“Nauvoo Illinois Temple Dedicated,” Ensign, Sept. 2002, 74–75
Early on the evening of 27 June, President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Nauvoo Illinois Temple in a session broadcast to thousands of members participating in 72 countries. The place and the time were closely tied to the history of the Church and its first President, Joseph Smith, charging the event with a sense of history as well as sacredness.
As a time capsule was sealed in the cornerstone box earlier in the day, President Hinckley spoke of an “unseen audience” that he expected to be present for the dedication, including the Prophet Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, and “many others who gave their life and their time and their energies to the construction of [the original Nauvoo] temple.” The dedication began at 6:00 P.M. Central Day-light Time on the same date—27 June—when the Prophet Joseph and his brother were martyred in Carthage Jail, about 15 miles away, in 1844. Adjusting for daylight savings time, even the hour was the same.
In the dedicatory prayer he offered on the temple, President Hinckley said: “We thank Thee that those harsh days are now long past. We thank Thee for this season in which we live, with the many blessings of peace and prosperity which we enjoy at Thy hands. Thy Spirit has brooded over us and moved upon us, and in obedience to its promptings we have now reconstructed on this hallowed ground the temple that once stood here.” He petitioned: “We pray that Thou wilt accept of this our offering. The hearts of the children have literally turned to those fathers who worked on the original building. They have done so with love and a wonderful spirit of consecrated effort.”
President Hinckley added: “Bless this city of Nauvoo, which came to be known as the city of Joseph. May it shine with a renewed luster as the home of a temple of God. May this sacred house stand as a memorial to him who lived here and was buried here, Joseph Smith, the great prophet of this dispensation, and his brother Hyrum, whom he loved.”
President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, also spoke in the first dedicatory session, as did President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Ben B. Banks of the Presidency of the Seventy; Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop; and Margaret D. Nadauld, Young Women general president. Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander of the Presidency of the Seventy offered the invocation and the benediction.
Members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles participated at each of the 13 dedicatory sessions through Sunday, 30 June. The first dedicatory session and the last were broadcast live via satellite to members gathered at approximately 2,300 locations around the world, and rebroadcasts of the first session were scheduled at other times.
This was the first temple dedication broadcast on an international scale, and its reach far exceeded that of any previous Church satellite broadcast. An expanded satellite system allowed it to go to areas of the world that have never before received any type of Church satellite broadcast, including Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Armenia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, and Romania.
The dedication of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple is significant because this building is in large part a re-creation of the temple that the Prophet Joseph Smith had located on this bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. The new temple is built on the same site and to virtually the same exterior specifications and design as the original Nauvoo Temple. Thousands of today’s members have ancestors who contributed to the building of that original temple, and every member can feel a kinship to those pioneers who sacrificed so much for their faith.
More than 330,000 people—from every state in the United States and from 70 other countries—toured the Nauvoo Illinois Temple during the seven-week public open house before its dedication. Visitors included prominent business and government leaders as well as officials from other religious faiths.
Music for the dedicatory sessions was provided by members of the Tabernacle Choir and by choirs of local Latter-day Saints.
The Nauvoo Illinois Temple is the Church’s 113th. It will serve 13,000 Latter-day Saints in western Illinois, eastern Iowa, and northeastern Missouri, in stakes in Nauvoo, Peoria, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and Iowa City.