Section 109

DC 109 Historical Background

"Construction on the temple began 6 June 1833...The work on the temple was not without difficulty. Mobs threatened to destroy the temple, and those who worked on it by day guarded it at night...The walls were about four feet high in the fall of 1834, but rose quickly during the winter. By November 1835 the exterior plastering commenced; crushed glassware was mixed with the stucco to make the walls glisten. Under Brigham Young's direction, the interior was finished during February of 1836. The sisters made the curtains and carpets." (Church History in the Fulness of Times, 1989 Institute Manual, p. 163-164)

Heber C. Kimball

At this time the brethren were laboring night and day building the house of the Lord. Our women were engaged in spinning and knitting in order to clothe those who were laboring at the building, and the Lord only knows the scenes of poverty, tribulation, and distress which we passed through in order to accomplish this thing. My wife toiled all summer in lending her aid towards this accomplishment. She had a hundred pounds of wool, which, with the assistance of a girl, she spun in order to furnish clothing for those engaged in the building of the Temple, and although she had the privilege of keeping half the quantity of wool for herself, as a recompense for her labor, she did not reserve even so much as would make her a pair of stockings, but gave it for those who were laboring at the house of the Lord. She spun and wove and got the cloth dressed, and cut and made up into garments, and gave them to those men who labored on the Temple; almost all the sisters in Kirtland labored in knitting, sewing, spinning, etc., for the purpose of forwarding the work of the Lord. (N. B. Lundwall, Temples of the Most High [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993], 14 - 15.)

The great sacrifice of the saints was rewarded with great spiritual manifestations.

"In addition to their great personal efforts, the Saints spent from forty to sixty thousand dollars on the temple. Because they were so willing to sacrifice in building the temple, the Lord poured out great blessings upon them. From 21 January to 1 May 1836 'probably more Latter-day Saints beheld visions and witnessed other unusual spiritual manifestations than during any other era in the history of the Church.' Members of the Church saw heavenly messengers in at least ten different meetings, and at five of these gatherings different individuals testified that they had beheld the Savior himself. Many experienced visions, some prophesied, and others spoke in tongues." (Church History in the Fulness of Times, 1989 Institute Manual, p. 164)

Joseph Smith

Sunday, March 27.-The congregation began to assemble at the Temple, at about seven o'clock, an hour earlier than the doors were to be opened. Many brethren had come in from the regions round about, to witness the dedication of the Lord's House and share in His blessings; and such was the anxiety on this occasion that some hundreds (probably five or six) assembled before the doors were opened. The presidents entered with the doorkeepers, and stationed the latter at the inner and outer doors; also placed our stewards to receive donations from those who should feel disposed to contribute something to defray the expense of building the House of the Lord. We also dedicated the pulpits, and consecrated them to the Lord.

The doors were then opened. Presidents Rigdon, Cowdery and myself seated the congregation as they came in, and, according to the best calculation we could make, we received between nine and ten hundred, which were as many as could be comfortably seated. We then informed the doorkeepers that we could receive no more, and a multitude were deprived of the benefits of the meeting on account of the house not being sufficiently capacious to receive them; and I felt to regret that any of my brethren and sisters should be deprived of the meeting, and I recommended them to repair to the schoolhouse and hold a meeting, which they did, and filled that house also, and yet many were left out.

...At nine o'clock a. m. President Sidney Rigdon commenced the services of the day by reading the 96th and 24th Psalms...He spoke two hours and a half in his usual logical manner. His prayer and address were very forcible and sublime, and well adapted to the occasion. At one time, in the course of his remarks, he was rather pathetic, and drew tears from many eyes. He was then taking a retrospective view of the toils, privations, and anxieties of those who had labored upon the walls of the house to erect them; and added, there were those who had wet them with their tears, in the silent shades of night, while they were praying to the God of heaven to protect them, and stay the unhallowed hands of ruthless spoilers, who had uttered a prophecy, when the foundation was laid, that the walls would never be reared.

...He admitted there were many houses, many sufficiently large, built for the worship of God, but not one except this, on the face of the whole earth, that was built by divine revelation; and were it not for this the dear Redeemer might, in this day of science, this day of intelligence, this day of religion, say to those who would follow Him: "The foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head."

After closing his discourse he called upon the several quorums, commencing with the Presidency, to manifest, by rising, their willingness to acknowledge me as a Prophet and Seer, and uphold me as such, by their prayers of faith.

I then made a short address, and called upon the several quorums, and all the congregation of Saints, to acknowledge the Presidency as Prophets and Seers, and uphold them by their prayers. They all covenanted to do so, by rising... [Other church officers were then sustained]... The vote was unanimous in every instance, and I prophesied to all, that inasmuch as they would uphold these men in their several stations, (alluding to the different quorums in the Church), the Lord would bless them; yea, in the name of Christ, the blessings of heaven should be theirs...[A] hymn was then sung... The dedicatory prayer was then offered. (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2: 418 - 419, italics added)

Howard W. Hunter

Consider the majestic teachings in the great dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, a prayer the Prophet Joseph Smith said was given to him by revelation. It is a prayer that continues to be answered upon us individually, upon us as families, and upon us as a people because of the priesthood power the Lord has given us to use in His holy temples. ("The Great Symbol of Our Membership," Ensign, Oct. 1994, 4)

DC 109:1 O Lord God of Israel, who keepest covenant and showest mercy unto thy servants

If you were asked to dedicate a temple, what would you say? Perhaps you would turn to scripture to know see how it had been done in the past. Such seems to be the case with the Prophet Joseph and Oliver Cowdery who assisted in the preparation of this inspired prayer. They found in Solomon's dedication these same words, "Lord God of Israel...who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart." (1 Kgs. 8:23) We learn from Solomon that temples are about covenants and mercy for those whose hearts are pure before the Lord. That is a pretty good summary of what temples are all about.

DC 109:5 we have done this work through great tribulation; and out of our poverty

"Work had begun on the temple on June 5, 1833. For the next three years the Saints endured many trials and hardships in order to build a house for the Lord.

"Most of the people had few possessions and little money. But every able man worked one day each week on the temple. They worked in the quarry, cutting sandstone to form the walls of the temple. They worked as carpenters, painters, teamsters, and in many other jobs. Sometimes as many as a hundred men worked on the temple at a time. The women spun, knitted, wove, and sewed to make draperies and carpets. They also made clothing and food for the construction workers.

"Everyone was busy, but it was not just the Saints' time and talents that the Lord required. The large three-story building cost between $40,000 and $60,000, an enormous amount of money at a time when the average worker earned only around two or three dollars a day. Many of the Saints gave almost everything they had to build the temple. (Sherrie Johnson, "A House for the Lord," Friend, June 1993, 48)

"When the Saints received the initial instructions to build this temple, the Kirtland branch numbered only about one hundred members. Many converts, including most who joined the Church in Kirtland township, had migrated to western Missouri, the main gathering place for the Saints. Subsequently, in 1833 Latter-day Saints were not only few in number but they also owned fewer than two hundred acres and lacked money for such a project as building a temple. In 1833 only ten members of the Church were assessed a land or personal property tax (the latter tax being an assessment on horses, cattle, or merchandise). Moreover, not one member in that community had practical architectural knowledge of the kind needed for planning a major building. They did not lack faith, however; they believed the revelation that they would receive guidance from the Lord." (Larry C. Porter and Susan Easton Black, eds., The Prophet Joseph: Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988], 209.)

DC 109:6-9 Thou hast said in a revelation

In Dec. 1832, D&C 88 gave the saints the charge to build a temple. Here, the Prophet quotes verses 117-120 from that section and then prays for several more verses that those promises might be fulfilled.

DC 109:7 seek learning even by study and also by faith

Dallin H. Oaks

We seek learning by studying the accumulated wisdom of various disciplines and by using the powers of reasoning placed in us by our Creator.

We should also seek learning by faith in God, the giver of revelation. I believe that many of the great discoveries and achievements in science and the arts have resulted from a God-given revelation. Seekers who have paid the price in perspiration have been magnified by inspiration.

The acquisition of knowledge by revelation is an extra bonus to seekers in the sciences and the arts, but it is the fundamental method for those who seek to know God and the doctrines of his gospel. In this area of knowledge, scholarship and reason are insufficient.

A seeker of truth about God must rely on revelation. I believe this is what the Book of Mormon prophet meant when he said, "To be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God." (2 Ne. 9:29.) It is surely what the Savior taught when he said, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 16:17.) ("Alternate Voices," Ensign, May 1989, 29)

B. H. Roberts

I think I may safely challenge any one to point out a broader field of knowledge than is here indicated. It includes all spiritual truth, all scientific truth, all secular knowledge-knowledge of the past, of the present, of the future; of the heavens, and of the earth. A knowledge of all countries, their geography, languages, history, customs, laws and governments-everything in fact that pertains to them. There is nothing in the heights above or the depths below that is not included in this field of knowledge into which the commandment of God directs his servants to enter. I may claim for it that it includes the whole realm of man's intellectual activities. And the doctrine that whatever principles of intelligence man attains unto in this life will rise with him in the morning of the resurrection-this doctrine that nothing acquired in respect of knowledge is ever lost, must forever form the most powerful incentive to intellectual effort that possibly can be conjured up by the wit of man. So that, referring to the acquirement of knowledge, and intellectual development, Mormonism at once both indicates the broadest field and furnishes the grandest incentive to intellectual effort. (Seventy's Course in Theology [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1907-1912], 1: 20.)

Marion G. Romney

This prayer makes it clear that the Lord views one's learning as complete only when one is guided by the Holy Spirit... There has never been a day such as now in all of earthly history when secular learning was so far advanced and widespread as it is today. Yet so many of those around us do not enjoy the truths and the freedom those truths bring of which the Master taught. Rather, to so many people, it seems that truth and true freedom elude their grasp. ("Receiving and Applying Spiritual Truth," Ensign, Feb. 1984, 4)

DC 109:10 assist us, thy people, with thy grace, in calling our solemn assembly

"In our dispensation, a solemn assembly was first mentioned in connection with the commandment to build the Kirtland Temple... solemn assemblies are held to enhance the Saints' spirituality and to give added emphasis to the importance of the assembly's purpose. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, 'We must have all things prepared, and call our solemn assembly as the Lord has commanded us, that we may be able to accomplish His great work, and it must be done in God's own way. The house of the Lord must be prepared, and the solemn assembly called and organized in it, according to the order of the house of God.' (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 91.)

"Heber C. Kimball recorded the Prophet's instructions to the elders before that solemn assembly: 'We had been commanded to prepare ourselves for a solemn assembly. At length the time arrived for this assembly to meet; previous to which the Prophet Joseph exhorted the elders to solemnize their minds, by casting away every evil from them, in thought, word and deed, and to let their hearts become sanctified, because they need not expect a blessing from God without being duly prepared for it, for the Holy Ghost would not dwell in unholy temples.' (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 3d ed., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1967, p. 91.)

"This long-awaited solemn assembly was held in the Kirtland Temple on 30 March 1836, three days after its dedication. In the assembly, three hundred brethren met and received some of the ordinances of the gospel, and the Prophet Joseph Smith set in order the Church's different quorums... The dedication of the Kirtland Temple was [also] a solemn assembly, just as has been each subsequent temple dedication. In that temple's dedicatory prayer, the Prophet spoke of one of the purposes of a temple-'that the Son of Man might have a place to manifest himself to his people.' (D&C 109:5.) On such holy occasions, the sacred Hosanna Shout is given, as it was at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple." (Robert J. Norman, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Dec. 1988, 53)

DC 109:11 that we may be found worthy, in thy sight, to secure...the promises

Howard W. Hunter

What promises to us as a people!... Has there ever been a people with such stirring and wonderful promises! No wonder the Lord desires that His followers point themselves toward His example and toward His temples. No wonder He has said that in His holy house, "I will manifest myself to my people in mercy" (D&C 110:7).

Truly, the Lord desires that His people be a temple-motivated people. It would be the deepest desire of my heart to have every member of the Church be temple worthy. I would hope that every adult member would be worthy of-and carry-a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it.

Let us be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow. Let us go not only for our kindred dead, but let us also go for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety which is provided within those hallowed and consecrated walls. The temple is a place of beauty, it is a place of revelation, it is a place of peace. It is the house of the Lord. It is holy unto the Lord. It should be holy unto us. ("The Great Symbol of Our Membership," Ensign, Oct. 1994, 4-5)

DC 109:13 that all people who shall enter...may feel of thy power

Eliza R. Snow

The ceremonies of that dedication may be rehearsed, but no mortal language can describe the heavenly manifestations of that memorable day. Angels appeared to some, while a sense of divine presence was realized by all present, and each heart was filled with joy inexpressible and full of glory. (LDS Church News, 1994, 05/28/94)

Dean L. Larsen

Not long ago I filled a stake conference assignment in an area outside the United States where one of the temples is located. My travel itinerary allowed me to arrive at the conference location an hour or two before the conference meetings began. I had spent several hours at airports and on airplanes, caught up in the tension and frustrations that so often accompany international travel.

Since there was adequate time following my arrival and before the conference meetings were to begin, I asked the local priesthood leaders if we could make a brief visit to the temple.

The weather was deteriorating, and before we reached the temple, a cold, drizzling rain had begun to fall. The conditions failed to lift from me the mood that had been set in the bustling, worldly atmosphere of the airport and the clearances through customs and immigration.

We hurried from the parking lot at the temple to avoid becoming drenched by the rain. Immediately upon our entering the doors of the temple, the atmosphere changed. I sensed a spirit of warmth and peace. The countenances of the temple patrons were a marked contrast to those of the harried travelers whom I had left a short time before at the airport. In a very real sense, it seemed as though we had walked through the temple doors into a different world. I found myself smiling at the people in the foyer area. My spirits were lifted, and the concerns of the outside world melted away.

I thought on this occasion, as I have often done upon entering the temple, of the words spoken by Joseph Smith in the dedicatory prayer offered at the Kirtland Temple in March 1836, when he asked of the Lord: "...that all people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord's house may feel thy power, and feel constrained to acknowledge that thou hast sanctified it, and that it is thy house, a place of thy holiness." (D&C 109:12-13.) ("The Importance of the Temple for Living Members," Ensign, Apr. 1993, 10)

DC 109:14 that all those who shall worship in this house may be taught words of wisdom out of the best books

The Prophet wasn't talking about studying the best books at home. He was talking about learning from these books in the temple. We no longer use temples as study halls, but we should remember how the Kirtland temple was used. The upper stories had rooms for instruction and the saints were serious about their studies. The main floor was a meeting hall used for a variety of purposes.

On January 18, 1836, the School of the Prophets moved into the temple. One of the subjects that year was Hebrew, taught by Joshua Seixas, an instructor at a seminary in Hudson, Ohio. He was hired for seven weeks at a salary of $320.00 and was given an office in the building. Forty-five students initially enrolled for a series of one-hour lectures. By February 4, additional classes were created. Joseph Smith was elated with the course. He wrote in his diary:

Spent the day at school. The Lord blessed us in our studies. This day we commenced reading in our Hebrew Bibles with much success. It seems as if the Lord opens our minds in a marvelous manner, to understand His word in the original language; and my prayer is that God will speedily endow us with a knowledge of all languages and tongues, that His servants may go forth for the last time the better prepared to bind up the law, and seal up the testimony.

As many as 150 attended sessions of the school held in the winter of 1836-37 in the temple. The increase of the Church members' knowledge and understanding did not go unnoticed among nonmember observers. James H. Eells of Elyria, Ohio, made a critical examination of the Saints in Kirtland and wrote the following letter in March 1836:

The Mormons appear to be very eager to acquire education. Men, women and children lately attended school, and they are now employing Mr. Seixas, the Hebrew teacher, to instruct them in Hebrew; and about seventy men in middle life, from twenty to forty years of age, are most eagerly engaged in the study. They pursue their studies alone until twelve o'clock at night, and attend to nothing else. Of course many make rapid progress. I noticed some fine looking and intelligent men among them. Some in dress and deportment have all the appearance of gentlemen. . . . They are by no means, as a class, men of weak minds. . . .

The rise and progress . . . shows religious teachers the importance of having sound instruction imparted along with high excitement, that men may have some other evidence on which their faith rests. (Karl Ricks Anderson, Joseph Smith's Kirtland [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 119.)

Chieko Okazaki

At the time, the Saints didn't know what a temple was, or what it was for, or what they would do in it. And when the Kirtland Temple was finished, it was not a place that could be entered only by recommend. It was a public place, a place where the Saints came together with their children, their friends-even their enemies, I imagine-to worship and learn together. In other words, it was something like a meetinghouse when it was built. (Lighten Up! [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 67.)

Boyd K. Packer

The main floor of the Kirtland Temple was basically a house of worship. The Saints met there for Sabbath services, general conferences of the Church, fast meetings (then held on the first Thursday of the month), and so on. (The Holy Temple [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980], 130.)

DC 109:15 that they may...receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost

"If we go to the temple and use it for the Lord's purposes, he will give us power (see D&C 95:8-9) and knowledge, and the great promise that we may receive 'a fulness of the Holy Ghost' and be prepared 'to obtain every needful thing' (D&C 109:15).

"No greater blessing can come to us than obtaining 'a fulness of the Holy Ghost.' I would like to discuss four ways in which the temple may help us obtain that promise.

"First, the light and knowledge promised by the Father may come to us in the temple through the agency of the Holy Ghost.

"The Lord has said he would reveal to us in his temple 'those ordinances "... which had been hid from before the world was.' (D&C 124:38.) The temple is a place of revelation.

"... A second great blessing the temple offers us is instruction in the requirements of personal righteousness. Regular temple attendance will help us remember our temple covenants. These covenants involve obedience, sacrifice, the submission to gospel law, purity, and the promise to answer the call of our Church leaders with our best energies.

"If we are faithful to these covenants, all of our sealings, covenants, and promises will be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.

"... A third blessing of the temple is that it serves as a place where we are taught our responsibility for others. Our first concern is personal righteousness and personal salvation. But exaltation and eternal life can only come by taking the next step-helping others.

"...A fourth blessing of the temple is receiving the knowledge that we are a part of a great cause. This is an uplifting feeling-to know that we are a part of an inspired and very real plan headed by the Lord Jesus Christ himself. We are part of the preparation for his second coming.

"...Let us commit ourselves to regular temple worship. One of the greatest of our duties is temple attendance, and some of the greatest of the promises given to us are found in temple worship. If we come to the Lord's holy temples with our minds focused on the things of the Spirit, we may feel God's presence. In this way, a temple is a place where God manifests himself to man. And what greater blessing than to have this manifestation?" (Harold Glen Clark, "Four Blessings of the Temple," Ensign, Oct. 1983, 69)

DC 109:20 no unclean thing shall be permitted to come into thy house

Cree-L Kofford

This and similar verses place a commandment upon those who are administratively responsible to safeguard the temples that no unclean thing should enter. Thus, the temple recommend not only serves as a safeguard for the person seeking admission to the temple but also serves to allow those who have responsibility for guarding the gateway to the temple to discharge their duty and to fulfill their covenants. A stake president or a bishop who knowingly or negligently allows someone who is unclean to enter the house of the Lord is accountable for that disobedience. Similarly, an individual seeking to gain admission to the temple who lies or withholds important information during the interview process likewise is held accountable.

Thus, as this principle applies to you, a temple recommend interview allows you, as an individual son or daughter of God, to determine if, in fact, you are sufficiently worthy to enter the house of the Lord. Thus, once you have given full and honest answers to the interview questions, and have been found by yourself and your priesthood leaders to be worthy to enter the house of the Lord,you may know that you are there in compliance with the admonition that no unclean thing should enter His house. I have always taken great comfort from the fact that even though I am not perfect, and even though I make mistakes, I am living at a level satisfactory to allow me entrance to the Lord's house. That comfort is based upon the availability of the temple recommend interview. ("Marriage in the Lord's Way, Part Two," Ensign, July 1998, 19)

DC 109:21 when thy people transgress, any of them, they may speedily repent and return unto thee, and find favor in thy sight

One of the major themes of Solomon's dedicatory prayer was that the Lord would forgive the children of Israel when they were found in transgression (see 1 Kgs. 8:33-50). The context implies that the temple would help the Israelites both to repent and to receive forgiveness. The temple helps us to stay in God's good grace. Unfortunately, all temple patrons commit sin. The goal is to repent speedily. Some might prefer to repent slowly, methodically, reluctantly, or even repeatedly, but the Lord requests that we repent speedily. The temple, by virtue of the atonement and holy ordinances, can cleanse us from the sins of a wicked world. But we can only retain God's divine favor if subsequent sins are repented of as soon as possible.

DC 109:22 that thy servants may go forth...with thy power

Joseph Smith

(Wednesday, March 30, 1836, Kirtland Temple priesthood meeting) I made the following remarks: that the time that we were required to tarry in Kirtland to be endowed, would be fulfilled in a few days, and then the Elders would go forth, and each must stand for himself, as it was not necessary for them to be sent out, two by two, as in former times, but to go in all meekness, in sobriety, and preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified; not to contend with others on account of their faith, or systems of religion, but pursue a steady course...

I then observed to the quorums, that I had now completed the organization of the Church, and we had passed through all the necessary ceremonies, that I had given them all the instruction they needed, and that they now were at liberty, after obtaining their licenses, to go forth and build up the Kingdom of God. (History of the Church, 2:431-432)

DC 109:25 That no weapon formed against them shall prosper

Abraham O. Woodruff

No weapon that has ever been formed against Zion has prospered. The efforts of the evil one to destroy the work of the Lord have only tended to spread it abroad. The persecutions which have been heaped upon this people have been the means of cementing us together, drawing us more closely to God, and making us more united and powerful. It is the heritage of the saints of God to be misrepresented and persecuted by the insincere and the wicked; but their efforts have never blocked the progress of the work of our Eternal Father. On the contrary, the labors of our most bitter enemies have been among the main factors in spreading the work abroad. The Lord has turned the wrath of the wicked to his own glory. Had it not been for the persecution of the Latter-day Saints, the mustard seed would not have been cast abroad; but in the attempt to destroy the mustard stalk, to which the Savior compared the Gospel, they have scattered the seed, and it has taken root wherever it has fallen. . . . I thank God that it is not his purposes which have failed, but the purposes of man. This should be an encouragement to every Latter-day Saint and a strong testimony that this is the work of God. It ought to be a testimony also to those who have sought to bring to naught the purposes of God. (Conference Report, October 1901, First Day-Morning Session 11 - 12.)

DC 109:26 people upon whom thy name shall be put in this house

Dallin H. Oaks

In modern revelations the Lord refers to temples as houses built "unto my holy name." (D&C 124:39;  D&C 105:33; D&C 109:2-5.) In the inspired dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, the Prophet Joseph Smith asked the Lord for a blessing upon "thy people upon whom thy name shall be put in this house." (D&C 109:26.)

All of these references to ancient and modern temples as houses for "the name" of the Lord obviously involve something far more significant than a mere inscription of his sacred name on the structure. The scriptures speak of the Lord's putting his name in a temple because he gives authority for his name to be used in the sacred ordinances of that house. That is the meaning of the Prophet's reference to the Lord's putting his name upon his people in that holy house. (See D&C 109:26.) ("Taking upon Us the Name of Jesus Christ," Ensign, May 1985, 81)

DC 109:34, 42 O Jehovah, have mercy upon this people

Does Joseph Smith switch from addressing the Father to addressing the Son? We know Jehovah as the God of the Old Testament, the pre-mortal Spirit of Jesus Christ? Why would the Prophet begin addressing the Son when verse 4 addresses the "Holy Father, in the name of Jesus Christ"?

If we associate the term Jehovah with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, there is no real conflict. As Elder Talmage noted, "Jehovah is the Anglicized rendering of the Hebrew Yahveh or Jahveh...[and] is generally rendered in our English version of the Old Testament as LORD, printed in capitals...The original of the terms Lord and God as they appear in the Old Testament, was either Yahveh or Adonai; and the divine Being designated by these sacred names was... Jesus the Christ." (Jesus The Christ, 34-35) By divine investiture Jehovah represents the Father. To address Jehovah is the same as to address Elohim, for they are one God. Sometimes our knowledge of the Godhead as three distinct individuals gets in the way of worshipping them as one God. For instance, when Solomon offered his dedicatory prayer, he addressed the "Lord God of Israel" (1 Kgs. 8:23). Who is the Lord God of Israel? Of course, it is Jehovah. Should we fault Solomon for not addressing the Father? Of course not. In the same context, should we fault Joseph Smith for addressing Jehovah? Of course not.

There are times in which it is appropriate to specifically address Jesus in prayer. When the Savior visited them, the Nephites "did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God." (3 Ne 19:18) Jesus, as Mediator, then prayed to the Father on their behalf saying, "they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them. And now Father, I pray unto thee for them" (3 Ne. 19:22) However, when Joseph Smith addresses Jehovah in this dedicatory prayer, he doesn't seem to be addressing Jesus as Mediator, he is addressing the God of ancient Israel, the Holy One of Israel, the God of both heaven and earth.

DC 109:36 Let it be fulfilled upon them, as upon those on the day of Pentecost

The spiritual outpouring of the infamous day of Pentecost (Acts 2) was repeated again in the last dispensation in answer to Joseph Smith's petition. The March 27 dedicatory services which began at 9:00 am were completed by about 4:00 pm. The priesthood brethren were then assembled for an evening meeting on the same day. This was one occasion of the Pentecostal outpouring.

Joseph Smith

I met the quorums in the evening and instructed them respecting the ordinance of washing of feet, which they were to attend to on Wednesday following; and gave them instructions in relation to the spirit of prophecy, and called upon the congregation to speak, and not to fear to prophesy good concerning the Saints, for if you prophesy the falling of these hills and the rising of the valleys, the downfall of the enemies of Zion and the rising of the kingdom of God, it shall come to pass. Do not quench the Spirit, for the first one that opens his mouth shall receive the Spirit of prophecy.

Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple), and were astonished at what was taking place. This continued until the meeting closed at eleven p. m.

The number of official members present on this occasion was four hundred and sixteen. (History of the Church, 2:428)

The following Wednesday, March 30, 1836, the priesthood organization was gathered in the temple for more instruction and to receive the ordinance of the washing of feet. The Prophet instructed the brethren that they were to go forth in the power of the Lord to build up the kingdom. The meeting continued late into the evening.

Joseph Smith

I then observed to the quorums, that I had now completed the organization of the Church... I left the meeting in the charge of the Twelve, and retired about nine o'clock in the evening. The brethren continued exhorting, prophesying, and speaking in tongues until five o'clock in the morning. The Savior made His appearance to some, while angels ministered to others, and it was a Pentecost and an endowment indeed, long to be remembered, for the sound shall go forth from this place into all the world, and the occurrences of this day shall be handed down upon the pages of sacred history, to all generations; as the day of Pentecost, so shall this day be numbered and celebrated as a year of jubilee, and time of rejoicing to the Saints of the Most High God. (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2: 432 - 433.)

DC 109:37 let thy house be filled, as with a rushing mighty wind, with thy glory

"Lorenzo Snow enumerated blessings received in the temple during this pentecostal period: 'There we had the gift of prophecy-the gift of tongues-the interpretation of tongues-visions and marvelous dreams were related-the singing of heavenly choirs was heard, and wonderful manifestations of the healing power, through the administrations of the Elders, were witnessed. The sick were healed-the deaf made to hear-the blind to see and the lame to walk, in very many instances. It was plainly manifest that a sacred and divine influence-a spiritual atmosphere pervaded that holy edifice.'

"The Savior appeared in five different meetings held in the temple. Visions, including a vision of the Father and Son, were beheld at eight meetings, and the congregation saw heavenly beings or angels in nine meetings. In other sessions many Saints reported that they experienced such manifestations as the gift of tongues, the sounds of a mighty wind, a pillar of fire resting down upon the temple roof, prophesying, and the voices of angels. Over one thousand people attended these meetings, many of whom testified to having had sacred experiences and put their observations and feelings in letters and journals." (Karl Ricks Anderson, Joseph Smith's Kirtland [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 170.)

DC 109:38-46 enable thy servants to seal up the law, and bind up the testimony

"The phrases 'seal up the law, and bind up the testimony' (D&C 109:46) are found in other scriptures. Isaiah used this phrase but in reverse order: 'Bind up the testimony, seal the law' (Isa. 8:16). Two other revelations from the Doctrine and Covenants transpose the verbs seal and bind to read: 'to bind up the law and seal up the testimony' (D&C 88:84; see also 133:72).

"According to this passage of scripture, these actions of binding and sealing the testimony and the law fit into a divine sequence: the Saints must first receive their temple endowments, then they warn the world's inhabitants of God's coming judgments; this is followed by the binding up of the testimony and the sealing of the law; finally the judgments of God will come (D&C 88:84; 109:38, 46; 133:72). After the Lord's servants have testified to and warned the nations, they will figuratively 'bind,' 'tie up,' 'shut up' or close their testimonies and 'affix [a] seal' to the law of God (the prophetic word). Joseph Smith explained these things to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on 12 November 1835: 'But when you are endowed and prepared to preach the Gospel to all nations, kindreds, and tongues, in their own languages, you must faithfully warn all, and bind up the testimony, and seal up the law, and the destroying angel will follow . . . upon the children of disobedience; and destroy the workers of iniquity, while the Saints will be gathered out from among them, and stand in holy places ready to meet the Bridegroom when he comes.' In sum, then, God's judgments follow the Saints' warning voice to the world." (Donald W. Parry and Jay A. Parry, Understanding the Signs of the Times [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 354 - 355.)

DC 109:43, 52 O Lord, we delight not in the destruction of our fellow men

"When the great judgments begin, there will be those who 'shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.' (D&C 45:32.) But they will not be justified in doing so, for the judgments will be the natural consequences of their own misused agency.

"Man, not God, is ultimately responsible for the judgments of the last days. (See D&C 109:49-53; D&C 84:96-98; D&C 97:22-25.) The Lord's plan is a plan of life. It is not God's will that destruction must precede the fulfillment of that plan. It is an unfortunate necessity imposed upon him by the rebellious conduct of many of his children." (Rodney Turner, "Prophecies and Promises of the Doctrine and Covenants," Ensign, Dec. 1972, 21)

DC 109:47-53 remember those who have been driven by the inhabitants of Jackson county, Missouri

"As part of the dedicatory prayer, the Prophet Joseph Smith pleaded with the Lord to remember the Saints in Missouri in their afflictions. He beseeched the Lord to have mercy on the mobs so that they might repent (see D&C 109:50). But the Prophet asked the Lord to show forth his power on behalf of his people, letting his anger and indignation fall upon those guilty of causing the sufferings, if no repentance was evidenced.

"On at least two other occasions the Prophet predicted that Missouri would suffer great judgments because it tolerated the mob actions against the Saints. In 1843 the Prophet, in Nauvoo, reviewed the guilt of Missouri and said, 'They shall be oppressed as they have oppressed us, not by Mormons, but by others in power. They shall drink a drink offering, the bitterest dregs, not from the Mormons, but from a mightier source than themselves. God shall curse them.' (History of the Church, 6:95)

"And in a conversation with General Alexander Doniphan, one of the few friends of the Saints in Missouri, the Prophet said: 'God's wrath hangs over Jackson county. God's people have been ruthlessly driven from it, and you will live to see the day when it will be visited by fire and sword. The Lord of Hosts will sweep it with the besom of destruction. The fields and farms and houses will be destroyed, and only the chimneys will be left to mark the desolation.' (Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:538)

"During the Civil War these prophecies were fulfilled in a remarkable manner, and Missouri was a scene of widespread, terrible destruction (see Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:539-59, for a detailed discussion of Missouri's sufferings)" (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981], 272)

DC 109:54 may...the Constitution of our established forever

Ezra Taft Benson

President Woodruff declared that "those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits ... [and] were inspired of the Lord." We honor those men today. We are the grateful beneficiaries of their noble work.

But we honor more than those who brought forth the Constitution. We honor the Lord, who revealed it. God himself has borne witness to the fact that He is pleased with the final product of the work of these great patriots.

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith on 6 August 1833, the Savior admonished: "I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land." (D&C 98:6.)

In the Kirtland Temple dedicatory prayer given on 27 March 1836, the Lord directed the Prophet Joseph to say: "May those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever." (D&C 109:54.)

A few years later, Joseph Smith, while unjustly incarcerated in a cold and depressing cell of Liberty Jail at Clay County, Missouri, frequently bore his testimony of the document's divinity: "The Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner." ("The Constitution-A Glorious Standard," Ensign, Sept. 1987, 9)

Ezra Taft Benson

Unfortunately, we as a nation have apostatized in various degrees from different Constitutional principles as proclaimed by the inspired founders. We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said: "Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction" (19 July 1840, as recorded by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray; ms. in Church Historian's Office, Salt Lake City). ("Our Divine Constitution," Ensign, Nov. 1987, 6)

DC 109:59 We ask thee to appoint unto Zion other stakes besides this one

"Before the Saints were expelled from Missouri, the Lord provided through the Prophet Joseph Smith an even broader vision of Zion. In 1832 the Prophet was told, 'Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged' (D&C 82:14; emphasis added). Then in 1844, while the Saints were living in Illinois, the Prophet Joseph Smith boldly declared: 'You know there has been great discussion in relation to Zion-where it is, and where the gathering of the dispensation is, and which I am now going to tell you. ... The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south.'

"When the Prophet announced this remarkable view, it must have been stirring to the Saints. It foreshadowed the most expansive concept of Zion: many stakes spreading over the earth as multiple gathering places for faithful Church members. In 1833, during the time that the Saints were being expelled from Jackson County, Missouri, the Lord offered a glimpse of this broad vision of Zion. He revealed to the Prophet Joseph that the day would come when there would be 'no more room' for the Saints in Missouri; 'and then I have other places which I will appoint unto them, and they shall be called stakes, for the curtains or the strength of Zion' (D&C 101:21; emphasis added). In the dedicatory prayer on the Kirtland Temple in 1836, there was a plea that new converts to the Church 'may come forth to Zion, or to her stakes' (D&C 109:39; emphasis added). Two years later, another revelation taught that 'the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes, may be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth' (D&C 115:6; emphasis added).

"More recently, President Spencer W. Kimball underscored this important doctrine: 'The First Presidency and the Twelve see great wisdom in the multiple Zions, many gathering places where the Saints within their own culture and nation can act as a leaven in the building of the kingdom.'

"...In evaluating these concepts of Zion, we can appreciate the perceptive observation by Elder Erastus Snow of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that when early members 'first heard the fulness of the Gospel preached by the first Elders, and read the revelations given through the Prophet Joseph Smith, our ideas of Zion were very limited. But as our minds began to grow and expand, why we began to look upon Zion as a great people, and the Stakes of Zion as numerous. ... We ceased to set bounds to Zion and her Stakes.'" (Arnold K. Garr, "Growing with a Living Church," Ensign, Oct. 1996, 29-30)

DC 109:60-61 identified with the Gentiles

The final dispensation coincides with the times of the Gentiles. America is a Gentile nation. Its people, by and large, are of Gentile lineage, but notice that Joseph Smith doesn't refer to the early saints as Gentiles. Rather, he says we "are identified with the Gentiles," meaning by nationality and culture we are Gentiles, but by blood lineage we are of the House of Israel.

"President Joseph Fielding Smith made it clear that a majority of the members of the Church today are descendants of Israel and thus of Abraham: 'The Lord said he would scatter Israel among the Gentile nations, and by doing so he would bless the Gentile nations with the blood of Abraham. Today we are preaching the gospel in the world and we are gathering out, according to the revelations given to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other prophets, the scattered sheep of the house of Israel. These scattered sheep are coming forth mixed with Gentile blood from their Gentile forefathers. Under all the circumstances it is very possible that the majority, almost without exception, of those who come into the Church in this dispensation have the blood of two or more of the tribes of Israel as well as the blood of the Gentiles.'

"On another occasion President Joseph Fielding Smith emphatically stated: 'The great majority of those who become members of the Church are literal descendants of Abraham through Ephraim, son of Joseph.'

"While identifying the Lamanites as some of the children of Abraham, President Spencer W. Kimball wrote: 'The Lamanite is a chosen child of God, but he is not the only chosen one. There are many other good people including the Anglos, the French, the German, and the English, who are also of Ephraim and Manasseh. They, with the Lamanites, are also chosen people, and they are a remnant of Jacob. The Lamanite is not wholly and exclusively the remnant of the Jacob which the Book of Mormon talks about. We are all of Israel! We are of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Joseph through Ephraim and Manasseh. We are all of us remnants of Jacob.'

"Concerning the subject of the gathering of Israel, President Brigham Young stated:

The set time is come for God to gather Israel, and for His work to commence upon the face of the whole earth, and the Elders who have arisen in this Church and Kingdom are actually of Israel. Take the Elders who are now in this house, and you can scarcely find one out of a hundred [who is not] of the house of Israel. . . .

Will we go to the Gentile nations to preach the Gospel? Yes, and gather out the Israelites, wherever they are mixed among the nations of the earth. . . . Ephraim has become mixed with all the nations of the earth, and it is Ephraim that is gathering together. . . .

 . . . If there are any of the other tribes of Israel mixed with the Gentiles we are also searching for them. . . . We want the blood of Jacob, and that of his father Isaac and Abraham, which runs in the veins of the people. . . .

. . . It is the house of Israel we are after, and we care not whether they come from the east, the west, the north, or the south; from China, Russia, England, California, North or South America, or some other locality. . . . The Book of Mormon came to Ephraim, for Joseph Smith was a pure Ephraimite, and the Book of Mormon was revealed to him." (Daniel H. Ludlow, Selected Writings of Daniel H. Ludlow: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 531.)

DC 109:62 have mercy upon the children of Jacob, that Jerusalem, from this hour, may begin to be redeemed

Ezra Taft Benson

From the very inception of this latter-day work, which claims to be a restoration of the covenants given by God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, this church has had a deep interest in the remnant of the house of Israel, the descendants of Judah. ...(quotes D&C 109:60-64.)

This was said during the Passover season, March 27, 1836.

Before Joseph Smith was killed, he dispatched a Jewish apostle by the name of Orson Hyde to dedicate the land of Palestine for the return of the Jews. This concern for a homeless people and the sending of this apostle was done at a time when the Mormons themselves were virtually homeless, having been dispossessed of their lands and possessions in Missouri.

Orson Hyde left on his assignment in the fall of 1840. He arrived in Palestine in October 1841. On October 24, 1841, he ascended the Mount of Olives all alone, built an altar to the Lord, and offered a dedicatory prayer.

...This was said at a time when Jewish immigration was but a trickle. Today the gathering has been realized in part with over three million Jews back in the land of their fathers.

On at least two separate occasions, leaders of the nation of Israel have requested that I relate to them the story of Orson Hyde. The first occasion was at the luncheon to which I alluded previously. Mr. Eshkol asked me to tell the luncheon audience about Orson Hyde and his visit to Palestine. I replied, "Do you mean that?" He said that he did. So I related that account to them.

Another occasion was my last visit with David Ben-Gurion. He requested, "I would like you to send me all the information you have about Orson Hyde and his visit to Palestine in 1841. I would like to include it in my history." We subsequently sent that information to him. ("A Message to Judah from Joseph," Ensign, Dec. 1976, 68)

DC 109:71 Remember, O Lord, the presidents, even all the presidents of thy church

"All the presidents of thy church"? That's a strange expression. How many presidents did the church have in 1836?

Joseph Smith is referring to the different priesthood quorums and their presidents. These were all organized and in attendance at the dedication ceremonies as described by the Prophet.

Joseph Smith

The assembly was then organized in the following manner, viz.: west end of the house, Presidents Frederick G. Williams, Joseph Smith, Sen., and William W. Phelps occupying the first pulpit for the Melchisedek Priesthood; Presidents Joseph Smith, Jun., Hyrum Smith, and Sidney Rigdon, the second pulpit; Presidents David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and John Whitmer, the third pulpit; the fourth was occupied by the President of the High Priests' quorum and his counselors, and two choristers. The Twelve Apostles on the right, in the three highest seats. The President of the Elders, his counselors and clerk, in the seat immediately below the Twelve. The High Council of Kirtland, consisting of twelve, on the left in the three first seats. The fourth seat, and next below the High Council, was occupied by Elders Warren A. Cowdery and Warren Parrish, who served as scribes. The pulpits in the east end of the house, for the Aaronic Priesthood, were occupied as follows: The Bishop of Kirtland and his counselors, in the first pulpit; the Bishop of Zion and his counselors, in the second pulpit; the president of the Priests and his counselors, in the third pulpit: the president of the Teachers and his counselors, and one chorister in the fourth pulpit; the High Council of Zion, consisting of twelve counselors, on the right; the president of the Deacons and his counselors, in the seat below them; the seven presidents of Seventies, on the left. (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2: 411.)

DC 109:73 That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness

"At the 1836 dedication of the Kirtland Temple, the Prophet Joseph Smith prayed, 'Remember all thy church, O Lord, ... that thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners' (D&C 109:72-73). Surely we are witnessing part of the answer to that prophetic prayer in our time.

"In our era, President Gordon B. Hinckley is helping to present the Church as fair and beautiful to a world increasingly blighted with spiritual darkness. After 38 years as a General Authority, with 14 of those years as a counselor in the First Presidency, he became the 15th President of the Church in March 1995. Like others before him, President Hinckley expressed overwhelming feelings of inadequacy upon being called to the sacred office and on one occasion said, 'It is hard not to wonder if I'm measuring up to what the Lord expects of me, and if I'm capable of doing what needs to be done.'

"Although he may have questioned his ability to lead a membership in excess of nine million people located in 156 nations, territories, and possessions, his counselors did not. 'He is a man of enormous talent,' remarked President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency. 'I believe that we are poised on the edge of a great new movement of spirituality and expansion of the work of the Lord under his leadership.' President James E. Faust, Second Counselor, has said, 'I believe President Hinckley's contribution will be characterized by bringing the Church out of obscurity.'

"After being sustained at the 165th Annual General Conference, President Hinckley said: 'It is a time to move forward without hesitation. ... The little stone which was cut out of the mountain without hands as seen in Daniel's vision is rolling forth to fill the whole earth.'" (Susan Easton Black, " 'Fair as the Moon' in a Darkening World," Ensign, Dec. 1999, 34)

Gordon B. Hinckley

In the prayer of dedication at the Kirtland Temple, which prayer was received by revelation according to the Prophet, he petitioned the Lord in these words:

Remember all thy church, O Lord ... that the kingdom, which thou hast set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth;
That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners (D&C 109:72-73).

We are witnessing the answer to that remarkable pleading. Increasingly the Church is being recognized at home and abroad for what it truly is. There are still those, not a few, who criticize and rebel, who apostatize and lift their voices against this work. We have always had them. They speak their piece as they walk across the stage of life, and then they are soon forgotten. I suppose we always will have them as long as we are trying to do the work of the Lord. The honest in heart will detect that which is true and that which is false. We go forward, marching as an army with banners emblazoned with the everlasting truth. We are a cause that is militant for truth and goodness. We are a body of Christian soldiers "marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before" ("Onward, Christian Soldiers," Hymns, no. 246).

Everywhere we go we see great vitality in this work. There is enthusiasm wherever it is organized. It is the work of the Redeemer. It is the gospel of good news. It is something to be happy and excited about.

Brothers and sisters, let us now return to our homes with increased resolution in our hearts to live the gospel more fully, to serve with greater diligence, and to stand for truth with enthusiasm and without fear. As a servant of the Lord, I leave my blessing upon you. May you be happy as you walk with faith, I humbly pray, in the name of Him whom we all love and serve, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen. ("Remember ... Thy Church, O Lord," Ensign, May 1996, 83)

Spencer W. Kimball

The Church is at a point in its growth and maturity when we are at last ready to move forward in a major way. Some decisions have been made, and others pending, which will clear the way, organizationally. But the basic decisions needed for us to move forward, as a people, must be made by the individual members of the Church. ("Report of the 149th Annual Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," Ensign, May 1979, 1)

DC 109:78 O hear, O hear, O hear us, O Lord!

Joseph's inspired prayer ends with one final plea-repeated three times. Should we be surprised that the Prophet's request to be heard would be repeated three times? Didn't Adam do the same thing when he built an altar and offered prayer?

DC 109:78 accept the dedication of this house unto thee

"The rearing of a Temple of God in the world is the construction of a citadel by the followers of Prince Immanuel in the territory claimed by [Satan]. Hence his rage when the people of God build Temples. But the Temple in Kirtland served its divine purpose, as did that in Nauvoo, though both were abandoned. In it the Saints received that power from on high which enabled the Church to withstand, successfully, the attacks of all enemies. Owing to that baptism by the Holy Spirit received in the Temples, the Church, notwithstanding persecution, exile, and apostasy, has grown in spiritual power and become able to make itself felt in the world as a regenerating force. But for the Temples and the communion with God established through the Temple service, the Church might have been overwhelmed in the persecutions of Missouri and Illinois, just as the Primitive Church might have perished in the early persecutions but for the power it received on the day of Pentecost." (Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl, Doctrine and Covenants Commentary [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 722 - 723.)

Gordon B. Hinckley

Each temple built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands as an expression of the testimony of this people that God our Eternal Father lives, that He has a plan for the blessing of His sons and daughters of all generations, that His Beloved Son, Jesus the Christ, who was born in Bethlehem of Judea and crucified on the cross of Golgotha, is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, whose atoning sacrifice makes possible the fulfillment of that plan in the eternal life of each who accepts and lives the gospel. Every temple, be it large or small, old or new, is an expression of our testimony that life beyond the grave is as real and certain as is mortality. There would be no need for temples if the human spirit and soul were not eternal. Every ordinance performed in these sacred houses is everlasting in its consequences. ("This Peaceful House of God," Ensign, May 1993, 74)

Boyd K. Packer

If you will go to the temple and remember that the teaching is symbolic, you will never go in the proper spirit without coming away with your vision extended, feeling a little more exalted, with your knowledge increased as to things that are spiritual. The teaching plan is superb. It is inspired. The Lord Himself, the Master Teacher ... talked of the common experiences drawn from the lives of His disciples. ... He talked of the mustard seed, of the pearl. He wanted to teach his hearers, so he talked of simple things in a symbolic sense. ...

The temple itself becomes a symbol. If you have seen one of the temples at night, fully lighted, you know what an impressive sight that can be. The house of the Lord, bathed in light, standing out in the darkness, becomes symbolic of the power and the inspiration of the gospel of Jesus Christ standing as a beacon in a world that sinks ever further into spiritual darkness. (Richard M. Romney, "House of Holiness," New Era, Feb. 1987, 23)