We are met in Thy holy house, erected on the soil of Illinois, to dedicate unto Thee Thy temple. One hundred and thirty-nine years ago our forebears fled this area, leaving behind the temple which they had just constructed. As they moved west across the Iowa prairie their last lingering look was at the tower of that holy edifice which had come with tremendous cost and out of unwavering faith and devotion.
On this day, in this new and beautiful Chicago temple, we of this generation remember Nauvoo. We think of the sacred edifice which stood high on its hill. We remember with appreciation and gratitude those who built it. We recall their sacrifice when they were driven from it. Knowing they soon would be banished, and with many of their number already gone, they yet chose to complete it and dedicate it unto Thee.
O God, we thank Thee for the inheritance of faith that has come down from that generation. We thank Thee for a new and better day when our people have returned to this area, and large numbers have been added to Thy Church in this part of the nation.
We are reminded also that Thy first house built in this dispensation was constructed at Kirtland, Ohio. When that sacred edifice was dedicated Thy prophet, Joseph Smith, received through revelation from Thee the dedicatory prayer which included this plea:
"Remember all Thy church, O Lord, with all their families...that the kingdom, which Thou hast set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth;
"That Thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners;
"And be adorned as a bride for that day when Thou shalt unveil the heavens...that Thy glory may fill the earth."
Heavenly Father, we see the dawning of that glorious day. The morning breaks, and the sunlight of truth is spreading over the earth. Thy people, once few in number, have become a great multitude, living in many lands and speaking many tongues. Their numbers are constantly increasing. The virtue of their lives is widely acclaimed. We are profoundly grateful for Thy blessings upon Thy work and upon Thy faithful saints across the earth.
We thank Thee now for this glorious day and for all who have labored to make it possible. We thank Thee for the generation of the faithful who have preceded us. We thank Thee for Thy devoted saints wherever they may be who have contributed of their tithes and offerings, which, together with the generous contributions of those in this temple district, have brought to fruition this glorious undertaking.
We praise Thy holy name, our Father and our God. We praise the name of Thy Beloved Son, our Savior and our Redeemer. In the authority of the holy priesthood which Thou hast restored to the earth, and which thou hast conferred upon us, we dedicate unto Thee and unto Him this, the Chicago Illinois Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We dedicate it as Thy holy house with a prayer that Thou wilt accept it as the offering of Thy thankful children. We dedicate it for the transcendent purposes which Thou hast revealed in this dispensation for the blessing of Thy sons and daughters of all generations.
We dedicate the ground on which it stands, with the flowers, the trees, and the shrubs which adorn it. We dedicate the structure from the footings to the top of the tallest steeple. We dedicate all of the rooms, the sacred altars, the fixtures, the furniture, the fittings, and all which have been assembled together to make of this a beautiful structure, holy and sacred to us as the house of the Lord.
Almighty God, wilt Thou hallow it and sanctify it. May Thy presence be felt here, and may Thy Holy Spirit abide constantly within its walls. May all who enter feel of that Spirit and know that they are in holy precincts. May it be a place of refuge from the cares of the world, a house of peace and love. May its rooms and halls be hallowed to those who shall walk here. May faith increase in the hearts of all who come, and may knowledge of Thine eternal plan grow in the minds of those who here serve, be they workers, or patrons. May gratitude well up in the hearts of Thy faithful saints throughout the earth, and may the dead beyond the veil rejoice over what will here be accomplished to their eternal blessing.
We unite in prayer in behalf of Thy prophet Spencer W. Kimball who suffers from the infirmities of age. Extend his life in comfort and dignity. Bless those associated with him in the First Presidency of Thy Church. Bless the Council of the Twelve Apostles, the Seventy, and the Bishopric. We pray for all throughout the world who have responsibility for the advancement of Thy work. We pray for Thy people everywhere. May Thy peace dwell in their hearts and homes. May they be blessed in their basket and in their store as they walk honestly with Thee. May their children grow in righteousness and faith that their lives may be enriched and that Thy kingdom may become ever stronger.
Beloved Father, may Thy watchcare be over this holy house. Protect it by Thy power from the destructive forces of nature and the vile impulses of men. May it stand without molestation and may those who mock its sacred ordinances feel the weight of Thy censuring hand upon them.
We are mindful that Thy prophet Joseph, and his brother Hyrum, were martyred in Carthage and were buried in Nauvoo, Illinois, at a time of terrible conflict and persecution. May there now be peace and goodwill in the land. Bless the officers of this state and nation that they shall stand firmly for those principles of freedom and equity which were written into the Constitution of the United States under Thine inspiration.
May this holy house, built in peace and dedicated in faith, stand as a testimony that the oppression of the past has faded and that Thy people today enjoy the precious blessings of worshipping Thee according to Thy revelations without fear or molestation. May Thy work move forward to the encompassing glory Thou hast set for it, we humbly pray, as in faith we rededicate ourselves to Thy service, with songs of thanksgiving and praise, in the name of Thy Beloved Son, the Prince of Life, our gracious and generous Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.