- St. George, Utah
- April 6, 1877 – Dedication
Providential Importance in History
“I am going to bear my testimony to this assembly, if I never do it again in my life, 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, not wicked men. General Washington and all the men that labored for the purpose were inspired of the Lord. Another thing I am going to say here, because I have a right to say it. Every one of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence with General Washington called upon me, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Temple at St. George two consecutive nights, and demanded at my hands that I should go forth and attend to the ordinances of the house of God for them. Men are here, I believe, that know of this—Brothers J. D. T. McAllister, David H. Cannon and James C. Bleak. Brother McAllister baptized me for all these men, and I then told these brethren that it was their duty to go into the Temple and labor until they got endowments for all of them. They did it. Would those spirits have called upon me, as an Elder in Israel, to perform that work if they had not been noble spirits before God? They would not. I bear this testimony because it is true. The spirit of God bore record to myself and the brethren while we were laboring in that way. 1
|St. George Temple|
Appearance of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence and Presidents of the United States to President Wilford Woodruff In the St. George Temple
I am going to bear my testimony to this assembly, if I never do it again in my life, 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, not wicked men. General Washington and all the men that labored for the purpose were inspired of the Lord. Another thing I am going to say here, because I have a right to say it. Every one of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence with General Washington called upon me, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Temple at St. George two consecutive nights, and demanded at my hands that I should go forth and attend to the ordinances of the house of God for them. Men are here, I believe, that know of this—Brothers J. D. T. McAllister, David H. Cannon and James C. Bleak. Brother McAllister baptized me for all these men, and I then told these brethren that it was their duty to go into the Temple and labor until they got endowments for all of them. They did it. Would those spirits have called upon me, as an Elder in Israel, to perform that work if they had not been noble spirits before God? They would not. I bear this testimony because it is true. The spirit of God bore record to myself and the brethren while we were laboring in that way. 2
|Eminent Spirits Appear to Wilford Woodruff, by Ken Corbett|
We have labored in the St. George Temple since January, and we have done all we could there; and the Lord has stirred up our minds, and many things have been revealed to us concerning the dead. President Young has said to us, and it is verily so, if the dead could they would speak in language loud as ten thousand thunders, calling upon the servants of God to rise up and build Temples, magnify their calling and redeem their dead. This doubtless sounds strange to those present who believe not the faith and doctrine of the Latter-day Saints; but when we get to the spirit world we will find out that all God has revealed is true. We will find, to, that everything there is reality, and that God has a body, parts and passions, and the erroneous ideas that exist now with regard to Him will have passed away. I feel to say little else to the Latter-day Saints wherever and whenever I have the opportunity of speaking to them, than to call upon them to build these Temples now under way, to hurry them up to completion. The dead will be after you, they will seek after you as they have after us in St. George. They called upon us, knowing that we held the keys and power to redeem them.
I will say here, before closing, that two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they: “You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.” These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. I thought it very singular that notwithstanding so much work had been done, and yet nothing had been done for them. The thought never entered my heart from the fact, I suppose, that heretofore our minds were reaching after our more immediate friends and relatives. I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon Brother McAllister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others; I then baptized him for every President of the United States except three; and when their cause is just, somebody will do the work for them. 3 4
|St. George Temple|
(Excerpt from discourse delivered at the General Conference, April 6, 1891.) By Pres. Wilford Woodruff
The spirit of inspiration was with Brigham Young from the day that he entered into this work till he laid down his life upon his bed. I bear testimony to these things. There never has been a time, either in these Temples or anywhere else, but the Lord has made manifest His will on any point on which light was desired. To my certain knowledge the Lord gave revelations in St. George Temple to His servants there, upon points of doctrine we did not understand. President Young was there. I was there. Brother McAllister and others labored there, and we knew these things. So I say there is no man that goes into these Temples to labor, or goes into the vineyard of the Lord to labor who, if he will live his religion and do his duty, will fail in receiving the mind and will of God. Yes, the Lord has raised up Saviors upon Mount Zion, and the Kingdom is the Lord’s. It is His work. And we have the great power as Latter-day Saints to go into these temples and redeem our dead, and attend to the ordinances for them that they never heard of in their day and generation. What will be the condition of these saviors upon Mount Zion? These Saints of the Lord will hold the keys of salvation to their Father’s house to the endless ages of eternity. There never will be a time when that power will be taken from them. We ought to realize these things, and we ought to prize the blessings which God has put in our hands. 5
When the scroll shall be unfolded listing the life’s labors of Brigham Young, he will be recognized as one of the world’s greatest benefactors. As a leader, the world will search in vain for one who surpasses him in righteous achievement and valor, in history’s great trek across an uncharted desert. He was indeed a Prophet who prophesied, a Seer who saw and a Revelator who revealed. He was, like all great men, one whom the righteous loved and whom the wicked hated.
He labored on the Kirtland Temple as superintendent in the glazing, painting, and finishing of it; he dedicated the Far West Temple site on July 4, 1938; he dedicated the completed portion of the Nauvoo Temple on October 5, 1845 and laid its capstone; he offered the dedicatory prayer on April 1, 1874, when the cornerstones of the St. George Temple were laid; he took an active and overseeing part in the choosing of the sites, or drawnig up of architectural plans, or encouraging construction of temples at St. George, Logan, Manti, and Salt Lake, in addition to his great physical labors on the Kirtland and Nauvoo Temples. His contributions in this volume attest his greatness. He was truly a worthy successor and a devoted friend to the Prophet Joseph, to the Latter-day Saints and to God.
Dedicatory Prayer By Daniel H. Wells (April 6, 1877)
Almighty and Everlasting God, our Heavenly Father, Thou who are the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Moses, of David, of Solomon; the God and Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the God of Joseph and of Brigham, even the God of Israel; Thou who art the Father of our spirits; it is to Thee we approach this morning to worship and to offer up our dedicatory prayer, in thanksgiving and praise for this offering, even a Temple which Thou hast enabled Thy people to rear unto Thy most Holy Name. We realize, Our Father, that we are dependent upon Thee, and that, although we are shut out from Thy presence, inheriting many weaknesses and made subject to many temptations and sins, we are Thy children and as such, we come before Thee in the depths of humility, with broken hearts and contrite spirits, praying that Thine indulgence, Thy tender mercy and compassion may be extended toward us, and that Thou wilt forgive everything which thine all-seeing and searching eye hath held amiss in us.
We thank Thee, O Lord, that Thy people whom Thou hast led to this distant land, and whom Thou hast preserved by Thine own right arm, have been permitted to establish themselves in the homes, which Thou hast given them, and that, through thy continued efforts and that through Thy continued blessings they have been enabled to gather together the materials of which this building is composed; to put together and erect the same, even a Temple, which we dedicate and now consecrate to Thee that it may be holy unto Thee the Lord our God, for sacred and holy purposes and that the blessing, even life for evermore, may be commanded here from heaven, even from Thy presence, and may flow through the ordinances which appertain unto Thy holy place, unto us Thy children. We pray that the blessings pertaining to our eternal salvation and to the establishing of Thy kingdom upon this, Thine earth, may be poured out upon Thy Holy Priesthood and Thy people, who shall worship and officiate in this Thy Holy House.
We dedicate and consecrate the foundation of this building upon which it stands. Cause, O Lord, that it may not give way nor yield in consequence of any destructive elements which may be in the soil, but may the nature of those elements be changed so as to become strengthening instead of weakening, that the same may always remain firm and sound.
We dedicate and consecrate the lower and upper walls of the building and the buttresses which support the same and all the materials: the stone, the lime, and the sand which compose the mortar, and all that pertains thereunto, together with the flagging, the timbers, the joints, the floors, and the foundations upon which they rest, that the same may be protected and preserved, that none of the elements, either through storms, fire or earthquakes, may have power to destroy, disturb or injure this, Thy Holy House. We also dedicate and consecrate unto Thee, all the openings, entrances, doors and windows, and their fastenings of the basement story.
We also present to Thee the Baptismal font in which is performed the ordinance of baptism for the living and for the dead, with the steps, the railings around and the oxen upon which it rests, the foundations, together with the connections and apparatus for furnishing, conveying, holding and heating, the water with all that pertains to it, dedicating and consecrating all unto Thee, the Lord, our Father and God, that they may be Holy unto Thy name.
We pray that Thy blessing may attend those of Thy servants who administer and who may officiate in the ordinances that may be performed therein in behalf of Thy people, and in behalf of those our progenitors, our relatives and friends, who have gone before us to the spirit world, so far as we may be enabled and permitted to officiate for them. We dedicate also to Thee the rooms of this building in the first, second and third stories, with the pillars and supports thereof, including the side rooms, with the partition wall for the purposes for which they may be used, by the Priesthood, for prayer, for worship for councils or meetings, or for administering the Holy Ordinances of Thy house, that they may be holy unto Thee, the Lord our God. We also dedicate the roof and the tower with its dome, its covering and walls and the battlements around and above the roofs with the timbers and frames and supports upon which the roof and tower rest, and are made permanent, and the fastenings and all that appertain thereto and the materials of which they are composed.
We dedicate also the entrances, the steps and the circular stairs, with the railings and banisters thereunto attached. Grant, O Lord, that the roof which covers all, may shield and protect the building from the storms which may come upon it. We dedicate the pipes which convey the water from the room with their fastenings and the materials of which they are composed. We also dedicate the chimneys, flues, conduits, and sewers and openings for ventilation; also all the doors, windows and glass, the hinges and nails and screws, the door locks and handles, the windows, weights and cords and fastenings of every kind; and all the paint, putty, plaster, whitewash and all the ornamental work within and without, everything used in the construction and completion of the entire building, from the foundations unto the top thereof that all may be holy unto the Lord our God.
Holy Father, we dedicate unto Thee the furniture and utensils used in the holy washing, anointings and ceremonies of this Thy Holy House; also the curtains and frames for partitions; together with the altars and their cushions and the tables and chairs, stools and desks that all may be sanctified for the use and purposes intended. We dedicate also the tower on the outside, containing the fountain, also the aqueduct and pipes conveying water thereunto.
We dedicate the block of land upon which this Temple is situated and the fence which encloses it, with its opening and gates, the hinges, hangings and fastenings and the materials of which they are composed, also the roads and walks leading thereto and through the same.
We dedicate and consecrate the pulpits with the cushions thereon, and the ornamental fringe around, together with the steps, railings and banisters and the seats, with the cushions on them; and the floors, and the foundations upon which they stand. May nothing unholy, impure ever enter here but may the same be Holy unto the Lord our God.
Especially do we pray that Thy power may rest upon Thy servants who may occupy these pulpits when they shall minister by virtue of their holy calling, either in preaching, in counseling or in transacting business pertaining to the welfare of Thy Church and kingdom here upon earth. We implore Thy blessings upon the various congregations of Thy people who may assemble in this House from time to time, both in their incomings and outgoings and may Thy blessing and Thy spirit dwell herein and rest upon them for their comfort and edification, and abide richly in their hearts, that they may learn further of Thy ways and walk in Thy paths. We desire also to commend these Thy servants and people to Thy kind care and keeping, that they may be preserved unto Thee from the powers of the wicked and ungoldly, and from the powers of all evil and opposing influences, from whose grasp Thou hast heretofore delivered us in bringing us here to these valleys and the fastnesses of these mountains. We acknowledge Thee and the great deliverance Thou hast wrought out for us, and we pray Thee, O God, in the name of Jesus, to accept of these Thy servants and the people and preserve and keep us in Thy most holy keeping. Let the ministering angels from Thy presence attend us, and let Thy grace and power be upon us that we may walk in the paths of purity and holiness, and be enabled to bring forth Thy purposes and establish Thy kingdom in all its fullness, administering in all the ordinances pertaining to Thy House; and also send forth salvation to all the children of men, scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth, for their redemption from sin and bondage, even from gross darkness.
We now ask, our Father, that we Thy servants and people may be acceptable unto Thee, praying Thee to grant that Thy Holy Spirit may pervade each heart before Thee, that our worship may be such as Thou delightest to behold and that the revelations of Thy mind and will may continue to be made manifest through Thy servant Brigham, and all of Thy servants upon whom Thou hast conferred the authority of the Holy Priesthood.
We feel not to multiply words before Thee, for language is inadequate to express the fullness of the feelings and emotions of our souls in being thus privileged to meet before Thee in this sacred, this holy place.
Accept, O God, of this tribute of our hearts, and let Thy peace and blessing dwell and abide here in this Holy Temple, which we now, with uplifted hearts and hands, present and consecrate and dedicate entire as a sacred offering unto Thee for Thine acceptance. May it stand as a monument of purity and holiness as long as the earth shall remain, commemorative of Thy great goodness toward us, Thy people, and Thy name shall have the honor, the praise and glory, for we ask all in Jesus’ name, and unto Thee and our blessed Lord and Savior, and to the Holy Spirit be all power, might and dominion worlds without end. Amen.6
- Report of President Wilford Woodruff, General Conference, April 10, 1898, pp. 89-90.
- Report of President Wilford Woodruff, General Conference, April 10, 1898, pp. 89-90.
- Remarks made at General Conference, September 16, 1877.
- Journal of Discourses, Vol. 19, p. 229.
- The Deseret Weekly, April 25, 1891, p. 554.
- Journal History, April 6, 1877.