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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1928

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1928.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1928.

1928:  Changes in 2nd anointings.

“In earlier generations, recommendation for the ordinance came from stake presidents.  Prior to 1928 the ordinance was used regularly.  It was customary for stake presidents to make recommendation for the ordinance to the President of the Church.  Special recommend books were issued to stake presidents for that purpose.  If the President of the Church approved the recommendation, he invited the candidate to the temple located in the temple district wherein the individual lived.  Upon presentation of a written recommend at the temple the temple president administered the second anointing to the recipients who were charged as a part of the ceremony to say nothing about the ordinance.  After 1928 such recommendation came only from members of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve.  Approval of the President of the Church was always a necessary prerequisite before the ordinance could be administered.”  (Mouritsen Diss., pp. 216-217; also Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 3:328)   

6 Apr.:  Beginning of push for frequent temple attendance?

“I rejoice in the temple work that is being done, and I wish to ask the Saints to try to shape their affairs so that they can occasionally go to the temple.  For years I felt that I was too busy to find a day or an evening in which to go to the temple.  A little over a year ago I made up my mind that by planning my affairs, by staying away from lectures or concerts or theatres or operas, that I could go to the temple at least once every week and have ordinances performed in behalf of some of my loved ones who had passed away.  By making up my mind that I could do this I had no difficulty whatever in going through the temple once a week during the entire year.  Starting this year I felt that by a little extra effort I could go twice a week, and I have had no difficulty in doing this.  True, I have had to miss, perhaps, an opera or theatre or some other function at which I should have liked to be present, but I have had no difficulty whatever during the past three months, in going to the temple twice a week, and when I can do so I go more than twice a week, so as to make up for the time when I am absent from the city.  Up to the first day of April I had endowments to my credit of more than two a week for this year.  We can generally do that which we wish to do.  A young man can find an immense amount of time to spend with his sweetheart; he can arrange his affairs to do that.  We can arrange our affairs to get exercise in the shape of golf and otherwise; we can arrange our affairs to have amusements; and if we make up our minds to do so we can arrange our affairs to do temple work, judging from my own experience of the last fifteen months.

I pray that the Lord will inspire each and all of us to greater diligence in performing to the full extent of our ability the duties and the labors that devolve upon us in doing vicarious work for our dead.”  (Heber J. Grant, 6 Apr., 1928; CR, April, 1928, pp. 8-9)

1 May:  Scheduling changes in SLC.

“Prior to 30 April 1928 endowment sessions were conducted in Tuesday, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays with Mondays and Saturdays devoted only to baptisms for the dead.  Beginning on 1 May 1928 Mondays were added to the endowment schedule and Tuesdays became baptismal days.  Saturdays were dropped altogether.”  (Mouritsen Diss., p. 209) 

23 May:  Garments and hospitals.

“General Board of Relief Society Minutes, 23 May 1928, p. 141:

Garments L.D.S. (ruling by First Presidency on Wearing of, by, Hospital Patients):  President Williams reported that a second letter had been received regarding the wearing of L.D.S. garments in hospitals during confinement and other illnesses.  She stated that this second letter had come from Arizona.  Upon receiving the letter she asked the secretary to confer with President Ivans in the matter, and President Ivans stated that it is perfectly alright and proper for women to remove their garments during lying-in at hospital or during other hospital illnesses.  President Williams stated further that in the conference with the Presiding Bishopric this morning the matter was reported to the Presiding Bishop and the Relief Society executive committee were informed by the Bishopric that they have understood for some time that it was allowable for women to remove their garments during the time they are confined in the hospital, if they so desire.  They quoted the following ruling, which was made by the First Presidency of the Church:  ‘On March 16, 1925, the Presidency ruled that, in response to an inquiry asking if it was proper to remove garments from patience [sic] during operations, that the wishes of the patients should be considered, but that there had been a ruling of the Presidency some time ago that because of sanitary reasons it might be wise to remove the garments from the patient, and where it is thought best to do so, this may be done.'”  (Bergera notes)

28 Jun.:  Recommends from missions. 

“According to a recent ruling of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, it will be unnecessary in the future for temple recommends issued to saints of record in the missions of the United States, Canada and Mexico, to bear the endorsement of the President of the Church or one of his counselors.

You are therefore hereby authorized to honor such recommends when properly signed by the Branch President and the Mission President.

Temple recommend forms similar to those in use in the wards and stakes of the Church are being printed, and the various missions will be provided with them at an early date.”  (Heber J. Grant and A. W. Ivins to George F. Whitehead, Acting President, St. George Temple, 28 Jun., 1928.  Bergera notes)

11 Aug.:  Book of Temple Recommends for mission pres.

[Book of Temple Recommends sent to replace letters of recommendation.]  (PBO Circular Letter, to “Presidents of U.S. missions, including Canada and Mexico,” 11 Aug., 1928; from Lester Bush notes)

Oct.:  Misc. temple regulations.

“A thirty minutes’ meeting of the Temple Workers and those going through the Temple for Endowments for themselves or the dead is held each morning of the days when Endowments are administered which are, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of each week.

The seating capacity of the Endowment rooms of the Salt Lake Temple is three hundred, and we have four sessions in the day-time and two sessions at night.  It requires from four to five and a half hours for each session but there are at times as many as three sessions moving at the same time. . . .

Every person over eight years of age must have a Temple recommend signed by the Bishop of his ward and the President of the Stake, or in their absence, by the counselors.  The recommend is presented at the door and a card is issued to the person recommended stating when the recommend expires and which admits the individual at any time until date of its expiration.  All recommends issued in the first half of the year terminate at the middle of the year, (closing time), and those issued at any time thereafter terminate December 31st.

A contribution box stands near the entrance where voluntary contributions are received to assist in the maintenance of the Temple. . . .

According to the best information obtainable about 20 per cent of all people born, die before reaching eight years of age, that means that 80 per cent of all persons born, live to be eight years of age or older, hence are eligible for baptism.  Now take a list of twenty names the birth date only given to each, but their birth took place more than one hundred years ago; we know that they are dead and that sixteen of the twenty persons listed are entitled to these ordinances by age but we do not know which they are.  Either we must deny these sixteen persons their privileges by baptizing none of them, or we will have to be baptized for four persons who died before reaching eight years by being baptized for them all.  It has been decided better to administer the ordinances to all such. . . .

Living children over eight years of age must be baptized before being sealed to their parents and girls over eighteen years and boys over twenty-one years of age must be endowed before being sealed to parents.  Those who have died after they have reached eight years of age must be baptized for, and may be endowed for, before being sealed to parents.  Those who attained the age of fourteen years must be endowed before being sealed to parents.”  (George F. Richards, “Temple Service,” UGHM 19:148-151, Oct., 1928)

19 Oct.:  Responsibility in geneal. and temple work.

“The following official statement was approved by the Board of Directors of the Genealogical Society of Utah, October 19, 1928, as representing their unanimous opinion:

The Teachings of all our leaders regarding genealogy and temple work emphasize the fact that our first duty is to seek out our own progenitors, i.e., our direct lineal ancestors and do for them the necessary temple work, until the chain of family groups of our progenitors is linked up in perfect order back to the beginning.

Yet a certain laxity has grown up in some of our methods.  Much of the work we are doing in our temples today is for individuals whom we cannot identify as our own ancestors, nor even as members of any particular family group.  There has grown up a widespread tendency to perform temple ordinances for unconnected names very inadequately identified.  The methods of some genealogists have been moulded to conform to that extreme attitude, and devices are used by them to obtain numerous names of the dead, with just barely sufficient personal identification to get past the rules of the temples which insist that our dead be identified.  Extreme lengths are sometimes resorted to in order to obtain names.  The very success of research has come to be judged by the quantitative output of names, and by the cheapness or the speed of copying names from sources readily available.

Such an attitude, if unchecked, would soon demoralize the whole system of research, and destroy the truth and sanctity of our temple records. . . .

In order that this attitude may be corrected, and the purpose of genealogical research may be presented in its true light, we recommend that the following statements be given official endorsement:

1. The primary responsibility of an individual is to seek out and have performed for the immediate family groups of his progenitors in the direct male or patriarchal lines the necessary temple ordinances, including the sealing ordinances.

Individuals are permitted in addition, to do research and temple work for the family groups of any of their other progenitors, with whom they can prove lineal relationship, provided that they first ascertain whether any others of closer kinship to these progenitors are working on their lines.  If so they should cooperate in all their efforts, under the direction of those having the closer relationship.  Thus, for instance, if a descendant in the female line from the Whitney family did research or temple work for progenitors in that family, it should be in cooperation with and under the direction of the heads of the Whitney family who have the right of directing that labor.

2. Individuals should be encouraged in every legitimate way to fully identify those for whom they do temple work, and complete their family groups.  Wherever the necessary information can be found, to justify the arrangement, names gathered should be organized into families and pedigrees.  This should be our constant objective in all research.

Should it be found necessary, owing to the present lack of facilities for European research, to permit families to take names from localities where their forefathers resided, on the supposition that they are blood kindred, this permission should be given with the understanding that every possible effort will be made to complete and connect up family groups.

Experience in research has demonstrated the futility of presuming that all people in a give locality of the same surname are related.  All Smiths or Christensons or Johnsons in Utah are not of the same family. . . .

3. Emphasis should be placed upon the increasing need for Family Organizations based upon proven facts of relationship to a given individual. . . .”  (UGHM 20:46-48, Jan., 1929)

Requirements for temple recommends.

“The bishops are authorized to issue Temple recommends to all faithful members of the Melchizedek Priesthood and adult women members of their wards.  Also, recommends for the performance of the ordinance of baptism for the dead may be issued to exemplary young people.  It is important that all those who may desire to enter the temple for endowments or other ordinances should be encouraged by the bishopric to observe the principle of tithing as well as all other Gospel principles.  Recommends are to be countersigned by the president of the stake.  They are valid for six months or less, and are to be renewed on January 1 and July 1.  Bishops should be careful not to issue Temple recommends until they are certain that those applying are members of record in their wards and otherwise worthy.”  (Handbook of Instructions for Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks, No. 14, 1928, p. 11)