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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1965

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1965.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1965.

1965:  Mar.:  Physical deformities in the pre-existence?

“Question:  In discussing principles of the gospel and conditions in the preexistence, the question was asked whether or not those who are born into this world with some mental or physical defect were being punished for acts performed by them in the spirit world.  Will you please state whether this is a true doctrine or not?  It does not seem to be to be a reasonable doctrine.

Answer:  The simple answer to this question is that it is not true and is without one iota of justification.  The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith the following:

Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again . . . innocent before God.

And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.  (D&C 93:38-39)

We must in all reason conclude that some physical defect at birth is due to some accident or other cause that can be laid at the door of mortal conditions and not to some premortal defect or punishment in the spirit world.  When the disciples came to the Savior and asked the question concerning the man who was born blind, the question whether this defect came upon him because of a condition existing in the spirit world, he gave them the assurance that such was not the case.  We have reason to believe that every spirit that comes into this world was whole and free from such defects in the preexistence.

Morality is subject to far different laws from those which exist in the world of spirits, evidently.  The defects at birth must be considered to be due to misfortunate conditions prevailing in this mortal world.  We came here in a world that is subject to mortal conditions.  Sickness, disease, deformities, and such must be considered to be misfortunate conditions which are confined to the imperfect conditions in mortality.  It does not seem to be consistent with heavenly conditions for defects of a physical nature, which evidently belong to the body, not the spirit, to be existing in the spirit world.

We are definitely taught in the scriptures that we, the children of this world, are the offspring of God.  This is taught us in the scriptures.  Here are two passages that are accepted by all Latter-day Saints covering this point.  One is in the vision given to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, February 16, 1832, when they were taught that the children of men are spiritually ‘begotten sons and daughters of God.’  (D&C 76:24)  The other is in the prophetic utterance of the Apostle Paul has he stood on Mars’ hill teaching the Greeks, before the altar with the inscription: ‘TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.’  Evidently these Greeks had before them a statement that we are the ‘offspring’ of God.  Therefore Paul in his discourse called their attention to this correct statement and then argued in behalf of the proper worship of the Supreme Being, calling their attention to the fact that even in their national belief they were ignorantly worshiping the Divine Creator, and he said to them:

[Acts 17:24-29]

This idea the people could be deformed, blind, or otherwise maimed before they were born, it seems, was believed in ancient times.

However, it is a ridiculous notion that the spiritual offspring of God would be subject to spiritual defects before they were born into mortality.  We are subject to all the vicissitudes that go with a temporal existence, sickness and physical defects as well as health, but such things will not exist in the world of spirits nor in the kingdom of God after the resurrection.  The Lord has made this perfectly clear.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, “Your Question,” IE 68:190-191, Mar., 1965)

10 Jun.:  Modifications of ceremonial garment.



Salt Lake City 11, Utah

June 10, 1965


Dear Brethren:

This will advise you that approval has been granted for limited modification in the design of the garment used in the temple to allow for better fit and greater wearing comfort.

The approved modified design for women has a button front rather than string ties, a brassiere top patterned after the brassiere top of garments used for day-time wear, a helanca stretch insert in the back at the waist, and widened overlapping back panels with a helanca stretch piece at the top of each panel and a button to assure panels remaining closed. All other features of the garment, including the collar, long legs, and long sleeves, remain the same as heretofore.

The approved modified design of the garment for men has a button front, closed crotch, helanca stretch insert piece in the back at the waist, widened overlapping back panels with a helanca stretch piece at the top of each panel and a button to assure panels remaining closed. All other features of the men’s garment also, including the collar, long legs and long sleeves, remain the same as heretofore.

Both the button-front and the string-tie-front designs for men and women are approved for temple wear; either design may be used. You will note that the basic specifications for the garment remain unaltered.

It is recommended that orders for the button-front design be submitted to the Beehive Clothing Mills only as a part of a regular order for the replacement of existing stocks. This will allow the Mills time to produce a sufficient number of the button-front garments to meet the demands, and at the same time it will allow the temple to accommodate persons who have a preference for the string-tie design.

Sincerely yours,

/s/ David O. McKay

/s/ Hugh B. Brown

/s/ N. Eldon Tanner

  The First Presidency”

(Circular letter, 1st Presidency to Temple Presidents, 10 Jun., 1965; Bergera collection)

Jun.:  Status of worthy spouses in Celestial Kingdom.

“Question:  In the Journal of Discourses, volume 10, page 24, President Brigham Young states that those who attain the first or celestial resurrection will be pure and holy and perfect in body.  Every man and woman who reaches this unspeakable attainment will be beautiful as the angels who surround the throne of God.  The wife will not be dissatisfied with her husband or the husband with the wife.  If one is sealed to a spouse who does not merit this exaltation, what happens?  Will the one who is unworthy have to accept a lesser glory, or is the sealing annulled?

Answer:  Naturally, a person who is unworthy of a place in the celestial kingdom will not receive the blessings pertaining to that kingdom.  All blessings are based on worthiness of the individual.  We are taught that it is he who endures to the end that is saved.  Naturally, the Lord will judge each individual according to opportunities to know and obey his commandments.  Thousands of those who died without the knowledge of the gospel and therefore failed to keep the commandments and covenants of the gospel while in mortality will enter the celestial kingdom.  It is for this class of people that we do temple work and thus perform vicariously the ordinances of the gospel according to the revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Common sense teaches us that the justice of our Eternal Father would cause that provision would be made for those who lived on this earth through the many years when the fulness of the gospel was not among men, and they were left to walk in spiritual darkness.  In the heavens when the plan of salvation was prepared, provision was made to meet every vicissitude and condition that would exist among mortals upon the earth.  The gospel of salvation would certainly not be complete if some measures had not been provided to meet the conditions which would prevail in mortality.  The gospel of salvation is as broad as eternity.  It was perfectly understood before the foundation of the earth was laid that there would be conditions arising in the mortal condition wherein many of the children of our Eternal Father would dwell on the earth when there would be no opportunity for mankind to partake of the blessings of the gospel and receive the ordinances essential to their eternal existence in the kingdom of God.  It is a well-known fact to all Latter-day Saints, at least, that such a period really did exist.  For hundreds of years the world was in spiritual darkness, and it became necessary for the Lord to open the heavens again and send messengers from his presence to restore, as our scriptures say, the fulness of the plan of salvation.

It has been taught by some that as we lay our bodies down, they will rise again in the resurrection with all the impediments and imperfections that they had here, and that if a wife does not love her husband in this state, she cannot love him in the next.  This is not so.  If a man is worth of the celestial glory, he will be on the way to eternal perfection, and he is designed to become as perfect and holy as are the angels in heaven.

If men or women who are married by the eternal covenant should violate that covenant, they will, of course, have to pay the price, which is a dreadful one, for according to the word of the Lord, they will be turned over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of their redemption, if they do not lose the exaltation itself.

Marriage for time and all eternity is the privilege of all faithful members of the Church.  Moreover, this blessing seals upon them the continuation of their lives forever, and they will not be denied posterity in the celestial kingdom of God.  The Lord never intended that marriage was to be for ‘time’ only.  There was no death when Adam and Eve were sealed by the Lord.  It was a union that was to endure forever.  Death came upon them later by the ‘transgression’ of a law, but this did not break their eternal covenant.  Moreover, we all owe a debt of gratitude to Mother Eve for partaking of the ‘forbidden fruit.’  It was not a sin, as many Bible commentators would have you believe, but an eternal blessing which caused Eve to rejoice and thank the Lord; and in her joy she praised the Lord and said:

Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.  (Moses 5:11)”

(Joseph Fielding Smith, “Your Question,” IE 68:478-479, Jun., 1965)

18 Oct.:  New policy on divorce clearance.

“It has been the policy to require all persons who have had more than one divorce since baptism or who have been divorced from a husband or wife to whom he or she has been sealed in the temple, to be cleared by the First Presidency before they could be issued a temple recommend.

Hereafter it will only be necessary to submit to the First Presidency the applications of persons who have had a divorce or an annulment of a marriage in which the persons were sealed to each other in the temple.  This rule will apply even though there has been a cancellation of the sealing.

Applications for divorce clearance of those persons who are divorced from one to whom they have been sealed in the temple, should be made on the forms provided for this purpose.  A supply is being sent with this letter to stake and mission presidents who will hold them in their files to be given to bishops and branch presidents only as the need arises.  We call your attention to the instructions printed on each form and request that you follow these instructions specifically.  This will save time and needless correspondence in processing applications.  We request that you destroy all of the old forms which you have on hand.

In all cases where there has been a divorce or an annulment of a marriage in the life of the person seeking a recommend to the temple, and clearance by the First Presidency is no longer required, the stake president, bishop or mission president should conduct a thorough, searching interview to determine not only the applicant’s present worthiness, but also whether or not there was any unfaithfulness or serious transgression in connection with the divorce.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 18 Oct., 1965.  First Presidency Notebook)