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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1954

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1954.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1954.

1954:    7 Jun.:  Age limits for sealing to parents.

“At the regular meeting of the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve held on May 20, 1954, the following decision was reached:

That hereafter recommends may be issued to worthy young people, both young men and young women, who have not had their endowments to go to the temple to be sealed to parents at any time prior to their reaching the age of 21.  This supersedes the earlier rulings on the question which made a difference between the young men and the young women in respect to the age limits governing them in this matter.”

(First Presidency Circular Letter, 7 Jun., 1954; xerox)

28 Jun.:  RLDS temple expose.

“Before I went to the temple [1947], the ward had a baptismal excursion and took the boys and girls ranging from twelve to fourteen and baptized them for the dead–the girls for the women, and the boys for the men.  When anyone goes to do the ‘work,’ the names are all ready for him.  The adults all volunteer to help each other after they get their endowment work done.  I didn’t have any temple clothes, so I bought my endowment garments–which are like suits of underwear.

I rented my temple clothes to work in (white shoes, hose, a white slip, dress, and a shield).  Then I was ready to be taken to the endowment room.  We went up the stairs–the men on one side and the women on the other.  I went into a room, where a woman took all my clothes off and set me in a chair.  She turned water on me and washed me all over.  then she anointed me with oil, and gave me a name (Naomi) by which I was to ‘pass by the angels and the gods without judgment in the first resurrection.’  Then I went into another room without my clothes on.  I was there dried, and then endowment garments were put on me.  I was to wear those garments day and night, never to pull them off only to take a bath.  She explained to me that the marks on the garments were for health and protection of the body, and the ones on the knees were to remind me to pray.  She also told me that the pattern of these garments was given to the prophet Joseph Smith through revelation, and were the same that God made for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

After dressing in the temple clothes, I was taken into a big room with beautiful paintings on the walls of the Garden of Eden.  There two men dramatized and told the story of the fall of man.  I didn’t pay much attention to the men, for I was looking at the walls.  Then I went into a room where a man was to stand proxy for my husband.  There was an altar; he knelt on one side, and I on the other.  We reached across and joined hands; this man was called by my husband’s name, and there I was married and sealed for time and eternity.  I never had such a feeling in all my life that I was doing wrong.  Leaving this room, we went into another.  In the room hung curtains with slits in them just large enough for a woman to put her head through.  There were also places on each side for her hands to come through.  There we went through the symbols and sings.  I was too scared to make half of them; I couldn’t think of anything but Master Mahan (Cain) and how the people did in the Book of Mormon days (Helaman 2).  When we got to the end of the row where we were supposed to take an oath that we would submit to having our heads cut off if we told anything we heard or saw while in the temple, I was too weak to raise my hand, and the sweat was pouring off me.

I worked for the dead all the next day, but I refused to be married for any one.  I just went into the endowment room and goththeir endowments for them.  I did that for over a hundred women the week I was there.  But when I got through and went home, I never asked for another recommendation to go to the temple.  I had had enough of that to last me all my life.”  (Bessie Shirley, “My Experience in the Mormon Church,” Saints’ Herald 101:613, 28 Jun., 1954)

2 Oct.:  Huge surplus of male names in temples.

“Sad to say, my brethren, a hundred thousand family group sheets are being held in the archives awaiting the endowment ordinances for the male names on those sheets.  The endowment, of course, must be done before these parents and their children can be sealed together.  The endowment work for the sisters’ names on those sheets has already been done.  The sisters are far ahead of the brethren in this endowment work for the dead.

The fact is, there are in the Salt Lake Temple alone, more than 100,000 surplus male names waiting there for some selfless individuals to engage in these ordinances in their behalf.  At least another hundred thousand male names are in the files of the other temples in the Church.  The dead, we are told, should bury the dead, but it takes the living to redeem the dead through this vicarious service.

President Brigham Young, pleading for the cause of the dead, once made this statement:

What do you suppose the fathers would say if they could speak from the dead?  Would they not say, ‘We have lain here thousands of years, here in this prison house, waiting for this dispensation to come?  Here we are, bound and fettered, waiting and waiting. . . .’  Why, if they had the power, the very thunders of heaven would be in our ears, so that we might realize the importance of this work!  All the angels in heaven are looking at this little handful of people, and stimulating them to the salvation of the human family. . . . When I think upon this subject, I want the tongues of seven thunders to wake the people.

(Of course, it would mean just the brethren now, since the sisters are way ahead of us.)

Now, brethren, in order to have the endowment work done for these two hundred thousand men like you, who are waiting to have their wives and children sealed to them–in order to get the endowment done for these surplus names, it has been suggested that the Melchizedek Priesthood in the various temple districts, through their quorums, organize themselves and assume greater responsibility in this activity, and take upon them the responsibility of bringing to an equal number the male and the female names in the temples; and to encourage your wives to permit you and urge you to attend these temple sessions on your stake days until there is an equalized number of male and female names in the temples.  Then after that is accomplished, with the new system that is being adopted, of placing most all the names in the temples in the temple files, where anyone may come and use them, it will make much easier the process of balancing the male and the female names and maintaining that balance.”  (Elray L. Christiansen, 2 Oct., 1954; CR Oct., 1954, p. 75)