AUDIO CLIPS OF PRESIDENT HINCKLEY
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NAUVOO, ILLINOIS - Thousands of
Latter-day Saints gathered in this
Mississippi River community today to participate in an historic service to
set in place the cornerstones for the reconstruction of the Nauvoo Illinois
President Gordon B. Hinckley, worldwide
leader of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, presided at the event which marked the
beginning of stonework on the exterior walls of the temple. Today's
service also commemorated the cornerstone ceremony of the original Nauvoo Temple which took place here 159
years ago on 6 April 1841.
Local dignitaries and invited guests,
including Nauvoo Mayor Tom Wilson, attended along with a crowd of more
4,600 Church members and Nauvoo townspeople.
In his opening remarks, President
Hinckley explained that Joseph Smith, first prophet and president of the
had given instructions for the order of cornerstone placement: southeast, southwest, northwest, northeast (a
clockwise rotation). The Prophet Joseph also instructed that the First Presidency of the Church should lay the first
stone with the other stones placed by those designated by the First Presidency.
In accordance with those instructions,
President Hinckley, representing the First Presidency, officiated at the
southeast stone. After brief remarks, he mortared-in the stone and offered a prayer, establishing an order of events
followed in each of the corner ceremonies.
An hymn sung by a choir of missionaries
from the Illinois Nauvoo Mission concluded the placement of the southeast
stone. All hymns sung in today’s service were selected from those appearing in the Church’s first hymnal compiled
by Emma Smith, wife of the Prophet Joseph.
Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding
Bishop of the Church, directed the placement of the southwest stone with
assistance from Aaronic Priesthood leaders of the Nauvoo First Ward: Bishop Merlin L. Reittinger, Teachers Quorum
President Hans S. Smith and Deacons Quorum President Jared M. Brown. Following remarks by Bishop Burton, all
assisted with the mortaring and Bishop Reittinger offered the prayer. The missionary choir sang to complete the
southwest corner ceremony.
Representing the Melchizedek Priesthood,
Nauvoo Stake President Durell M. Nelson officiated at the northwest
corner, assisted by President Arthur Lee Noe of the Nauvoo First Ward Elders Quorum. President Nelson gave
remarks, both local priesthood leaders mortared-in the stone and President Noe offered the prayer. The hymn was
sung by a choir of Church members from the Nauvoo Stake.
At the northeast corner, President
Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,
with the assistance of Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Also assisting and representing
the Quorums of the Seventy were Elder L. Aldin Porter and Elder Donald L. Staheli. President Packer gave remarks,
all four general authorities participated in mortaring the stone, Elder Porter offered the prayer and the Nauvoo Stake
choir concluded the northeast ceremony.
At the original cornerstone services
in 1841, the women of the Church presented the Prophet Joseph with an
American flag. As a remembrance of that occasion, Nauvoo Stake Relief Society President Corey B. Hart presented
President Hinckley with an 1841 flag. Nauvoo First Ward Relief Society President Kathy J. Porter presented the
Church leader with a current American flag.
President Hinckley concluded today’s
services noting that the cornerstones of the temple should remind all
Latter-day Saints of the Savior who was described by the Apostle Paul as "the chief cornerstone."
Weighing 1400 pounds each, the
four cornerstones set in place today came from a limestone quarry in Alabama.
The stones were cut in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and finished in Salt Lake City. They represent the beginning of a stone
sculpting project that is believed to be one of the largest in recent history where every effort will be made to replicate
the appearance of the original Nauvoo Temple.
Participating in the ceremony was General Authorities of the Church; President
Gordon B. Hinckley, Presiding Bishop H David Burton, President Boyd K.
Packer, Elder David B. Haight, Elder L. Aldin Porter, Elder Donald L Staheli,
as well as local Church leaders and women of the
Church’s Relief Society. Four large stones were set in place, one at each corner, beginning with the southeast corner of the temple.
The audience prior to the ceremony.
Two choirs, one made up of missionaries from the Nauvoo Mission and the other composed of Church
members from the temple district, sang hymns chosen from the first hymnal of the Church.
South west corner just before the ceremony.
The block upon which the temple sits is an active construction site, not yet landscaped as it will be for the dedication
services which will likely occur sometime in February of 2002.
The fire of artillery, discharge of cannon,
a brass band and a formal procession formed the prelude of a ceremony on
April 1841 to set the four cornerstones of the Nauvoo Temple a sacred structure for early members of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Now, 159 years later, this ceremony has been
repeated on a smaller scale. On 5 November 2000, four large cornerstones
have again be set for a temple in Nauvoo, Illinois. The Temple will be constructed to appear almost as a replica of
the original temple built on this same site in the early 1840s. The ceremony took place on 5 November 2000, engendering in
Latter-day Saints feelings of reverence toward their Church’s history and the doctrines tied to temples.
"For Latter-day Saints who have their historical
roots in Nauvoo, whose ancestors helped build that first Nauvoo temple,
this ceremony will be a return to the past and a celebration of the importance of temples today," says Glen M.
Leonard, Director of the Museum of Church History and Art. "We look at Nauvoo as the temple where the fulness of
priesthood ordinances was first introduced. So, to rebuild that temple is bringing us back to our real beginnings as a
Cornerstone-setting ceremonies have always
been a part of Latter-day Saint temples. For temples constructed in the
19th century, including the Church’s first temple in Kirtland, Ohio, Church leaders set cornerstones at each corner. For
subsequent temples, they adopted the practice of setting a single fascial cornerstone as part of the temple’s
dedication once the temple was completed.
At the southwest corner, Presiding Bishop H.
David Burton hands the mortaring trowel to
President Jared M. Brown of the Nauvoo First
Ward Deacons Quorum.
President Gordon B.
Hinckley waves as he
arrives at the Nauvoo Temple reconstrucition site
for 5 November 2000 cornerstone services.
Nauvoo Stake President Durell M. Nelson
speaks at the northwest corner.
President Hans S. Smith of the Nauvoo First
Ward Teachers Quorum applies mortar to the
southwest cornerstone of the Nauvoo Temple
with assistance from Elder Donald L. Staheli of
the Seventy while Nauvoo Stake President Durell
M. Nelson, left, and Nauvoo First Ward Bishop
Merlin L. Reittinger, right, look on.
Although he cannot walk or run, President Hans
S. Smith, leader of the Nauvoo First Ward
Teachers Quorum, doesn't let that slow him
down. He enjoys his service in the Aaronic
President Gordon B. Hinckley and Elder David
B. Haight greet Church members at the
conclusion of the Nauvoo Temple cornerstone
President of the North America Central Area,
Elder Donald L. Staheli mortars the northeast
President Boyd K. Packer mortars the northeast
cornerstone while Elder David B. Haight and
Elder Donald L. Staheli wait to follow him.
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