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Thursday, December 22, 2011

LDS Church History no. 6 - The Assembly Hall

Decorated for Christmas
The Assembly Hall on Temple Square is a Gothic-style house of worship on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  It was constructed from 1877-1882, using granite mostly discarded from the construction of the Salt Lake Temple.  When the Provo Tabernacle was being planned, Church leaders asked William H. Folsom, the architect for the Tabernacle, to pattern his design after the Assembly Hall on Temple Square.  As a result, the plans of the two buildings were similar.  The architect for the Assembly Hall was Obed Taylor, a son of President John Taylor, third President of the Church.

Assembly Hall pipe organ
The building that stood on the Assembly Hall's footprint was the Old Tabernacle, an adobe tabernacle.  The "Old Tabernacle", as it was called, could only accommodate roughly 1,500 people, so the Salt Lake Tabernacle was constructed, which now seats 8,000.  In 1877, when President Brigham Young ordered the construction of the Assembly Hall to replace the Old Tabernacle, he told the people to "pull down the Old Tabernacle, and build a new one to accommodate about 3,000 people" (Journal History, 12 Sept. 1877).

During the 1980s, the Assembly Hall was extensively renovated.  It was rededicated on 3 April 1983.  Present at the rededication were President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency, President Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder Mark E. Petersen, also of the Quorum of the Twelve.  During his dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley stated, "We pray that Thy Holy Spirit may abide here, that all who enter may recognize it as a sacred place.  May it again serve as a house of worship, where faith will be taught and strengthened, where Thy word will be declared with persuasive conviction, and where Thy name and the name of Thy Son will be honored and glorified, and testimony borne of Thee and of Thy Beloved Son, our Redeemer" ("Assembly Hall is Rededicated", Ensign, May 1983, p. 87).  

My we, at this Christmas season, rededicate our lives to Christ our Savior, may all who enter upon the threshold of our lives may recognize our lives as sacred, and may we declare God's word with persuasive conviction, under the direction of the Holy Ghost.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

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