By President David O. McKay

(Dedicatory Services held in connection with B.Y.U. Founders' Day Exercises, Thursday, October 6, 1941)


[1] It is fitting that there should be on this campus an edifice bearing the name of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It will ever connote the greatest event in history, excepting only the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Without the revelation given to Joseph Smith there would be no Brigham Young University. In all classes here at this school there should be connoted that great truth: that God lives, that Jesus in the Christ, and that Joseph Smith was the divinely inspired Prophet of the Lord, chosen to establish Christ's Church on earth in this latter day.

As your representative now and as your voice I will offer the dedicatory prayer, setting this house apart as a place of worship, a temple of learning and a place of spiritual communion.

Dedicatory Prayer

Our Heavenly and Eternal Father, we, Thy children, with our hearts filled with gratitude, approach Thee in humble prayer and thanksgiving. We are grateful that Thou hast given to the world Thine only begotten Son in the flesh, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

[2] We are grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ—the true philosophy of complete living; and, oh, how we yearn that the people of the world realize this truth and accept it. We are grateful for the appearance of God, the Father, and His Son to the boy prophet, Joseph Smith, and that through that revelation has come the Church of Jesus Christ again upon the earth.

We are thankful, indeed, for the complete organization of the Church which furnishes such opportunity for service to one another and to the world. We are grateful for the establishment of the Church school system within that organization and that Thou didst inspire President Brigham Young and his successors to carry on the system of education in which faith in Thee would be established, in which desires would be awakened in the hearts of the young to live righteously and therefore to be exemplary to the world.

We are thankful for this institution that stands at the head of this educational system. Oh God, be with us continually, let Thy spirit be in every room of this institution, and be in the heart of every instructor.

We are grateful for the contributions made by the alumni, contractors, builders, and members of the Church Welfare Committee, and others in the erecting of this building in which we now assemble. Oh, Father, let Thy spirit purify and sanctify every heart and hallow every part of this edifice.

We invoke Thy blessing upon the President, Franklin S. Harris, upon the members of faculty, upon the student body, upon the general Board of Education, upon the commissioner and his associates in the Department of Education.

And especially do we remember upon this occasion thy servant President Heber J. Grant, President of the Board and Thy voice to the Church in this generation. Thou knowest the purity of his soul and the integrity of his heart and Thou knowest his magnanimity in serving Thy people. Let Thy com- [3] forting influence and companionship uphold him and strengthen him now in his physical disability. Bless his counselors and the Council of the Twelve, that they may be united and continue to uphold and sustain him. Remember the First Council of the Seventy, the Presiding Bishopric, and all those who preside in Stakes, Wards, Quorums, and Auxiliary organizations, that the spirit and strength of this Church may be felt throughout the world for good and for the salvation of humanity.

This building in which we now meet and now offer this appeal to Thee stands for the complete education of youth—the truest and the best in life. Thou hast said through the Prophet, that proper education is necessary to the salvation of the human family, and that whatever principles of intelligence we obtain in this life will rise with us in the resurrection and that if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. May we realize what obedience to truth means and thereby follow Thine admonition.

We are grateful on this occasion for the Constitution of the United States that guarantees life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to every soul. May the principles of personal liberty, freedom of worship, of civic righteousness vouchsafed by the flag, and of which it is emblematic, ever be cherished by those who teach in this Church school.

We invoke Thy divine guidance upon the President of the United States during the present world crisis, upon his cabinet, upon the houses of Congress, and the members of the Supreme court. Oh, make them statesmen, Oh Lord, equal to the task now assigned to them to lead this nation during this critical period of the world's history. The nation is hovering on the brink of war. According to Thy divine will, Oh Father, keep us out [4] of war and conflict and guide us so that we may stand for peace in a troubled and war-torn world.

Realizing Thy divine inspiration in this Church, acknowledging Thy Providence ever, we now come before Thee and offer this house to Thee. As Thy servant, holding the Holy Priesthood, and voicing the sentiments and in accordance with the desires of all present and all whom they represent, I dedicate this, the Joseph Smith Building, the chapel, the recreation hall, Cafeteria, dining room, the classrooms, all offices, hallways and every part pertaining to this edifice and set it apart as a religious and social center, a place of instruction in the revealed work of God, a place of divine communion. Holy Father, bless and protect every part from foundation to the roof. May this building, and this entire institution survive all social and political upheavals, all financial depressions, all theoretical educational policies and changes, and ever stand as a permanent part of this church, as a temple of learning of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We realize that it can fulfill this great destiny only as it remains true to the revelation that Thou gavest to the boy Prophet, when Thou didst reveal Thyself and Thy beloved Son to him and established Thy Church upon the earth. For the declaration of that truth and the dissemination of all principles associated with this Church, this institution is established.

Father, bless all who come within its walls, and particularly these young people, the future officers, leaders, and guides in Thy Church. Keep them pure. If any have in their hearts the desire to trespass upon the principles of righteousness and integrity or show inclination to turn away from the principles of morality and by so doing lower the standards of righteous living, may they feel conscious-smitten, and realize that they are disloyal to one of the noblest institutions in all the world. Give [5] them strength to walk uprightly before Thee and thus be loyal to their alma mater all through life.

Thus we implore Thy divine guidance, offer to Thee our praise and gratitude, invoke Thy protecting care over this building and the entire University, and offer this dedication in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, Amen.


Benediction by Elder Stephen L. Richards

At the conclusion, our Father in Heaven, we pray before Thee that on this sacred occasion, not one of us [sic] may forget the lesson of truth that we here learned and may every one of us pray and dedicate his life to the establishment of the great and glorious work in which we have the honor and privilege of participating.

Our hearts are full of gratitude for Thy bounteous blessings. We thank Thee for the testimony of the truth which has come to our hearts. We pray that this testimony may always be preserved for us. Forgive us our weaknesses, help us to live more perfectly and more fully merit Thy approbation and approval. And, Oh Father, prepare us to come worthy to Thy great Prophet to whom we have sought to do honor this day. May we so live that we may earn a place with him in Thy celestial Kingdom, we ask for Thy guidance, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Dedicatory Prayer of the Jospeh Smith Building by President David O. McKay. Brigham Young University, Founders' Day Report, (October 6, 1941), Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

UA 91 Founders' Day Report, BYU

(See BYU Special Collections, Index of Lectures and Addresses on file in University Archives)