The Chief Cornerstone

Of the four cornerstones on a temple, which is the “chief” cornerstone? 

Paul, talking the the Ephesians, said we are “built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” 

While studying the Biblical Tabernacle I found myself wondering. The priest, standing at the alter, always faces east, the direction of the return of Christ. Logically, the “chief” cornerstone would be on the east, north or south east? was the next question. The answer came while writing an article about the building of the Salt Lake Temple. President Brigham Young, on April 6th, 1853, proclaimed the proper corner for “the chief cornerstone” as the southeast corner. The First Presidency and the Patriarch to the Church laid the southeast, foundation cornerstone. The Presiding Bishopric, representing the lesser priesthood, laid the southwest cornerstone. The presidency of the High Priests, the stake presidency, and the high council then placed the northwest cornerstone. Finally, the northeast cornerstone was laid by the Twelve and representatives of the seventies and the elders. The laying of each stone was accompanied by special music, speeches, and a prayer.

Brigham Young said this also fits in with the Melchizedek Priesthood being on the east, and the Aaronic on the west, he considered high priests and elders as Aaronic. This pattern begins and ends with the Apostleship, which is the priesthood that encompasses everything and that all else grows from, “for it is the beginning and the end, the height, depth, length, and breadth of all that is, that was, and ever can be to all eternity.” He also talked about light or the sun coming up in the East and “so we commence by laying the stone on the south-east corner, because there is the most light.”

How do you look to the east light?​​

We will learn more significant applications to be learned from the cornerstones in “Path of Stone Tables class, Biblical Tabernacle to Modern Temple” class this summer. I hope you’ll join us. Go here for all the details. 

—Only Two Days Left ​to get all 14 lessons for only $50—

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