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Thursday, September 8, 2011

LDS Church History no. 4 - The Seventies Hall

Seventies Hall in Nauvoo, Illinois
The Seventies occupy a special place in Church hierarchy, namely firstly and foremost as missionaries.  As such, it is the only Priesthood office to have it's own specific building in any city in any era of Church history.  For example, both the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency have offices in the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City, but the Quorums of the Seventy are the only Quorums to have a building specifically for them.

This building - the Seventies Hall in Nauvoo, IL - was completed in July 1844, and was dedicated in December of that same year by President Brigham Young.  It is also interesting to note that it was in this building that the famous meeting on 8 August 1844 took place, where Sidney Rigdon, devoid of the Spirit of the Lord, claimed guardianship of the Church, but was rejected (see Stanley B. Kimball, "Heber C. Kimball and Family, the Nauvoo Years," BYU Studies, Vol. 15, Number 4, Summer 1975, p. 471).

The main floor was used as a lecture hall and Chapel for Church meetings, as it is still used today.  The pulpit is curved, you will notice, because in those days it was more common for speakers to speak off-the-cuff, whereas today one needs a place for notes; hence today's rectangular pulpits.

The upper floor housed a library and museum containing artifacts brought back by missionaries returning from their missions, but now houses a museum of artifacts found during archeological digs.

During the dedicatory prayer, President Brigham Young stated,

We ask thee, our Father, to accept the dedication of our hearts this morning, and may we feel the prelude of that power and authority with which thy servants shall be clothed, when they shall go forth and open the door of salvation to the nations and kingdoms of the earth; even thy servants, the Seventies, upon whom the burden of thy kingdom does rest, and to whom the keys of the same shall be committed from time to time. (Dean C. Jessee, “The John Taylor Nauvoo Journal: January 1845–September 1845” (1983), BYU Studies, Vol. 23, Summer 1983, 7-9). 

As I read this, I feel a twinge of guilt because I only listen to the Quorum of the Twelve or the First Presidency during General Conference, but I feel to repent of all my sins.  I will make it a habit to listen to all the Brethren, including and especially the Seventies, because they are they key to this work; it is they to whom the Twelve and First Presidency go to for ministerial help, and none else.  They, therefore, hold a special place within the Lord's Church and in His sight.

President Young also said, "Help us, O Lord to separate ourselves from all iniquity, that evil doers may
not exist in our midst, but may this people become a holy people, peculiar to thyself, to show forth thy praise in all the world" (Ibid.).  This is my prayer.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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