Piece of history is saved, meetinghouse rededicated

Prior to rededicating a historic early 20th century meetinghouse here, President Gordon B. Hinckley expressed gratitude that a piece of history had been saved.

Then he told those in attendance at the building's rededication service Sunday afternoon, March 1, "We hope that you will care for it and look after it and keep it beautiful and attractive and clean and bright - a place of worship, a place where we can come to learn, a place of sociality, and a chapel and a house of the Lord."The meetinghouse on south Main Street was first dedicated by Elder Reed Smoot of the Quorum of the Twelve on Sept. 21, 1913. After a new chapel was added and other improvements made, the building was rededicated by President Heber J. Grant on Nov. 1, 1931.

Elder Ben B. Banks of the Seventy and president of the Utah South Area conducted the meeting and explained the significance of President Hinckley's participation in the rededication. He said, "We have a history of prophets and apostles dedicating this beautiful edifice and how fitting today to have our living prophet, even President Gordon B. Hinckley, here to rededicate this beautiful edifice."

Elder Banks' wife, Susan, joined her husband and President Hinckley in speaking during the service. At President Hinckley's invitation, Leland M. Bird, president of the Springville Utah Kolob Stake, and Calvin Crandall, bishop of the Kolob 2nd Ward, gave some remarks. The roots of the ward go back to the original Springville 2nd Ward - which has since been renamed Kolob 2nd Ward - that was housed in the meetinghuse when it was built.

The third dedication of the 85-year-old structure was attended by approximately 1,400, mostly members of the Kolob stake's Kolob 2nd and 4th wards that meet in the building. The chapel, dominated by a high arched ceiling and with arches over the stained-glass windows and podium, was filled to capacity. The chapel is the major addition that was dedicated in 1931. The cultural hall, with its domed ceiling, was also filled. It was originally the chapel of the building when it was first dedicated by Elder Smoot. Closed-circuit television carried the most recent dedication proceedings to other members tucked away into virtually every other room in the building.

The most recent renovation was less visible than the one in 1931, according to Bishop Crandall. He said that problems with the heating system led to a serious evaluation of the building to determine whether it should be restored, sold or demolished. Saving the building required major work on the foundation, heating and cooling systems and electrical system, he said, and took about 21/2 years to complete. As for visual changes, the organ pipes were moved from the back of the chapel to the front, and there was new carpet installed and painting done throughout much of the building.

"What a beautiful structure it is," President Hinckley said. "When I came in here today I just marveled at it. It is just absolutely beautiful."

Referring again to the appearance of the building in his dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley said: "Now, we are grateful for this building which has been restored and renovated, made anew. We thank Thee for those who constructed the old structure. In their time it was beautiful and it served its purpose and we are grateful that it has been preserved for this time, a thing that comes down as an inheritance to us from those who lived in the past."

Construction on the original meetinghouse began just a few years after the Springville 2nd Ward was organized in 1892.

President Hinckley noted that it took 18 years to complete the building because the work was hard and the people in the area who contributed their time to the construction were busy with their farms and other occupations.

He said, "This building came out of faith, the old building. The women dedicated their Sunday eggs. The value of all the eggs that were laid on Sunday was contributed to the purchase of nails. I suppose some of those old nails are still in the shell of that building - egg nails."

President Hinckley spoke of the Church's expansion among faithful people throughout the world. He said there were fewer than 700,000 members of the Church when the meetinghouse was first built and about a million members when President Grant rededicated it.

Then he added, "Now we have become a vast family, 10 million strong, scattered among the nations of the earth - 160 nations - where we have a presence. We are moving out in a marvelous and wonderful way reaching across the world to fill the destiny of the little dream of Daniel and the stone that was cut out of the mountain without hands which should roll forth and fill the whole earth. It is a wonderful thing to see what is happening."

President Hinckley continued, "You people live in Utah, you live in Springville where there is faith." He told them they are among those whose tithing, skills, talents and missionary efforts help move the work of the gospel forward. "This is a wonderful place," he continued. "This is the seedbed of this work now, and it will go on growing in a marvelous and wonderful way."

He told the congregation: "We must be as the Saints of God, a good people, a righteous people, a faithful people, loving our neighbors who are not of our faith, helping them in whatever problems arise. Yes, by all means, with tolerance and love and respect for them. But at the same time going forward in our faith, the faith of the living God, the truth of the restoration."

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