“Nauvoo Temple Cornerstones Dedicated,” Ensign, Feb. 2001, 74–75
President Gordon B. Hinckley led other priesthood leaders in dedicating the cornerstones of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple in November. It was one of several recent opportunities for members of the First Presidency to teach doctrine and represent the Church before large groups.
President Hinckley conducted the 5 November cornerstone dedication, following the procedure used on 6 April 1841 by the Prophet Joseph Smith at the ceremony for the original Nauvoo Temple. President Hinckley was joined by President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder L. Aldin Porter of the Presidency of the Seventy; Elder Donald L. Staheli of the Seventy, President of the North America Central Area; Bishop H. David Burton of the Presiding Bishopric; and local priesthood leaders.
A crowd of some 4,500 looked on as President Hinckley began at the southeast cornerstone, sharing remarks, dabbing ceremonial mortar on the stone, then offering a dedicatory prayer. “We know that we are standing in a historic place, Father, at the construction site of the Nauvoo Temple, which was built in the 1840s and subsequently destroyed,” he prayed. “It now becomes our great opportunity and privilege to build it … in similitude of the temple that stood here in the 1840s. … We pray that this may become a holy site for Thy people across the world.”
The ceremony then proceeded to the southwest cornerstone, where Bishop Burton was joined in applying mortar by Bishop Merlin L. Reittinger of the Nauvoo Ward and by Hans Smith and Jared Brown, teachers quorum and deacons quorum presidents of the ward. Bishop Burton spoke, and Bishop Reittinger offered a prayer.
At the northwest cornerstone were President Durrell N. Nelson of the Nauvoo Illinois Stake and Arthur Lee Noe, president of the Nauvoo Ward elders quorum. President Nelson spoke, and Brother Noe offered a prayer.
Finally, at the northeast cornerstone, President Packer was joined by Elder Haight, Elder Porter, and Elder Staheli in applying mortar to that stone. “It is so fitting that the temple be rebuilt here,” said President Packer in his remarks. “It was here that the revelation first came for baptism for the dead.” Elder Porter then offered a prayer.
The Nauvoo Illinois Stake Choir and a choir of missionaries from the newly organized Illinois Nauvoo Mission sang hymns from the Church’s first hymnbook.
Address to the Youth
From the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on 12 November, President Hinckley told youth and young single adults of the Church to “be grateful, be smart, be clean, be true, be humble, and be prayerful.” (For President Hinckley’s complete address, see “A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 2.) His prophetic counsel was carried live on the Internet and broadcast by satellite or sent by video to stakes worldwide.
Events at BYU
The First Presidency participated in the rededication of Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library on 15 November. The library was rededicated after a new 234,000-square-foot addition was completed. The new wing brings the library’s total square footage to 665,000, adding the capacity for 1.7 million more books, eight technology-enhanced classrooms, a 200-seat auditorium, and facilities for distance education and technology-assisted learning. Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, president of BYU, conducted the dedication.
President Hinckley attended the opening of the Robert W. and Amy T. Barker Gallery at the BYU Museum of Art on 27 October. The gallery’s first exhibit is a collection of early paintings by the late Latter-day Saint artist Minerva Teichert, including a mural that had never before been publicly displayed.
On 19 November, President Hinckley honored retiring BYU football coach LaVell Edwards at the coach’s last home game.
At a pregame ceremony on the stadium field, President Hinckley announced “that the board of trustees and administration of the university, in recognition of this remarkable and wonderful man, have determined to name this the LaVell Edwards Stadium: Home of the BYU Cougars.” The crowd cheered for Brother Edwards, whose 257 victories during his 29-year tenure at BYU have made him the sixth winningest coach in the history of Division I U.S. college football.
Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
President Hinckley hosted an Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service on 19 November in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. The service is hosted each year by a different faith located in the Salt Lake Valley. During his remarks, President Hinckley emphasized that all people are children of God. “How very important it is that we constantly do everything that we can to build respect and appreciation and understanding of one another,” he said.
The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR) honored President Hinckley with their Gold Good Citizenship Award in November. The society gives the award to about six recipients each year in recognition of community service. NSSAR president Bruce Butler said President Hinckley was selected because of his “notable service in behalf of American principles,” and referred to President Hinckley’s book Standing for Something, published last year.
President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, also received an award in November. The Latter-day Saints Public Relations Society presented him with their “Communicator of the Year” award. In accepting the honor, President Monson said, “A testimony from the heart is perhaps the best communication we can extend to others.”
First Presidency Christmas Devotional
Members of the First Presidency spoke about the meaning of Christmas during the annual First Presidency Christmas devotional on 3 December (see page 70 for the full text of President Hinckley’s address and excerpts of the addresses of President Monson and President Faust).
This was the first Christmas devotional held in the Conference Center and the first Christmas devotional at which the Orchestra at Temple Square provided accompaniment for the Tabernacle Choir and the audience.