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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1840

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1840.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1840.

1840:  26 Jan.:  Washing of feet in England.

“A worthy Sister wished to wash my feet.  I gave her an oppertunity & she did so.  I had the spirit of prophecy concerning her & delivered it unto her.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 26 Jan., 1840)  

12 Mar.:  Ann Booth’s vision of baptisms for the dead.

“I Ann Booth wife of Robert Booth of the Town of Manchester England had the following vision on the 12th Day of March in the year of our Lord 1840.

Being Carried away in a vision to the place of departed souls I saw {12} prision one above another vary large & builded of Solled Stone.  On ariving at the door of the uppermost prision, I beheld one of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb who had been martered in America Standing at the door of the prision holding a key with which he unlocked the door & went in & I followed him.

He appeared to be of a large size thick set, Dark hair Dark eyes & eyebrows of a smileing Countenance, & on his head was a Crown of Gold or sumthing brighter.  He was Dressed in a long white robe with the sleeves plaited from the Sholder to the hand.  Upon his breast were four stars * * * * apparrently like gold and a golden gridle about his loins.  His feet were bear from above the ancles downwards, and his hands were also bear.  As he entered the prision he seemed to stand about 3 feet from the floor (which was of Marble) as if the place was not worthy for him to stand upon.  A vary brilient and glorious light Serrounded him while the rest of the Prision was dark.  But his light was peculiar to himself & did not reflect upon others who were in the Prison who were surrounded with a gloom of darkness.

On the right hand near the door stood John Westley who on seeing the glorious Personage raised both hands & shouted Glory, honor, Praise, & Power be asscribed unto God & the Lamb forever & forever.  Deliverance has Come.  The Apostle then Commenced to Preach the Baptism of repentance for remission of Sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, when the hunderds of Prisoners gave a shout with a loud voice Saying Glory be to God forever & ever.

The marble floor was then removed & a river of water Clear as Cristle seemed to flow in its place.  The Apostle then Called to John Westley by name who came forward quickley and both went down into the water & he Baptized him & coming up out of the water he laid hands on him for the gift of the Holy Ghost at the same time ordaining him to the Priesthood of Aaron.

The Apostle then retired to the place whare he stood at first and John Westley then proceded to Baptize A man by the name of Killham the leader of the New Connection of Methodist and next John Madison & then Scott, & John Tongue.  The three latter were Methodist Preachers with whom I had formerly been acquainted.  The next he Baptized was my Grandfather (Edmund Whitehead) & the next was my uncle (John Whitehead) & the next was my sister (Elizabeth Olland) & next Joseph Lancashire & next Samuel Robinson & then next was my own Mother.  All these had lived & died Methodist & I had been personally acquainted with them all.  And after this he Baptized all the prisoners amounting to many hundreds.

After they were all Baptized the Apostle laid his hands on them & Confirmed them evry one.  Then instantly the darkness dispersed & they were all Surrounded & envelloped in A Brilient light such as surrounded the Apostle at the first & they all lifted their voices with one accord giving glory to God for deliverance.

My Grandfather then Came to me & blessed me saying the Lord bless the[e] forever & ever.  Art thou come to see us deliverd?  My mother then came to me & clasped me in her arms & kissed me three times & said the Lord Allmighty bless thee forever & ever.

I then awoke out of the Vision & felt so happy & overjoyed that I knew not how to remain in bed.  But waking my husband we arose & taking the Bible I opened Providentially to the text Isaiah 24th they shall be gathered together &c.  More & more astonished, I again opened the Bible to the 1st of St John The light shineth in darkness &c.  And again the third time I opened it & immediately cast my eyes upon the 3d chapter of Peter 18, 19, 20 speaking of the spirits in Prison.  Being before ignorant of these texts & opening upon each Providentially I was asstonished beyound measure.

I would further state that at the time I had this vision I had never herd of the Death of David W. Patten whom I have since learned was one of the Twelve Apostles of the Latter Day Saints in America & was slain in the late persecution in the fall of 1838.  But in the Vision I knew it was an Apostle who had been slain in America.

Perhaps many will think lightly of this vision But I hereby Sollemnly testify that I actaully Saw & herd in a vision what I have here related & I give my name & set my seal in witness to the Same well knowing that I must stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ & answer for this Testimony.”  (In Wilford Woodruff diary, following entry of 2 Jul., 1840)

15 Jun.: Peter & Charlotte Haws sealed to eternal life.

“I seal thee against the destroyer and in the name of Jesus Christ I seal thee up unto eternal life, Amen Amen.”  (Patriarchal Blessing of Peter Haws, by Joseph Smith, Sen., 15 Jun., 1840.  RLDS Archives, P8/F30)

“I now seal thee against the destroyer and I seal thee up to Eternal Life in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.”  (Patriarchal Blessing of Charlotte Haws, by Joseph Smith, Sen., 15 Jun., 1840.  RLDS Archives, P8/F30)

29 Jun.:  A “sealing testimony.”

“We have moved along slowly, but have left a sealing testimony.”  (Orson Hyde and John E. Page to Joseph Smith, 29 Jun., 1840; HC 4:142)

Jun.:  Was the thief on the cross saved without baptism?

“Q.–Was not the thief on the cross saved without baptism?

A.–If he was, it was because he had no opportunity to obey; and, therefore, was not saved through a Gospel ministrationk, but was included in the same mercy as the heathens, who have never had the offer of the Gospel, and therefore, are under no condemnation for not obeying it.”  (“The Gospel Illustrated in Questions and Answers,” Parley P. Pratt, MS 1(2):27, Jun., 1840)

Jun.:  What will become of those who died without Gospel?

“Q.–Is it not uncharitable to consider the Christian world all wrong, except such as obey the fulness of the Gospel? and still more so to tell them of it?

A.–No.  The man who tells his generation the truth, according to the ‘law and the testimony,’ is more charitable to them than ten thousand men who cry, Peace and safety, and prophecy smooth things, when sudden destruction is near at hand.

Q.–But what will become of all the people who have lived and died since the Gospel was perverted and before it was restored again?

A.–They will be judged according to their works, and according to the light which they enjoyed in their day: and, no doubt many of them will rise up in judgment against this generation, and condemn it; for, had they enjoyed the privileges which we enjoy, they would, no doubt, have gladly embraced the truth in all its fulness.  They desired to see the latter-day glory, but died without the sight.”  (“The Gospel Illustrated in Questions and Answers,” Parley P. Pratt, MS 1(2):28, Jun., 1840)

17 Jul.:  John Landers sealed to eternal life.

“I seal thee up to Eternal life in the name of Christ Even so Amen.”  (Patriarchal Blessing of John Landers, by Joseph Smith, Sen., 17 Jul., 1840.  RLDS Archives, P8/F22)

19 Jul.:  The world will come to see our Temple.

“Now from this hour bring every thing you can bring and build a Temple unto the Lord, a house unto the mighty God of Jacob.  We will build upon the top of this Temple a great observatory, a great and high watch tower and in the top thereof we will Suspend a tremendous bell that when it is rung shall rouse the inhabitants of Madison, wake up the people of Warsaw, and sound in the ears of men [in] Carthage.  Then comes the ancient records yea all of them.  Dig them; yes bring them forth speedily.

Then shall the poor be fed by the curious who shall come from all parts of the world to see this wonderful temple.  Yea I prophecy that pleasure parties shall come from England to see the Mamoth and like the Queen of Sheba shall say the half never was told them.  School houses shall be built here and High schools shall be established and the great men of the [earth] shall send their sons here to board while they are receiving their education among us.  And even Noblemen shall crave the priviledge of educating their children with us and these poor saints shall chink in their pockets the money of these proud men received from such as come and dwell with us.

Now brethren I obligate myself to build as great a temple as ever Solomon did, if the church will back me up.  Moreover, it shall not impovrish any man but enrich thousands.  And I prophecy that the time shall be when these saints shall ride proudly over the mountains of Missouri and no Gentile dog nor Missouri dog shall dare lift a tongue against them but will lick up the dust from beneath their feet.  And I pray the Father that many here may realize this and see it with their eyes.  And if it should be (stretching his hand towards the place and in a melancholly tone that made all hearts tremble) [the] will of God that I might live to behold that temple completed and finished from the foundation to the top stone I will say, Oh Lord it is enough Lord let thy servant depart in peace, which is my ernest prayer in the name of the L[ord] Jesus Amen.”  (Joseph Smith, 19 Jul., 1840, Martha Jane Knowlton transcript; in BYU Studies 19(3):393-394.  See accompanying introduction by Dean Jessee.)

15 Aug.:  Origin of baptism for the dead.

“Joseph the Prophet according to the document hereunto attached preached the funeral sermon in memory of Elder Seymour Brunson who had died Aug 10, 1840.

The following document was found by Andrew Jenson at the Historian’s Office, April 9, 1908, while undertaking a careful perusal of original documents:

Jane Neymon states that Joseph preached Seymour Brunson’s funeral sermon and then first introduced the subject of baptism of the dead and said to the people: ‘I have laid the subject of baptism for the dead before you, you may receive or reject it as you choose.  Sept. 13th {Aug 15th}.  She then went and was baptized for her son Cyrus Livingston Neymon, by Harvey Olmstead.  Joseph on hearing it at table in the evening asked what he said, on his telling what the ceremony was it proved that Father Olmstead had it right.

Vienna Jaques witnessed the same by riding into the river on horseback to get close so as to hear what the ceremony would be.  These statements given by Jane Neymon and Vienna Jaques in History office G. S. L. City Nov 29th, 1854 half past 10 o’clock a.m.

Following is a statement made by Simon Baker in a speech which he delivered:

I was present at a discourse that the prophet Joseph delivered on baptism for the dead August 15, 1840.  He read the greater part of the 15th Chap of Cor and remarked that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brought glad tiding of great joy, and then remarked that he saw a widow in that congregation that had a son who died without being baptized, and this widow in reading the sayings of Jesus, ‘except a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven,’ and that not one jot nor tittle of the Saviour’s words should pass away, but all should be fulfilled.  He then said that this widow should have glad tiding in that thing.  He also said the Apostle was talking to a people who understood Baptism for the dead, for it was practiced among them.  He went on to say that people could now act for their friends who had departed this life, and that the plan of salvation was calculated to save all who were willing to obey the requirements of the law of God.  He went on and made a very beautiful discourse.'”

(JH 15 Aug., 1840)

15 Aug.:  First discourse on baptism for dead.

“On 10 August 1840 Seymour Brunson, member of the Nauvoo High Council, died in Nauvoo.  The Prophet took the occasion of his funeral, on 15 August 1840, to deliver the first discourse on the doctrine of baptism for the dead (see History of the Church, 4:231). . . .   Although there is no known contemporary text for this discourse, Simon Baker left the following reminiscent account with the Historian’s Office:

     ‘I was present at a discourse that the prophet Joseph delivered on baptism for the dead 15 August 1840.  He read the greater part of the 15th chapter of Corinthians and remarked that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brought glad tidings of great joy, and then remarked that he saw a widow in that congregation that had a son who died without being baptized, and this widow in reading the sayings of Jesus “except a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven,” and that not one jot nor tittle of the Savior’s words should pass away, but all should be fulfilled.  He then said that this widow should have glad tidings in that thing.  He also said the apostle was talking to a people who understood baptism for the dead, for it was practiced among them.  He went on to say that people could now act for their friends who had departed this life, and that the plan of salvation was calculated to save all who were willing to obey the requirements of the law of God.  He went on and made a very beautiful discourse.”  

(Lyndon Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 343-344, quoting “Journal History,” 15 Aug., 1840, LDS Archives)   

“When the Saints first heard this doctrine (the doctrine of redemkption for the dead, in June, 1841 [note the incorrect date here]) they became enthused with joy.  Hundreds went into the Mississippi river, here men were baptized for their dead ancestors, male and female; women were baptized for their fathers as well as their mothers.  So the Lord often tests us as a people as well as individuals.  There was an over-zealous response to that first invitation of the Lord concerning the redemption of the dead, and thus there came later and fuller revelation on the subject.”  (Susa Young Gates, “Temples in Modern Times,” YWJ 19:617, 1908)

16 Aug.:  Joseph preaches on eternal judgment.

“Joseph the Prophet and his brother Hyrum met with the Saints in Lee county Iowa and spoke upon the eternal judgment.”  (John Smith journal; JH 16 Aug., 1840)

21 Aug.:  Joseph teaches concerning resurrection.

“Joseph has commenced delivering a course of lectures to us on this side the river, on the first Principles of the Gospel particularly the Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgment.”  (John Smith (Lee County, Iowa) to George A. Smith, his son (England), 21 Aug., 1840; JH 21 Aug., 1840)

23 Aug.:  Necessity of place for Lord to meet his people.

“Yesterday [23 Aug.] met at Nashville had from Joseph and Hyrum considerable preaching showing the need of a place for the Lord to meet with his people and give revelations etc. also the ancient custom of building cities that it is needful for us to have a place of gathering.”  (John Smith (Lee County, Iowa) to George A. Smith, his son (England), 21 Aug., 1840; JH 24 Aug., 1840)

27 Aug.:  Joseph Smith Sen. near death.

“I went over the river to see my brother {Joseph Smith Sen.} who to all human appearance is nigh unto death but a few days has passed away since we were seven brethren, boys in the vigor of youth . . .”  (John Smith (Lee County, Iowa) to George A. Smith, his son (England), 27 Aug., 1840; JH 27 Aug., 1840)

30 Aug.:  Joseph preaches on eternal judgment.

“Joseph the Prophet continued his discourse in Nauvoo on eternal judgment and the eternal duration of matter.”  (John Smith journal; JH 30 Aug., 1840)

31 Aug.:  Foreshadowing of Nauvoo Temple.

“Believing the time has now come, when it is necessary to erect a house of prayer, a house of order, a house for the worship of our God, where the ordinances can be attended to agreeably to His divine will, in this region of country–to accomplish which, considerable exertion must be made, and means will be required–and as the work must be hastened in righteousness, it behooves the Saints to weigh the importance of these things, in their minds, in all their bearings, and then take such steps as are necessary to carry them into operation; and arming themselves with courage, resolve to do all they can, and feel themselves as much interested as though the whole labor depended on themselves alone.  By so doing they will emulate the glorious deeds of the fathers, and secure the blessings of heaven upon themselves and their posterity to the latest generation.

To those who feel thus interested, and can assist in this great work, we say, let them come to this place; by so doing they will not only assist in the rolling on of the Kingdom, but be in a situation where they can have the advantages of instruction from the Presidency and other authorities of the Church, and rise higher and higher in trhe scale of intelligence until they can ‘comprehend with all Saints what is the breadth and length, and depth and heighth [sic]; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.'”  (An Address by the First Presidency to the Church, 31 Aug., 1840; HC 4:186

ca. 14 Sep.:  Joseph Sr. and baptism for the dead.

“On the evening of his [Joseph Jr.] return, my husband commenced vomiting blood.  I sent immediately for Joseph and Hyrum, who, as soon as they came, gave him something that alleviated his distress.  This was on Saturday night.  The next morning Joseph came in and told his father, that he should not be troubled any more for the present with the Missourians; ‘and,’ said he, ‘I can now stay with you as much as you wish.’  After which he informed his father, that it was then the privilege of the Saints to be baptized for the dead.  These two facts Mr. Smith was delighted to hear, and requested, that Joseph should be baptized for Alvin immediately; and, as he expected to live but a short time, desired that his children would stay with him, s much as they could consistently.  [Joseph Sr. died the same day, 14 Sep., 1840.]  (Lucy Mack Smith history, 1853 edition, pp. 265-266.  This account appears to be a composite taken from several fragments of the Coray manuscript.)

“Monday, September 14, Joseph Smith, sen., father of the Prophet[,] and Patriarch of the whole Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, died at Nauvoo.”  (JH 14 Sep., 1840)

15 Sep.:  Joseph Smith Sr. and the Kirtland Temple.

“While the house of the Lord was building, he took great interest in its erection, and daily watched its progress, and had the pleasure of taking a part at the opening, and seeing it crowded by hundreds of pious worshipers.  As the King of Israel longed for and desired to see the completion of the house of the Lord, so did he; and with him he could exclaim, ‘O Lord, I love the habitation of thine house, and the place where thine honor dwelleth.’  To dwell in the house of the Lord, and to enquire in his Temple, was his daily delight; and in it he enjoyed many blessings, and spent many hours in sweet communion with his heavenly  Father.

He has trod its secret alleys, solitary and alone from mankind, long before the King of day has guilded the eastern horizon; and he has uttered his asperations within its walls, when natures has been asleep.  In its holy enclosures have the visions of heaven been opened to his mind, and his soul has feasted on the riches of eternity; and there, under his teachings have the meek and humble bee instructed, while the widow and the orphan have received his Patriarchal blessing.”  (R. B. Thompson address at the funeral of Joseph Smith, Sen., 15 Sep., 1840.  In T&S 1:(11)170, Sep., 1840) 

3 Oct.:  Announcement of Nauvoo Temple–General Conf. 

“The president then spoke of the necessity of building a ‘House of the Lord’ in this place.”  (Times and Seasons 1:186, Oct., 1840)

“The subject of building a house, for the worship of Almighty God, was brought up, when it was decided that immediate preparations should be made to carry into effect, an object so dear to the saints.  A committee was appointed to erect the same, who are men of tried integrity, and who will do their duty, and it only remains for the brethren to hold up, and strengthen their hands, and a building to the honor of our God, will be erected, where the saints can offer up their orisons to the God of their salvation, and where the order of the kingdom will be manifested.”  (Report of General Conference of 3 Oct., 1840, in T&S 1(12):184, Oct., 1840)

“The president then spoke of the necessity of building a ‘House of the Lord’ in this place.

Whereupon it was resolved, that the saints build a house for the worship of God, and that Reynolds Cahoon, Elias Higbee, and Alpheus Cutler, be appointed a committee to build the same.

On motion.  Resolved, that a commencement be made ten days from this date, and that every tenth day be appropriated for the building of said house.”  (Minutes of General Conference of 3 Oct., 1840, in T&S 1(12):186, Oct., 1840)

“Let the brethren ever manifest such a spirit, and hold up our hands, and we must, we will go forward, the work of the Lord shall roll forth, the Temple of the Lord be reared, the Elders of Israel be encouraged; Zion be built up. . . . 

If the work roll forth with the same rapidity it has heretofore done, we may soon expect to see flocking to this place, people from every land and from every nation, the polished European, the degraded Hottentot, and the shivering Laplander.  Persons of all languages, and of every tongue, and of every color; who shall with us worship the Lord of Hosts in his holy temple, and offer up their orisons in his sanctuary.”  (Report from the Presidency, T&S 1(12):187, 188, Oct., 1840)

4 Oct.:  Baptism for dead.

“President Joseph Smith jr. then arose and delivered a discourse on the subject of baptism for the dead, which was listened to with considerable interest, by the vast multitude assembled. . . .

Elder Lyman Wight addressed the conference on the subject of baptism for the dead and other subjects of interest to the church.”  (Minutes of the General Conference of 3-4 Oct., 1840, Times and Seasons 1:186, 187, Oct., 1840)

“On this occasion was the first time I ever heard the subject of baptism for the dead mentioned in public.”  (Ebeneezer Robinson, The Return 2:298-302?)

5 Oct.:  Ordinance of sacrifice to be restored in temple.

“It is a very prevalent opinion that the sacrifices which were offered were entirely consumed, but this was not the case if you read Leviticus [2] Chap [2-3] you will observe that the priests took a part as a memorial and offered it up before the Lord, while the remainder was kept for the maintenance of the priests.  So that the offerings and sacrifices are not all consumed upon the Alter, but the blood is sprinkled and the fat and certain other portions are consumed  These sacrifices as well as every ordinance belonging to the priesthood will when the temple of the Lord shall be built and the Sons Levi be purified by fully restored and attended to then all their powers ramifications ramifications [sic] and blessings–this ever was and will exist when the powers of the Melchisid Priesthood are sufficiently manifest.”  (Joseph Smith, 5 Oct., 1840.  In Words of JS, p. 43)

“It is clear by this discourse that Joseph Smith expected to reinstitute the priesthood vestments (as described in Exodus 28 and 29) and the restoration of the Levitical Order of the Priesthood sufficient to fulfill Malachi 3:3-4 (See D&C 2).”  (Ehat and Cook, Words of JS, p. 52)

6 Oct.:  Conference votes to begin Temple.

“The spot of land on which the Saints located was very wet and consequently very unhealthy; but by the blessing of God the health of the Saints improved, and they learned the necessary course of life in this trying region, and were able to improve the character of the soil which they cultivated.  

Before even this state of comfort was achieved, the authorities began to talk upon the subject of building a temple, wherein to administer the ordinances of God’s house.  Several councils were held and a place selected whereon the temple was contemplated to be built.  The matter was laid before the conference on the 6th of October, in the year 1840; and the Church voted to commence the work immdeiately.  On this day the conference appointed a committee of three, viz: Alpheus Cutler, Elias Higbee and Reynolds Cahoon, to carry the business into operation and to oversee the work.

During conference President Joseph Smith explained to the Saints the law of tithing and the plan upon which the building of the temple was to be conducted.

Several plans for a temple were made and submitted by various individuals, but the only one which was satisfactory to the Prophet was the one drawn and presented by William Weeks.”  (William Clayton Journal, in JI 21(2):23, 15 Jan., 1886)  NOTE THAT CLAYTON WAS NOT IN NAUVOO AT THE TIME.

11 Oct.:  Early baptism for dead:  for opposite sex.

“In the last of the month of September 1840 the Ordinance of baptising for the ded was instituted in the church  On the 11th of October I was baptized for my Mother Precienda Huntington . . .”  (William Huntington Diary, Huntington Library)

22 Oct.:  Washing of feet used as a personal curse.

“. . . the case of Elder Henry Moore in the following charges prefered by Elder Charles Thompson . . .

6th  pronouncing curses upon Elder Charles Thompson because he would not uphold him in the above abominations and washing his feet against me for the same reason.”  (Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record, 22 Oct., 1840)

1 Nov.:  Temple poem.

“O then, then we remember’d the House of the Lord,

Where the saints met so often, to feast on the word,

Pour’d forth in the Spirit, sent down from on high,

And our thoughts fondly linger’d on seasons gone by;

          When at our Home,

We enjoy’d with the saints, the rich blessings of Home.”  (“Song of the Exiled Saints,” Eliza R. Snow, T&S 2(1):207, 1 Nov., 1840)

4 Nov.:  That they may build a sanctuary to God.

“Another reason for gathering the people of God is, that they may ‘go a sacrifice unto the Lord their God’, that they may build a sanctuary to the name of the Most High, that ther they may behold the glorious going forth of the Holy one, and learn of his judgments and attend to such ordinances and receive such blessings as they could not while scattered upon the face of the whole earth.  The prophet predicted that he should ‘bring his sons from afar, and his daughters from the ends of the earth’–and ‘they shall come from a far country with riches and trees to beautify the house of the Lord, and make the place of his feet glorious.’  In short the house of the Lord shall be built by the gathering in of the people–the sons of Moses and Aaron shall execute the priest’s work, the house shall be covered with a cloud–the glory of the Lord shall be seen–he shall teach his people of his ways, and great shall be the blessings of Zion.  Then shall the saints behold the Lord to come to his temple, even the messenger of peace in whom they delight.”  (Elder Moon [Nauvoo] “To the Editor of the Star,” 4 Nov., 1840; in MS 1(10):253, Feb., 1841)

14 Nov.:  They shall be endued when necessary.

“Their elders have not only been commissioned and sent forth to every part of our country, but they have left their families and friends behind them, and gone to Europe, and even to the Holy Land, to reveal the wonders of the ‘new and everlasting covenant’ to preach the dispensation of the fullness of time.  They doubt not but that they shall be endued when necessary, with power from on high to proclaim to all the nations of the earth, in their own tongues, the wonderful works of God.”  (The Alton [Ill.] Telegraph 5(46):2, 14 Nov., 1840; Cecil Snider collection)

15 Dec.:  Preparation for Nauvoo Temple.

“You will observe by the ‘Times & Season’ that we are about building a Temple for the worship of our God in this place: preparations are now making, every tenth day is devoted by the brethren here for quarrying rock &c & we have secured one of the most lovely sites for it that there is in this region of country.  It is expected to be considerably larger and on a more magnificent scale than the one in Kirtland and which will undoubtedly attract the attention of the great men of the earth.”  (Joseph Smith to the Twelve, 15 Dec., 1840.  In Jessee, Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, p. 484) 

15 Dec.:  Baptism for dead: explanation to the Twelve.

“I presume the doctrine of ‘Baptism for the dead’ has ere this reached your ears, and may have raised some inquiries in your mind respecting the same.  I cannot in this letter give you all the information you may desire on the subject, but aside from my knowledge independant of the Bible, I would say, that this was certainly practised by the antient Churches and St Paul endeavours to prove the doctrine of the ressurrection from the same, and says ‘else what shall they do who are baptised for the dead[‘] &c &c.  I first mentioned the doctrine in public while preaching the funeral sermon of Bro Brunson, and have since then given general instructions to the Church on the subject.  The saints have the priviledge of being baptised for those of their relatives who are dead, who they feel to believe would have embraced the gospel if they had been priviledged with hearing it, and who have received the gospel in the spirit through the instrumentality of those who may have been commissioned to preach to them while in prison.  Without enlarging on the subject you will undoubtedly see its consistancy, and reasonableness, and [it] presents the the [sic] gospel of Christ in probably a more enlarged scale than some have viewed it.  But as the performance of this right is more particularly confined to this place it will not be necessary to enter into particulars, at the same time I allways feel glad to give all the information in my power, but my space will not allow me to do it.”  (Joseph Smith to the Twelve, 15 Dec., 1840.  In Jessee, Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, p. 486)