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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1918

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1918.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1918.

1918:  Jan.:  The endowment.

“The second of the ceremonies to be explained is the ordinance designated The Endowment.  A concise and clear statement concerning this ceremony is contained in Elder James E. Talmage’s splendid and exhaustive treatise on The House of the Lord, which I will take the liberty of quoting: . . .”  (Duncan M. McAllister, SL Temple Recorder, an address to tourists on the Temple Block, “reported especially for the Improvement Era; IE 21(3):211, Jan., 1918)

3 Mar.:  Permission to marry outside temple.

“Bro. John Barnes told me that his son was engaged to a young lady in Rockport.  She seems such a nice girl, but she is not in the Church.  He had had his endowments and did not know what to do about marriage.  The young folks want to get married before his going to Fraance and asked me if he could get permission to marry outside the Temple.  I told the father that as he has seen the girl and the folks and thinks she will make him a good wife and as he has engaged himself to her it would be difficult to break the promise in honor.  I would give him permission to marry outside the Temple, and I promised to srite to President Ellsworth to see that some of our Elders marry the young couple.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 3 Mar., 1918)

23 Apr.:  Fortune teller denied entrance to temples.

“I spent the day in the Pr. Office and we had many questions to answer.  Mrs. Fordyce who was forbidden the temple because she tells fortunes came and complained that she has been forbidden to work in the Temple.  She says she tells fortunes by cards and finds lost articles by a peepstone.  I told her to be glad that she has done her own temple work, but that it was better for one to be offended than for the many who attend the Temple to be offended.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 23 Apr., 1918)

Sep.:  Endowments given as young as 16 years.

“Living boys and girls as young as sixteen years of age may receive endowments in the Temple in their own behalf if, in each case, the character and condition of the individual is such that the bishop feels justified in issuing a recommend for that purpose.”  (D. M. McAllister, Temple Recorder, “Temple Ordinances, Blessings and Responsibilities,” IE 21(11):955, Sep., 1918)

Oct.:  Vision of the Redemption of the Dead.

“On the third of October, in the year nineteen hundred and eighteen, I sat in my room pondering over the Scriptures and reflecting upon the great atoning sacrifice that was made by the Son of God for the redemption of the world, and the great and wonderful love made manifest by the Father and the Son in the coming of the Redeemer into the world, that through his Atonement and by obedience to the principles of the gospel, mankind might be saved.

While I was thus engaged, my mind reverted to the writings of the Apostle Peter to the primitive saints scattered abroad throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, and other parts of Asia where the gospel had been preached after the crucifixion of the Lord.  I opened the Bible and read the third and fourth chapters of the first epistle of Peter, and as I read I was greatly impressed, more than I had ever been before, with the following passages:

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.  (I Peter 3:18-20.)

For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.  (I Peter 4:6.)

As I pondered over these things which are written, the eyes of my understanding were opened, and the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and I saw the hosts of the dead, both small and great.  And there were gathered together in one place an innumerable company of the spirits of the just, who had been faithful in the testimony of Jesus while they lived in mortality, and who had offered sacrifice in the similitude of the great sacrifice of the Son of God, and had suffered tribulation in their Redeemer’s name.  All these had departed the mortal life, firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection, through the grace of God the Father and his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

I beheld that they were filled with joy and gladness, and were rejoicing together because the day of their deliverance was at hand.  They were assembled awaiting the advent of the Son of God into the spirit world, to declare their redemption from the bands of death.  Their sleeping dust was to be restored unto its perfect frame, bone to his bone, and the sinews and the flesh upon them, the spirit and the body to be united never again to be divided, that they might receive a fulness of joy.

While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful, and there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance.  But unto the wicked he did not go, and among the ungodly and the unrepentant who had defiled themselves while in the flesh, his voice was not raised, neither did the rebellious who rejected the testimonies and the warnings of the ancient prophets behold his presence, nor look upon his face.  Where these were, darkness reigned, but among the righteous there was peace, and the saints rejoiced in their redemption, and bowed the knee and acknowledged the Son of God as their Redeemer and Deliverer from death and the chains of hell.  Their countenances shone and the radiance from the presence of the Lord rested upon them and they sang praises unto his holy Name.

I marveled, for I understood that the Savior spent about three years in his ministry among the Jews and those of the house of Israel, endeavoring to teach them the everlasting gospel and call them unto repentance; and yet, notwithstanding his might works and miracles and proclamation of the truth in great power and authority, there were but few who hearkened to his voice and rejoiced in his presence and received salvation at his hands.  But his ministry among those who were dead was limited to the brief time intervening between the crucifixion and his resurrection; and I wondered at the words of Peter wherein he said that the Son of God preached unto the spirits in prison who sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, and how it was possible for him to reapch to those spirits and perform the necessary labor among them in so short a time.

And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding quickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them; but behold, from among the righteous he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men.  And thus was the gospel preached to the dead.  And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord, and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound; even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.  Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.  These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross.  Thus was it made known that our Redeemer spent his time during his sojourn in the world of spirits, instructing and preparing the faithful spirits of the prophets who had testified of him in the flesh, that they might carry the message of redemption unto all the dead unto whom he could not go personally because of their rebellion and transgression, that they through the ministration of his servants might also hear his words.

Among the great and mighty ones who were assembled in this vast congregation of the righteous, were Father Adam, the Ancient of Days and father of all, and our glorious Mother Eve, with many of her faithful daughters who had lived through the ages and worshiped the true and living God.  Abel, the first martyr, was there, and his brother Seth, one of the mighty ones, who was in the express image of his father Adam.  Noah, who gave warning of the flood; Shem, the great High Priest; Abraham, the father of the faithful; Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, the great law-giver of Israel; Isaiah, who declared by prophecy that the Redeemer was anointed to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound, were also there.

Moreover, Ezekiel, who was shown in vision the great valley of dry bones which were to be clothed upon with flesh to come forth again in the resurrection of the dead, living souls; Daniel, who foresaw and foretold the establishment of the kingdom of God in the latter days, never again to be destroyed nor given to other people; Elias, who was with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration, and Malachi, the prophet who testified of the coming of Elijah–of whom also Moroni spake to the Prophet Joseph Smith–declaring that he should come before the ushering in of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, were also there.  The prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers, foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, for the redemption of the dead and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.

All these and many more, even the prophets who dwelt among the Nephites and testified of the coming of the Son of God, mingled in the vast assembly and waited for their deliverance, for the dead had looked upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies as a bondage.  These the Lord taught, and gave them power to come forth, after his resurrection from the dead, to to enter into his Father’s kingdom, there to be crowned with immortality and eternal life, and continue thenceforth their labors as had been promised by the Lord, and be partakers of all blessings which were held in reserve for them that love him.

The Prophet Joseph Smith, and my father, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and other choice spirits, who were reserved to come forth in the fulness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great Latter-day work, including the building of temples and the performance of ordinances therein for the redemption of the dead, were also in the spirit world.  I observed that they were also among the noble and great ones who were chosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God.  Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits, and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.

I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead.  The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God, and after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation.

Thus was the vision of the redemption of the dead revealed to me, and I bear record, and I know that this record is true, through the blessing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, even so.  Amen.

Joseph F. Smith.

This Vision of the Redemption of the Dead was submitted, October 31, 1918, to the Counsellors in the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve and the Patriarch, and by them unanimously accepted.”

(Joseph F. Smith, IE 22(2):166-170, Dec., 1918)

Nov.:  Smoot’s efforts to change public registers.

“Another important point of identification that is required, when possible to be ascertained, is the relationship of the heir or person at whose instance the Temple work is done to each one of the dead individuals.  This constitutes an excellent means of identifying them; but, unfortunately, the records of deaths and marriages that are kept in most communities seldom show the names of the parents of persons whose names are entered therein, and the maiden names are frequently lacking of mothers of the children whose births are registered.  This imperfection in records of vital statistics is a serious handicap in searching for genealogies of dead relatives, because the absence of names of parents of persons therein registered renders it impossible to clearly ascertain relationship from that source.  (An effort is being made by the Hon. Reed Smoot, Senior representative from Utah in the United States Senate, to get this defect in registration of vital statistics remedied by law.)”  (D. M. McAllister, Temple Recorder, “Possibility of Obtaining Extensive Records for Temple Work,” RS Magazine 5:652-653, Nov., 1918)

Nov.:  Proxy work for non-relatives OK.

“President Wilford Woodruff instructed the recorders, in the Salt Lake Temple to accept records for ordinance work even though the members of the Church giving such records could not designate their relationship to the dead.”  (D. M. McAllister, Temple Recorder, “Possibility of Obtaining Extensive Records for Temple Work,” RS Magazine 5:653, Nov., 1918) 

Nov.:  Four family lines.

“In this connection, it should be remembered that each member of the Church is entitled to have Temple ordinances performed in behalf of the four family lines to whom he is directly related; that is, the blood kindred of his parents and grandparents, those bearing the surnames of his father’s father and mother and his mother’s father and mother.

The result of following this extended plan of compiling names etc., for Temple work is that hundreds of thousands of dead have had those ordinances performed in their behalf, who would not have been liberated from the spirit prison if their living friends had limited that sacred and necessary labor to the interest of those only with whom they are able to prove a personal relationship.

The Saints are urged to be diligent in procuring the information needed to enable them to have Temple ordnances [sic] performed in behalf of their dead kindred and friends, remembering ‘that they without us cannot be made perfect,’ ‘neither can we without the dead be made perfect,’ if those ordinances are not complied with.”  (D. M. McAllister, Temple Recorder, “Possibility of Obtaining Extensive Records for Temple Work,” RS Magazine 5:653-654, Nov., 1918)

Bishops not to issue recommends for 2nd anointings.

“Bishops are not to issue recommends for Second Anointings:  that is the province of Presidents of Stakes, under approval of the President of the Church, and the individuals selected must not be informed until after the issuance of such recommend.  As a general rule, such recommends are issued only in behalf of thos who have had endowments in lifetime, and have been sealed and lived together faithfully as husband and wife, and who have been valiant in the defense of truth and active in all good works.”  (Messages of the First Presidency 5:112, 1918)

Temple instructions to the Bishops.

“If you have not already adopted the practice of calling attention to the following regulations, when you issue recommends to individuals going to the Temple, you will please do so hereafter, in every instance.  

FIRST:  The garments worn by those who receive endowments must be white, and of the approved pattern; they must not be altered or mutilated, and are to be worn as intended, down to the wrist and ankles, and around the neck.

Please inform all to whom you issue recommends that these requirements are imperative, and that admission to the Temple will be refused to those who do not comply therewith.  The Saints should know that the pattern of endowment garments was revealed from heaven, and that the blessings promised in connection with wearing them will not be realized if any unauthorized change is made in their form, or in the manner of wearing them.

SECOND:  All who come to the Temple to perform ordinance work are expected to make donations according to their circumstances, to aid in meeting necessary expenses, but the poor who have nothing to give are equally welcome.

This rule has been a part of the printed instructions, since the commencement of work in the Salt Lake Temple, but is repeated here with the request that you will mention it to all to whom you issue recommends, because the aggregate amount received is very small.  It may properly be suggested to a man, who is going to the Temple to be married, that the amount of his donation should approximate or be equal to what he would be required to pay if he had the ceremony performed elsewhere, if he could afford to donate that much.

The following important items are also submitted for your careful attention:

Bishops should make themselves familiar with the printed instructions issued by the President of Salt Lake Temple, so that they may be able to duly inform the individuals, to whom they issue recommends, as to the preparation such persons should make to enable them to properly participate in the sacred ordinances of the Lord’s house.  (See Bulletin No. 7).

Recommends should be issued only to those who are worthy and faithful.  A sufficient time should elapse after baptism to prove worthiness.  Children under eight years of age do not need recommends, when they accompany their parents or guardians.  Recommends should not be given to persons afflicted with any kind of infectious disease, or with serious or offensive skin disease.

Before being recommended to receive endowments, each individual should be informed concerning the purpose, and importance, of that sacred ordinance.

Living boys and girls as young as sixteen years of age may receive endowments if, in each case, the character and condition of the individual is such that the Bishop feels justified in issuing a recommend for that purpose.

Males over twenty-one years of age, and females over eighteen, are not permitted to take part in, or witness, Temple ordinances until they receive their own endowments, except that they may be baptized for the dead; in that event the recommend must show that it is issued FOR BAPTISMS ONLY.  If they are to receive endowments at the time they are to be sealed to parents, the fact that they are authorized to be endowed then must be stated on the recommend.

A living woman can not receive endowments while her husband is alive, if the husband has no been endowed.

Men should be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood before they come to the Temple to receive endowments.

Recommends for the privilege to work in the House of the Lord must be renewed every six months.  Each individual needs a recommend, including children over eight years of age.

Individuals who have been endowed, and afterwards have been excommunicated, and subsequently joined the Church again, should not be recommended to the Temple until former blessings have been sealed upon them by special permission of the President of the Church.

Robes, etc., may be hired at the Temple, but all are advised to provide themselves with their own, if they can do so conveniently.  The sisters should not have long ‘trains’ on the white dresses they wear in the Temple, nor decorate with colored ribbons or gaudy ornaments.

Each person who is to receive endowments should bring a towel for their own use.  [Did they still wash the entire body at this point?]  All should be perfectly clean in body and clothing, not offensive to others.  

It should be clearly made known to those who can receive recommends to be married in the Temple, that they should not have the marriage ceremony performed before coming to the Temple, unless there is some good and justifiable reason for doing so, such as having to delay an undesirable length of time before they could come, or having to travel alone, by team, to reach the Temple.  

Bishops are not to issue recommends for second anointings: that is the province of Presidents of Stakes, under approval of the President of the Church, and the individuals selected must not be informed until after the issuance of such recommend.  As a general rule, such recommends are issued only in behalf of those who have had endowments in lifetime, and have been sealed and lived together faithfully as husband and wife, and who have been valiant in the defense of truth and active in all good works.”  (Joseph F. Smith, Circular Letter, 1918 [no month or day given].  In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 5:110-112)

ca. 1918:  Instructions on burial clothing.

“(p.2) Garments:

May be made of linen or cotten [sic], or the knitted ones may be used. They should be placed on the body as in life.

It is thought wise by the committee that the garments should be marked before they are put on the body, as in some instances, the marks have been forgotten. You, of course, understand that the important thing is to have them marked.

In answer to the questions if it is proper for anybody who has not been through the Temple, to work on Temple clothing, I am authorized by the Chairman of the Committee to state that this depends entirely on whether such person is worthy or not. In far away places where women are faithful and good, and are unable to go to the Temple, it is permissible for them to work on the clothing. This is especially permissable where these sisters are good needle woman [sic]. As a general rule, the Authorities of the Church prefer that this work be done by those who have been through the Temple, but they are willing, under the above circumstances, to make an exception to this rule.


The following questions have been asked pertaining to the clothing of the dead:

Should the veil cover the face, or should it be left up? 

Ans: It should cover the face always, before burial. 

Is it right to slant the robe on the shoulder? 

Ans: Yes. 

Should the robe be ironed in pleats? 

Ans: Not necessarily, but it is better that way.

(p. 3)


The following questions have been asked pertaining to the clothing of the dead:

Should the veil cover the face, or should it be left up? 

Answer: It should cover the face always, before burial. 

Is it right to slant the robe on the shoulder? 

Answer: Yes. 

Should the robe be ironed in plaits? 

Answer: Not necessarily, but it is better that way.

Which shoulder should the robe cover?

Answer: The right shoulder.

How many leaves should be on an apron?

Answer: as many as desired.

Should the stems of the leaves point up or down?

Answer: alway[s] up, the natural way.

Would it be wrong to put garments that are unmarked on persons who have not received their endowments?

Answer: There is nothing especially wrong about it, but we advise that it be not done.

Should the girdle be tied on the right side or on the left?

Answer: Always on the left side.

/signed/ Joseph F. Smith”

(No title to the document; ms/d/4563/p.2-3; Church Historical Department; Joseph Fielding Smith; 1838-1918. [3pp stencil instructions on Burial Clothing. The third page of this document appears to be a set of instructions based on recommendations of the Temple committee on Ordinance work, whereas, pp 1-2, may be the temple committee’s recommendations as inputs to a printing of Burial Instructions. Under the section for garments the following is given:])