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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1925

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1925.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1925.

1925:  Salt Lake Temple form letter.

“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. . . .

Recommends should be issued only to those who are worthy and faithful.  A sufficient time should elapse after baptism to prove worthiness. . . .

Recommends should not be given to persons afflicted with any kind of infectious disease, or with serious or offensive skin disease. . . .

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. . . .

A living woman can not receive endowments while her husband is alive, if the husband has not been endowed, without special permission of the President of the church.  The same rule applies to men as to women.

Men should be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood before they come to the Temple to receive endowments.  [i.e., including those 16 years old] . . .

All persons intending to go through the Temple with the first company should be in the building not later than 7:00 a.m.  To go through with the second company they should be in not later than 8:00 a.m.; with the third company at 11:00 a.m.; the fourth at 1:00 p.m.; and the fifth at 5:30 p.m.

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 long distances to reach the Temple.

Persons going to the temple to be married should be instructed that the placing of a ring on the lady’s finger is no part of the wedding ceremony and must not be done while at the altar in the sealing room of the temple. . . .

The foregoing instructions are issued by the authority of the First Presidency.

George F. Richards, President of the Salt Lake Temple.”  (Bergera notes) 

Apr.:  Genealogy for the missionaries.

“The recent announcement that the authorities of the Church have established a Home for Missionaries, where they may have a week’s sojourn in the city visiting places of interest, obtaining their endowments, and making an intelligent survey of the buildings, activities and interest at Church headquarters before leaving for their fields of labor will be gratifying news to all Latter-day Saints.

During this week, the missionaries will pay a visit to the Genealogical Library, where they will receive instruction on genealogical work carried on in the library, and what they may do to assist in this great work when they get out into the missionary field.  They will be especially instructed on the ways and means of helping the convert in gathering and tabulating their valuable data before they leave for Zion.  This plan of having the missionaries visit the library before leaving for their fields of labor, contemplates that these young folks shall receive the necessary information that will enable them to know the importance of genealogical records, and how to gather and tabulate the specific information for genealogical purposes, and thus pave the way for their development into skilled genealogists and temple workers.  If this people are to be the means of training the people of the world in the way of salvation, it is important that all educational facilities shall be utilized and that the means that have been provided for the tabulation of the genealogical data, that the important temple work may go on, shall be used by all of our people.  Genealogy has to do with individual responsibility, and no person can shift this responsibility and stand uncondemned before the Lord, for each one has a definite part of the work to do.  It is, therefore, very important that the missionary shall be acquainted with these fundamentals, that he might impress upon the mind of the new convert the necessity of seeking after his dead and these items of instruction will be given to him on his visit to the Genealogical Library, just prior to his leaving for his field of labor.

It is not enough that we shall send our missionaires out into the world to convert the people to the truth, but they must realize the importance of the doctrine of Salvation for the Dead, and must understand the methods and laws by which this great work is accomplished.  While temple work is an established fact, the methods of securing and preparing genealogy is still an ‘evolving fact,’ especially so far as the world is concerned, and it is important that the requirements made of individuals to carry on temple work shall be at least understood fundamentally.

From the day when the Prophet Joseph Smith received his revelation; (Section 128 Doctrine and Covenants) commanding him to record every important fact, and have witnesses to test his records, the Saints have been slowly but surely evolving methods by which they might more effectively and more perfectly perform the necessary labor attached to the work in hand.  Notwithstanding all of the developments that have taken place, the ideal has not yet been reached to care for this interesting and technical labor.  Therefore, it may be safely said that the results of surveys made by our missionaries will undoubtedly have a great weight in determining the changes that will be made to effectively bring about that high standard of efficiency that is necessary before the greatest good can be accomplished with the least possible effort.

The methods in vogue by genealogists throughout the nation, are somewhat varied, and yet like our own, they provide a wonderful basis upon which to build the records, which Latter-day Saints find indispensable for saving their dead.  What marvels have been introduced in these days: stenographic precision and reporting; wax cylinders which record the voice, preserving even its intonations; rubber stamps, the printing press; the vast industry of book printing and binding; the steel files; the card indexes for convenient filing of information;–all those have played their part in preparing the way for perfect identification of those who die without a knowledge of the Gospel.

The missionaries will enjoy the little time spent in the library of the Genealogical Society of Utah, where the acquired information along the antiquarian line provided for them at home, will be an aid to them in their genealogical endeavors in foreign fields, and thus enable them to gather together and bring to Zion such added information as will make available for the use of all who are concerned throughout the world, and especially in the larger libraries, which have grown to their present strength through long years of systematic application of the best methods and acquired systems that have come out of accumulated experience.

Thus it is hoped that the day will come when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will in very dded, lead the world in securing, arranging and recording all genealogical facts concerning the living and the dead, that the sealing power of the Gospel may be enjoyed by all who are entitled to its blessings.

In addition to this announcement relative to the training of missionaries, we are happy to be able to say that plans are now being perfected for the introduction of the fundamentals of genealogical work into the courses of theology in the Church Schools and Seminaries.  This means that 4,500 young men and women in attendance at the Church Schools and the 8,500 in the Seminaries will receive a general introduction to genealogical work and work for the dead.  Such instruction will lay a foundation for the building up of this important phase of Church work among the generation soon to be charged with the responsibility of carrying it forward.  Not only will the introduction of this work in the Church educational institutions guarantee a substantial dissemination of its cardinal features, but in the courses in Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Church History it can be properly and fully set into its historical backgrounds.  It is difficult to estimate the full significance of this latest provision for carrying forward genealogical work.”  (Adam S. Bennion, UGHM 16:77-79, Apr., 1925)

21 Apr.:  Never has been definite pattern for garment.

“With regard to the style of temple garment which may be worn with propriety and approval, the enclosed letter will make that matter plain to you.  There has never been a definite pattern of temple garment.  The pattern as well as the style has been modified and changed at various times.  Of course you will understand the garment must always be properly marked, and must be worn in the spirit of humility, and to keep constantly in mind the covenants that we enter into in the House of the Lord.  If this is done it will have His approval.”  (Anthony W. Ivins to Vearl L. Iverson, Mt. Trumball, Arizona, 21 Apr., 1925; Anthony W. Ivins papers.  Iverson’s letter was to Heber J. Grant.  It said in part:  “In this settlement there are various opinions concerning the type of garment which is the corect kind.  Before I wore either kind I would like to hear from you concerning the short length for summer.  If that style is prohibited I wouldn’t wear them therefore I would like to have some authority on the question.”  Her letter is also in the Ivins papers.)

22 Jul.:  Uniformity in Temple recommends.

“President Brigham H. Roberts

Eastern States Mission

Dear Brother:–

There exists at present a lack of uniformity in recommending Saints from the Missions to do work in the temples.

Following are some of the points we should like you to note when issuing recommends:

(1) Whenever possible brethren should be ordained Elders before coming to the temple for endowments.

(2) Sisters married to non-members should not be recommended to the temple to receive endowments.

(3) Bearers of temple recommends should be instructed that such must be endorsed by the President of the Church before being presented at the temple.  As it now is brethren and sisters often go direct to the temples with their recommends and there find they must be endorsed, and thus confusion and delay result.

(4) Brethren and sisters coming to the temples should bring their recommends with them.  Sometimes people come from a distance to this city expecting to enter the temple immediately upon their arrival, and then have to wait on expense until their recommends are received.  It would be far better for them to wait at their homes until they receive their recommends than to be delayed here.

(5) As far as possible Presidents of Missions should be personally acquainted with each person recommended, or at any rate be fully assured of the entire worthiness of the brother or sister recommended to enter the House of the Lord.

(6) The Deseret News publishes the dates of the closing of the temples during the summer, and it would be well to keep informed as to those dates and thus avoid having saints come long distances to do their temple work only to find the temple closed.

(7) The following form is suggested as sufficient for the purpose of recommending to the temple:

Elder (or Sister) _____ is recommended as worthy to enter the temple for (endowments) (sealing) (work for the dead).  He (or she) is a member of the _____ Branch, _____ Mission.

It will then be proper to add any necessary explanation or instructions as to where the recommend is to be sent, etc.  The names of a family may all be inserted on one recommend.

We feel sure that adherence to these rules will be the means of saving our time, also that of the Saints coming to the temples, and those officiating therein.

With best wishes, 

Sincerely your brethren,

Heber J. Grant

A. W. Ivins

C. W. Nibley

First Presidency”

(22 Jul., 1925, First Presidency Circular Letters, LDS Archives, CR 1/1)

13 Aug.:  Restoration of blessings to re-baptized women.

“Women who have received their endowments and have been excommunicated from the Church, should have these blessings restored to them after being baptized into the Church.  Inasmuch as women do not hold the Priesthood, it is unnecessary to submit each case for the written approval of the President of the Church, but members of the Council of Twelve, when visiting the stakes, may investigate each case on their own responsibility and restore former blessings upon women who had been reconfirmed members of the Church, having had that authority delegated to them in advance by the President of the Church.  Therefore, such persons do not need to take their temple endowments again.”  (13 Aug., 1925; Rudger Clawson “Book of Decisions-1”; in Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government (1939 edition), pp. 213-214)

Oct.:  Suggested donations to temple workers.

“There is no charge made by Temple authorities for performance of the ordinances, but, when proxies have to be obtained, to act in endowments for the dead, which occupies the time of an entire session in Temple work, a small amount has to be paid–75 cents for each man and 50 cents for each woman.”  (D. M. McAllister, SL Temple Recorder, UGHM 16:172, Oct., 1925)

10 Oct.:  Arrangements for proxy 2nd for F. G. Williams.

“I am informed by those who approached me on the subject, that arrangements were made for him (Frederick G. Williams) to receive the ordinances of the Temple, including the very highest that can be given to man, and if such an approval for such work was given at any time, I think that it devolves upon you to earnestly carry that forth to completion, removing obstacles that may have arisen concerning it so that justice may be secured for this veteran in the work of the Lord, for I am one who believes that the little weaknesses and misfortunes that baffle men ought not to stand in the way of those who were undoubtedly chosen of the Lord to assist in bring[ing] forth this work, and Dr. Williams was one who contributed to that cause and his legal representatives should be diligent in seeing that there is secured to him every blessing which of right can be claimed in his behalf.”  (B. H. Roberts to Ezra H. G. Williams [grandson of F. G. Williams], 10 Oct., 1925, LDS Archives; in BYU Studies 12(3):260, Spring, 1972)