Reach out to Temple Square
My brothers and sisters, I have known President Woodhouse longer than I’ve known my wife. I love him—not as much as I love my wife, but I love him. And you know he is lovable. I’ve seen for years the influential hand that he has had in guiding the direction of this college.
I read the newspaper with glee as things were relocated from South Temple to here, and it struck me as I came in today—for years I came as an elected official into the quarters next door, which was KSL Radio and TV, and visited there on a regular basis for news of the local government and issues that frankly were not as edifying as what goes on here. And as Brother Craig Nelson and I met down in the parking lot this morning, as I stepped out of the car, I commented to Betty Lou, “The mood has changed on this block of the city. This is not the same block. This is not the same building or edifice.” I can sense that because I’ve been here a lot. I praise you, President, and your colleagues—and I see some of your faculty whom I have known for years and some of your staff—dear, dear, devoted people. So if I weep occasionally this morning, I feel like I’m home, and I feel like I’m among friends.
The choicest place that any person in the Church can be is to teach worthy, wonderful people and those aspiring—sometimes letting the past go, or trying to put their arms around the future. It is a wonderful, beautiful gift to be able to instruct and meet and deal with you, and to hear your views of life, and how the gospel comes to you, and as you look to the future. Someone said, a great historian, that the history of the past—and I look at this as an historian—the history of the past is a race between chaos and education. You take chaos out of your life and get more predictability in your life as you come here to enhance your skills and improve yourself and make certain that your earnings will be greater than they would have had you just been coasting along, letting life impact you and reacting to it. So I praise you for being good students. I know most of you, if you’re the kind of students that have to go to school nowadays—you’re working, many of you, eight hours or six hours a day.
I taught very recently at one of the other institutions in this valley, and I saw Taco Bell and McDonald managers come in, closing up at 2:00, meeting a 7:00 or and 8:00 o’clock class. And I went down on one knee, just thankful that they were able to do that, and to further their lives. And I suspect that’s the way it is for most of you. Some of you are raising families and have a sympathetic spouse or parent that will let you lean on his or her pocketbook. Hopefully that occurs occasionally. I praise you for that. And I come to you today, very raw as a mission president on Temple Square. I think because the President and I know each other, he thought that I’d probably been around there a long time. I’m very raw as a mission president. I’m not seasoned. But occasionally raw vegetables are better than cooked and seasoned folk, so if I appear a little raw today, give me some slack, will you? Give me some slack.
I want to share briefly with you a perspective on Temple Square, and start with February 14, 1853, and then talk about what’s going on in the Square today with a mission at Temple Square—who comes there, the remarkable magnetism of Temple Square, and an invitation to you to feel the Spirit in your life, and then a statement of my belief and testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
In 1853, Valentine’s Day, February—that’s when ground was broken, February 1853 at Temple Square for the Salt Lake Temple. I looked at an account of a man who went to be there at the groundbreaking, and he started from a long way away to be there at an early hour. He describes in his journal—his name is not known to us—but he describes in a journal, “I walked to the meeting this morning”—Temple Square groundbreaking—“the ground was broken for the Temple. I went through frozen mud and slush with my feet tied up in rags. I had on a pair of pants—pants made out of my wife’s skirt, a thin Scotch plaid. Also, a thin calico shirt, and a straw hat, which were all the clothes that I had.” February 1853—"all the clothes that I had." It’s a chilly day there, it was then. “It was to go this way or stay home.” As he looked around, he said, “I was not alone in poverty. There were many who were fixed as badly as I was.” And then comes a line: “And the prophet came.”
And the prophet came, and this is what the prophet said in his early announcement to them who were gathering—this is the Prophet Brigham Young. Brigham Young stood, and it stated, “He briefly recounted the trials”—this is the same journal—“briefly recounted the trials and persecutions they had endured in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, before the Lord led them to this consecrated spot. He told recent converts not to be jealous, not to be discouraged because they had not had all the privileges that many older members of the Church had had—the privilege of being robbed, of being driven, mobbed and plundered.” Don’t feel bad that you haven’t had all the privileges of those that came on before you. Isn’t that an interesting perspective? Did Brigham not know the power of adversity and how it filters and chips away the hard parts in our lives? He said it is sad that we have not had, all of us, the chance to experience Illinois, Missouri and Ohio. An interesting insight to adversity and hardship, is it not?
And then Brigham went on to say, “I promise you that you will yet endure lives, feel the same things if you remain faithful, that they felt.” Hard times, plundering, robbery in your life, abused if you will, by others, mistaken, misled. “We shall now again attempt, however, to build another temple. We’ve tried it many times. We may build yet another. We may now know we shall try it again.”
These were temple builders. I suspect one of the reasons Temple Square is such a remarkable and holy place is the dedication and the sacrifice of those that came in a pair of trousers made out of their wife’s skirt, or a thin calico shirt. And yet they were there. They were there to see that done, consecrated and hallowed.
The temple, as you know and can imagine—and I presume you’re all on your way there, if you’re not yet there, the temple is where every person in the Church can go. People come to Temple Square and they say, “Well, I want to get in the temple.”
It reminds me of a young man who came to Temple Square. He was from Italian descent, and he had heard about Temple Square. He got a tour, and my Italian accent is not very good, but he said to one of the guides, one of the sisters there, “I want to know…I want to meet the highest person in your Church. I want to meet the highest person in your Church.” Sounds presumptuous, does it not, someone coming to Temple Square and wanting to meet the highest person in the Church? And she didn’t quite know how to negotiate that. She continued to show him another sight in the Visitor’s Center, and he raised his hand again after she had finished, “Any questions?”
“I want to meet the highest person in your Church.”
And she didn’t know how to negotiate that. And it happened again. Finally she said, “Sir, who is the highest person in our Church?”
And he said, “You know, angelo. Angelo. Angelo Moroni!” And he is the highest in the Church. At least his statue is.
You would be amazed at what happens at Temple Square, and who comes. We’ve had Elijah visit there recently too. He wasn’t the genuine Elijah. But you see, all kinds come to Temple Square because something remarkable goes on there.
It is a witness, that Square, of the Church’s conviction of immortality. What goes on in the temple is a witness of our testimony that life goes on. It is a witness of immortality. And as you envision the temple, you can see literally progressing, at least in this temple, from room to room, an elevation of man’s life on this earth, and man’s life after life, from degree to degree. Almost palpable, almost witnessable, if you know what’s from the outside, moving stairwise and floorwise, in the temple. The symbolism is powerful, and that alone is enough for us to wonder at the remarkable construction and sacrifice that went into it. But I remind you brothers and sisters, it is not a place for perfect people. For perfect people are few in the temple, but worthy people go there. You don’t have to be perfect to go to the temple. You just have to be worthy. Any one of us can be worthy to go to the temple. In fact, I’ve often thought that perfect people in the Church, if we presume there are some, where do you suppose they hold their priesthood meeting? Or their Relief Society meeting? In my ward, anyway, and I know most of my neighbors in my ward, I think the perfect people would hold their meeting because they are so few, in the janitor’s closet. It’s small enough to hold them, and large enough to get them all. This is a Church of worthy aspirants. But perfection is an object—a desired goal and ambition that is part of our trek to eternity. So if you feel you’re not perfect and can’t go to the temple, just seek to be worthy and to qualify. Only worthy folk go to the temple. No unworthy and no perfect people go to the temple, you can be sure.
I’m thinking at the same time, in those days, when Parley P. Pratt spoke the same warning that Brigham Young did about that day. Parley P. Pratt stood and, in a few remarks—and he was a dear, loyal supporter to the Prophet Brigham Young—he said, “The temple is a holy sanctuary where the living hear from the dead.” You will appreciate as you frequent the temple in your life, the living get impressions and hear voices sweetly, silent voices of those gone beyond. I promise that that is your destiny as you seek to become temple worshippers. The ceremony in the temple—and it’s not as some say, an unusual, strange thing—the ceremony at the temple is sacred, not secretive. It’s sacred, so we don’t talk about some of the things that occur there. But the general feeling and experience we can share with the world. And we ought to. You know that temples are opened and rededicated, and the world is there. But it is sacred. It is not a secret place for us.
And yet, off the temple perimeter itself is that wonderful garden called Temple Square. And I’d like to turn your attention to Temple Square because you may not hear much about Temple Square on the street—some insights, if you will, about what goes on. Leroy Snow was the son of the Prophet Lorenzo Snow. One day he saw a trolley car parked out in front of the Beehive House. And he heard the guide taking the tour around telling some people, “That’s where the Mormon prophet lives. We don’t go in there because different things happen there. The Mormons are different.”
And young Leroy, standing outside the wall encircling the Beehive house, by the Eagle Gate, heard the man say that, and he walked up as the people got off. Some of them had Kodak cameras, because Kodak was a new thing—some of them had Kodak cameras in the 1880s and 90s—and were clicking pictures. And he said to the trolley driver, “I’m glad I was here today so that I could tell these people the truth, instead of the tales about what goes on in there.” He said, “My name is Leroy Snow, and my father lives there and my mother lives there. And I live there. Come on in! Come on in!”
He took them into the Beehive House and into the Lion House. His mother greeted them and said, “Welcome to our home.” And she apparently had just made some muffins or something, and passed them out. After 20 minutes or so with part of the Snow family, she said, “My husband’s coming home for lunch. Wait a minute,” and she introduced them to the Prophet. That shameful tour guide who owned the trolley, the next time he came to Temple Square he never spoke that way again about what goes on and the Mormons are strange folk.
That really becomes a kind of watershed of what started to happen on Temple Square. The Square, people saw, ought to be put out to the world in an organized, welcoming fashion. Those walls were initially built, strange to say, not to protect the Saints from the Indians as we often thought, or not to make work as we often think is the case. We hear the rumor Brigham had people build walls because they needed to be employed. They had jobs abundant. There were no laid-off people; there were no workless people. They had jobs. Now, Brigham paid people to build a fence around the Beehive House. There were people there. But also, there were people looking for jobs just in town. But the Temple Square walls were built because they had such remarkable tools there, those tools grew legs. They were walking off the site. People said, “I need that to build my fence out in…I’ll just borrow this for the weekend.” And so the temple progress was slowed down, the work on the temple because of borrowed tools. I suppose some of them borrowed them and took them to Malad, Idaho, and they’re still up there. But nevertheless, that was one of the reasons they built the wall around the temple.
Secondly, everybody in town was curious about what was going on at Temple Square, and so they would want to look in and see a friend, striking stone—and of course there were volunteer laborers there as well as skilled craftsmen—and they would say, “Come on, Jack, work harder.” “Come on, Bert.” You know? They would holler, “Get with it, boy, get with it,” from the sidelines. And there were also some who were backseat drivers. They knew how the temple could be built better. And those are the kind that we didn’t need, especially when we were running behind schedule. And it took 40 years. If we’d had all the backseat drivers accommodated, it could have been an 80-year temple build, right? But those were the two reasons why the wall was built.
Well, what would the Prophet say—our current Prophet—say about Temple Square? It’s different. As you come there as a missionary, and I think we have—President, if I’m correct—four former missionaries from the Salt Lake Temple Square mission as students here in the College. If any of you are here, would you raise your hand? I understand there are four. Sisters, will you please stand? They’re beautiful, but they make me cry. Thank you.
Those who come to Temple Square—and President Hinckley has a strong feeling about Temple Square, and a positive view of what goes on there—the Prophet would that people, when they come to Temple Square, don’t necessarily get converted to the Church. His primary desire is that Temple Square, once they’ve been there and once they’ve been taught briefly some doctrine of the family or of salvation or the apostasy, that they will have a changed image of the Church. That’s all. It is not what we would call a proselyting mission. It is to reach out and welcome the world. In fact, our sisters are reluctant, but they must—and they know this—they are kind of controlled, guided muscles or missiles, if you will, spiritual muscles or missiles.
They would love to go on and give them a Book of Mormon. They would love to go on and teach them the plan of salvation, and have them taught in a room. There are no teaching rooms for the gospel instruction at Temple Square. We don’t have any formally that are so addressed. Because if you told it all when they came on the Square as a visitor, and if you knew it all, would you be inclined to accept a referral and a set of missionaries coming to visit you in your home to deliver a Book of Mormon or a DVD? No, if I’ve heard it all, I could say easily, “I heard it all at Temple Square. It was wonderful. I was touched. I was impressed. But I pretty well know what the Mormons believe.”
So we give them, sweetly, a half loaf. A half loaf. Because the gospel change occurs on one’s knees—on your knees. And I would simply say as a footnote to that, if we put on Temple Square a monument where every spiritual experience or miracle happened, Temple Square would be cluttered with statues. It is simply the place where manifold, legion, hundreds weekly, spiritual experiences occur. So, we tell only part of the message and hope that a referral occurs, that they will then greet the missionaries in their own homes where they can get full lessons in the quiet of their homes and feel the influence of the promised truths of the Restoration. So it is a welcoming, not a proselyting, mission.
Well, 201 sisters are there; thirty-four senior couples. It’s a big mission. That’s two times 34. And the senior couples are asked not to take the lead, because they trust the approach that the Brethren over the years have felt worked best at Temple Square—the non-threatening sweetness of the sisters as called missionaries. You see, if I as an elder went there, I would be rather rigorous and the Doctrine and Covenants says we must “push” the people of the world to hear the…push! Push! That’s Doctrine and Covenants talk. But are we pushing? No. They’ve studied the approaches and teachings of missionaries past and present. In the 80s there was a survey done that said most of those who join the Church recall our missionaries as more passive than pushy. You can be pushy if you are a member bringing a referral. That’s where the push has to happen, right? So push yourself. Push yourself to Temple Square with a friend or someone who’s trying to find their way back.
But the sisters are very soft and less threatening. And they come from 34 languages—many more countries, but 34 languages spoken there. They go to the field for four months of their Temple Square experience, from Florida to Anchorage. They go out into the mission field. They get out there, and they sometimes don’t want to come back. Why? Because normally, they’re giving out a white referral card at Temple Square. But there, they’re seeing someone in white on the lip of a baptismal font. And it’s so much more rewarding and inviting to see someone dressed in white going to a baptismal font than accepting a referral card. You see, they don’t see most of their harvest. And they’ll go out there, and I’ve not spoken with one yet who went into the field who didn’t see someone come into the Church or did not have the results of her work that she has in fact served those four months away from Temple Square.
But then they come back, and after four months away, it takes them a day or two to get back in the spirit of Temple Square, and then they wouldn’t go anywhere again. You see? Is that not the power of the mission field? Wherever we serve, whether it’s Temple Square or in a field beyond that, the power of missionary work grips you and squeezes you, and somehow you’re not the same person you were when you came.
Just one final thought. You’d be interested to know that you see the sisters often dressed in beautiful long coats. We’ve asked them that they show color on the Square because occasionally people will come and say, “Oh we love the tour. We love the nuns at Temple Square.” So if you’re companion sister dresses in black this morning, you quickly get into something colorful, so we’re not perceived as nuns at Temple Square. Sister Stewart is collecting scarves, if any of you have unworn or worn scarves in good shape, just so you add color, it helps. You see, we are a colorful church.
And by the way, if you are a missionary that didn’t have fun on your mission, you missed a great element of your mission. It is a fun, wonderful place to be. But as with fun, you turn it backwards and it says, “Nuf.” That means there is a limit in spiritual situations, there is enough of too much fun in the mission field, or too much fun in life. It’s time to get serious. But it is a fun, joyous place to be. And your hearts lift as others lift with you.
One final point: Temple Square is the smallest geographical mission on the earth, of the Church. The smallest. Thirty-two square acres. And sisters or elders, those who have been there, you can never really get out of your area. What I mean is, you can’t get lost if you will. You’re there. We plant seeds. The exhibits, the history, all of that is taught, but it’s all tied back into a principle of the gospel. Yes, some history. The wonder in the buildings, and the wonder in the sites. But it’s tied always to the principle, whether it be family-related, or salvation or repentance-related, all of that.
May I just tell you quickly who comes to Temple Square? Sister Li, for instance. Sister Li, a missionary serving here. Her mother was from China, and went to visit her cousins in San Francisco. While she was there, just for two weeks, Sister Li’s mother met the missionaries and was so touched by the missionary conversations she had that she said, “Will you teach me?” and within two weeks, did join the Church. During the time she was there—met them the first day.
She went back home and told her daughter of this glorious experience she’d had in California, and her daughter said, “Mother, can I?”
“No. We live in mainland China, and proselyting and teaching the gospel is not sanctioned at this time.”
And as a result, her mother prayerfully, and knowing the feelings in her daughter’s heart, said, “Why don’t you go down to Kowloon, and why don’t you go down to Hong Kong? I’m sure you’ll find missionaries there.”
So she scraped together whatever few pennies she had so her daughter could take a bus to Hong Kong, and there she was taught the gospel and accepted it immediately, because she had seen this change come over her mother. The Book of Mormon says we get a new tongue and we get a new face, we get a new heart. The Book of Mormon talks about interchangeable body parts! And all of that happened to her, and a new life, and a new promise, and a new hope and a new future. So, Sister Li went back and filed her papers with the Chinese government for a visa to leave with a passport to go to the United States as a missionary. She was allowed to come as the first proselyting missionary on Temple Square. She is there today.
A footnote and aside: A few months before, an under-ambassador to the United States from China visited Temple Square and he was taught by two sisters there. He spoke English. He was impressed at what he heard, and there was a connection between what he felt and what he heard, and clearly the opening—in a very small way—to Temple Square for a wonderful Chinese mainland sister. And I would, with you, hope and even be so daring as to predict there will yet be more. There will yet be more. Because their time is near for the delayed release of the gospel. We could not absorb China. We do not have the priesthood or the organization capacity to absorb China. It is so massively large. And we’ve got a lot of work to do. They could absorb in just half their mission, the 60,000 missionaries across the Church. We are not ready, fully complete, to serve that country and those wonderful people as well.
There was a Portuguese sister who came out of the MTC and she was frustrated—knew no English other than what she had been taught. And three weeks here, said, “My mission is a failure.” And she turned to her companion, and her companion said, “Well, if it’s a failure, let’s go down to the call center,” down in the basement of the south Visitor’s Center. They went down there, and she got on the phone and that afternoon—started about 4:00 in the afternoon our time; I don’t know what it was in Portugal—when she left the call center that night, 59 people through Portuguese speaking in Portugal and Brazil, said “Yes, I want to receive a gift from those two young men or women who will come and I would like to be taught.” Now, that’s a valid referral. I will receive the gift, I will receive those missionaries and be taught. That is a referral, not just an invitation. Fifty-nine. This sister realized, "Even though my language is limited, there is something I can do." The call center reaches out beyond the perimeter of the United States and North America.
A young Baptist boy came on a Baptist bus twenty years ago to Temple Square with the intent purpose of working the Mormons over in the good summer stint between his college years. “Let’s go lay it on the Mormons!” His bus pulled up and they covered the Square—and I have wonderful Baptist friends; I can’t imagine them doing this. I cannot imagine that—but they went onto the Square. And their tour was to go to other places; not just Mormon sites, but perhaps go after some other religious sites in the American west. They had come from the Atlantic coast. Well, he came onto the site and strutted, if you will, perhaps that would be the right word—strutted and was rather abusive verbally to the missionaries on Temple Square. And then he left, and someone said, “Would you like to receive anything from us? Would you like to have continued contact?”
“No. Well, on second thought, I would like a Book of Mormon. Will you send me a Book of Mormon?”
The missionaries delivered the Book of Mormon some weeks later, and they tried to teach him. He said, “I’m not interested, but you can try.” And they went in and had a few lessons, and he then spurned them.
A few months later, a second group of missionaries out of an area book—referrals, you know, that are not yet found, not still warm if you will, but we cannot forget them. And it’s our relationship to former missionaries who labored hard and are hopeful that somewhere in the future there will be a spiritual connection with those they taught. Well, this area book name was there, and the missionaries went by and something clicked. Something clicked, and this man joined the Church.
December 28th, he appeared on Temple Square, and he walked in and said to Brother and Sister Pollard who were in the north Visitors’ Center, he said, “I just want to tell you my story.” He said, “Twenty years ago, I came to abuse the Mormons. I come back twenty years later; I am one. I am one.” And then he looked Elder and Sister Pollard in the face and he said, “Don’t ever give up on me or my friends or those who come. Don’t ever give up. A holy principle was taught to that Baptist boy—don’t ever give up.
Members come, non-members come. Four to five million people come to Temple Square. That’s a lot of people. About half of them are members of the Church. Is that also bad? No. They don’t wear the concrete down that badly as they walk across the floors. They don’t wear out the seats. Any rear will do that, you know. The Saints belong there too, because many of them come not yet connected or, having been connected, are now disconnected from the Church. And that’s a place to start again. It’s a neutral ground with kind people to receive you.
If I don’t have a relationship with my bishop or with a home teacher, and I want to come back active in the Church, how do I start? I don’t know how. Most of our people who have left or are momentarily not involved in the Church, they just slip away. They don’t fall out of bed at one time; they just sort of slip out of bed or slip out piecemeal. Very few deliberately leave the gospel of Jesus Christ as we see it through the Restoration. But they’ll come back, because there on Temple Square you see people who have moral authority. A bishop’s not there to see them, or they’re reluctant to go to a bishop because their life is checkered and they don’t feel comfortable and don’t know quite how to start or engage that. But on Temple Square you meet someone who is kind and interested and can encourage. And it is amazing to see the thousands who come to Temple Square and reconnect to the Church. So it’s just not for the world. It’s just not to announce the Restoration or to invite people to consider more. It connects people again with the best part of their lives.
It is a specially dedicated place. There is a feeling at Temple Square. This is hard to believe, but let me demonstrate briefly. Temple Square, if you are familiar with it, you sort of kind of get used to it. But the people who would not usually be Temple Square visitors, they will go on the Square and they will feel, they will feel, a kind of magnetism there. In fact, people at the south gate or the north gate could tell this to you at least daily, this kind of an experience. People will come to the Square and they will be wondering if this is a safe place to be. They’ll step onto the Square. They’ll step back, they’ll step on and back, and they are visibly sensing something they do not know how to describe.
Now, brothers and sisters, I say that advisedly. They can’t explain what they’re feeling. They can’t explain what the Square means. You and I have a sense. It is not a wonder to us. Those are dedicated buildings. The Spirit of the law goes out, as Isaiah spoke about in chapter 24. The world has broken the covenants, the everlasting covenants. The world says light is dark, and dark is light. And good is bad, and bad is good. You know that, you hear that. It’s all over; it’s all over the world. But when they come on Temple Square, those dedicated buildings, the dedicated missionaries, the tangible feeling of the Spirit is there.
I fortify that and come near to the conclusion now of my remarks. Some years ago I was invited by the United Nations because of the local government experience I’d had, and Brother Steve, President Steve talked about my time with the National Association of Counties. I was invited to head a world conference in the International Year of the Family to have mayors and corporate leaders come to Salt Lake City—700 mayors and corporate leaders came from 78 nations. I went to the Brethren and I said, “Can we host them in some way? Can you do a little reception? Can we have the Tabernacle Choir sing?” And Elder Faust and Elder Wirthlin said, “Brother Stewart, yes.”
By the time this International Year of the Family conference was held in Salt Lake—which went on to spawn, by the way, hundreds of smaller conferences in countries across the world as kind of the mother conference—President Faust and Elder Wirthlin said, “Brother Stewart, when they come, we will have a statement for the world on families.” A few months later, the Proclamation on the Family was given to the world.
A few months after that, the mayor from Tyche, Poland called me and she said, “Mr. Stewart, I have two friends. One of them heads the Polish national alcohol and drug and mental health program.” He was the cabinet member for Human Services. “They want to come to America, and we’ve heard some of the best places, and from what I saw some of the best places for excellent programs in America are right there in Salt Lake City. Can you arrange for them to see things?”
They came, and Sister Stewart and I met the plane. We had arranged for them to visit the wonderful sites in this valley where they could learn about outpatient, inpatient, alcohol and drug administration things. They spent ten days here. And we managed to squeak in Temple Square. They had dinner with us, and we were taking them to the airport, and we were right here between West Temple and Main Street. And at the light we started to talk, and I said, “Of all the things you’ve seen—these wonders of medicine and of mental health and of alcohol and drug treatment solutions—of all the things you’ve seen here in the last ten days, what did you like most?”
And almost sheepishly, but so sweetly, the head, that cabinet member from that beautiful Polish nation, looked over his shoulder to his colleague in the back “Of all the things that impressed you most in your visit, what was it?” And he went like that, [subtly pointed] as we passed Temple Square. He felt something. He felt something, and he’ll never forget.
There is a feeling there, brothers and sisters. I pray that you will take a friend. I pray that you’ll take a friend who’s not warm to the Church, and let that sweet spirit prevail. To a parent, a referral sent from Temple Square is a softer way to sell the gospel to your loved ones who yet need to come back.
I close with the Christus statue. You know that center piece, that beautiful piece of statuary on Temple Square. There the Norwegian, Bertel Thorvaldsen, in the 18-teens as a young sculptor, was famous because he had managed to sculpt the lives of several of the Twelve Apostles. He was invited to sculpt the Christus—Christ himself. He had great reservations to sculpt Christ. Remember now, this massive *statue we see in Temple Square. Thorvaldsen was reluctant to sculpt the Christ. There really was only one way to do this and that was to have models. So he took five models and proceeded, and after nine years he completed the Christus statue. He completed the Christ the same year the Book of Mormon came into publication. I don’t know if that’s a coincidence. But the attitude and spirit of that statue reflects the life of Christ. The influence of Christ was caught in stone. We know that it does not take us nine years to come to Christ.
President Harold B. Lee taught that there are two places the adversary cannot go: into the temple of God to destroy the work done there, and he cannot go into your mind unless you invite him. He cannot destroy the holy records done in the past for those beyond the veil. And we cannot afford to let the adversary into our minds. The adversary would take the best from us, and make us naked to ourselves, whereas the Lord clothed Adam and Eve in the garden and said, ‘You’re good enough for me; let’s move on.’”
I give you three keys: 1-Be offended at the bad stuff; 2-Never be found where the Holy Ghost cannot find you; and 3-Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. Historians marvel at how much a man could do in a lifetime. Of Joseph, Brigham Young said that Joseph made heaven and earth shake hands. He gave us a more perfect society.
This is a church with answers, and we must reach out to Temple Square as a place to start our own lives again, or another’s life that needs it.
I leave these thoughts with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.