Las Vegas Temple 'a crowning jewel'

Dedication of the Las Vegas Nevada Temple represented the "greatest day in the history of Las Vegas," according to the members of the First Presidency.

President Ezra Taft Benson presided at the first three sessions on the first day of the dedication, Dec. 16. President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, gave the dedicatory prayer in the opening session. In the second session, the prayer was read by President Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency. Members of the Council of the Twelve also read the prayer in some sessions.

Eleven sessions, addressed by members of the First Presidency and other General Authorities and others, were held during the three days of dedication, which was concluded Dec. 18.

President Benson also presided and placed the first mortar during the traditional cornerstone ceremony preceding the first dedicatory session.

One of the most touching moments of the day came in the second dedicatory session when he stood to declare his love to the members and concluded with great feeling, expressing "God bless you." In other sessions, he briefly praised the temple's beauty and encouraged members to live righteous lives.

A high percentage of the active members of the temple district took part as some 30,177 attended. Commitment of the members was evident as they came by the thousands up the major thoroughfare leading to the temple, and lined up four or five abreast outside the temple fence. Most sessions were fully seated half an hour before starting time.

Feelings were near the surface in all the sessions. One speaker observed to the members that "though we live in a world with much darkness in it, you have light in you."

"Never has there been so beautiful a day in Las Vegas as we dedicate the House of the Lord, the crowning jewel overlooking the city," said President Hinckley at the cornerstone ceremony.

Responding to a reporter who asked "why we'd put a temple in a place like this," President Hinckley answered, "Because our members need it."

In a later session, he commended the members of the temple district for their faithfulness and noted that the stakes in the temple district had contributed $11 million, 428 percent of their assessment.

"I don't know where in the world we have more faithful Latter-day Saints than in this temple district," he said. "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 you have contributed; the windows of heaven will be opened."

He encouraged husbands and wives to respect each other, and parents to look upon their children as sons and daughters of God preparing for eternity, which is not some gray, indistinct thing "in the great beyond," he emphasized. "Today is part of eternity."

Temple work, he expressed, is basically a work of reclamation "of the most unselfish kind of service."

He frequently complimented the stake choirs that performed. After the Logandale stake choir performed, he said, "The choirs sing like angels."

To the young people at the session, he said, "You saw the president of the Church and heard him tell you he loved you. Never forget it. It will be an influence in your life."

President Monson also frequently referred to the children and youths in the congregation. "God bless you all, particularly you boys and girls," he said. "How precious you are to the Church. May you remain clean and pure so that when you are older you can . . . come back to the holy House of the Lord."

He remarked that children are always attracted to President Benson "because they know he loves them."

"I want every young person to remember being with the prophet in the House of the Lord, that he expressed love to them, and to remember the significance of this dedication.

"It is good for us to come to the the House of the Lord and think of and consider eternal truths."

He recalled visiting the military cemetery in the Philippines containing the graves of fallen soldiers of World War II. "I think of all those servicemen who lost their lives. Who will do the work for all these who died in defense of their countries?

"We are going to do that work, my brethren. We will provide that which they cannot provide for themselves."

He said 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 and the messages, but above all, I felt the Spirit.' Today, we are storing treasured memories for all the days of our lives."

"Let us rejoice, let happiness be in our lives and in our hearts."

(additional information)

Authorities, officers at dedication

First Presidency: President Ezra Taft Benson and his counselors, President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson.

Council of the Twelve: President Howard W. Hunter, Elders Boyd K. Packer, Marvin J. Ashton, L. Tom Perry, David B. Haight, James E. Faust, Neal A. Maxwell, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, Josesph B. Wirthlin, and Richard G. Scott.

Presidency of the Seventy: Elders Dean L. Larsen and James M. Paramore.

First Quorum of the Seventy: Elders F. Enzio Busche, H. Burke Peterson, and Ronald E. Poelman.

Second Quorum of the Seventy: Elders Francis M. Gibbons and Lloyd P. George.

Presiding Bishopric: Presiding Bishop Robert D. Hales.

General officers: Sister Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women general president; and Sister Michaelene P. Grassli, Primary general president.

Many of the spouses of the Brethren and general officers also attended.

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