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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1835

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TEMPLES, 1835.

1835:    18 Jan.: Rigdon:  Importance of completing temple.

“Rigdon occupied considerable time, and laid before the council at much length, the importance of assisting the church in the place to move forward the great work of preparing a place in which the Elders might be endowed, and of printing and sending out the word of the Lord.  President Smith took up the subject still further, and occupied a long time in presenting the importance of the same thing.”  (Kirtland High Council Minutes, 18 Jan., 1835)

15 Feb.:  Don’t go to other nations until you are endowed.

“He (O. Cowdery) then read again, from the revelation, what the Lord said unto the Twelve. Brethren, you have had your duty presented in this revelation. You have been ordained to this holy Priesthood, you have received it from those who have the power and authority from an angel….

Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face.  Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief; and nothing can prevent you from coming to God.  Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same.  If the Savior in former days laid His hands upon His disciples, why not in latter days?

* * *

Remember, you are not to go to other nations till you

receive your endowments. Tarry at Kirtland until you are endowed with power from on high. You need a fountain of wisdom, knowledge and intelligence such as you never had.  Relative to the endowment, I make a remark or two, that there may be no mistake.  The world cannot receive the things of God. He can endow you without worldly pomp or great parade. He can give you that wisdom, that intelligence, and that power, which characterized the ancient saints, and now characterizes the inhabitants of the upper world.”  (History of the Church, Vol. 2:197, Oliver Cowdery, Sunday, February 15, 1835.)

21 Feb.:  General charge to the Twelve.

“Remember, you are not to go to other nations till you receive your endowments.  Tarry at Kirtland until you are endowed with power from on high.  You need a fountain of wisdom, knowledge and intelligence such as you never had.  Relative to the endowment, I make a remark or two, that there may be no mistake.  The world cannot receive the things of God.  He can endow you without worldly pomp or great parade.  He can give you that wisdom, that intelligence, and that power, which characterized the ancient saints, and now characterizes the inhabitants of the upper world.”  (Oliver Cowdery, HC 2:197)  [Compare with Christ’s charge to his apostles:  “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you:  but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued {endowed} with power from on high.”  Luke 24:49]

“Remember you are not to go to other nations, till you receive your endowment.  Tarry at Kirtland until you are endowed with power from on high.  You need a fountain of wisdom, knowledge, and intelligence such as you never had.  Relative to the endowment, I make a remark or two, that there be no mistake.  The world cannot receive the things of God.  He can endow you without worldly pomp or great parade.  He can give you that wisdom, that intelligence and that power which characterized the ancient saints and now characterised the inhabitants of the upper world.  The greatness of your commission consists in this; you are to hold the keys of this ministry.”  (Kirtland High Council Minutes, 21 Feb., 1835)

Feb.:  Reference to New Testament “endowment.”

“We have previously seen what part the Spirit took in preparing the apostles for their respective callings and mission–how necessary it was for them to receive it; for unless they had received it they never could have built up the kingdom of heaven, or church of Christ; and that without it all the knowledge and information which they had received from others, not even that received from the Lord himself personally, both while in the flesh, and after his resurrection from the dead excepted, would not have availed to enable them to execute their high commission; for in addition to all that they had seen, and heard, and handled, of the word of life, they must receive this gift, or work for the Lord they could not.  You must tarry at Jerusalem, says the Savior, until you are endowed with power from on high, that is, until you receive the Holy Spirit, and then, and not till then, you shall go forth and proclaim the gospel to all nations.”  (Sidney Rigdon, “Faith of the Church,” M&A 1(5):69, Feb., 1835)

Mar.:  Justification for building Kirtland Temple.

“Now, if God’s presence and glory fill the heavens, is he not sufficient to fill more than one small house like that built at Jerusalem? and has not a man, endowed with the holy priesthood, after the order of Melchisedek, authority to build a house to the honor of his name, and especially, when the worship of that at Jerusalem was corrupted, or it thrown down?  We have yet to be informed when the Lord said that he would not fill another house with his glory, as he did that at Jerusalem, or when he ever said that the descendants of Joseph should be cursed, if they should build another like that, when enjoying the promised blessing, made to them by the mouth of God, through Moses, that they should possess the ends of the earth.”  (M&A 1(6):92-93, Mar., 1835)

7 Mar.:  Blessing of those who worked on Temple.

“The blessings and ordinations of particular individuals of the foregoing were as follows:–Reynolds Cahoon, Jacob Bump, and Artemus Millet, were blessed with the blessings of heaven and a right in the house of the Lord in Kirtland, agreeable to the labor they had performed thereon, and the means they had contributed.

Alpheus Cutler, Asa Lyman, Josiah Butterfield, Noah Packard, Jonas Putnam, and Isaac Hill received the same blessing.”  (HC 2:207)

12 Mar.:  Twelve agree to 1st mission w/o endowment.

“This evening the Twelve assembled, and the council was opened by President Joseph Smith, Jun., and he proposed we take our first mission through the Eastern States, to the Atlantic Ocean, and hold conferences in the vicinity of the several branches of the Church for the purpose of regulating all things necessary for their welfare.

It was proposed that the Twelve leave Kirtland on the 4th day of May, which was unanimously agreed to.”  (HC 2:209)  

Mar.:  School of Elders closes preparatory to endowment.

The school in Kirtland closed the last week in March, to give the Elders an opportunity to go forth and proclaim the Gospel, preparatory to the endowment.”   (History of the Church, Vol. 2:218, Joseph Smith, March 1835.)

28 Apr:  Preparation for endowment.

“While we were in trouble in Mo. the saints in Kirtland Ohio had trouble also; but God had decreed to keep a stronghold in Kirtland for five years therefore the wicked did not prevail, and the house of the Lord was building and the saints gathering and preparing for the great day when the Lord should condescend to endow his first elders, according to his promises.  That his work might roll forth and be established according to his decree in the last days, that he might gather together his elect from the four quarters of the earth and be prepared when the veil at the coming of all flesh shall be taken off or away, and Zion become the joy of all the earth.”  (John Whitmer, History, Chapter 14)

Jul:  Tithing necessary prior to endowment?

“Brethren and friends! the commandments of the Lord are sure; the prospect of the saints is cheering; the harvest is great; the laboreres are few; the work is glorious; the cause is righteous, and the reward eternal: Be ready, then, to tithe yourselves, and prepare yourselves, that you may be among the happy number who shall be invited to the supper of the great Bridegroom, because you have added virtue to your faith; and knowledge to your virtue; and temperance to your knowledge; and patience to your temperance; and godliness to your patience; and brotherly kindness to your godliness; and charity to your brotherly kindness:–for ‘the house of the Lord, built by the Latter Day Saints.'”  (Authored by “P”, M&A 1(10):148, Jul., 1835)

4 Aug.:  Zion cannot be redeemed until endowment given.

“Kirtland, August 4th, 1835, a High Council of the Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints assembled in conference . . .

From this short letter we discover that the Elders failed in the outset to fill their great and important mission, as they know the Lord has commanded us to build a house, in which to receive an endowment, previous to the redemption of Zion; and that Zion could not be redeemed until this takes place.”  (HC 2:239)

14 Aug.:  Babies are always in the Kingdom.

“Babies are always in the Kingdom till they transgress when they have come to years of accountability.  Well might the Psalmist exclaim: ‘Lo children are the heritage of God.’  How necessary, then, that every pains be taken, and every means used to keep them in the Kingdom; and to obey the requisitions of the Gospel that parents may come into the presence of God and bring all their sheaves with them; for all their pain, then, they will receive joy; for all the sorrow, pleasure; for all the tribulations, blessings; and for all their children ‘stars.'”  (W. W. Phelps to Sally Phelps, 14 Aug., 1835; UGHM 31:27, Jan., 1940)

17 Aug.:  “Seal blessings of the High Priesthood.”

“Also Elder Elisha H. Groves Blessed as follows, in the name of Jesus Christ, we seal the blessings of the High Priesthood upon the[e] which thou has already received.  Thy head is already beginning to blossom for the grave but the Lord shall give the vigor of youth.”  (Kirtland High Council Minutes, 17 Aug., 1835)

Autumn:  Non-Mormon account of meeting in Kirtland Temple.

“Sidney Rigdon in the early thirties was in Mentor preaching and baptising (by immersion) and was called a ‘baptist minister.’  This was before the advent of Joe Smith the ‘Mormon Prophet’ with whom it was afterwards supposed he had been previously engaged in preparing the ‘Book of Mormon.’  Soon after Smith came to Kirtland Rigdon joined him and then commenced urging his baptist followers to join ‘the new religion.’  The Temple was built in 1835.  That autumn with an equestrian party of eight one Sabbath I went to hear the Prophet preach in the Temple.  The centre pews only were finished, outside of these were the workmens benches the only seats we found.  The floor was covered with shavings.  I think Smith had a chair and another near it.  The Prophet a tall spare man rose when we came in (there were not over a half dozen in the Church before us.) and commenced a short discourse of which I do not remember the import.  There was of course no music.  Then he announced that he was about ‘to heal (I think) by the laying on of hands.’  A man came and knelt facing the audience.  Smith murmering an inaudable prayer I suppose, placed his hands on the man’s head, then down to his shoulders a moment ‘and it was done.’  The man arose.  Smith extended his arms and dismissed us with his blessing.  Of course I cnnot write of the many ludicrous incidents that followed Smith’s advent here, and very many sad heart rending tales of families broken up and separated.  Any male member could have a ‘revelation’ that he could take another wife, even if the one he had was on a sick–perhaps death bed.  This I know from one of the sufferers whose history would ‘fill a book.’  From the incidents connected with this victim of a ‘revelation,’ the Prophet called a ‘council of Elders’ and it was decided that only Smith–Rigdon–and Oliver Cowdry, could have ‘revelations.’  This put a stop to much of the trouble.  I will try to get a photo of the Temple for you. . . . The above Respectfully submitted by–

Lucia A. Goldsmith”  (Lucia A. Goldsmith, “Sidney Rigdon, the first Mormon Elder,” (letter, holograph).  Western Reserve Historical Society, [#Mss v.f. G])

Sep.:  Joseph relates story of Independence temple site.

“Having received, by an heavenly vision, a commandment, in June following [1831], to take my journey to the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and there designate the very spot, which was to be the central spot, for the commencement of the gathering together of those who embrace the fulness of the everlasting gospel–I accordingly undertook the journey with certain ones of my brethren, and, after a long and tedious journey, suffering many privations and hardships, I arrived in Jackson county Missouri; and, after viewing the country, seeking diligently at the hand of God, he manifested himself unto me, and designated to me and others, the very spot upon which he designed to commence the work of the gathering, and the upbuilding of an holy city, which should be called Zion:–Zion because it is to be a place of righteousness, and all who build thereon, are to worship the true and living God–and all believe in one doctrine even the doctrine of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  (Joseph Smith, M&A 1(12):179, Sep., 1835) 

14 Sep.:  Blessings “sealed” upon Newel K. Whitney.

“I seal great blessings upon thee, even more than thy heart can now comprehend or understand.  Thou shalt see thy Redeemer and have the ministring of holy angels.  Thy name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, and thou shalt have a place with the sanctified when the Lord comes to reign with his people.  In the name of Jesus Christ I seal these blessings upon thee, and thou shalt yet realize them and rejoice in them; even so.  Amen.”  (Patriarchal Blessing by Joseph Smith Sr. on the head of Newel K. Whitney, 14 Sep., 1835; in BYU Studies 11(4):323, Summer, 1971)

5 Oct.:  Apostles to prepare for endowment.

“. . . in the evening attended a Council of the Twelve Apostles; had a glorious time, and gave them much instruction concerning their duties for time to come; told them that it was the will of God they should take their families to Missouri next season; also this fall to attend the solemn assembly of the first Elders, for the organization of the School of the Prophets; and attend to the ordinance of the washing of feet; and to prepare their hearts in all humility for an endowment with power from on high; to which they all agreed with one accord, and seemed to be greatly rejoiced.”  (Joseph Smith, HC 2:287)

“Also [told them to] attend this fall the Solemn Assembly of the first Elders for the organization of the School of the Prophets and attend to the ordinence of the washing of feet and to prepare the[i]r hearts in all humility for an endowment with power from on high.  To which they all agreed with one accord and seamed to be greatly rejoiced.  May God spare the lives of the Twelve [Apostles] with one accord to a good old age for Christ the Redeemer’s sake.  Amen.”  (Joseph Smith diary, 5 Oct., 1835; in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p. 36)

Oct.:  Twelve undertook first mission BEFORE endowment.

“After being set apart to this holy and responsible office by those whom God had appointed for that purpose, it was thought advisable that we should take our first tour from this place easterly; consequently we made appointments for conferences in the vicinity of the several branches of the church between this and the Atlantic, as was published in the March No. of your paper.  In order to fulfill these appointments, we, on the 4th of May, left the pleasant and agreeable society of our brethren in Kirtland with whom we had enjoyed many cheering and interesting seasons, and proceeded to fill our mission.”  (By order of the twelve.  Orson Hyde, Wm. E. McLellin, Clerks.  M&A 2(1):205, Oct., 1835)

Oct.:  Plea for funds to finish Kirtland temple.

“We are glad to learn, that the building Committee have determined, if possible, to finish the house of the Lord this winter.  The lower story is already in such a state of forwardness, as to induce us to say, that it can soon be completed for meetings.  In order, however, to finish so large an house, in so short a time, it is necessary that the churches abroad, as Paul says in his vision, should ‘come over into Macedonia, and help us’ with their substance, and prayers.

The Committee have instructed us to call upon the saints abroad, such as mean to assist, and such especially as have promised to subscribe, and assist in building the house, and say to them, Now is the time to do good, and fulfil your promises.  Those who have subscribed are earnestly requested to pay the amount of their subscriptions as soon as they reasonably can.  Thus the Committee may do unto others, as they wish others to do unto them.

Every one that wishes to spread the everlasting gospel; every one that wishes well to his fellow-beings; every one that wishes to have the elders instructed more perfectly in theory, doctrine and principle; and every one that wishes an house built where the Latter Day Saints can worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, have now an invitation to cast in their mites, for that purpose, and receive their reward hereafter, in that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”  (Authored by “P”, M&A 2(1):207, Oct., 1835)

2 Nov.:  1835-36 School of Prophets begins; endowment.

“The 1835-36 Elders’ School (also called the School of the Prophets) may well have been the most significant period of Church instruction in Kirtland.  The impending temple dedication and solemn assembly brought several elders–particularly some Church leaders from Missouri–to Kirtland.  The primary purpose of the school was to prepare the elders for the ‘glorious endowment’ to be poured out upon the faithful at the solemn assembly on 30 March 1836.  According to the direction of the school committee, instruction commenced on 2 November 1835 and continued until 29 March 1836. . . . All instruction ceased on 29 March 1836, the day before the solemn assembly.”  (Lyndon Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 189-190) 

3 Nov.:  Twelve to prepare for endowment.

“Thus came the word of the Lord unto me concerning the Twelve saying . . . they must all humble themselves before me, before they will be accounted worthy to receive an endowment to go forth in my name unto all nations.”  (Joseph Smith diary, 3 Nov., 1835)

3 Nov.:  Remarks to Elders School on endowment.

“I then went to assist in organizing the Elders School called to order and I made some remarks upon the object of this School, and the great necessity there is of our rightly improving our time and reigning up our minds to a sense of the great object that lies before us, viz, that glorious endowment that God has in store for the faithful  I then dedicated the School in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Joseph Smith diary, 3 Nov., 1835)

7 Nov.:  Attend the School and the Solemn Assembly.

“Spent the day at home attending to my domestic concerns.  The word of the Lord came to me saying: Behold I am well pleased with my servant Isaac Morley, and my servant Edward Partridge, because of the integrity of their h[e]arts in laboring in my vin[e]yard for the salvation of the souls of men.  Verely I say unto you, their sins are forgiven them.  Therefore say unto them in my name, that it is my will that they should tarry for a little season, and attend the school, and also the Solem[n] Assembly for a wise purpose in me.  Even so.  Amen.”  (Joseph Smith diary, 7 Nov., 1835; in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, pp. 48-49)

12 Nov.:  Joseph’s remarks to the Twelve.

“This evening, viz the 12th, at 6 o’clock meet [met] with the Council of 12 by their request; 9 of them were present. . . .

You want to know many things that are before you, that you may know how to prepare yourselves for the great things that God is about to bring to pass.  But there is one great deficiency or obstruction in the way, that deprives us of the greater blessings; and in order to make the foundation of this Church complete and permanent, we must remove this obstruction, which is, to attend to certain duties that we have not as yet attended to.  I supposed I had established this Church on a permanent foundation when I went to Missouri, and indeed I did so, for if I had been taken away, it would have been enough, but I yet live, and therefore God requires more at my hands.  The item to which I wish the more particularly to call your attention to-night, is the ordinance of washing of feet.  This we have not done as yet, but it is necessary now, as much as it was in the days of the Savior; and we must have a place prepared, that we may attend to this ordinance aside from the world.

We have not desired as much from the hand of the Lord through faith and obedience, as we ought to have done, yet we have enjoyed great blessings, and we are not so sensible of this as we should be.  When or where has God suffered one of the witnesses or first Elders of this Church to fall?  Never, and no where.  Amidst all the calamities and judgments that have befallen the inhabitants of the earth, His almighty arm has sustained us, men and devils have raged and spent their malice in vain.  We must have all things prepared, and call our solemn assembly as the Lord has commanded us, that we may be able to accomplish His great work, and it must be done in God’s own way.  The house of the Lord must be prepared, and the solemn assembly called and organized in it, according to the order of the house of God; and in it we must attend to the ordinance of washing of feet.  It was never intended for any but official members.  It is calculated to unite our hearts, that we may be one in feeling and sentiment, and that our faith may be strong, so that Satan cannot overthrow us, nor have any power over us here.

The endowment you are so anxious about, you cannot comprehend now, nor could Gabriel explain it to the understanding of your dark minds; but strive to be prepared in your hearts, be faithful in all things, that when we meet in the solemn assembly, that is, when such as God shall name out of all the official members shall meet, we must be clean every whit.  Let us be faithful and silent, brethren, and if God gives you a manifestation, keep it to yourselves; be watchful and prayerful, and you shall have a prelude of those joys that God will pour out on that day.  Do not watch for iniquity in each other, if you do you will not get an endowment, for God will not bestow it on such.  But if we are faithful, and live by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God, I will venture to prophesy that we shall beg a blessing that will be worth remembering, if we should live as long as John the Revelator; our blessings will be such as we have not realized before, nor received in this generation.  The order of the house of God has been, and ever will be, the same, even after Christ comes; and after the termination of the thousand years it will be the same; and we shall finally enter into the celestial Kingdom of God, and enjoy it forever.  

You need an endowment, brethren, in order that you may be prepared and able to overcome all things; and those who reject your testimony will be damned. The sick will be healed, the lame made to walk, the deaf to hear, and the blind to see, through your instrumentality.  But let me tell you, that you will not have power, after the endowment to heal those that have not faith, nor to benefit them, for you might as well expect to benefit a devil in hell as such as are possessed of his spirit, and are willing to keep it; for they are habitations for devils, and only fit for his society.  But when you are endowed and prepared to preach the Gospel to all nations, kindred, and tongues, in their own languages, you must faithfully warn all, and bind up the testimony, and seal up the law, and the destroying angel will follow close at your heels, and exercise his tremendous mission upon the children of disobedience; and destroy the workers of iniquity, while the Saints will be gathered out from among them, and stand in holy places ready to meet the Bridegroom when he comes.

  I feel disposed to speak a few words more to you, my brethren, concerning the endowment:  All who are prepared, and are sufficiently pure to abide the presence of the Savior, will see Him in the solemn assembly.”  (Joseph Smith, HC 2:308-310; see also Joseph Smith diary, 12 Nov., 1835)  

Nov.:  Anticipation of endowment.

“The church had progressed until July 1835, before I became acquainted with it.  At that time the Book of Mormon came into my hands, and I became satisfied that it contained the truth of heaven, and earnestly desired to obey the truth.  I had a opportunity to obey its truths by being buried in the water in the name of Jesus Christ, rejoicing that I had found the way of life and salvation.  In November following I came to Kirtland, Ohio, (from Crawford county, Pennsylvania, where I resided), intending to tarry through the winter in that place.  Here the presiding authorities of the church resided, and I also found the elders had been called together to tarry, expecting that at the proper time, the Lord would pour out his spirit on them, and they would be endowed with power from on high.”  (Stephen Post, “A Treatise on the Melchisedek Priesthood, and the Callings of God,” Council Bluffs, Iowa, 1872, p. 9)

15 Dec.:  Prepare to receive endowment.

“I pray my Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus of Nazareth that he [Orson Hyde] may be delivered from the power of the destroyer, that his faith fail not in this hour of temptation, and prepare him and all the Elders to receive an endument, in thy house, even according to thine own order from time to time as thou seeest them worthy to be called into thy Solemn Assembly.”  (Joseph Smith diary, 15 Dec., 1835)

18 Dec.:  Wm. Smith unprepared for endowment.

“I told them that on reflection upon the many difficulties that I had had with the church and the much disgrace I had brought upon myself in concequence of these things and also that my health would not permit me to go to school to make any preperations for the endument and that my health was such that I was not able to travel, that it would be better for them to appoint one in the office that would be better able to fill it, and by doing this they would throw me into the hands of the church, and leave me where I was before I was chosen.”  (William Smith to Joseph Smith, 18 Dec., 1835.  In Joseph Smith diary, 18 Dec., 1835)

18 Dec.:  Pray for the endowment.

“Don’t reckon too much on my coming home in the spring.  It may be a little after before you see me.  Keep up your faith and pray for the endowment; as soon as that takes place the Elders will anxiously speed for their families.”  (W. W. Phelps [Kirtland] to Sally Phelps, [Liberty, Mo.], 18 Dec., 1835; UGHM 31:30, Jan., 1940)

25 Dec.:  We trust the Lord will open the way.

25 Dec., 1835:  Oliver Cowdery (Kirtland) to Wm. Frye (Lebanon, Ill.)

“Dear Brother in the Lord: . . .

The most of those Elders who are now in the school are studying and reviewing grammar, History, writing, &c.  The House of the Lord is being finished as fast as can be expected considering the smallness of the means in the hands of the church; but we trust the Lord will open the way that we may fulfill his commandments: and in due time, also, we look for the redemption of Zion.”

(Oliver Cowdery letterbook, p. 75; Huntington Library)

26 Dec.:  Wait until the Solemn Assembly.

“The following is a revelation given to Lyman Sherman this day Dec 26 1835:

Verily thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Lyman.  Your sins are forgiven you because you have obeyed my voice in coming up hither this morning to receive councel of him whom I have appointed.  Therefore, let your soul be at rest concerning your spiritual standing, and resist no more my voice.  And arise up and be more careful henceforth in observing your vows which you have made and do make, and you shall be blessed with exceding great blessings.  Wait patiently untill the time when the Solemn Assembly shall be called of my servants, then you shall be numbered with the first of mine elders and receive right by ordination with the rest of mine elders whom I have chosen.  Behold, this is the promise of the Father unto you if you continue faithful.  And it shall be fulfilled upon you in that day that you shall have right to preach my gospel wheresoever I shall send you, from henceforth from that time.  Therefore strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, and in all your exhortations, and in all your doings.  And behold, and lo, I am with you to bless you and deliver you forever.  Amen.”  (Joseph Smith diary, 26 Dec., 1835; in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p. 92)

29 Dec.:  Lyman Wight sealed to eternal life.

“I seal thee up unto eternal life in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ even so Amen.”  (Patriarchal Blessing of Lyman Wight, given by Joseph Smith, Sen., 29 Dec., 1835.  RLDS Archives, P8/F26)