O God, our Heavenly Father, Thou who hast created all things, whose plans infinite and progressive, ever serve to foster closer relationship between Thee and the human family. We, Thy children, assemble before Thee this day in gratitude and praise. Thou hast said that Thy work and Thy glory is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
Therefore, human beings are engaged in life’s highest activity when they cooperate with Thee in bringing about this consummation. Earth with its barren rocks and saline seas, and lifeless planetary systems would be purposeless without the creation of intelligent human beings. Only in their creation and eternal destiny do we find the answer to the question:
“What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? And the son of Man, that Thou visitest him?
“For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.”
Plainly Thy glory is not in lifeless formations, but in the “immortality and eternal life of man.”
Temples are but one means of man’s cooperation with Thee in accomplishing this divine purpose.
On the occasion of the dedication of this, the fourteenth temple, may we first express overwhelming gratitude just to be alive in this great age of the world. We pause this morning to open our hearts to Thee for this special privilege. No other time in world history has been so wonderful—no other age wherein Thy secret powers have been more within human control; in no other era hath Thy purposes been nearer human comprehension. Help us, O Lord, truly to live!
Next to life we express gratitude for the gift of free agency. When Thou didst create man, Thou placed within him part of Thine omnipotence and bade him choose for himself. Liberty and conscience thus became a sacred part of human nature. Freedom not only to think, but to speak and to act is a God-given privilege.
Thou didst inspire Thy servant Brigham Young to say, “Every man’s independence is sacred to him—it is a portion of that same Deity that rules in the heavens. There is not a being upon the face of the earth who is made in the image of God, who stands erect and is organized as God is, that should be deprived of the free exercise of his agency so far as he does not infringe upon others’ rights save by good advice and good example.”
Personal liberty is the paramount essential to human dignity and human happiness.
Down through the ages men have been free to accept or to reject Thy righteous plan. History records how many have yielded to the enticements of the flesh, and how few, comparatively speaking, have followed the path of light and truth that leads to happiness and eternal life!
But Thy mercy, Thy wisdom, Thy love are infinite; and in dispensations past Thou hast pleaded, as Thou dost now plead, through chosen and authoritatively appointed servants, for Thy erring children to heed the gospel message and come to Thee. Holy temples are a means of extending Thy loving mercy to Thy children even beyond the grave.
When in the Middle Ages the church departed from Christ’s teachings Thou didst inspire honest, upright men here in Great Britain to raise their voices against corrupt practices. Mingling with the denunciatory messages of Luther and Melanchthon in Germany, and Swingli in Switzerland, were the voices of George Wishart and later John Knox of Scotland. We thank Thee that before the scorching flames silenced his tongue and reduced his body to ashes Thou didst permit George Wishart to glimpse that “This realm shall be illuminated with the light of Christ’s evangel, as clearly as ever was any realm since the days of the apostles. Thou house of God shall be builded in it; yea, it shall not lack the very copestone.”
Much clearer was the inspiration given President Wilford Woodruff, and President Joseph F. Smith, and other more recent apostles, who stated prophetically that “Temples of God…will be erected in the divers countries of the earth,” and that “Temples will appear all over the land of Joseph—North and South America—and also in Europe and elsewhere; and all the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, who received not the gospel in the flesh, must be officiated for in the temples of God before the Savior can present the kingdom to the Father, saying ‘It is finished.'”
We are grateful that in 1837 and 1840 authorized messengers were sent to Great Britain to announce to the people of the British Isles that God had again spoken from the heavens and re- established in its purity and fulness the gospel of Jesus Christ; that thousands accepted the message and subsequently emigrated to the headquarters of the Church.
We thank Thee that Thou, Great Elohim, and Jehovah, Thy Beloved Son, answered the fervent appeal of the lad Joseph Smith, and through subsequent administrations of angels enabled and authorized him to organize the Church of Jesus Christ in its completeness with apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc., as it was established in the days of the Savior and the apostles in the Meridian of Time.
In keeping with the unwavering truth that Thy Church must be established by divine authority, Thou didst send heavenly messengers to confer upon the Prophet Joseph Smith and others the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods, and subsequently all the keys of the priesthood ever held by Thy prophets from Adam, the Ancient of Days, through Abraham and Moses, Malachi and Elijah, with authority to “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” down to the latest generation. For this consistency, and completeness of restoration of authority, we express gratitude on this occasion and praise Thy holy name.
We express gratitude to Thee for the leaders of Thy Church from the Prophet Joseph Smith through the years to the present General Authorities—The First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve Apostles, the Assistants to the Twelve, the Patriarch to the Church, the First Council of the Seventy, the Presiding Bishopric.
With humility and deep gratitude we acknowledge Thy nearness, Thy divine guidance and inspiration. Help us, we pray Thee, to become even more susceptible in our spiritual response to Thee.
Bless the presidencies of stakes, high councils, presidencies of missions, bishoprics of wards, presidencies of branches, presidencies of quorums, superintendencies, and presidencies of auxiliary associations throughout the world—make them keenly aware of the fact that they are trusted leaders, and that they are to hold sacred that trust as they treasure their lives.
We are grateful that the members of the Church recognize that the payment of tithes and offerings brings blessings and makes possible the proclamation of the gospel to the ends of the world, and contributes to the carrying out of Thy purposes through the building of chapels, tabernacles, and eventually temples wherever the Church is organized in all lands and climes.
It is fitting that we express appreciation of the signing of the Magna Carta in the County of Surrey, the same county in which we meet today wherein the promise is given that no freeman shall be taken or imprisoned or disseized or outlawed or exiled…without proper trial by his peers or by the law of the land.
This protection of the individual is in keeping with Thy divine will; and any group of men who advocate an ideology that would deprive man of this individual right and heritage and make him a vassal of the state stamp themselves at once as enemies of Thy divine purposes.
We express gratitude for the right of free peoples to resort to the ballot, and for freedom to meet in legislative halls to consider problems and settle difficulties without fear or coercion of dictators, of secret police, or of slave camps. O Father, help people everywhere more clearly to realize that government exists for the protection of the individual, not the individual for the government.
Bless, we beseech Thee, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the II, the Houses of Parliament, and all branches of government throughout her Majesty’s realm, that the high reputation of this great government for the proper and just enforcement of law may continue to be meritoriously maintained.
May the United States government with Great Britain, her Dominions, and freedom-loving countries everywhere, including South American republics, hold so sacredly the principles of self-government, and give to their peoples such enjoyment of peace, tranquility, and opportunities for progress as will make communistic governments of dictatorship, of mock trials, of unjust imprisonment, of enforced tyranny, so universally reprehensible as to be discarded forever by liberty-loving peoples.
That peace may eventually prevail, Thou hast again restored in its fulness the gospel, and established authoritatively the Church of Jesus Christ. Even so, there are millions who are being influenced by false ideologies which are disturbing the peace of mind and distorting the thinking of honest men and women. O Lord, guide and protect Thy messengers in their efforts to convince honest people in all lands and climes that Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the light” and that “there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”
Bless well-meaning men in all climes as they strive to hasten the day when men will renounce contention and strife and desire to use the great nuclear discoveries of the present day not for war and destruction, but for peace and spiritual advancement.
To this end, we beseech Thee to influence leaders of nations that their minds may be averse to war, their hearts cleansed from prejudice, suspicion, and hate, and filled with a desire for peace and goodwill.
While his body lay in the tomb Christ, Thy Beloved Son, preached to the spirits in prison who once were disobedient in the days of Noah, thus evidencing that those who have passed beyond the veil must also hear the word of God and obey the eternal principles of life and salvation.
Temples are built to Thy holy name as a means of uniting Thy people, living and dead, in bonds of faith, of peace, and of love throughout eternity.
Help all, O Father, to realize more keenly and sincerely than ever before that only by obedience to eternal principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ may loved ones who died without baptism be permitted the glorious privilege of entrance into Thy kingdom.
Increase our desire, therefore, to put forth even greater effort toward the consummation of Thy purposes.
To this end, by the authority of the Holy Priesthood, we dedicate this, the London Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and consecrate and set it apart for the sacred purposes, for which it has been erected. We ask Thee to accept this edifice and to guard it from foundation to tower. Protect it from earthquakes, tempestuous storms, or other devastating holocausts. We dedicate the ground on which it stands and by which it is surrounded. May the baptismal font, the ordinance rooms, and especially the sealing rooms be kept holy that Thy spirit may be ever present to comfort and to inspire.
Bless the persons who are charged to look after all mechanical installations and fixtures that they may do so skillfully, faithfully, and reverently.
Bless the president of the temple and his wife as matron. Let humility temper their feelings; wisdom, and kind consideration guide their actions. May they, and others, who will be appointed as assistants and custodians, maintain an atmosphere of cleanliness and holiness in every room. Let no unclean person or thing ever enter herein; for, “my spirit,” sayeth the Lord, “will not dwell in unclean tabernacles”; neither will it remain in a house where selfish, arrogant, or unwholesome thoughts abide. Therefore may all who enter this holy temple come with clean hands and pure hearts that Thy Holy Spirit may ever be present to comfort, to inspire, and to bless.
If any with gloomy forebodings or heavy hearts enter, may they depart with their burdens lightened and their faith increased; if any have envy or bitterness in their hearts, may such feelings be replaced by self-searching and forgiveness. May all who come within these sacred walls feel a peaceful, hallowed influence. Cause, O Lord, that even people who pass the grounds, or view the temple from afar, may lift their eyes from the groveling things of sordid life and look up to Thee and acknowledge Thy providence.
Through love for Thee, our Heavenly Father, and their fellow men, faithful members of Thy Church, and others who believe in Thee, have made possible by tithes and other generous contributions the erection and completion of this Thy holy house.
Accept of our offering, hallow it by Thy presence, protect it by Thy power.
With this prayer we re-dedicate our lives to the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth for the peace of the world, and to Thy glory forever, in the name of Thy Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
President David O. McKay
London England Temple Dedicatory Prayer, September 7-9, 1958