authorities are present or will be at one or more of these sessions. Only one is absent this morning because of the illness of his wife.

“This is probably the largest congregation ever assembled in a dedicatory service. Every one of the estimated 50,000 persons who will be in attendance at this and the succeeding sessions will have increased responsibility as never before (in the words of an ancient prophet) ‘to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God’ [Micah 6:8]. Many tens of thousands are rejoicing with this vast congregation this morning.” President McKay indicated that “four prominent representatives of these groups outside the Church—representing not tens of thousands but millions of people” had sent messages of welcome. He then specifically quoted words from the mayor of Los Angeles and the governor of California. (See appendix I.)

“We thank these municipal and state officials for their cordial welcome and expressions of appreciation and commendation.

“There are three men whose names will ever be associated with the early beginnings of this temple whose hearts are full of rejoicing at these messages and for this eventful hour of dedication. They are not occupying seats in any of the rooms, but I am sure they are here with us in spirit. They are Heber J. Grant, Elder Preston D. Richards, former counselor in the Los Angeles Stake presidency, and Bishop David S. Howells.

“At a meeting of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve held April 17, 1937, President Grant reported that he had chosen a two-acre tract of land in Los Angeles on which to erect a temple, and recommended its purchase. Within a month, through negotiations carried on by Elders Howells and Richards, the business transaction was completed and the title to the property passed to the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That was approximately one hundred years after the dedication of the Kirtland Temple.

“The Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church leaders associated with him are also rejoicing this morning. It was through the Prophet that the Lord said, ‘My people are always commanded to build a holy house unto my name.’ I am sure he is rejoicing to see this, the twelfth temple, erected within a little over a century, a house of prayer, a house of inspiration, a place of spiritual communion, a house of faith, a house of glory—truly a house of God.

“President Brigham Young is also rejoicing, and others with him, for on August 7, 1847, he and Dr. Willard Richards sent an epistle to the Saints in California who had come around Cape Horn under the leadership of Samuel Brannan, and in that letter he said, ‘And in the process of time the shores of the Pacific may yet be overlooked from the temple of the Lord.’

“A million and a half members of the Church are rejoicing at the completion of this magnificent edifice, and the eyes of other millions are turned towards this great event.

“When we speak of the building in gratitude and admiration we find that only superlatives will serve to express our feelings. For example, it is the largest temple ever built by the Church; second, the greatest number in attendance at the dedicatory service—an estimated 6,000 this morning and an anticipated 50,000 during the period; third, the largest number that were ever permitted to make a prededicatory visit—662,401 persons between December 18 and February 19; and fourth, the largest contribution ever given by members in a temple area. Well, as I said in the beginning, brethren and sisters, all these congratulatory messages, all the words of commendation, all the magnificence and glory of this sacred edifice, the inspiration of these memorable dedicatory services, only combine to increase the responsibility of every member of the Church, the responsibility ever to remember that it is not everyone who ‘saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 7:21).

“One of the most appreciative feelings I shall ever associate with this temple is the faith, the loyalty, the devotion of the people of this district in their voluntary contribution of $1,606,000 in addition to their having exerted themselves in contributed effort and contributed money to build needed chapels during this same period.

“To all assembled I extend a hearty welcome, and with all my soul pray God to bless us this day with a rich outpouring of his Spirit, with a realization that he is near us, as he was to the Prophet Joseph when he answered that boy’s first prayer.”

Toward the close of the first session, and immediately before offering the dedicatory prayer, President McKay spoke again:

“Before offering the dedicatory prayer I feel impressed to say a few words which I feel are more like heart petals than mere expressions.

“‘There is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding’ (Job 32:8). I believe that the great purpose of life is to develop that spirit; nourish the body, yes, and keep it clean and wholesome, for it is the temple in which the spirit dwells; but the main purpose of life is to develop the spirit and spiritual attributes. I like to think that the spirit can respond to the spiritual environment in which our departed loved ones dwell and can be in tune with the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. I know that is true.

“A few years ago I had a very choice friend in Ogden, not a member of the Church, who, one day during a confidential conversation, said from the depth of his soul: ‘I wish I could believe as you believe.’ I realized then more than ever what a blessing it is to be able to believe; what a glorious blessing it is to know, for example, that Jesus spoke to Saul of Tarsus, that that conversation and that appearance of Christ the Lord was a reality. Paul testifies that he heard a voice say: ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest’ (Acts 9:4–5).

“I accept that testimony. How thankful we should be to know that heavenly beings appeared to the Prophet Joseph, and one of them said, pointing to the other: ‘This is my beloved Son; hear him.’ That testimony also takes us into the realm of the spirit.

“I am happy to know that my father heard a voice in the north of Scotland saying, ‘Testify that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God,’ and my father answered, ‘Lord, it is enough.’

“And so it is easy for me to feel today that that Father and his Son and others who are in harmony are cognizant of these glorious dedicatory services. We look upon the radio and television as simple inventions, by means of which we can hear a whisper from the opposite side of the earth. How easy it must be for those in the spirit world to tune in on occasions of this kind.

“I bear you my testimony that ‘there is a spirit in man and that the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.’ May our spirits be in tune with those in the spiritual realm today as we bow our heads and ask God to accept this holy edifice as his and as we consecrate our own lives to aid in the consummation of his divine purposes, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus, amen.”[1]

President Stephen L Richards

We speak this morning to the largest assemblage ever heretofore convened in the history of the Church for the dedication of a temple. There is universal rejoicing among our entire membership throughout the world, and there is an unusual demonstration of interest among our friends on the completion of this outstanding beautiful structure. All of our people, whether here present or not, are filled with a sense of gratitude which almost defies expression.

We who are privileged to be here in the temple this morning are especially blessed, not because we derive more benefits from the temple than many others who are not here with us, nor because more of inspiration may be expected in this service than in other sessions to follow, but because we are the first of the invited guests to enjoy the spirit and the testimony of this momentous occasion. A feast it is—not of food for the body—but of food for the soul to satisfy the blessed ones who do “hunger and thirst after righteousness.” We experience exultation of spirit, my beloved brethren and sisters, in unusual degree.

I believe that is a great blessing because I believe that it is a distinct advantage to all men to be brought to a conscious recognition of the spiritual component of their lives. Few things contribute more to the retardation of the progress of the race than does the denial of the spirit in man, and the failure to accord divine origin to that spirit as the literal child of God, the Eternal Father. There are few, if any present here today who are not conscious of that divine relationship to our Lord, and hence, few who will not regard themselves as veritably in his presence during these sessions.

I think it is chiefly that concept, “in his presence,” which arrests my thinking for this occasion. I would scarcely know how to define the meaning of that phrase to others not of our persuasion. Understanding is to be had more from experience than from definition. There is emotion in it, of course there is. Are not all of our deeper inner feelings characterized by some form of emotion? Why some of the so-called realists in the scholastic world depreciate emotion, I do not understand. In all humanity it is the greatest motivation force, and I have never been able to see that it is not compatible with knowledge and intelligence especially in that concept of intelligence given to us in the revelations of our Lord. I think of deep emotion as a spiritual attribute. I think of lofty sentiment as an expression of spiritual idealism. I have profound respect for the development of intelligence and great mental acumen, but I never regard them as in any respect inconsistent with spiritual manifestations in human nature, and I believe there can be no perfect man without both.

I say this much about spiritual emotions because I know they will be touched this day. Why is it that they are so deeply touched at temple dedications? I have attended a good many, and I have never known it to fail that all present have been deeply moved on such occasions. Perhaps there are several contributing factors.

There is a wholesome pride of accomplishment—the building of a beautiful structure that gladdens the eyes and the hearts of all who behold, a lasting credit to our people and the community in which they live, a noble monument to the progress of the cause they espouse. Not infrequently I designate our meeting houses as markers on the highway of our progress, and our temples as monuments in the establishment of the kingdom.

We rejoice in the functional value of these great establishments, and at the time of dedication we envision their avenues of exalted service. We think of the marriage ceremonies to be performed here for our children, whom we love. Perhaps there is nothing more to be desired by faithful members than the goodness and ultimate happiness of their children. They know the environment and the temptations which the world brings to them. They are anxious, frequently worried, and they prize beyond measure the stimulation for goodness, the security and the rich promise of temple marriage for their children. So they look to the temple at the time of dedication with lofty anticipation for the realization of the desires of their hearts and their ultimate purposes in life.

I remember at the time of the dedication of the Arizona Temple I came out the front door at the conclusion of the last session. By the side of the steps I saw a little family—a man, a woman, and about five children. Their dress indicated that they did not have an abundance of this world’s goods. Their clothes were somewhat shabby, but they smiled as I spoke to them, and hope and good cheer were written in their countenances.

I said to the man, “I suppose you have enjoyed the dedicatory services,” and he said, “Yes, very much. But we are waiting until tomorrow when the temple opens for ordinance work. We live a long way off. We have been poor and unable to travel great distances. We could not go to a temple when we were married, and now we have that opportunity. Thank the Lord my wife and I can be sealed in eternal marriage, and our family can be sealed to us.” I was touched by the deep appreciation of this brother and his wife and family for the privilege available to them after the dedication of a temple.

Then, of course, there is at the time of dedication the challenge and incomparable opportunity of looking forward to the work for our kindred dead. I think perhaps this is the most truly Christlike service performed in the Church. It not only conserves a principle of universal justice, not infrequently mentioned by President McKay, but it embodies characteristics and attributes of service approaching those of the Master himself. He frequently enjoined his disciples not to advertise the good he had done, even to “let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth” (Matthew 6:3). Herein work for the dead is undertaken often at very considerable expense and personal sacrifice without the beneficiaries being present or able to say a word of thanks. It is true Christlike altruism. I am sure it is approved of him and countless grateful hearts in the unseen world.

I am sure that the contemplation of these divinely ordained services to be performed in a holy temple brings great sanctity, reverence, deep spirituality, into these services. Is not a sincere and real appreciation of these incomparable blessings essential to bring us into “the presence of our Lord?” We have no way of knowing if or how he may be with us in person. Our understanding of his resurrected body and spirit does not make it difficult for us to conceive the possibility of his personal presence here today. I think we would all readily concede that it may well be possible for him personally to accept the tender of this house of the Lord to him by his duly constituted representative here in the earth.

Whatever the processes of acceptance may be, we know this, and we know it through his promise and our understanding and conviction of the truth of the Holy Gospel—we know that he is with us this day. He has assured us that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).

Not only are we reliant on this promise, but within our very souls are spiritual impulses, not imaginary, but real, convincing, both to our spiritual nature and our intelligence, that we are in his holy presence partaking of his divine spirit. We know that we are engaged in his work.

I believe that the Spirit of the Lord has been manifest in the planning and construction of this beautiful temple. I think there is abundant evidence that that is true. The inspiring magnificence of the entire structure, the adaptability of its rooms and facilities to the ceremonies and ordinances to be performed, the artistic representation which lends itself to the understanding of the great principles here to be unfolded, and every aspect of the whole enterprise is indicative to me that the Lord has blessed the building of the house. His hand has been in the work from the selection of the site to this day of dedication. Gratefully do we acknowledge this beneficence.

This day we will give all of it to him, and then he will give it all back to us for the use and blessing of his people. I have no doubt but that he will accept the gift from us. I devoutly pray that we may accept his gift and demonstrate our appreciation by the fullest use of this glorious building for the high purposes to be served herein.

It is needless to say that our appreciation becomes real and genuine not alone by the touching of our feelings and emotions, but by resolutions—resolutions arising out of gratitude, deep conviction, and firmness of purpose. I take the liberty of suggesting two specific resolutions which, I am sure, if sincere, will be truly indicative of our appreciation and gratitude, and acceptable and gratifying to our Lord (to whom this day we dedicate this house).

The first is to honor his priesthood, which in his grace and mercy he has restored to men in the earth in the fulness of the gospel. This is a precious gift from him. Just as God the Eternal Father gave his Only Begotten Son for the redemption of mankind, so did the Son, our Elder Brother and our Lord, give to his fellow servants of the last dispensation the princely gift that was his only to give—the priesthood of God, the essential authority and power to speak for the Lord and in his name.

Without the delegation of that power we would not be here today. There would be no temples among our people, and it is significant that there are no temples among the great Christian populations of the earth other than ourselves, because there is no authentic priesthood among them. Herein lies the most distinguishing characteristic of the Lord’s latter-day work.

I appeal to my brethren—men and boys—to ponder for a moment the marvelous nature of this divine gift. Remember the initial words used in the first restoration: “Upon you, my fellow servants.” Do not these words imply not only a sharing of this holy power with the authorized agent of our Lord, but with the Lord himself? We do not have record of the exact words used in ordination in the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood, but I think we may safely assume that there are similar indications of sharing the powers of that priesthood with the angelic ministers who bestowed it, and with the Lord from whom it came. So it seems to me that the investiture of the holy priesthood, almost more than anything else, confirms our partnership with the Lord in the establishment of his kingdom. It was most gracious of him to have our progenitors from whom the priesthood descends to us addressed as “my fellow servants.”

Sometimes I think a deeper appreciation might come for the higher priesthood if we were permitted more frequently to refer to it by its true name: “The Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God.” I do not deny that there is justification for the use of another designation, but I think it not improper to speak of this divine power in the temple of our Lord in the terms which truly characterize it. It is the priesthood “after the Order of the Son of God.” I call upon all our brethren to respect it as such and to cherish it as the greatest gift which has come into their lives.

The Lord bless our men that they may be conscious of the power and influence of the holy priesthood in presiding over their families, in love, patience, and justice, that through patience, understanding, and wisdom they may win the love and devotion of their families. And the Lord bless our women, that each may respect the presidency of the priesthood in her home, and ungrudgingly accord to her priesthood husband his rightful position as head of the household, and by example teach her children to honor him as such. Considerate husbands will treat their wives as partners. Converted wives in this Church will not only accept their responsibilities as partners, but they will also cheerfully accord due recognition to him to whom in the house of the Lord each has been given for time and all eternity. The Lord never intended that a home should be unorganized and without a head. Such a concept is not compatible with his divine institutions in the earth. There is none of these more important, essential, and fundamental than the institution of the home.

The holy priesthood brings to our brethren a better understanding and a more exalted opportunity for brotherhood, fraternity, and service than anything else which comes into their lives. The brotherhood of the priesthood, when rightly conceived and practiced, is “stronger than the cords of death,” and the priesthood is the perfect plan of service.

Oh, my brethren, may we not here resolve on this day of dedication that we shall more perfectly honor the holy priesthood which we are permitted to bear, and truly be “fellow servants” with him who gave it to us.

Here is a majestic temple, whose chief and ultimate purpose is to create and preserve enduring family relationship through celestial marriage. Is not that true both for the living as well as the dead? Without the temples we could baptize and confirm members in the Church of Christ. Conceivably they could enjoy many of the advantages in our divinely appointed society and have the satisfaction of knowing that they have been properly initiated into his fold. Without the temples, however, they could not come to the highest rewards and stations which the Lord has prepared for those who are faithful and true. They could not come to perfection of life. That perfection may be achieved fully only through temple marriage, through which we may most nearly approach the status of the Lord himself.

May we not here resolve today that our children shall be brought to a more perfect understanding of these exalted principles of life, that there may develop within them from their earliest youth an intelligent and passionate longing for the attainment of the highest and . . . I realize that the environment of our children often makes for associations which do not lead to the house of the Lord. I think the question for each to decide is whether he will yield to the influences of the world and forfeit this prospect for enduring happiness, or whether he will stand against such influences and reap the rewards of the true and the faithful. We cannot take our youth out of the world—the Lord has told us that it is not essential that we do—but he has told us to overcome the world and cleave to him and his gospel.

I pray for young people here today who may have decisions to make—decisions which are not easy. They have my sympathy, and they have my prayers, too, that the peace, the happiness, and the exaltations which are available, and that divine wisdom also, may influence their choices. And you, the parents, also have my prayers and my sympathy, too, in the guidance and direction of your children. May the Lord give you strength to set the course by your example, your love, your influence, and your teaching, that disappointments and sorrow may not come to your home, but gladness and joy through the blessing of this temple.

Here it is, beautiful, grand, imposing, set upon a hill, attracting the attention and commanding the admiration of millions. How much of that attention and admiration may be transplanted into testimony and conversions we do not know. We are convinced it will long stand as a great missionary force in the Church. As such it speaks in various ways to countless individuals, whose impressions may never be known to us.

But this we know with certainty: it beckons and calls all Latter-day Saint young men and young women, and older ones as well, to prepare themselves and to have their marriages solemnized within these sacred walls. We shall know how many respond to its appeal, and the Lord will know. He will know those of his Church who come here, and those who do not. Those who come and are faithful will have their names recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life. He will sorrow for those who have not the strength and the courage to forsake the world, and he will reward those who accept the gracious invitation he offers with transcendent blessings and infinite peace and happiness.

So, my brethren and sisters, we are assured we are in his presence on this sacred occasion. He will sanctify our devotion, our contrition, and our resolution. By his Spirit he will fortify our desires and our efforts to make this Holy Temple achieve its lofty purposes.

I thank the Lord for my inclusion among you, for my long association with the Saints, and with my Brethren, who in years that have passed, and at present, preside over the Church. I respect, honor, and love my colleagues. I give my devotion, respect and love to him whom the Lord has chosen to preside over his Church, to be his prophet to the people. You love him, and he loves you with a deep abiding love which prompts and induces him to give to you, and the Church, the full measure of strength within him, even beyond the normal capacity of men to give. The Lord bless and sustain him for this great occasion.

I know, my dear brethren and sisters, that the cause in which we are engaged is divine, the work of the Living Christ, our Lord. I know that the Prophets through whom the glorious gospel of the last dispensation has come to us were divinely called, and I can well believe that Joseph, his associates and successors, are aware of these proceedings, that their hearts, with ours, are gladdened and rejoice. That his supreme occasion may be not only a period of great thanksgiving and rejoicing, but a time of infinite profit and advantage in the onward progress of the kingdom of God, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.[2]

President J. Reuben Clark Jr.

My brethren and sisters, servants and handmaids of the Lord, all of us responsive to our privileges and to our obligations, I am blessed to be able to meet with you on this great occasion when we dedicate another house of the Lord to be used to do the work, with other temples erected and to be erected, with which the Lord has entrusted us not only, but commanded us to do.

I trust that the few minutes that I shall stand before you, you will give me aid, to be added to my own prayers, the aid of your prayers, that my mind may be directed to say something that will be helpful and useful to all of us.

Since this day came nearer and President McKay stated that he would ask me to say something to you, my mind has dwelled somewhat upon temples and temple building, and the essentials of temple work.

I first became conscious of the fact that we were living in the last dispensation, the dispensation of the fulness of times, when all that God had revealed would again be revealed, and when, as he said, he would reveal things that had been hidden from the world until this time, therefore a dispensation not only of restitution of all things, but also of granting of further blessings. And I am impressed merely to mention that in this last dispensation there has come to man generally, more of knowledge than has ever come in the same period of time and in some respects, more than has ever heretofore come to the world. This is the dispensation of the fulness of times when things heretofore hidden from men have been revealed.

But I want to say something more particularly about our temples. The last dispensation is a dispensation of temple building, temple building in a peculiar sense that did not exist, apparently, prior to this dispensation.

On the very first visit of Moroni to the Prophet Joseph, he told him of the coming of Elijah and referred to the words of Malachi about binding the hearts of the fathers to the children, and of the children to the fathers lest the Lord come and smite the world with a curse.

There are one or two recorded revelations following the visit of Moroni, in which the Lord again told us about Elijah. I want now to record that I am not conversant with just what lay behind the fact itself, but within sixteen months after the organization of this Church, the Prophet Joseph dedicated Zion to the building of a temple. He evidently knew not too much about temples, and shortly thereafter—I shall not attempt to give dates—shortly thereafter we began the Kirtland Temple. We went forward with the Kirtland Temple to completion.

It would seem even the Prophet himself, judging by the plan under which the Kirtland Temple was erected and the purpose to which it was later put, might not, at the time of the erection of the building, have been fully aware of just what it was to be used for.

The temple was dedicated in Kirtland, and meanwhile, Independence, Missouri, had been dedicated as a place for a temple.

A few days after the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, the Lord gave to Joseph that great vision where Moses, Elias, and Elijah came and bestowed upon Joseph and Oliver the keys which they possessed, Elijah bestowing the keys of the turning of the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers. The Lord was moving forward so he would not smite the earth with a curse.

When we came to this area, the western part of the United States, Brother Brigham began shortly after we came to move forward to temple building. The Salt Lake Temple was begun and from then to now, including this, we have built twelve temples, and others are in contemplation.

I think there has been no President of the Church up to this time who has not either built and dedicated one or more temples, or planned for building and dedicating one or more temples. We have been responsive at least in a way to the commandments of our Heavenly Father in this respect.

And we have only begun and must move forward in the future as we have done in the past with more temples. As you know, President McKay has already dedicated two temples, with this one, and has projected two other temples, and I have reason to believe others are in his mind.

This is a great temple-building era. And I have been led to reflect that the temples which we are building are different from the temples which were built in the days of Israel. The records seem to indicate that the Lord was prepared to build temples as we know them, or at least for the purposes about which we know, in the time of Moses, but the children of Israel were not prepared to accept and so he took from Israel the Melchizedek Priesthood, with which he was prepared to endow them. And the great blessings which we enjoy in this temple are in great part blessings which come from the exercise of the Melchizedek Priesthood powers.

In those early temples in the days of Israel, they brought their sacrifices and so atoned for their sins, but the scholars tell us that there was then no atonement for deliberate sins, sins that were committed “presumptuously,” these deliberate sins were left for adjustment between the sinner and the Lord. In those days they came to the temple to make their sacrifices and to get rid of their sins, to get forgiveness therefore. But that is not the case today with us. At the time of the death of the Savior, as you know, the Mosaic law was fulfilled, and as one of the signs of fulfillment, the temple curtain dividing the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place was rent asunder so exposing the Holy of Holies to public view. Theretofore none but the high priests went into the Holy of Holies; it was hidden not only from the people but from the priests. It was the holiest place in the temple. I repeat, the people went to the temple to offer sacrifices for their sins and to obtain forgiveness.

Now, after the Atonement of the Savior, we bring as our sacrifices to the temple a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and we come into the temples with that preparation. We are not here to secure forgiveness for our sins. We are here having forsaken our sins with resultant forgiveness and in a spirit of deep humility; living a life of righteousness, we are here to do the work which is done in these temples and to do that which the Lord commanded.

It has seemed to me that we ought to know these things, that we ought to appreciate them, because sometimes we have reason to believe that people come to the temple thinking they gain thereby a forgiveness of their sins. Forgiveness should precede our entry into the temple; it is not a result thereof.

We are here for blessings, and we get blessings here, great blessings. We come here to enjoy the operation and the conferring of the sealing power, a power which the Savior conferred upon his disciples while he was in Palestine, but a power which they seem early to have lost and perhaps not to have understood. We are here for blessings. We who are living are here for the prime purpose of being sealed to our wives and if necessary to our children, to secure the blessing of eternal union, of eternal progress, in a family life that lasts through all eternity. That is why we come to the temple for our own sakes.

Then beyond that, we come here to save those who have gone before, first to be baptized for them, that they may enter into the celestial world. Then we are endowed and sealed for them, vicariously. If they accept, we having done this work for them, they, like ourselves, go through the eternities to come, united in families, to the exaltations that await the righteous. What nobler work could we be engaged in?

We are not worshippers of our ancestors. We are vicariously their saviors. The countless billions who have gone before will in due time have the opportunity to reap hereafter the blessings which we confer upon them here. This is the most glorious concept of its kind that has ever come to the earth. We are indeed saviors upon Mount Zion. It is our obligation to go forward in this great work with which we have been charged.

Indeed, we have no alternative, if we would be his people. It is our solemn obligation to bring the blessings of eternal union, with the resulting promises, upon our ancestors who have gone before.

I would like to bear my testimony, in closing, that the prophets of God from Joseph down have been his prophets; that those who succeeded Joseph have had his powers, his keys, and his obligations. I should like to bear my testimony that they have gone down from Joseph until now they rest upon our Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, the Presiding High Priest of the Church, David O. McKay.

I should like to bear my testimony that to him for spiritual guidance we must look. I should like to bear my testimony that when he speaks and directs us in our spiritual work, we are to follow.

May God be with us in the remainder of this session, may he be with the succeeding session with the same spirit, and may I say, may we come with the same humility with which we come, that we here may have an initial blessing that flows from coming to the temple, for only blessings come to us from our work here.

May the Lord give us the strength and power to come here with righteous lives, our sins behind us and forgiven. That nothing may stand betwixt us and him in the great work we have to do, I humbly pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.[3]


[1] “‘Most Memorable Occasion’: Pres. McKay Thanks All Who Helped in Temple Building,” Church News, March 17, 1956, 3, 6.

[2] “‘We Are Especially Blessed’: Temple Offers Incomparable Blessings, Grave Obligations,” Church News, March 17, 1956, 4, 9.

[3] “The Last Dispensation,” Church News, March 17, 1956, 5, 8.