Those who had the privilege of attending the dedication of the Kirtland Temple on March 27, 1836, later found it hard to express in words the profound spiritual manifestations of the occasion, wrote Milton V. Backman Jr., in his book, Heavens Resound; A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio 1830-1838.
Many present later testified of the presence of heavenly beings. "Frederick G. Williams testified that during the dedicatory service he had seen a heavenly messenger enter the temple and sit between himself and Father Smith. Some who attended the solemn assembly declared that the Savior was present. Truman O. Angell recorded in his journal that as Elder Rigdon was offering the opening prayer, 'a glorious sensation passed through the House,' and many felt a sensation that elevated their souls.
During the afternoon meeting, he reported, Joseph Smith arose and informed the congregation that the personage whom President Williams had seen was the apostle Peter, who had come to accept the dedication."
The dedicatory service concluded after seven hours, but the spiritual manifestations continued in the priesthood meeting that evening. "In addition to these reports of visions, prophesying, and speaking in tongues within the walls of the temple, many persons described other unusual developments that took place during the period of the dedication. Several witnesses reported that they saw an unusual light on the top of the temple. Others mentioned that they heard heavenly singing coming from the roof of the building.
There were those who later tried to record their experiences and feelings. "William Hyde wrote that 'this was, by far, the best meeting I had ever attended.' The gifts of the gospel, he added, were enjoyed in a marvelous manner. Benjamin Brown recalled that the Spirit of God was poured out profusely, as on the day of Pentecost. 'We had a most glorious and never to be forgotten time.' When Eliza R. Snow recorded her impressions of the dedicatory service, she wrote that 'no mortal language' could 'describe the heavenly manifestations of that memorable day.' The congregation, she said, felt the 'sweet spirit of love and union,' 'a sense of divine presence,' and 'each heart was filled with joy inexpressible and full of glory.' Nancy Alexander Tracy wrote that this was one of the happiest days in her life. Heavenly influences, she said, rested upon the Lord's House and heavenly beings appeared to many."