- George A. Smith, counselor in the First Presidency to President Brigham Young, once said by way of caution, “We may build temples, erect stately domes, magnificent spires [and] grand towers, in honor of our religion, but if we fail to live the principles of that religion … , and to acknowledge God in all our thoughts, we shall fall short of the blessings which its practical exercise would ensure.”
- We must be humble and conscientious. The honor and the glory of all that is good goes to God, and there is much still ahead of us that will be refining, even difficult, as He leads us from strength to strength.
He shares a couple examples of great pioneer era people that showed their commitment and devotion to our Savior by the way they served and the way they lived their lives. He encourages us to live our lives in similar ways, not so we can be remembered in history, but that we can show our dedication to the Savior for all He has done for us. He reminds us that we are all recipients of people that have made the path for us to follow.
- Whether longtime member or newest of converts, we are all the beneficiaries of such faithful forebears. In this beautiful new building and in this historic conference convened in it, I have sensed how much I owe to those who had so much less than I but who seem in virtually every case to have done more with it to build the kingdom than I have done.
He speaks about three moments in history where people gave so much to build the kingdom of God. First he talks about the burden on the women in Kirtland to make clothing for those working on the temple and those that were called away for military service. This was a trying time for them financially and for their faith. He speaks about the financial sacrifice that Peter Neilson made to give all his savings to the kingdom to pay for the stained glass in the St George Tabernacle. He also speaks of John R. Moyle who walked 22 miles each way to work on the Salt Lake Temple. After losing his leg to a farming incident, he made a wooden leg, tried it out for several months, and then went back to work walking the 22 miles back to the temple to complete the etching of the "Holiness to the Lord" on the side of the temple.
These people would marvel at what the church has grown into. But we have reason to be humble. We need to recognize that this is the Lord's work and He has allowed us to get to this point in history. He will be the one to continue to bless us as we continue to move forward. Elder Holland concludes with this advice:
- In such abundance may we never “forget the Lord” nor “go after other gods,” but always be “an holy people unto the Lord.” If we do so, those that hunger and thirst for the word of the Lord will continue to come “as doves to [our] windows.” They will come seeking peace and growth and salvation. If we live our religion they will find all of that and more.
It is always good to recognize the many blessings that have been shown to us in the past. I think that is why the church puts so much time and effort into preserving the historical sites of the church. By visiting these areas, we honor those of the past, we recognize the great sacrifices that were made there, and we recognize that the results could never have happened unless the hand of the Lord was with those people. We have so many blessings in our lives and I think we have good examples to see the love of the Savior in their lives and hopefully it will help us recognize that love that the Savior has in our lives today.