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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1876

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1876.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1876.

1876:    22 Mar.:  Description of Nauvoo Temple–Angel on spire.

“Seeing lately the petition of the Mormon women, * * * brought to mind a visit once paid to Nauvoo, and the sight of the Mormons themselves on their winding way to they knew not where.

It was, I think, in the spring or early summer of 1846, that a small party, of whom I was one, chartered, at St. Louis, a small steamboat for a journey up the Upper Mississippi.  The destination of the party was a prairie in the northern part of Illinois.

It was the time of the trouble between the people of that State and the Mormons.  The latter, in consequence of an arrangement with the authorities of the State, were leaving it in detachments, and proceeding to the Great West.

Upon our little craft reaching Quincy, a man, his wife and two children made application for passage to Nauvoo.  The man came aboard, driving a yoke of fine oxen, to purchase which, he stated in conversation, he had sold all he possessed.  His object was to secure a home at Nauvoo by disposing of his animals to the Mormons.  He had heard they were parting with houses and lands for beasts of burden.

He told marvelous stories of this strange people, averring there were dungeons under their great temple, used for cruel purposes, and insisted that their vast baptismal font was put to other than sacramental purposes.

The sun was declining as we came in sight of Nauvoo, which, with its broad streets and green gardens, lay in the curve of the Mississippi as though it was a sheltering arm thrown about it.  Over the flat and up the hill which sloped from the river stood workshops and dwellings.  High above them, overlooking all, gleamed the temple, its white front glistening and its gilt spire sparkling in the sunset.

‘Wonderful!’ exclaimed a gentleman; ‘it is but a few years since I last saw this place, then it was a dirty, insignificant village.’

‘Yes,’ remarked the pilot, for we had gathered in a knot near the pilot-house, ‘they are an astonishing people.  I have an uncle among them.  He was a sensible man, well-to-do in York State, but they got hold of him, and he sold out and joined them.  I thought, sure, he would quite them when Joe Smith was killed, but, bless you, he is going with them to the wilderness.’

The captain informed us he had freight to put off, and some little business to attend to, and he thought we would have time to visit the temple.

We made haste to profit by this information and took our way ashore, going up the hill through the town, stopping occasionally to admire the gardens, in their early spring freshness.  Soon we were before the great structure, which was the glory of Mormondom and the wonder of the rest of the world.

One of the gentlemen met an acquaintance in an offical on duty in the town, and he volunteered his services to show us the building.

We were not prepared to see so grand a pile.  It was built of fine white stone which resembled marble, and was lighted by four rows of alternate arched and round windows, and compassed by thirty pillars of hewn stone.  I think we were told that its length was 150 feet.  Upon the front was the inscription:

The House of the Lord.

Built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Holiness to the Lord.

* * * *

The whole building was surmounted by a tower and spire.  Near the top of the spire was a glittering angel with a trumpet in his hand. * * *

The walls within the Temple were bare, the only ornaments being those cut in the wood or stone.  In the basement was the wonderful font used for immersion.  It was a white marble basin immensely deep, supported by twelve finely sculptured oxen as large as life.  In a room somewhat retired from this was a deep, dark well.  It was easy to imagine the interpretation which could be given to these by the ignorant and superstitious. * * *

The gentleman who acted as our guide told us the conduct of the Mormons was inexplicable.  After the arrangements were made for their leaving the State they turned to work as one man and completed the Temple.  It cost nearly a million dollars, and every Mormon contributed either in labor or money.  When finished it was profusely ornamented on the inside, and dedicated by the most solemn services; these over, it was despoiled of its ornaments and abandoned.”  (Reprint of article from Cincinnati Times, by “M. M. T.,” DN 25(8):126, 22 Mar., 1876)

6 Apr.:  Advancement of genealogical work.

“If there is anything I desire to live for on the earth, of that I have desired, it has been to get a record of the genealogy of my fathers, that I might do something for them before I go hence into the spirit world.  Until within a few years past it has seemed as if every avenue has been closed to obtaining such records; but the Lord has moved upon the inhabitants of this nation, and thousands of them are now laboring to trace the genealogical descent of the Puritan fathers, those who landed at Plymouth Rock, and whose descendants built up New England.  Their lineages are coming to light, and we are gradually obtaining access to them, and by this means we shall be enabled to do something towards the salvation of our dead.”  (Wilford Woodruff, 6 Apr., 1876; JD 18:191)

6 Apr.:  Jews, not Mormons, to build Jerusalem temple.

“I remember, some time ago, having a conversation with Baron Rothschild, a Jew.  I was showing him the Temple here, and said he–‘Elder Taylor, what do you mean by this Temple?  What is the object of it?  Why are you building it?’  Said I, ‘Your fathers had among them Prophets, who revealed to them the mind and will of God; we have among us Prophets who reveal to us the mind and will of God, as they did.  One of your Prophets said–‘The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his Temple, but who may abide the day of his coming?  For he shall sit as a refiner’s fire and a purifier of silver.’  ‘Now,’ said I, ‘Sir, will you point me out a place on the face of the earth where God has a Temple?’  Said he, ‘I do not know of any.’  ‘You remember the words of your Prophet that I have quoted?’  Said he–‘Yes, I know the Prophet said that, but I do not know of any Temple anywhere.  Do you consider that this is that Temple?’  ‘No, sir, it is not.’  ‘Well, what is this Temple for?’  Said I, ‘The lord has told us to build this Temple so that we may administer therein baptisms for our dead (which I explained to him,) and also to perform some of the sacred matrimonial alliances and covenants that we believe in, that are rejected by the world generally, but which are among the purest, most exalting and ennobling principles that God ever revealed to man.’  ‘Well, then, this is not our Temple?’  ‘No, but,’ said I, ‘You will build a Temple, for the Lord has shown us, among other things, that you Jews have quite a role to perform in the latter days, and that all the things spoken by your old prophets will be fulfilled, that you will be gathered to old Jerusalem, and that you will build a Temple there; and when you build that Temple, and the time has arrived, ‘Tthe Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his Temple.'”  (John Taylor, 6 Apr., 1876; JD 18:199-200)

14 Apr.:  Joseph and Adam-God./We may become Gods.

“Conference continued at St. George and adjourned at the close of the afternoon meeting as reported by James G. Bleak, secretary.

Sunday May 14th.  Morning session opened by prayer of Apostle Brigham Young Jr.

President Brigham Young arose and said he wished to treat on the philosophy of our holy religion.  ‘God being the author of all Truth, if I speak the truth, I speak the word of the Lord.’  ‘Science may shake hands with my religion.’  He said the scriptures had been dissected and culled and but little of what was, remains now.

Said, if we are not Christ-like, we are not Christians.  The religion taught by Jesus is what we have received, and profess to carry out.  ‘First: have we learned the character of him I believe in?  His character seemed natural to Him.  He took the divinity of the Father in mortality and sanctified that mortality.  Who is the Father?  The one that begot his Spirit, begot him in the womb of the Virgin Mary.  The Christian world does not know this.  It will not receive the Light that has come into the world, but chooses darkness rather than light.  This disposition in them is why they are constantly at war with us.’

He said: ‘Where is Heaven?’  He said he had never seen the sectarian priest or preacher that could answer the question.

What are our conceptions of heaven?  Even among us we shall find various definitions happiness etc. etc.  Shut the people only in this city and let them receive nothing but truth, throw error over the wall.  Take truth, and it will sanctify until all are pure–their flesh is purified until they begin to live on angels food, until all become pure and holy.  [Italicized words handwritten in JH typescript.]  See Angels?  Yes the Son of Man comes and goes; the Father comes, by thus having overcome and thus having taken place here, what place shall we call it?  Why Heaven, because that is the only appelation that we know.  Is there in the heaven of heavens a Leader?  Yes, and we cannot do without one and that being the case, whoever he is may be called God.  Joseph said that Adam was our Father and God, and himself, being a leader, he too was their God.  If you could see this earth, it is like a mote to some other planets.  What is in the sun?  Can astronomers tell who lives there?  No.  It is filled with the glory of the Gods.  The fixed stars are glorified worlds, filled with beings who are passing through degrees of perfection; every one of those spheres is a glorified sun and as a Ruler, God.  This is simple to understand under the inspiration of God.  A man or woman who lives strictly according to divine light reflects that light, so that they eventually become a source of light.  Jesus said some were so, but depart from the increasing power of this light and we become like the blind groping for the wall.

Every power for good in man, is of God, is inside of our religion.  A scientist has said that science was coming in contact with religion; but it is not so.  All true science is ours when it is fully understood.  Our minds are limited.

He referred to the doctrine of Plural marriage having been revealed from Heaven.  Men who desire to rule with a rod of iron oppose its practice.  A man with one wife and one child received a promise because he was righteous, obedient to God’s word.  Abraham to thy Seed there shall be no end.  The children of Abraham are still increasing and are practically dictating the affairs of the world.  I doubt not that Abraham was resurrected together with his wives at the resurrection of Our Savior, and that they and many other righteous ones, are helping the Savior to complete the work which, when prepared, the Savior will present to His Father.  Abraham, however, stays not his work, he begets spiritual beings and sends them to various worlds to continue the work, and there is no end to their creations; first spiritual, then temporal, and then spiritual.  Sectarians know nothing about this principle, but it is the eternal course of the Gods.  He concluded by invoking the blessing of the Lord to rest upon the people.”  (JH 14 May, 1876)

15 May:  Purpose of Temples–not for public meetings.

“The [St. George] Temple is plastered and whitewashed on the outside, so that in contrast with the red sandstone hills on the north and the lava ridges on the east and west, it appears truly beautiful.  It is an imposing building, and, to the Saints who visit and enter it, it is simply divinely inspiring.  What magnetism in the name ‘Temple!’  What grand thoughts it inspires!  How glorious the contemplation of its numerous vital uses to the dead, to the living, and to unborn generations!  The Latter-day Saints have understanding–all other people are in gross darkness–relative to the designs and purposes of the great Eloheim in their construction.  It is traditionally told that the Prophet Joseph Smith said that the land of Zion would be covered with Temples, and that during the one thousand years of millennium rest of the earth, the Elders and sisters would enter them and officiate for the dead that have died, since Adam, without a knowledge of the gospel.  [Does this hint at temple work for ALL, including non-relatives?]  What a great and glorious work!  How vitally grand the results!

The young readers of the Instructor should understand that Temples are not built for ordinary public meetings, but their principal uses are for the observance of such ordinances and offices of the Church as will save and exalt the living and the dead, and bring them back into the presence of their God, from whose presence Adam and Eve, with all their numerous posterity, were banished.  This is the desire of every Latter-day Saint.  To return to the presence and favor of the Eternal God, should be the mainspring of all his hope and ambition.  In this transition we exchange sickness and death for life, mortality for immortality, and trials and tribulations of a probationary state for eternal joys in the worlds to come.  The Saints, then, have something to live for–something to die for.”  (“A. M. M.,” St. George, 13 May, 1876; in JI 11(10):117, 15 May, 1876)

1 Jun.:  You will be able to officiate for your dead.

“Don’t cease your operations in this temple until it is completed.  Every carpenter, mason, joiner and plasterer; don’t cease your operations one day, or we will have no place to do our work for the dead in this southern country.  I don’t suppose that you are worthy to go in there and receive all the blessings that are promised, but perhaps the Lord will forgive you your sins and permit you to go in there and officiate for your dead friends.”  (Brigham Young, 1 Jun., 1876; YWJ 1(8):263, May, 1890)

5 Jun.:  Endowment at age 15.

George F. Richards ordained an Elder (without ever receiving the Aaronic Priesthood) and endowed the same day, at age 15.  (See Mouritsen Diss., p. 21)

16 Jul.:  Duty to search out genealogies.

“Two days’ meetings were held in the Bowery, at Provo, on Saturday and Sunday, July 15th and 16th, commencing at 10 a.m. of the date first mentioned. . . .

[16 Jul.] The Bowery was crowded so that many could get no seats.  Elder [Wilford] Woodruff dwelt upon the duties of the Saints to redeem their dead, hunt up their genealogies, and to live so that they could earn eternal life with the blessed.”  (Reprint of report of 19 Jul.; DN 25(19):300, 26 Jul., 1876)

16 Sep.:  J. D. T. McAllister called to work at St. George

“P.M. went to the City.  Called at Prest B Youngs office.  He called me to go to St George to work in the Temple there.”  (J. D. T. McAllister diary, 16 Sep., 1876; Huntington Library)

8 Oct.:  Decision to close Endowment House.

“The question may be asked, Are you going to discontinue to give endowments here?  I think it is very probable that you will have to go where there is a Temple, or go without.  In consequence of our having been driven from our homes, and because of our destitute circumstances, the Lord has permitted us to do what we have done, namely, to use this Endowment House for Temple purposes.  But since, through the mercies and blessings of God, we are able to build Temples, it is the will and commandment of God that we do so.”  (Brigham Young, JD 18:263-264, 8 Oct., 1876.) 

15 Oct.:  Anticipation of St. George Temple dedication.

“the [general] conference was adjourned to meet in the St George Temple at 10 on the sixth of April 1877 when it is expected that the Temple will be Dedicated, and a large number of the church Authorities will be present.  Pres Young is expected here soon and the Endowment House will be closed so that all wishing to officiate for their Dead and to receve other blessings pertaining to the House of the Lord will have to come to St George to receive them.  And I think many in the vicinity of S L City will regret that they did not avail them selves of the privillege they had when these blessings were close to them, and will now have to come to St George or go without them.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 15 Oct., 1876)

25 Oct.:  Anticipated dedication of St. George Temple.

“The Temple at St. George, Washington County, Utah Territory, rapidly approaches completion.  Already some portions of it are in a condition to be used, and in a few weeks we expect to be administering ordinances therein for the living and the dead.  The General Conference of the Church was adjourned on the 8th instant to hold its next session at 10 A.M. on the 6th of April in the Temple at St. George.  We hope the entire building will be completed by that time and that we shall be able to dedicate it to the Lord, our God.  In the days of our poverty, and while we had no Temple in which to administer ordinances for the dead and to give endowments and to perform sealings and other ordinances for the living, the Lord permitted us to erect an Endowment House in this city.  This we have used for many years, and many ordinances have been administered therein; but there are other important ordinances which have not been, and cannot be, administered, except in a Temple built and dedicated to the Most High for that purpose.  Such a Temple we now have so far completed at St. George that we can commence attending to these ordinances there.  The mind of the Spirit to us has been that we should, for the present at least, discontinue in the Endowment House in this city the work of baptisms for the dead, of giving endowments and of sealings, and that hereafter, these ordinances should be performed in the Temple, or Temples that shall be built.  This announcement we have made to the Saints.  They have been profoundly moved thereat.  They are aroused to action.  They now begin to appreciate how precious are the opportunities they have had.  Never before has there been such an anxiety displayed for the privileges of the Endowment House.  The prospect of it being closed causes the people to think of their baptisms, endowments and sealings.  They now perceive, as probably they never did before, how convenient it would be to have a Temple completed in this part of the Territory.  This would save them the lengthy journey to and from St. George.  The want of Temples at other convenient points to which the Saints can repair to receive their ordinances will now be felt at other places besides Salt Lake City.  Especially will this be the case where persons wish to marry.  The Lord has taught us how important it is that our marriages should be solemnized according to the laws He has given, in holy places, where wives can be joined to husbands for time and all eternity.  What Latter-day Saint can be satisfied with any marriage or authority less than this?  Which of them, if he understands the laws of God, can feel indifferent as to whether his wife shall be his for eternity or for time only; or whether his chidren shall be born in the covenant and be legal heirs to the priesthood or have to become such by adoption?  It is for these and other ordinances that we are commanded of the Lord to build Temples.  We are now abundantly able to build them, and in them should the ordinances be administered which have been acceptable only in the days of our poverty in other places.  At an holy altar in the Temple of the Lord can ordinances be administered to those who are deemed worthy which they cannot receive elsewhere.

We feel to say to the Latter-day Saints throughout these mountains:  Let us arise and build Temples unto our God at such places as He shall designate, into which we and our children can enter and receive those blessings that He has in store for us. . . . 

These Temples which we now propose to build will not be costly structures.  They will be for Endowment purposes, and can be easily and quickly erected by the people from whom the labor is required.  You will perceive, by the anxiety of the Saints to avail themselves of the privilege of the Endowment House in this city, and the manner in which they are now crowding here, how necessary and desirable it is that these buildings should be speedily completed, so that the facilities for sealing and the administration of other ordinances should be placed within the reach of all who are worthy of them without their being compelled to travel to and from St. George to the Temple there.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 25 Oct., 1876.  In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 2:278-280)

“The spirit was awakened in the people in the North when we gave the word that we should do no more work in the Endowment House they Came to us Crying and pleading to be baptized for their dead.  What Els could they do?  They Can Come here and do the work for their dead and put these poor prisioners on the ground whare they will be free.”  (Brigham Young, at the dedication of the St. George Temple.  Wilford Woodruff diary, 1 Jan., 1877) 

30 Oct.:  Endowments cease in Endowment House.

“October 30th. 1876. Endowments ceased in the Endowment House. President Young said, ‘If the people wish to receive their endowments and sealings they must go to Saint George and receive them in a Temple.'”  (“Journal of Henry W. Bigler,” 30 Oct., 1876; UHQ 4:143)

10 Nov.:  Initials on St. George Temple pulpits.

“The stands of the Melchisedec and Aronic priesthoods are plain, but very beautiful.  The following are the letters to be placed on the east stand: P.M.P. (President of the Melchisedec Priesthood); P.S.Z. (President of the Stake of Zion); P.H.P.Q. (President of the High Priests’ Quorum); P.E.Q. (President of the Elders’ Quorum).  The following letters will be upon the west stand:  P.A.P. (President of the Aaronic Priesthood); P.P.Q. (President of the Priests’ Quorum); P.T.Q. (President of the Teachers’ Quorum); P.D.Q. (President of the Deacons’ Quorum).”  (JH 10 Nov., 1876)

11 Nov.:  Wide ranging blessings to be had in temple.

“[George Q. Cannon] Spoke of the blessings of the Temple and how it would prove a blessing to the saints when they could enter into the House of God and in the appointed way invoke the blessings of the most high on our families, Houses, fields, vineyards, and in fact all our surroundings, and from this time forth we might date an increase of blessings.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 11 Nov., 1876)

12 Nov.:  We should have more power with the heavens.

“[Brigham Young] Said the Religion we believe in is as pure as the air and if we would live it we should have more power with the Heavens.  Showed the folly of our throwing away the blessings of God bestowed upon us; said that silver would never have been found at Leeds if we had not built this Temple.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 12 Nov., 1876)

13 Nov.:  Preparations for endowments.

“I went down to the Temple with Br Angel and looked over the rooms to see how we would [be] organized to prepare for Endowments.  I wrote the Ceremony (or assisted Br Mcallister in doing it) for work in the Temple.  I spent the Evening in Company with President Young.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 13 Nov., 1876)

“With Bro Wilford Woodruff B Young Jr & Erastus Snow writing and talking for the work in the Temple.”  (J. D. T. McAllister diary, 13 Nov., 1876; Huntington Library)

14 Nov.:  Preparations for endowments.

“I visited the Temple with President Young and we decided how to arrange the Rooms for Endowments.  I spent the Evening at Presidt Youngs House.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 14 Nov., 1876)

30 Nov.:  Discourse on Temples.

“Elder John Taylor of the Twelve, preached in our meeting house [American Fork].  Subject building of and preparing for temples.”  (Leonard E. Harrington Journal, 30 Nov., 1876; UHQ 8(1):50, Jan., 1940)

1 Dec.:  Increase of power anticipated w/St. George temple

“St. George is the point at present in the Territory, towards which the eyes and attention of the Saints are directed.  There is the Temple of the Lord–the only Temple on the earth in which the people of God can enter and receive the holy ordinances necessary to their exaltation.  That building is so near completion that a portion of it, as soon as it shall be dedicated, can be used for some of the purposes for which it is designed; and we expect to hear of the Saints receiving ordinances there within a few weeks.  The entire building will doubtless be dedicated at the next General Conference, which will be held at St. George.  This will be a glorious time for the people of God.  It is upwards of thirty years since the Temple at Nauvoo was dedicated, and from that time to the present the Saints have not had a Temple in which to receive the ordinances of the Lord.  They have used the Endowment House, but this has been only for a temporary purpose, as some of the ordinances cannot be administered in it, or in any other place except in a Temple.  God has always blessed the Saints with an increase of power when they have build Temples.  We believe He will do so at this time, and that He will accept the Temple at St. George as His own and will honor it with His presence.  There is an holy influence in and around the building that must impress every person who visits it, unless he is dead to all influences of the Spirit of God.  When it shall be dedicated we fully expect there will be a great manifestation of power.

There will soon, we hope, be several Temples built in this Territory.  This is the great labor which now devolves upon the Latter day Saints.  How blessed are the JUVENILES who have the privilege of living in these days.  They will behold events taking place which many righteous men have desired to see, but who died without the sight.  To have the privilege of entering a Temple of the Lord, and there receiving the ordinances necessary to exaltation, is one of the greatest that can be conferred upon any human being.  Children, you should so conduct yourselves that when you grow old enough you may be permitted to enter therein.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 11(23):270, 1 Dec., 1876)

3 Dec.:  Condition of earth in Millennium.

“From these simple testimonies we have shown that God controls the laws of nature.  Again, the fact of the prophet Elijah being taken up to heaven, records another instance of the laws of gravitation being overcome by a more powerful one.  Again, the ascension of Jesus, after he had commissioned his disciples to preach the gospel to all the world, was another instance of the law of gravitation being overcome by the power of God.  Then let no person suppose that all the great events that will hereafter transpire upon the surface of land and sea, have got to take place by reason of some slow progressive changes, occupying hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of years, according to the ideas of modern geologists.  Can they show the way the Lord can govern and control these things, bringing about events, in the course of a very short time, that perhaps would take millions of years to accomplish by the mere progressive changes, such as are recognized by geologists?  How easy it would be for that same power to be made manifest, in commanding the great ocean to leave its present bed and to gather together in the polar regions of our globe.  One may ask, What would hold them there?  They now occupy the common level surface as near the centre of gravity as they can, and sustain the centrifugal force exercised by the rotation of the earth on its axis.  If they should be rolled back, whence they came, if a great equatorial continent, in one continuous belt, encircled the globe, and the two polar regions were covered with oceans, what would hold them in their position?  It might be done without infringing particularly on the laws of gravitation.  How easy it would be for the Lord to compress the polar regions of our globe, aned cause the equatorial regions to rise higher, so as to balance the polar waters, and retain them in the arctic and antarctic regions.

It may be objected, that should such a condition exist, even though we should admit the power of God in thus dividing the waters, and giving us an equatorial continent, yet this would not protect the inhabitants of the equator from the burning heat of the sun, and it would be utterly impossible for the inhabitants of the earth to inhabit the equatorial region, if this should be the case.  How easy it would be for the Lord to alter the position of the earth’s axis, giving it a great inclination to the plane of the ecliptic, so that the two tropics should extend thirty-five of forty degrees north and south of the equator.  What effect would this have?  It would have the effect of giving great heat to the poles, and also of giving less heat to the equator.

The earth will be shaped into the form best adapted to the occupation of a higher order of beings.  Now, children of mortality occupy this globe.  In some portions of the earth we suffer extremes of heat and cold.  The Laplander has guarded against this in his snow house, while the people of the torrid regions have to guard against intense heat.  And there is much suffering by the inhabitants of the earth, in their present state of mortality, from the extremes of heat and cold.  But in relation to the great event I have named, I have no doubt but what every motion and arrangement that the Lord will cause to take place upon the surface of our globe will have a tendency to prepare it for the habitation of beings of a higher order of intelligence than those who now occupy it.  In testimony of this, we will refer you to some few passages of scripture.  The inhabitants of the heavens, who now reside in the presence of God the Father and his son Jesus Christ, do not always expect to reside thre; they have anticipations as well as we.  And they expect to receive another place or location than where they now reside.  Have you not read that peculiar passage contained in the 5th chapter of the Revelations, in relation to the inhabitants of heaven?  The Revelator John heard them sing a new and beautiful song, about the unsealing of a certain book–‘Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth,’ etc.

What! the inhabitants of heaven coming to reign on this earth?  Yes.  Some of you may say, ‘I should not think that heavenly people would want to leave the presence of God and the Lamb, where all is peace and happiness, where there is no sin to mar the peace of that blessed abode.  I should not suppose that they could anticipate joy in coming back to this earth.’  But the earth is to undergo a change in which it will be sanctified and made glorious when the sinners are destroyed.  When the Lord performs what I have read to you, namely, that the inhabitants of the earth are to be burned up, and few men left; and all the armies of the wicked slaughtered.  And when the prediction of Isaiah is fulfilled that the slain will be from one end of the earth to the other, and the earth changed in its position, and a beautiful climate introduced, and all the dry ground made habitable, and the rough places made smooth, the valleys raised, and the mountains levelled down, I think they will then delight to come here.  Because this is their old home, where they once lived.  ‘Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.’

How will they reign?  Will they come here as spiritual personages without bodies of flesh and bones?  No.  There will be a resurrection, and when these great events take place on the earth, which are so clearly predicted by so many of the ancient worthies, who held communion with God, the graves will give up the righteous dead.  The saints who were heard singing that new and beautiful song, even the spirits of the just, will come from the celestial paradise to claim their resurrected bodies, no more to be subject to death–they will be immortal and eternal.  They will have intelligence in proportion to that exalted condition of their spirits and bodies, and the earth will be adapted to them as a dwelling place.  This is the reason why these changes are to take place.

Geologists say it would take some millions of years to effect any changes of the earth in regard to the location of its continents and islands, and a great number of intelligent readers are inclined to this belief.  But there is a God who will disappoint them all, who will show forth his power, causing the earth to rock to and fro, like a drunken man; a God whose power is able to cause the mountains to be cast down, and the valleys to come up.  When it rains upon the exalted valleys, it will wash down the rich soil upon the rocky mountains which have sunk beneath, making them fertile; and thus the whole surface of the earth will become a fit abode for man in his improved and perfected state, whether immortal or mortal.

‘Do you think,’ one may say, ‘there will be mortal beings living on the earth, when these heavenly hosts come?’  Yes, and they will dwell together.  What, people not subject to sickness, or to sorrow, or punishment, people whose bodies are celestial and immortal, who will endure in their bodies to all eternity!  Will they mingle with mortal beings?  Yes.  Have we any scripture to sustain us in this?  Yes.  Our Saviour was immortal when he arose from the tomb, his body of flesh and bones was no longer sensitive to pain; it was a glorified, immortal and eternal body.  Could he mingle with the children of mortality?  Yes, for on a certain occasion the apostles, doubtless thinking the Saviour to be dead, went to their nets, their former pursuit.  But, Jesus knowing their hearts, went to the sea-shore and there made a fire.  By and by, he called them to land and they came.  He took a fish and broiled it on the coals and gave it to them to eat, and he ate with them.  He was immortal, they were mortal.  Was there any perceptible difference between the appearance of the Saviour on this occasion, and his disciples?  No; he did not permit his glory to shine forth, as he did on the Isle of Patmos, when John received his heavenly manifestations.  His glory was withheld, and they had no difficulty in looking upon his person.

I have no doubt there will be a certain degree of the glory of the immortal beings withheld from the children of mortality, during the whole period of the millennium.  Kings and priests will come here to reign, and will mingle freely among their children of whom they are ancestors.  And those who are mortal can receive instruction from those who are immortal, that will prepare them for the time when the earth is to undergo a still greater change.  The children of mortality will need this preparation in order to live when this earth is burning up, which is to be its final destiny.

When Jesus comes the events that I have named will take place.  The earth is destined to pass away; after these immortal beings have dwelt upon it for one thousand years, after Jesus has been here reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords, and people have become familiar with him and all the ancients, by and by the earth will be burned up.  You may inquire, ‘What is the use of burning it up?’  I tell you my reason why I suppose the earth will be burnt up.  It has been cursed by reason of the fall.  In the early ages God said, ‘Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow thou shalt eat of it all the days of thy life,’ etc.  That curse has not been fully removed to this day, the earth has groaned under wickedness, its inhabitants have had to suffer all the inclemencies of a rigid climate or the intensities of heat and cold.  Millions have thus suffered for many thousands of years, all in consequence of the curse that came upon this creation.  This curse is not all to be removed at once, it will be removed, in part, during the Millennium.  The curse will not occupy the whole face of the earth to the same extent during that time as it has during the days of wickedness.  But so great has been the curse that God decreed that it should suffer death like unto man; it cannot escape it, the change must come, the final change, which is equivalent to death itself.  The prophet Isaiah speaks of the earth dying: ‘And they that dwell therein shall die in like manner.’  As it shall die, so shall all who dwell upon it.  When shall it see death?  Not until after the Millennium, after the reign of righteousness for the space of one thousand years; after, too, ‘the little season,’ during which period of time Satan will be loosed out of his prison.  It will continue in its temporal state with a portion of the curse upon its face, until the devil shall gather together his armies at the end of the thousand years, when he will marshal them, bringing them up on the breadth of the earth, and compassing the camp of the saints and the beloved city.  Then the Lord will make the final change; then the last trump will sound, which will bring forth all the sleeping nations; they will come forth with immortal bodies no more to be subject to temporal death.  They will come forth from their sleeping tombs, and the sea will give up the dead which is in it.  The graves of the wicked will be opened, and they will come forth; and a great white throne will appear, as recorded in the 20th chap. of Revelations, and the personage who sits on it is described.  Jesus comes then in his glory and power, in a manner far greater than has ever been manifested on this earth before; so great will be the glory of him who sits upon the throne, that from before his face the earth and the heaven will flee away, and no place shall be found for them.

Will not that be a greater change than casting down the mountains, etc., which is to take place at the beginning of the Millennium?  The earth is to be burnt by fire, returning to its original elements.  It does not say there shall be no place found for the elements, but there shall be no place found for the organized world.  Like ourselves, the organization of the mortal body will cease, it will be finally dissolved and the elements of which it is composed will be scattered in space; but that same God that controls the laws by which it exists now will in due time, and when he sees proper, speak to these elements, and by his Almighty power they will again come together, and be formed into a new earth, as is clearly portrayed in the 21st chap. of St. John’s Revelations.  The apostle not only saw the heaven and the earth pass away, but he saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.’

How do you suppose this new earth will be made?  Do you suppose the Lord will go away into the immensity of space, and gather together new materials and command them to be organized?  No, he will take the same materials, the elements which will have been dissolved by fire, and he will command them again to be reorganized, adapting the resurrected creation to the condition of the inhabitants that will occupy it.  It will then be far more glorious than it will appear, during the thousand years  of rest: it will then be reorganized by Almighty God in the most perfect form, so that it shall be capable of eternal and everlasting endurance, no more to be dissolved, no more to suffer from the action of the elements one upon the other, as has been the case with this earth, during its temporal existence.  But it will continue to all eternity, and who are to inhabit it?  The saints who have before lived upon it, during the seven thousand years of its temporal existence.

Have we any account to sustain us in this?  Yes, for after John saw the new heaven and new earth, the next thing he tells us of is the population of the new earth.  ‘And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.’

The earth then will be made new, immortal, eternal in its nature; and holy beings that John saw come down in this holy city will be its inhabitants.  No more death, no more sorrow, etc.; in other words, this earth, this creation, will become a heaven.  The heavens that exist now are innumerable to man.  God has from all eternity been organizing, redeeming and perfecting creations in the immensity of space; all of which, when they are sanctified by celestial law, and made new and eternal, become the abode of the faithful former inhabitants, who also become immortal, through and by celestial law.  They are the mansions referred to by the Saviour–‘In my Father’s house are many mansions.’  In other words, we may say, In our Father’s domonions are many mansions.  They are not like mansions built by men, they are worlds of greater and lesser magnitude.  The first grade are exalted, celestial bodies, from which celestial light will radiate through the immensity of space.

We are anxiously praying to dwell in the presence of God the Father, when we depart this life.  Where will it be?  He will dwell with man upon the earth.  Will this confine him to this earth?  No, not any more than the kings of the earth are confined to their palaces, or the city in which they may dwell.  They have the right to visit the different portions of their dominions and even any parts of the earth.  So will God our Eternal Father, when he selects this earth as a habitation, make it as one of his dwelling places, but he will have power to go from one celestial world to another, to visit the myriads of creations, as may seem to him good.

In thus referring to the changes that the earth must undergo we might ask, Are we living now so as to be prepared for all the dispensations of God’s providence?  Are we prepared to receive our inheritance upon this earth, when it shall be made eternal?  If we keep the celestial law which God shall give to us; or in other words, if we are born first of the water by baptism, and then of the spirit by the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, and if we continue to walk in this spirit in newness of life, being new creatures before the Lord our God, and becoming sanctified by the celestial law, even the law of the Gospel, we will then be prepared to inherit this creation, when it shall be made new, and sanctified, and become immortal.

If we are not thus prepared, where shall we go?  God is the author of many creations besides those that are celestial.  He will prepare a creation just adapted to the condition of such people–those who are not sanctified by the Gospel in all its fulness, and who do not endure faithful to the end, will find themselves located upon one of the lower creations, where they glory of God will not be made manifest to the same extent.  There they will be governed by laws adapted to their inferior capacity and to the condition which they will have plunged themselves in.  They will not only suffer after this life, but will fail to receive glory and power and exaltation in the presence of God the Eternal Father; they will fail to receive an everlasting inheritance upon this earth, in its glorified and immortal state.  Therefore how careful the Latter-day Saints should be in order to merit the association of the happy throng whom John heard singing that new song.  We desire our inheritance on this earth as well as they.  If they couild rejoice in anticipation of receiving an inheritance on the earth, how much more can we who know comparatively nothing of the joys of heaven, when our globe will be glorified, a fit habitation for immortal, glorified beings.

Let us keep the commandments of the Most High; let us so order our lives that we can have a claim upon the Father, looking forward to that period of time when these mortal bodies, which must slumber in the dust, will come forth from the grave, fashioned after the likeness of his most glorious body, to inherit the same glory with him.  Amen.”  (Orson Pratt, 3 Dec., 1876; DN 26(3):34-35, 21 Feb., 1877)

3 Dec.:  Reminiscence of conferral of keys to the 12.

“Elder [Wilford] Woodroof in his remarks said that sometime before Joseph Smith’s death he called the twelve apostles together in an upper room and taught and instructed them and gave unto them the Keys of the Kingdom and said from this time, this work and the bearing off of this Kingdom rests upon your shoulders, and, among other things, he said I am going to leave, and you will have to bear the Burthen of carrying on this great and glorious work of God in these the last days.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 3 Dec., 1876)

6 Dec.:  Work on Temple to be performed on quorum basis.

“To the Bishops, Seventies, High Priests and Elders.

Dear Brethren–It is expected, in accordance with a circular issued some time ago, ‘that the labor upon the Temple here will contine to be pushed forward by those now engaged in it,’ viz.: the Seventies’, Elders’ and High Priests’ Quorums.

The Presidents of Seventies have issued a circular calling upon their Quorums to continue in their present labors on the Temple and in the quarry.  It is desirable that the High Priests’ and Elders’ Quorums should continue their labors, as heretofore, that the work upon the Temple may progress as fast as practicable, during the winter, and that preparations may be made for the accomplishment of a good work the next summer.  If any of the Quorums can provide for the payment of competent workmen to do the fine cutting for the outside courses, it should be attended to, as there is a large amount of common stone now cut, and being cut, and it requires a stronger force of workmen for the outside finish, that all portions may progress equally and with celerity and dispatch.  There are a number of such workmen in the city, and perhaps elsewhere, who stand ready to do this face work when called upon.  The Quorums of Seventies will continue to report to their presiding officers, as indicated in their circulars, and Presidents Elias Smith and Edward W. Davis will respectively act as agents in this City for the High Priests’ and Elders’ Quorums, to whom reports can be made, and from whom information may be had.

The Bishops will also assist in the arrangement of these matters, and in any other manner tending to forward the good work.

Jno. W. Young,

Daniel H. Wells, Of the First Presidency.

John Taylor, In behalf of the Twelve Apostles.”

(DN 25(45):705, 6 Dec., 1876)

12 Dec.:  Preparations for endowments.

“I went to the Temple with B Young jr. A H. Raleigh & T O Angel & J. D T Mcallister and made Still further Arangements to prepare for Endowments.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 12 Dec., 1876)