I wasn’t raised in the church, and though I’ve been a member for nearly 25 years, I still feel on occasion like I’m an immigrant to the Kingdom of God. I’ve been naturalized through baptism, but there are still a few cultural things that everyone seems to know that I’ve never fully grasped.
One of these is the dedication of homes. I’ve heard occasional references to members being expected to dedicate their homes, but I don’t recall ever having a lesson at church about it. The nuts and bolts of who does it, when it’s done, why it’s done, and how it’s done are a mystery to me. Maybe these lessons happen in meetings to which I’m not invited, or maybe I was out sick that day, but the point remains that it’s something I have a vague sense is out there but not something I have any details on.
I bought a house last month, and it got me thinking again. I cleaned it, furnished it, decorated it, and had a housewarming party. But I wanted to dedicate it. One nice thing about having been absent the day it was taught at church is that I have complete freedom to do it how I want. I answer to no one. It’s my house, so no one has more authority than I do to dedicate it.
The only relevant quotation on the subject that I found was from an article in the August 1989 Ensign (I joined the church in 1994, so that explains why I never heard much about it). “A bishop or stake president must seek permission from those in authority in the Church in order to dedicate a chapel or stake center, but a member who wishes to bless his or her home may go directly to the Lord.”  This confirmed what I already felt. My home, my right to dedicate it.
In the Doctrine and Covenants, dedicatory prayers are written, not extemporaneous, so I started thinking about what I wanted to put in the dedication. I decided to dedicate the house as a whole and each individual room as well. What follows is a bullet point list of some of the main themes of the dedication.
- A place of safety, security, and refuge for all who enter
- A place where I can put down roots and have a sense of permanence
- A place where loved ones can gather for conversation and entertainment
- A place where nourishing food can be prepared and consumed
Laundry room and bathrooms
- A place where the necessities of life can be attended to
- A place where I can focus and concentrate on my work
- A place where the needs of the downtrodden and needy can be met
- A place where travelers can rest
- A place where future members of my family can live as my family expands
- A place where I can rest and relax
- A place for relaxation
- A place of joy for the cats
- A place to grow fresh food
I haven’t yet delivered the dedicatory prayer, but I intend to do so in the near future. I’ll follow up in the comments when I do.
Have any of you dedicated your homes? What did you do to make it personal? What motivated you to do it? Did you get lessons in church about it? Was it done in your family of origin?