Members of the Church will “serve God better if they cherish sacred experiences in which they felt the Spirit testify truths of the Savior,” President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, said as he addressed Saints and community members attending the dedication of the rebuilt Longfellow Park chapel in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
President Eyring and President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles both spoke at the dedication service for the chapel, newly reconstructed on the site of an historic building destroyed by an accidental fire. Elder Matthew J. Eyring, an Area Seventy in the North America Northeast Area, also spoke at the service held on June 19, 2011.
The Longfellow Park chapel holds special memories for both President Eyring, who attended meetings here as a student and who met his wife in Cambridge, and for President Packer, who served as president of the New England States Mission from 1965 to 1968.
Treasure Up Words and Images
Remembering the words spoken by the ninth President of the Church, President David O. McKay (1873-1970), during the first dedication of the chapel in 1956, President Eyring spoke of the blessings received by listening to a servant of the Lord.
“[President McKay] spoke of testimony and of evidence of the reality and message that the Savior broke the bands of death,” President Eyring said. “I felt again, from President McKay’s teaching and example, of the great value of treasuring up words and images that testify to hearts that Jesus is the Christ. When the Spirit certifies that truth, lives change for the better.”
Actions Show Memories Are Cherished
Memories are best cherished, President Eyring continued, when they are recalled and acted on. “The Lord gives us those testimonies to bless and reassure others, as well as ourselves,” President Eyring said. “He blesses us with those gifts of the Spirit, not for our salvation alone. In fact, if we overanalyze them privately long enough, they will become distorted, tarnished, and finally fade.”
President Eyring shared memories of moments of testimony he received while in the Longfellow Park chapel, which he said was restored “by purpose and to encourage you to recognize, remember, and reassure you of such gifts of the Spirit in your own lives.”
God Speaks through His Servants
From the memories he shared, President Eyring offered his testimony of hearing revelation from the mouth of servants of God. “First, I know that we can hear the voice of God, in mortality, in the voice of mortals. . . . I know for myself, from experience, that God can and does speak to us through His authorized servants, and He can tell us things about our hearts to bless and guide us beyond the unaided wisdom of the wisest human being.”
President Eyring said each person has been given the opportunity to choose to be a good and faithful servant of the Lord. Through the “mists that obscure our way in mortality,” the journey back to our Heavenly Father cannot be done successfully without His guidance and protection.
Seek Individual Guidance
Chapels are places where people can be guided by the voice of God, President Eyring said. “If you will see with spiritual eyes the importance of every day and every choice of mortality, . . . you could come here to listen to the servants of God. You could make and renew covenants that promise you that the Holy Ghost will be with you. It is by that Spirit that you receive the word of God for you.”
The Language of the Spirit
President Packer spoke of the Spirit communicating with words that are felt, not heard. “It is a language that one feels, rather than a language that one hears,” he said. He referred to Laman and Lemuel, who became “past feeling” and said, “If you are past feeling you cannot feel the words. If you learn that, then you learn all that is necessary.”
Expressing the feelings all Latter-day Saints have for their places of worship, President Packer said, “The Spirit of the Lord is in this building. It will be here when the building is empty. It will be here when you come late at night or in the morning,” he said, noting that the design of, and the spirit found in, LDS meetinghouses has been “tested over the generations.”
President Packer offered a blessing for the building, stating that all who come and go from the edifice would be blessed. He asked Heavenly Father to bless those in attendance that they would carry away from the meeting a feeling. He said, “It won’t leave you entirely. You’ll think it has, but it will reoccur, back in the stage of your mind. You’ll remember again who you are and what you have.”
The blessing he invoked brought to mind the blessing President McKay pronounced in 1943 at the dedication of an earlier chapel in a nearby location known as Brattle Street: “May there be such a sweet spirit that strangers who enter to scoff may partake of this sweet spirit and remain to pray.”