Thursday, December 19, 2013

What e’er thou art…

They have built a new “monument” of sorts at the Mission Home in Edinburgh for the stone that had a major impact on the life of David O. McKay.  David was a young missionary in Scotland in 1898 and he later became the 9th prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He often told the story of when he was a young missionary serving in Stirling, Scotland.  He was homesick and had become discouraged and one day he and his companion had visited the nearby Stirling Castle.  As they returned to town a curious stone sculpture with a carved inscription over a doorway caught his attention.  He went over to read the inscription: “WHAT E’ER THOU ART, ACT WELL THY PART”.

This is the new monument built in the front garden of the Mission Home.
 This statement had a profound impact on President McKay and the effort he was making in his missionary labours.  This message struck him so forcefully that he vowed to devote himself completely to his missionary efforts and to always do his best in whatever responsibility he had.  These words became an inspiration for the rest of his life.


When the old building was being torn down, President McKay made arrangements to acquire the stone.  For years it was in the garden behind the Mission Home in Renfrew, Scotland.  That is where I first saw it when I was here as a young missionary.  Later, when the old Mission Home in Renfrew was sold, the Church moved the stone to the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City.  A replica of the stone is now in the garden of the Mission Home in Edinburgh.  They have erected this monument to hold the replica stone.

This is the plaque above the stone.
The original stone was designed by an architect named John Allen. Along with the inscription he included a design known as 'a magic square', or could this be the first Sudoku game?  Each shape within the square represents a numerical value, and when you add the numbers in any direction – across, down, or diagonally – it will always equal 18.

One theory as to why the magic square was included with the phrase What E're Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part is that if any of the shapes are rearranged or their values were changed, then the square will cease to be magic as it won't equal 18 in every direction. So in life, as we have different roles and responsibilities, if we don't do our part or give 100% then it will affect the outcome, be it family, church, or work, the whole organization will not function as intended, or in other words What E're Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part – and the “Whole” will function perfectly.


1 comment:

  1. Brother and Sister Boden,
    We'd like to use these photos in a book of Conference talks. Can you please send me a message?
    Shauna Gibby, Deseret Book,