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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1833

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1833.” You can view other years here.

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1833:  3 Jan.:  Ordinance of washing of feet.

“And ye shall not receive any among you into this school save he is clean from the blood of this generation; And he shall be received by the ordinance of the washing of feet, for unto this end was the ordinance of the washing of feet instituted.  And again, the ordinance of washing feet is to be administered by the president, or presiding elder of the church.”  (D&C 88:138-141)

3 Jan.:  Ordinances of the house of God.

“And to you the called to the ministry of the ordinances of the house of God; and ye are called to do this by prayer and thanksgiving, as the Spirit shall give utterance, in all your doings in the house of the Lord, that it may become a sanctuary, a tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, to your edification: Amen.”  (Revelation, 3 Jan., 1833.  E&MS Mar., 1833) 

4 Jan.:  A “sealing” power.

“Repent of all your sins and be baptized in water for the remission of them, in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost, and receive the ordinance of the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power, that ye may receive the holy spirit of God, and this according to the holy scriptures, and of the Book of Mormon; and the only way that man can enter into the Celestial kingdom.”  (Joseph Smith to “Mr. Editor,” 4 Jan., 1833.  In Jessee, Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, pp. 272-273)

11 Jan.:  Description of promised endowment. 

“You will see that the Lord commanded us in Kirtland to build an house of God, & establish a school for the Prophets, this is the word of the Lord to us, & we must–yea the Lord helping us we will obey, as on conditions of our obedience, he has promised us great things, yea even a visit from the heavens to honor us with his own presence, we greatly fear before the Lord lest we should fail of this great honor which our master proposes to confer on us, we are seeking for humility & great faith lest we be ashamed in his presence.”  (Joseph Smith to W. W. Phelps, 11 Jan., 1833.  In Jessee, Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, p. 263) 

14 Jan.:  Purify ourselves.

“We now close our epistle by saying unto you, the Lord has commanded us to purify ourselves, to wash our hands and our feet, that He may testify to His Father and our Father, to His God and our God, that we are clean from the blood of this generation; and before we could wash our hands and our feet, we were constrained to write this letter.  Therefore, with the feelings of inexpressible anxiety for your welfare, we say again, Repent, repent, or Zion must suffer, for the scourge and judgment must come upon her.”  (Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith, “From a Conference of Twelve High Priests, to the Bishop, his Council, and the Inhabitants of Zion,” 14 Jan., 1833; HC 1:320)

14 Jan.:  Temple and gathering to be in Zion.

“There is one clause in Brother Joseph’s letter which you may not understand; that is this, ‘If the people of Zion did not repent, the Lord would seek another place, and another people.’  Zion is the place where the temple will be built, and the people gathered, but all people upon that holy land being under condemnation, the Lord will cut off, if they repent not, and bring another race upon it, that will serve Him.”  (Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith, “From a Conference of Twelve High Priests, to the Bishop, his Council, and the Inhabitants of Zion,” 14 Jan., 1833; HC 1:320)

23 Jan.:  Washing of feet.

“On the 23rd of January, we again assembled in conference; when, after much speaking, singing, praying, and praising God, all in tongues, we proceeded to the washing of feet (according to the practice recorded in the 13th chapter of John’s Gospel), as commanded of the Lord.  Each Elder washed his own feet first, after which I girded myself with a towel and washed the feet of all of them, wiping them with the towel with which I was girded.  Among the number, my father presented himself, but before I washed his feet, I asked of him a father’s blessing, which he granted by laying his hands upon my head, in the name of Jesus Christ, and declaring that I should continue in the Priest’s office until Christ comes.  At the close of the scene, Brother Frederick G. Williams, being moved upon by the Holy Ghost, washed my feet in token of his fixed determination to be with me in suffering, or in journeying, in life or in death, and to be continually on my right hand; in which I accepted him in the name of the Lord.

I then said to the Elders, As I have done so do ye; wash ye, therefore, one another’s feet; and by the power of the Holy Ghost I pronounced them all clean from the blood of this generation; but if any of them should sin wilfully after they were thus cleansed, and sealed up unto eternal life, they should be given over unto the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption.  Having continued all day in fasting, and prayer, and ordinances, we closed by partaking of the Lord’s supper.  I blessed the bread and wine in the name of the Lord, when we all ate and drank, and were filled; then we sung a hymn, and the meeting adjourned.”  (Joseph Smith, HC 1:323-324)

“Meet agreeable to adjournment.  Conference opened with Prayer by the President and after much speaking praying and singing, all done in Tongues proceded to washing hands faces & feet in the name of the Lord as commanded of God each one washing his own after which the president [girded?] himself with a towel and again washed the feet of all the Elders wiping them with the towel, his father presenting himself the President asked of him a blessing before he would wash his feet which he obtained by the laying on of his fathers hands; pronouncing upon his head that he should continue in his Priests office untill Christ come.  at the close of which scene Br F G Williams being moved upon by the Holy Ghost washed the feet of the President as a token of his fixed determination to be with him in suffering or in rejoicing, in life or in death and to be continually on his right hand in which thing he was accepted.  The President said after he had washed the feet of the Elders, as I have done so do ye wash ye therefore one anothers feet pronouncing at the same time through the power of the Holy Ghost that the Elders were all clean from the blood of this gneeration but that those among them who should sin wilfully after they were thus cleansed and sealed up unto eternal life should be given over unto the buffettings of Satan until the day of redemption  Having continued all day in fasting & prayer before the Lord at the close they partook of the Lords supper which was blessed by the president in the name of the Lord all eat and drank and were filled then sang an hymn and went out.”  (Kirtland High Council Minutes, 23 Jan., 1833)

24 Jan.:  Opening of School of the Prophets.

“The school of the prophets commenced on the 24 day of January 1833 agreeable to the commandment of the Lord which said the first Elders should be called in and receive learning by study and by faith and prepare themselves to go forth for the last time to bind up the law and seal up the testamony the school was organized by assmebling together and the washing of the deciples feet which was done by brother Joseph girding himself with a towel and washing each ones feet and pronouncing at the same time that they were clean from the blood of this generation, and then Bro. Joseph administered the bread and wine after which the meeting was dismissed by uplifted hand to the most high in token of the everlasting covenant in which covenant we received each other into fellowship in a determination to share in each others burdens whether in prosperity or adversity and during the time of the school there was many powerful manifestation of the holy spirit and many counsel held at which times much useful instruction was obtained by the gift and power of the holy spirit and also the gift of tongues and the interpretation thereof there science we engaged in for the winter was English grammar during which time we obtained a general knowledge of that science.”  (Zebedee Coltrin diary, 24 Jan., 1833; LDS Archives)

“The school of the Prophets commenced on the 24th of January, 1833, agreeable to the commandments of the Lord which said that the first Elders should be called in and receive learning by study and by faith and prepare themselves to go forth for the last time to bind up the law and seal up the testimony.  The school was organized by assembling together and the washing of the deciples’ feet, which was done by Brother Joseph binding himself with a towel and washing each one’s feet and pronouncing at the same time that they were clean from the blood of this generation, and then Bro. Joseph administered the bread and wine, after which the meeting was dismissed by uplifted hands to the Most High, in token of the everlasting covenant, in which covenant we received each other with fellowship in determination to share in each others’ burdens, whether in prosperity or adversity.  During the time of the school there were many powerful manifestations of the Holy Spirit abnd much useful instruction given by the same spirit, and also through the gift of tongues and the interpretation thereof.”  (Zebedee Coltrin journal, JH 24 Jan., 1833)

“In one of [the prayer meetings] the prophet told us if we would humble ourselves before God, and exercise strong faith, we should see the face of the Lord, and about midday the visions of my mind were opened and the eyes of my understanding were enlightened, and I saw the form of a man, most lovely; the visage of His face was round and fair as the sun; His hair a bright silver grey, curled in a most majestic form; His eyes a keen penetrating blue; and the skin of His neck a most beautiful white. He was covered from the neck to the feet with a loose garment of pure white – whiter than any garment I had ever before seen. His countenance was most penetrating, and yet most lovely. And while I was endeavoring to comprehend the whole personage from head to feet it slipped from me, and the vision was closed up. But it left to my mind the impression of love, for months, that I never before felt to that degree.”  (John Murdock “Journal”, p. 30; Winter 1832-33. See also Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Vol 28, April 1937, p. 61. [John Murdock boarded with the prophet during this winter.])

Feb.:  Prepare a house.

“Prepare every needful thing, and establish an house, even an house of prayer; an house of fasting; an house of faith; an house of learning; an house of glory; an house of order; an house of God: that your in-comings may be in the name of the Lord, and your out-goings may be in the name of the Lord; that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High.

Therefore, cease from all your light speeches; from all laughter; from all your lustful desires; from all your pride, and high-mindedness, and from all your wicked doings.”  (Revelation, E&MS Feb., 1833)

18 Feb.:  Washed hands & feet to enter School of Prophets.

“Washed my hands and feet as a testimony unto the Lord that I had warned this wicked generation, and that my garments were clean of their blood, and on the same day I was admitted into the school of the Prophets.”  (Orson Pratt diary, 18 Feb., 1833; UGHM 27:166, Oct., 1936)

13 Mar.:  Preparation for endowment.

“The Prophet Joseph, referring to this school [Elder’s grammar school at Kirtland] says:

The School in Kirtland closed to give the Elders an opportunity to go forth and proclaim the Gospel, preparatory to the endowment.”

(JH 13 Mar., 1835)

4 May:  Jared Carter proposes what becomes Kirtland Temple

“. . . it is now March in the the [sic] year 1833 we had no place to worship in Jared Carter went around with a subscription paper to get signers I signed two dollars he made up a little over thirty and presented it to Joseph the Lord would not except it and gave a command to build a Temple also an other [order?] for any gather to move to Kirtland.”  (Levi W. Hancock autobiography; LDS Archives; Ouellette)

“A conference of High Priests assembled in Kirtland May the 4th 1833 and appointed Jared Carter moderator who opened the conference with prayer after which Bro Jared arose and stated the necessity of building a school house for the purpose of accomodating the Elders who should come in to receive their education for the ministry according to a revelation given on that subject March 8–1833 voted unanimously that a committe be appointed to superintend getting subscription for the purpose the following persons were appointed a committe by the voice of the conference viz Hyrum Smith Jared Carter Reynolds Cahoon there being no further business the conference closed.”  (Kirtland High Council Minutes, 4 May, 1833)

“A conference of High Priests assembled in Kirtland, to taken into consideration the necessity of building a school house, for the accommodation of the Elders, who should come together to receive instruction preparatory for their missions, and ministry, according to a revelation on that subject, given March 8, 1833, and by unanimous voice of the conference; Hyrum Smith, Jared Carter, and Reynolds Cahoon were appointed a committee to obtain subscriptions, for the purpose of erecting such a building.”  (HC 1:342-343)

“Nothing of suficient importance to demand special attention occurred from this time untill the ensueing summer when the Brethren began to discus the subject of building another meeting house as the first was now rather small to afford room for the increased congregation.

A councill was called and Joseph requested the brethren to each one to rise and give his views and after they were through he would give his opinion they all spoke some thought that it would be better to build a frame others said that a frame was too costly kind of a house and the majority concluded upon the putting up a log house and made their calculations about what they could do towards building it–Joseph rose and reminded them that they were not making a house for themselves or any other man but a house for God.  And shall we brethren build a house for our God of logs.  No brethren I have a better plan than that I have the plan of the house of the Lord given by himself you will see by this the difference between our calculations and his ideas.  He then gave them the plan in full of the house of the Lord at Kirtland with which when the brethren heard they were highly delighted and particularly Hyrum who was twice as much animated as athough it were for himself and declared that he would strike the first blow towards building the house.  Before the meeting closed (and it was then saturday afternoon) they resolved upon laying the corner stone one week from the succeeding Wednesday.  Now brethren said Joseph let us go select a place for the building they then all went out and when they came to a certain field of wheat which my sons had sown the fall before they made choice of a spot which was situated in the North West corner of the field Hyrum ran to the house and caught the sythe and was about returning to the place without giving any [explanation?] but I stopt him and asked him where he was going with the scythe he said we are preparing to build a house for the Lord and I am determined to be the first at the work.  In a few minutes the fence was removed the young wheat cut and the found in order for the foundation of the wall and Hyrum commenced digging away the earth where the stone were to be laid.  Early Monday morning the rethren were out with their teams laboring with great ambition at digging a trench for the wall quarying stone and hauling them to the place wher they were to be used.  Although there was but 30 families in Kirtland at that time as there had many of the brethren gone to Jackson Co. the work never stoped or stood still for the want of means or laborers but they suffered much from fatigue and uneasiness for as soon as the work was commenced our enemies began to swear that we should not finish it but the brethren were faithful to their charge and they would take turns in watching the walls.”  (Lucy Mack Smith manuscript, pp. 169-170)

6 May:  Revelation concerning Kirtland Temple.

“And again, verily I say unto you, my friends, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall commence a work of laying out and preparing a beginning and foundation of the city of the stake of Zion, here in the land of Kirtland, beginning at my house.

And behold it must be done according to the pattern which I have given unto you.

And let the first lot on the south be consecrated unto me for the building of an house for the Presidency, for the work of the Presidency, in obtaining revelations; and for the work of the ministry of the Presidency, in all things pertaining to the Church and kingdom.

Verily I say unto you, that it shall be built fifty-five by sixty-five feet in the width thereof and in the length thereof, in the inner court;

And there shall be a lower court and a higher court, according to the pattern which shall be given unto you hereafter;

And it shall be dedicated unto the Lord from the foundation thereof, according to the order of the Priesthood, according to the pattern which shall be given unto you hereafter:

And it shall be wholly dedicated unto the Lord for the work of the Presidency.

And ye shall not suffer any unclean thing to come in unto it; and my glory shall be there, and my presence shall be there;

But if there shall come into it any unclean thing, my glory shall not be there; and my presence shall not come into it.

And again, verily I say unto you, the second lot on the south shall be dedicated unto me for the building of an house unto me, for the work of the printing of the translation of my Scriptures, and all things whatsoever I shall command you;

And it shall be fifty-five by sixty-five feet in the width thereof and the length thereof, in the inner court; and there shall be a lower and a higher court:

And this house shall be wholly dedicated unto the Lord from the foundation thereof, for the work of the printing, in all things whatsoever I shall command you, to be holy, undefiled according to the pattern in all things, as it shall be given unto you.”  (HC 1:346-347)

“The building of a grand temple at Kirtland, in which the power and prosperity of the Mormon Church were to be shown, was among the earliest desires of Smith, and he made use of every means and power at his command for the accomplishment of that end.  Its construction was made the subject of a special revelation, received upon May 6th.  Besides the tithes that were to be paid into the treasury as a building fund, each Mormon was compelled to give one-seventh of his time in labor.  It was at first ordered that it should be of brick, but as some difficulty was experienced on this point, a change was made to rough stone, plastered over, painted blue, and marked to imitate regular courses in masonry.  The first stone was laid on July 24th.  Joseph Bump, of Silver Creek, N. Y., was appointed master builder, and each night was handed a special revelation concerning the work of the following day.  The structure as finally decided upon was sixty by eighty feet in size, and one hundred and twenty feet from its base to the top of the spire.  The work of construction was pushed forward as rapidly as circumstances and means would permit, but two years elapsed before its completion.”  (J. H. Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, pp. 131-132)

26 May:  We may be one in the Lord through eternity.

“A new idea, Sally, if you and I continue faithful to the end, we are certain to be one in the Lord throughout eternity; this is one of the most glorious consolations we can have in the flesh.  {From original letter in possession of Wm. W. Phelps grandson of Wm. W. Phelps.}”  (W. W. Phelps to his wife, Sally, 26 May, 1835; JH 26 May, 1835)

May:  Sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

“After Paul had declared to his Ephesian brethren, that those who first trusted in Christ, should be to the praise of his glory, he says:  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.  This then, was the condition of one of the churches built up by the ancient apostles: some were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, and some would not endure sound doctrine; and even of the elders, Paul said, some should arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them, &c.; so that Timothy was charged to reprove, rebuke and exhort, with all long suffering and doctrine.  And the Lord has said in these last days, that there will be foolish virgins among the wise until he comes.  This has always been the case in the church of Christ on earth, more or less since the beginning, except in the days before the city of Enoch was taken to the bosom of the Father.”  (“Preach the Word,” E&MS May, 1833)

May:  Endowed with the Comforter.

“By keeping his commandments, we have the promise of his blessings; and by keeping his commandments, we are endowed with the Comforter, and by it, we can try all the spirits and know whether they are of the Lord or not.”  (“Preach the Word,” E&MS May, 1833) 

1 Jun.: Commandment to build temple for “endowment”.

“Great preparations were making to commence a house of the Lord; and notwithstanding the Church was poor, yet our unity, harmony, and charity abounded to strengthen us to do the commandments of God.  The building of the house of the Lord in Kirtland was a matter that continued to increase in its interest in the hearts of the brethren, and the building committee issued the following circular to the different branches of the Church:


Kirtland, June 1, 1833.

To the Church of Christ in _________

We feel under obligations to write to you as well as to all the brethren of the different branches; and we do this, that you, with us, may exert yourselves to bring about the fulfillment of the command of the Lord concerning the establishing, or preparing a house, wherein the Elders, who have been commanded of the Lord so to do, may gather themselves together, and prepare all things, and call a solemn assembly, and treasure up words of wisdom, that they may go forth to the Gentiles for the last time; and now, in order to accomplish this, we are directed, yea, we are under the necessity, to call upon the whole Church, as a body, that they make every possible exertion to aid temporally, as well as spiritually, in this great work that the Lord is beginning, and is about to accomplish.  And unless we fulfill this command, viz: establish an house, and prepare all things necessary whereby the Elders may gather into a school, called the School of the Prophets, and receive that instruction which the Lord designs they should receive, we may all despair of obtaining the great blessing that God has promised to the faithful of the Church of Christ; therefore, it is as important, as our salvation, that we obey this above-mentioned command, as well as all the commandments of the Lord.

Therefore, brethren, we write this epistle to you, to stir up your minds to make that exertion which the Lord requires of you, to lend a temporal aid in these things above written; and in order that you may know how to conduct the business, we will relate what we have done and are doing here.

We have met in conference, and agreed to form a subscription, and circulate it through the churches.  The conference also appointed Hyrum Smith, Reynolds Cahoon, and Jared Carter, a committee to superintend this business, viz: that of circulating subscriptions, to establish a fund to build a house, and to aid the Elders to attend this school.  The subscriptions are now in circulation among us, and our Heavenly Father is opening the hearts of our brethren beyond the expectation of many; and not one brother among us, as yet, refuses to exert himself to do something in a temporal way to bring about the establishing of this house and school; and we say, may our Heavenly Father open your hearts also, that you, with us, may gather together something to aid as a temporal benefit.

Probably you had better call the officers of the Church immediately together, and appoint someone to circulate a subscription, that each individual, after signing, may have a sufficient time to make preparations to pay what he subscribes; for it will be necessary, wherever the brethren are at a distance from Kirtland, that they exert themselves to send on their gift or assistance as soon as they can to Kirtland; though they can, if they believe best, wait on those that sign until the first of September, and then collect and send it to Kirtland.

These considerations we have written to you, knowing it to be our duty thus to do; and may the Lord help you to exert yourselves with us, in raising the means to bring about the glorious work of the Lord; and may we all be kept by the grace of God unto eternal life.  Amen.

Hyrum Smith,

Reynolds Cahoon,

Jared Carter,


The same day [June 1st] I received the following: . . .

And for this cause I gave unto you a commandment that you shouild call your colemn assembly, that your fastings and your mourning might come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, which is by interpretation, the Creator of the first day, the beginning and the end.

Yea, verily I say unto you, I gave unto you a commandment that you should build a house, in the which house I design to endow those whom I have chosen with power from on high;

For this is the promise of the Father unto you, therefore I command you to tarry, even as mine apostles at Jerusalem;

Nevertheless my servants sinned a very grievous sin, and contentions arose in the School of the Prophets, which was very grievous unto me, saith your Lord; therefore I sent them forth to be chastened.

Verily I say unto you, it is my will that you should build an house.  If you keep my commandments, you shall have power to build it;

If you keep not my commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with you, therefore you shall walk in darkness.

Now here is wisdom, and the mind of the Lord; let the house be built, not after the manner of the world, for I give not unto you that ye shall live after the manner of the world;

Therefore let it be built after the manner which I shall show unto three of you, whom ye shall appoint and ordain unto this power.

And the size thereof shall be fifty and five feet in width, and let it be sixty-five feet in length, in the inner court thereof;

And let the lower part of the inner court be dedicated unto me for your sacrament offering, and for your preaching, and your fasting, and your praying, and the offering up of your most holy desires unto me, saith your Lord.

And let the higher part of the inner court be dedicated unto me, for the school of mine Apostles, saith Son Ahman; or, in other words, Alphus; or in other words, Omegus; even Jesus Christ your Lord.  Amen.”

(HC 1:349-352)

“Joseph received the word of the Lord for him to take his two counsellors Williams and Rigdon and come before the Lord, and he would show them the plan or model of the House to be built.  We went upon our knees, called on the Lord, and the Building appeared within viewing distance:  I being the first to discover it.  Then all of us viewed it together.  After we had taken a good look at the exterior, the building seemed to come right over us, and the Makeup of this Hall seems to coincide with what I saw to a minutia.”  (Frederick G. Williams, in Truman O. Angell Journal [date?], BYU Library Special Collections.  In Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 198)

“F. G. Williams came into the Temple about the time the main hall 1st floor was ready for dedication.  He was asked, how does the house look to you.  He answered that it looked to him like the model he had seen.  He said President Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and himself were called to come before the Lord and the model was shown them.  He said the vision of the Temple was thus shown them and he could not see the difference between it and the House as built.”  (Truman O. Angell to John Taylor, 11 Mar., 1885, LDS Archives.  In Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 322; also in Laurel B. Andrew, The Early Temples of the Mormons, p. 36)

“According to Truman O. Angell, one of the supervisors in the building of the temple, the Prophet informed his counselors in the First Presidency, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams, that the Lord would show them ‘the plan or model of the House to be built.’  The three men knelt in prayer, and the building appeared before them in vision.  Elder Angell reported that Frederick G. Williams later described this vision in the completed temple and said that the hall where they were then standing coincided precisely with the room he had beheld in the vision.  Elder Angell further stated that when someone recommended to Joseph Smith that the seats in the building be rearranged, the Prophet said that the seats were located where he had seen them in vision.”  (Backman, The Heavens Resound, pp. 147-148, referring to Truman Angell autobiography)

“Even the provinces were beginning to respond to changes in architectural fashion.  Backwoods Connecticut, for example, saw several churches built which were late colonial in all respects save the pointed windows, and others of this type began to appear in the Western Reserve at about the same time or slightly later than the Kirtland temple.

Besides these very general sources (which there is no evidence the Mormons may have known), the Kirtland temple is related to another group of churches even closer in appearance, which Smith himself may have seen.  On the lower east side of Manhattan there are at least five extant ‘Georgian Gothic’ churches built before 1830.  These retain the Georgian proportions and stone construction of eighteenth-century New York churches like St. Paul’s Chapel and St. Mark’s in the Bouwerie, but they have Gothic windows–as at Kirtland, Gothic in shape only, for they contain colonial mullions rather than medieval tracery.  These buildings are abstracted versions of Georgian which in their purity and lack of detail seem to have been affected by the Greek Revival.  Most similar to Kirtland are the Northeast Reform Dutch, or Market Street Church (now the Sea and Land Church), built by Henry Rutgers between 1814 and 1817 (figure 16), and All Saints Free Church, 1827-1829.  The similarity would have been even greater if the imitation masonry at Kirtland had been preserved.  That the Mormons were acquainted with some architecture other than that found in the immediated vicinity of Kirtland, and, in particular, buildings like the two built of random stone, is suggested by the fact that the Kirtland temple was atypical in its use of stone rather than wood, the conventionial medium of the Western Reserve.

In October 1832, only half a year before the Kirtland temple began to rise, Joseph Smith visited New York City to secure some loans for the United Order.  A letter written to his wife shows how greatly impressed he was by his first contact with a large city:

This day I have been walking through the most splendid part of the city of New York.  The buildings are truly great and wonderful to the astonishing of every beholder. . . . Can the great God of all the earth maker of all things magnificent and splendid be displeased with man for all these great inventions sought out by them.  My answer is no it can not be, seeing these great works are calculated to make man comfortable wise and happy, therefore not for these works can the Lord be displeased.  Only against man is the anger of the Lord kindled because they give him not glory. . . . Therefore their iniquities shall be visited upon their heads and their works shall be burned up with unquenchable fire.

In this wonderfully ambivalent passage Smith mentions no specific buildings, but he was obviously interested in the architecture.  The letter also implies a justification for erecting a building of the size and pretensions of the temple in a poor frontier community.  The Lord did not disapprove of magnificent buildings, only the iniquitous men who constructed them.  A building consecrated to the Lord, indeed, commanded by the Lord, would serve to increase his glory (and concurrently, Smith’s own importance).  It is not unlikely that Smith’s New York journey inspired him to begin to build up his own town and excited in him a desire to plan a temple comparable to the monuments he had seen in the east, rivalling them as best he could in size and permanence.  It should be suitable to serve as the headquarters of the kingdom of the Lord which would in time replace those kingdoms of the world.  The above-mentioned Georgian Gothic churches were located in an area which was then fashionable and aristocratic.  If Smith saw them, he may have consciously recollected these buildings when he included ‘modern’ Gothic windows in the plans for the temple.”  (Laurel B. Andrew, The Early Temples of the Mormons, pp. 43-46)

“A further peculiarity of the interior is the complicated set of ropes and pulleys concealed within the wooden piers, which operated curtains called ‘veils’ that could be lowered to divide each hall into smaller compartments.

Each {row of pulpits} had curtains hanging from the ceiling overhead down to the top of the pulpit, which could be rolled up or dropped down at pleasure, and when dropped down would completely exclude those within the apartment from the sight of all others.  The room was also divided into four compartments by means of curtains or veils hanging from the ceiling overhead down to the floor, so that the house could be used for different purposes.  (Eliza R. Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, p. 12)

Veils had been used in the Temple of Solomon and the tabernacle to isolate the holy area–reserved for members of the priesthood–where the ark of the covenant was kept, a detail which Smith would certainly have known.  But circumstantial evidence provides a further source for the veils and pulpits in the Quaker meetinghouse.  Quaker communities had developed in the Burned-over District and by the 1830s a number of Quaker settlements had been established in Ohio.  Judging from the synthesizing abilities Smith displayed in the Book of Mormon, one might also infer that a similar eclectic culling of usable elements was going on in his architectural creation.  The following descriptions of a Quaker meetinghouse suggest where Smith may have derived some of his ideas for the interior of the temple, though this does not detract from the originality of the combination of items and especially from the double-ended arrangement:

Most of the benches faced one direction, but a few benches were opposite the others.  These were often slightly elevated, and were called the gallery or facing benches.  Men and women whose gift in the ministry had been recognized by their fellow religionists sat upon the facing benches.

. . . .

Two entrances were provided in one wall, which enabled men and women to enter their separate meetings for business simultaneously.  A moveable partition down the middle of the auditorium separated the two meetings, and it could be removed for meetings of worship.”

(Laurel B. Andrew, The Early Temples of the Mormons, pp. 47-50)

3 Jun.:  Committee to obtain a draft.

“The next matter before the conference was to ascertain what should be the dimensions or size of the house, that is to be built for a house of worship and for the School of the Prophets.  I had received a revelation on the size of the house in which the word of the Lord was that it should be fifty-five feet wide, and sixty-five feet long, in the inner court.  The conference appointed Joseph Smith, Jun., Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams to obtain a draft or construction of the inner court of the house.”  (HC 1:352)

4 Jun.:  Newel K. Whitney to take charge of temple land.

“Therefore let my servant Ahashdah (Newel K. Whitney) take charge of the place which is named among you, upon which I design to build mine holy house.”  (HC 1:352)

5 Jun.:  First stone hauled for Temple.

“George A. Smith hauled the first load of stone for the Temple, and Hyrum Smith and Reynolds Cahoon commenced digging the trench for the walls of the Lord’s house, and finished the same with their own hands.”  (HC 1:353)

6 Jun.: Temple committee to proceed immediately.

“This day called a conference of High priests 6th June 1833–Bro Joseph opened by prayer.  Orson Hyde being nominated a Clerk for the presidency of the High Priesthood, seconded and duly chosen by vote, and took his seat to act.–The occasion of the conference being called, was this, to council the committee who were appointed to take the oversight of the building of the House of the Lord.  These are the names of the committee Reynolds Cahoon Jared Carter & Hyrum Smith.  It was voted by the conference that the committee proceed immediately to commence building the House or obtaining materials Stone Brick Lumber &C.”  (Kirtland High Council Minutes, 6 Jun., 1833)

“A conference of High Priests assembled, and chose Orson Hyde a clerk to the Presidency of the High Priesthood.  This conference was more especially called to counsel the committee, who had been appointed to take the oversight of the building of the house of the Lord.  The conference voted that the committee, (Reynolds Cahoon, Jared Carter, and Hyrum Smith), proceed immediately to commence building the house; or to obtaining materials, stone, brick, lumber, etc., for the same.”  (HC 1:353-354)

25 Jun.:  Temple block of City of Zion.

“The painted squares in the middle are for public buildings.  The one without any figures is for store-houses for the Bishop, and to be devoted to his use.  Figure first is for temples for the use of the presidency; the circles inside of the squares, are the places for the temples.  You will see it contains twelve figures, two are for the temples of the lesser Priesthood.  It is also to contain twelve temples. . . .

The names of the temples to be built on the painted squares as represented on the plot of the city of Zion, which is now about to be forwarded thither:–numbers 10, 11, and 12, are to be called, House of the Lord, for the Presidency of the High and most Holy Priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of the Son of God, upon Mount Zion, City of the New Jerusalem.  Numbers 7, 8, and 9, the Sacred Apostolic Repository, for the use of the Bishop.  Numbers 4, 5, and 6, the Holy Evangelical House, for the High Priesthood of the Holy Order of God.  Numbers 1, 2, and 3, the House of the Lord, for the Elders of Zion, an Ensign to the Nations.  Numbers 22, 23, and 24, House of the Lord for the Presidency of the High Priesthood, after the Order of Aaron, a Standard for the People.  Numbers 19, 20, and 21, House of the Lord, the Law of the Kingdom of Heaven, and Messenger to the People; for the Highest Priesthood after the Order of Aaron.  Numbers 16, 17, and 18, House of the Lord for the Teachers in Zion, Messenger to the Church.  Numbers 13, 14, and 15, House of the Lord for the Deacons in Zion, Helps in Government.  Underneath must be written on each house–Holiness to the Lord.  

A description of the House of the Lord, which is to be built first in Zion:

This house of the Lord for the Presidency, is eighty-seven feet long and sixty-one feet wide, and ten feet taken off of the east end for the stairway, leaves the inner court, seventy-eight feet by sixty-one, which is calculated and divided for seats in the following manner, viz: the two aisles four feet wide each; the middle block of pews are eleven feet ten inches long, and three feet wide each; and the two lines drawn through the middle, are four inches apart; in which space a curtain is to drop at right angles, and divide the house into four parts if necessary.  The pews of the side blocks are fourteen and a half feet long, and three feet wide.  The five pews in each corner of the house, are twelve feet six inches long.  The open spaces between the corner and side pews are for fireplaces; those in the west are nine feet wide, and the east ones are eight feet and eight inches wide, and the chimneys carried up in the wall where they are marked with a pencil.  

The pulpit in the west end of the house is to be occupied by the High Priesthood, as follows:–Number 1, is for the President and his council; number 2, for the Bishop and his council; number 3 for the High Priests; and number 4 for the Elders: each of these is eight feet long, containing three coves or stands for the respective speakers; and those seats opposite them are for visiting officers, who are to occupy seats according to their respective grades.  The two spaces in the middle are stairs two feet wide.  The middle pulpit is to be elevated; the first seats one foot, the second two feet, the third three feet, and the fourth four feet.  And those upon each side are also to be elevated: the first one eight inches, the second sixteen, the third twenty-four, the fourth thirty-two.  The corner seats are to be occupied by singers, and elevated–the first seat six inches, the second twelve, the third eighteen, the fourth twenty-four, and the fifth thirty-two inches.  The pulpit in the east end of the house is to be occupied by the Lesser Priesthood.  Number 1, is for the Presidency of the Lesser Priesthood; number 2, for the Priests; number 3, for the Teachers; and number 4, for the Deacons; and the seats by their sides, are also to be occupied by visiting officers; each one opposite his respective grade.  The pulpits are to be finished with panel work, in the best workmanlike manner; and the building to be constructed of stone and brick of the best quality.  Observe particularly that as there are pulpits at each end of the house, the backs of the congregation must be to one of them, and they will want occasionally to change.  In order for this the house must have pews instead of slips, and in the pews let the seats be loose, that they may slip from one side of the pew to the other, so as to face either pulpit, as occasion may require.

The side view represents five windows in each story.   The windows are to have each forty-eight lights, of seven by nine glass, six one way and eight the other; the sides and lintels of the windows to be of hewn stone and on the top of the lintel is to be a Gothic top, as you see, but the windows must have a lintel; and so with the outside doors, all with Gothic tops.

Make your house fourteen feet high between the floors.  There will not be a gallery, but a chamber; each story to be fourteen feet high, arched overhead with an elliptic arch.  Let the foundation of the house be of stone; let it be raised sufficiently high to allow of banking up so high as to admit of a descent every wayfrom the house, so far as to divide the distance between this house, and the one next to it.  On the top of the foundation, above the embankment, let there be two rows of hewn stone, and then commence the brick-work on the hewn stone.  The entire height of the house is to be twenty-eight feet, each story being fourteen feet; make the wall a sufficient thickness for a house of this size.  The end view represents five windows of the same size as those at the side, the middle window excepted, which is to be the same, with the addition of side lights.  This middle window is designed to light the rooms both above and below, as the upper floor is to be laid off in the same way as the lower one, and arched overhead; with the same arrangement of curtains, or veils, as before mentioned.

The doors are to be five feet wide, and nine feet high, and to be in the east end of the house.  The west end is to have no doors, but in other respects is to be like the east, except the windows are to be opposite the alleys which run east and west.  The roof of the house is to have one-fourth pitch, the door to have Gothic top, the same as the windows.  The shingles of the roof to be painted before they are put on.   There is to be a fanlight, as you see.  The windows and doors are all to have venetian blinds.  A belfry is to be in the east end, and a bell of very large size.

You will be careful to have hooks and rings to suspend your veils on, so that they can be let down or raised at any time, at pleasure.  Also, as you see, the pulpits are to have four seats, rising one above another; for instance, the Elder’s seat is the lowest, next comes the High Priest’s, next the Bishop’s; so each of these must have a veil that is suspended from the upper floor, so as to be let down; which will at any time when necessary be let down, and shut off each stand or seat by itself.”  (HC 1:358-362)  

“The temple at Independence was never built, due to the hostility of the Missourians, whose resentment of the Mormon influx eventually reached such a pitch that the Saints were forcibly expelled, first from Jackson County, in 1833, and finally, in 1838, from Missouri altogether.  There remain, however, two sets of drawings for this temple, now in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church Historian’s Office in Salt Lake City.  These were given to the church in 1865 by the widow of Bishop Edward Partridge, who had been in charge of the Mormon communities in Missouri.  At the time the drawings were presented the donor indicated that they had been intended as plans for the Independence temple and had been sent to Missouri by Joseph Smith in either 1832 or 1833.  The specifications on one set of drawings correspond in almost every detail to the written description of the ‘House of the Lord to be erected in Zion’ which Smith had entered in his journal under the date 25 June 1833 along with the details of the plat.  These are the only significant drawings of the Independence temple, and since they are so similar to the temple actually built at Kirtland, they should be regarded as the first step in the development of ideas about the building in Ohio. . . .

The drawings for the Independence temple are by two different hands.  One set, consisting of a floor plan, facade, and side elevation evidently represents the original concept, since the drawing is sketchily done in freehand and lacks details.  These are not signed and the handwriting has not been identified.  The second set–ground plan, side elevation, east and west facades–is more precisely drawn, and the drawing of the east end (figure 12) bears the signature of Frederick G. Williams, a member of the first presidency (Smith, Williams, and Sidney Rigdon) at Kirtland.  Both sets are essentially the same, though Williams’s drawings increase the number of windows on the flanks from five to nine, the length from eighty-seven to ninety-seven feet, and include a few more details.  Both contain handwritten instructions explaining the drawings and giving general directions for the construction of the building, again with only minor changes in the Williams set.  The instructions on the first set are those found in Joseph Smith’s History of the Church.

Made of brick and stone like the houses in the city of Zion, the temple was to have been simple, but solidly built.  Its profile would have been long and low, for while the width was specified as sixty-one feet, the total height of the two stories, excluding the pediment, was given as only twenty-eight feet.  This primitive, shed-like structure is really an example of early Mormon building rather than architecture, for its appearance seems to have been dictated exclusively by functional needs with no concern for style, harmony of proportion, or satisfactory interrelationship of parts.

Each of the two stories of the temple was to have a meeting room with an elliptically arched ceiling.  Two aisles would separate the blocks of pews from each other, and at either end of each hall there was to be a set of tiered pulpits for those officiating in the services.  Four fireplaces, one near each corner, would provide heat for the rooms.  There are no details given about interior ornamentation–what concerned Smith most were the dimensions and arrangement of the interior halls and the necessity of finishing the building with the best materials available, as is seen in his remarks about the pulpits and windows:

The pulpits are to be finished with panel work, in the best workmanlike manner; and the building to be constructed of stone and brick of the best quality. . . . The windows are to have each forty-eight lights, of seven by nine glass, six one way and eight the other; the sides and lintels of the windows to be of hewn stone.  (HC 1:361)”

(Laurel B. Andrew, The Early Temples of the Mormons, pp. 32-33)

25 Jun.:  Progress of Kirtland Temple.

“The number of disciples in Kirtland is about one hundred and fifty.  We have commenced building the House of the Lord, in this place, and it goes on rapidly.”  (First Presidency to W. W. Phelps, 25 Jun., 1833; HC 1:366)

23 Jul.:  Cornerstones for Kirtland Temple laid.

17 Aug.:  Non-Mormon account of planned Kirtland Temple.

Chardon Spectator and Geauga Gazette, Chardon, Ohio, Saturday, August 17, 1833, N.S. vol. III, no. 4, whole no. 251.


At Kirtland, they have contemplated erecting a building of stone on a magnificent plan, to be called, after the one erected by King Solomon, ‘The Temple.’  Doubtless, this would have far exceeded the temple of Solomon in magnificence and splendor.  The workmen, we have understood, were ready to commence operations, when it was deferred, and perhaps abandoned, owing to some misunderstanding, as we have been informed, in relation to its location, or the purchase of the ground on which it was to stand.”

[The following appears in the Spectator for August 24:]

“We mentioned in our last, that the Mormonites had discontinued building their ‘Temple,’ at Kirtland Flats.  We understand that they have again resumed the work with renewed vigour.”  (DALE MORGAN – “THE MORMONS AND THE FAR WEST:  A collection of transcripts of newspaper articles on the Mormons, also containing material on the following subjects:  the opening of the West; the fur trade; Indians of the middle and south-western states; the Santa Fe trade, etc.  1809-c.1857.”  Huntington Library)

18 Aug.:  Preparation for endowment.

“You know that the chirch have treted lightly the commandments of the Lord and for this cause they are not worthy to receive them yet god has suffered it not for your sins but that he might preprare you for a grateer work that you might be prepared for the endowment from on high.”  (Joseph Smith to W. W. Phelps and others, 18 Aug., 1833.  In Jessee, Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, p. 286)

26 Aug.:  Congregation sealed up to eternal life.

“In the forenoon the church at Charleston, [Vermont] with some other brethren from other towns, met together and called upon the Lord, and the Lord heard their prayers and moved upon his servant, Lyman [Johnson], by the power of the Holy Ghost, to seal them up unto eternal life, and after this the Brethren arose one by one and said that they knew that their names were sealed in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and they all did bear this glorious testimony save two or three.”  (Orson Pratt diary, 26 Aug., 1833) 

31 Aug.:  Reference to New Testament “endowment.”

“Luke 24:44, 50 reads thus, ‘Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, thus it is written, and thus it behoveth Christ to suffer, and rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, and ye are witnesses of these things, and behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in Jerusalem, until ye be endowed with power from on high.’  Hence we discover that they were to preach repentance and remission of sins, and he that believed their testimony and was baptized should be saved.  But they were to tarry at Jerusalem until they were endowed with power from on high.

Acts first chapt. and eight first verses, corroborates the foregoing.  Christ, ‘Being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.’  And further, ‘Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’  The power spoken of above, we find explained in the 20th chapt. of John’s testimony, 22nd and 23rd verses in these words:  ‘And when he had said this, he {Christ} breathed on them, and saith unto them Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.[‘]  Thus we see that besides the signs that were to follow them that believed, they {the apostles} had this power granted to them also, even the power to remit and to retain sins, upon such conditions as the Holy Ghost should direct, when they should receive it.  Agreeably to the instructions of their Lord, the disciples waited at Jerusalem; and as is recorded in the 2nd chapt. of Acts on the ‘day of pentecost they were all with one accord in one place,’ when, as was promised, the Holy Ghost was poured out upon them, and they began to speak with new tongues–and then they began their ministry, according to the directions given them.  It may be proper before going further to notice, that the kingdom of God was now to be preached to all nations, and that Peter had the keys of the kingdom of heaven, conferred upon him, as recorded in Mat. 16:19.  ‘And I will give unto thee {Peter} the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.’  Hence we discover that Peter had great power given into his hands, & so had all the apostles, according to John’s testimony, as above quoted.  Consequently, when they were endowed with power from on high, and were to commence their mission, Peter standing up with the eleven, began to declare unto them the things of God; showing that Jesus was the Christ, and that they had taken, and with wicked hands had crucivied and slain the Lord of glory; and that he had risen from the dead–in proof of which he quoted the prophecies which they dared not dispute, and thus convinced them that Jesus was the Christ; and being convinced of the fact, truth brought with it conviction, as it always will when received: they saw at once that they had committed sin that had no sacrifice for in the law of Moses, consequently they, with one accord, cried out, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’  Peter having the keys of the kingdom, was ready to tell them what they must do: he said unto them:  ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.’  And according to the account, about three thousand were received into the kingdom the same day–having received the remission of their sins, as well as the gift of the Holy Ghost, they were made to rejoice and praise God.”  (Edward Partridge, 31 Aug., 1833, in M&A 1(4):59-60, Jan., 1835)

8 Sep.:  Congregation sealed up to eternal life.

“[Bath:]  Being the Sabbath we held a meeting in the forenoon also one in the afternoon, and Brother Lyman [Johnson] ordained Brother Horace Cowen, an elder, and laid hands upon the little children and blessed them in the name of the Lord, and administered the sacrament, and sealed up the Church unto eternal life.”  (Orson Pratt diary, 8 Sep., 1833) 

18 Sep.:  Luck Mack Smith to have eternal life.

“Blessed is my mother, for her soul is ever filled with benevolence and philanthropy; and not withstanding her age, she shall yet receive strength and be comforted in the midst of her house:  And thus saith the Lord, she shall have eternal life.”  (Patriarchal Blessing given by Joseph Smith, Jr. to Joseph Smith Sr., at Kirtland, Ohio, 18 Sep., 1833.  In Collier, Unpublished Revelations, p. 65)

26 Sep.:  Assurance of salvation through “sealing.”

“‘Notwithstanding we (said Paul) have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us which hope we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast and which entereth into that within the vail.’  Yet he was careful to press upon them the necessity of continuing on untill they as well as those who inherited the promises might have the assurance of their salvation confirmed to them by an oath from the mouth of him who could not lie for that seemed to be the example anciently and Paul holds it out to his brethren as an object attainable in his day and why not I admit that by reading the scriptures of truth saints in the days of Paul could learn beyond the power of contradiction that Abraham Isaac and Jacob had the promise of eternal life confirmed to them by an oath of the Lord but that promise or oath was no assurance to them of their salvation but they could by walking in the footsteps and continuing in the faith of their fathers obtain for themselves an oath for confirmation that they were meet to be partake[r]s of the inheritance with the saints in light.

If the saints in the days of the Apostles were priviledged to take the saints for example and lay hold of the same promises and attain to the same exhalted priviledges of knowing that their names were writen in the Lambs book of life and that they were sealed there as a perpetual memorial before the face of the most high will not the same faithfulness the same purity of heart and the same faith bring the same assurance of eternal life and that in the same manner to the children of men now in this age of the world. . . .

I may believe that they looked into Eternity and saw the Judge of all, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant; but will all this purchase an assurance for me, or waft me to the regions of Eternal day with my garments spotless, pure, and white?  Or, must I not rather obtain for myself, by my own faith and dilligence, in keeping the commandments of the Lord, an assurance of salvation for myself And have I not an equal priviledge with the ancient saints? and will not the Lord hear my prayers, and listen to my cries, as soon [as] he ever did to their’s if I come to him in the manner they did or is he a respecter of persons?”  (Joseph Smith to Silas Smith, 26 Sep., 1833.  In Jessee, Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, pp. 299-301) 

22 Oct.:  We look for the great endowment.

“We look for the grate indowment to take place soon now theare will be a grate gathering of the saints to Zion next season so no more at present bu tremain your brother in Christ.”  (G. M. Hinkel (Portage Co., Ohio) to R. Ruben Middleton (Washington Co., Ill.), 22 Oct., 1835; JH 22 Oct., 1835)

ca. Oct.:  Kirtland Temple originally to be of brick.

“In the fall of 1833, while yet there were but few saints in Kirtland, and those all of the poorer class, it was required by the Lord that a temple should be built at that place.  As at first it was designed to build it of brick, my brother Joel H. was called upon to burn them. . . .

Previous to this [October 30, 1833], the purpose of building the temple of brick was abandoned, as a stone quarry at easy distance was opened to obtain the rock for its construction.”  (Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life’s Review, n.p., n.d.; pp. 16-17)

18 Dec.:  The Temple and the Smith family.

“Again blessed of the Lord is my father and also my mother and my brothers and my sisters.  For they shall yet find redemption in the House of the Lord and their ofsprings shall be a blessing, a Joy, and a comfort unto them. . . .

Blessed of the Lord is my brother Hyrum, for the integrity of his heart; he shall be girt about with truth, and faithfulness shall be the strength of his loins: from generation to generation he shall be a shaft in the hand of his God to execute judgment upon His enemies; and he shall be hid by the hand of the Lord, that none of his secret parts shall be discovered unto his hurt; his name shall be accounted a blessing among men; and when he is in trouble, and great tribulation hath come upon him, he shall remember the God of Jacob; and He will shield him from the power of Satan; and he shall receive counsel in the house of the Most High, that he may be strengthened in hope, that the goings of his feet may be established for ever.

Blessed of the Lord is my brother Samuel, because the Lord shall say unto him, Samuel, Samuel; therefore he shall be made a teacher in the house of the Lord, and the Lord shall mature his mind in judgment, and thereby he shall obtain the esteem and fellowship of his brethren, and his soul shall be established and he shall benefit the house of the Lord, because he shall obtain answer to prayer in his faithfulness.”  (Joseph Smith, HC 1:466; also Joseph Smith diary, 18 Dec., 1833; in in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, pp. 17-18)

31 Dec.:  Excommunicated for denying THE VISION.

“On the 1st of May [1833] Bro. L. Johnson came to me in the morning from Geneseo, and said that he and Bro. Orson Pratt had been to Genesseo visited Ezra Landen, Elder, who denied the vision in the Book of Covenants and some of the Revelations, and a number of the church joined him.  They wanted me to go and help deal with them.  Bro. Rich and myself went with him, we met bro. Landen in conference 6 oclock afternoon, four high Priests forming the councel viz. Bros. Rich, Lyman, Orson and myself.  I acted as moderator and opened the conference by dedicating ourselves in prayer to the Lord.  Bro. Orson laid the case before the conference, by stating tha Bro. Landen said ‘the vision was of the Devil.’  And that he did not believe it, any more than he believed the Devil was crucified.  And many like things which Bro. Lyman witnessed too.  Landen stated that he would not have the vision taught in the church for one thousand Dollars and was very much opposed.  Landen rose after this statement and thanked God that he was permitted to speak for himself, and was quite jaughty about it, and with a wining sectarian tone tried to work up sympathy in us and every one present, by telling the sacrifices he had made, the hardships he had endured, and the good he had done for the cause.  I answered him ‘he had told us quite a story but what did it all amount too’ It was true I had made as great sacrifice as perhaps he had made, but this was nothing to the case.  Ezra Booth denied the Revelations and was cut off from the church.  Landen became ashamed and I exhorted him to repent.  He became bound in spirit and was willing to be taught the vision.  We adjourned till next morning at eight Oclock and met agreable to adjournment.  Bro. Orson led in explanation of the vision and the other Revelations.  Myself and Bro. Lyman followed.  we continued till 1/2 after 12, dismissed and came together at one.  Bro. Landen acknowledged the things we taught.  Bro. Orson said he did not like his confession for it seemed to be exhorted from him, but bro. Landen confessed that he had talked hard to the brethren, asked them forgiveness, said that he heartily received all that we taught and would teach it to the church, and said he would not for two thousand dollars be set back where he was when we came to him.  We allowed him to stand in his office and a good portion of the church met that afternoon and we taught the same things to the church and they promised obedience to them and to all the Commandments of the Lord, and the Spirit attended.”  (John Murdock autobiography, LDS Archives; Ouellette)

“December 29th.  Being the Sabbath we attended a meeting with our brethren at Geneseo.  We went into the schoolhouse before meeting began; but Brother Landen did not ask us to preach, but preached himself.  However, Brother John did say a few words to the congregation after Brother Landen had got through.  After meeting we went to visit Brother Landen and found that he still rejected the vision [i.e., D&C 76] and said that it was of the devil.  In the evening Brother Murdock preached upon the Priesthood.

December 30th.  Brothers Lyman and Amasa arrived.

December 31st.  We met in conference at which the following official members were present, viz.: High Priests: Lyman Johnson, Orson Pratt, John Murdock, Amasa Lyman; Elders: Joseph Young, Roger Orton, Chester L. Heth, Oliver Granger; Priests: Hiram Straten; Teacher: Edward Bosley.  Conference organized by appointing Lyman Johnson moderator and Orson Pratt clerk.  Opened with prayer by Brother Lyman and then proceeded to examine into the case of Brother Ezra Landen, a High Priest.  We had previously visited Brother Landen and endeavored to reason with him but in vain.  He also had been warned to attend the conference but would not attend and treated us with contempt and ridicule.  After his case was duly examined by the conference and some points of the revelations read and explained touching his situation, the conference was requested to give their decision.  They unanimously gave their voices against him and he was cut off from the Church.  The same day we demanded his license but he refused to give it up.  Brother Hiram Straten, a priest, was sharply rebuked by the confernce for being unwise in many things.  The conference decided that seven or eight of the official members present should go two by two and visit several members of the Church in this vicinity and examine into their situation and notify them to appear at the next meeting appointed on the Thursday following.  The conference close.

January 1st, A.D., 1834.  This day I felt some of the effects of the fever and ague. 

January 2nd.  The Church met according to previous appointment.  Four high priests and three elders were present.  After the meeting was opened we explained the reasons why E. Landen was cut off.  The following persons requested their names to be taken from the Church record of names, viz.: Lester More, Daniel More, Letitia Bosby, Aaron Clark, Rodman Clark, Polly Kelly.  The Church therefore were called upon to raise their hands against them and they were cut off.”  (Orson Pratt diary, 29 Dec., 1833-2 Jan., 1834; UGHM 28:46-47, Jan., 1937)

[Note the following background information, an entry by Heber C. Kimball shortly after his baptism:

Brother Ezra Landon preached in Avon and Genesee, baptized eighteen or twenty, and being afraid to confirm them and promise them the Holy Ghost, he requested me to confirm them, which I did according to the best of my knowledge, pronouncing only a few words on the head of each one, and invariably saying, ‘recieve ye the Holy Ghost in the name of Jesus Christ.’  Immediately the Holy Ghost fell upon them and several commenced speaking in tongues before they arose from their knees.  (Journal History, Apr., 1832; Corcoran)

“To Whom it May Concern.

At a conference of elders of the church of Christ, convened at Genesco, Livingston county, N.Y. on the 31st of December, 1833, Ezra Landin, formerly an elder in said church, was silenced by the voice of said conference for promulgating unscriptural principles, and refusing to give proper satisfaction for his conduct.  His credentials were demanded by the conference, but they were denied.  According to the rules and regulations of the church, he was then excommunicated from this body.

Lyman Johnson, Moderator

Orson Pratt, Clerk.”

(E&MS Feb., 1834)

“Met in council O. Pratt L Johnson A. Lyman and myself High Priests and Elders Joseph Young R. Orton O. Granger and Hiram Stratten Priest and Deacon E. Bosley [NOTE THE PARTICIPATION OF PRIEST AND DEACON IN A CHURCH COURT]  The conference organized by appointing L Johnson moderator O. Pratt clerk E. Landen refused to attend and treated the council with contempt and it unanomouly voted that E. Landen be no longer a member of the church and adjourned one hour.  The four High Priests visited E. Landen and demanded his licence he would not give it up and according to the law of God and the land forbade him preaching any more and told him we would advertise him.  council met according to adjournment took into consideration the case of Br H. Stratten and found he had not acted in wisdom in many things for which he was sharply reproved of the Council.  The Council then decided that each of the High Priests take an official member with him and visit the members of the church and notify them to a church meeting next Thursday and concluded by prayer.”  (John Murdock journal, 31 Dec., 1833; LDS Archives, Ouellette)