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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1875

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1875.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1875.

1875:  10 Jan.:  Finish temple before these old people die.

“P.M. went to meeting.  Jas. G Bl[e]ak read a letter from Pres. B. Young . . . Pres Geo A had the letter read twice, After which he commented on it and spoke with great ernestnes in relation to the early completion of the Temple, that the aged saints might go therein and receive of the Blessings of the Keys of the Holy Priesthood ere they departed this life.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 10 Jan., 1875)

2 Feb.:  Reminiscences of Kirtland and Nauvoo endowments.

“Prest. Smith, on rising. . . .spoke of the Solemn Assembly which convened in Kirtland nearly forty years ago, and of the great blessings poured out by the Lord on that occasion. He felt glad to see present here today perhaps forty witnesses of what then took place. He alluded to councils which had been held in Nauvoo, and to the fact of the Prophet Joseph calling the Twelve together, and, at a meeting called for that purpose, of Joseph and Hyrum the Patriarch administering to Brigham Young, then President of the Twelve Apostles, what is known as the Second Anointing, and instructing him to administer in like manner to his brethren of the Twelve, which he did to the nine of the Twelve who were then at home. He stated that the Twelve were then instructed to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel for the dead, beginning with baptism and the laying on of hands. This work was at once commenced. It soon became apparent that some had long records of their dead, for whom they wished to administer. This was seen to be but the beginning of an immense work, and that to administer all the ordinances of the Gospel to the hosts of the dead was no light task. The Twelve asked Joseph if there could not be some shorter method of administering for so many. Joseph in effect replied—“The laws of the Lord are immutable, we must act in perfect compliance with what is revealed to us. We need not expect to do this vast work for the dead in a short time. I expect it will take at least a thousand years.”

Brother George A. Smith, in the foregoing recital incidentally remarked that Elder Sidney Rigdon had never received the Second Anointing, nor the keys pertaining to baptism for the dead. The speaker warmly and most earnestly exhorted the people to energetically prosecute the work on the St. George Temple, so that President Young and the Twelve might have the opportunity of going therein to communicate the keys of knowledge and power which the Prophet Joseph had conferred upon them, and which could only be conferred on others in a Temple. (p. 66)”  (St. George Stake Historical Record, #97707, Vol. 3:28; Discourse given by Pres. George A. Smith, on Friday, December 25, 1874, and was recorded by James G. Bleak, Clerk and Historian of the Southern Mission. The discourse was later published in the Millennial Star, Vol. 37:66-67, Tues., February 2, 1875.  Bergera collection.)

20 Feb.:  Push to finish St. George Temple.

“But we need not go beyond the borders of Utah to learn that the word of God is hastening on.  There are many things that are taking place around us that speak in no uncertain voice of the near approach of a day when the power of God will be made more abundantly manifest to roll on with greater speed the work He has commenced on the earth.

Among these signs we will mention, first: the energy and zeal displayed by the servants of God in pushing to a rapid completion the Temple of our God at St. George.  Since the day when the Saints were ruthlessly driven from their homes in Nauvoo, they have had no Temple in which ordinances which can alone be performed in such a house, could be administered to them, for the salvation of themselves and their dead.  But we now have every prospect that in a few short months by the united efforts of the Saints, this Temple will be so nearly finished that the rites and ordinances, the power and gifts of the Holy Priesthood will be administered to men within its sacred portals.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 10(4):42, 20 Feb., 1875)

[Date?]  “The next important job for Robert Gardner was to go to Mount Trumbull, Arizona, a distance of seventy miles from St. George, and get out lumber for the St. George Temple.

The call for this job is thus related by this loyal and devoted pioneer.

One day I was down at the Temple and George A. Smith drove up in his carriage and called me. . . . [in original] He said, ‘You cannot realize how the President is annoyed over this lumber question, and how anxious he is to get this temple completed.  He feels he is getting old, and is liable to drop off at any time, and he has keys which he wants to give in the Temple.  They can be given only in a Temple.  Bishop Hunter is also very old, and is anxious to do work in the Temple for this dead before he passes away.  My own anxiety is great on that subject, and I have been thinking, ever since the lumber business has stopped, where can I put my hand on a man who will not be stopped by a trifle, but will get out lumber no matter what it will cost, that the Temple may be finished without delay, and I cannot get my mind on anyone except you.’

I replied: ‘Brother Smith, if I were to study my own feelings, I would go on a Mission to China, rather than to go out there, but I have nothing to say.  If you want me to go there, I will go and do the best I can.’  So he said he would talk to President Young about it.

A little later President Young definitely requested Robert Gardner to undertake the work, and the task was accomplished without further delay.”  (William J. Smow, “Robert Gardner, Typical Frontiersman and Early Utah Pioneer,” UHQ 9(3-4):183, Jul./Oct., 1941)

20 Feb.:  Temple Song.

“Lo! a temple, long expected, in St. George shall stand;

By God’s faithful saints erected here in Dixie Land.


Hallelujah!  Hallelujah! let hosannah ring; 

Heav’n shall echo back our praises, Christ shall be our King.

Th’ noble task we hail with pleasure, coming from our head,

Brings salvation, life eternal, for our kindred dead.

Holy and eternal Father, give us strength, we pray,

To Thy name to build this Temple in the latter day.

Oh! how anxious friends are waiting, watching every move

Made by us for their redemption, with a holy love.

Long they’ve hoped through weary ages for the present time,

For the everlasting gospel, with its truths sublime.

Lo! the prison doors are open, millions hail the day,

Praying, hoping for baptism, in th’ appointed way.

Glory! glory! hallelujah, let the structure rise,

Rear aloft those noble towers, pointing to the skies.

Hell may rage and Satan tremble, still that house we’ll rear,

Heaven will aid us, angels guard us, we’ve no need to fear.”

(“Temple Song,” words by C. Walker, JI 10(4):48, 20 Feb., 1875)

22 Feb.:  Sealing of 1st Lamanite couples.

“It was the day when the first Couple of Lamanites were together as man and wife for time & Eternity at the Altar in the Endowment House according to the Holy Priesthood in the last dispensation & fulness of times.  Wilford Woodruff Sealed at the Altar two Couple of Lamanites.  The first Couple was Indian Named OhetoCump But Baptized and Sealed by the name of James Laman.  His wife Named Mine.  2d Couple Isiqwich & Mogogah.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 22 Feb., 1875)

1 Mar.:  Eliza McGary sealed to eternal life.

“This blessing I seal upon thy head, and I seal thee up unto eternal life, to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection with all thy father’s house, even so, Amen.”  (Patriarchal Blessing of Eliza Melissa McGary, by John Smith, 1 Mar., 1875.  RLDS Archives, P8/F18)

5 Apr.:  Followed company to refresh our memories.

“Hyrum and Hannah Hibbard were married today in the Endowment House.  Hannah received her Endowments, and Hyrum and myself had the privilege of following the company through to refresh our memories with the ordinances of the House of God.”  (Mary Ann Weston Maughan diary, 5 Apr., 1875; in Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:401-402, 1959)

6 Apr.:  Children sing Temple Song at General Conference.

“An appointment was made for the children of the Sunday Schools of this city [Salt Lake] to meet at the New Tabernacle on Sunday, the 4th inst., to practice the singing of the chorus to the new Temple song.  The day was a very stormy one–the snow falling thick and fast a part of the time–yet the children came in great numbers, each school marching in regular order from its Ward school house to the Tabernacle.  We were scarcely prepared to see the children manifest so much enthusiasm as they did on that occasion.  We understand that in one or two instances, when they were told at the Ward School Houses they could return home because of the stormy weather, they preferred to go to the Tabernacle to sing with the other children, and marched there joyously through the snow and mud to keep the appointment.

Again, on Tuesday afternoon, the first day of the conference, it stormed; but the children were not daunted by the weather.  That afternoon was the time set for them to sing the Temple song at the new Tabernacle with the choir, and, storm or no storm, they were determined to be there.  They sung excellently, and everybody who heard them was delighted.  They added very much by their presence to the interest of the services on that day.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 10(8):90, 17 Apr., 1875)

1 May:  1832 revelation on Temples?

“Minutes of Meetings, held at Pleasant Grove, May 1st and 2nd, 1875. . . .

Elder [Orson] Pratt read a portion of a revelation given in 1832, with regard to the Presidency and building of temples; and the ordinances to be administered therein, that could not be administered acceptably anywhere else; and how anxious he, as well as many others, and especially those who are getting aged, were to have the temple completed, in which to attend the laws of adoption, and other ordinances before they left this state of mortality.”  (DN 24(15):231, 12 May, 1875)

1 May:  Temples in every stake.

“Minutes of Meetings, held at Pleasant Grove, May 1st and 2nd, 1875. . . .

Elder Geo. Q. Cannon followed upon the same subject [temples], and said that in all probability temples would be built in all the stakes of Zion, and thousands elsewhere, one after another, as they might be required.”  (DN 24(15):231, 12 May, 1875)

11 Jul.:  Salvation of the dead.

“‘But did you not say that there was no opportunity for them to attend to these ordinances in the life to come?’  I did.  ‘Then why did you say, that there will be an opportunity for them?’  There is quite a difference between having an opportunity, and attending to the ordinances.  You can not attend to the latter in the life to come.  Parties who have died in this generation or in the generations passed, without having an opportunity to be baptized by a man holding authority, will have an opportunity of hearing the Gospel in the life to come; but they can not attend personally to the ordinances thereof.  Why?  Because God had ordained that men, here in the flesh, shall be baptized in this life; or, if they die without a knowledge of the Gospel and its ordinances, that their friends in the flesh, in the day of his power, when he brings forth the everlasting Gospel, shall officiate for them, and in their behalf.  This is another peculiarity of the doctrine of the Latter-day Saints–baptism for the dead.

You see a Temple building here, east of this tabernacle, and a great many inquiries are made respecting the nature of this building.  Some suppose that we are going to hold meetings in it, and preach to the people; but no, that pertains to the tabernacle.  God has pointed out the uses of a Temple by new revelation, the same as he pointed out the object of a tabernacle in the days of Moses, and the object of the Temple of the Lord in the days of Solomon; and among those objects he has told us that in the basement of the Temple there should be a baptismal font.  What for?  That those who are living here on the earth may be baptized for and in behalf of those who die without a knowledge of the Gospel.

Does that reach back to all generations who have died in ignorance?  Yes.  To all our ancestors?  Yes; it reaches back to our fathers, our grandfathers and their progenitors away back to ancient days, when the Priesthood was upon the earth.  Baptism for the dead!  The same thing was attended to in ancient times, so that we have not got a new pattern, it is the old pattern renewed.  Paul says, in the 15th chapter of the first of Corinthians–‘Else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead?  If the dead rise not at all, why are they then baptized for the dead?’  Sure enough! it was a strong argument to prove the resurrection of the dead, that the people who belonged to the ancient Christian Churches had the privilege of going and being baptized for those who had died before the Gospel came among them.

Now do you not see that we are not so uncharitable as a great many would suppose?  Instead of sending all the generations who lived in former ages to hell, because they did not happen to hear the Gospel, and because there was no Christian Church upon the earth; I say that, instead of sending them all to an endless hell, God has made provisions that the living may act for and in behalf of the dead.  The ordinances thus attended to here on the earth in behalf of the dead, will be recorded and sealed here by proper authority; and what is thus recorded and sealed here will be recorded and sealed in the heavens in behalf of those individuals; and if those spirits who are in prison and in the eternal worlds will repent when the Gospel is taken to them, they can have the benefit of the ordinances administered for and in their behalf here, and they will have part in the first resurrection.

Then again, if baptism for the dead is true, every other divine ordinance is equally true and necessary for the dead, for one is just as consistent as the other.  The laying on of hands in confirmation upon a person that is living here in the flesh, for and in behalf of those who are in their graves, is just as consistent as baptism for the dead.

Again, if our fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, have died without being married by divine authority, the same authority that would cause a people to act for the dead in relation to baptism, would cause them to act for and in behalf of the dead in relation to their marriage ceremonies too.  Such a plan gives them all a chance.  For there are no marryings, nor baptisms, nor confirmations, in and after the resurrection.  The resurrected dead can do none of these things; but if it is done here for them, and they will accept of it, it will be acknowledged in the heavens.  Hence, here is another peculiarity of the Latter-day Saints pertaining to the Temple, the house of the Lord to be built in the tops of the mountains in the latter days, as Isaiah says in the second chapter–‘Many people shall say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us of his ways, that we may walk in his paths.’  A Temple, therefore, instead of being a place for teaching and preaching, is a place for the administration of holy ordinances.

Another question.  A great many have wondered why so many people in the eastern, southern and middle States have been stirred up for a number of years past in searching out their ancestors.  Now the Lord does a great many things unknown to the people, and this is one of them.  The people do not know why they are interested in their ancestry, but they are wrought upon by some invisible operation, and they feel very anxious to know about their progenitors.  I think that some four hundred different families have already got extended family records, tracing their ancestry back from generation to generation to the first settlements of the New England States, and then back into Old England if it is possible, to make out the connection.  Do they know what they are doing this for?  No; they feel wrought upon, that is all they know about it.  Now I will tell you why it is, for a great many of the people in this congregation, and many who are scattered through the villages, towns and settlements in this Terriitory, emigrated from the New England States, and they had fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, and ancestors, now in their graves, who were just as pure, upright, virtuous and honest in their feelings as we their children are.  Now we are going to act for them.  We have not time to search up all these genealogies, but all we have to do is to go and get the books which the Lord has wrought upon them to get up, containing the names of hundreds and thousands of the dead, and we will receive baptism, confirmation and marriage for eternity, and all the ordinances of the Gospel for them, that they, if they will receive what is done for them, may come forth in the resurrection, and inherit all that their children will inherit.  Why?  Because they were worthy of it.  Our pilgrim fathers were a good people, just as worthy as we are, but unfortunately they did not happen to live in the time that God has set for establishing his kingdom on the earth, and sending his angels from the heavens.

Thus you see that this Gospel reaches after the dead as well as the living.  Our Savior set the example in regard to this matter, for we are told that when his body lay in the tomb, his spirit was not idle; and instead of going off into the heavens and sitting down there for three days and three nights in perfect idleness, he had something to do, and while his body lay in the tomb, his spirit went and opened the prison doors in which were confined those who were drowned in the flood.  What!  Were they in prison?  Yes.  Did Jesus truly visit them?  Yes.  Where have we this recorded?  In Peter’s declaration.  He says that, ‘Jesus was put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the spirit, by which he also went and preached to the spirits which were in prison, which sometime were disobedient when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing.’  Oh indeed; He went to those old antediluvians then, that had not received their resurrection, and preached to them.  What did he preach to them?  The following verses tell us what he preached.  What would you think ye preached?  Says one–‘If he followed the examples of our sectarian preachers, he would go and tell them that their doom was irrevocably fixed, that they were cast down to prison, never to be recovered; that as the tree falls so it lies, and that there was no hope in their case.’  Well, that was not the kind of preaching that Jesus did to the antediluvian spirits.  ‘For, for this cause,’ says Peter, ‘was the Gospel preached to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, and live according to God in the spirit.’  Though they were in the spirit world, without any bodies, yet they had the privilege of hearing the same Gospel that Jesus preached to those here in the flesh.  They could repent, for this is an act of the mind; they could believe in Jesus, for that is also an act of the mind; but the spirit could not be baptized, for that is an act of the body, it is something that pertains to this life.  Jesus could preach repentance to them, he could preach the same Gospel to those antediluvians that he had preached to men in the flesh, and the could then be judged according to men in the flesh, and live according to God in the spirit.  Men in the flesh could be baptized for them, and they could come forth and receive all the blessings of those who received the Gospel in the flesh.”  (Orson Pratt, 11 Jul., 1875; JD 18:52-54)

13 Aug.:  Rebaptisms in new St. George temple font.

“At work on the Temple all day.  Then went to the font to assist my Family in being Baptized: My wife and daughters Zaidee, Ida, and Agatha.  Afeter which I Baptized a go[o]dly number of persons into the Holy United Order.  It was nearly dark when I got thro.  The Font is now in its place in the Basement of the Temple, resting on the Backs of the iron oxen.  The entire concern, Font, oxen, steps, and railing being made of case iron and made by Br Davis of S Lake City.  It looks well and every one seems pleased with it.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 13 Aug., 1875)

12 Sep.:  50,000,000,000 spirits to save.

“I think, many times, that we, as Elders of Israel and as Latter-day Saints, come far short of realizing our position before the Lord.  The work required at our hands is great and mighty; it is the work of Almighty God.  We are held responsible for presenting the Gospel of Christ to all the nations of the earth, to warn the Gentiles, to prepare for the return of the lost ten tribes of Israel, and for carrying the Gospel to the whole tribes of Israel.  We are held responsible for all this, and for building Temples to the Most High, wherein we can enter and attend to ordinances for the salvation of our dead.  There are fifty thousand million spirits shut up in the spirit world who never saw the face of a Prophet, Apostle or inspired man in their lives.  No man having the authority of God ever declared the words of life and salvation unto them, and without authority their ministrations are useless, for this is what the Priesthood is for.  The God of heaven has ordained this from eternity to eternity.  These persons in the spirit world died in the flesh without the law, without the Gospel, and they are shut up in prison.  Joseph Smith is preaching to them, and so are thousands of the Elders of Israel who have died and gone to the other side of the vail.  George A. Smith, who dwelt with us until within the last few days, will take part, with joy and rejoicing, with his brethren in the great work the other side of the vail.  When I saw ten or twelve thousand people met in this Tabernacle to pay their last respects to the body of that man, I thought to myself–‘How much larger a congregation surrounds his spirit, in the spirit world.’  Yes, they number millions there, to where we have units here, and the servants of God will preach to them the same as Jesus preached to the spirits in prison.  While his body lay three days and nights in the tomb he went and preached to the spirits in prison, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, that they might receive part in the resurrection, according to the testimony which they received.  As I said before, the God of heaven requires this at your hands.  They will not baptize anybody in the spirit world; there is no baptism there; there is no marrying or giving in marriage there; all these ordinances have to be performed on the earth.  Paul says, in referring to this subject–‘Why are ye baptized for the dead?  If the dead rise not why then are ye baptized for the dead?’  The Lord holds us responsible for going to and building Temples, that we may attend therein to the ordinances necessary for the salvation of the dead.

In every dispensation the Lord has had those who were fore-ordained to do a certain work.  We all dwelt in the presence of God before we came here, and such men as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the ancient Prophets, Jesus and the Apostles received their appointments before the world was made.  They were ordained before the foundation of the world to come and tabernacle here in the flesh and to work for the cause of God, and this because of their faith and faithfulness.  You can see the great variety of spirits that have dwelt in the presence of God, down to the devils.  A good many of the hosts of heaven were cast out because of their wickedness.  Lucifer, son of the morning, and those who followed after him were cast down to earth, and they dwell here to this day–a hundred to every man, woman and child that breathes the breath of life.  They dwell here without bodies, only what tabernacles they can get into, to rule and preside over.

We are required to build Temples in which to attend to the ordinances of the house of the Lord, that the prison doors may be opened, and the prisoners go free.  The world say–‘We do not believe in such stuff.’  We know that perfectly well; it was so in the days of Noah and Lot, but the unbelief of the people did not stop the flood and the fire, neither will the unbelief of this generation stay the hand of God one moment.  The angels of God have been waiting in the Temple in heaven for forty-five years to go forth to reap down the earth.  The wheat and the tares must grow together until harvest; the people must be warned, the Saints gathered out, Zion built up, Temples reared, the living warned, the dead redeemed, that the skirts of the Elders of Israel may be clean before all men.”  (Wilford Woodruff, 12 Sep., 1875; JD 18:114-115)

9 Oct.:  Reminiscence of Kirtland Temple.

“I look back to the first Temple that was built in this generation by command of the Most High, some forty years ago, in the State of Ohio, in Kirtland, according to the pattern which God showed by vision.  When that was completed, and the servants of God were called in from the east and west, and north, and south, and entered that sacred edifice, God was there, his angels were there, the Holy Ghost was in the midst of the people, the visions of the Almighty were opened to the minds of the servants of the living God; the vail was taken off from the minds of many; they saw the heavens opened; they beheld the angels of God; they heard the voice of the Lord; and they were filled from the crown of their heads to the soles of their feet with the power and inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and uttered forth prophecies in the midst of that congregation, which have been fulfilling from that day to the present time.

It was in that Temple that the visions of the Almighty were opened to our great Prophet, Seer and Revelator, Joseph Smith, wherein the future was portrayed before him, wherein keys were committed to him in relation to this great Latter-day dispensation, and the power of God was made manifest through the holy Priesthood sent down from heaven.  In that Temple, set apart by the servants of God, and dedicated by a prayer that was written by inspiration, the people were blessed as they never had been blessed for generations and generations that were passed and gone.  Why?  Because that work was of God.  God had raised up a mighty Prophet; God had brought to light great and glorious revelations; God had sent down the holy Priesthood from the heavens; the Lord our God had established his kingdom on the earth; he, therefore, gave unto his servants power, wisdom and strength that they might administer among the people and do them good.

Since that time buildings have been reared to the name of the Most High, and the Priesthood have been called together, and the councils of the Priesthood have been blessed, endowments have been made manifest, and ordinances of endowments, keys of endowments, signs and tokens of endowments, and principlesthat were calculated to give joy and to impart happiness, for the Lord had commanded, that in the midst of Zion, life for ever more should be poured out upon the fallen sons and daughters of his people.”  (Orson Pratt, 9 Oct., 1875; JD 18:131-132)