“The Spirit of the Tabernacle”
President Boyd K. Packer
Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
I [have] learned … what power there can be in music. When music is reverently presented, it can be akin to revelation. At times, I think, it cannot be separated from the voice of the Lord, the quiet voice of the Spirit.
Worthy music of all kinds has its place. And there are endless numbers of places where it can be heard. But the Tabernacle on Temple Square is different from them all…
More than 100 years ago, President Wilford Woodruff, then 91 years of age, delivered what may have been his last sermon from this pulpit. In the audience was 12-year-old LeGrand Richards. His father, George F. Richards (later ordained an Apostle), brought his boys to the Tabernacle to hear the Brethren. LeGrand never forgot that experience.
For more than 20 years, I was very close to Elder LeGrand Richards. When he was 96 that message still lingered in his heart. He could not remember the words President Woodruff said, be he could never forget how he felt when they were said.…
Here in 1880 the Pearl of Great Price was accepted as one of the standard works of the Church.
Here also two revelations were added to the Doctrine and Covenants, now known as sections 137 and 138. Section 137 records a vision given to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple, and section 138 is a vision given to President Joseph F. Smith concerning the Savior’s visit to the spirits of the dead.
Here in 1979, after years of preparation, the LDS version of the King James Bible was introduced to the Church.
The new editions of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price were announced to the Church here…
Here the Book of Mormon was given the subtitle “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” Thereafter, whoever opens the book will know from the very title what is offered within it…
The Tabernacle stands here next to the temple as an anchor and has become symbolic of the Restoration. It was build by very poor, very ordinary people. It is now known worldwide.
“Prophets — Pioneer and Modern Day”
Elder Earl C. Tingey
Of the Presidency of the Seventy
When Brigham Young first entered the valley of the Great Salt Lake, he declared, “This is the right place…” He later said:
“God has shown me, that this is the spot to locate his people, and here is where they will prosper; he will temper the elements to the good of the saints; he will rebuke the frost and the sterility of the soil, and the land shall become fruitful,…and he shall build a city and a temple to the most high God in this place.”
Today, we can all attest to the truth of this prophecy. Truly, the desert land and the valleys of the Rocky Mountains are a fruitful and productive land of promise and prophecy. ..
Brigham Young had a unique way in which he referred to the Church:
“God is at the helm. This is the mighty ship Zion. You stick to the ship and honor it, and see that you are in favor with the ship Zion and you need not worry about anything else…
…He guides the ship, and will bring us safely into port. All we have to care about is to take care of ourselves and see that we do right. Let us man the ship manfully, everyone standing faithfully and firmly to his post, and she will outride every storm and safely bear us to the harbor of celestial bliss.”…
President Hinckley, like Brigham Young, is a pioneer and a builder. He has traveled the world, meeting kings, queens, and presidents. He has been interviewed by the world’s media. He continues to bring the Church “out of obscurity.” More than 75 temples have been built in the last 12 years. And he had the inspiration to build the majestic Conference Center.
President Hinckley, like Brigham Young, spreads the gospel and values education. Church membership now approaches 13 million in 176 nations, territories, and countries. More than 53,000 missionaries circle the globe. This conference is being translated into 90 languages. He continues to support Church universities and Church education. More than 26,000 members now enjoy the benefits of the Perpetual Education Fund…
I bear my humble witness that both President Brigham Young and President Gordon B. Hinckley are prophets who have led the Church by inspiration and revelation.
“If These Old Walls Could Talk”
Bishop H. David Burton
Today, dear President, we present this senior citizen of a building, all attired in a fresh new finish, fitly framed together in its historical elegance — although a bit more comfortable. The Presiding Bishopric, along with more than 2,000 craftsmen, proudly return the “old original Tabernacle” along with a 100-year warranty.
President Hinckley’s request to return “the old original Tabernacle” became the standard for making difficult architectural and construction decisions. The phrase was used to express the essence and objective of the project. It served as the equivalent of Captain Moroni’s title of liberty in that it was, in effect, “hoisted upon every tower” and raised in “whatsoever place” was necessary…
One senior team member remarked: “As we counseled together, the Lord was able to give us capability beyond our natural means.”
If these old walls could talk, I’m confident they would express appreciation for their firm foundation. These old walls would be delighted with their new steel belt which holds them tall and erect. These old walls would say thank you for scraping 14 layers of paint from the ceiling, then patching and applying a beautiful new coat.
These old walls would express gratitude for the protection and beauty of a shiny new aluminum roof and would join with the benches in enjoying the smiles on faces of patrons as they discover the slightly modified seats and a few more inches of knee room…
One can only imagine what these old walls could recall about the many sermons they carefully listened to over the years…
I’m grateful for this extraordinary building. It stands as a sacred monument to our past and a magnificent ensign of hope for the future.
“Gratitude: A Path to Happiness”
Sister Bonnie D. Parkin
Just released as General President of the Relief Society
This afternoon, I am honored to represent those Relief Society leaders who, here in this very tabernacle, shared the doctrines of the kingdom, emphasized the significance of women’s role in the home and family, called each other to charitable service, and reminded their sisters of the joys that come from righteous living…
What would a “blessing basket” add to your family?
Gratitude requires awareness and effort, not only to feel it, but to express it. Frequently we are oblivious to the Lord’s hand. We murmur, complain, resist, criticize; we are so often not grateful…
Gratitude is a Spirit-filled principle.
It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God’s love. This grateful awareness heightens our sensitivity to divine direction. When we communicate gratitude, we can be filled with the Spirit and connected to those around us and the Lord. Gratitude inspires happiness and carries divine influence…
The Lord said, “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things (D&C 59:7). “All things” means just that: good things and difficult things — not just some things…
The kind of gratitude that receives even tribulations with thanksgiving requires a broken heart and a contrite spirit; humility to accept that which cannot be changed; willingness to turn everything over to the Lord — even when we do not understand; thankfulness for hidden opportunities yet to be revealed. Then comes a sense of peace.
“Remember and Perish Not”
Elder Marlin K. Jensen
Of the Quorum of the Seventy
Like all of you, I am constantly accumulating a reservoir of memories which, when recalled, make up a very useful and often enjoyable part of my consciousness. And, despite resolutions I made as a young man never, ever to weary others with reminiscing when I grew older, I now take great pleasure in sharing my own memories at almost every possible occasion…
If we pay close attention to the uses of the word remember in the Holy Scriptures, we will recognize that “remembering” in the way God intends, is a fundamental and saving principle of the gospel. This is so because prophetic admonitions to remember are almost always calls to action: to listen, to see, to obey, to do, to repent…
Realizing the vital role remembering is to play in our lives, what else ought we to remember? In response, assembled as we are today to remember and rededicate this historic Tabernacle, I suggest that the history of the Church of Jesus Christ deserves our remembrance…
Of all that has been collected, preserved, and written by historians over those many years, nothing exemplifies the importance and power of the Church’s history more than Joseph Smith’s simple and honest story of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appearing to him in what our history books now call the First Vision….
I believe Joseph Smith, and know he was a true prophet of God. Remembering his experience of the First Vision never fails to stir my soul to greater commitment and action…
Because of [President Hinckley’s] teachings, we understand that remembering enables us to see God’s hand in our past, just as prophecy and faith assures us of God’s hand in our future…
Coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him is, I believe, the ultimate purpose of all remembering. Therefore, I pray that God will bless us always to remember, especially His perfect Son, and perish not.
President James E. Faust
Of the First Presidency
As George A. Smith observed in his humorous way, “in the days of the Prophet Joseph…’Mormonism’ flourished best out of doors.” This was because “[w]e failed to erect a building big enough to hold the saints previous to the death of the Prophet.”
Occasionally bad weather would interrupt those outdoor services and both the speakers and congregation were uncomfortable. President Joseph F. Smith, who remembered well the discomfort of those outdoor meetings held near the temple in Nauvoo said:
My first recollection of a place of worship was in Nauvoo. It was in a little grove of trees near the site of the temple. In company with my mother I listened here to such men as Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, the Prophet Joseph and the Patriarch Hyrum. I remember quite well attending one meeting in the grove, that a wagon had been drawn up in front of the audience and the prophet Joseph stood in the box speaking, when it began to rain. Some one or two persons got up and held umbrellas over him, to shield him from the wet. Many of the people had no umbrellas, and it was very annoying and disagreeable to sit there, but I remember very well, though but a little boy, that there was no one went away from the ground while he spoke.
Before his death, the Prophet Joseph directed that a canvas tabernacle be built to shelter the Saints during large meetings. In 1845, as the temple was nearing completion, Elder Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve was sent back East to raise funds and to buy “about four thousand yards” of canvas to build what Brigham Young referred to as “the Tabernacle of the congregation in Zion.”
…The finished Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City has dimensions roughly similar to the canvas tabernacle contemplated for Nauvoo, and like the proposed Nauvoo tabernacle, it is also situated just west of the temple. As with other matters, such as the great migration to the west, Joseph Smith envisioned a Great Tabernacle, and Brigham Young made it a reality.
So the tabernacle contemplated for Nauvoo, although never built there, was a prototype for this historic building. When I was a boy we listened to general conference on the radio; now with the use of satellites and modern electronic equipment, we broadcast from Salt Lake City to whole countries worldwide at one time, using downlinks to buildings all over the world. This came about because of the inspiration that came to the Brethren to meet the needs of the people in our day and time.
President Thomas S. Monson
Of the First Presidency
I have been thinking recently of the many significant events in my life which are associated with the Salt Lake Tabernacle…
I recall the time I approached baptism when I was eight years of age. My mother talked with me about repentance and about the meaning of baptism; and then, on a Saturday in September of 1935, she took me on a streetcar to the Tabernacle baptistery which, until recently, was here in this building…
I attended many General Conference sessions in the Tabernacle, always being edified and inspired by the words of the brethren. Then, in October of 1963, President David O. McKay invited me to his office and extended to me a call to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles….
During the message I delivered at General Conference in October 1975, I felt prompted to direct my remarks to a little girl with long, blond hair who was seated in the balcony of this building. I called the attention of the audience to her and felt a freedom of expression which testified to me that this small girl needed the message I had in mind concerning the faith of another young lady.
At the conclusion of the session, I returned to my office and found waiting for me a young child by the name of Misti White, together with her grandparents and an aunt.
As I greeted them, I recognized Misti as the one in the balcony to whom I had directed my remarks. I learned that as her eighth birthday approached, she was in a quandary concerning whether or not to be baptized. She felt she would like to be baptized, and her grandparents, with whom she lived, wanted her to be baptized, but her less-active mother suggested she wait until she was eighteen years of age to make the decision. Misti had told her grandparents, “If we go to conference in Salt Lake City, maybe Heavenly Father will let me know what I should do.
Misti and her grandparents and her aunt had traveled form California to Salt Lake City for Conference and were able to obtain seats in the Tabernacle for the Saturday afternoon session. This was where they were seated when my attention was drawn to Misti and my decision made to speak to her.
As we continued our visit after the session, Misti’s grandmother said to me, “I think Misti has something she would like to tell you.” This sweet young girl said, “Brother Monson, while you were speaking in Conference, you answered my question. I want to be baptized!”
“A Tabernacle in the Wilderness”
President Gordon B. Hinckley
Now this building has undergone extensive renovation and remodeling to bring it up to the latest seismic code. With this undertaking, we hope and pray that its historical features have not been destroyed.
Some of the old benches have been saved and will continue to be used. But as you’ve already discovered, the new benches are just as hard as the old ones were!
…Through these many years, this has been a unique and wonderful place of assembly. Many men and women have spoken here testifying of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. From the time of Brigham Young to the present, every prophet has spoken from this pulpit … It has truly been a centerpiece for this community through all of these many years.
This is a peculiar building, the only of its kind in all the world. It was built almost a century and a half ago, in the days of the poverty of our people. It was literally a Tabernacle built in the wilderness. The temple was far from finished at the time. Those who built the Tabernacle did so with faith, as well as their rudimentary architectural skills. Skeptics, of whom there are always many, predicted that when the scaffolding was removed, the roof would come with it. This did not happen, and it has remained in place through sunshine and storm for all these many years…
Now, each Sabbath day, Music and the Spoken Word will again go to the world from this Tabernacle at “the crossroads of the West.” It will again be home to the Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square, and will also accommodate many other productions and undertakings. It will be used for stake conferences, for public lectures, musical concerts, and other entertainment.
Dedicatory Prayer Excerpt
“…We dedicate and consecrate this, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, to Thee and to Thy Beloved Son, that through many years yet to come it may serve as a place where Thy people may gather for many reasons…
“We thank Thee for the great faith of our people who were driven from Nauvoo, and who, with great suffering, including the death of many, crossed Iowa to establish Winter Quarters, and subsequently undertook the long march which carried them from Winter Quarters to this valley of the Great Salt Lake…
“Dear Father, please continue to prosper Thy work. Cause it to increase and grow. Bless the people as they contribute their tithes and offerings to make possible its growth and spread. May it go forth and fill the whole earth as the stone which was cut out of the mountain without hands was destined to roll forth and fill the earth. Wilt thou raise up strong leaders through the generations to come, and may Thy people rejoice and find great happiness in their service in Thy work.”