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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1927

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1927.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1927.

1927:  25 Jan.:  Consultation with President Grant.

“I went to the Temple as usual.  Pres. Grant called me over to his office and the First Presidency then decided several important points pertaining to the Temple ordinances making a finish of the work which has been under consideration of a committee of five of the Twelve for several years.  These points today decided will be reported to the Council for their approval next Thursday.”  (George Franklin Richards diary, 25 Jan., 1927)

27 Jan.:  Final changes approved.  

“At the Council meeting the last of the committees’ recommendations concerning the endowment ceremonies was approved.  There remains to have then written for all the temples.”  (George Franklin Richards diary, 27 Jan., 1927)

15 Feb.:  Omission of references to retribution.

“Salt Lake Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

February 15, 1927

Pres. St. George Temple

St. George, Utah

Dear Brother:

We have the Temple ordinances written into the books for the Presidents of Temples and are preparing the Part books and will get them to you in the near future, or at conference time.

At request of President Grant we have already adopted some of the changes decided upon, and it will be in order for you to do the same.

In sealing for the dead whether one or both be dead, omit the kissing.  Omit from the prayer in the circles all reference to avenging the blood of the Prophets.

Omit from the ordinance and lecture all reference to retribution.  This last change can be made with a day’s notice to those taking the parts that contain such reference.

This letter is written with the approval of the Presidency.

Sincerely your brother,

Geo. F. Richards”  

(CR 100 14 #2.  Bergera notes)

6 Apr.:  Stake presidents not to recommend 2nd anointings.

“It is not customary now for presidents of Stakes, as you know, to recommend people for higher blessings.  That matter should be taken up by the visiting apostle at your quarterly conference, and all recommendations of this kind should come direct from the apostles.”  (Heber J. Grant to President Levi S. Udall, St. Johns, Arizona, 6 Apr., 1927.  Bergera notes)

18 May:  Change in temple recommend calendar.

“Presidents of Temples, Presidents of Stakes, and Bishops of Wards.

Dear Brethren:

In order to facilitate the efficient handling of temple recommends, it has been decided that in the future all such recommends issued during the first six months of the year shall expire June 30th, and that those issued between July 1st and the end of the year shall expire December 31st of the same year.

We desire, therefore, that Bishops of Wards shall make a notation on all recommends that they may issue, as to the date of expiration, namely June 30th or December 31st, whichever it may be.

Please notify your people of this change.

Sincerely your brethren,

Heber J. Grant

A. W. Ivins

C. W. Nibley

First Presidency.”

(18 May, 1927, First Presidency Circular Letters, LDS Archives, CR 1/1)

27 May:  Uniformity in temple recommends.


[This is a verbatim copy of the letter addressed to Brigham H. Roberts, of the Eastern States Mission, dated 22 Jul., 1925, and included in this collection]”

(27 May, 1927, First Presidency Circular Letters, LDS Archives, CR 1/1)

  Jun.:  Privileges concerning temple ordinances.

“The following question has been received by the Improvement Era:

Did the Saints in the time of Christ enjoy a fulness of the gospel, and all the rights and privileges that we enjoy as Latter-day Saints, as far as temple and other ordinances are concerned?

The fulness of the gospel, as that expression is generally used, was revealed in the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time, and the Saints in that day had the privilege of receiving all the ordinances essential to their exaltation.  By ‘fulness of the gospel’ is meant all the ordinances and principles that pertain to the exaltation in the celestial kingdom.  After the resurrection of the Lord, the Saints of that time also had the privilege of performing ordinance work for their dead.

We are informed by the Prophet Joseph Smith that when Elijah and Moses appeared at the transfiguration, they conferred on the Apostles Peter, James, and John, the keys of their respective callings.  Moses, evidently, conferred the keys of the gathering of Israel for that dispensation; and Elijah, the keys of the sealing ordinances, just as these ancient prophets did in the case of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

It is erroneously thought, by many, that Elijah held keys of salvation for the dead and that, therefore, he performed ordinances for the dead during the time of his ministry.  There is abundant evidence in the Scriptures to show that there was no work performed for the dead, who died without the privilege of complying with the principles of the gospel, until after Christ opened the door, after his crucifixion; but that all ordinances, including the binding or sealing performed by Elijah, was confined to the living.  After the resurrection of Christ the doors were opened to the dead, and the vicarious work for the dead was instituted and the authority of the Priesthood held by Elijah was then extended to include blessings for the dead who would have received the gospel if the privilege had been granted to them on this earth.

Speaking of Elijah’s mission, the Prophet Joseph Smith has said:

The power and calling of Elijah is that you have power to hold the key of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the Kingdom of God on the earth; and to receive and obtain, and perform all the ordinances belonging to the Kingdom of God.

It must have been this authority that was conferred upon Peter, James and John, as well as upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowedery.  We, therefore, conclude that the Saints in that dispensation had the privilege of receiving all the keys and authorities that are necessary for the salvation and exaltation of man.  However, these powers were exercised only for the living, until after the resurrection of Christ, when they were exercised also in behalf of the dead.

That the Saints in the Primitive Church did some work for the dead is evident from the writings of Paul, and the Prophet Joseph Smith has said that the Saints of that dispensation had greater power and privileges than were granted to those who lived in earlier times because of the authority to perform ordinances vicariously for the dead.  It is reasonable to believe, however, that the exercise of this authority was limited of necessity in those days.  The Dispensation of the Meridian of Time was not a dispensation of temple building.  The Lord has declared that these higher sealing powers are to be received and conferred in temples built to his name, and only in the days of poverty of the people can they be bestowed elsewhere.  The Saints in that day built no temple, and it is most doubtful that they ever performed ordinances in the temple in Jerusalem, which was destroyed about the year 70 A.D.

That certain knowledge and authority were denied to the Church in the Meridian of Time, and reserved for the Dispensation of the Fulness of Time, must be conceded.  When the apostles inquired of the Savior, just before his ascension, if he would at that time restore to Israel the kingdom, the Lord answered them:

It is not for you to know the time or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

While they may have had in mind merely the restoration of the political kingdom, the answer the Lord gave them goes much further than that, and we are led to believe that he had reference to other matters as well which were reserved for the last days, and with which the Church at that time had nothing to do.

It is also evident that the apostles had revealed to them much knowledge on this point, for later in their writings they intimate that powers and authorities were withheld until the later times.  Paul said to the Ephesian Saints:

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath proposed in himself;

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.

And again, writing to the Roman Saints, he said:

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

In harmony with these expressions we have the word of the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith:

For I deign to reveal unto my Church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times.–Doc. and Cov., 124:41.

Again the Prophet informs us that it is the purpose of the Lord in this dispensation to reveal the keys and powers of all other dispensations, and make ‘a whole and complete and perfect union and welding together of dispensations, and keys and powers, and glories * * * from the days of Adam even to the present time.  And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this the dispensation of the fulness of times.’–Doc. and Cov. 128:18.

This dispensation in which we live has aptly been compared to a great river into which all other streams flow and lend their influence and power.

We may conclude, then, that while the Saints in former dispensations were granted every privilege and power by which they, through their faithfulness, could obtain exaltation even to the fulness, the fact remains that the Lord has reserved many privileges, authorities, powers, and much knowledge for the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, into which all things are to be eventually gathered and made perfect in the consummation of the purposes of the Lord towards the earth and its inhabitants.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, “Privileges Concerning Temple and Other Ordinances,” IE 30(8):736-738, Jun., 1927)

22 Oct.:  Few of dead will reject temple ordinances.

“Upon one occasion I heard President Wilford Woodruff announce that there would be very few souls for whom the people performed ordinances in the temples of God, who, when they heard the Gospel preached to them beyond the veil, would not accept of the vicarious work.”  (Heber J. Grant, remarks at dedication of Mesa, Arizona Temple, 22 Oct., 1927; in IE 44(11):696, Nov., 1941)

Dec.:  Endowment of “knowledge” (vs. “power” earlier).

“These great truths are taught in the simplest manner and yet the methods employed comply with the strictest pedagogical rules.  Thus those who avail themselves of the temple privilege are ‘endowed’ with the knowledge and understanding of the greatest truths yet revealed to man.  This ceremony is literally an ‘endowment of knowledge’ which, if man uses it, will enable him to live to the full measure of his creation.”  (“Temple Worship, Meaning and Obligation,” unsigned lesson outline, YWJ 38:806, Dec., 1927)

Dec.:  Masonic connection:  a counterfeit.

“It is a great joy to know that the ceremonies of Temple worship were given to Father Adam and have been understood and practiced at least to some degree wherever temples have been built on earth.  From the original ceremonies many counterfeits have been made and the secret societies on earth today have some one or two of the original God-given kernels of truth mixed with many man-made husks.”  (“Temple Worship, Meaning and Obligation,” unsigned lesson outline, YWJ 38:807, Dec., 1927)