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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1966

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1966.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1966.

1966:  Mar.:  4th generation program.

“The year 1965 will be remembered as having been a record year for genealogical activity in the Church–but not for long.  Based on glimpses ahead, the priesthood’s program for genealogy in 1966 shiould stimulate more enthusiasm for the Prophet Elijah’s mission than any previous genealogical program ever sponsored by the Church.

The heart of the 1966 activity is the fourth-generation program.  Families are being asked to fill out and turn in the eight family group records that pertain to their fourth-generation ancestors.  This is simply an extension of the 1965 three-generation program–going back one more generation.”  (“Priesthood Genealogy Program for ’66,” IE 69:190, Mar., 1966)

Apr.:  Purpose of font in Solomon’s temple?

“It is in strict accordance with the divine will that the great work for the salvation of the dead was one assigned to those who lived in the dispensation of the fullness of times.  It was a work that could not be performed for the dead until after the Savior had opened the door for vicarious salvation.  It was, therefore, a doctrine that was not discussed nor practiced in ancient Israel.  We must reach the conclusion that the font in the Temple of Solomon–at least until after the resurrection of our Redeemer–was used solely for baptizing the living until after the Savior had paid the debt and gained the victory over death.  Unfortunately, there is very little stated in the Old Testament, and never an ordinance performed, pertaining to the dead. . . .

We have every reason to believe that the Redeemer gave unto Israel, through the appointed authorities, the fulness of the blessings of the priesthood and the saving ordinances of the gospel, both for the living and for the dead, before he departed from them.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, “Your Question,” IE 69:273, Apr., 1966)

1 Apr.:  Whence came the temple ordinances?

“Some may ask, ‘From where have the temple ordinances come?’  The Lord clarifies this:

And I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house, and the priesthood thereof, and the place whereon it shall be built.  (D&C 124:42)

It is evident then that the Prophet Joseph was shown by the Lord all things pertaining to the essential priesthood ordinances and the administration thereof.  Thus one might refer to the temple, in reverence, as the ‘University of the Lord.’  Here, the higher ordinances of the priesthood are explained and administered so that our purpose on the earth may be fully understood, and also that we may understand how to gain a place in the presence of God, from when we came.”  (ElRay L. Christiansen, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, Temple Coordinator, Instructor 101(4):124, 1 Apr., 1966)

6 Apr.:  Three-generation program.

“It was with this personal priesthood responsibility in mind that in 1965 a program of compiling data for temple ordinance work for three generations in each individual family was given to the priesthood of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This program has been continued into 1966 for those who did not complete this work.  By following this program themselves, the priesthood can lead the members of the whole Church into a charitable work for themselves, their families and their immediate ancestors.  This is no make-work project, but the first step in an organized plan for teaching the priesthood the assignment given them by an angel on September 21, 1823, in these words:

Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.

If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.  (D&C 2.)

This three-generation program is the first practical step in compiling a record that each individual family must present as its sacrifice in the temple, as given in the following words from the scripture:

Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand; and who can abide the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appeareth?  For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like a fuller’s soap; and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.  Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation.  (D&C 128:24.)

The compilation of an individual family record is a duty of such sacred importance that it cannot be wholly entrusted to others to do for us.  We cannot just hope that an aunt or an uncle or a cousin will do this work for the whole family.  Relatives and friends can help and assist us.  All members of the family should help one another in assembling this information and passing it on to others.  The responsibility for compiling a record for our own family, however, rests with each one of us in our individual families.  We each must have a record to show that this holy work has been done as completely as we and our loved ones have power to complete it.  As I understand the scripture, this is an individual family responsibility given to the priesthood to administer and to complete.”  (Theodore M. Burton, 6 Apr., 1966; CR Apr., 1966, pp. 33-34)

May:  Eleven daily sessions in Salt Lake Temple.

“In the first five months of 1968 we performed over one million ordinances in the Salt Lake Temple.  Over one third of all temple work done in the thirteen temples was done in the Salt Lake Temple.  We had a wonderful group of men and women who were not afraid to work.  We increased the number of sessions held each day from eight to eleven, and sometimes we had to divide these sessions.”  (Howard S. McDonald, “Brief Autobiography,” n.p., n.d.  Bergera notes)   

8 Jun.:  Guidelines on sealing of adopted children.

“In order that there may be no misunderstanding in regard to the matter of the sealing in the temple of children to persons other than natural parents, we are pleased to give you the following information for your guidance.

Children who have not been born in the covenant or sealed to their natural parents may be sealed to a natural parent and stepparent, or may be sealed to foster parents, under any one of the following circumstances:

1.  If the stepparent or foster parents have legally adopted minor children to be sealed and a copy of the final decree of adoption, or Certificate of Live Birth issued in states using this form of evidence, is presented to the temple president, or

2.  If the stepparent or foster parents to whom minor children are to be sealed have secured and presented to the temple president a written statement from the natural parent or parents consenting to the proposed sealing, or

3.  If the children to be sealed are of legal age in the place of their residence and request the temple president for such sealing, or

4.  Minor children may be sealed to a natural parent and a stepparent without the requirement of adoption in cases where the other natural parent is deceased.

Children born in the covenant cannot be sealed to persons other than their natural parents.  This rule is not altered by adoption, consent of the natural parents,  or request of the child after becoming of age.

Illegitimate children may be sealed to their natural mother and the husband to whom she is sealed without the consent of the natural father, and only the natural mother’s consent is necessary for illegitimate children to be sealed to foster parents.

No sealing of children to persons other than the natural parents will be permitted except as set forth above without written authorization of the First Presidency.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 8 Jun., 1966.  First Presidency Notebook)   

5 Jul.:  No temple presidents can do 2nd anointings.

“On page 5 you indicate that the president of the Church is the only one who administers ordinances in the holy of holies.  While the president holds the keys of this sacred work, he can also delegate this authority to others, and this has been done to members of the Quorum of the Twelve, but only to such members as the president authorizes and delegates.  I don’t know of any presidents of temples who have this authority.”  (LeGrand Richards to Elder Peter A. Danzig, 5 Jul., 1966.  Bergera notes)

5 Jul.:  No recommends during pending divorce.

“The question has been raised as to whether or not men or women who have commenced divorce proceedings should be recommended to the temple either for their own endowments or to do work for the dead while the divorce is being sought and in court but not finally determined.

In order that there may be no misunderstanding regarding the policy of the Church on matters of this kind we are pleased to advise you that where a divorce is in process the bishop should not issue temple recommends to the parties involved until after the divorce has been completed, and then only when proper clearance has been obtained.  As you are aware, it is necessary to submit to the First Presidency for clearance divorce situations in cases where the parties concerned have been married in the temple or if two or more civil divorces have been granted.  Otherwise, the divorce may be cleared by the bishop of the ward.  [Note that this apparently ignores the change in policy towards multiple divorces of the First Presidency Circular Letter of 18 Dec., 1965.]  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 5 Jul., 1966.  First Presidency Notebook)

6 Jul.:  Policy on civil marriage just before temple.

“From time to time we receive requests from couples who desire to be married by civil ceremony before traveling from their home to the temple to have the sealing solemnized.  For your guidance we are pleased to tell you that the ruling is that where couples are married by civil ceremony they should normally not be recommended to the temple until after a year or very near that period of time has elapsed since the civil ceremony was solemnized.  Occasionally we receive requrest for exceptions to this ruling, the reason given being that the parents of one or both of the contracting parties are non-members and are desirous of witnessing the civil ceremony.  In such cases we have, as a general rule, granted permission.  It should be understood, however, that this permission must be obtained in each instance from the First Presidency before authorization may be given.

Where parents of the couple to be married are members of the Church but not active or qualified to receive temple recommends, we have not felt to grant exceptions to the general rule that the marriage should be performed in the temple in the first instance.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 6 Jul., 1966.  First Presidency Notebook)

11 Jul.:  Proposals on family group records for blacks.

“References made to your memorandum of May 13, 1966 requesting instruction as to how to handle records involving colored blood.  Since these same questions may be pertinent to the Record Tabulation Program I am sending a carbon copy of this to George Fudge for his information.

The Genealogical Society has set up procedures for recording persons who are colored blood.  The problem involves the means whereby we can be informed when persons are of colored blood.  The following statement from President McKay is pertinent:

President McKay, when visiting the South Africa Mission, met with the president of the mission and the Elders, at which time there was some discussion regarding the negro question and the President announced on that occasion that every man need not be required to prove that his lineage was free from segro strain, ‘especially when there is no evidence of his having negro blood in his veins.’  Said he, ‘I should much rather make a mistake in one case and if it be found afterward, suspend his activity in the priesthood, than to deprive 10 worthy men of this blessing.’  He then recommended that from that time on the African people be treated the same as they are treated in other places, that unless there is evidence of negro blood a man need not be compelled to prove that he has none in his veins.

In the interest of all parties concerned, it appears to me that we should maintain a special file [of] those persons having colored blood when we have knowledge of such.  To my knowledge there are only three ways by which we may know if a person has colored blood:  One is by patriarchal blessing, another by revelation and a third where it is revealed by a a person or in a genealogy of that person.”  (Memorandum from Genealogical Society [unsigned] to H. Dale Goodwin, 11 Jul., 1966)

15 Aug.:  Policy on ordinances for deceased persons.

“In authorizing temple ordinances to be performed for the dead, it has been the policy to ignore the matter of worthiness of such persons during their lifetime except in cases of murder, suicide, excommunication, mental retardation, or other conditions which have been defined as restricting ordinance work.  In these latter cases the work is not done and the matter is left in the hands of the Lord.  These latter cases are very few and cause the laborious work of checking and investigating.  Usually the only evidence available is hearsay, and decisions made are often arbitrary because of the absence of facts.

Ordinance work has been done and is being done for many deceased persons who would not qualify under the present rules for the reason that vital statistics and other records do not reveal such disqualifying matters.  In these cases the work is done but the matter rests in the hands of the Lord, being little different from the cases where the work is not done and left to the Lord.

The Genealogical Society has recommended that in all cases where persons are deceased, and one year has elapsed from the date of death, temple ordinances may be performed for them without consideration of worthiness or qualification.

After careful consideration of this recommendation, the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve have decided that after the expiration of one year from the date of death, temple ordinances may be performed for all deceased persons, except those of known Negro blood, without the consideration of worthiness or any other qualification.  These ordinances shall consist of those not received by such persons during their lifetime or which were taken away by excommunication.  This rule will eliminate investigations and decisions as to worthiness and qualification of deceased persons whose names are submitted for temple work, and also the necessity of restoration of blessings to those who were excommunicated in life.  Therefore in the future it will not be necessary to submit to the First Presidency applications for restoration of former priesthood and blessings to those who were excommunicated before they passed away.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 15 Aug., 1966.  First Presidency Notebook)

30 Aug.:  Clarification of 5 Jul. statement on divorce.

“The instructions given in this letter supersede those set forth in ours of July 5th addressed to presidents of stakes and bishops of wards on the subjects therein treated.

Where persons who are involved in pending divorce or annulment proceedings make application for permission to go to the temple, brethren authorized to issue temple recommends should carefully and searchingly interview the applicant, and if it is found that he or she is innocent of any serious wrongdoing in connection with the divorce or annulment and is otherwise worthy, a temple recommend may be issued.

When the final decree of divorce or annulment has been entered, a divorce clearance must be obtained from the First Presidency by the parties involved, if they were previously sealed to each other in the temple, before they may be permitted to continue temple attendance or receive a temple recommend.  Divorce clearances are secured by making application on forms previously furnished to stake and mission presidents.  The forms contain the specific instructions.

Divorces or annulments of marriage need not be cleared by the First Presidency for persons who were not sealed to each other in the temple.  Nevertheless, brethren authorized to issue temple recommends should conduct a thorough, searching interview to determine the applicant’s worthiness to go to the temple.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 30 Aug., 1966.  First Presidency Notebook)

8 Sep.:  Policy on children witnessing sealings.

“From time to time we receive requests from parents who have been married in the temple or who have been sealed in the temple and had children sealed to them, that permission be given for their children to witness the subsequent sealing to them of adopted children.

After careful and prayerful consideration we have decided that in the future permission may be given for children in the family to witness the sealing of adopted children to their parents.  In all such cases the children witnessing these sealings will be admitted only upon presentation at the temple of proper recommends signed by their bishops and stake presidents.  Members 21 years of age and over must, of course, receive their endowments in the temple before recommends may be issued for them to witness sealings in the temple.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 8 Sep., 1966.  First Presidency Notebook)

Sep.:  Clearance for sealing divorced persons.

“The policy requiring clearance for a temple recommend by The First Presidency of 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, has been changed by letter of The First Presidency dated October 18, 1965 as follows:

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 new forms provided for this purpose.  A supply has been sent to stake and mission presidents to be used as the need arises.  Your attention is called to the instructions printed on each form and you are requested to follow these instructions specifically.  This will save time and needless correspondence in processing applications.  You should now 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.

The above instructions supersede those given on pp. 78-79, ‘General Handbook of Instructions,’ No. 19, (1963).”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 2(5):1, Sep./Oct., 1966)

Sep.:  One-year wait for proxy ordinances.

“One year must elapse after death of an individual before any temple ordinances may be performed by proxy for him.  Bishops, branch presidents, stake presidents and mission presidents should explain this to persons requesting early temple work for deceased members of their family.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 2(5):2, Sep./Oct., 1966)

Sep.:  Remove marks from garments before disposal.

“The First Presidency urge that bishops instruct members discarding worn temple garments that any identifying symbols which might be related to the temple should be removed. The material may then be destroyed or used in the home. Garments should not be discarded where they will be picked or used by others.”  (Priesthood Bulletin, 2:5; “Disposal of Worn Garments”; Sept-Oct 1966.)

Oct.:  Records Tabulation Program.

“Early in 1960 with four new temples in operation–Los Angeles, New Zealand, Switzerland, and London–temple activity began to pull ahead of the genealogical research activity of the members of the Church.  The small stockpile of names cleared by the Genealogical Society for temple work began to disappear swiftly.

Something had to be done to keep from reducing the number of temple sessions each week at the temples.  The Records Tabulation program was developed to fill that need.  Known as R-Tab, the project will provide nearly a million names for temple ordinances this year.

Volunteer workers and Genealogical Society employees extract names, dates, places, and relationships from the birth, christening, and burial entries in the early parish registers of England and transfer this information into electronic processing equipment.  Each name, together with identifying information, appears on a computer processing card.  The names on these cards are then checked in the endowment file at the Genealogical Society to see if the temple work ahs already been done.  If not, the names are sent to the temples, and the baptisms and endowments are performed.  Finally, a computer print-out containing an alphabetical listing of the names, dates, and other information found in the original parish register is prepared for the Genealogical Society Library.

This type of processing for temple work is concerned with individual names only, and no family group records are involved.

The research necessary to identify family groups and the responsibility for sealing of families is left to the descendants of the persons whose names appear in the parish registers.  Because of this, family group records pertaining to the English parishes concerned can be submitted to the Genealogical Society only for sealings. . . .

Thus far, more than five million names have been extracted from more than 1,500 English parish registers.  Plans call for continuing the extraction of names from English registers; then the program will move into Scotland.  In the future it is planned that other countries will also be involved in the R-Tab program.”  (“The Records Tabulation Program,” IE 69:872-873, Oct., 1966)

Nov.:  Names now cleared in 90 days.

“After more than a year of vigorous effort to reduce backlogs and shorten processing time, the Genealogical Society has at last been able to significantly reduce the time involved in processing records.  Under a new system, more than six months has been trimmed off the processing period.

Family group records can now be processed and made ready for the temples in 90 days.”  (“Records Processing in 90 Days,” IE 69:966, Nov., 1966)

8 Dec.:  Full text of 2nd anointing in Nauvoo Temple book.

“In an interview with Elder Theodore Burton on December 8, 1966 he told Kenneth W. Godfrey that the complete Nauvoo temple book was in the Salt Lake Temple.  He further stated that in this book was the full ceremony relative to giving second endowments.  This ceremony is confidential and only given to a person when called by the First Presidency of the Church.  He also stated that temple work is done differently today than it was then in that not as many people receive their second endowments.  He further stated that he had not had his second endowment as yet but that his father and mother had had theirs before their deaths.

In addition, he also said that there may be an edited account of the Second Anointings that some people have access to.  The longer, full account is located in the vault under the Temple-Temple Annex and is only seen by those who get their Second Anointings.”  (Bergera notes)

Only Church President can seal people up to salvation and exaltation.

“After a person has advanced in righteousness, light, and truth to the point that the fulness of the ordinances of the house of the Lord have been received so that he has been sealed up unto eternal life, then as expressed in the Prophet’s language, the law is: “If a man commit adultery, he cannot receive the celestial kingdom of God. Even if he is saved in any kingdoms, it cannot be the celestial kingdom.” (H.C. Vol 6:81) [pp. 24-25]

The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds the keys of salvation for all men now living because he is the only one by whose authorization the sealing power of the priesthood can be used to seal men up to salvation and exaltation in the kingdom of God. [p. 411]”  (Mormon Doctrine; 1966 edition; Elder Bruce R. McConkie.)

McConkie’s 2nd anointing.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie received his second anointings in 1966.  (W. Dean Belnap “Notebooks”, 1966.  Bergera collection.)