Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Ribbon cutting opens `Jubilee Level'

Published: Saturday, July 12, 1997

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The center and western portion of the ninth floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City was dedicated July 1 and given the name "Jubilee Level."

President Gordon B. Hinckley was joined by President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, and President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, in cutting a white ribbon to mark the completion of renovation on the floor.The newly refurbished area, which comprises about two-thirds of the ninth floor, has been designated as public space that may be reserved for receptions, dinners, luncheons, meetings or other events. The space had been empty since the renovated Hotel Utah was dedicated on June 17, 1993, as the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

President Hinckley, in speaking during a brief ceremony on the floor, said that the characteristics of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building are "unique, beautiful and wonderful." He said that the building "is serving the purposes of the Church . . . and also serves the purposes of the community." While most of the building is used for Church offices, some of it is open for public use, including the lobby, serving areas and reception rooms downstairs, and the 10th floor, which has two public-access restaurants.

As he recounted some of the events leading to the discontinuation of the building as a hotel to its renovation, he said that he joined in a search for "something of Joseph Smith" to place in the building. He said that Bishop H. David Burton of the Presiding Bishopric suggested he consider a heroic-size statue, returned to storage after an exhibit was changed at the Church visitors center in Independence, Mo. President Hinckley said that he and President Monson went to look at the statue and decided it would be quite suitable. The statue, made of Italian marble, weighs 3,950 pounds and stands 9 feet-6 inches tall. It is now prominently displayed in the main lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

"How magnificent he is there," President Hinckley said of the Prophet's likeness in the lobby.

He spoke of how the building came to be named after the Prophet of the Restoration. He said that one morning shortly before the building was to be dedicated, he looked out a window overlooking the temple. He said it had already been announced that the renovated building would be named the Utah Building, but he began thinking that there was nothing of any significance in Salt Lake City honoring Joseph Smith, "except for a little statue on Temple Square . . . but that was the extent of it."

He spoke of how an impression came into his mind very clearly and strongly that the building should be named the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. He said he knew that there was another building by that name on the campus of BYU in Provo, Utah. However, President Hinckley said, "I wish there were a Joseph Smith Memorial Building in every city in the country and across the world. This building stands as a monument to the memory of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the great prophet of this dispensation. I'm so grateful for that name on this building. The whole character of the building . . . the spirit of the building changed when that name was given to it. It took on a certain hallowed nature. . . . "

"I look upon this building as a sacred building . . . as the Lord's building. I look upon this building as part of His great and eternal purposes. I hope that nothing will ever occur here that will demean it in any way."

Several General Authorities were among the 500 people attending the dedicatory ceremony of the "Jubilee Level." Kris J. Mecham, director, Hotel Temple Square Corporation, conducted the proceedings and David R. Webster, president/CEO, Hotel Temple Square Corporation, offered brief remarks. Tabernacle Choir director Jerold Ottley conducted the audience in singing "Praise to the Man" and "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet"; Richard Elliott, one of the Tabernacle organists, accompanied. Brent Shingleton, building manager, offered the invocation, and Rodney H. Brady, President/CEO, Deseret Management Corporation, gave the benediction.