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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1894

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1894.” You can view other years here.

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1894:  2 Jan.:  Cooperation between living and dead.

“At 10 o’clock I went to the President’s Office and listened to the reading by Bro. Jas. E. Talmage of three of his theological lectures to the Presidency and Committee of Revision.  With very few alterations they were passed.  In the course of the reading Pres. Woodruff related that his son Brigham Young Woodruff, who was drowned some years ago, related to his sister before his death the manner in which he would lose his life, it having been revealed to him.  When the news of his death was telegraphed to Pres. Woodruff, who was then in Washington County attending a conference, he sorrowed at Brigham’s death, and inquired of the Lord why this good boy had been taken.  The Lord then revealed to Bro. Woodruff as follows: You are doing much work for your dead in the temple, and it is necessary that one of your seed should come to preach to those in the spirit world for whom you are doing this work.  This satisfied Bro. Woodruff, and helped him feel resigned to his loss.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 2 Jan., 1894)

4 Jan.:  If sealed before endowment?

“If, by mistake, a person is sealed in the temple before being endowed, it is not necessary for the sealing to be cancelled.  All that is necessary is for the person to be endowed, unless the person, or the individual representing him or her, is dissatisfied.”  (Lorenzo Snow, reporting on a meeting of the 1st Presidency and Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple, 4 Jan., 1894.  Historical Department–Confidential Research Files 1950-1974.  Bergera notes)

14 Jan.:  Endowments too easily obtained; AP Endowment?

“I believe that our endowments are too easily obtained.  Men and women go to the temples who do not understand the value of the precious blessings that are bestowed upon them, and I have felt for years that something should be done to change this so that instead of it being necessary for a man to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, he will first manifest his efficiency in the Aaronic Priesthood and show his capabilities and good desires before receiving the higher Priesthood.  I firmly believe that this will be so some time and that men will not get the fullness of the endowment with the ease that they have done but will receive that part which belongs to the Aaronic Priesthood.  These blessings become so common that many people do not value them or know how to use them.

When the Prophet Joseph first communicated that the Lord had revealed to him the keys of the endowment, I can remember the great desire there was on every hand to understand something about them.  When the Prophet would speak about his desire to complete the temple in order that he might impart unto his fellow servants that which God had delivered to him, a thrill went through the congregation and a great desire for this filled their hearts. . . . [Check omission]

Then, when he did communicate the endowments to a few persons before the temple was completed, the whole people were moved with desire to complete the temple in order that they might receive these great blessings therin.  They were valued beyond price.  A man that could go in and get his endowments was looked upon as though he had received some extraordinary blessing–something akin to that which the angels received–and it was estimated and valued in that way.

How is it now?  There is a complete indifference, it may be said, in relation to it.  Young people go there stupid, with no particular desire only to get married, without realizing the character of the obligations that they take upon themselves or the covenants that they make and the promises involved in the taking of these covenants.  The result is, hundreds among us go to the house of the Lord and receive these blessings and come away without having any particular impression made upon them.

I think that this is deplorable.  When men have gifts and blessings bestowed upon them and they do not value them, they become a cause of condemnation rather than blessing.  It seems to me that there should be exceeding great care taken in this respect.  I would rather–though I would not like it–a son of mine be married by a Bishop than to have him go to the temple in an unfit condition and receive these blessings.  It would be far better for him.”  (George Q. Cannon, 14 Jan., 1894; DW 48:349-350; quoted in Newquist, Gospel Truth, Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, I:227-228)

18 Jan.:  Temple recommend direct from Church President.

“I spent a little time with Pres. Woodruff at his office, and he told me that he had just been visited by a weak-minded daughter of the late Dr. Bernhisel, to whom Bishop Adam Speirs had made improper advances.  This man had felt of her breasts and legs, and would doubtless have gone further, had she not repelled him.  The girl cried about the affair, but Pres. Woodruff told her to go home and tell Speirs, if he made any more attempts, that she would report him to the authorities.  Pres. W. then gave her a recommend to work in the temple, as this is what she desired, but she would not apply to the Bishop for it.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 18 Jan., 1894)

25 Jan.:  Selection of room in SL Temple for prayer circle

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12] “On my suggestion the selection of a suitable room in the Temple for the various prayer circles to meet was left to Pres. L. Snow and John R. Winder. On motion of Bro. Jos. F. Smith the Twelve were then told to go ahead and organize the Circles, and bring them into the temple for their regular meetings.  I was instructed to take hold of Father’s old circle; H. J. Grant will look after Pres. Woodruff’s; F. M. Lyman to Jos. F. Smith’s; John Henry Smith to his Father’s; John W. Taylor to his father’s; and so on till enough circles are organized.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 25 Jan., 1894)

25 Jan.:  Excesses in Law of Adoption.

“Bro. Roskelly of the Logan temple is having a considerable number of persons who are dead sealed and adopted to him.  This is right where people request it, but he should not try to induce them to take this course through their surviving relatives, or in their own cases, if alive.  Pres. Woodruff will write him to not try to get people to be thus sealed to him, but where they ask it of their own free will it will be proper.”  (Abraham H. Cannon diary, 25 Jan., 1894)

[no date]:  Specific rules on sealings.

“John Willowghby and Eliza Fox, both of them members of the Church, were married in England, and had three children, he died there, and she came to Utah with her children, where she married a member of the Church, named David Moore.  She was afterwards sealed to her dead husband (Willoughby,) Moore acting as Proxey and the three children were sealed to her and Willoughby.  She had five children by Moore, two of them are now living and they expressed a desire to be sealed with the three dead ones, to their father (Moore) and to their mother.  What should be done about this?

This question was answered, as follows, by the First Presidency, to whom it was referred by President Lorenzo Snow:  Taking the old Israelitish law as a basis, the children ought to be sealed to the first husband and the mother.  Although the woman was not sealed to John Willoughby while he was in life, that was no fault of his as he was not within reach of facilities for the performance of that ceremony, and he did the best he could under the circumstances.  When David Moore married Eliza Fox he did so with an understanding of the prior claim of the first husband, which he appears to have recognized.  The sealing to the first husband was also evidently according to the desire of the woman.”  (Notes on Historical Department–Confidential Research Files 1950-1974.  No date given for this entry.  Bergera notes)  

1 Mar.:  Recommends for women marrying outside Church.

[Meeting of 12] “It was decided that the case of women who marry Gentiles, and then desire to enter the Temples and do work, will be considered and decided on the individual merits of each case, and no general rule shall be adopted.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 1 Mar., 1894)

1 Mar.:  Forgiveness of sins at SL Temple dedication.

[Meeting of 12] “Some people try to escape the effects of their sins by saying the same were forgiven at the Temple dedication.  Only such sins were then forgiven as were known and truly repented of, and not such transgressions as were concealed.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 1 Mar., 1894)

1 Mar.:  Shirts need not be marked along with garments.

[Meeting of 12] “Shirts need not be marked to correspond with marks in garments even in the Temples.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 1 Mar., 1894)

4 Mar.:  Sealings in Mexico.

“[Dublan, Mexico] the Saints met to gather in Conference  held 3 meetings  the Spirit of the Lord was poured out in rich abundance  I asisted Apostle Smith in Ordaining my son Heber an Elder  I was mouth  Br. Smith sealed for time & all Eternity so as their Children would be legal heirs to the Priesthood  Apostle Teasdale & Smith sealed at the residence of A. B. Call  Neils Hurst & Maud Patten  Merrit E Stayley & Eliza Jones  G. A. Hurst & Marry Terry  F W Jones J(r) & Philomelia Lake  excelent instructions were given to the young people.”  (Diary of Winslow Farr, p. 91)

19 Mar.:  2nd anointings for B. Franklin, G. Washington.

“I had a Dream in the night.  I met with Benjamin Franklin.  I thought He was on the Earth.  I spent several hours with him And talked over our Endowments.  He wanted some more work done for him than had been done which I promised him He should have.  (2d anointing).  I thought then He died and while waiting for burial I awoke.  I thought vary strange of my Dream.  I made up my mind to get 2d Anointing for Benjamin Franklin & George Washington.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 19 Mar., 1894)

27 Mar.:  Temple prayer circles organized.

“At one o’clock I met the following brethren in the Circle Room at the Salt Lake Temple, and organized them into a prayer circle, in accordance with instructions which I had received from the Presidency:  Seymour B. Young, Henry Gardner, Angus and Hugh J. Cannon, Jens P. Mortensen, Wm. L. S. Binder, Laurentius Dahlquist, Milford B. Shipp, Elias S. Wright, Wm. B. Barton, Robert Patrick, Andrew S. Gray, and Moses W. Taylor.  The latter was elected secretary.  I first explained how I came to call the brethren together, and then told them of my kindly feelings for all of them.  I expressed the hope that we would be united in our faith and prayers, and that if any differences should arise between us, we would settle them according to the order of the Church.  I then called upon each man in turn to express himself, and there seemed to be a perfect harmony of feeling among us.  We then voted to accept Bishop Orson F. Whitney and Lewis M. Cannon as members of the Circle, and word was sent them to meet with us two weeks from tomorrow at 6:15 p.m., to which time we adjourned.  We agreed that no new members should be admitted to the circle who did not receive the unanimous vote of the other members.”  (Abraham H. Cannon diary, 27 Mar., 1894) 

5 Apr.:  Change in the Law of Adoption.

“I met with the Presidency & Twelve Apostles Upon the Subject of Endowments & Adoption And the following is a Revelation to Wilford Woodruff upon that Subject.

[Note 5-6 April:  Following the 5 April entry the remaining half page is blank, as is the top half of the next page, followed by the following entry which is crossed out:]

April 6 1894 The Presidency & Twelve Apostles met in Conference in S L City at 10 oclok.  Prest W Woodruff a Revelation concerning the Endowments & Adoptions which was received by my Councillors & Ten of the Twelve Apostls.  All of the Apostles present.  Br Lund in England & M Thatcher at home.  We opened the Conference.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 5 & 6 Apr., 1894)

“Was in town by 6:30 o’clock, and posted some of the books, dictated some letters, and looked after general business till 10 o’clock, when I met with the Quorum and Presidency in the temple.  We had singing and prayer by John Henry Smith.  PRESIDENT WOODRUFF then spoke.  ‘I have felt we are too strict in regard to some of our temple ordinances.  This is especially the case in regard to husbands and parents who are dead.  Heretofore we have not permitted wives to be sealed to their dead husbands unless such husbands were in the Church, nor have we permitted children to be sealed to dead unbaptized parents.  This is wrong I feel.  I was sealed to my father, and then had him sealed to the Prophet Joseph.  Erastus Snow was sealed to his father though the latter was not baptized after having heard the Gospel.  He was, however, kind to the Prophet, and was a Saint in everything except baptism.  The Lord has told me that it is right for children to be sealed to their parents, and they to their parents just as far back as we can possibly obtain the records; and then have the last obtainable member sealed to the Prophet Joseph, who stands at the head of this dispensation.  It is also right for wives whose husbands never heard the Gospel to be sealed to those husbands, providing they are willing to run the risk of their receiving the Gospel in the Spirit world.  There is yet very much for us to learn concerning the temple ordinances, and God will make it known as we prove ourselves ready to receive it.  In searching out my genealogy I found about four hundred of my female kindred who were never married.  I asked Pres. Young what I should do with them.  He said for me to have them sealed to me unless there were more than 999 of them.  The doctrine startled me, but I had it done.  When in St. George I found I had more dead for whom I desired to do a work than I could possibly attend to.  I had none of my family with me, and one day the Lord told me to get the young people of that city to give me a birthday present by coming into the temple and being endowed for my dead.  Pres. Young approved of the plan, and in this way I got my work done, some of Pres. Young’s family helping me to do it.  At that time I also had several of my dead kindred sealed to each other.’—-Father [Geo. Q. Cannon] said: ‘I am thankful for what has been revealed.  This matter has weighed for a long time on my mind.  There has been a disposition since the days of Nauvoo for men to seek to add to their future kingdoms by having dead persons sealed and adopted to them.  Amasa Lyman once said, “When it comes to the game of kingdoms, I can hold my own with any of them,” meaning that his following was as large.  Now, hoever, the danger of clannishness and divisions is averted, and we can show respect to the parents which God gave us, and through whom we doubltless chose to come before we were born into this world.  Adoptions to certain men naturally led men to seek counsel from those to whom they were thus united, and consequently the Presidency and general priesthood was set to the side.  This new order will also prompt us to be careful to obtain the correct record of our fathers.  The man who is at the head of the Church should always be consulted and decide in cases where children find that some one or more of their ancestors are unworthy of having their offspring sealed to them.  In the days of Nauvoo baptism for the dead were performed in the Mississippi River, and without any record of the same being kept; This was because of the people being anxious to do the work after the revelation was given, but it all had to be done again.  I was thus baptized formerly.  Men were also baptized for women, and women for men, which was improper, but it was because the Lord had not revealed all that was necessary concerning the doctrine.  My mother’s dying charge to me was to do the work for our dead.  I hail this word of God today with delight.’—Pres. Woodruff said he knew that w[h]ere honorable men of the earth had no posterity in the Church, God will reveal it to some person, so that the work can be done for them.  For two nights in succession in St. George the spirits of the signers of the Declaration of Independence had appeared to him, and asked him to do their work.  He did so, Bro. McAllister having baptized him for all of them.  While doing so the room seemed filled with the Spirit of God.  Father said he had been baptized for Thos. L. Kane and some members of Congress whom he knew to be good men.  He expected to do the work for others.  Each of the apostles now spoke in turn and expressed himself as delighted with the new order of things.  F. D. Richards said he had traced his paternal and maternal ancestry back to those who came over the ocean in the year 1620.  Pres. Snow said, and Pres. Woodruff coincided with the view, that very, very few of those who die without the Gospel will reject it on the other side of the vail.  F. M. Lyman wanted to do the work for the redemption of his Father Amasa, as soon as the Presidency felt it would be right for him to do so.  John W. Taylor said he had seen the Prophet Joseph and the Savior.  Joseph was the biggest man of this generation.  John W. had been baptized in the Manti temple for Pres. Juarez of Mexico.  M. W. Merrill said these instructions were in accordance with some views expressed by Pres. Taylor at the opening of the Logan Temple.  ‘My father heard the Gospel, but did not receive it, though my mother did.  He died and I did the work in the Logan temple for him.  I did not intend to seal my mother, who was now dead to him, but one night they both appeared to me, and my father looked angry with me.  The night after I was baptized for him he appeared to James A. Leishman, the temple recorder, and my mother was with him.  Bro. Leishman described them both to me accurately, though he had never seen them in life.  My mother did the most of the talking to Bro. Leishman, which was her characteristic in life.  They desired to be sealed to each other.  I therefore did as they desired, and the next night after doing so my father met me in the temple, embraced and blesed me, saying, “God bless you my son!  You are my savior and redeemer.”  Since then he has not visited me.’—-I expressed my pleasure at the revelation we have had this day.—-Pres. Jos. F. Smith, who came in late said, ‘The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph, after showing him his brother Alvin who died before the Gospel was revealed, in the Celestial world, that those who would have received the Gospel had they lived will obtain every blessing to which those who receive it in the flesh are entitled.  I endorse the word of Pres. Woodruff with all my heart.’—Father said Heber C. Kimball once told him he was a direct descendant of the Savior of the world.—-Pres. Woodruff expressed his pleasure at the unity of the brethren.—-Father now spoke of the unfortunate condition of the people at present in regard to marriage.  A man in Pima married the widow of a deceased brother.  He did not realize till after the Manifesto was passed his true condition.  Now he is raising up seed to his dead friend, while he himself is likely to be left without posterity.  Then there are men whose wives are barren, and are likely to be without representatives in the earth.  Young widows are left with the alternative of marrying Gentiles, or remaining single all their lives.  It seems that something will have to be done sooner or later to remedy these conditions.  My son David died without seed, and his brother cannot do a work for him, in rearing children to bear his name because of the Manifesto.  I believe in concubinage, or some plan whereby men and women can live together under sacred ordinances and vows until they can be married.  Thus our surplus girls can be cared for, and the law of God to multiply and replenish the earth be fulfilled.  There is the danger of wicked men taking license from such a condition, and of good people taking offense thereat, for such a condition would have to be kept secret, untill the laws of our government change to permit the holy order of wedlock which God has revealed, which will undoubtedly occur at no distant day, in order to correct the social evil.  I do not say that this plan is the right one, but I appeal to the Lord to reveal what will be right in the matter to avert threatened evils.—-Pres. Snow.  ‘I have no doubt but concubinage will yet be practiced in this Church, but I had not thought of it in this connection.  When the nations are troubled good women will come here for safety and blessing, and men will accept them as concubines.’—-Pres. Woodruff: ‘If men enter into some practice of this character to raise a righteous posterity, they will be justified in it.  The day is near when there will be no difficulty in the way of good men securing noble wives.  There are terrible afflictions at the door of this nation which will take their minds away from this people.'”  (Abraham H. Cannon diary, 5 Apr., 1894)

8 Apr.:  Change in the Law of Adoption.

“I feel thankful for the privilege of meeting with so many of the Latter-day Saints this morning.  In order to present my position before the Saints I wish to say that I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over sixty years, a member of the quorum of the Apostles fifty-five years, and the President of the Church for a short time.  During all these years, and in all my travels, I have never seen a moment when I have had the power to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ or to administer in any of the ordinances of the House of the Lord, acceptable to God or to myself, only by the assistance of the Holy Ghost; and I do not know of any other man that could ever do this.  Even the Son of God, in referring to His work, said: ‘I do nothing of myself, but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.’  So it has been with all the prophets and patriarchs in every age of the world; they have had to be assisted by the power of God.  I occupy that position today before this assembly.  Therefore, as the Lord commanded us not to speak only as we are moved upon by the Holy Ghost, I desire that, and in order to obtain it I want the prayers and faith of the Latter-day Saints.

I have some things resting upon me that I wish to present before the Latter-day Saints, and in order to do this I will call upon President George Q. Cannon to read from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants concerning the subject which I wish to speak upon.  (President Cannon read from Sec. 128, of Doc. and Cov.  Resuming, President Woodruff said:)

Thus you have before you the subject which is resting upon us, and which we wish to present to the Latter-day Saints.  Let me say that age has very little to do with revelation.  In an early age of the world, old Father Adam, three years previous to his death–he being nearly one thousand years of age–called together his posterity in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and he stood upon his feet for hours, clothed with the power of God and the revelations of heaven, and blessed his posterity, some seven of whom, each representing a generation, were High Priests.  Among them were Enoch and Methusaleh, both great men of their day, and generation.  He prophesied upon them what should transpire with their posterity unto the end of time.  His old age did not have any effect whatever upon the revelations of God to him.  Joseph Smith, when fourteen years of age, while calling upon God in the wilderness, had the heavens opened unto him.  Both the Father and Son presented themselves unto him in the clouds of heaven, and the Father said, ‘This is my beloved Son; hear him.’  The age of man is very short indeed in this day to what it was in ancient days.  Men anciently lived to a very great age.  When four or five hundred years old they took wives, begat children, and raised up posterity.  Today our age is limited to something like three score years and ten.

I wish to say to the Latter-day Saints that we live in a very important generation.  We are blessed with power and authority, holding the Holy Priesthood by the commandment of God, to stand upon the earth and redeem both the living and the dead.  If we did not do it, we should be damned and cut off from the earth, and the God of Israel would raise up a people who would do it.  The Lord would not permit me to occupy this position one day of my life, unless I was susceptible to the Holy Spirit and to the revelations of God.  It is too late in the day for this Church to stand without revelation.  Not only the Preisdent of the Church should possess this gift and give it unto the people, but his counselors and the Apostles and all men that bear the Holy Priesthood, if they magnify their calling, although they may not be called to give revelations to lead and direct the Church.  The spirit of revelation belongs to the Priesthood.

But to come to the subject before us.  Perhaps it may be said by the inquiring or the objecting mind, What have you to say about redeeming the dead, or about baptism for the dead, or the work of the Temples of our God, that is not already revealed?  I will say this:  When the Prophet Joseph had this revelation from heaven, what did he do?  There are witnesses here of what he did.  He never stopped till he got the fulness of the word of God to him concerning the baptism for the dead.  But before doing so he went into the Mississippi river, and so did I, as well as others, and we each baptized a hundred for the dead, without a man to record a single act that we performed.  Why did we do it?  Because of the feeling of joy we had, to think that we in the flesh could stand and redeem our dead.  We did not wait to know what the result of this would be, or what the whole of it should be.  Finally the Lord told the Prophet:  ‘When any of you are baptized for your dead, let there be a recorder, and let him be eye witness of your baptisms; let him hear with his ears, that he may testify of a truth, saith the Lord; that in all your recordings it may be recorded in heaven; whatsoever you bind on earth may be bound in heaven; whatsoever you loose on earth, may be loosed in heaven.’  That was the beginning of this work.

Joseph Smith, instead of living to be nearly a thousand years of age, as Adam did, lived to be about thirty-eight years of age.  He brought forth the record of the stick of Joseph in the hands of Ephraim–the history of the ancient inhabitants of this continent.  By the power of God he translated that, and it has been published in many languages.  Besides this, he organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints upon the foundation of apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus being the chief corner stone.  Men were ordained to the Priesthood and sent forth, from the various occupations of life, to carry this gospel to the world.  God informed Joseph Smith that he was called to prune the vineyard once more for the last time before the coming of the Son of Man.  Since that, thousands of Elders of Israel have been sent into the world to preach the Gospel.  Joseph Smith did all this during the fifteen years he held the Priesthood.  Let any man read the revelations in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which were given through him during the little time he spent here in the flesh.  It is one of the greatest records that any man ever gave to the human family.  Not only this, but he organized the endowments and did a great deal of other work.  Who could expect him, during the short time he lived in the flesh, to do more than he did?  I received my endowment from under his hands.  He brought forth all these ordinances that have been given unto the Latter-day Saints.  In fact, it is a marvel and a wonder that he performed as much as he did.

I want to say, as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that we should now go on and progress.  We have not got through revelation.  We have not go through the work of God.  But at this period we want to go on and fulfill this commandment of God given through Malachi–that the Lord should send Elijah the prophet, ‘and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.’  Ye sons of men, I say unto you, in the name of Israel’s God, those very principles that God has revealed are what have stayed the judgment of the Almighty on the earth.  Were it not for these principles, you and I would not be here today.  We have had prophets and apostles.  President Young who followed President Joseph Smith, led us here.  He organized these Temples and carried out the purposes of his calling and office.  He laid the foundation of this great Temple on this block, as well as others in the mountains of Israel.  What for?  That we might carry out these principles of redemption for the dead.  He accomplished all that God required at his hands.  But he did not receive all the revelations that belong to this work; neither did President Taylor, nor has Wilford Woodruff.  There will be no end to this work until it is perfected.

I want to lay before you what there is for us to do at the present time; and in doing this I desire particularly the attention of President Lorenzo Snow, of the Salt Lake Temple; President M. W. Merrill, of the Logan Temple; President J. D. T. McAllister of the Manti Temple, and President D. H. Cannon, of the St. George Temple, and those associated with them.  You have acted up to all the light and knowledge that you have had; but you have now something more to do than you have done.  We have not fully carried out those principles in fulfillment of the revelations of God to us, in sealing the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers.  I have not felt satisfied, neither did President Taylor, neither has any man since the Prophet Joseph who has attended to the ordinance of adoption in the temples of our God.  We have felt that there was more to be revealed upon the subject than we had received.  Revelations were given to us in the St. George Temple, which President Young presented to the Church of God.  Changes were made there, and we still have more changes to make, in order to satisfy our Heavenly Father, satisfy our dead and ourselves.  I will tell you what some of them are.  I have prayed over this matter, and my brethren have.  We have felt as President Taylor said, that we have got to have more revelation concerning sealing under the law of adoption.  Well, what are these changes?  One of them is the principle of adoption. * * * [in published version]

Now, what are the feelings of Israel?  They have felt that they wanted to be adopted to somebody.  President Young was not satisfied in his mind with regard to the extent of this matter; President Taylor was not.  When I went before the Lord to know who I should be adopted to (we were then being adopted to prophets and apostles,) the Spirit of God said to me, ‘Have you not a father, who begot you?’  ‘Yes, I have.’  ‘Then why not honor him?  Why not be adopted to him?’  ‘Yes,’ says I, ‘that is right.’  I was adopted to my father, and should have had my father sealed to his father, and so on back; and the duty that I want every man who presides over a Temple to see performed from this day henceforth and forever, unless the Lord Almighty commands otherwise, is, let every man be adopted to his father.  When a man receives the endowment, adopt him to his father; not to Wilford Woodruff, nor to any other man outside the lineage of his fathers.  That is the will of God to this people.  What business have I to take away the rights of the lineage of any man?  What right has any man to do this?  No; I say let every man be adopted to his father; and then you will do exactly what God said when he declared He would send Elijah the prophet in the last days.  Elijah the prophet appeared unto Joseph Smith and told him the day had come when this principle must be carried out.  Joseph Smith did not live long enough to enter any further upon these things.  His soul was wound up with this work before he was martyred for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ.  He told us that there must be a welding link of all dispensations and of the work of God from one generation to another.  This was upon his mind more than most any other subject that was given to him.  In my prayers the Lord revealed to me, that it was my duty to say to all Israel to carry this principle out, and fulfillment of that revelation I lay it before this people.  I say to all men who are laboring in these temples, carry out this principle, and then we will make one step in advance of what we have had before.  Myself and counselors conversed upon this and were agreed upon it, and afterwards we laid it before all the Apostles who were here (two were absent–Brothers Thatcher and Lund, the latter being in England,) and the Lord revealed to every one of these men–and they would bear testimony of it if they were to speak–that that was the word of the Lord to them.  I never met with anything in my life in this Church that there was more unity upon than there was upon that principle.  They all feel right about it, and that it is our duty.  That is one principle that should be carried out from this time henceforth.  ‘But,’ says one, ‘suppose we come along to a man who perhaps is a murderer.’  Well, if he is a murderer, drop him out and connect with the next man beyond him.  But the Spirit of God will be with us in this matter.  We want the Latter-day Saints from this time to trace their genealogies as far as they can, and to be sealed to their fathers and mothers.  Have children sealed to their parents, and run this cahin through as far as you can get it. * * * [in published version] This is the will of the Lord to his people, and I think when you come to reflect upon it you will find it to be true.

Another principle connected with this subject I want to talk about.  A man has married a woman, and they have a family of children.  The man lays down in death without ever hearing the Gospel.  The wife afterwards hears the Gospel and embraces it.  She comes to the temple and she wants to be sealed to her husband, who was a good man.  The feeling has been to deny this and to say, ‘No, he is not in the Church, and you cannot be sealed to your husband.’  Many a woman’s heart has ached because of this, and as a servant of God I have broken that chain a good while ago.  I have laid before every woman this principle and let her have her choice.  Why deprive a woman of being sealed to her husband because he never heard the Gospel?  What do any of us know with regard to him?  Will he not hear the Gospel and embrace it in the spirit world?  Look at Joseph Smith.  Not one of Joseph Smith’s fathers or brothers or sisters were in the covenant when he received the keys of the kingdom of God and translated the Book of Mormon.  They afterwards received it.  Every brother and sister that he had, and his father and his father’s brothers, except Uncle Jesse Smith, embraced the Gospel.  Now, suppose that any of these had died before they had the opportunity of entering into the covenant with the Lord through the Gospel, as his brother Alvin did; they would have been in the same position as Alvin, concerning whom the Lord, when Joseph saw him in the celestial kingdom, said:  ‘All who have died without a knowledge of this Gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of tht kingdom, for I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.’

So it will be with your fathers.  There will be very few, if any, who will not accept the Gospel.  Jesus while His body lay in the tomb, went and preached to the spirits in prison, who were destroyed in the days of Noah.  After so long an imprisonment, in torment, they doubtless gladly embraced the Gospel, and if so they will be saved in the kingdom of God.  The fathers of this people will embrace the Gospel.  It is my duty to honor my father who begot me in the flesh.  It is your duty to do the same.  When you do this, the Spirit of God will be with you.  And we shall continue this work, the Lord adding light to that which we have already received.  I have had friends adopted to me.  We all have, more or less.  But I have had peculiar feelings about it, especially lately.  There are men in this congregation who wish to be adopted to me.  I say to them, if they can hear me, Go and be adopted to your fathers, and save your fathers, and stand at the head of your father’s house, as saviors upon Mount Zion and God will bless you in this.  This is what I want to say, and what I want carried out in our temples.

The Almighty is with this people.  We shall have all the revelations that we will need, if we will do our duty and obey the commandments of God.  When any of us get so that we cannot receive these revelations, the Lord will take us out of the way and put someone in our places who can.  I am here today, on borrowed time, I may say.  I would have been in the spirit world today, mingling with the spirits in the presence of God, had it not been for the cry of this people for my life when I lay at the gates of death a year ago.  I have been preserved by the power of God.  How long I shall live I do not know.  I does not make any difference to me.  But while I do live I want to do my duty.  I want the Latter-day Saints to do their duty.  Here is the Holy Priesthood in these mountains.  Their responsibility is great and mighty.  The eyes of God and all the holy prophets are watching us.  This is the great dispensation that has been spoken of every since the world began.  We are gathered together in these mountains of Israel by the power and commandment of God.  We are doing the work of God.  This is not our home, as far as mortality is concerned.  We shall soon pass away.  But while here let us fill our mission.  I want to say to Brother L. Snow, Brother M. W. Merrill, Brother J. D. T. McAllister and Brother D. H. Cannon, and all associated with you, carry these things before the Lord and see for yourselves.  If you are not satisfied with this order of things, go and ask the Lord about it, and the Holy Ghost will reveal to you the truth of these principles.

This is all I ought to say at this time, perhaps upon this subject.  I am glad to meet with you.  I have had a great anxiety over this matter.  I have had a great desire that I might live to deliver these principles to the Latter-day Saints, for they are true.  They are one step forward in the work of the ministry and in the work of the endowment in these temples of our God. * * * [in published version]  A man may say, ‘I am an Apostle, or I am a High Priest, or I am an Elder in Israel, and if I am adopted to my father, will it take any honor from me.’  I would say not.  If Joseph Smith was sealed to his father, with whom many of you were acquainted, what effect will that have upon his exaltation and glory?  None at all.  Joseph Smith will hold the keys of this dispensation to the endless ages of eternity.  It is the greatest dispensation God ever gave to man, and he was ordained before the world was to stand in the flesh and organize this work.  He was martyred for the word of God and testimony of Jesus, and when he comes in the clouds of heaven he will wear a martyr’s crown.  Those of you who stand here–I do not care whether you are apostles or what you are–by honoring your father you will not take any honor from your heads; you will hold the keys of the salvation of your father’s house, as Joseph Smith does.  You will lose nothing by honoring your fathers and redeeming your dead.  It is a glorious work.

When I returned from England in 1841 and heard Joseph Smith give this revelation, that we had power to redeem our dead, one of the first things I thought was, ‘I have a mother in the spirit world.’  My father was in the flesh.  I baptized and ordained him and brought him up to Zion, where he is buried.  But I never saw my mother to know her.  She died when I was an infant.  I had power to seal my mother to my father.  Was that not a satisfaction?  It was to me.  I have gone to work with the assistance of my friends and redeemed my father’s and my mother’s house.  When I went to inquire of the Lord how I could redeem my dead, while I was in St. George, not having any of my family there, the Lord told me to call upon the Saints in St. George and let them officiate for me in that temple, and it should be acceptable unto Him.  Brother McAllister and the brethren and sisters there have assisted me in this work, and I felt to bless them with every feeling of my heart.  This is a revelation to us.  We can help one another in these matters, if we have not relatives sufficient to carry this one, and it will be acceptable unto the Lord.

Brethren and sisters, lay these things to heart.  Let us go on with our records, fill them up righteously before the Lord, and carry out this principle, and the blessings of God will attend us, and those who are redeemed will bless us in days to come.  I pray God that as a people our eyes may be opened to see, our ears to hear, and our hearts to understand the great and mighty work that rests upon our shoulders, and that the God of heaven requires at our hand.  Great and glorious are these principles which God has revealed to us concerning the redemption of our dead.  I tell you when the prophets and apostles go to preache to those who are shut up in prison, and who have not received the Gospel, thousands of them will there embrace the Gospel.  They know more in that world than they do here.  I pray God that as a people we may have power to magnify our calling in this great and mighty dispensation while we dwell in the flesh that when our work is done we may be satisfied with this life and this work.  This is my prayer and the desire of my heart, in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.”  (Wilford Woodruff, 8 April, 1894 [General Conference], in The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 13:145-152, Oct., 1922) 

“I am sure that every Latter-day Saint who has heard the announcement made by President Woodruff, will feel thankful in his heart for that which the Lord has made manifest through him.  The subject of adoption is one that has engaged the attention of the Saints, to a greater or less extent, for some time.  It was revealed by the Prophet Joseph that there is a principle of adoption by which one generation will be sealed to and connected with another, and in his words which have been read he foreshadows the welding together, by this principle of adoption, of the various dispensations.  In a revelation that the Lord gave through him, He said:

And, again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me, or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power–then it is not valid, neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world, it cannot be received there, because the angels and the Gods are appointed here, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory, for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.

On this account, marriages of the children of men are only binding as between themselves while the covenant lasts.  Our fathers made their covenants with our mothers for time, and when time ended of course the covenant and the union ended also.  Now the Holy Spirit revealed that this being the case, every man and woman, and every child born as the offspring of these unions would stand separately, unless a new bond were formed.  Without this should be done, there would be no binding link to unite woman to man and children to parents; for all the obligations and all the covenants had terminated; and, therefore, members of families would each stand separately, without any connection of a binding character between themselves.  Of course, there was what we call the bond of blood existing; (there is no blood, however, in resurrected beings) or, in other words, there was the bond that arose through kindred.  That would remain.  The Lord has taught us, however, that this is not all that is required; that there must be an authority exercised by which parents should be bound together, and then their children bound to them.  We have been taught also that through the revelation of the Priesthood and its bestowal upon men, and the exercise of that Priesthood in sealing wives to husband, the children begotten in these marriages are born, as we phrase it, in the covenant, that is, they are recognized by the Lord as legitimate children of the covenant.  He having recognized the marriage of their parents, having given the authority to man on the earth to bind on earth, and that bond should be sealed in heaven.  In this way the Latter-day Saints are being bound together in the new and ever-lasting covenant, wives being sealed to their husbands, and children, the offspring of these marriages, being born in the covenant, under the blessing and the recognition by the Almighty of the bond that exists between their parents.  Thus you see that there is a new order of things growing up among us.  It is not necessary, where parents are thus sealed together by the authority of the Holy Priesthood for time and eternity, that their children should be adopted or sealed to them.  They are legitimate heirs of the Priesthood and of the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant.  But no so with those who have been born outside this covenant.  There has to be some ordinance performed in order to make them legitimate; and that ordinance the Prophet Jospeh revealed, was the ordinance of adoption; that is, that word covers the ordinance or law, although we do not use the word adoption when we seal children to parents; we call that sealing.  But to illustrate the principle and explain the law the word ‘adoption’ is used.  You will find it frequently in the scriptures, and it has become a subject among us that has been very much thought about; and every man and woman, who has wished to do all that is required of them in order to obtain all the blessings that can be had through obedience to the commands of God, has desired to understand something about this principle of adoption.

We are told in the words that were read in our hearing that one dispensation must be linked to another, or, in other words, that the dispensations given to the children of men must be united; that we must all be united to our father Adam; that there must be a bond of union between us and our great parent; and that that will be done through the ordinance of adoption where children are not born in the covenant.

Hence it is that it falls to our duty to trace up our lineage; and, as has been beautifully explained this morning by President Woodruff, it is our duty to be sealed to our parents, that our lineage may be preserved; that we may preserve our families in direct descent, and trace them back, ascending lineally until we reach, if it be possible, our ancestors who held the everlasting Priesthood, and who were either born in the covenant or who were sealed to their parents under the law of adoption when the Priesthood was upon the earth.  This has to be done by this generation and their successors.  It is the labor devolving upon us as people to perform this.  The Prophet Joseph revealed this, but he died before it was fully explained.

When President Young died, the St. George temple was the only one finished, and it had barely been dedicated when he passed away.  There is not a doubt in my mind that, had he lived, his mind would have been directed to this great subject, and he would have inquired of the Lord to know that which was right; for in the minds of many there has been a feeling of doubt in regard to this principle of adoption as it was being practiced among us.  I well remember myself in my boyhood days that which President Woodruff has referred to–the spirit that was manifested by many at the dedication of the temple in Nauvoo when the ordinances were administered there.  Some men thought to build up kingdoms for themselves; they appeared to think that by inducing men and women to be adopted into their families they were adding to their own glory.  From that day until the present, I have never thought of this subject of adoption without having a certain amount of fear concerning it.

There is nothing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that leads to disunion.  There is no true principle of the Gospel that will separate this people and divide them.  And this revelation that God has given to His servant, the President of our Church, removes all danger which seemed to threaten us through an imperfect understanding of the manner in which the law of adoption should be carried out.

To illustrate this point, let me suppose that the First President of this Church were to seek to build up families for themselves from among this people, each one seeking to have men and women sealed to him in order that he might have a large following; and suppose each of the Twelve Apostles was to do the same; and suppose the High Priests and the brethren officiating in the temples were to do the same, what would be the result?  You can see at once that in a little time we would be divided into tribes and clans, each man having his own following and each following looking to the man to whom they had been adopted for counsel and for guidance, and in his way the governing authority of the Holy Priesthood in our midst would be divided and lessened.  Who can not understand the danger there would be under such a condition of affairs?  But how to alleviate it, how to remove it so that it should no longer exist!  God has removed it by making it plain that it is the duty of every man to be sealed to his father, where his father is not a man that has proved entirely unworthy.  And when such a case arises–which will be very seldom–we have the man in our midst who has the keys of the Priesthood and unto whom this question can be submitted for him to decide what should be done.

My brethren and sisters, I have this belief concerning us: that it was arranged before we came here how we should come, and through what lineage we should come.  We were not born of the seed of Ham; we were not born of some questionable race; but, as the Lord has taught us in the eighty-sixth section of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, our Priesthood has been hid with God.  That section says:

Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the Priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers,

For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God;

Therefore your life and the Priesthood hath remained and must needs remain through you and your lineage, until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.

I am convinced that it was predestined before I was born that I should come through my father as I am that I stand here.  And if God chose to give Wilford Woodruff’s father the honor of begetting him, and it was so arranged before they were born, who shall step in and deprive him of the honor which God gave to him, and give it to somebody else?  Reflect upon it and you will see that it would lead to endless confusion if this were done.  We would be broken up in families and in our lineage, and there would be no distinction, consequently it would result in great confusion.  Paul says, ‘that in the dispensation of the fulness of time he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him; in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.’  I believe we were predestined to come here.  I believe that it was arranged that we should come here as we have done.  No doubt when we trace our ancestors back, we will find that they trod in muddy places.  We shall find that there was wickedness among them.  There can be little doubt about this, because they were human beings; they were exposed to temptation and to sin.  Nevertheless, that was the arrangement; and when we meet with cases about which there will be question, we can then inquire of the Lord concerning them, and whether it would be right to continue the sealing of the children to them, and through them to somebody else or whether there shall be a break in the link; for we shall all be linked together as a chain.  One generation will be linked to another by the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood until we get back to the time when the Priesthood was upon the earth, and when the authority to administer these ordinances was among men in former times.

Another thing that what we have heard today will effect.  There has been a disposition manifested among our people, to some extent, for some men and women to gather up all the names of families, whether they were related or not, and perform ordinances for them.  I am a believer in this when it does not interfere iwth the rights of heirship.  We should do all we can for those for whom we have friendship, or to whom we are attached in any way, and who have no living representatives that we know of in the Church.  But you can see the advantage of pursuing now the course that is pointed out by the word of God to us.  It will make every one careful to obtain the connection, and to get the names properly of the sons and of the daughters of men, to have them sealed to their parents.  It will draw the line fairly.  It will define the lineage clearly.  ‘But,’ says one, ‘that may take a long time.’  Well, we have got a thousand years to do it in.  We need not be in such a hurry as to create confusion.  The Lord will give us time enough to do it all; and when we have gone as far as appears possible, He will give to us opportunities that, at the present time, we are ignorant of; and we will find that everything will be made plain, and each man will trace his genealogy clear back, and we will know our connection, and what to to in relation to these matters, for the Lord will reveal it to us.

My brethren and sisters, suppose that each of us should seek some great men in the Church to be sealed to.  For instance we would like to be sealed to the President of the Church, because it would be a great honor to be adopted to him, and we think, ‘well, that man is much better than my father.  I would rather be adopted to him than to be sealed to my father.  I do not think very much of my father or my mother.’  Now, I think, when we feel that way, that we are to a certain extent, despising the arrangement which the Lord has made.  We should not despise our origin.  On the contrary, we should seek to preserve it, and honor those who have given us birth.

It always has seemed to me, in reflecting upon this, that the Prophet Joseph honored his father who begat him; yet Joseph was the man chosen by the Almighty to stand at the head of the entire people of this dispensation.  We all have to look to him.  Every Apostle, and every great man in the Church, must of necessity turn his eyes toward the Prophet of God, whom He chose to lay the foundation of this work.  You don’t find anything in Joseph’s life nor in his history, as it is recorded, that would give the least idea that he thought himself of so superior a nature that he could not honor his father and mother.  In fact, I remember well the Prophet, in speaking about the sepulchre that he had prepared near the temple block, describing the joy that he would have in rising from the dead and striking hands with his father and with his kindred and how delighted he would be to come up in the resurrection and grasp them by the hand.  That spirit attended him in all his allusions to his kindred, to his father and mother especially.  There is no doubt in my mind that the Prophet Joseph would be sealed to his father.  He will honor his father and mother.  We will be sealed to them, and they and their lineage will doubtless be connected with him by the sealing ordinance as the head of this dispensation.  They will have to be connected with him by some link or bond that will be created, if it does not already exist, as we all will be connected with him because he is the head of the dispensation.  But as a son he will be honored by his ancestry and all who come within range and under the jurisdiction of this dispensation. * * * [in published version] There need be no jealousy, then.  There need be none to say, ‘Well, I am sealed or adopted to a greater man than you.  I am adopted to Joseph, or to Brigham, or to John Taylor, or to Wilford Woodruff, or to this man or the other man.’  There will be no need to pride and plume ourselves on the fact that we are adopted by these various men, and thus divide the people asunder in their feelings, creating to a certain extent a feeling of rivalry which does not belong to the Gospel of the Son of God.  Every man that reflects upon it can see that this revelation which God has given through His servant, Wilford Woodruff, removes that danger out of our pathway and prepares us to go forward and honor our kindred and do everything we can for their salvation, concentrating our feelings upon our ancestors, and not upon somebody else’s ancestors.  In thus honoring our parents we also observe that ancient law which was given by God to the children of Israel, and which has such a great blessing attached to it:

Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Why should a man come to one of the Apostles and be sealed to him and then trace his genealogy through him and his ancestors, and neglect his own?  There have been some cases of adoption, I suppose, where the parties have not felt clear in their minds concerning this.  This light, however, that we now have clears it all up and makes it plain; and we can see and understand it.

God bless you, in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.”

(George Q. Cannon, General Conference address, immediately following Wilford Woodruff’s, 8 Apr., 1894; UGHM 13:152-158, Oct., 1922)

“At 10 o’clock I was at meeting where Pres. Woodruff announced the doctrine of the sealing of children to parents as far back as it is possible to trace the genealogy, and then seal the last member to the Prophet Joseph.  He also spoke of wives being permitted to be sealed to their dead husbands who were not in the Church, providing they will run the risk of their receiving the Gospel hereafter.—-Father spoke upon this same subject, and showed the excellence of the plan which God has established for the redemption and uniting of the whole human family.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 8 Apr., 1894)

“Reports from the general conference at S L City shows that the First Pres and 10 of the twelve Apostles were present, all of whom spoke during the meetings which were very large to overflowing.  The subgects treated upon were Home industry, teaching the rising generation the principles of the gospel, Adoption.  Pres Woodroof gave it as the word of the Lord that men should be sealed to their Fathers and they to their Fathers, and so on as far back as their lineage could be traced, and then be Sealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and thus seal the hearts of the Fathers to the children, fulfilling the Prophecy of Malachi who foretold the coming of Elijah to do this grand work in the Last Days, that the Earth might not be smitten with a curse at the coming of Christ, and if the people would do this work and observe the word of the Lord now to them, it would prevent confusion.  Pres Geo Q Cannon also spoke on this grand subgect and other members of the twelve apostles.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 13 Apr., 1894)

“The immediate response of the general Church membership appears to have been strongly favorable.  The only real problem was what to do about the more than 13,000 souls, most of them dead, who had already been adopted to persons other than their natural parents.  After some consideration the First Presidency and the Twelve ruled that these people should be sealed to their own parents but that the old records should be left standing.  Any possible problems would be straightened out in the hereafter.  [Wilford Woodruff and Joseph F. Smith to David H. Cannon, 4 May 1894, Woodruff Letterbook, p. 383; Abraham H. Cannon journal, 14 June 1894; copy of notes made by J. D. T. McAllister in connection with interview with First Presidency, 30 July 1894, St. George Temple Letterbook, p. 312]”  (Gordon Irving, “The Law of Adoption,” BYU Studies 14(3):312-313, Spring, 1974)

[Is the correct date 13 Apr.?]  “[General Conference] The great principle of adoption was defined by Pres. Woodruff and the saints were instructed that henceforth each man was to be adopted to his father, who was to be adopted to his father and so on as far back as we could go until the chain was made complete.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 13 Apr., 1894)

9 Apr.:  Union suits not acceptable as garments.

[Meeting of GA’s, Stake Pres. & Bishops] “Union knit suits, such as some of the sisters wear, are not proper to be worn as temple garments, but if used at all, should be over the garments. . . . People who leave off their garments are not in good standing in the Church.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 9 Apr., 1894)

9 Apr.:  Members of secret societies unworthy of temple.

[Meeting of GA’s, Stake Pres. & Bishops] “No man who joins the various secret societies and takes their oaths, is worthy of a recommend to go to the temple.  They draw away from us, and are bound to sustain their own members against all others.  Pres. Woodruff here said: ‘Such are not worthy to go to the temple or bear the Priesthood.'”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 9 Apr., 1894)

18 Apr.:  Woodruff sees SL Temple endowment for 1st time.

“In Company with J F Smith we visited the Temple and saw the ordinances of the Endowments Performed for the first time since the Dedication of the Temple.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 18 Apr., 1894)

19 Apr.:  Special cases of sealings.

“Special case.

The father of Wm. S. Brighton was born out of wedlock and the parents were never married together.  The male parent (Brother Brighton’s grandfather) married, consecutively, 3 women and raised a family.  His illigitimate son was reared by relatives.

The mother, when somewhat advanced in years, married a widdower, who already had his family.

1 question.–To whom should the woman be sealed–the father of her child or the widdower whom she married.

The decision by the council of the First Presidency and Twelve–she should be sealed to her husband left (the widdower)

2 question.–To whom should Brother Brighton [sic] father be sealed as a child?  Decision–to the mother and the man to whom she is to be sealed.

Decision rendered by the First Presidency 19 April 1894

Special Case

Howard Egan’s wife committed adultery with James Monroe.  Howard Egan killed Monroe on account of the crime.  Wm. M. Egan is the issue of the adultery.

Question.–To whom does Wm. M. Egan go as a child–to Howard Egan or his father?

Decision of the First Presidency and 12 April 19, 1894.  He belongs to Howard Egan, by virtue of the mother being Howard Egan’s sealed wife, and no ordinances needed.”  (Notes on Historical Department–Confidential Research Files 1950-1974.  Bergera notes)

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12] “Thereafter the case was considered of a man by the name of Monroe, who was the illegitimate son of Howard Egan, by James Monroe, whom Egan shot after he had seduced the woman.  The son, now about 40 years of age desires to know to whom he shall be sealed as a son.  The boy’s mother was never divorced from Egan, and lived with him after her sin.  It was decided that the son should be sealed to her and Howard Egan.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 19 Apr., 1894)

19 Apr.:  Prior adoptions to remain as they are.

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12] “Pres. Woodruff said he felt to leave adoptions of the past remain as they are with few exceptions.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 19 Apr., 1894)

5 May:  2 transgressions which can dissolve sealings.

“[Monthly Priesthood Meeting; Lorenzo Snow speaking] . . . said if a man can get a recommend from the Pres. of his Stake, he may go to the Temple and have his wives sealed to him over the Altar.  [Is this referring to the 2nd anointing, as a recommend from the Stake President is specified?]  There are only two things that can deprive him from claiming them hereafter.  One is the shedding of innocent blood and the other is a full apostacy from the church.”  (Rudger Clawson diary, 5 May, 1894)

10 May:  To whom are children sealed?

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12] “The question was asked, If a woman who had children by a husband who died without the Gospel, marries another in the Church and is sealed to him, shall her children be sealed to her dead husband, or be sealed to her and her present husband?  If she remains sealed to her present husband the children shold be sealed or adopted to her and him.  If, however, she is released from her present husband and marries her former husband, the children may be sealed to them.—Past adoptions, it is decided by Pres. Woodruff, are to remain unchanged, but where desirable sealings may be cancelled.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 10 May, 1894)

18 May:  Jane Manning sealed to Joseph as “Servitor”.

“This ordinance was performed 18 May 1894, see page 26, adoption Record, book A.  John Nicholson.  Page 33 of Temple Ordinances on file in H.O.

Jane Elizabeth Manning (a Negro Mormon) do you wish to be attached as a Servitor for eternity to the prophet Josep [sic] Smith and in this capacity be connected with his family and be obedient to him in all things in the Lord as a faithful Servitor?  (Answer Yes)

Prest. Joseph F. Smith acting for and in behalf of the Prophet Joseph Smith:  do you wish to receive Jane James as a Servitor to yourself and family?  (Answer Yes)

By the authority given me of the Lord I pronounce you, Jane James, a Servitor to the Prophet Joseph Smith (President Joseph F. Smith acting for and an [sic] in his behalf) and to his household for all eternity, through your faithfulness in the new and everlasting covenant, in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.”  (Notes on Historical Department–Confidential Research Files 1950-1974.  Bergera notes)

19 May:  Implications of change in Law of Adoption.

“How wide-spread and far-reaching is the ordinance to which allusion has been made, by which children will be sealed to their parents, one generation connected with another, and the whole human family be brought within the family of God, to be His recognized and acknowledged sons and daughters, bound together by the power of the everlasting Priesthood and in the new system of salvation spread out before us in the contemplation of that which the Lord has revealed!  What a feeling of tenderness and love wells up in our hearts in thinking that we are the children of God, and that we shall be bound together by ties that can never be broken.”  (George Q. Cannon sermon, in The Deseret Evening News, 19 May, 1894, p. 10.  Quoted in Irving, “The Law of Adoption,” p. 314)

14 Jun.:  Changes in sealings.

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12] “It was decided today that in cases where women had been sealed to men who were not their first husbands, and children who were not united to their natural fathers, these ordinances might now be performed for the dead husbands and fathers, in accordance with the instructions given at the last Conference, without referring each particular case to the President of the Church.  In this case, however, no change will be made in the old records.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 14 Jun., 1894)

“President Lorenzo Snow:

Dear Brother:  applications are, as you are aware, being constantly made for the privilege of having women sealed to their husbands who have heretofore been sealed to other men who were not their husbands.  

Similar applications are being made in the cases of sealing children to parents who have heretofore been sealed to men who were not their natural fathers.

I have been unofficially informed that when such cases are plan [plain?], and when the applications are at harmony with the teachings given at the last April Conference, the rule in the Temple should be to proceed without application to President Woodruff. 

If this be the decision of the First Presidency, I would be obliged if I could be so informed officially by placing of a plain ‘yes’ or ‘no’ upon this sheet.

Your brother in the gospel

John Nicholson Recorder.

[in pencil] yes, W. Woodruff.”

(John Nicholson to Lorenzo Snow, 14 Jun., 1894.  Bergera notes)

23 Jun.:  Woodruff’s testimony of endowment.

“7-V4-0-1:  President Wilford Woodruff’s prophecy made at Brigham City, Utah, June 23, 1894.  He bore testimony concerning the endowment ceremony and that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had Joseph Smith’s work rolled uopn their shoulders.”  (The Wilford C. Wood Collection, Volume I:  An annotated catalog of documentary-type materials in the Wilford C. Wood Collection; by LaMar C. Berrett.  Published by the Wilford C. Wood Foundation, Printed by the Brigham Young University Printing Service, September 1972.)

24 Jun.:  Received 2nd anointings from Joseph Smith.

“Now, the question I wanted to ask you is this: We have fourteen hundred million people on this earth, and over them there hangs a cloud of darkness almost entirely upon their shoulders. Can you tell me where the people are who will be shielded and protected from these great calamities and judgments which are even now at our doors? I’11 tell you. The priesthood of God who honor their priesthood, and who are worthy of their [second] blessings are the only ones who shall have this safety and protection. They are the only mortal beings. No other people have a right to be shielded from these judgments. * * *

Three of the sisters, Sister Zina D. Young, who is the President of the sisters in the Temple, with Sister Bathsheba W. Smith, and Minnie J. Snow, her two counselors, spoke briefly of their joy in the work. Aunt Bathsheba mentioned the fact that she had received her blessings in Nauvoo under the hands of the Prophet Joseph Smith, she being now the only living woman who has so received these blessings. * * *

There’s Sister Bathsheba Smith, she and I both had our endowments under the hands of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I had my second anointings and sealings under his hands. There is not a single principle in this Church that he did not lay the foundation for. * * *”  (Young Women’s Journal, Vol. V No. 11, pp. 511-514; August 1894; Susa Young Gates, rep. “The Temple Worker’s Excursion. Remarks made by President Wilford Woodruff in the evening Temple workers Testimony Meeting, June 24, 1894.)

28 Jun.:  Children to be sealed to 1st or 2nd husband?

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12] “The case of Sister Waterfall was considered.  She married many years ago a man who died without the Gospel, by whom she had two sons.  She afterwards married Bro. Waterfall, by whom she had no children, though she lived with him 15 years, and was anointed unto him in her second anointing.  She now wants to know if she shall be sealed to her first husband and have their children sealed to them, or shall she have her children sealed to her present husband.  The latter course was advised.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 28 Jun., 1894)

28 Jun.:  We hold the keys of their salvation.

“I notice by the [Deseret] News that the Temle workers of S L Temple, with the First Pres and a number of invited guests, had a very good time at Box Elder on an excursion there.  Among the speakers there was Pres Woodroof, who in his remarks, said, ‘The men who go into these Temles and do the work for the Dead will hold the Keys of their Salvation as long as Joseph Smith holds the Keys of this Dispensation, and that will be forever and forever.'”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 28 Jun., 1894)

16 Aug.:  Shirt markings no longer required.

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12] “It was decided as being unnecessary to mark the shirts of those who pass through the temple and receive their endowments.  The marks in their garments are sufficient.”  (Abraham H. Cannon diary, 16 Aug., 1894)

16 Aug.:  Instructions on prayer circles.

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12] “Concerning the proper position of the altar in a prayer circle–as to whether it should face the east or south–there is no rule, though the custom is to generally have them face the south.  Pres. Snow says he always aims to face the chief temple in offering his prayers.–It was decided that the circles over which the Twelve preside be permitted to meet in the Elders’ room, instead of in the basement where the ventilation is so bad, and the room so small.”  (Abraham H. Cannon diary, 16 Aug., 1894)

31 Aug.:  Changes in endowment wording.





August 31, 1894.

Elder Lorenzo Snow,

Prest. Salt Lake Temple.

Dear Brother:-

As a result of the conference of the brethren engaged as ordinance workers in the several Temples, held at Salt Lake Temple, some time ago, the following slight corrections have been adopted by us, which you will please note:

In the creation on the fifth day a grammatical error occurs. The word “their” is used instead of “its”; the word their, therefore, is changes [sic] to its. In the lecture the words “next room” are used in the Terrestrial room when that same room is referred to; the words “the next” therefore have been changed to “this”, as the appropriate form.

In the placing of the girdle, it should be placed on the outside of the apron strings.

In the ceremonies at the veil, the practice has been to use the words, “this man Adam,” while in the Logan Temple the words, “this man, representing Adam”, are used. It was decided to drop the words, “this man representing,” and say “Adam, &c.”

The word “christian,” referred to in the lecture, in connection with name, is dropped and the word “given” is substituted.

The words “and some have to go away on business,” which occur at the end of the lecture, were expunged.

The words, “new name,” were substituted for the pronoun “it,” to avoid ambiguity, where it reads in the lecture, “You must (p. 2) remember “it”, that is, your new name.

The people, when being put under covenant, should signify their assent by bowing and saying, “yes”.

It was left optional with the Temple President to use persons as witnesses who were receiving endowments or to use workers as such.

The words “that my tongue be torn from its roots in my mouth,” were substituted for “from the roof of my mouth.”

In giving the sign and token of the Aaronic priesthood that Salt Lake Temple use the word, “index”, meaning the fore-finger. It was decided to use the words, “fore finger,” instead of “index finger,” the latter being more easily understood.

It has been the practice to mark the shirt, but we think this unnecessary as it is not strictly a part of the Temple clothing. The marking of the garment should be done in the washing room and not at the veil; and the greatest care should be taken to see that no person is permitted to leave that room wearing an unmarked garment.

In the Salt Lake Temple the practice in the Garden is for the couple at the altar to remain kneeling while the covenant relating to the first token of the Aaronic Priesthood is being administered, while the practice in the other Temples is for the couple to arise. The reason given by the Salt Lake Temple for not arising is that the couple would have to descend three steps, and as a matter of convenience they were permitted to remain on their knees. It was decided that the couples should rise.

Your Brethren,

/s/ Wilford Woodruff

/s/ Geo. Q. Cannon

/s/ Jos. F. Smith”

(Historical Department. Confidential Research Files, 1950–1974; CR/100/14/#2/Volume 8:16,17; Church Archives Vault.  From a xerox of the original letter. A copy of this letter may be found in: First Presidency. Letterpress Copybooks, 1877-1949. Jan. 1894–Nov. 1894; CR/1/20/# 23; Volume 28, pp. 633-634. Church Archives. August 31, 1894.)

1 Sep.:  Procedural questions regarding sealings/adoptions

“Another correspondent asks:  

First.  ‘If a family joins the Church in any country and emigrates to Zion; the parents get their endowments, and afterwards the children, one by one, get married in the Temples and get their endowments, whereby their names and the names of their parents are recorded in the books, and none of them have any desire to be adopted in any other family, is it then necessary that such children shall all go together at one time and be sealed to those who by nature hold the only right of ownership to such children?’

Undoubtedly it is necessary they should do so, unless they are born in the covenant–that is, after their parents have been sealed for time and eternity by the authorities of the Priesthood.

Second.  ‘Would any work done by such children in the Temple for any relative of their parents, such as baptisms or sealings for the dead, be valid, or would it be void–that is, before they are sealed to their parents?’

It would be quite valid.

Third.  ‘Is it not to be understood that when a daughter marries she then leaves her father’s family and goes to the family of the man whom she marries, and will belong there through all time to come?  If so, what good does it then do for her to be sealed to her parents?’

It is necessary that children should be sealed to their parents, the object of the law of adoption being to connect the family of our father Adam together by those ties which are formed and sanctioned by the Priesthood, which is the authority of God on the earth.  Marriages which have been performed outside of the Priesthood, the Lord has said are not recognized by Him in eternity.  Therefore, to have the family organization maintained, there must be an ordinance by which that can be reached, and that ordinance is the law of adoption.  By means of this ordinance the human family will be connected from generation to generation, clear back to our father Adam.  Of course, the generations that have had the marriage ordinance administered unto them by the authority of the Holy Priesthood are not under the necessity of receiving the ordinance of adoption; for the sealing power by which husbands and wives are united, makes the offspring legitimate in the sight of heaven.  The law of adoption, therefore, is for the benefit of those who are born of parents who have not been united by the authority of the Holy Priesthood.  In the case that is mentioned, the fact of a daughter being sealed to her husband belonging to another family, does not relieve her from the law of adoption.  If she is born out of the covenant, she must of necessity, if she would be properly connected, obey the law of adoption, and that law will bind her to her parents.”  (George Q. Cannon, JI 29(17):537-538, 1 Sep., 1894)

8 Sep.:  Sexual purity of those to be wed encouraged.

“D H Cannon spoke in a very interesting manner on the work for the Dead and exhorted the young People very strongly who came to the Temle to be married and receive other blessings, to be sexually pure.”  (Charles L. Walker diary, 8 Sep., 1894)

12 Sep.:  Why do women have to wear veil?

“Prest Snow informed me he had not been able to obtain information why women were required to vail [sic] their faces when at prayer in the circle.”  (Samuel W. Richards diary, 12 Sep., 1894; Bergera Collection)

1 Oct.:  Sealing children to parents.

“We are asked if it is necessary for children to be sealed to their parents under the law of adoption when one of the parents had not received the endowments at the time they were sealed for time and eternity.

The view of the First Presidency on this question is that it is the sealing ordinance which forms the covenant.  Children born after the sealing ordinance has been performed by proper authority, are born in the covenant.  Of course, the bestowal of the endowment adds to the blessings of the parents; but it is not the endowment, aside from the sealing ordinance, which legitimatizes (if we may use that phrase) the children and causes them to be looked upon as children of the covenant.

16 Oct.:  Black Jane denied endowment.

“We had Meeting with several individuals among the rest Black Jane wanted to know if I would not let her have her Endowments in the Temple.  This I Could not do as it was against the Law of God.  As Cain killed Abel All the seed of Cain would have to wait for Redemption untill all the seed that Abel would have had that may Come through other men Can be redeemed.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 16 Oct., 1894)

19 Oct.:  Raising seed to dead brother.

“Father [Geo. Q. Cannon] also spoke to me about taking some good girl and raising up seed by her for my brother David.  He mentioned the daughter of Theophilus Davis, who has said she will never marry at all unless I become her husband, but I told him I knew but little of her character.  He told me to think the matter over, and speak to him later about.  Such a ceremony as this could be performed in Mexico, so Pres. Woodruff has said.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 19 Oct., 1894)

[24 Oct.] “After meeting I went to the President’s Office and [talked to?] Father about taking a wife for David.  I told him David had taken Annie ____ cousin, through the vail in life, and suggested she might be a good person ____ sealed to him for eternity.  The suggestion pleased Father very much, and ____ Angus was there.  He spoke to him about it in the presence of the Presidency.  ____ not object providing Annie is willing.  The Presidents Woodruff and Smith both said they were willing for such a ceremony to occur, if done in Mexico, and Pres. Woodruff promised the Lord’s blessing to follow such an act.  Father said Uncle Angus should sound Annie on the matter, and I was willing to leave it that way.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 24 Oct., 1894–part of sheet torn on my copy, partially obliterating five lines.)

22 Oct.:  Gentiles tour dedicated Salt Lake Temple.

“He desired me to show him the office, which I did, and introduced him to the President and Father, with whom he had some conversation.  He was accompanied by a local Catholic priest.  To my astonishment he was given permission by Pres. Woodruff to visit the temple under my guidance, and both these gentlemen passed through the holy place, Bishop Winder going with me.  They were much struck with the elegance of the place.  I also took them through the Tabernacle and Assembly Hall, with all of which they were much pleased.  He leaves tonight for Russia, because of the severe illness of the Czar.  [i.e., a Russian prince]”  (Abraham H. Cannon diary, 22 Oct., 1894) 

1 Nov.:  Resolution to form Genealogical Library in Temple

“I met with the Apostles in the Afternoon.  I Attended the Circle prayer.  We resolved to organize a Geneological Library in the Temple.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 1 Nov., 1894)

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12] “We then had read the articles of incorporation read [sic] of the proposed Genealogical Society of Utah, and it was resolved that F. D. Richards proceed to complete the organization, and that he become its president.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 1 Nov., 1894)

“The revelation on adoption also opened the way for the organization of the Church-sponsored Genealogical Society of Utah in November, 1894–since Mormons could now do sealing work for distant ancestors, new interest was awakened in genealogical research and the Society was then set up to make available to members  records which would enable them to seek out their ancestors.  [See entries in the following journals for 1 November 1894:  Abraham H. Cannon, Wilford Woodruff, Franklin D. Richards, holograph, C.A.  Richard’s journal, 13 November 1894, describes the organization of the Society.]”  (Gordon Irving, “The Law of Adoption,” BYU Studies 14(3):313, Spring, 1974)

3 Nov.:  Brethren to wear white pants while officiating.

“Salt Lake City Utah 3 Nov. 1896.

Elder John D. T. McAlister

President Manti Temple

Dear Brother:

It is the mind of the First Presidency and Apostles expressed at one of their late regular Council Meetings, that you adopt as soon as it can be done conveniently the practice of brethren wearing white pants while doing Temple work.

This change would necessarilly [sic] do away with the long white Shirt usually worn my them, and admit of their wearing the regular white shirt, with collar and white tie if they choose to do so. The adviseability of this change will at once suggest itself to you.

Your Brother,

Geo. F. Gibbs


P. S. This change in dress need not be introduced into prayer circles.”

(Manti Temple. Historical Record; Church Historical Department; CR/348/21; restricted document; p. 98; 3 November 1896; Bergera Collection).

13 Nov.:  Formation of Genealogical Society.

“At a meeting held in the Historian’s office, Salt Lake City, Tuesday morning, November 3, 1894, at which Historian Franklin D. Richards presided and James H. Anderson acted as secretary, it was decided by those assembled to organize a society to be known by the name and style of the ‘Genealogical Society of Utah,’ the purposes of which were to be ‘benevolent in collecting, compiling, established and maintaining a genealogical library for the use and benefit of its members and others; educational in disseminating information regarding genealogical matters; and also religious.'”  (UGHM 1:38, Jan., 1910)

31 Nov.:  1st Presidency letter outlining “minor changes”.  

[Note that at this time the details of the execution of the first penalty were still being spelled out in the ceremony.  Also note that the marking of the garment was to be done in the washing room.]

“Salt Lake City, Utah

August 31, 1894

Elder Lorenzo Snow,

Prest. Salt Lake Temple

Dear Brother:-

As a result of the conference of the brethren engaged as ordinance workers in the several Temples, held at Salt Lake Temple, some time ago, the following slight corrections have been adopted by us, which you will please note:

In the creation on the fifth day a grammatical error occurs.  The word ‘their’ is used instead of ‘its’; the word their, therefore, is changed to its.  In the lecture the words ‘next room’ is used in the Terrestrial room when that same room is referred to; the words ‘the next’ therefore have been changed to ‘this’, as the appropriate form.

In the placing of the girdle, it should be placed on the out side of the apron strings.

In the ceremonies at the veil, the practice has been to use the words, ‘this man Adam,’ while at the Logan Temple the words, ‘this man, representing Adam’, are used.  It was decided to drop the words, ‘this man representing,’ and say “Adam, &c.’

The word ‘christian,’ referred to in the lecture, in connection with name, is dropped and the word ‘given’ is substituted.

The words, ‘and some have to go away on business,’ which occur at the end of the lecture, were expunged.

The words, ‘new Name,’ were substituted for the pronoun ‘it,’ to avoid ambiguity, here it reads in the lecture, ‘You must remember ‘it,’ that is, your new name.’

The people, when being put under covenant, should signify their assent by bowing and saying, ‘yes.’

It was left optional with the Temple President to use persons as witnesses who were receiving their endowments or to use workers as such.

The words ‘that my tongue be torn from its roots in my mouth,’ were substituted for ‘from the roof of my mouth.’

In giving this sign and token of the Aaronic Priesthood, the Salt Lake Temple uses the word, ‘index,’ meaning the forefinger.  It was decided to use the words, ‘fore finger,’ instead of ‘index finger,’ the latter being more easily understood.

It has been the practice to mark the shirt, but we think this unnecessary as it is not strictly a part of the Temple clothing.  The marking of the garment should be done in the washing room and not at the veil; and the greatest care should be taken to see that no person is permitted to leave the room wearing the unmarked garment.

In the Salt Lake Temple the practice in the Garden is for the couple at the altar to remain kneeling while the covenant relating to the first token of the Aaronic Priesthood is being administered, while the practice in the other Temples is for the couple to arise.  The reason given by the Salt Lake Temple for not arising is that the couple would have to descend three steps, and as a matter of convenience they were permitted to remain on their knees.  It was decided that the couples should rise.

Your Brethren,

Wilford Woodruff

Geo. Q. Cannon

Jos. F. Smith

(Source:  Sale Lake Temple Authorization Book, 1886-1925) 

  Nov.:  He said his proxy work had been done incorrectly.

“Another case was that of Brother Henry W. Miller of St. George, who was being endowed for his son.  After the work was done he dreamed he saw his son and talked with him about it, asking him how he liked it?

He replied, ‘Very well, only I cannot get the full benefit of it.’

When Brother Miller related this, we went to searching the records, and it was found that his son had never been ordained to the Melchisedek Priesthood, though at the time Brother Miller supposed he was an Elder.”  (M. F. Farnsworth, “Temple Manifestations,” Contributor 16(1):64, Nov., 1894)

13 Dec.:  Even though she obtain a divorce in this life.

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and 12] “Pres. Snow said that he gleaned from the remarks of the Presidency at the office a few days ago that where a man is faithful to all his covenants, he will not lose his wife in the world to come even though she obtain from him a divorce in this life.  Where men are untrue to their families and their God they will be left without wife or child in the future existence.”  (A. H. Cannon diary, 13 Dec., 1894)

30 Dec.:  No harm in joining Masons.

“Frank [Cannon] desired my advice about joining the Masons, who are a powerful though secret organization in this country.  He had been approached several times by influential men who desired him to join them, but he had done nothing in this direction, as he did not desire to do anything which would be wrong for a member of the Church.  He feels that he would have more influence and power with leading men in the nation if he was a member of this body.  After hearing all he had to say I could not feel that he would be doing any wrong in joining the Masonic fraternity so long as the vows he is required to take will not cause any retraction of the Gospel.”  (Abraham H. Cannon diary, 30 Dec., 1894)