NAUVOO, Ill. President Gordon B. Hinckley asked the thousands gathered outside the south side of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple to note the lettering on the edifice's newly placed coverstone: Originally built 1846. Rebuilt 2002.
"That's highly significant a wonderful thing," said President Hinckley during the temple's June 27 coverstone ceremony marking the completion of the reconstructed building. Nauvoo's remarkable and sacred spot in Church history had come full circle. Once again a stately temple built under a prophet's direction welcomed the world in western Illinois.
The pre-dedication event, attended by 4,115 people and conducted on a nearly cloudless, warm morning, gave President Hinckley and other Church and civic leaders the opportunity to place and seal the limestone temple's coverstone.
"We think this Nauvoo [coverstone] is deserving of real attention," President Hinckley said. "What a great occasion this is, the 27th of June, 2002, when we solemnly and reverently memorialize the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, on this date in 1844."
President Hinckley recognized the many Church leaders, workers and contributors who united and played generous roles in rebuilding the Nauvoo Illinois Temple.
"We're all one great family on this happy and delightful occasion."
Before sealing the coverstone, President Hinckley placed several artifacts such as historic news articles, copies of the Standard Works and tools used to build the temple, inside the temple's coverstone box. The box was then placed inside a small opening in the wall near the bottom of the southeast corner of the temple before being sealed behind the coverstone.
Many others joined President Hinckley in sealing the coverstone, including several members of the Quorum of the Twelve and the mayors of Nauvoo and Quincy, Ill., and Fort Madison and Keokuk, Iowa.
Nineteenth-century Quincy residents have long been applauded for offering refuge to desperate, displaced Latter-day Saints more than 150 years ago.
"The bonds that were formed back in 1839 are even stronger today in 2002," Quincy Mayor Charles Scholz said.
President Hinckley concluded the coverstone ceremony with a final reminder of the importance of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple:
"This is Joseph's temple. He began it in 1841, the original. It was completed in 1846 and then left. And now, beginning again, we have reconstructed it. It is a magnificent building."
President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve offered the invocation at the ceremony. Elder David B. Haight, also of the Twelve, gave the benediction.
Music was provided by a combined choir of youth from units in the temple district.
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