This temple has risen phoenix-like from poverty, then from ashes, and thus has many birthdays, but today is the date of its first public dedication. When I visited the grassy site of the former building as a teenager, I never imagined returning to enter the real Nauvoo Temple. I also didn't know how the Wells street sign in front would be more meaningful to me then!
We had a number of ancestors involved in the original building of the Nauvoo Temple. Addison Everett was a carpenter on the Nauvoo Temple, one of fifteen men selected by the architect to prepare the timbers. Sometimes he had nothing to eat but frozen potatoes, without even salt. One of the brethren said, “Brother Everett, how do you manage it? I’m starving!” and to this he answered, “Well, I work as long as I can then I tighten up my belt another notch and go at it again.” The Everetts were among the last to leave Nauvoo as Addison was finishing the temple, and his son Schuyler remembered bringing his father lunch and watching the workers. Nicholas Welch helped with the masonry on the Nauvoo Temple. Teenage Lorenzo Hill Hatch helped finish building it, and his father Hezekiah Hatch also drew loads of stone from the Mississippi River to help build the temple. Ellis Sanders gave one thousand dollars to the Nauvoo Temple fund.
The Billingtons, Eastmans, Sanders, Jeremiah and Elizabeth Hatch, Thomas and Hannah Grover, Ira Stearns Hatch, Lorenzo Hatch, and John and Eliza Welch all attended the Nauvoo Temple before the exodus. Then the temple was abandoned and eventually destroyed.
When President Hinckley announced its rebuilding in 1999, we marveled; when I visited it in 2010, I marveled anew. Truly this place is hallowed ground.
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