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Mormon Temple Dedications
A temple dedication is a supremely sacred ceremonial enactment in the Church, which consecrates the building to the Lord before the beginning of temple ordinance work. From the time of the dedication of the Kirtland Temple in 1836 until 1990, forty-six LDS temples have been dedicated.
The dedication of a temple is a time of great rejoicing and spiritual celebration. Men, women, and sometimes children who live within the area to be served by the temple and have temple recommends are invited to sessions held within, or adjacent to, the temple. These ceremonies are repeated several times to accommodate all who can participate. Most come in the spirit of fasting and prayer. The ceremonies include sacred choral anthems, such as Evan Stephens's "Holiness Becometh the House of the Lord," and special addresses from the General Authorities. A formal dedicatory prayer is offered under apostolic authority. Historically these prayers encompass the whole sweep of the modern dispensation, invoking divine blessings on all mankind, living and dead. They have often been prophetic of world events (see D&C 109).
At some point in all temple dedications the congregation rises and, while waving white handkerchiefs, unites in the shout "Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna, to God and the Lamb" three times (see Hosanna Shout). This solemn expression was introduced by Joseph Smith at Kirtland (see D&C 19:37; 36:3; 39:19). It is reminiscent of the praise of the followers of Jesus as he descended the Mount of Olives (Matt. 21:1-11), and of the outcry of the multitudes in America while surrounding the temple in the land Bountiful: "Blessed be the name of the Most High God" (3 Ne. 11:17); it also parallels the "praising and thanking the Lord" by voices and instruments at the dedication of Solomon's temple (2 Chr. 5:11-14).
The dedication of a temple is ultimately the dedication of people. In the spirit of sacrifice, they build it, and in the same spirit they perform sacred ordinances within it. The dedication sets the building apart from all other Church edifices. It becomes a consecrated sanctuary not for regular Sabbath worship sessions but for daily performances of temple ordinances.
All the gifts of the Spirit and of the holy priesthood mentioned in scripture have been manifest at one time or another in the spiritual outpourings attending temple dedications, including visions, revelations, healings, discernment, and prophecy; and likewise the fruits of the Spiritlove, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, faith. For Latter-day Saints on such occasions it is as if the earthly and heavenly temples meet and as if the rejoicing of ancient worthies mingles with that of mortals. These experiences and subsequent service in the temples lead to "the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant" (D&C 107:19). They are earthly demonstrations of celestial unity. President Wilford Woodruff wrote, "The greatest event of the year  was the dedication of the Great Salt Lake Temple. The power of God was manifest and many things revealed" (Journal of Wilford Woodruff, Dec. 31, 1893, HDC).
Woodbury, Lael. "The Origin and Uses of the Sacred Hosanna Shout." Sperry Lecture Series. Provo, Utah, 1975.
by D. Arthur Haycock
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company