The London Temple has stood as a visible landmark of the spiritual strength and commitment of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles for 34 years.
Now remodeled and refurbished, the temple, which was completed in 1958, was rededicated Oct. 18-20.Members from throughout the London Temple district - England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland - attended the rededicatory services.
Representing the First Presidency at the dedicatory services were President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson. In addition, other General Authorities also spoke. (See box on page 3 for listing of General Authority speakers.)
President Hinckley offered the prayer of rededication in the first session in the London Temple.
In the first of 10 different addresses he delivered in the temple, he reflected on the history of the temple, which was originally dedicated in September 1958 by President David O. McKay. President Hinckley recalled some of his own experiences as a missionary to England in the 1930s. As a newly sustained member of the Council of the Twelve, he spoke during the original dedicatory ceremonies in 1958. At that time, he was responsible for temple sites and construction and operations. As he helped prepare the temple for its first dedication, he and his family lived in a house on the temple grounds for a month.
At the rededication of the temple, President Hinckley read from the text of the address he delivered at the dedication 34 years ago. He spoke of the struggles of early missionaries, "
the tears of parting and the sacrifices of their loved ones, of their loneliness in times of peril and strife in the days of persecution in these Islands.' " He spoke also of the members "who accepted the gospel in early years and paid such a price for their testimony.. . .
All of the sacrifices of all who have gone before are a part of the price, of the cost, of this house of the Lord in which we worship today,' " President Hinckley said. "This building cannot be reckoned alone in terms of pounds sterling; it must be reckoned in terms of struggle and sacrifice and devotion and loyalty and love and faith and testimony and conviction. What a price it has cost! But it has been worth every farthing because it now offers to the people of this and other lands the wholeness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.' "
In another rededicatory session, President Hinckley announced that the Church had acquired a site in the general area of Preston, England, in anticipation of the future construction of a temple. (See Church News, Oct. 24.) In speaking of that future temple, President Hinckley encouraged members who will be in that temple district - the northern part of England, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland - to not put off coming to the London Temple. "May this holy House of the Lord be used and kept full," he said.
He spoke of the eternal ordinances performed only in LDS temples, and of the necessity of that work. "The temple bears the inscription, `House of the Lord, Holiness to the Lord.' This is His house. He doesn't want it kept as a monument; He wants it used."
President Monson, in one of his addresses in the London Temple, spoke of his British Isles ancestry. He related that his great-grandfather and his brother were some of the earliest converts to embrace the gospel, having been baptized in 1847 and 1848. "They were coal miners in the little shire of Clackmannan [in ScotlandT. At one time I read the history of the coal miners of Scotland - how a father would take down into the mines his wife and his children. He would work feverishly to mine the coal and pack it in bags, 56 pounds in weight, that his children would then climb the ladder hundreds of feet, and his wife, taking a heavier load, would climb the ladder and dump the crop of his minings into a bin from which his meager earnings were calculated.
"I'm so grateful that one of my ancestors left the coal mines and became a workman in an inn where Elder Sharp from the United States came to visit and taught him the gospel."
President Monson spoke of his mother's family, the Millers and the Watsons, who came from Rutherglen, Scotland. He said his great-grandmother traveled with a group of saints to New Orleans, and then tragedy struck as family members contracted cholera. The father died, then two days later, the mother. A day later, a brother died, and the next day, another brother. "Then lovely Margaret Miller, an orphan, with what was left of her family, went to Zion, the Valley of the Great Salt Lake," President Monson said, expressing personal and tender feelings toward his British Isles ancestry.
In another of his addresses in the London Temple, President Monson spoke of a painting in a London gallery. The work depicts a doctor tending a sick child, with worried parents looking on in the reflected glow of a lamp in a dark room. In the background is a window, through which can be seen a faint promise of dawn's brightness. President Monson said that many people focus on the darkness of the room, but he appreciates the fact there is light from heaven even if a little one perishes. "Death is not the end," President Monson affirmed. "The temple will bring us closer to those who have gone beyond." Many people, he observed, walk in the glow of the reflected lamp when they could go in the brightness of heaven.
During the sessions, London Temple Pres. Ralph Pulman and his counselors, Leonard Joyce and Percival Terrell, and the temple matron, Retta W.C. Pulman, were called on to bear their testimonies. Also bearing their testimonies were wives of General Authorities who attended the sessions: Marjorie P. Hinckley, Frances J. Monson, Inis E. Hunter, June D. Oaks, Barbara B. Ballard, Patricia T. Holland, Pamela W. Johnson and Anne H. Pinnock.