15 Famous People Who Have Spoken in the Tabernacle

3. Helen Keller

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Photo from the Library of Congress

March 1941

Helen Keller’s visit to Salt Lake City was highly publicized. She attended a benefit performance at the Tabernacle on the night of her arrival, received a Braille copy of the Book of Mormon from President Heber J. Grant, and spoke in the Tabernacle.

Newspapers of the time reported, “Describing herself as ‘inexpressibly grieved by the present world conflict,’ Miss Keller reaffirmed her belief in the power of God to eventually achieve His divine wish for ‘peace on earth, good will among men.’”

Famous Mormon poet Emma Lou Thayne recalls a particularly touching moment from Keller’s visit, when at the end of her speech, she asked for President Heber J. Grant:

“There was a flurry of getting up from the front row, and President Grant walked up the stairs to the stand. She reached out her hand and he took it. ‘I would like,’ she said, 'to hear your organ play your famous song—about your pioneers. I would like to remember hearing it here.’”

Keller placed her hand on the organ while the organist, Alexander Schreiner, played “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” Feeling only the vibrations from the magnificent instrument and organist's efforts, she stood there in front of the congregation, and the tears flowed.