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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1947

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1947.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1947.

1947:  30 Jan.:  No prayer circles outside temple.

Prayer circle patterns as held in the temples of the Church are not to be duplicated or imitated outside of the temples.  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 30 Jan., 1947.  In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 6:256.  Clark’s resume of letter.) 

28 Feb.:  Do not list names of natural parents.

“Following is a transcript for the minutes of the meeting of the First Presidency and the Council of The Twelve, which is self-explanatory:

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith called attention to an inquiry from President El Ray Christiansen of the Logan Temple on the following matter:  A couple have adopted legally an infant child, born illegitimately, and are desirous that the names of the natural parents not be placed upon the records.

In discussing this matter the Brethren were agreed that in cases of this kind the names of the natural parents should not appear on the record, and that the names of the couple who are adopting the child should appear as parents.  On motion this became the sense of the Council.  President George F. Richards was requested to convey this same information to all the temples.”

(George F. Richards to President Edward J. Wood, Alberta Temple, 28 Feb., 1947.  Bergera notes) 

1 May:  Prayer circles and Sunday School prayer meetings.

“We have had quite a number of inquiries as to the propriety of having a prayer circle in our Sunday School prayer meetings.  Similar inquiries have evidently been received by the First Presidency, as the following letter has been sent to us:

Presidents of Stakes

Bishops of Wards

Presidents of Missions

Presidents and Superintendents of Auxiliary Organizations

Report has come to us that there is a custom in some areas and among some organizations of having group prayers in which those participating, sometimes kneeling and sometimes standing, arrange themselves in a circle and then hold each other’s hands while the prayer is being offered.  From these reports which come to us it would seem quite obvious that the effort is to duplicate as nearly as possible the procedure of the sacred prayer circle.

This innovation is not in accordance with the dure order of the Church and should be discontinued at once.  Where groups are assembled together, the prayers should be offered in the ordinary way in which we offer prayers in our public services as at Sacrament meetings, Priesthood meetings, and other like gatherings.  This ruling does not exclude groups from kneeling in prayer on proper occasions, but it is intended to exclude all simulations of the regular sacred prayer circle.

We depend upon you brethren, and you sisters in your auxiliaries, to see to it that this practice is immediately discontinued wherever it exists.

The First Presidency.”

(Instructor 82(5):234, 1 May, 1947)

29 Jul., 1947:  1st Council of Seventy not authorized to perform temple marriages.

“Your letter of July 22nd, with one written by your father has been received this morning.

I want you to know that I appreciate your asking me to perform the marriage ceremony of you and your companion in the Salt Lake Temple this coming August 19th.  I would love to have done this for you, but members of the First Council of the Seventy have not been given the permission to perform marriages in the temples.  The reason for this is that members of the Quorum of the Twelve are officially chosen to perform ceremonies, and they can only do it by special permission outside the presidency of the temples.

President Joseph Fielding Smith is the president of the Salt Lake Temple, and he will only be too glad to perform your ceremony I know.  I regret very much that I cannot respond to your request.  However, when you come to Salt Lake, it will be a pleasure to see you.” (LEY to C.R. Varley, 29 Jul 1947, Levi Edgar Young Papers, Utah State Historical Society, B12, Box 6)