DEDICATIONS OF THE NAUVOO TEMPLE
By Lisle Brown
All Rights reserved, July 1998

During the construction of the Nauvoo Temple the Latter-day Saints dedicated the building, or portions of the building, as required. The following is a chronology of those occasions:

6 April 1841 -- Cornerstones laid at the four corners of the building under the direction of Joseph Smith (Smith. History of the Church, 4:326-331.)

8 November 1841 -- Basement and baptismal font dedicated, under the direction of Brigham Young (Smith. History of the Church, 4:446-447.)

24 May 1845 -- Capstone laid on southeast corner by Brigham Young. The southeast corner was also known as "Joseph's corner." (Smith. History of the Church, 7:417-418.)

30 November 1845 -- Attic rooms dedicated for ordinance work. Brigham Young  gave the prayer in the presense of those who had received their Endowments from Joseph Smith and who would now administer the same ordinances to many of the Saints living in Nauvoo and its environs. (Smith. History of the Church, 7:534-535.)

7 January 1846 -- Sealing altar dedicated by Brigham Young. The altar was located in Room 1, which was also Brigahm Young's temple office, in the southeast corner of the attic. (Smith. History of the Church, 7:566.)

8 February 1846 -- Temple dedicated, thus far completed, by Brigham Young before he left Nauvoo for the West. (Smith. History of the Church, 7:580.) One of those present, Henry Bigler, left a fuller account: "The Twelve met in the southeast corner, room No. 1, the upper story in the temple, kneeling round the altar and dedicating the building to the most high and asked His blessings upon our intended move to the west, also asking Him to enable them someday to finish the lower part of the building and dedicated it to Him and to preserve the temple as a monument to Joseph Smith, the Twelve, then left." (Henry W. Bigler, Autobiography, Lee library, BYU.)

30 April 1846 -- Private dedication by those who worked to finish the temple. The dedicatory prayer was given by Joseph Young, Senior President of the Seventy, who had been left in charge by Brigham Young of the men working to finish the temple for dedication. (Watson. Manuscript History of Brigham Young, pp. 147-148.)

The following from the May 1946 Improvement Era reports on the dedication:

The Temple at Nauvoo was dedicated this evening. Elders Orson Hyde, Wilford Woodruff, John, Joseph, and Phineas H. Young, J. M. Bernhisel, J. L. Heywood, and several others were present. Elder Joseph Young offered up the dedicatory prayer, dedicating the Temple, and all that pertained thereto to the Lord, as an offering to Him as an evidence of the willingness of His people, to fulfill His commandments, and build His holy house, even at the risk of their lives, and the sacrifice of all their labor and earthly goods. He prayed for the Twelve and all the authorities of the Church, and for the workmen that had wrought upon the Temple in the midst of persecution, want, and suffering, and for the deliverance of the poor; that the Lord would direct the brethren of the Camp of Israel, open the way before them and lead them to a place of His own appointment for the gathering of all the Saints. That God would avenge the blood of His servants the Prophets and of the Saints who had been slain for the testimony of the truth and mete out to our enemies the same measure which they had meted out to us. (Source: "Manuscript Records of the Nauvoo Temple.")

1-3 May 1846 -- Public dedication of the Temple under the direction of Orson Hyde, senior Apostle living in Nauvoo.  There were three dedicatory services. (Watson. Manuscript History of Brigham Young, p. 148.) The dedicatory prayer was given by Elder Hyde:

Holy and Everlasting Father, before Thee this morning we present ourselves and acknowledge Thy mercy that has been extended to us since we have been on Thy footstool, and for this opportunity of dedicating this house. We thank Thee that Thou hast given us strength to accomplish the charges delivered by Thee. Forgive us our sins and the sins of thy people. Thou hast seen our labors and exertions to accomplish this purpose. By the authority of the Holy Priesthood now we offer this building as a sanctuary to Thy Worthy Name. We ask Thee to take the guardianship into Thy hands and grant that Thy Spirit shall dwell here and may all feel a sacred influence on their hearts that His Hand has helped this work. Accept of our offering this morning, and that soul that blesses this temple let blessings rest on his posterity to the latest generation, and that soul that shall practice evil against this temple and Thy House, set Thy face against him and let evil take the portion of his inheritance. Administer to Thy people and let Thy honor and glory fall on our heads, not in the eyes of men but in the day when the world shall become Thy dominion. May we have the honor to tune the lyre that Thou hast redeemed us from every nation and made us holy and pure and that we have washed our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. It must needs be that offenses come, we offer it as the fruit of our labors and may the oppression under which they groaned be to our good. We ask that the angel of mercy may be round about this temple and that light may descend upon us and let us pass to the courts of the heavenly. Let Thy Spirit rest upon those who have contributed to the building of this temple, the laborers on it that they may come forth to receive kingdoms and dominions and glory and immortal power. Accept of us we pray Thee, inspire every bosom to do Thy will, cause that truth may lead them for the glorious coming of the Son of God when you come in the name of the King, the Lord of Hosts shall be the King. Gather us in Thy Kingdom through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen. (Thomas Bullock, Minutes of the Dedication of the Nauvoo Temple. Historic Sites File. Church Historical Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.)