Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dedication of the Provo LTM (MTC) 1976

Waking up this morning, oftentimes the best time for inspiration, I realized that I had another "Eye Witness to History" piece I needed to write (well, cut and paste mostly). Due to the mixed blessing of having my visa to Brazil delayed after my mission call, my group spent some extra time in the Provo LTM (Language Training Center) as it was in the process of becoming the physical facility now known as the Provo Missionary Training Center.

We reported on our first day at Knight Magnum Hall on the BYU Campus. We were housed in Maeser Hall in Heritage Halls, usually a girls' dorm but vacant for the summer. We ate at the Morris Center at Deseret Towers. But we started our classes in the just completed classroom buildings at the new LTM. Over the nearly five-month wait for our visas (about the same amount of time the Prophet Joseph was in Liberty Jail), we moved into the new facility building by building as they were completed. And I was there for the dedication on September 27, 1976. My contemporaneous account follows:

I’m glad I’m finally writing small. I’d hate to fill it all up before I leave the LTM (it might happen) but things are so great here! Today was the dedication of the new LTM. It was a great experience. We sat there for 3 hrs. before it started. I read about Elijah the prophet. Read D&C 1 and Ezekial 14 about the idols in the hearts and the words of the prophets. I did some BoM study about Zenos, Zenock and Neum, ancient prophets of Israel unmentioned in Bible, but are in the BoM. Then we watched as the living ones began to walk in. Bro. J.R. Holland walked in. I was near the end of the row and stood up. He recognized me. I was thrilled but embarrassed. He asked where I was going. “Brazil.” “Great! We were down there last week, they’re ready for you!” I sat down before I fell as I recognized he was accompanied by Paul H. Dunn among others. He spoke at the BYU Fireside last night. My religion teacher! (same old jokes). I took notes. Now the hush came up and then stood up as Pres. Kimball, Romney and Benson came in. I was close. The singing, of course, and all the rest. I took notes. I prayed at one point “Is he really a prophet?” “YES!” . . . Wings of Faith of Pres. Benson. “The Lord’s work will not be frustrated.” I can’t go to Brazil right now because it’s not God’s will or I would be there. I’m praying for his will. I can’t wait ‘til conference.

My notes of the actual dedication Program:

Monday, September 27, 1976
LTM Dedication

Pres. S. Dilworth Young – Council of Seventy
What we are being taught – Honest, voluntary, complete, obedience
He that preaches by spirit of truth allows the listener to hear by the spirit
Prayer of faith spirit will be given – strive, humble, faithful
Lord not in thunder, whirlwind, earthquake, IN THE HEART Elijah I K. 19:12,13

Pres. Ezra Taft Benson
1st great responsibility of the Church in this dispensation was to carry the Gospel to the World
D&C 4 missionary work always continues and has – even during wars
Influence of missionaries in his life – young boy – his desire to go – hearing RM’s – asked his father about Patriarchal blessing – that day young – old farm house – someday he would have privilege to raise his voice of the truth – 9 yrs old – his father went on mission and great spirit in the home – his brother went on mission when mother and then father passed away – spirit of missionary service – great blessing in home

Pres. Marion G. Romney
Solomon Chamberlain, Great Grandfather – knew Smiths before the BoM
Went with Hyrum and went out through the country distributing pages from the printing of the BoM
Miles Romney, Great Grandfather in 1837 in England heard the brethren – preaching on the streets ’39
Sent father on mission when 8 days old
Expelled from Mexico 1912 – thought no chance for mission – lost everything
Required to work – Ricks 1920 – worked digging ditch to go to U of Idaho, Moscow School
Attended conference in Rexburg – spirit to go on mission
Australia Mission 1920 – went to Salt Lake – ½ hour instruction – one piece of paper of instructions including D&C 18:10-16
Key to inspiring him to missionary work

Pres. Spencer W. Kimball
This is a happy day we’ve been looking forward for many days
62 years ago for his mission, Central States Mission
To Salt Lake to be set apart – no mission home, training -Matthew W. Ivins – 10 years later 1st mission home where church office is now – 1923 mission home – 1925 1st home dedicated by Pres. Grant – course in church organization – March 5, 1952 to the “New Ute Motel” 320 missionaries – Dec. 1961, Language TM 29 missionaries – 33,500 have trained at LTM since then – June 1963 all missionaries, spanish and português – language training mission established – Max Pinegar Pres. – LTM’s combined July 16, 1975
Related purposes as contained in LTM handbook
Best Language school in the world
1943 – 38 missions – 54 countries now – 23 languages taught now – 20 branches
Missionaries 790 in 1900- 794 in 1914 when Pres. Kimball went – 1564 in 1950 –8211 in 1960 – 13,768 in 1970 – 24,306 in Sept.
Pleased with those in countries to accept calls – 1972 529 – 1976 2,300 national missionaries
Painting in church office building
Go, go ye into all the world and preach the gospel unto every creature
Lord to Samuel – loathing in Israel – ears will tingle
Scientific knowledge – surpassed by the great knowledge of the gospel
Works of God are endless – increased knowledge everywhere with the restoration
And we tingle, tingle and tingle – all things given to spread the gospel
Spanish so important
Important to know about Mexico and Spanish - always helps – Spanish coming to the front
Called when 19 – Arizona to earn his mission – milked cows – 42 ½ dollars a month – paid his own way – 3 summers work – it was his mission

And from my next letter home, dated October 1, 1976:
The dedication was . . . well I’ll just tell you about it. We went in at 6:15 to get seats. It was already pretty full. We sat pretty close to the front on the side they (GA’s) would walk up. We waited about 2½ hours until they started to arrive. They came in bunches and groups and I felt so bad I didn't even know who they all were. We had pictures and names and were trying to match them up, but with all them and talking and shaking hands and so on . . . . I saw Bro. Holland come in so out of reflex and excitement I stood up and said, “Hi!” He recognized me. We talked as he was standing there for a second. He said he was just in Brazil a week ago. The people are ready for us, he said. As I sat down I noticed he was walking in with others including Paul H. Dunn. Then, right before the start, we all stood up and sang, of course, as Pres. Kimball, Pres. Romney, and Pres. Benson all walked in. They all came in close to us. I had never realized before how short they all are. (Their wives also).
It started right off, Elder Monson conducted, welcomed etc. Elder McConkie prayed. He said the main purpose of the LTM was to teach us “Honest, voluntary, complete obedience.” I’m not quite there, but almost.
Pres. Benson spoke of missionary work and his mission. He decided to go at 9 after hearing return missionaries speak in church.
We then sang “Ye Elders of Israel” as a mission chorus.
Pres. Romney spoke – told of the converts in his family (a few years back but the stories were so very real realizing it’s not so far back for him). He then told of his mission. How he almost didn’t go because he had no money but he dug ditches in Rexburg (he said they survived the flood) and was impressed by the spirit to go. He went to Salt Lake in 1920 to be set apart and receive ½ hour of instruction but also receiving one piece of paper, on which was D&C 18:10-16. I remember a Family Home Evening a few years ago.
Pres. Tanner would have spoken, but he couldn’t make it.
Pres. Kimball then spoke. He told how happy they all were to be there. How they had waited so long for the day. He told the history of the LTM and mission home. He related the purposes as stated in our handbook 1) to become disciples of Christ 2) learn to love the people of the country 3) learn the language. He gave all kinds of missionary statistics, the improvements, and how we needed to do so much more. He talked about the picture in the main floor of the Church office building of Christ sending out his disciples. He talked about the great progress of truth including science and the conveniences we have to help preach the gospel, transportation, communication, etc. Later in the dedicatory prayer, he gave thanks for such things and said that we’ll even let the rest of the world share them (He’s a great Prophet!) He told of the importance to learn languages as the church is growing in so many parts of the world and we need to be prepared to teach and help. He then told of his mission and how he earned all the money himself because he wanted it to be his mission. His friend gave him $5 so he had to share with him too. But I realized the great responsibility I have to share my mission because of all the support of all kinds I receive from so many. So, thank you!
Morning sun greeting the Provo Temple
from our dorm room in the LTM still under construction

February 14, 2012

Skyhooks? (see comments below)

February 19, 2012

For more on my time in the LTM including an important lesson on personal revelation, click here.

June 20, 2012

I found my program for the dedication posted here.


  1. I was there too. But I'm not much of a note taker and remember none of the details you mention. What do I remember? Skyhooks. I'll check back later to see if that rings any bells with you.

    1. Skyhooks!! As they weren't in my notes, I had forgotten. Thank Heavens for Google! I attached as a link above in the Addendum an amazing reference to the skyhooks. I do remember trying to keep my posture up and singing from the diaphragm and all that. But I had forgotten the skyhooks! Yet, they have historical provenance! (Ardis will love that).

    2. Well, they wouldn't be in your notes, because they were only referred to in rehearsal. I would have forgotten them too, except that the music director invoking the skyhooks was my Branch President, Clayne Robison. I also remember that he deemed Ye Elders of Israel too musically monotonous for such a momentous occasion and wrote an alternative chorus (with the same lyrics).

      What did you find on Google? I found nothing that would have helped me identify imaginary skyhooks as a method of voice projection.

  2. Whoops. Guess I should have followed the link before commenting.

    1. s'alright. I'm just glad you reminded me of that part of the story!

  3. I was wondering if you have any memories of a story that I have heard. My husband's grandfather was Earnest Wilkins, the first president of the LTM. We have heard that when the missionaries moved into the new buildings that they closed off one side of 900E in Provo as the missionaries walked from BYU to their new home. It has been told that the elders were all singing the same song, Ye Elders of Israel. Just wondering if you were there or if you have any pictures or recollection. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the comment! I don't recall this particular instance. I do remember a lot of walks between BYU and the new MTC, most of them from devotionals at the Marriott Center.

  4. I arrived straight into the LTM/MTC the first week of September 76. But we did sing Ye Elder of Israel on the way to the Marriott Center, once at least. And I remember shining my shoes, putting on a *new* white shirt, practicing the singing, cleaning even my fingernails, and being very prepared for the dedication. Funny though how I don't readily remember waiting that long. But the singing was "heavenly" as I wrote in my journal.


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