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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1936

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1936.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1936.

1936:  Apr.:  Six sessions per day in Salt Lake Temple.

“The growth of the work in the temples has been much more rapid of recent years than formerly.  For many years after the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated, but one session of endowments was held each day, and but three days each week.  At present six sessions are held each day on five days of each week.  There has been a corresponding increase in numbers of other ordinances performed.”  (IE 39(4):203, Apr., 1936)

Apr.:  1st Vision would have been in a Temple.

“Joseph Smith received his first vision in a grove which became sacred through the consecrated presence of the Father and the Son.  Moroni came to Joseph Smith first at his bedside and later at the Hill Cumorah once each year for four years at an appointed time.  This Hill became a sanctuary and depository for sacred things centures before when Moroni hid up the records of his people.  It became, like Jacob’s altar, a House of God, and there Joseph Smith received instructions from Moroni.

John the Baptist and Peter, James and John came in the wilderness to bestow their keys.  All of these visitations and many more unmentioned which were given to the prophets down the ages were given in this manner, in a grove, a wilderness, or on a mountain top, because at the required time for such a visitation there was no house of the Lord erected to His Holy Name.  We may safely say that none of these things would have occurred in that manner had there been a temple upon the earth in which the holy ordinances could have been administered.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, “The Mission of the Kirtland Temple,” IE 39(4):204-205, Apr., 1936)

Apr.:  JFS ignores the “endowment” of June, 1931.

“In December, 1830, the Lord gave commandment that the Saints move their headquarters from the state of New York to ‘the Ohio.’  One reason given for this change of location was that the Lord desired to give to the Church His law.  Moreover, He desired to endow the Eldership of the Church.  The Lord said in a subsequent revelation given in January 1831:

Wherefore, for this cause I gave unto you the commandment that ye should go to the Ohio; and there I will give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high;

And from thence, whosoever I will shall go forth among all nations, and it shall be told them what they shall do; for I have a great work laid up in store, for Israel shall be saved, and I will lead them whithersoever I will, and no power shall stay my hand.–D. & C. 38:32, 33.

In May 1833, the Lord gave by revelation the dimensions of this house.  It was to be ‘fifty-five by sixty-five feet in the width thereof and in the length thereof, in the inner court.’–D. & C. 94:11.  There were to be a lower court and upper court, and the building was to be dedicated ‘from the foundation thereof,’ according to the order of the Priesthood.  The Lord also said: 

And ye shall not suffer any unclean thing to come into it; and my glory shall be there, and my presence shall be there.  But if there shall come into it any unclean thing, my glory shall not be there; and my presence shall not come into it.–D. & C. 94:8, 9.”

(Joseph Fielding Smith, “The Mission of the Kirtland Temple,” IE 39(4):206-207, Apr., 1936)

Apr.:  Kirtland Temple dedication/Kirtland endowment.

“At the dedication there were given to the Saints some wonderful manifestations.  The house was filled with heavenly beings, which were seen only by a part of the congregation.  Some had the privilege of a vision of the Savior.  TDhe spirit of prophecy rested upon a number of the leading brethren and it was a feast of Pentecost to all who were assembled there.  The prayer of dedication was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith by revelation and is found as Section 109 in the Doctrine and Covenants.

. . . .

In January 1836, over two months before the dedication, the first ceremonies of endowment were given in the temple.  They were not as complete as are the ceremonies today, but nevertheless, it was the beginning of the revealing and bestowing of the heavenly blessings in this dispensation.  Washings and anointings were given, and the Prophet saw wonderful visions of the Celestial kingdom. . . .

It was made known by many manifestations of divine power at the dedication that the temple had been accepted as the house of the Lord, but the greatest manifestations of which we have record, came one week later on the Sabbath day–April 3, 1836.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, “The Mission of the Kirtland Temple,” IE 39(4):204-205, Apr., 1936)

Apr.:  History of the Temple Index bureau.

“With greatly increased temple activity it early became apparent to thoughtful students of the work that ordinances were frequently being repeated by various families for the same individuals.  The Young family organization and others endeavored, by means of a card index to the names appearing in their temple records, to prevent such duplication of ordinances by members of their own family organization.  On October 6, 1911, Elder Nephi Anderson uttered this forcast of the future:

Then, as temples multiply and the work enlarges to its ultimate proportions, this Society, or some organization growing out of this Society, will have in its care some elaborate but perfect system of exact registration and checking, so that the work in the temples may be conducted with confusion or duplication.

For another ten years appeals were made at intervals to the men standing at the head of genealogical and temple work, to devise some means of preventing future duplication.  The need and plan for an index to the ordinances performed in the temples was brought to the attention of President Anthon H. Lund, and Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, President of the Genealogical Society of Utah, and Church Historian and Recorder, respectively, by a committee, of which Elder John A. Widtsoe was chairman, appointed to make suggestions for the advancement of the work of the Society, and the idea received their endorsement.  Elders Joseph Fielding Smith, John A. Widtsoe, and Joseph Christenson were appointed a committee to work out details of the plan.  They met with the First Presidency in consultation.  At the October Conference, 1921, a meeting was held with the presidents and recorders of the temples to discuss a system of card index to prevent duplication of temple work.

The proposition was acted upon favorably.  On November 3, 1921, Elder John A. Widtsoe explained to the Board of Directors of the Genealogical Society of Utah the need of such a system and outlined some of the necessary steps for its establishment.  After a discussion, Dr. Widtsoe and his committee were instructed to continue working on the project and bring definite recommendations and an estimate of the cost of operation before members of the Board and before the First Presidency.

The plan progressed and on April 21, 1922, the Board decided to purchase filing cabinets and equipment.  The Temple Index Bureau was estalbished as an adjunct to the Historian’s office, being part of the record system of the Church, and comes directly under the jurisdiction of the Church Historian and Recorder.”  (Archibald F. Bennett, “The Growth of the Temple Index Bureau,” IE 39(4):218, Apr., 1936)

Apr.:  All names to be cleared prior to temple work.

“On October 12, 1926, Elder [Harry H.] Russell was instructed to draw up a notice to appear in the Deseret News Genealogical Department, and to be posted on the bulletin boards in the various temples and elsewhere, notifying the Saints generally that on and after January 1, 1927, all temple sheets prepared for endowment must pass through the Clearinghouse.”  (Archibald F. Bennett, “The Growth of the Temple Index Bureau,” IE 39(4):220, Apr., 1936)

Apr.:  Men receive ‘power from on high’ in the Temples.

“Temples are for the benefit and enlightenment of the members of the Church.  In them are revealed the keys of the Priesthood, and there power is given men ‘from on high’ to meet the many issues of life.  There men may commune with the forces of heaven, until doubt and questioning are replaced by knowledge and certainty.  The ordinances and ritual of the temple, profoundly meaningful, set forth completely and comprehensively the truths of life, explain the mystery of existence, and make the Gospel more understandable.  Those who have received with open hearts the blessings of the temple go out with increased power and a new understanding of life’s problems.”  (John A. Widtsoe, “Editorial,” IE 39(4):228, Apr., 1936)

Apr.:  Growth of temple work since dedication of SL Temple

“On the 23rd of May, 1893, the Salt Lake Temple opened for ordinance work with baptisms for the dead.  527 persons were baptized for that day.  The next day, May 24th, 33 living persons were endowed and 120 went through for the dead.  It took all day to get this first company through, consisting of 153 persons.  Our facilities for carrying on were very meager.  We had provided ourselves with a small blank on which to copy the names of baptisms, and we used that for the endowments, using a notebook for sealings in which we had to copy and recopy the names, making it possible for many errors to creep in.  Often we had to use blank pieces of paper, butcher’s paper, or anything else on which to make our records.  Soon we saw the need for blanks and we had them made; and later we improved on them from time to time until now we have an almost perfect system of blanks.

For a number of years we had only one company a day and when that company consisted of 72 persons, as happened on one occasion, it may well be realized that we had a very humble beginning.

It was found necessary to send the Recorders out to preach Temple work; and President Snow called them and sent them out for this purpose.  The mission was so successful that soon after we had to curtain the attendance by assigning dates to the different Stakes.  We had much confusion through overcrowding and the brethren very seriously enjoined us not to allow this crowded condition and so hundreds were sent away very sorrowful because they could not go through.  In order to meet this situation the brethren finally decided on the 14th of Feb., 1913, to allow two companies per day.  The brethren seemed rather dubious about allowing this change because they were afraid it would tend to confusion, but it worked out very beautifully.  Yet it was not long until both these companies were filled to overflowing, and so the decisino was reached that no company should be larger than 240, and no more than 1200 baptisms per day should be administered.  Soon after this time Monday and Tuesday were designated as baptism days.

On the 1st of September, 1913, typewriters were introduced for recording and the recorders, most of them having never used a typewriter, endeavored to do this recording, which of course was a rather slow process.  Subsequently girls were introduced to operate the typewriters.  At this present time 15 girls are employed constantly to take care of the different phases of recording.

On the 13th of Nov., 1913, the first large excursion from a distance came from Utah County, 150 persons attending.

On the 24th of Sept., 1919, we were permitted to have three companies a day, limiting each company to 220.  In the following year this was increased to four companies per day.

President Anthon H. Lund died on the 2nd day of Mar., 1921, and on the 10th of March, 1921, President George F. Richards was appointed President of the Temple in his place.  Our first evening session was held on Thursday, June 1st, 1921, in honor of President Brigham Young.  174 persons went through.  On the 12th of April, 1922, the capacity for each company was increased to 300.  On the 27th of Oct., 1922, Friday evening sessions began; and Wednesday evening was added to the evening sessions on the 24th of Jan., 1923.  Six companies were installed on the 10th of Feb., 1925, two of these companies being in the evening–known as 5 P.M. and 5:45 P.M. sessions, respectively.  Frequently it became necessary to have extra companies and for some time a 3:30 company served to take away the crowded condition in the evening, but at the present time this company has been discontinued.

In the summer and fall of 1935 extensive alterations and additions were made for the comfort of those who come to the Temple.  An excavation was made under the foundation and up into the font room so that baptisms may be performed each day of the week independent of the ordinances performed in the Temple proper.  Lockers are provided for patrons where clothing and valuables may be kept and more privacy is thus provided for those who attend the House of the Lord.

We have gone a long way from the first humble beginnings to the present modern arrangements, and the end is not yet.”  (Joseph Christenson, Vice-President of the Genealogical Society of Utah, and Chief Recorder of the Salt Lake Temple; “The Growth of Temple Work,” UGHM 27:91-93, Apr., 1936)

22 Apr.:  Committee Report on Garments.

“April 22, 1936

The First Presidency and

The Council of the Twelve.

Dear Brethren:-

Supplementing our report under date of March 31, 1936, which was in the nature of a resume of our deliberations up to that time, we, your committee appointed to give consideration to matters relating to temple work and ordinances, we beg leave to submit the following recommendations with reference to Temple garments:

1. That the present requirement for the use of the old form of garment exclusively in doing temple work be modified so as to permit the wearing of all approved patterns of the garment within the temple for endowment work. This recommendation is made in the belief that the present practice tends to build up in the minds of the people an unwarranted distinction between the old form of the garment, now used exclusively for temple work, and the modified form which has now been authorized for a number of years. It is thought that this distincition may serve in the minds of many people to invest the old form with far more of sanctity than the modified or new form of the garment, and that in consequence many may be induced to take liberties in unwarranted modifications of the new form of the garment which they might not otherwise take were the new or modified form of the garment permitted in the temple for endowment service. It is pointed out that in the beginning of the use of the new or modified form of the garment no such restriction against its use in the temple was contemplated, and that, although modified somewhat from the old garment, it is still the garment of the holy priesthood just as much as the old form of garment is, and should therefore be accepted for any use which may be made of the old form. The matter of uniformity is perhaps one of convenience but we may be sacrificing much in the way of reverence and respect for the garment which is worn outside of the temple to obtain this uniformity.

Three members of the committee favor this recommendation, one is opposed to it.

2. We recommend that we authorize the wearing of garments without sleeves which conform in all other respects to the pattern at present agreed upon, provided, however, that this modification, if adopted, shall not be construed to permit the wearing of mere shoulder straps. It is our thought that that portion of the garment covering the shoulders should be of the same material as the body of the garment, as illustrated by the sample herewith submitted. We make this recommendation somewhat reluctantly and with deference only because we have convinced ourselves that it will tend to bring about more repsect for instructions given for the wearing of the garment on the part of many members of the Church, and in the second place because we are sure that it will obviate undesirable exposure of the garment which now so frequently occurs through the wearing of present-day patterns of clothing. We feel sure that such a modification will greatly please many good women throughout the Church, and we have not been able to see that we are yielding any vital thing in this slight change. Very short sleeves are now permitted, but such short sleeves are just enough to carry an undesirable display of the garment with modern styles of clothing.

Three members of the committee concur in this recommendation, one does not assent to it.

3. We recommend that a definition be given in the temple of the symbolism and significance of the various marks in the garment. We believe that an understanding on the part of those entitled to wear the garment of these sacred makings will tend greatly to bring about more reverence for the garment itself. The best interpretation which has come to us up to this time has been supplied by President McKay. It is as follows:

A. The square: Honor, integrity, loyalty, trustworthiness.

B. The compass: An undeviating course in relation to truth. Desires should be kept within proper bounds.

C. The navel: That the spiritual life needs constant sustenance.

D. The knee: Reverance [sic] for God, the source of divine guidance and inspiration.

To this last one might be added that which is now in use: That every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.

All concur in this recommendation.

4. We recommend that there be an understanding that when occasions arise that necessitate the exposing of the garment to the gaze of the curious, the unbeliever or the scoffer, the wearer is justified in laying it aside temporarily and that the wearer must be the judge as to what circumstances warrant this action.

5. We recommend that an effort be made to collect immediately all trademark labels signifying official approval of garments manufactured, and that hereafter we endeavor to prohibit their use entirely. We recommend also that an attempt be make to dissuade merchants and manufacturers from advertising L.D.S. garments.

6. We recommend that an effort be made, through selected agencies of the Church, to disuade all members of the Church from asking for L.D.S. garments when purchasing from mercantile institutions, and that the people be instructed never to have the markings placed on the garments at such places; that all markings be placed on garments either by those entitled to wear them, the Relief Society, or other persons specially authorized to do this work, and then an understanding be had that no underwear becomes a temple garment until after it has been properly marked by those having authority to do the marking.

One member of the committee does not favor the restriction against mercantile institutions marking garments.

Very respectfully submitted,





  The Committee”

(Committee Report to The First Presidency and The Council of the Twelve; April 22, 1936; Bergera collection.)