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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1943

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1943.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1943.

1943:  Apr.:  Endowment kept fresh by work for the dead.

“The temple endowment, which we receive but once for ourselves, may be kept fresh in our memory by receiving these ordinances, repeatedly, for our dead.  This is a high privilege.  Besides, to open the doors of salvation for the unnumbered hosts of our ancestors, is an urgent obligation resting upon every Church member.”  (John A. Widtsoe, “Evidences and Reconciliations,” IE 46(4):224, Apr., 1943)

Apr.:  Plea for genealogical research.

“The beginning of work for the dead is to secure the names of our ancestors, and such vital data about them as make us certain of their identity.  Only then can we present them for temple blessings.  Therefore, the searching out of our genealogies becomes of first and utmost importance in accepting the divine obligation placed upon us.  There should be constant and unending efforts on the part of Latter-day Saints to discover their genealogies, to gather and expand them, so that temple blessings may be offered to as many as possible of those who dwell in the spirit world.”  (John A. Widtsoe, “Evidences and Reconciliations,” IE 46(4):224, Apr., 1943)

Apr.:  Temple work a new priesthood assignment.

“On April 6, 1943, it will be fifty years since the time of the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple.  It is suggested that this is a good time for the members of the Church to increase their activities in genealogical research, the compiling of family records and their labors in the temples in behalf of their dead.

It is further suggested that the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums of the Church receive this labor as a quorum project, which could be assigned as an activity under the direction of the Church Service committee of each quorum.  This committee, under the supervision of the quorum presidency, is to be instructed to encourage, strengthen and teach the members of the quorum in this great responsibility which the Lord has placed upon us in behalf of our dead who have died without the knowledge of the gospel.  Men who are skilled in the art of research should be placed upon this committee with instructions to assist their fellows in the compiling of their genealogical records.

Each family should prepare a family record written upon the standard Family Group sheets so that it will be in harmony with the records prepared for temple work.  It is also requested that each family prepare a pedigree chart showing the family tree as far as it is possible to compile it.  In this record there should also be recorded the life stories of the father, mother, and children with pictures of interest to the family group.  Certificates of blessings, baptisms, and confirmations, and ordinations, marriages, etc., may also be placed in this record.

Each quorum member should be encouraged to make a Book of Remembrance and begin some genealogical research in the family line.  The Genealogical Society of Utah will be happy to assist any person, or family in the gathering and compiling of the genealogical records.  A preliminary search will be undertaken for any person for a nominal price.  Particulars regarding this and other research may be had by corresponding with the Genealogical Society of Utah, 80 North Main Street.

The importance of record-keeping has been neglected by many members of the Church.  Eacn person should have a record of his own vital statistics, such as date and place of birth, blessing, baptism and confirmation, ordinations, mission appointments, mariages, etc.  It is deplorable that so many members of the Church have no data in regard to these important matters.  This is a project given to the quorums of the Priesthood and is to be assigned to the Church Service committee, and it is hoped that these deficiencies may be overcome.  The Genealogical Society will be pleased to furnish detailed instruction in relation to the keeping of these records.

The foregoing instructions and suggestions are presented with the approval and sanction of the General Authorities of the Church.

Melchizedek Priesthood Committee

By Joseph Fielding Smith, Chairman.”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 46(4):232, Apr., 1943)

May:  Names needed for temple work.

“We are short of female names at the Salt Lake Temple, as at all the temples, but have a goodly number of male names.  If the members of the Church having female names they would like done will bring them in, approved by the Index Bureau, we will see that the work is done for them, for the present at least.  Members are urged to push research on their own lines.

Stephen L. Chipman, 

President, Salt Lake Temple.”

(“The Church Moves On,” IE 46(5):287, May, 1943)

Jun.:  Temple Index Bureau function.

“Here is the story of how the record of temple ordinances done now finally takes its place with the records of over a century of temple work being kept in an adequate room beneath the temple annex.

The temple index bureau first checks the name to avoid duplication of ordinance work.  A typewritten card is made from the family group sheet submitted.  This card is sent to the temple designated by the person doing the work.  The name goes first to the baptismal department.  When the baptism has been performed, the card is photographed, together with the names of the necessary witnesses and ordinance workers, and is then placed in a file where it waits for the endowment work to be done.  The morning after this work is done the card is taken and again is photographed just as it is after the baptism ordinance.

Twenty-one cards are placed on a tray and photographed simultaneously.  The camers is so focused as to reduce the size of each card by half.  The twenty-one cards grouped together make a page 9 1/2 by 11 inches.  Another twenty-one cards are photographed on the reverse side of the sheet, which, developed, is later bound into book form.  The original cards are then sent to a typist who prepares an index of the names.  The cards are sent to the index bureau, where they are permanently filed.

The photographic record is thus an exact copy of the card.

For the record of the sealing ordinances that follow endowments family group sheets are used.  After the ordinances are completed, these sheets are placed on trays, from three to seven to a tray, and photographed in the same way.”  (Albert L. Zobell, Jr., “Genealogy,” IE 46(6):332, Jun., 1943)

Sep.:  Regular temple work to be a quorum project.

“The priesthood committee of the Council of the Twelve suggests that for the next twelve months all Melchizedek priesthood quorums in the church set up as one of their projects that every quorum member engage regularly in temple work, if living near the temples, at least once a month, better once a week, or arrange to have such temple work done regularly by others if the member lives at a distance from the temples.

Such work could profitably be done as quorum groups.  The quorum would gain much thereby.

In the work attention should be given first to the names of our owh lines; but failing this, work should be done for the thousands of male names now lying in the temple archives.  If all quorums will take up this project, within the year work will be completed for all these names.  Blessings will come as a result of all quorums that participate.  The waiting dead are grateful.

Let this matter be taken up by every Melchizedek priesthood quorum in the church.  The Church Service committee could well take the lead in keeping this matter alive before the quorum and in organizing temple excursions.”  (“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 46(9):552, Sep., 1943)

13 Sep.:  Special push to handle backlog of male names.

“During the years that work for the dead has been performed in the temples, the endowment ordinances for women have greatly exceeded the endowment ordinances for men.  As a consequence there are on file in the temples the names of upwards of 100,000 men for whom the ordinance of baptism has been done, but not the endowment ordinances.  The greater part of these names have been forwarded from the Saints in the various mission fields from those who do not have access to the temples.

This condition has been given consideration by the presiding authorities of the church and it is suggested by them that the duty of clearing these names be turned over to the Melchizedek priesthood quorums as a quorum project.  The church service committee should have the direction of this labor in each stake of Zion.

If all the brethren who hold the priesthood, and who are worthy to enter the temples, would take but one or two names during the year, these names could readily be cleared.  Under present conditions the sealings of parents and children to parents is forced to wait on the endowment of the fathers, husbands, and sons.

It is further suggested that the genealogical committee in each stake could cooperate with the priesthood quorums in this important labor, which should be supervised by the presidency of each stake.

In arranging for your work and carrying out the same, the brethren will have in mind the demonstrated unwisdom of conducting ‘caravans’ to the temples.  There have been tragic accidents in connection with such excursions.  Arrangements for visiting the temples should be made with great care and it would appear to be wisdom to discourage the going to temples in large groups from far-off places.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 13 Sep., 1943; IE 46(11):698, Nov., 1943)

Oct.:  Genealogical group in each quorum.

“Genealogical activity in the church is usually an indication of spiritual growth and development.  It denotes an interest in temple work and a faith in the fundamentals of the gospel.

An active genealogical group in each quorum of the priesthood will do much to maintain and enrich the spirituality of its members.  This important church activity should be encouraged  and extended in the quorums.  A solemn obligation rests upon each bearer of the priesthood to trace back his ancestral lines with a view to providing the necessary information before temple work can be done.

The church service committee is charged with the responsibility of keeping alive the interest of quorum members in church work and to encourage participation in the far-reaching program provided for man’s salvation.  Many who are now indifferent can be persuaded to begin the interesting and fascinating work of compiling their genealogies.  A survey of quorum members will probably disclose a lack of interest in this important church activity.  Whatever success is attained in such a project will strengthen and spiritualize the quorum.

Remember that every priesthood bearer is asked during the next twelve months to be endowed or secure the endowment for one man who has passed beyond.”  (“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 46(10):617, Oct., 1943)

14 Oct.:  2nd anointings for General Authorities.

“Attended 10:00 A.M. meeting of the First Presidency, the Twelve & the Patriarch. The council approved my recommendation that 2nds be offered the following: Harold S. Snow of St. George Temple, El Ray Christiansen Pres. of Logan Temple and David Smith, Pres. of Idaho Falls Temple.”  (George F. Richards Journal; Ms/f/600/#4/CHO.  Bergera collection.)

18 Nov.:  Temple service by priesthood quorums.

“Dear Stake Chairman:

On September 23, 1943, we sent you a copy of a letter from the first presidency to presidencies of stakes and presidencies of Melchizedek priesthood quorums, calling upon members of such quorums to clear the names of males in the temples awaiting endowment, particularly those in the mission and community lists.

This was to be undertaken as a quorum project, the church service committee having the direction of this labor in each stake and all to be supervised by the presidency of the stake.

It was further suggested that each stake genealogical committee should cooperate with the priesthood quorums in this important labor.

Sufficient time has now elapsed for a definite estimate to be made of the plans under way in your stake for the accomplishment of this objective.  Please write us soon, explaining:

(1) what temple work has already been done by the quorums of your stake; (2) what devices and procedures they have utilized to interest quorum members in the project; (3) the exact plan of organization being put into operation; and (4) the part your stake and ward genealogical and temple committees have been able to take in the program.

. . . .

Genealogical Society of Utah,

Joseph Fielding Smith, President

Archibald F. Bennett, Secretary.”

(“Genealogy,” IE 47(1):45, Jan., 1945)