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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1921

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1921.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1921.

1921:    1 Feb.:  4 daily endowment sessions in SLC. 

“I met with the [temple] workers.  We informed them that tomorrow we will begin to hold four sessions of endowments.”  (Anthon H. Lund diary, 1 Feb., 1921)

10 Mar.:  G. F. Richards chosen SLC Temple President.

“President Charles W. Penrose was chosen to be First Counselor to President Heber J. Grant and Anthony W. Ivins was chosen to be Second Counselor, and Rudgar Clawson, President of the Twelve.  The Presidency retired for a few minutes, and upon their return, presented my name for President of the Salt Lake Temple and I was sustained unanimously.  The time of setting apart was deferred until my assistants were selected.”  (George F. Richards diary, 10 Mar., 1921)

14 Mar.:  G. F. Richards set apart as Temple President.

“President Heber J. Grant set me apart and Joseph Fielding Smith and Albert Davis were set apart as counselors.”  (George F. Richards diary, 14 Mar., 1921)

7 Apr.:  “Old” form of ordaining; Temple choir; etc.  

“At our council meeting it was decided that the old form of ordaining be used in the Temple and elsewhere.  It was also decided that we disorganize the temple choir at once.  A decision was also made that the Twelve Disciples held the apostleship i.e. we so believe.”  (George F. Richards diary, 7 Apr., 1921) 

8 Apr.:  Temple choir discontinued.

“Attended the temple meeting as usual and after the meeting Elder Jos. F. Smith and I met with the temple choir members, thanked them for their faithful services of the past and released them with our blessing.  Congregational singing will be engaged in exclusively. . . . By instructions from the First Presidency given yesterday while in Council meeting.”  (George F. Richards diary, 8 Apr., 1921) 

8 Apr.:  “Old” form of ordination to Elder.

“I instructed the brethren of the temple to eliminate from the ceremony of ordination (‘We confer upon you the holy Melchesidek Priesthood’) insisted by order of Pres. Jos. F. Smith.  The old form is to be made uniform.”  (George F. Richards diary, 8 Apr., 1921)

12 Apr.:  Uniformity of temple ordinances sought.

“Am working with Bro. D M McAllister on records trying to get uniformity of ordinances, decisions & with a view to having the Presidency pass on our suggestions and have them go out to all the temples.”  (George F. Richards diary, 12 Apr., 1921)

22 Jun.:  Administrations to sick shouldn’t be in temple.

“A question arose concerning ‘administering to’ or giving special blessings to the sick in the temple.  From the early days of the Church Latter-day Saints had followed the New Testament pattern of Church elders anointing with oil and laying hands on the heads of sick persons and pronouncing a healing blessing through faith.  Although such blessings could be given anywhere, Church members increasingly sought for and obtained them in the temple.  Elder Richards believed administering to the sick was not a function that demanded the use of the temple ordinance rooms and, therefore, recommended that the place for administering to the sick be changed from the garden room to the assembly room in the temple annex.  This would free the rooms of the temple for the specific purpose for which they were designed.”  (Mouritsen Diss., pp. 201-202; also George F. Richards diary, 22 Jun., 1921)

“The First Presidency had tried for several years to eliminate the practice of administering to the sick in the temple.  See Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 5:223-225.”  (Mouritsen Diss., p. 202)

22 Jun.:  Taking bride through the veil.

“The new temple president [George F. Richards] also recommended that when young people receive their endowment in anticipation of future marriage, the young man is not entitled to bring the prospective bride through the veil and receive her new name until the day of the actual marriage.”  (Mouritsen Diss., p. 202; also George F. Richards diary, 22 Jun., 1921)

22 Jun.:  Adjustments to 2nd anointing.

“[George F. Richards] also suggested several adjustments in the ordinance of the second anointing.  These recommendations were also approved by the First Presidency.”  (Mouritsen Diss., p. 202; also George F. Richards diary, 22 Jun., 1921)

“I obtained the ear of Presidents Heber J. Grant and Anthony W. Ivins and presented the following matters to them which they approved: . . .

Fourth, that in the ceremony of the Second Endowments the name of the husband should be given after the words, your husband in the anointing and again in the sealing of the anointing.”  (George F. Richards diary, 22 Jun., 1921; Ms/f/600/#4/CHO)

23 Jun.:  Instructions relating to 2nd anointings. 

“The following is one of the instructions given to Stake Presidents in connection with their issuing temple recommends for second blessings:

‘Send each and every recommend direct to the President, not by the hand of anybody, the person recommended included.  After the President returns the recommend to you bearing his signature of approval, it will then be in order for you to deliver it in person to the head of the family thus recommended, explaining to him in a private confidential way the sacredness of the ordinance, cautioning him at the same time not to speak of it to anybody outside the temple; and in the interest of privacy you are requested not to send more than one family to the temple the same week bearing a recommend of this character.’

If you and Prest. Shepherd of the Logan temple can agree between yourselves that these blessings can be administered to each family recommended by you without other families so recommended knowing anything at all about it, you have my consent that the recommends be acted on during the week of the visitation of yourself and people at the temple, otherwise the instruction in regard to this matter should be strictly adhered to.”  (Heber J. Grant to Prest. William L. Rich, Paris, Idaho, 23 Jun., 1921.  Ms f 272 #4, Letter Books of Heber J. Grant, Letter #473)

Aug.:  The Masonic connection.

“Relative to the Prophet’s connection with masonry and its connection with temple ceremonies, and the endowment rites having been copied from masonry, etc., which are the subjects of your inquiry, I would respectfully submit the following:

While there is no doubt of the Prophet’s connection with masonry, at Nsuvoo,–and that at about the same time of this first connection with masonry he also introduced the endowment ceremonies; namely, on the 4th of May, 1842,–the evidence, to my mind, is very clear that his knowledge of the endowment ceremonies preceded his contact with masonry.

I believe the beginnings of God’s revelation to him of endowment ceremonies began with his getting possession of the Book of Abraham, in the form of Egyptian papyrus manuscript, facsimilies of which are to be found in the History of the Church, Vol. IV, pages 520-523, the work edited by myself.  The Prophet first learned of this Book of Abraham, on July 3, 1835, (See History of the Church, Vol. II, page 235) and the record was purchased shortly afterwards by the Saints in Kirtland.  (For the Prophet’s account of this record see Church History, kVol. II, pages 348-351.)  A carefukl examination of facsimilie No. 2, from the Book of Abraham, and the Prophet’s half cryptic translation, which accompanies it, clearly shows that the signs and figures thereon refer to matters concerning grand key words of the Priesthood, with the assertion that some of the writing cannot be revealed unto the world, ‘but is to be had in the Holy Temple of God.’  Some nine of the figures in the facsimilie are referred to, with the promise that they will be given in the due time of the Lord, all of which doubtless refers to the sacred mysteries of our Temple ordinances, and all this from five to seven years before the Prophet’s contact with masonry.

In this connection, also, I call your attention to Doc. and Cov. Sec. 110, which contains the account of the visions of the Prophet in the Kirtland Temple, among which is the account of the appearance of Elias, who committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham unto the Prophet, saying, to Oilver and Joseph, that in them and in their seed all generations after them would be blessed.  Undoubtedly this Elias stood at the head of the dispensation of the gospel on the earth in the days of Abraham and hence was the one chosen to restore the keys of that dispensation to Joseph Smith, and since the reference I have given you to the Book of Abraham has such direct allusion to our temple mysteries it must be that Abraham obtained a knowledge of these things from Elias and also that the keys that he brought to Joseph Smith undoubtedly had reference to the same subject; and, as the visit of Elias occurred about one year after Joseph obtained the Book of Abraham, it was likely through the keys of knowledge restored by Elias that he was able to understand the subject matter of the Book of Abraham; and all this long before his contact and participation in masonry.  (For the Prophet’s account of the introduction of the endowment, on the 4th day of May, 1842, see History of the Church, Vol. V, pages 1-3.)

It is rather significant that about two months before introducing the endowments, namely, March 1, 1842, the Prophet began the publication of the Book of Abraham in the Times and Seasons, and as that was the beginning of the publication of the book, he must have been at work on the translation of it some months before.

A careful study of these facts will, I think, establish beyond controversy that the Prophet was not at all dependent upon anything he learned in masonry for our endowment ceremonies, any more than what he learned from the defective creeds of Christendom made him indebted to those creeds for what he brought forth in the dispensation of the gospel that he, under God, gave to the world.  The Saints may rest assured that what we have through the Prophet, in relation to the Priesthood and its sacred mysteries, resulted from the revelations of God to Joseph Smith, and not from the Prophet’s incidental and brief connection with masonry.”  (B. H. Roberts, Improvement Era 24(10):938-939, Aug., 1921)

11 Oct.:  Recommended changes in temples.

“October 11th 1921

President Heber J. Grant and Councilors

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Brethren:–

We, the Presidency of the Salt Lake Temple, respectfully recommend the following for your approval:

First:  that people coming to the temple to be administered to for their health are to receive that ordinance in the assembly room of the annex, rather than in the Garden Room of the temple, where such ordinances have heretofore been administered regularly on Tuesday of each week.

Second:  That a man should not be permitted to take his intended bride through the veil and receive her new name except on the day they are to be married in the temple.

Third:  In sealing of children to parents it is not necessary to use the word ‘Heiress’.  The word ‘Heir” applies alike to both male and female.

Fourth:  In sealing children to parents, whether the children be living or dead, they should be listed and sealed in order of their birth, where possible.

Fifth:  In sealing children to parents, where there are both living and dead children to be sealed by the same ceremony, use only the words of the ceremony heretofore used for living children.  It is not necessary in the ceremony to otherwise designate those who are dead.  Neither is it necessary in cases where one of the parents is dead to add the words ‘who is dead’ after that name in the ceremony.

Sixth:  In the ceremony of the second anointing, both in the anointing and the sealing of the anointing, add the name of the husband after the words, ‘to your husband.’

Seventh:  The president of the temple may decide questions of restoration of blessings for the dead; the question of restoration of blessings to the living to be decided by the President of the Church.

Eighth:  That in the ceremony of sealing a woman to a man, or children to parents, it is not necessary to repeat the word ‘you’ before each name.

George F. Richards President

Joseph Fielding Smith, 1st Councilor

Albert W. Davis, 2nd Councilor


Heber J. Grant

Charles W. Penrose

A. W. Ivins

First Presidency”

(From book of Temple Ordinances on file in HDC, p. 245.  Bergera notes) 

10 Dec.:  Work on temple guidelines.

“I went to the temple and worked at my desk until about 4 P.M.  I have been for some time correlating rules and decisions by appointment of the First Presidency to be considered and approved for guidelines of all temple presidents.”  (George F. Richards diary, 10 Dec., 1921)

27 Dec.:  Work on temple guidelines.

“I went to my office and to the temple and did some work on compilations of decisions & rulings and have them ready to submit to Bro. McAllister for inspection before presenting to the Committee & then to the Presidency.  They comprise 25 pages foolscap size pages.”  (George F. Richards diary, 27 Dec., 1921)

28 Dec.:  Work on temple guidelines.

“I turned papers over to D. M. McAllister to go over decisions proposed by me for use in all the temples.”  (George F. Richards diary, 28 Dec., 1921)

Instructions for 2nd anointings.

“This is from a xerox of an original typescript For 1901-1921

To the Stake President:–

1. Give names in full, using one form only and the next for each and every family.

2. Leave the line commencing with the word “for” blank. 

3. Send each and every recommend direct to the President, not by hand of anybody, the person recommended included. After the President returns the recommend to you bearing his signiture of approval, it will then be in order for you to deliver it in person to the head of the family thus recommended, explaining to him in a private confidential way the sacredness of the ordinance, cautioning him at the same time not to speak of it to anybody outside the temple: and in the interest of privacy you are requested not to send more than one family to the temple the same week bearing a recommend of this character.

4. All persons thus recommended should be true and faithful men, as a general thing rippened by age and experience, men valiant for the truth, who have never been known to waiver in the defense of the faith or to withhold their allegiance to or their support of the constituted authorities of the Church, as well as of clean moral lives, and their wives true and faithful Latter-day Saints. If there should be any doubt in your mind as to the entire worthiness of any person contemplated by you, it would be quite in order for you to satisfy yourselves by inquiry, but without mentioning the purpose thereof.

5. In the earlier life of the Church, the President thereof made the selections himself, but on account of its growth numerically, the Stake President, and he alone, has been designated to do this for him, subject of course to his approval and the Stake President therefore becomes the sole custodian of this book. 

6. A letter addressed to the President should accompany each recommend, giving a brief account of the man thus recommended. A valiant, faithful men, deceased, should not be overlooked. They may be recommended on the strength of the testimony of faithful men who knew them, whose testimony can be relied on.”  (Bergera collection, end of 1921.)