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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1967

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TEMPLES, 1967.

 1967:  Jan.:  60 day processing.

“The new 90-day processing of family group records announced in the November Improvement Era is already outdated.  Beginning January 1, 1967, processing time of family group records will be trimmed to within 60 days of receipt of the records.”  (“Tips for Genealogists,” IE 70(1):32, Jan., 1967)

Feb.:  Temple marriage statistics.

“Several studies indicate that those who marry in the temple have more successful marriages than those who do not.  In 1945 President David O. McKay reported that during the period 1920-22 there was one divorce for every 38.24 marriages among couples married in the temples or by stake and ward authorities, while during these same years there was one divorce for every 13.20 marriages among couples married by civil officers.  For the years 1938-40, there was one divorce for every 26.61 marriages among couples married in the temples or by stake and ward authorities, and one divorce for every 10.13 of those married by civil authorities.  [Footnotes include in original text.]

For 1940, when the United States ratio was one divorce for each six marriages, Elder Richard L. Evans reported the following Church divorce and marriage statistics: one divorce to 9.7 civil marriages; one divorce to 27.0 temple marriages; one divorce to 17.8 of all marriages.

In January 1952 Dr. John A. Widtsoe cited a study concerning divorce in three areas of the Church.  Marriages in the Salt Lake, St. George, and Arizona temple areas for 1936 were used.  The follow-up study reported on (1) those married in the temples; (2) those married outside the temples but by ward and stake authorities; (3) those married by civil authority.  Tabulations showed that of those married in the temple, only 6.4 percent of the couples had been divorced during fifteen years.  However, of those married outside the temple by ward and stake authorities, there were nearly two and one half times more divorces, or 15.6 percent.  Among those married by civil authorities, ‘the number rose to three times that of temple marriages, namely 19.4 percent.’

In their study of 5,157 marriages performed in Utah between 1949 and 1951, Christensen and Cannon found that after ten years of marriage the following statistics were significant: 1 in 7 divorces for those married by civil authorities; 1 in 10 divorces for Latter-day Saints who were married by LDS authorities in civil ceremonies; 1 in 55 divorces for Latter-day Saints who had been married in one of the temples.

The fact that temple marriages result in fewer divorces has been substantiated in studies of marriages from the 1920’s through the early years of the 1950’s.  A study of temple marriages of the 1960’s would be premature for the obvious reason that not enough time has lapsed to validate the facts.  Studies clearly show that decade after decade, temple marriages produce fewer divorces; and incomplete studies of the 1960’s seem to tell the same story: temple marriages are more successful!”  (Rex A. Skidmore, “An Educator Views Temple Marriage,” IE 70(2):62, Feb., 1967)

7 Feb.:  The Temple in the New Jerusalem.

“There shall be erected in that city a temple complex such as has never been known in the annals of earth life time, wherein there shall be as the center of that complex the temple of the New Jerusalem where the Lord will make his appearance in the administrative responsibilities of the government of the earth.  And it will be sustained and supported by 23 other temples–all named after various orders of the priesthood. . . . The temple complex will be so arranged that the government of the earth will be carried forward through the priesthood of God under the direction and leadership of the sons of God who will live and reign upon the earth.  Among these 23 other temples of the complex are three temples of communication whereby the voice of God, and the messages of the priesthood, will go through all the earth to testify of the things that are to happen in the culmination of the Lord’s work here upon the earth.  These temples are referred to on the plan, as the ‘Messenger of the Church, temples 16, 17, and 18.'”  (Alvin R. Dyer, “Centerplace of Zion,” BYU Devotional Address, 7 Feb., 1967.  p. 8.  Quoted in Cowan, “Temple Building Ancient and Modern,” BYU, 1971, pp. 9-10) 

Jul.:  Plans for restoration of Nauvoo Temple Block.

“Q–What are the plans for the Nauvoo Temple block?

A–This has not been decided yet.  One suggestion is to partially restore it, perhaps rebuilding only a corner of the building to the tower base.  This will allow people to get an idea of the temple’s grandeur, and permit them to climb to the top and see the beautiful view of the Mississippi River and the countryside about which so many visitors as well as the Saints wrote.  The temple story is part of our historic presentation.”  (“The Era Asks about Nauvoo Restoration:  An Interview with Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball,” IE 70(7):14, Jul., 1967)

Aug.:  The Masonic Connection.

“Elder [Heber C.] Kimball claimed he was driven from his home by mobs five times because of his Masonic associations.  [Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, pp. 11-12]  Helen, his daughter, reports, ‘I remember once, when but a young girl, of getting a glimpse of the outside of the Morgan book exposing Masonry but which my father always kept locked up.’  [Helen Mar Whitney, “Scenes and Incidents in Nauvoo,” Women’s Exponent X:26]  . . . .

Only a few Mormons were opposed to Masonry.  As has been previously mentioned, W. W. Phelps was one; another was Ebenezer Robinson, who wrote, ‘theretofore the Church has strenuously opposed secret societies . . . but after John C. Bennett came into the Church a great change in sentiment seemed to take place.’  [Ebenezer Robinson, The Return I-III:90] . . .

Joseph Smith became a Master Mason March 15, 1842.  As a part of his initiation he swore that he was entering the Masonic order of his own folition and with pure motives, and also pledged that his major wish in joining the order was to be of service to his fellow men.  The Prophet was told that his entrance into the Masons would affect neither his religion nor his politics.  [“Description of the Ceremonies Used in Opening the Nauvoo Lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons,” 15 Mar., 1842 (n.p., n.d.).  The writer at the owner’s request, cannot cite the holder of this unpublished document.]  He then promised to ever conceal and never reveal any parts, art or arts, point or points, of the secret arts and mysteries of ancient Freemasonry which he was going to receive, except to brother Masons or within a body of just and lawfully constituted lodges.  This promise was repeated by Joseph Smith in taking each of the three degrees. . . .

James Cummings, one of the Prophet’s intimate friends and a Master Mason, officiated in the Prophet’s initiation ceremony, and later stated that to his surprise and pleasure Joseph Smith seemed ‘to understand some of the features of the ceremony better than any Mason and that he made explanations that rendered the rites much more beautiful and full of meaning.’  [Horace Cummings, “History of Horace Cummings,” BYU Library] . . .

May 4, 1842, in the upstairs portion of the Prophet’s store he proposed a ritual which was to become the ceremony for the Mormon temple then under construction.  The Masons charged the Prophet with violating his sacred Masonic oath and incorporating many of the signs, words, tokens, penalties and wording of the Masonic rites into this sacred covenant.

In an attempt to counteract these charges the Prophet said that the essential parts of the endowment had been revealed to him by God.  Recognizing some similarity, Joseph Smith explained that the Masonic ritual was an apostate temple rite.  For example, he told Benjamin F. Johnson as they lay in bed one night, ‘Freemasonry, as at present, is the apostate endowment, as sectarian religion is the apostate religion.’  [Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life in Review, p. 196]”  (Kenneth W. Godfrey, “Causes of Mormon Non-Mormon Conflict in Hancock County, Illinois, 1839-1846.”  Aug., 1967.  Bergera notes)  

30 Aug.:  No slacks, mini-skirts in temple.

“It has been called to our attention that occasionally young women come to the temple to receive their endowments or to do ordinance work for the dead wearing slacks or mini-skirts.  We suggest that when interviewing sisters applying for temple recommends you kindly remind them of the sanctity of the temple and the propriety of being modestly dressed when they enter the House of the Lord.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 30 Aug., 1967.  First Presidency Notebook) 

Sep.:  Temple garments for servicemen.

“When a serviceman has been endowed he should be allowed to read the letter from the First Presidency dated August 31, 1964 relative to the wearing of temple garments.  The serviceman should be allowed to interpret the letter for himself.  In this connection, the General Authorities have authorized the dyeing of the garment green in areas where military regulations require this such as in Vietnam.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 3(4):3, Sep./Oct., 1967)