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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1964

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1964.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1964.

1964:  24 Feb.:  Old-style garments preferable.

“I, W. Cleon Anderson, do hereby certify and declare that on the 21st day of February, 1964, at nine-thirty A.M. I met for about thirty minutes with President Joseph Fielding Smith, he gave me some instruction in answer to a letter written February 14, 1964. (i.e., Blessings and naming of children). I requested that he put these instructions on paper, initialing and signing those items in my presence, which he did. After President Smith finished going over the above subject with me, the following conversation ensued:

     I asked President Smith, “Is it wrong to wear the string tie garments outside the temple?”

     President Smith looked at me for several moments and then unbuttoning the third button in his shirt, brought out one of the ties on a pair of old style temple garments and said, “This is what we should be wearing—the Lord gave them to us, and so this is what I wear.”

     I said, “I have worn the old style garments for two years now and some of the ignorant brethren have accused me, so now I wear a tee shirt over them.”

     President Smith then said, “When the Lord gave the garments to us they had strings. I have never worn a button pair; however, I don’t say those with buttons are not garments.”

     This conversation left me with the idea that it was altogether fitting and proper to wear the original style garment outside the temple.

     I then presented President Smith with a letter which I wrote to him on January 28, 1961. After reading the letter, he said, “The Book of Mormon gives the correct account. There were three days of darkness on the earth, we don’t read of it in the Bible, but it may have been dark over there, too. I don’t know. The Savior’s body did lie in the tomb during the three days of darkness on this hemisphere. The Book of Mormon is the correct book to follow. If you want, I can take you back into the library and show you an article which a brother wrote on this subject.”

     I said, “When was it written?”

     President Smith answered, “A few years ago, it was published in the Improvement Era.”

     I said, “In 1915?”

     President Smith answered, “It could have been that long ago.”

     I said, “I have read that article.”

     President Smith said, “The Savior’s body was in the tomb for three days as the Book of Mormon tells us.”

     During the conversation Doctor Talmage’s book, “Jesus the Christ,” was not mentioned. I received a strong impression that I was right regarding the “Three days and three nights in the tomb.”

                                   /s/ W. Cleon Anderson

     Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 24th day of February, 1964.

/s/ Cyril L. Draney, Jr.

Notary Public

Salt Lake City, Utah”

(Statement by W. Cleon Anderson witnessed by Cyril L. Draney, Jr.; February 24, 1964; Bergera collection)

Mar.:  Trace genealogies as far as we can.

“We are commanded by revelation to trace our genealogies as far as we can, and to be sealed to all our progenitors.”  (“Church-wide program of Education in Genealogy,” IE 67:164, Mar., 1964)

Mar.:  Pilot program for genealogy class for youth.

“A most important responsibility of the Church is to teach these things to the members of the Church.  Existing avenues of instruction are:

. . . .

c.  the projected class in Sunday School for young people, 14-15 years of age, being tried out in six pilot stakes in 1964;

. . . .”

(“Church-wide program of Education in Genealogy,” IE 67:164, Mar., 1964)

Apr.:  Are women responsible for theirs or husbands’?

“Question:  A fried maintains vigorously that when a woman is sealed for eternity to her husband, she belongs henceforth to his family, and no longer to her father’s family.  He says she has no further responsibility in reserach and temple work toward her father’s progenitors.  Is this true?

Answer:  No.  Daughters are sealed to their parents for eternity, just as wives are sealed to their husbands for eternity.  One sealing is just as binding, just as enduring, as the other.  Daughters occupy the relationship of daughter to the father and mother forever, in the patriarchal family chain.  The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:

If you have power to seal on earth and in heaven, then we should be wise.  The first thing you do, go and seal on earth your sons and daughters unto yourself, and yourself unto your fathers in eternal glory.  (TPJS, p. 340)

Wilford Woodruff, as President of the Church, proclaimed in general conference, April 8, 1894, 

We want the Latter-day Saints from this time to trace their genealogies as far as they can, and to be sealed to their fathers and mothers.  Have children sealed to their parents, and run this chain through as far as you can get it.  This is the will of the Lord to his people.

The husband is responsible for tracing his ancestry, the wife for tracing hers; their children are responsible for tracing the lines of both their father and mother.  It is entirely appropriate for the husband and wife and children to co-operate fully in the search.”  (“Pertinent Questions Answered,” IE 67:271, Apr., 1964)

May:  Is genealogy, or temple work more important?

“Question:  Which is actually more important for me, to be as active as possible in genealogical research on my ancestral lines, or to attend the temple regularly and perform ordinances for my kindred dead?

Answer:  In an official letter to stake presidents and stake genealogical charimen, under date of 18 February 1958, President Joseph Fielding Smith, then president of the Genealogical Society, gave this clear explanation:

During the last few years emphasis has been placed on temple work.  Through the consistent effort of stake leaders, temple activity throughout the Church has increased tremendously.  Because of this it is now necessary for us to stress the need for more accurate research to produce better records.

It should be stressed that genealogical research is just as important as temple work, and is entitled to equal credit.

The same truth was emphasized by President George F. Richards, formerly president of the Salt Lake Temple:

To seek after our dead means to find them out by genealogical research, to obtain the information regarding them that will identify them from all other people bearing the same name.  A perfect identification is to have the individual’s full name, also the day, month, and year of his birth; the town, county, and state where he was born; the date of his death; the name of his father and mother; and, if it is a married man, his wife’s name; and, if it is a married woman, her husband’s name.  We regard this as complete identification. . . . As you know, this information must be had concerning our dead before we can go into the temple and do the work for them.  It places the principle of genealogical research, so far as our dead are concerned, on a par in importance with the temple work which we do for them.  And when the Prophet says, 

The greatest responsibility in this world that God has placed upon us is to seek after our dead,

it means the responsibility of finding them out by genealogical research and then going into the temple and receiving for them those saving ordinances.  (IE 45:288, May, 1942)

What we would like to point out is that neither should be placed above another.  We complete our genealogical research when we complete the ordinance work in the temple.  To secure the blessings of temple ordinance work we must first do genealogical work.”  (“Pertinent Questions Answered,” IE 67:366-367, May, 1964)

Jul.:  For whom is vicarious work done?

“Question:  In the gospel doctrine class when we were discussing salvatin for the dead, I asked the question: ‘For whom are we to do the vicarious work?’  One of the members answered, ‘For everybody.’  Then I read from the Doctrine and Covenants, section 85, verses 3-5, as follows:

It is contrary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeable to his law, which he has given, that he may tithe his people, to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names enrolled with the people of God.

Neither is their genealogy to be kept, or to be had where it may be found on any of the records or history of the church.

Their names shall not be found, neither the names of the fathers, nor the names of the children written in the book of the law of God, saith the Lord of Hosts.

We read also in the book of Ezra, second chapter, verses 62 and 63, that those who were not found on the register were put from the priesthood.  Moreoever we read in chapter ten that those who had taken strange wives were barred from the priesthood.  It has been my impression that vicarious work for the dead, such as baptism, endowment, etc., was for people who had no opportunity to partake of the blessings of the gospel and who had passed on to the other side.

Answer:  When the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith the glorious provision which had been prepared for the dead, the Prophet wrote to his brethren who had gone to England to open the mission in that land the following words:

[HC 4:231]

Again in a discourse delivered Sunday, May 12, 1844, the Prophet Joseph Smith said:

[HC 6:365-366]

Since the Savior was positive in his teachings that baptism is essential for salvation, every adult person–that is over eight years of age–must be baptized by divine authority if he has understanding.  Baptism would not apply to the incompetent who are not capable of understanding.  All little children, no matter who they are, who die before the years of accountability, are saved in the kingdom of God.  In proof of this, reference is given to the Doctrine and Covenants section 29, verses 46-50, and Moroni 8:19-22.  Therefore provision has been made from the beginning for the ordinances to be applied vicariously where they cannot be given in mortal life.  The gospel teaches a vicarious salvation.  No soul could be saved from death had not Jesus our Lord paid the sacrifice by the shedding of his blood and by this means opening every grave, not for mankind alone, but for every other living creature that partook of death through the fall.

The counsel that was given to the Zoramites by Amulek (Alma 32:32-34) has no reference whatever to the dead who died without a knowledge of the gospel.  These Zoramites had apostatized from the Church and were in absolute spiritual darkness.  Therefore they were without excuse in their transgressions.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, “Your Question,” IE 67:566-567, Jul., 1964)

Jul.:  Role of High Priests in genealogy/temple work.

“Today we meet the needs of the more than two million members with a call for all members to take part.  This will be accomplished under the priesthood correlation plan of the Church, carried out in the wards with supervision by the stake leaders.  One of the important leaders, working under the direction of the stake president, is the stake genealogical adviser.

. . . .

4. He instructs the group leaders of high priests in the wards (these are responsible for the promotion of the genealogical work in the ward) at the monthly leadership meeting.

. . . .”

(“Melchizedek Priesthood,” IE 67:592, Jul., 1964)

15 Jul.:  New edition of temple recommend.

“A new form of temple recommend has been printed for use after August 1.  This will be prepared in duplicate instead of triplicate.  The original copy (white) will be given to the applicant and the duplicate copy (pink) will be retained in the book.

The recommend will be valid for admission to all temples in the Church and will expire on April 30 following the date of issuance instead of July 31 as in the past.

At the time you affix your signature inform each applicant that no person will be admitted to the temple without the recommend in his personal possession.

Please destroy all of the old form recommends you may have on hand and use only this new form commencing August 1, 1964.  One book of recommends is being mailed herewith to each bishop and branch president.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 15 Jul., 1964; xerox)

31 Aug.:  Garments and the military.



Salt Lake City, Utah

August 31, 1964



Dear Brethren:

The calling of men into military training renders it desireable to reaffirm certain observations heretofore made in the matter of wearing the temple garment.

1. The covenants taken in the temple incident and attached to the wearing of garments contemplate that they will be worn at all times. No exception to these covenants is found anywhere in the ceremonies. These covenants run between the one making them and the Lord. These covenants so made take on the nature of commandments of the Lord.

2. In the early days of the Church the Lord announced that where men prevented his Saints from carrying out the commandments he had given them, the Lord would relieve the Saints from rendering obedience to the commandment, and would visit the iniquity and transgression involved in such disobedience upon the heads of those who “hindered” his work. The Lord said this rule was given for the consolation of the Saints “who have been commanded to do a work and have been hindered by the hands of their enemies, and by oppression.” (D&C 124:49 ff.)

3. Where the military regulations are of a character that “hinders”, that is, makes impossible the wearing of the regulation garments, either in training on the drill grounds or in combat zones, effort should be made to wear underclothing that will approach as near as may be the normal garment.

Where military regulations require the wearing of two-piece underwear, such underwear should be properly marked, as if the articles were of the normal pattern. If circumstances are such that different underwear may be turned back to the wearer from that which he sends to the laundry, then the marks should be placed on small pieces of cloth and sewed upon the underwear while being worn, then removed when the underwear is sent to the laundry, and resewed upon the underwear returned.

The wearing of the normal garment should be resumed at the earliest possible moment.

4. Every effort should be made to protect the garments from the gaze and raillery of scoffers. This may cause considerable inconvenience at times, but tact, discretion, and wisdom can do much to alleviate this inconvenience. If the scoffing became unbearable and the wearer should decide that the Lord would consider he was really “hindered” by the scoffers from wearing the garments, and if he should therefore lay them aside, then the wearer should resume the wearing of the normal garment at the earliest possible moment.

A certain amount of curiosity and light comment may be frequently expected, wherever, for one cause or another, the garments are brought into view, but this is not the “hindering” of which the Lord spoke as excusing obedience.

The blessings flowing from the observance of covenants are sufficiently great to recompense for all mere inconveniences.

The wearing of the garment is the subject of direct covenant between the Lord and the covenant maker, who must determine to what extent he will keep his covenants. To break our covenants is to lose the protection and blessings promised from obedience thereto.

Sincerely yours,

/s/ David O. McKay

/s/ Hugh B. Brown

/s/ N. Eldon Tanner

  The First Presidency”

(First Presidency Circular Letter, 31 Aug., 1964.  Identical to Circular Letter of 2 Oct., 1950)

No record of temples before the flood.

“We have no record of the building of temples before the flood nor for several centuries following.  This lack of information does not mean that such sacred structures were not known.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, “Why should there be temples?” IE Oakland Temple Issue, 1964, p. 6)

Ancient temples and their functions.

“One has only to read the scriptures carefully, particularly the modern scriptures, to discover that temples must have been built and used in great antiquity even in the days of the antediluvian patriarchs.  In the Doctrine and Covenants, section 124:39, the Lord speaks of his holy house ‘which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name.’  (Italics author’s.)  And why should not temples be as necessary for the giving of holy endowments to the living in the days of the ancient patriarchs as now.  Surely the Lord’s requirements for the exaltation of men in antiquity would be essentially the same as now.

When one thinks of Enoch and his people who walked with God and were received into his bosom (Moses 7:69), it seems incredible that they should be so received without the endowments usually given to men in holy temples only.  Much is said in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 132:29-37 about the blessings of Abraham which he received as a result of his faith in God.  The Lord says that he ‘hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.’  (Verse 29)  The same may be said of Isaac and Jacob.  (Verse 37)  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob must have had sealed upon them all of the blessings of the gospel, including all of the holy endowments given to the faithful in mortality.

Some may ask where the temples were in which they could receive their endowments.  It is true that scriptures says little directly about temples in the days of the ancient patriarchs, but that does not prove they did not exist.  The Church existed in Abraham’s day; in fact, the gret Melchizedek seems to have been the head of it, and it was to him that the father of the faithful paid tithes.  (Gen. 14:20)  Abraham also received his priesthood from Melchizedek.  (D&C 84:14)  The fact that tithes were paid in Abraham’s time would lead us to believe that such income would be used in part for erecting houses of worship and for building or maintaining a temple ‘which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name,’ repeating our first quotation.

The explanations given to certain figures contained in Facsimile No. 2 in the Book of Abraham must convince the thoughtful Latter-day Saint reader that Abraham was acquainted with the sacred endowments and hence a temple or its equivalent in which they would be administered.  The further fact that the gospel was extensively preached in Palestine prior to the advent of the Israelites under Joshua must open our minds to the possibility of a fully manned church organization in the Holy Land in ancient times.  (I Ne. 17:35)  Such a church would doubtless have the spiritual benefits of a temple.

When Moses brought Israel out of Egypt, one of the first things that he did was to try to get the people to accept the higher priesthood and receive the ordinance wherein ‘the power of godliness is manifest.’  (D&C 84:19-20)

And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;

For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.

Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God.  (D&C 84:21-23)

Such a program as Moses envisaged required the holy endowments and, although the great lawgiver could not build a temple in the wilderness, he could fashion an acceptable tabernacle wherein they could be administered.

And again, verily I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built in my name?

For, for this case I commanded Moses that he should build a tabernacle, that they should bear it with them in the wilderness, and to build a house in the land of promise, that those ordinances might be revealed which had been hid from before the world was.  (D&C 124:37-38)

We do not know the extent to which ordinances pertaining to the Melchizedek Priesthood were performed in the tabernacle while in the wilderness and in Palestine up to the time of the building of Solomon’s Temple, but that such ordinances were performed seems certain in the light of such statements as this:

David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power.  (D&C 132:39)

It seems more reasonable to believe that Nathan and the other prohets would seal David’s wives and concubines to him in a holy place such as the tabernacle than in any other structure.

There may have been long periods during the days of the Judges when the ordinances pertaining to the Melchizedek Priesthood would not be performed in the tabernacle, considering the history found in chapters 17-21 of the book of Judges.  In those days ‘every man did that which was right in his own eyes.’  (Judges 17:6; 21:25)  The ordinances pertaining to the Aaronic Priesthood may have been more extensively performed during this period, but even on this score we have little information.

Within chapters 25-40 of the book of Exodus one will find accounts of the building of the tabernacle and the various restrictions concerning it.  First of all we notice that the Lord said to his people, ‘And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.’  (Ex. 25:8)  Hence the structure was to be commonly known as the ‘house of the Lord.’  (Ex. 34:26; Joshua 6:24)  The tabernacle was constructed of the finest materials that the people had or could obtain while in the wilderness.  There were the hair and skins of the flocks, the acacia wood of the wilderness, and the skin of the tachash, possibly a porpoise or similar creature from the Red Sea.  The people gave liberally of their ornaments and gold, silver, brass, and linen in abundance to go into this movable sanctuary in the form of a tent. . . .

Just how endowment ceremonies were arranged for in the tabernacle as described we can only conjecture.  But within the Holy of Holies, where the ark of the covenant was located, the Lord made provision to commune with the leaders of his people.  The Lord said to Moses:

I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.  (Ex. 25:22)

We know that the dedication of the tabernacle took place on the first day of the second year after the departure of the Israelites from Egypt.  (Ex. 40:17)  A cloud rested upon the sacred structure by day and a pilar of fire by night during all the period of wandering.  Whenever the camp moved, the Levites took the tabernacle to pieces and put it together again at the new camping place.  (Ex. 40:34-38)

. . . .

The materials for the permanent house of the Lord, known as Solomon’s Temple, were accumulated mostly by David. . . .

As to the ordinances conducted in this and succeeding temples in Israel, we need say little.  They would probably be the same as those performed in the tabernacle.

. . . .

The Book of Mormon makes clear that the Nephites, another branch of Hebrew people, knew the uses of temples and built a number of them upon this continent.  Apparently the first temple was that constructed by Nephi after he and his followers had separated themselves from their unrighteous brethren.  It was built after the plan of Solomon’s Temple, the details of which could be learned from the brass plates.  Here are Nephi’s words:

And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple.  But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceeding fine.  (2 Ne. 5:16)

It is very unlikely that Nephi would build a temple without an express revelation from the Lord authorizing it.  Furthermore, all the ordinances pertaining to the temple would have to be revealed.  The Nephites kept the Law of Moses, but it does not follow that ordinance work for the living within the limits of the Aaronic Priesthood only would be permitted within the sacred structure.  Nephi and his followers kept the law of the gospel, and it is probable that all of the ordinances for the living according to the Melchizedek Priesthood would be performed.  Nephi seems to have had certain sealing powers of the priesthood, as did another Nephi mentioned in the Book of Helaman.  (2 Ne. 33:15; Hel. 10:7)  As long as prophets like these were around, a full endowment could be given the righteous; otherwise a limited endowment within the Aaronic Priesthood would probably be administered.

It is probable that Nephi’s brother Jacob taught within this identical temple, but King Benjamin’s sermon must have been delivered in another temple located in the land of Zarahemla (Mos. 1:1, 18).

The people of Zeniff may well have repaired the old temple of Nephi when they returned to the land of their father’s inheritance or may have built a new one.  (Mos 7:17)  Some interesting questions arise as to the use of a temple by Zeniff’s people.  Did they have proper authority to administer the ordinances therein or did they use it simply as a meeting place?  The question of proper authority arises especially during the wicked reign of King Noah. 

An interesting reference to an incident that took place in a Nephite temple–where or when we are not told–is related by Amulek:

I am Amulek; I am the son of Giddonah, who was the son of Ishmael, who was a descendant of Aminadi; and it was the same Aminadi who interpreted the writing which was upon the wall of the temple, which was written by the finger of God.

And Aminadi was a descendant of Nephi, who was the son of Lehi.  (Al. 10:2-3)

When the risen, glorified Savior appeared to the Nephites for three successive days, he did so ’round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful.’  (3 Ne. 11:1)  Before the resurrection of our Lord, ordinance work for the dead could not be carried out either in the temples in Palestine or on this continent.  But after his resurrection, he fully explained such work to the Nephites.  This is shown by the fact that the quoted in full chapters 3 and 4 of Malachi and ‘expounded them unto the multitude.’  (3 Ne. 24:25; 26:1)  Thus, the sealing powers of Elijah as applied to ordinance work for the dead became known to the Nephites.  We may presume that such work was carried out in their temples during the period of their righteousness, for four generations.  Mormon was not permitted to quote the Savior’s explanations of Malachi’s references to Elijah because the keys of such knowledge in our dispensation were to come to Joseph Smith who would explain their proper functions.

Following the Savior’s resurrection, ordinance work for the dead must have been carried on in sacred structures erected in the Mediterranean world.  Paul’s reference to baptism for the dead in 1 Cor. 15:29 seems proof of that fact.  At any rate the Corinthians seem to have had access to a temple acceptable for such work.  It was probably very small, and we have no information concerning it.  The same is true of any other similar structure erected by the early saints to the Lord during the first century AD.”  (Sidney B. Sperry, “Some Thoughts Concerning Ancient Temples and Their Functions,” IE Oakland Temple Issue, 1964, pp. 76-80)