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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1837

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1837.” You can view other years here.

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1837:  1st exposition of adoption by baptism.

“Mormon respect for divine authority and the importance of doing things in the Lord’s way early led them to conclude that mankind was acting without authority in religious matters and had been since the apostolic age.  This concern led to the idea of adoption as a means of bringing contemporary humanity into the kingdom of God.  The first written exposition of the doctrine of adoption by baptism of the living appeared in Parley P. Pratt’s A Voice of Warning, published in 1837.  ‘Aliens’ might become citizens of the kingdom of God, Elder Pratt declared, through the process of adoption which could be accomplished through baptism, preceded by faith and repentance and accompanied by the Holy Ghost.  [pp. 103-104]”  (Gordon Irving, “The Law of Adoption,” BYU Studies 14(3):292, Spring, 1974)

3 Jan.:  Work for dead foretold to Woodruff.

“President Z. Coltrin ordained me as a member of the first Seventy & Pronounced great blessings upon my head by the Spirit of Prophecy & Revelation. . . . Also that I should visit COLUB & Preach to the spirits in Prision & that I should bring all of my friends or relatives forth from the Terrestrial Kingdom (who had died) by the Power of the gospel.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 3 Jan., 1837.  I:118-119)

3 Jan.:  Greater blessings promised Woodruff.

“These & many other Blessings were Pronounced upon my head, & further Said that I should be annointed & my life sealed unto me & that their would be still greater blessing Pronounced upon my head.  I felt much of the Power of God rest upon me in this ordinance & Bear witness of the truth of the above PROCLAMTION.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 3 Jan., 1837.  I:119)

Jan.:  Schedule of weekly activities in Kirtland temple.

“Nothing can be more gratifying to the saints in this place and their friends and brethren abroad than to contemplate the scene now before them.  Every Lords day our house of worship is filled to the overflowing with attentive hearers, mostly communicants.

In the evening following the singers meet under the direction of Brother L. Carter and J. Crosby Jr. who give instructions in the principles of vocal music.

On monday evening the quorum of high priests meets in the west room of the attic story where they transact the buisiness [sic] of their particular quorum, speak, sing, pray, and so worship the God of heaven.  On Tuesday evenings the Seventies, meet in the same room occupied by the high priests the preceding night.  They then and there listen to the advice and instructions given them by their president, as well as speak, sing, pray and talk of the goodness and power of God.

On Wednesday evening the rooms are occupied by the quorum of Elders, where they receive instruction and advice from their venerable president and his able councellors.

On Thursday P.M. a prayer meeting is held in the lower part of the house where any and all persons may assemble and pray and praise the Lord.  This meeting, though free for all, is conducted more particularly by J. Smith senior, the patriarch of the church.

The members of the high council, and also ‘the twelve’ meet but we believe not statedly in each week as do others, of the different quorums mentioned.

Dring [sic] the week a school is taught in the attic story of the house, denominated the ‘Kirtland High School’ con[sist]ing of about 135 or 40 students under the superintendence of H. M. Hawes Esq. professor of the Greek & Latin languages.  The school is properly divided into three departments, (viz.) The classical, where the languages only are taught, the English department where mathematics, common Arithmetic, Geography, English grammar, writing and reading are taught, and the Juvenile department the first principles and rudiments of an education are taught.  These two departments have each an instructor assigned them.  The whole is under the supervision of Mr. Hawes as principal.

The school commenced in Nov. and on the first Wednesday in January the several classes passed a public examination in presence of the trustees of the School and the parents and guardians of the Scholars.  We think the result of the examination, did honor to both teachers and scholars.  Never did we witness greater progress in study in the same length of time and in so greart [sic] a number of scholars.”  (M&A 3(4):444, Jan., 1837)  

ca. Jan.:  Non-Mormon description of Temple.

“I paid twenty-five censt for going through the Temple, and seeing the mummies and records, which excited my curiosity so much that I went the next day and examined them again.  Upon entering the first story the keeper took off his hat, I did the same and asked him if that was the rule, he said it was.  Indeed, the sublime appearance of that apartment, when the vails were unfurled, seem to enjoin sacred reverence.  There is a pulpit in the west end for the Melchizedek priesthood, composed of four seats parallel with each other, those in the rear suitably elevated, and each seat calculated for three officers and accommodated with a suitable desk, which is ornamented with a cushion and fringe, and a curve for each occupant, on the front of which is the initials of his office, in gilt letters.  The desk of the front seat consists of the leaves of the communion table, upon which are the initials of its occupants, in letters of stain.  There is also a pulpit in the east end for the Aaronic priesthood, which is of the same construction.

The vails by which  the house is divided into quarters, are of canvass, painted white, and are rolled up or drawn at pleasure, by means of cords which come down the pillars concealed, and are worked with cranks; also each official seat is completely vailed, both sides and front; these are also worked with cords which come to the seats concealed.  The second story is not finished; but is to be of the same pattern, except the official seats which are not so much elevated.  I have been particular in describing this apartment, because I have never seen any account of it before the world.  For further accounts of the Temple see Mormon Advocate of July, 1835, also of Jan. 1837.”  (West, William S.  A Few Interesting Facts, Respecting the Rise Progress and Pretensions of the Mormons.  n.p., 1837, pp. 4-5)

1 Mar.:  “Seal up the testimony.”

“Coun Hedlock proposed the folowing to know the power of those Elders Sent forth to bind up the Law and Seal up the testimony.”  [D&C 88:84 (compare D&C 109:46 and Isaiah 8:16 which renders the idea: “seal up the law, and bind up the testimony”).  Cf. D&C 1:8-9.]  (Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record, 1 Mar., 1837)

7 Mar.:  Washing and anointing in 1837.

“Tuesday, March 7.  The Seventies met in the loft of the Lord’s House at Kirtland, in the evening.  Twelve of the First Seventy spoke five minutes each.  Elder Elias Smith, the clerk of the Seventies makes the following note in the Seventies record:

Here the proceedings of the Seventies, as recorded by Hazen Aldrich, closes, as far as can be ascertained by the papers which have come into my hands.  The Seventies continued to meet during the month of March every Tuesday evening, improving the time much in the same manner as they did on the 7th inst.  Preceeding the solemn assembly held on April 6, 1837, the washing and anointing of those who had not previously been anointed and washed was attended to, according to the rules of the Church.  {Seventies Record, A 17)”

(JH 7 Mar., 1837)

29 Mar.:  2nd Solemn Assembly announced.  

“Joseph Smith Jr made Some remarks and Notified the Elders that the Solem assembley was to be Called on the 6[th] of April & also that those elders who were Not anointed must be anointed before that time.”  (Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record, 29 Mar., 1837)  [“The Prophet’s remarks refer to a second solemn assembly planned for the 6th of April, 1837.  Worthy brethren who were unable to attend the solemn assembly the previous year were invited to participate in certain purifying ordinances preparatory to receiving a spiritual endowment of power.  These ordinances consisted of (1) washing ‘head to foot’ in soap and water, (2) washing in clear water and perfumed whiskey, (3) having one’s head anointed with consecrated oil and receiving a blessing by the spirit of prophecy, (4) having the anointing blessing sealed with uplifted hands (solemn prayer, a sealing prayer, and the hosannah shout), and (5) washing of faces and feet and partaking of the Lord’s Supper.”  (Lyndon Cook, Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record, p. 26)

31 Mar.:  Anointings.

“the Elders quorum [met] in the Lords house

1st  the meeting opened by the president [Alvah Beman] making remarks and prayer the pres & Coun proseded to consecreate a botle of oile then proseaded to anoint [names given]

the above Named Breatheren Joined vocally and Called upon the Lord for the Blessings to rest upon them

the meeting Closed by the presidents Commending the quorum to the most high.”  (Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record, 31 Mar., 1837)

3 Apr.:  Anointings, sealings.

“The Elders quorum met in the Lords house.

1st  meeting opened with an [ad]dress from the pres [Alvah Beman] and prayer by Counselor [Reuben] Hedlock then proceded to anoint the Candadates [names given].

2nd  Names of Elders that united with the quorum [names given]

3rd  Coun [John] Morton organized the above Named anointed Elders to call upon the Lord for their Blessings

4th  Pres Beaman Sealed their blessing by Prayer.”  (Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record, 3 Apr., 1837) 

3/4 Apr.:  Wilford Woodruff’s washing and anointing.

“April 3rd  The day had now arived for preperations for the solumn assembly the Annointing & the endowment of the Elders of Israel or at least for those that were not endowed in Kirtland the strong hold of the daught[ers] of Zion in the spring of 1836 & as I was absent at that time my day is now come & my time at hand for those blessings & I shall record the events of each day of the endowment for the benefit of the generation to come.

I upon this third day of April met in the house of the Lord with a number of the seventies to receiev counsel respecting our washing & anointing.  I was appointed with Elder G. Meeks to visit President F. G. Williams & have the perfumes & oil prepared against the day following.  I consider’d it a privilege to wait upon the Elders of Israel in this thing that we might become the annointed of the Lord according to the words of the Poet & the Revelations of JESUS CHRIST.

   We’ll wash and be washed and with oil be anointed

        Withal not omit the washing of feet

   For he that receiveth his PENNY appointed

        Must surely be clean at the hearvest of wheat.

After attending to the duties above spoken I repaired to a room in Company with Elder Meeks & Priest J Turpin to attend to our first washing.  After washing our bodies from head to foot in soap & watter we then washed ourselves in clear watter next in perfumed spirits.  The spirit of God was with us & we had a spiritual time.  We spent the evening with several Elders in Prayer before God & the Power of God rested upon us.

April 4th  I met at the house of Elder Hales at one oclcok PM in company with twenty three Elders President Joseph Young making one of the number for the purpose of attending to the ordinance of washing the body with clean watter & perfumes that our bodies might be prepared for the anointing.

President Young opened the meeting by prayer.  We then proceded to the ordinance.  Myself & Elder G. W. Meeks were the first washed under the hands of President Joseph Young.  We then assisted President Young in washing our Brethren the Elders.  Much of the spirit of God rested upon us.  I washed & perfumed the bodies of a number of my Brethren & the interview Closed after expressing our feelings to each other. 

We again met together in the quorum of the Seventies at the upper part of the Lords house at early candle light to receive our anointing.  The quorums of the Deacons, Teachers, & Priest occupied one apartment the Elders another & the Seventies the third.  Each quorums met for the anointing.  Three of the presidents met with the Seventies viz H Aldrich  J. Young and Z. Coultrin.

President Coultrin opened the meeting by prayer & after conversing plainly to those who were to be anointed they proceded to business.  The presidency consecrated the oil before God that it might be holy.  the person to be anointed then took a seat & the presidency then laid hands upon his head & Consecrated him unto God & then anointed him in the name of the Lord & pronounced such blessings upon his head as the testimony of Jesus shall direct which is the spirit of prophecy.  We had a glorious season indeed in this solumn ordinance of the house of the Lord.  There were fifteen annointed in our quorum mostly by President Coultrin.  The Power of God rested upon us.

President Coultrin anointed me & the following are some of the blessing that he pronounced upon my head while clothed upon by the spirit & power of God, viz. That God would bless me with all the powers of the Priesthood & give me a multiplicity of blessing that Kings would tremble upon their thrones at my word, that I should become a Counsellor & multitudes should seek counsel at my mouth & I should have great wisdom & power to fly through the midst under heaven as Philip travled by the spirit that I should have power over my enemies & have long life & bring many into the kingdom of God Also that I should have the riches of the earth & that I should have Sons & Consecrate them priests unto God in Zion & that I should tread upon the ashes of my enemies in Jackson County they that had sought to take my life & the life of my brethren that went to redeem Zion & he Also sealed upon my head all the blessing that had previously been pronounced upon me & thes blessing were sealed upon my head with a loud Amen from all of the anointed present in the name of Jesus Christ.

Much of the power & spirit of God & a sens of the virtue of the ordinance rested upon me.  May God enable me to possess those blessing & obtain thos vishions that have been promised me in this & other Solumn ordinances & keep me from dishonouring my anointing & the Holy Priesthood for Christ Sake Amen.

The interview closed about 10 oclock P.M.  I then repaired into the lower Court of the Lords house in Company with Elders Joseph B. Nobles & G. W. Meeks to spend the night (after being anointed) in prayer & fasting before God.  The vales being closed We entered the Elders pulpit & there upon our knees we plead with God & we covenanted with each other in the holy stand that we would not give sleep to our eyes neither take food untill we receieved a blessing from God by the outpourings of his spirit upon us if it was untill the end of three days.  And according to our Covenant we commenced praying & a part of the night we had a severe trial of our faith by great temptation from Satan but before day we gained a good degree of victory over the Devil & the Lord poured out his spirit upon us & we felt it good to be in the house of God while nature was hushed in silenced by the sable shades of night.  

After spending the night in prayer we returned to our homes in the morning intending to spend the day in prayer & fasting for still greater blessings this being upon April 5th.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary)       

4-6 Apr.:  Hale’s washing and anointing.

“On the 4th of April a number of Seventies met at my house, to receive to Recive [sic] their their washing to prepare for the annointing  I received my washing under the hands of Elder Joseph Young one of the presidents off the Seventies.  recived my anointing on the 5th of April under the hands of Elders Joseph Young and Heren Aldrich and recived a great blessing.  April 6 which was the Solnann [sic] assembly.  then I recived the washing of feet by Elder Heber C. Kimble and pronounced me clean of the blood of this generation.”  (Arobt [?] Lucious Hale diary, 1828-1849.  MS typescript at BYU Library)

“Thou mayest tarry till the end of the wickedness shall be accomplished; till the gathering of Israel shall be finished; till the winding-up scene of this generation; and until the Savior comes in the coulds of Heaven, if thou art faithful, and if thou dost attain to that faith. . . .

In the name of Jesus Christ, I seal these blessings upon thee.  I seal thee up to eternal life.”  (Patriarchal Blessing given to Olive Boynton Hale, wife of Jonathan H. Hale, 10 Nov., 1836, by Joseph Smith, Sr.; in Heber Q. Hale, Bishop Jonathan H. Hale of Nauvoo–His Life and Ministry, Salt Lake City, 1938; p. 28)  [Note that her husband’s blessing, given 30 Apr., 1835, did not contain the promise of “being sealed up to eternal life.”]

4 Apr.:  Anointings, sealings.

“1st  at an adjourned meeting opened by prayer from the president Pres [Alvah] Beaman

[2nd] the Second Botle of oil was Concecreated by pres Beaman  Joseph Smith sen & Elder Nickerson

3rd  proseded to anoint [names given].  the Councelors wer[e] both anointing  Sealed by the president.”  (Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record, 4 Apr., 1837)

5 Apr.:  Anointings, sealings.

“The Elders quorum met in the Lords hous[e] Agreeable to adjournment

1st  op[e]ning prayer by Coun [Reuben] Hedlock

2nd  Coun Hedlock proseaded to ann[o]int the following Breatherin [names given]

3rd  the Breatheren who were anointed prayed for their blesings to be Sealed upon them

4th  Exortations from Several Breatheren.

5th  the first presidents [i.e., members of the 1st Presidency] Came in and Sealed the holy anointing with prayer and the Shout of hosanah.”  (Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record, 5 Apr., 1837)  

6 Apr.:  Sealing of anointings and blessings.

“After this matter was aranged there was a glorious ordinance performed upon the heads of those who had been anointed (by the first presidency of the Church Joseph Smith jr. Sidney Rigdon &c was this ordinance performed.  It was as follows:

While all of the anointed present lifted there hands towards heaven this first presidency of the Church Confirmed & sealed upon our heads all the blessings of our ordination, anointing, & Patriarchal with a seal in the presence of God & the Lamb & holy angels that they shoulid all be fulfilled upon our heads that not one jot or tittle should fail & the seal was confirmed upon our heads with a shout of all the anointed with uplifted hand to heaven HOSANNA, Hosanna, Hosanna, to GOD & the LAMB, Amen, Amen, & Amen.  Hosanna Hosanna, Hosanna, to GOD & the LAMB, Amen, Amen, & Amen.  Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna, to GOD & the LAMB, Amen, Amen, & Amen.  This was repeated as it is written & if ever a shout entered the Cabinet of heaven that did & was repeated by angels on high & caused the power of God to rest upon us. . . .

After being in the upper room about two hours we again Joined the congregation of the Saints in the lower Court & the house came to order for the business of the day.  The veils were closed & each apartment commenced the duties of the day.

The washing of the feet of the anointed was the first business that was performed.  The twelve assisted our presidency in washing the feet.  Elder Heber Kimble one of the twelve apostles attended to the washing of my feet & prophesied upon my head & pronounced me clean from the Blood of this generation.  This as it was with JESUS when he washed his deciples feet.  Great were the blessings that rested upon us in this ordinance.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 6 Apr., 1837)

“On the 6 of April [1837] I attended the Solemn assembly of the elders in the house of the Lord in Kirtland.”  (“E[rastus]. Snows Sketch Book No. 1,” 9 Nov., 1818-5 Dec., 1837; Typescript in Huntington Library; manuscript p. 46; typescript p. 26–Note that he does not refer to it as an endowment.]

15 Apr.:  Wilford Woodruff sealed to eternal life.

“I place A seal on thy head And No power shall be able to take it from thee if thou art faithful in keeping the Commandments of God.  This seal shall guard the[e] against the destroyer. . . .

In the name of Jesus Christ I seal this Blessing on thy Head by the Authority of the Holy Priesthood I seal thee up unto Eternal life.  Even so Amen.”  (Patriarchal Blessing of Wilford Woodruff, given by Joseph Smith, Sen., 15 Apr., 1837; in Wilford Woodruff diary, entry of 20 Dec., 1850)

Apr.:  Report of Solemn Assembly.

“A short notice only was given that a solemn assembly would be called of the official members of this church on the 6th inst. for the purpose of washing, anointing, washing of feet, receiving instruction and the further organization of the ministry.  We gave notice to a few churches by mail, and more would have been apprized had we been notified in due season to do so ourselves.

We proceed to give a synopsis of the proceedings.  Meetings were held by the different quorums, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, to wash and anoin[t] such of their respective members as had not been washed and anointed, that all might be prepared for the meeting on the sixth.

At an early hour on Thursday, the sixth, the official members assembled in the house of the Lord, where the time, for the first two or three hours was spent by the different quorums in washing of feet, singing, praying and preparing to receive instruction from the Presidents of the church.  The Presidents together with the Seventies and their presidents repaired to the west room in the attic story, where, for want of time the preceding evening, it became necessary to seal the anointing of those who had recently been anointed and not sealed.”  (Warren Cowdery, M&A 3(7):486, Apr., 1837)

Apr.:  Non-Mormon description of Kirtland Temple.

“Four years ago, by the commandment of God through the prophet Joseph (as they believe) they commenced the building of a temple of worship, the outside of which is now entirely completed, and also the interior, with the exception of one apartment.  It is a splendid edifice, (the dimensions I have forgotten) built of rough stone and handsomely stuccoed, which gives it a very rich appearance.  The temple has two principle apartments for meetings, either of which will hold more than a thousand persons.  Each of these apartments are capable of being divided into four separate rooms, by means of curtains which are let down from the ceiling above by the help of windlasses.  Each apartment contains six pulpits, three at each end, arranged like a flight of stairs.  Those at one end of the temple are for the Aaronic Priesthood, and those at the other for the Melchisedec Priesthood.  The slips and seats are so constructed that the audience can face either way, as the occasion may require.

The third, or attic story of the temple is divided into 5 rooms for schools, where the various branches of English, Latin, Greek and Hebrew languages are now taught to a large number of students.  The actual expense of this building, I believe, is not known, as much of the labor was performed by themselves, without any accurate account.  But, when completed, it cannot amount to less than sixty thousand dollars.”  (S. A. Davis, Editor of The Glad Tidings, and Ohio Christian Telescope, Pittsburgh, PA.  Reprinted in M&A 3(7):490, Apr., 1837)

Apr.:  How are the dead to be redeemed?

“For, for this cause was the gospel preached to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.–First Peter, 4th: 6th.

To the apostle who penned these words for our instruction; were committed the keys of the kingdom, altho’ he was a fisherman by occupation previously to his being chosen and ordained by his divine Master to proclaim that gospel for which he eventually suffered martyrdom.  He accompanied the Savior during his travels and public ministry, almost constantly.  He witnessed his transfiguration on the mount, saw and heard him converse with Moses and Elias.  He had seen the mighty works which he did while he tabernacled with men in the flesh.  He had heard him converse with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and lawyers, and knew that the wisdom and the power of the living God were manifest in all of his words and deeds, therfore, he could testify boldly of what he had seen and heard.

There was another consideration which gave boldness and confidence to the apostle whose words we have quoted as a foundation to the remarks we intend to make.

Before he suffered, he said to his disciples, If I go away I will send the comforter, and he shall lead you into all truth, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have told you; and from this promise being so fully verified, Peter taught, boldly and understandingly, that gospel, a dispensation of which had been committed to him.  He taught the things he knew and spake of those he had seen.  He not only taught those who listened to his instructions, the principles of the gospel by precept but by example, enforcing the whole with the most pointed arguments drawn from the scriptures, in which the Jews as a body most implicitly believed, but the whole course of his instruction after the ascension of the Saviour seemed fraught with that wisdom, that power and that authority, that most clearly evinced the divine authenticity of his mission, and enabled him to teach ‘as one having authority and not as the scribes.’

In the words we have quoted he appears to magnify his office by exalting and honoring the character of God, when he judges men, and if he did no[t] answer queries that had arisen and been agitated in his day, he seems clearly to have anticipated what would arise in ours; therefore, ‘for this cause (said he) was the gospel preached to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh.’

This course of instruction seemed to be the more important from the fact that the inventive faculties of man, backed by all the suggestions of the adversary, are ever watching for an opportunity to bring the word of God and his cause into disrepute.  But our heavenly Father so ordered it, that all will be left without excuse at the great assize, so that ‘he will be justified when he speaks and clear when he judges.’  He has done so upon the principles of reason and of justice.  He has not acted the part of a tyrant and doomed men to perdition who never had an opportunity of learning his will concerning them.  Some of our readers may think this an unwarrantable assertion, but we think such a sentiment is the legitimate influence of the primises laid down by the Savior himself in his address to his disciples as given us in John’s testimony 15th chapter 22, 23 and 24th verses.  We come now more directly to an interrogatory that has often been reiterated in our ears; what has become of those who have died since the prophets and apostles fell asleep, till the conferring of the priesthood and the coming forth of the gospel in these last days?  Are they all lost?  We answer no, we unhesitatingly and unequivocally answer no.–Was the gospel preached to them?–No.  Were they baptized for the remission of their sins? again we answer no, for the very good reason that since that period, till the renewal of the covenant and the restoration of the priesthood, no one was authorized to do it.  Then are not thousands of souls lost, who have come into the world and died since the days of the apostles?  Here we would ask in our turn if the inhabitants living on the earth in the 18th century, were blameable because there was not an inspired man upon it, one who had the authority of the Holy priesthood?  certainly not, then it follows of necessity they could not be justly condemned, for not yielding obedience to that authority.  How then are they to be made happy, having not the true gospel?  Let the word of God decide.  We now ask is God impartial?  Most assuyredl: [assuredly]  If he have no other scheme of saving mankind but the gospel, and there are myriads of them who have never heard it preached, will a just, wise, impartial and benevolent being condemn them?  He will be justified when he speaks and clear when he judges.  Here would seem to be a discrepancy, the word of God has not been generally understood or he must be perfectly holy, just and good to all the workmanship of his hands.

Here, then, lies the main difficulty.  If it be a point sustained by the word of God, that all who do not have, or have not had, the privilege of embracing or rejecting the gospel here in the flesh, have that privilege in God’s own time before the judgment day; then will the character of God be vindicated.–What says our text, for, for this cause was the gospel preached to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh.

Again, we find this idea more fully supported in the preceding chapter of the same epistle from which our text is taken, at the 18th, 19th and 20th verses:  ‘For Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit; by which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison, which sometime were disobedient when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah while the ark was a preparing, &c.’  Here are the words of inspiration that the antediluvians had the offer of life, eternal life and salvation, and that too, some thousands of years since they had fallen asleep.

But we have no evidence that the Lord will be thus compassionate to those who have the gospel preached to them here in the flesh, and reject it.–Hence said the Savior, if I had not come among you and done the work that none other ever did do, ye had not had sin, but now ye have no cloak for your sins;l thus plainly intimating that they would be left without excuse in the day of judgment.  We may also justly infer that they would have excuse, and that, too, founded upon reason and justice, if they were to be condemned for non-compliance with a law, rule or commandment, when such law, rule or commandment, never was made known to them.  We believe in the justice, mercy and goodness of God, and in the harmony of all his attributes, that not a soul will be saved in the celestial kingdom of God except upon the gospel plan which he has devised.  We feel also assured, that he will condemn no one until he hears, and refuses to obey the mandates of heaven. We believe that at the grand assizes, all will be left without excuse, and that ‘God will be justified when he speaks and clear when he judges.’

We are assured from our own observation and experience that the God of the universe is not a man, that he should lie, or the son of man that he should repent; we feel that he is the same yesterday, to-day and forever, and changes not; that those who love and obey him, will be received with this pleasing plaudit, well done good and faithful servant, &c.; while the unthankful, unholy, and disobedient shall be excluded from the presence and the joys of the righteous.”  (Warren Cowdery, editor, M&A 3(7):470-471, Apr., 1837) 

26 May:  “To endow them afresh with apostolic power.”

“The Mormons have built them a mighty great tower,

In which they declare many angels abound,

To endow them afresh with apostolic power,

Proved by the new Bible they raised from the ground.”

(“The Golden Bible,” in Painesville Telegraph, 26 May, 1837)

Jun.:  God will not condemn men who haven’t known his will

“The apostle Paul, who is supposed to have written the epistle of which the words at the head of this article forms a part [Hebrews], when addressing his Roman brethren, says, ‘how shall they believe without they hear? and how shall they hear without a preacher,’ etc.  The plain, legitimate inference from which is, that if they did not hear and understand they would not be bound to obey.  The God of heaven will never condemn men who have not known his will, for not complying with what he requires of those to whom he has revealed himself, and those among whom his will has been promulgated.  We are aware that in making this assertion, we come in contact with the creed of such of our professing Christian brethren as believe that God sends all to hell who do not believe the scriptures–the Old and New Testament–when they have never seen, read or heard them.  We think we are warranted in this belief from what the Saviour said to the unbelieving Jews: John 15:22, ‘If I had not come and spoken unto them they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.’  Where the word of God is not known, where it is not understood, mankind cannot be expected to comply with it.  This imposes an obligation on those who have received and obeyed the truth, to proclaim it to others, and urge the necessity of a compliance with it.  But it cannot attach blame, or render that part of the human family liable to punishment, who have never been favored with the light of revelation.”  (Warren Cowdery, M&A 3(9):523, Jun., 1837)

13 Jun.:  Hannah Cheesbro sealed to eternal life.

“By the power of the Holy Priesthood I seal thee up to Eternal Life.  Amen.”  (Patriarchal Blessing of Hannah Augusta Cheesbro, by Joseph Smith, Sen., 13 Jun., 1837.  RLDS Archives, P8/F19)

3 Jul.:  Groundbreaking of Far West temple site.

“Monday the 3d of July, was a great and glorious day in Far West; more than fifteen hundred saints assembled in this place, and, at 1/2 past 8 in the morning, after a prayer, singing, and an address, proceeded to break the ground for the Lord’s House; the day was beautiful, the Spirit of the Lord was with us, a cellar for this great edifice, 110 long by 80 broad was nearly finished.”  (W. W. Phelps to Warren Cowdery, 7 Jul., 1837.  In M&A 3(10):529, Jul., 1837)

25 Jul.:  Non-Mormon description of Kirtland Temple.

Rochester Republican, Rochester, N.Y., Tuesday morning, July 25, 1837, vol. XXI, no. 30.

“MORMONS.–Those crazy fanatics have their grand Tabernacle at a place they call Kirtland, 5 miles from the shore of Lake Erie, and 20 miles from Cleveland, and count no less than 4000 persons under their leader, Joe Smith.  They have been lately joined by a shrewd literary person named Sydney Rigdon, formerly a preacher of the doctrine of Campbell.  He is the Grand Vizer to Smith; and under their decision a banking house has been established, of which Smith is president and Rigdon cashier.  The issues have been about $150,000.–The bank failed.  They have several mills on their property.  The houses are small, including the Prophet Joe’s.  The temple is a beautiful building of rough stone, three stories high, about 70 to 75 feet square.  Each of the two principal apartments holds twelve hundred persons.  The joists of the interior are supported by six fluted columns.  Each apartment contains six pulpits, arranged gradation, three at each end for the ‘Aaronic Priesthood,’ and at the other end for the ‘priesthood of Melchisedec.’  The slips are so constructed, that the audience can face either pulpit, as may be required.  In the highest seat of the ‘A[a]ronic priesthood,’ sits the reverend father of the prophet; the next below is occupied by Joe and his prime minister Rigdon.  The attic story is occupied as school rooms, five in number, where the various branches of English, Latin, Greek and Hebrew languages are taught to a large number of students.  The actual cost of the temple is not known, but it is estimated to have cost not less than $60,000. . . .–N.Y. Star.”  (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)

Nov.:  What of those who have died?

“16th, If the Mormon doctrine is true, what have become of all that have died since the days of the apostles? . . . 

The above questions are as many as we probably shall have room to answer in our next article, though many more may hereafter be asked and answered as circumstances will permit.”  (Joseph Smith, Elders’ Journal 1(2):29, Nov., 1837)

ca. 1837:  Jerusha Barden buried in temple clothes?

“2-K-a-6: Copy of a letter from Wilford C. Wood to President David O. McKay; Woods Cross, Utah, May 27, 1960; concerning the concept that the first wife of Hyrum Smith and the grandmother of Joseph Smith were buried in temple clothes at Kirtland, Ohio.  Wilford has a temple garment that was reported to have been used in the Kirtland Temple.  Typed.  1 p.  (The Wilford C. Wood Collection, Volume I:  An annotated catalog of documentary-type materials in the Wilford C. Wood Collection; by LaMar C. Berrett.  Published by the Wilford C. Wood Foundation, Printed by the Brigham Young University Printing Service, September 1972.)

“Law of Adoption” anciently.

“Jesus slept in the arms of death; a great stone with the seal of state, secured the tomb where he lay, while the Roman guard stood in watchful silence to see that all was kept secure; when suddenly, from the regions of glory, a mighty angel descended, at whose presence the soldiers fell back as dead men, while he rolled the stone from the door of the sepulchre, and the Son of God awoke from his slumbers, burst the bonds of death, and soon after appearing to Mary, he sent her to the disciples with the joyful news of his resurrection, and appointed a place to meet them.  When, after seeing him, all their sorrow was turned into joy, and all their former hopes were suddenly revived, they had no longer to cry ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand,’ but were to tarry at Jerusalem until the kingdom was established; and they prepared to unlock the door of the kingdom, and to adopt strangers and foreigners into it as legal citizens, by administering certain laws and ordinances, which were invariably the laws of adoption, and without which no man could ever become a citizen.

. . . .

Now, when the multitude came running together on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and reasoned wit them from the Scriptures, testifying of Jesus Christ, and his resurrection and ascension on high–insomuch that many became convinced of the truth, and inquired what they should do.  These were not Christians, but they were people who were that moment convinced that Jesus was the Christ; and because they were convinced of this fact, they inquired ‘What shall we do?’  Then Peter said unto them, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost: for the promise is unto you, and your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.’  My reader, do you understand this proclamation?  If you do, you will see that this Gospel is not generally preached in modern times.  Let us therefore analyze and examine it, sentence by sentence.  You recollect they already believed, and the next thing was for them to repent; first, faith; second, repentance; third, baptism; fourth, remission of sins; and fifth, the Holy Ghost.  This was the order of the Gospel.  Faith gave the power to become sons, or citizens; repentance, and baptism in his name, was the obedience through which they were adopted; and the Holy Spirit of promise was the seal of their adoption, and this they were sure to receive if they would obey.

. . . .

Now, I gather from all those examples of ancient days, and from the precepts laid down in them, that baptism was the initiating ordinance, by which all those who believed and repented were received and adopted into the Church or kingdom of God, so as to be entitled to the remission of sins, and the blessing of the Holy Ghost; indeed it was the ordinance through which they became sons and daughters; and because they were sons, the Lord shed forth the spirit of His son into their hearts, crying, Abba, father.  It is true, the Lord poured out the Holy Ghost upon Cornelius and his friends, before they were baptized; but it seemed necessary, in order to convince the believing Jews that the Gentiles also had part in this salvation.  And I believe this is the only instance, in the whole record, of the people receiving the Holy Ghost without first obeying the laws of adoption.

But mark! obeying the laws of adoption would not constitute a man an heir of the kingdom, a citizen entitled to the blessings and gifts of the Spirit, unless these laws and ordinances were administered by one who had proper authority, and was duly commissioned from the King; and a commission given to one individual could never authorise another to act in his stead.  This is one of the most important points to be understood, as it brings to the test every minister in Christendom; and questions the organization of every church on earth, and all that have existed since direct inspiration ceased.

Now, in order to come at this subject in plainness, let us examine the constitution of earthly governments in regard to the authority and laws of adoption.  We will say, for instance, the President of the United States writes a commission to A. B., duly authorising him to act in some office in the government, and, during his administration, two gentlemen from Europe come to reside in this country, and, being strangers and foreigners wishing to become citizens, they go before A. B., and he administers the oath of allegiance in due form, and certifies the same, and this constitutes them legal citizens, entitled to all the privileges of those who are citizens or subjects by birth.  After these things A. B. is taken away by death, and C. D., in looking over his papers, happens to find the commission given to A. B., and applying it to his own use, assumes the vacant office; meantime, two foreigners arrive, and apply for citizenship, and being informed by persons ignorant of the affairs of government, that C. D. could administer the laws of adoption, they submit to be administered unto by C. D., without once examining his authority; C. D. certifies of their citizenship, and they suppose they have been legally adopted, the same as the others, and are entitled to all the privileges of citizenship.  But by and by, their citizenship is called in question, and the produce the certificate of C. D.; the President inquires, ‘Who is C. D.?  I never gave him a commission to act in any office, I know him not, and you are strangers and foreigners to the commonwealth, until you go before the legally appointed successor of A. B., or some other of like authority, who has a commission from the President direct in his own name.’  In the mean time, C. D. is taken and punished according to law, for practising imposition, and usurping authority which was never conferred upon him.  And so it is with the kingdom of God.  The Lord authorized the Apostles and others by direct Revelation, and by the spirit of Prophecy, to preach and baptize, and build up his Church and kingdom; but after a while they died, and a long time passed away, and men reading over their commission, where it says to the eleven Apostles, ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature,’ &c., have had the presumption to apply these sayings as their authority, and without any other commission, have gone forth professing to preach the Gospel, and baptize, and build up the Church and kingdom of God; but those whom they baptize never receive the same blessings and gifts which characterized a Saint or citizen of the kingdom in the days of the Apostles.  Why?  Because they are yet foreigners, and strangers, for the commission given to the Apostles never commissioned any other men to act in their stead.  This was a prerogative the Lord reserved unto Himself.  No man has a right to take this ministry upon himself, but he that is called by revelation, and duly qualified to act in his calling, by the Holy Ghost.  But the reader inquires with astonishment, ‘What! are none of all the ministers of the present day called to the ministry, and legally commissioned?’  Well, my reader, I will tell you how you may ascertain from their own mouths, and that will be far better than an answer from me; go to the clergy, and ask them if God has given any direct revelation since the New Testament was finished; inquire of them whether the gift of prophecy ceased with the early age of the Church; and, in short, ask them if revelations, Prophets, the ministering of angels, &c., are needed or expected in these days, or whether they believe that these things are done away, no more to return to the earth; and their answer will be that the Bible contains sufficient, and that since the canon of Scripture was filled, revelation, the spirit of prophecy and the ministering of angels have ceased, because no longer needed.  In short, they will denounce every man as an impostor who pretends to any such thing.  And when you have obtained this answer, ask them, how they themselves were called and commissioned to preach the Gospel, and they will be at a loss to answer you, and will finally tell you that the Bible commissioned them, saying, ‘Go ye into all the world,’ &c.  Thus, you see, all who have no direct personal revelation from the King of heaven, either by angels, the voice of God, or the spirit of prophecy, are acting under authority which was given to others, who are dead, and their commission stolen, and their authority usurped; and the King will say, ‘Peter I know, and Paul I know, I commissioned them, but who are you?  I know you not, I never spoke to you in my life; indeed you believed it was not necessary for me to speak in your day.  Therefore you never sought in faith for any revelation, and I never gave you any; and even when I spake to others, you mocked them, and called them impostors, and persecuted them, because they testified of the things I had said unto them; therefore, depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered, and ye fed me not; I was naked, and ye clothed me not; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; sick and in prison, and ye visited me not.’  ‘Ah! Lord, when did we fail in any of these things?’  ‘Inasmuch as you have not done it unto the least of these my brethren (taking them for impostors, because they testified of the things which I had revealed unto them), ye have not done it unto me.’  But to return: having examined the kingdom of God as to its offices and ordinances, and having discovered the only means of adoption into it, let us examine more fully what are the blessings, privileges, and enjoyments of its citizens.”  (Parley P. Pratt, 1837: A Voice of Warning, 1854 ed., pp. 69-70, 75-76, 80-84)

Endowment of ancient apostles.

“Now, having analyzed and understood this commission, let us still pursue the subject of the organization of the kingdom of God in the days of the Apostles.  The Saviour, having given them their authority, commands them to tarry, and not undertake their mission, until they were endowed with power from on high.  But why this delay?  Because no man was ever qualified, or ever will be, to preach that Gospel, and teach all things whatsoever Jesus commanded him, without the Holy Ghost; and a very different Holy Ghost, too, from the one now enjoyed by men who are not inspired, for the Holy Ghost of whic Jesus spake would guide into all truth, bring all things to remembrance, whatsoever he had said unto them, and show them things to come–not to mention that it would enable them to speak in all the languages of the earth.  Now a man who preaches needs that Holy Ghost very much; first, to guide into all truth, that he may know what to teach; second, to strengthen his memory, lest he might neglect to teach some of the things which were commanded them; and, third, he needs to know things to come, that he may forewarn his hearers of approaching danger, and that would constitute him a Prophet.  Fro this, the reader may see how careful Jesus was that none should preach his Gospel without the Holy Ghost.  He may also learn how different the Spirit of Truth is from the spirits now abroad in the earth, deceiving the world, under the name of the Holy Ghost.  If the churches of the present day have the Holy Ghost, why are they so much at a loss to understand truth?  Why do they walk in so many different ways and doctrines?  Why do they need whole libraries of sermons, tracts, divinities, debates, arguments, and opinions, all written by the wisdom of men, without even professing to be inspired?  Well doth the Lord complain, saying, ‘Their fear towards me is taught by the precepts of men.’  But to return; the Apostles tarried at Jerusalem until endowed with power, and then they commenced to proclaim the Gospel.”  (Parley P. Pratt, 1837: A Voice of Warning, 1854 ed., pp. 72-73)