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The following comes from the United Kingdom’s Mormon Newsroom.
Global faith leader Elder Jeffrey R. Holland presented a Scottish museum with the exact replica of an artefact that became linked with Scotland’s religious history, at an event attended by Stirling Member of Parliament Stephen Kerr and Stirling’s Provost, Councillor Christine Simpson (July 5).
At the presentation to the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said, “I am delighted for the invitation to be with you today for such a significant moment in my own history as well as in the history of beautiful Stirling. I want you to know that I stand before you as a bona fide son of Stirling, the shire if not the city proper. I am very proud to have Scottish blood flowing through my veins.”
He added, “Today’s unveiling really has great personal resonance, I feel very blessed to be part of the ceremony. This is one of my most memorable visits to Scotland.”
‘What-E’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part’ is a familiar phrase to Latter-day Saints in Scotland and globally. Its significance stems from David O. McKay, ninth President of the Church, who served a mission in Scotland 1897-1899. While experiencing a period of discouragement and homesickness, young Elder McKay took notice of an engraved stone on a building in Albany Crescent, Stirling, with this inscription. In his journal he recorded, “I accepted the message given to me on that stone, and from that moment we tried to do our part as missionaries in Scotland.”
President McKay’s experience in Stirling is now part of the story of this international faith.
John Allan, a 19th century architect known for his use of symbols, designed this particular ‘magic square stone’ (where the sum of the numbers is the same in any direction). When Albany Crescent was being demolished in 1965, two local missionaries of the Church asked the demolition company to save the renowned stone. The Scotland Mission President bought the stone for £30 and displayed it in the Mission Home in Edinburgh. It was later moved to the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. A replica was made and is displayed in the garden of the Mission Home in Edinburgh.
The stone’s significance continues, as this other replica was recently made for the people of Stirling. Receiving the exhibit on behalf of the museum was Director Dr. Elspeth King who said, “We are pleased to be chosen to display the exact replica of this stone to preserve the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Scotland. We offer our gratitude to the Church for their contribution. We also express thanks to Stephen Kerr MP who worked closely with the museum on the project and was instrumental in making it happen.”