The Draper Utah temple was dedicated this weekend. Twelve sessions were held over the course of three days (March 20-22, 2009). Following is a brief explanation of what happens in temple dedication services/
Simply put, a temple dedication is where “leaders of the Church offer…a special prayer asking the Lord to accept and bless the temple and all the people who would come into it.”
Temple dedications have always been important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the first latter-day temple dedication in Kirtland, Ohio,
“[h]undreds of Saints came to Kirtland for the dedicatory services; some traveled long distances to attend. There were nearly a thousand seats inside the temple, but many more people wanted to attend the dedication. The Prophet told the people who could not get seats in the temple to hold a separate meeting in the schoolhouse nearby, and the next Thursday the dedication service was repeated so these people could hear it…. [This illustrates the reason that twelve different dedicatory sessions were held this weekend, thus allowing many people the opportunity to participate in the sacred event.]
Some may wonder what the dedicatory service is actually like. While the Kirtland temple dedication was more extensive than dedicatory services held today (it lasted over seven hours!), reading about it can give an idea of what happens each time a temple is dedicated:
The Prophet Joseph Smith read the dedicatory prayer, which had been given to him in a revelation. This prayer is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 109. In the prayer the Prophet thanked Heavenly Father for the blessings he had given the members of the Church. Joseph prayed that the temple would be a place of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, glory, and order (see D&C 109:8, 16) and that those who came to the temple would grow in faith and wisdom (see D&C 109:14–15). He asked the Lord to accept the temple and make it a holy place (see D&C 109:4, 12–13). After the prayer the choir sang “The Spirit of God” (Hymns, no. 2), which had been written by William W. Phelps for the dedication of the temple. The congregation then…ended the service by giving the sacred Hosanna Shout: they raised their hands above their heads and shouted three times, “Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb, amen, amen, and amen.”
Temples are dedicated today following the pattern of the Kirtland Temple dedication. The prophet (or someone he chooses) gives the dedicatory prayer, “The Spirit of God” is sung, and the entire congregation gives the Hosanna Shout.
(All quotes above were taken from this lesson.)