Gospel Teachings: Jesus Christ, Cornerstone
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;“In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:“In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
Facts about the Cornerstone
L. Tom Perry (1922–2015)
What it is.
A cornerstone is the first stone placed upon a building’s foundation, in a corner of the structure.
What it does.
A cornerstone bears much of the weight of a building’s outer structure, and it connects and unites two of the walls. After it is placed, all other stones and their angles are measured out from it.
What its characteristics are.
Anciently, a cornerstone would normally be one of the largest, most solid stones a builder had to work with. The builder would examine his stones carefully and select the best one as a cornerstone, rejecting any stones that didn’t appear suitable.
What We Can Learn
Is the first. Jesus Christ is the Firstborn of all the Father’s children (see Colossians 1:15–17; Hebrews 1:6; D&C 93:21), the first to be resurrected (see 1 Corinthians 15:20), the one who was to “go to prepare a place for [us]” in His Father’s house (John 14:2), the “Beloved and Chosen from the beginning” (Moses 4:2), and “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
Unites. Jesus Christ “inviteth … all to come unto him” (2 Nephi 26:33). The Atonement of Jesus Christ allows us to repent, become sanctified through the Holy Ghost, and be reunited with Heavenly Father. The Apostle Paul showed that Jesus Christ, as the cornerstone, was the connecting point for the two “walls” of the Church in that day: the Apostles of the New Testament and the prophets of the Old Testament, perhaps illustrating the mix of Gentile and Jewish converts (see Ephesians 2:20). The prophets and apostles of today, along with those of old, help unite us in Christ—in His doctrine, His service, and His Church.
Aligns. Jesus Christ “marked the path and led the way, and ev’ry point defines” (“How Great the Wisdom and the Love,” Hymns, no. 195). He is our guide and our lawgiver, the one whose commandments we obey and whose words we heed.
Strengthens. Jesus Christ has taken upon Himself our sins so that we can be forgiven if we will repent. In this way, He strengthens us by removing the ill effects of sin. In addition, “the enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity” (David A. Bednar, “The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality,” Ensign, Apr. 2012, 42–43).
Open to All
“Our community of Saints is not one of exclusion but one of inclusion, built upon a foundation of apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. It is open to all of us who love, appreciate, and have compassion for our Father in Heaven’s children.”
Psalm 118:22 refers to the Messiah, saying, “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” Jesus quoted this scripture in reference to Himself (see Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17), suggesting that although He would be “despised and rejected of men” in His day (Isaiah 53:3), He was in fact the Messiah and would bring salvation.
After the Savior’s Resurrection, Peter quoted this psalm when testifying of Jesus Christ to the people of Jerusalem (see Acts 4:11–12). He quoted it again in his first epistle, where he also mentioned another Old Testament verse that compares the Messiah to a cornerstone (see 1 Peter 2:6–7; Isaiah 28:16).