“Las Vegas Temple Dedicated as ‘Oasis of Peace’” Ensign, Mar. 1990, 75–76
As the first dedicatory session of the Las Vegas Nevada Temple convened 16 December 1989, more than three thousand Latter-day Saints throughout the building eagerly watched the events in the celestial room via television monitors. The camera focused on a portrait of the Savior, whose arms were open, as if welcoming each to his holy house, then slowly moved to President Ezra Taft Benson, seated below the portrait.
A reverent silence filled the temple as the significance of these images touched those present.
President Benson spoke briefly, expressing his love for all.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, read the dedicatory prayer during the first dedicatory session. It was also read by different General Authorities at each of the succeeding ten sessions held over three days. The prayer, after expressing gratitude to God, the Eternal Father, for His manifold blessings, read:
“We thank thee for this beautiful temple, this house of worship, of learning, of covenants and everlasting promises.” The prayer also declared that the temple stands “in this community which has become an oasis in the desert” and noted that within the temple’s walls “are to be tasted the refreshing waters of living and eternal truth. For all who enter the portals of thy house, may this be an oasis of peace and life and light, in contrast with the clamor and evil and darkness of the world.”
The prayer also pleaded on behalf of the members of the Church “for forgiveness and strength to overcome our weaknesses. We long for the day when we may be worthy to look upon thy face. Keep us from the decay and servitude which come from sin. Bless us with the light and freedom which come of righteousness.”
Among the speakers at the first session were President Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency.
May the memory of this day linger with you always,” President Hinckley told those at the dedicatory session, “for you shall never experience a more significant day so long as you live in this valley.”
When construction of the temple was originally announced, members of the temple district were asked to contribute whatever they considered a sacrifice toward the construction of the sacred edifice. President Hinckley commended them for contributing 428 percent of the amount expected! “I want to say that I believe the Lord has accepted your sacrifice. I want to make you a promise that you will never miss that which has been contributed. The windows of heaven will be opened,” he said.
President Monson said that the temple will bring “a transformation, a rededication of purpose, and an added strength if we resolve to keep the commandments of God. Let every one of us tell our posterity that, at the dedication of the Las Vegas Temple, ‘I was there. I listened to the music, the prayers, the messages, but above all, I felt the Spirit.’ Today we are storing treasured memories for all the days of our lives.”
More than thirty thousand members from the Las Vegas Temple District attended the eleven dedicatory sessions.
All of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve participated at one time or another during the three days of dedicatory sessions. So too did Elder Dean L. Larsen and Elder James M. Paramore of the Presidency of the Seventy; Elder F. Enzio Busche, Elder H. Burke Peterson, Elder Ronald E. Poelman, Elder Francis M. Gibbons, and Elder Lloyd P. George of the Quorums of the Seventy; Bishop Robert D. Hales, Presiding Bishop; President Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women general president; and President Michaelene P. Grassli, Primary general president.
Members raised their voices joyfully in singing the Hosanna anthem at the end of each dedicatory session. And each time, the television camera focused once again on the portrait of the Savior. Then, as it began to fade, an outdoor view would begin to come up on the television monitors, leaving, for a moment, the image of the Lord standing in the midst of his holy temple.
Some voices choked or faltered as members were moved by the spirit of the occasion. Music continued to fill the building as if heaven itself had joined in helping to sing the praises felt so deeply by the Saints in attendance.