POCATELLO — With hundreds looking on, the Pocatello Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was dedicated with a cornerstone ceremony Sunday.
The dedication included a ceremonial mortaring of a concrete seal box near the entrance to the temple, and an address from M. Russell Ballard, the acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Ballard, the great-great-grandson of church founder Joseph Smith’s brother Hyrum Smith, explained the purpose of the ceremony.
“Since the beginning of the church, in these latter days, whenever temples have been announced and constructed, it’s been customary and appropriate to mark their progress with a special ceremony directed in praise of our Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ,” he said.
The cornerstone ceremony marks the completion of the temple’s construction, which began on March 16, 2019.
Thousands of people were able to tour it last month during an open house. It has now been dedicated as a house of God, which means only church members endorsed by their ecclesiastical leader can enter.
The ceremony itself predates modern construction practices. A concrete tile was placed over a sealed box and inside it, Ballard explained, is an assortment of items representing the church, the region and the church members within it.
Among the items sealed inside the box is a recent edition of the standard works of the church, which includes The Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. High school students in the region were asked to mark their favorite scriptures within the book.
The box also contains, among other items, a history of the Pocatello First Ward (the name of a church congregation in that area), Church President Russell M. Nelson’s biography and a hymnal from 1928.
Ballard quipped, as he read off the items enclosed, that the hymnal was written the year of his birth, before closing his statements with a reminder to those watching what the ceremony represented.
“The important thing to remember in all of this is the reminder of the place of the Savior in the affairs of the church and kingdom of God,” he said. “He is the cornerstone of this work, on which all else rests.”
This is the 170th LDS temple to be dedicated, and the sixth in the state of Idaho — the first since Nov. 19, 2017, when the Meridian Temple was dedicated.
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