The Tabernacle—a Beloved Companion and Friend- Sunday, September 24, 2017
The Tabernacle on Temple Square has been the well-known home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for 150 years. Millions have entered these walls since it was completed in 1867, and millions more will enter for years to come.
The Choir has performed in the great concert halls of the world. But when we return to the Tabernacle for our weekly broadcast and fill this sacred space with the joyful sounds of music, we are home.
Just as people have personalities, this building has a personality. Like the pioneers who built it, the Tabernacle is hardy and resilient, yet warm and welcoming, venerable while also true to its humble roots. And even after all these years, it retains its original pioneer character. Other than some seismic and technological updates, the Tabernacle’s unique appearance, its 19th-century craftsmanship, and its renowned acoustics have remained unchanged. This beloved companion and friend is today, as it was 150 years ago, a peaceful place of history, beauty, worship, and refuge.
Built by pioneer ingenuity, the Tabernacle was made sacred through sacrifice. The strong hands and faithful hearts that raised these walls gave their all to build a place where God might be glorified. The Salt Lake Valley was a remote wilderness then—not even a railroad graced its barren landscape. So when marble was wanted but not found, wooden pillars were carefully painted to look like marble columns. Hardwood was hard to come by, so pine benches were painstakingly painted to look like oak. And when it came time to assemble the huge elliptical roof atop the 44 stone buttresses, the latticework of timbers was held together by wooden pegs and rawhide. Sixty years ago, acclaimed architect Frank Lloyd Wright called this national historic landmark “one of the architectural masterpieces of the country, and perhaps the world.”1
Today as we celebrate the 150th birthday of this one-of-a-kind treasure, our wish is that the Tabernacle may enjoy many more decades of stability, harmony, and happiness. And our hope is that all who enter within these walls may find goodwill, peace, and joy.
Happy birthday, dear friend.
-Lloyd D. Newell
1. In R. Scott Lloyd, “Pioneer Edifice Fulfilled a Pressing Need,” Church News,
Oct. 16, 2004, 5.
September 24, 2017
Broadcast Number 4,593
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Saints Bound for Heaven
American folk hymn; arr. Mack Wilberg
The Morning Breaks
George Careless; arr. Mack Wilberg
They, the Builders of the Nation
Alfred M. Durham; arr. Mack Wilberg
We Love Thy House, O God
Leroy J. Robertson
Bless This House
May H. Brahe; arr. Nathan Hofheins
The Spirit of God
Traditional hymn tune; arr. Mack Wilberg