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by Tad Callister
Dedication is the act of devoting or consecrating something to the Lord, or "setting apart" something for a specific purpose in building the kingdom of God. It is a priesthood function performed through an official and formal act of prayer.
For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedications serve at least two clear functions. First, they call down the powers of heaven to establish a sacred space or time in the furthering of the desired purpose. Second, they consecrate the participants, focusing their souls upon the meaning of the dedicated object or act. In this way the secular is brought into sacred relationships, and the blessings of God are invoked so that the powers of heaven and earth are joined to bring about works of righteousness.
LDS church buildings are always dedicated to the Lord, usually after all indebtedness is removed. In the Bible the first recorded dedicatory prayer is that of the Temple of Solomon (1 Kgs. 8:22-53), at which time the glory of the Lord filled the temple, in divine approval. The first temple dedication in this dispensation was on March 27, 1836, when the Prophet Joseph Smith dedicated the Kirtland Temple as "a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God" (D&C 109:8). Since then many LDS temples and thousands of meetinghouses around the world have been similarly dedicated to the Lord. Church buildings such as schools, visitors centers, storehouses, office buildings, and historical sites are also dedicated to the Lord for their intended uses. Schools may be dedicated as institutions of learning and character development, while bishop's storehouses are dedicated to provide Welfare and physical supplies for the needy.
Lands and countries may be dedicated, sometimes more than once, for divinely appointed purposes. On October 24, 1841, Elder Orson Hyde ascended the Mount of Olives and dedicated the land of Palestine for the return of the Jews and the rearing of a temple. It was rededicated on six other occasions. More than thirty-two countries and entire continents have been dedicated for the preaching of the gospel.
Homes of the saints, whether or not they are free of debt, may be dedicated "as sacred edifices where the Holy Spirit can reside, and as sanctuaries where family members can worship, find safety from the world, grow spiritually, and prepare for eternal family relationships" (Church Handbook of Instructions, 11-2, 1989). On some occasions it has been deemed appropriate to dedicate business places or enterprises to accomplish righteous and divine purposes. It is customary in the Church to dedicate graves as the final resting place for the deceased, asking that the ground be hallowed and protected until the day of resurrection.
Olive oil is also consecrated by a dedicatory prayer. It is thus set apart by the power of the priesthood for the divinely prescribed purposes of blessing the sick and anointing in the temple (James 5:14; D&C 109:35; 124:39).
(See Basic Beliefs home page; Church Organization and Priesthood Authority home page; Priesthood Organization home page; Priesthood Ordinances home page)
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Dedications
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
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