Under the direction of President Ezra Taft Benson, President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, rededicated the hundred-year-old Provo (Utah) Tabernacle on September 21. Preceding the dedicatory prayer, the capacity crowd heard addresses from President Benson, President Monson, and Elder Paul H. Dunn, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Second Counselor in the Utah South Area Presidency.
Construction on the tabernacle, which was first recommended by President Brigham Young, began in 1883. The building was in use by 1885, and the fifty-sixth and fifty-seventh annual Church general conferences were held there in 1886 and 1887, even though the Provo tabernacle wasn’t dedicated until 17 April 1898. The tabernacle has undergone extensive restoration during the past three years.
In his address, President Benson praised the efforts of the members of the Church in furthering the Lord’s work on earth. “Never have the efforts of so few resulted in the blessing of so many,” he said.
Noting that still more needs to be done, President Benson pointed to six things members can do to increase their faith. Advising Saints to increase love at home, President Benson said, “Husbands and wives must love and cherish one another. Selfish attitudes must be overcome. Faults must be overlooked. Contention must cease. Husbands and wives must be true and loyal to each other and to the sacred covenant of marriage.”
He also advised members to draw near to the Lord in personal prayer. “Is there a man or woman in this Church who, in his or her most private, intimate moments, does not feel a deficiency in faith and spirituality?” he asked.
President Benson urged Church members to read the Book of Mormon and other scriptures as a way to develop “spiritual mindedness.” He said the Book of Mormon teaches that “blessings come by keeping the commandments of God and that tragedy is the result of disobedience. By learning the lessons of the past, mistakes need not be repeated in our own lives.”
Members were also told to attend the temple frequently in order to become more Christlike and to magnify their Church callings. Referring to reports from bishops and stake presidents that some members turn down calls to serve on the premise that they’re too busy, he said, “The Lord expects each of us to have a calling in His church so others may be blessed by our talents and influence. He expects us to magnify those callings.
“If we are too busy to hold a Church calling, we had better look at our priorities,” he added.
Finally, President Benson urged members to serve their fellowmen with “quiet acts” not compelled by duty.
In his remarks, President Monson bore witness of President Benson as a living prophet, adding that he knows of “no man who lives closer to God than His prophet, seer, and revelator.”
President Monson joined President Benson in counseling members to read and follow the teachings of the Book of Mormon. He also urged the Saints to help distribute this holy work of scripture. “We never know, my brothers and sisters, when the conveyance of a gift such as the Book of Mormon will bring to others the supreme benefit of eternal life,” he said.
In rededicating the tabernacle, President Monson said, “We dedicate our lives to the past and to the present and to the future—to the past, because we came out if it; the present, because we live in it; and the future because our children will inherit it.”
Elder Paul H. Dunn discussed both the physical and spiritual structures members build, noting that the spiritual side of man is built by reading the scriptures.
During the rededication, President Benson was presented a notebook containing the names of 5,352 members in the Provo Utah Region who had committed to read or reread the Book of Mormon in the coming year.