Temple centennial: Emotions stirred

Tremendous energy flowed through the vast throng of Saints surrounding the Salt Lake Temple at the capstone ceremony April 6, 1892. According to estimates, 40,000 to 60,000 people surrounded the temple, "such a jam of people that everyone was nearly crushed," noted Joseph Dean, one of those in attendance. As the capstone - the top half of the stone ball where the statue of the Angel Moroni stands - was lowered into place, the crowd's shout of acclamation "was grand beyond description, the emotions of the multitude being stirred up by it to the greatest intensity of devotion and enthusiasm," wrote H.W. Naisbitt in the April 1892 Contributor.

That evening, the magnificent gold-leaf statue of the Angel Moroni was hoisted in place, a culminating event for the watching thousands.Afterwards, many members climbed the scaffolding and touched the capstone and statue. These events have been preserved by their families through the generations.

"Grandfather James C. Jenson carried his baby daughter, my mother, up the scaffolding and he took my mother's tiny baby hand and placed it on the statue of the Angel Moroni that she might have this special experience as a part of her life," wrote Verda Hicken, of Logan, Utah.

Jane Wilkie Hooper Blood of Kaysville, Utah, wrote that on April 14, 1892, "William and I and our ten children went to the top of the Salt Lake Temple and touched the ball on which the angel statue stands. Each of us put a dime through the capstone."

The energy of the members continued as they answered the call to donate enough money to pay for the completion of the interior. From President Wilford Woodruff, who contributed $500, to children who gave pennies, members Churchwide donated generously. Some $50,000 for the temple was subscribed during the October general conference.

Members also responded to a call from the First Presidency for a spiritual renewal and cleansing: "Let the [Holy GhostT soften all differences . . . so that Israel may feel approved of the Lord and that we may all come before Him with consciences void of offense before all men."

A day of fasting and prayer was held March 25, 1893, in preparation for the spiritual outpouring that was to follow when the temple was dedicated April 6, 1893. - John L. Hart

(Another in a series leading to the centennial of the Salt Lake Temple on April 6, 1993. Illustration by Deseret News artist Reed McGregor.)

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