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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1870

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1870.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1870.

1870:  12 Feb.:  Is polygamy essential to gain Celestial Kingdom?

“I attended the school of the prophets.  Brother John Holeman made a long speech upon the subject of Poligamy.  He Contended that no person Could have a Celestial glory unless He had a plurality of wives.  Speeches were made By L. E. Harrington O Pratt Erastus Snow, D Evans J. F. Smith Lorenzo Young.  Presidet Young said there would be men saved in the Celestial Kingdom of God with one wife with Many wives & with No wife at all.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 12 Feb., 1870)

“School of the Prophets.  Brother John G. Holman made a long speech upon the subject of Polygamy; He said that no man could have a Celestial glory unless he had a plurality of wives.  He was followed by Leonard E. Harrington, Orson Pratt, Erastus Snow, D. Evans, Jos. F. Smith, and Lorenzo D. Young.  President Brigham Young said there would be men saved in the Celestial Kingdom of God, with one wife, many wives, and with no wife at all.  Wilford Woodruff was present.”  (JH 12 Feb., 1870)

11 Apr.:  Angels to provide genealogical data.

“Holy Angels shall come and administer unto you.  You shall see them and talk with tme face to face.  They will tell you concerning your dead, who of them and how many have recieved the Gospel.”  (Patriarchal Blessing of Anna Laurie Ivins by William G. Perkins, 11 Apr., 1870; Anthony W. Ivins papers) 

24 Apr.:  We will be baptized for the human family.

“I think there is a work to be done then which the whole world seems determined we shall not do.  What is it?  To build temples.  We never yet commenced to lay the foundation of a temle but what all hell was in arms against us.  That is the difficulty now: we have commenced the foundation of this temple.  What are we going to do in these temples?  Anything to be done there?  Yes, and we will not wait for the Millennium and the fullness of the glory of God on the earth; we will commence, as soon as we have a temple, and work for the salvation of our forefathers; we will get their genealogies as far as we can.  By and by, we shall get them perfect.  In these temples we will officiate in the ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for our friends, for no man can enter the kingdom of God without being born of the water and of the Spirit.  We will officiate for them who are in the spirit world, where Jesus went to preach to the spirits, as Peter has written in the third chapter, verses 18, 19, and 20, of his first epistle:

‘For Christ also 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 unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing,’ etc.

In the next chapter, Peter, alluding to this same subject, says–

‘For, for this cause was the Gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.’

What will we do for and in behalf of the dead?  We will be baptized for the remission of sins, as Paul has said, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, 15th chapter and 29th verse:

‘Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?  Why are then then baptized for the dead?

We will also have hands laid on us for the reception of the Holy Ghost; and then we will receive the washings and anointings for and in their behalf, preparatory to their becoming heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.  Are you going to do this, Latter-day Saints?  Yes.  What will the Christian world do with their dead?  Let them sleep an eternal sleep, for there are no privisions made for them in the gospel they believe in and have taught to them.

This is one item of doctrine believe in by the Latter-day Saints that the inhabitants of the earth are opposed to.  Why?  Because they are governed and controlled by the spirit of darkness.  This may seem harsh, but it is true.  They are opposed to Jesus, to God, and to the salvation of the children of men, and are controled by this evil spirit, and they know it not.  They say:

‘Latter-day Saints, let your dead and ordinances for their benefit alone, we will pass laws forbidding you the observance and practice of the ordinances of the house of God.’

We trust in God.  I reckon He will fight our battles and we will be baptized for and in behalf of the human family during a thousand years; and we will have hundreds of temples and thousands of men and women officiating therein for those who have fallen asleep, without having had the privilege of hearing and obeying the Gospel, that they may be brought forth and have a glorious resurrection, and enjoy the kingdom which God has prepared for them.  The devil will fight hard to hinder us, and we shall not take an inch of ground except by obedience to the power of, and faith in, the Gospel of the Son of God.  The whole world is opposed to this doctrine.  But is there any harm in it?  If they could only see it as it is in the Lord, they would rejoice in it, and instead of fighting it, they would praise God for having revealed so glorious a doctrine.  Suppose that the notion entertained by some is true, that after the death of our bodies our spirits sleep an eternal sleep, and I am baptized for my father, grandfather, and so on, does it injure them?  Answer, all ye intelligences on the face of the earth, above, beneath, or around about the earth!  All will admit that no harm would be done in practicing these ordinances.  Then let us alone if our practices will do no harm, why oppose us in their observance?  The result might possibly affect beneficially our progenitors, and then you who oppose would be found fighting against God.  Better let the Gospel have its course.”  (Brigham Young, 24 Apr., 1870; JD 13:329-331)

5 May:  Elijah and the Kirtland Temple.

“When we came to Kirtland the Lord gave us further commandments, and He revealed a great many things through His servant Joseph.  Among others, He gave one that the Latter-day Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, should go to with their might and build a house to His name, wherein He promised to bestow great and choice blessings upon His people.  He revealed the pattern according to which that house should be built, pointing out the various courts and apartments, telling the size of the house, the order of the pulpits, and in fact everything pertaining to it was clearly pointed out by revelation.  God gave a vision of these things, not only to Joseph, but to several others, and they were strictly commanded to build according to the pattern revealed from the heavens.

Now, then, no other people was ever commanded to do that work in Kirtland, Ohio, but the people then living there, called Latter-day Saints.  It was not a work required of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Solomon, nor of any other man that ever existed on the earth, nor of any people but those to whom it was given, then living in the State of Ohio.  Supposing they had said, ‘We will not build the house; we can meet in a common meetinghouse, after the order of the Gentiles, and we will take their forms of building, it does not matter, we do not think it necessary to be at all this expense, and we can hire a house.’  Would that have been sufficient?  No, the only way we could witness to one another and before the Lord of hosts that we loved Him with all our hearts was to go to and build a house just according to the pattern.

Well, when we did build it, did the Lord accept it, according to promise?  He did, and He revealed great and important things in that house through His servant, Joseph the Prophet; and not only did Joseph have the privilege of seeing and understanding the mind and will of the Lord, but after the hosue was built many others had this great privilege given to them.  For instance, the Lord had promised to reveal Himself unto many of His people and His Priesthood in that house.  He did so.  Among other great revelations and visions given there, was the revelation, which you will find recorded in our Church history, of Elijah, the Prophet, of him who was translated to heaven in a chariot of fire.  That same personage came and stood in that temple and manifested certain keys, gave these keys to the servant of the Lord, the Prophet Joseph, and said unto him that that was the fulfilment of that which was spoken by the Prophet Malachi.  What has Malachi said?  He has told us of the great day of the Lord that should come, when it should burn as an oven, and when all the proud and they that do wickedly shall become as stubble and shall be burned up, leaving them neither root nor branch.  He has told us that before that great and terrible day the Lord would send Elijah the Prophet.  Or, to quote the words of Scripture, ‘Behold I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord shall come.’  What great object had the Lord in view in sending His ancient prophet as a ministering angel to His people on the earth?  It is expressed in one sentence–‘He shall turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children and the hearts of the children unto the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.’  In other words, there will be no flesh prepared to escape the day appointed–no flesh but what will become as stubble, no flesh will be able to abide the presence of the Lord until Elijah comes.  He did come in that Kirtland Temple; he appeared in his glorious majesty, and there revealed the keys unto the servants of the Lord which should restore this union between the fathers and the children–something that we did not understand anything about, until the angel Elijah revealed it unto us.  This was a great work to be accomplished in the latter days, in order that the fathers, from the days of the ancient Priesthood, or those who were in the spirit world–millions and millions of them, might be redeemed through the ordinance of baptism for the dead, turning the minds and thoughts and affections of the children, living on the earth, to search after their ancient fathers and to be baptized for them according to that which is contained in the New Testament about baptism for the dead.  Moreover it turned the hearts of those ancient fathers to their children, for they looked to us, their children, to accomplish a work that is needful to be accomplished in their behalf, for God’s house is a house of order; God’s kingdom is a kingdom of order; and His ordinances were instituted from before the foundation of the world, and they are adapted to the condition of the living and the dead; and God revealed these things that our fathers, in all past generations, might rejoice with their children in the latter days, by being united in the same bonds, in the same New and Everlasting Covenants.  They died without the Gospel, without understanding the plan of salvation.  They were brought up in the midst of the sectarian world, where all was confusion and darkness; where no voice of God was heard; no voice of living prophets or Apostles to direct them, or to teach them in the mysteries of the kingdom of God.  They went down to their graves as sincere, many of the, as you and I are.  Must they be for ever cast off?  Must they always remain in prison and be forever deprived of the society of their children that should live on the earth in the latter days, when God should again open the heavens and send His angels to minister to His people?  No; they without us cannot be made perfect; for there is no way for them to receive the Gospel only through their children.  We have the work to do for them, and that work we could not commence until Elijah the Prophet was sent from heaven, holding the keys that were to be committed to the children in behalf of the fathers, in the last dispensation, before the great day of the Lord should come.

Then you see that even this one revelation, which God gave in that Temple, paid the people for the toil they had endured in erecting it.  What a satisfaction it was to them to know that angels administered in that Temple!  What a satisfaction it was for them to go into that Temple and have the heavens opened to them so that they could gaze on the glory of God!  What a satisfaction it was for them to know that the Lord accepted, as His own, the house which they had built according to the pattern which He had given!  And what a satisfaction it was for them to know that they loved God by keeping His commandments!

Elijah was not the only angel that administered in that house.  Others holding keys pertaining to the last dispensation of the fullness of times came forth and manifested those keys and bestowed the authority upon the servants of God living in the flesh to carry out certain great and important purposes pertaining to this dispensation.  These keys are still on the earth.  Here are the servants of the living God, sitting on my right hand and on my left, who have had these keys committed into their hands by authority from the proper source, from those who receive them from the heavenly messengers.  These keys, being now in the hands of the Priesthood, never will be taken from them while the earth shall stand or eternal duration shall roll on.  There may be apostates, those who fight against the anointed of the Lord and lift up their heel against those holding these keys; yet be it known to the Latter-day and to all the ends of the earth that the almighty hand of the Great Jehovah is stretched out and He will accomplish the purposes ordained by Him in regard to this great and important work of the latter-days.”  (Orson Pratt, JD 13:357-359, 5 May, 1870)

5 May:  The temple in Jackson County.

“God has been with us from the time that we came to this land, and I hope that the days of our tribulation are past.  I hope this, because God promised in the year 1832 that we should, before the generation then living had passed away, return and build up the City of Zion in Jackson County; that we should return and build up the temple of the Most High where we formerly laid the corner stone.  He promised us that He would manifest Himself on that temple, that the glory of God should be upon it; and not only upon the temple, but within it, even a cloud by day and a flaming fire by night.

We believe in these promises as much as we believe in any promise ever uttered by the mouth of Jehovah.  The Latter-day Saints just as much expect to receive a fulfilment of that promise during the generation that was in existence in 1832 as they expect that the sun will rise and set to-morrow.  Why?  Because God cannot lie.  He will fulfil all His promises.  He has spoken, it must come to pass.  This is our faith.”  (Orson Pratt, 5 May, 1870; JD 13:362)

18 Jun.:  Children sealed to parents only in temples.

“[Meeting of the School of the Prophets]  The Question of Adoption was preached.  Presidt Young said the Priesthood had been on the Earth at different times.  When the Priesthood has not been on Earth Men will have to be sealed to Each other untill we go on to Father Adam.  Men will have to be sealed to Men so as to link the Chain from beginning to End & all Children will have to be sealed to their Parents that was born before they had their Endowments.  But this must be in A Temple & No whare Els.  Joseph will be with us No doubt & Joseph will have to be sealed to Somebody But it will require Revelation to do this.  Elijah Holds those keys & who ever holds those keys holds the keys of Elijah.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 18 Jun., 1870)

“The Priesthood has been on earth at different times.  For periods when it has not been on earth men will have to be sealed to men, so as to link the chain together and so go on up to Father Adam from beginning to end.  And all children will have to be sealed to their parents, that were born before they had their endowments.  But this must be done in a Temple and nowhere else.  Joseph will be with us no doubt and Joseph will have to be sealed to somebody.  But it will require a revelation to do this.  Elijah holds those Keys and whoever does this will hold the Keys of Elijah.”  (Brigham Young, quoted in Junius F. Wells, “President Young’s Northern Trip–1870;” discourse at Paris, Idaho, 18 Jun., 1870; UGHM 14:59, Apr., 1923)

18 Jun.:  Don’t seal woman to suicide victim.

“[Meeting of the School of the Prophets]  He [Wilford Woodruff] said a Man might take his own life without Committing Suicide but a woman should not be sealed to a Man who had Committed Suicide without Revelation.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 18 Jun., 1870)

22 Jun.:  Only our dispensation to do work for dead.

“There are a few thousand who do know that God lives.  I with this people know it & are witnesses of it, & there never was a people as much blessed as this people on Earth.  We have the privilege of Attending to the ordinances of the House of God for the dead.  Did the Zion of Enoch Or Adam, Abram Isaac, or Jacob, or the Twelve Apostles in the days of Christ?  No they did not.  But we are the people that are Called to do this work.  What other people have been Called to do this work?  I do not know of any.  If this is our work what state of Mind are we in?  Are we after the world & the things of the world?  This should not be.  Those who have turned away from their Calling & seek for the things of the world will turn away from the Church & Apostatize.”  (Brigham Young, in Wilford Woodruff diary, 22 Jun., 1870)

“W Woodruff spoke 17 Minuts & said we did not realize our Privileges.  If none of the Ancients Redeemed the dead we still have a greater work to do.  I would not like to go into the spirit world & meet my friends who have died without the gospel & have them reproach me for not doing my duty towards them.  It is a great responsibility to be a Prophet, Apostle or Elder.  The Saints Should take the Council given them.  The Ancients are not Perfect without us nor we without them.  Then let us labor diligently to fulfill our mission & do our duty & not sell our Birthright or make shipwreck of faith.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 22 Jun., 1870)

5 Sep.:  Sealing of women to Joseph & his brothers.

“I spent the day in the Endowment House.  We gave 38 Endowments & sealed 97 Couple.  Joseph F Smith sealed 48 Couple & W. Woodruff 49 Couple.  Sister Josephene Ursenbak had been baptized for European Ladies, & Princes[ses], &c & she officiated to day with Joseph F Smith & I sealed 9 to the Prophet Joseph Smith, [4/5?] to the Patriarch Joseph Smith [Sr.], 5 to the Patriarch Hiram Smith 3 to Samuel Harrison Smith, 3 to Don Carlos Smith, 3 to Joseph F Smith & 3 to Samuel H. B. Smith.  He officiated for His Father & Don Carloss Smith.  Total 30 sealed to the Smith Family.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 5 Sep., 1870)

6 Oct.:  Only we hold the keys of salvation for the dead.

“The subject of the building of the Temple is a very good one for occupying a portion of the time.  The ordinances of the House of God are for the salvation of the human family.  We are the only ones on the earth at the present time, that we have any knowledge of, who hold the keys of salvation committed to the children of men from the heavens by the Lord Almighty; and inasmuch as there are those who hold these keys, it is important that they should be acted upon for the salvation of the human family.  The building of Temples, places in which the ordinances of salvation are administered, is necessary to carry out the plan of redemption, and it is a glorious subject upon which to address the Saints.”  (Brigham Young, 6 Oct., 1870; JD 13:262)

20 Nov.:  Baptism for the dead.

“You know Paul tells us, in the 15th chapter of Corinthians, speaking of the resurrection, as an argument in favor of it, ‘Else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead if the dead rise not at all?  Why are then then baptized for the dead?’  This was a principle connected with the Christian religion that pertained to the dead, and it was so thoroughly understood that it was used as an argument in favor of the doctrine of the resurrection.  I suppose that this is seldom or ever thought of by the Protestants; and when Joseph Smith came forth and announced that it was the duty of the Latter-day Saints to go forth and be baptized for their relatives who had died without the knowledge of the Gospel, it was regarded as an astounding idea; yet, as I understand the passage in Corinthians, no man can give any other interpretation to it.

In order to have the benefits and blessings of this ordinance resting upon ourselves and our progenitors it is necessary for us to live up to our calling and to pay strict attention to our duties.  According to the revelations which were given through Joseph Smith certain places were set apart for the administration of these ordinances.  Temples had to be built and fonts prepared and dedicated for this purpose.

The Prophet Malachi, in speaking of the latter days, says, ‘The day shall come that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud and all that do wickedly shall be as stubble, it shall burn them up, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.’  But the Lord declares through Malachi that He will send the Prophet Elijah before that great and terrible day shall come, and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest He come and smite the earth with a curse.  This prophecy has a reference to the revelation of the doctrine of baptism for the dead in the last days.

The Apostle Paul, in enumerating the great blessings which were bestowed on the ancients through faith, speaks in glowing terms of those who subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, quenched the violence of fire, excaped the edge of the sword, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens; he says women received their dead to life; others were tortured, sawn asunder, wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, and dwelt in dens and caves of the earth, and all this for the faith; and then he winds up by saying that they without us could not be made perfect.  Think then, brethren and sisters, of the duties that we owe to ourselves and to our ancestors!  But, if we suffer ourselves to go into darkness, if we indulge in wickedness, fall into snares and temptations, we lose the Holy Spirit and the blessings which pertain to ourselves and our progenitors, referred to by Obadiah, who says that in the last days saviors shall stand on Mount Zion, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.

These sentiments may be clearly and readily appreciated by Latter-day Saints; and to stir them up to diligence, faithfulness and obedience I would refer them to the revelation given on the 19th of January, 1841, through Joseph Smith, relative to the building of the temple at Nauvoo.  It was there said that there was not a baptismal font in the world, and the Church was required to build that Temple, and the promise was that if it was built the people should receive certain blessings.  It was further stated that when the Lord commanded any people to do a work, and they were hindered from performing it by their enemies or by oppression, the Lord would not require that work at their hands any more.  No people on the face of the earth, probably, during the present generation at least, or perhaps in any other, were more oppressed than were the people of Nauvoo while laboring to perform this work.  They were persecuted in various ways: attacked through vexatious lawsuits by the State of Missouri and by the State authorities of Illinois, and all means that could be taken within reach of the law were used to bring distress upon them.  Then the conclusion was, that if law could not reach them powder and ball should, and the result was that the Prophet and Patriarch of the Church were murdered, and other Elders severely wounded.  Hundreds of houses were burned and every kind of outrage that could be imagined was committed on the Saints; and while building this Temple the brethren had to stand guard at night; and when working they were in a manner compelled to have their weapons of defence in one hand and their tools to work with in the other.  But they continued amid all this storm of persecution, during which numbers had to flee to the wilderness, until the Temple was finished and dedicated; and having completed this task they had the promise of the Lord to go with them into the wilderness, with all the powers, blessings and privileges of the Priesthood, that in the wilderness they might receive and administer the ordinances for their dead.

We should now continue the work for the Temple which the Latter-day Saints are always commanded to build.  We have a foundation here, a very good substantial one, and that must be approved by good men and pleasing to the Lord.  We have to haul the material seventeen miles to continue this work, which has been interrupted from time to time through various causes.  Still it progresses and we should not let it sleep, but should continue the work until we have an edifice reared according to the pattern, and dedicate it to the Most high God; and build in its basement a baptismal font, something after the pattern of King Solomon’s brazen sea, for the baptism of the dead, that within the walls of that sacred edifice we may be able to perform the duties and ordinances pertaining to the dead which God has commanded.  Every Latter-day Saint, man or woman, young or old, should feel alive and awake to this great duty.”  (George A. Smith, 20 Nov., 1870; JD 13:295-296)

20 Nov.:  Building the temple in Jackson County.

“Now, brethren, if we live our religion and are faithful to the Lord, we may escape the necessity of being driven again.  It will not be a great while before many of us will take great pleasure in moving; because when the day comes that the Constitution of the United States becomes the supreme law of this land–the land of America, every man will be protected in his religious faith, and then we will go right back to Jackson county, and build a Temple, the most beautiful ever built on this continent or any other.  We are going to do it, and the time is not far distant; and knowing this, our hearts do not cling in the least to any spot in the world any longer than is necessary to stay there to do our duty.  When that day comes, and it wil come, our countrymen will become so converted that their intolerance will cease and they will come to the conclusion that all men may enjoy their faith in the Supreme Being as they please without being interrupted.  If we wait awhile, and are worthy, we will see this day and then we shall be able to go and build our Temple.”  (George A. Smith, 20 Nov., 1870; JD 13:298)

7 Dec.:  Persecution expected as temple progresses.

“HO! FOR THE TEMPLE.–It is gratifying to see at the present time so many teams busily engaged in hauling rock, whose destination is the Temple Block.  We hope, soon to see, the public works in that locality, in full blast, and the erection of the Temple being rapidly pushed forward.  This is a work in which all Latter day Saints have the keenest interest, and its progress to completion will be watched by them with the deepest solicitude.  The dedication of a Temple to the Most High will mark an important era in the history and development of His kingdom on earth; and we think that matters are shaping to that end much more promisingly now than for many years past.  But as the great work proceeds and progresses, it may be expected, if the experience of the future is anything like that of the past, that a general howl will be heard against ‘Mormonism’ and the ‘Mormons.'”  (DN 19(44):509, 7 Dec., 1870)