Remembering those who walked pioneer paths

'We dedicate, consecrate all of these structures'

Following is the text of the prayer by President Gordon B. Hinckley in dedicating various structures and improvements in Kirtland and elsewhere in Ohio, May 18, 2003.

"Thanks be to Thy name, O Lord God of Israel, who keepest covenant and showest mercy unto thy servants who walk uprightly before thee, with all their hearts" (Doctrine and Covenants 109:1).

President Gordon B. Hinckley examines woodwork designed like Kirtland Temple pulpits.
President Gordon B. Hinckley examines woodwork designed like Kirtland Temple pulpits. | Photo by Shaun Stahle

With these opening words from the dedicatory prayer given by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple in 1836, we approach Thee, our Eternal Father, solemnly and reverently. We are met 167 years later as we dedicate various structures and improvements that have been made in a great work of restoration here in Kirtland and elsewhere in Ohio. We thank Thee for those whose thoughts have burned within them with a desire to bring to pass this restoration. They have contributed so generously to make all of this possible. Bless them, Father, for their great generosity.

Thou didst appear with Thy Beloved Son to the boy Joseph in the grove of his father's farm in New York to open this great and final gospel dispensation. There followed the coming forth of the Book of Mormon as another testament of the divinity of Thy Son. Then followed the restoration of the priesthood. And then came the glorious day of the organization of the Church.

There came also persecution, and Thy people were counseled under revelation to come to this area of Ohio.

Here in the days of their extreme poverty they built and dedicated the temple within whose walls Thy Son was seen in vision. There occurred a great Pentecostal outpouring unequaled before or since in all the history of Thy Church.

Their numbers were few at that season. Now Thy kingdom has become a great worldwide cause. The little stone which was cut out of the mountain without hands is rolling forth to fill the earth. Its membership, once numbered in hundreds, is now numbered in millions.

Its people, once persecuted and driven, are now respected and admired. A great and glorious miracle has come to pass.

All of this is a part of the decreed unrolling of the scroll of Thy work.

In words of revelation given in nearby Hiram, Thou didst foretell the universality of Thy kingdom, saying: "Hearken, O ye people of my church, . . . yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together.

"For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated" (Doctrine and Covenants 1:1-2).

Thy work is rolling on to its divinely mandated destiny.

Now, in remembrance of those who walked these pioneer paths long ago, we bow our heads in gratitude and thanksgiving. Those who lived and built here were Thy covenant people. Here Thou didst reveal in a wonderful and marvelous way the priesthood organization of Thy Church. Here high priests were first ordained. Here the Seventy were first called. Here the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was established. Here the Council of the First Presidency was created. Here a stake of Zion was organized. From here the great missionary work was carried to the eastern states, to Canada, and to the British Isles.

Split-rail fence lines creek with visitors center in background.
Split-rail fence lines creek with visitors center in background. | Photo by Shaun Stahle

In no other area of the Church was so much revelation received. In no other place was Thy Beloved Son so revealed to mortal man. In no other place was there such remarkable manifestations given to so many.

And here, in Kirtland, the very forces of the Almighty came to be locked in conflict with the forces of evil in a manner reminiscent of what occurred in the great war in heaven when the Son of the Morning was cast out and became Satan, the devil.

Kirtland became the sifting ground where the faithful were winnowed as grain from the chaff.

Thy people first came here in a season of great poverty. They were humble and obedient. They struggled and built according to Thy commandment. Then greed and speculation rose among them. Division deepened into bitterness until those who were loyal to Thy Prophet could no longer remain. The faithful left, leaving behind them all that they had struggled to build.

Now, dear Father, in memory of all that was done in that earlier time there has been a wondrous restoration. This restoration includes the following: the Kirtland Visitors' Center, the Johnson Inn, the Newel K. and Elizabeth Ann Whitney home, the Ashery operated by Newel K. Whitney, the Sawmill where was cut the lumber for the temple, the Kirtland School House which also served as the town hall and a place for Sunday worship, the Kirtland Heritage Center, part of the Isaac Morley farm, and various site improvements which have all been brought together to create a wonderful reminder of the past to those of this and future generations.

And now acting in the authority of the holy priesthood and in the name of Jesus Christ, we dedicate and consecrate all of these structures and improvements and rededicate the Newel K. Whitney Store and the historic Johnson home in Hiram unto Thee and Thy Beloved Son as an offering gratefully given and for the blessing of Thy purposes.

May this area become a great gathering place for Thy people from over the earth. May they come here, walk about with reverence and memories, feel the power of Thy Holy Spirit, and grow in faith and testimony concerning Thy work and Thy kingdom. May it be a place of spiritual refreshment, where hearts and minds will be touched by the power of the Holy Ghost to lead them to knowledge of Thee and their Redeemer, Thy Beloved Son. May it be a place where the stranger will be touched by Thy Spirit and come to know something of the wondrous workings of Thy cause and kingdom. May men and women from over the earth experience here a sure and solemn witness of the divine calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith and of the divinity of Thy work established through him.

Our Eternal Father, our hearts are filled with gratitude on this historic day. Pour out Thy blessings upon Thy faithful people wherever they may be. May they walk in obedience to Thy commandments. Wilt Thou bless them in their basket and in their store, and prosper them in their affairs. Strengthen their faith. May they ever look to Thee knowing that Thou art their God, their Father, their Refuge, their Deliverer, the Almighty Ruler of heaven and earth. May they look to Thy Beloved Son as their Redeemer, their Savior, the Prince of Life and Peace, the King Emmanuel, the Holy One. Wilt Thou smile upon Thy work throughout the earth. Touch the hearts of people everywhere that they may accept the testimony of those who are sent forth as messengers of eternal truth. Open the doors of the nations and touch the hearts of rulers that Thy servants may be welcomed to bless the lives of Thy sons and daughters everywhere.

O God, our Eternal Father, we so invoke Thy blessings in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

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