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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1968

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1968.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1968.

1968:  May:  Temple sketches on Egyptian Papyri.

“When Michael Chandler’s Egyptian mummies were first brought to Kirtland, Ohio, in July 1835, there were ‘four human figures, together with some rolls of papyrus.’  They were objects of great interest and were referred to as ‘the curiosities.’

Because of too much handling, subjection to fluctuating temperatures and humidity, and the hardships of travel as the Saints moved westward, parts of the fragile papyri inevitably cracked, fragments chipped off, and one or more of the rolls probably broke into pieces.  Perhaps at Kirtland, but it could have been in Missouri or at Nauvoo, someone attempted to preserve the manuscripts by pasting them on paper.  It could have been the Prophet Joseph Smith, or, more likely, someone close to him whom he directed to do the pasting.  What was the source of the backing paper?

Probably in the early 1830’s some as yet unidentified Latter-day Saint architect or builder drew two or more floor plans for a large building.  These early drafts lacked dimensional measurements and were drawn almost devoid of window and door openings.  It appears the designer did not have sheets of paper sufficiently large to accommodate the entire floor plan, so he drew portions on more than one sheet and then pasted them together to present the entire drawing, using other sheets to form the backing.

. . . .

An examination of papyri fragments I and XI indicates there are drawings also on the front sides to which the papyrus fragments were pasted.  (Number XI, therefore, has drawings on both sides of the backing paper.)  If all the portions of these drawings were used in mounting the papyri, then there are some pieces of the papyri missing, because all of the segments of the floor plan are not with the papyri acquired last November.

To the observant inquirer, a question naturally arises: What building did these sketches depict?  Most people who have visited the Kirtland Temple are probably impressed by the four tiers of pulpits at the east and west ends; each of the upper three levels has three semicircular pulpits, and box-pews at each side face the pulpits at right angles.  A comparison of the fragmentary floor plan drawings from the mounting paper of the papyri, when pieced together, could indicate the following aspects of the Kirtland Temple: . . .

Of direct bearing to these sketches are two original ink drawings in the Church Historian’s Office.  Both drawings are of the projected temple to be constructed in Jackson County, Missouri, one bearing the designation ‘House of the Lord for the Presidency.’  One, which appears to be the older of the two, is drawn in thin paper approximately 15 by 21 1/2 inches and has a floor plan almost identical to that which can be reconstructed from the drawings on the papyri backings, even to the drop leaf table in front of one of the bottom pulpits.  Quite detailed measurements are given for the main hall (77 by 61 feet), the pulpit areas, box-pews, and aisles.  The side elevation shows only five windows in the structure in each wall, and there are 14 rows of box-pews on the main floor.

The second drawing, more mechanically accurate and more neatly done than the one just described, bears the name of Frederick G. Williams, a member of the First Presidency of the Church at Kirtland, as though he had executed it.  His floor plan was essentially the same, except for the correction of an error concerning the extension of an aisle into the elevated pulpit area at one end, and the placing of nine rather than five windows in the side elevation of each of the two floors.

From a comparative examination of these two original drawings with the fragmentary sketches from the papyri, it seems that all four of them are related and are various stages in the development of plans for the temple that was to be constructed in Jackson County, Missouri.

There has not been sufficient study done on the handwriting of early Church members to ascertain who might have drawn the plans for the ‘House of the Lord for the Presidency,’ except the one bearing the name of President Williams.  Brigham Young was a member of the Church after April 14, 1832, and if the plans were drawn subsequent to that date, he might have been the draftsman on some of these plans.  He had done much building in New York State, owned a set of simple drafting pens and equipment, and was capable of making the drawings.  Reynolds Cahoon, who had been converted in October 1830 by Parley P. Pratt at his residence near Kirtland, had limited building experience, which probably was a factor in his appointment as one of the three-man building committee for the Kirtland Temple.

. . . .

When building the Kirtland Temple, the builders made some modifications of the plans for the temple in Zion.  They retained the basic design of the floor plan but made its measurements conform to the dimensions given in D&C 94:4.  This shortened the length and narrowed the width of the building, with the result that there was space only for ten rows of box-pews on the main floor.  Six windows were then placed in the side walls on each floor.  An additional drop leaf sacrament table was also added to the lower pulpit at one end.

A visit to the Kirtland Temple allows the interested visitor to see, in slightly smaller form and beauty, the floor and pulpit plans, the aisles, ane box-pew arrangements, and the plan for the veils that could be lowered to divide the hall into sections, as these were envisioned by Joseph Smith for the temple in Zion that was never built.  The drawings on the back of the papyri recently acquired by the Church apparently represent a stage in the development of the plan for the first temple the Lord commanded the Saints to build in this dispensation of the fulness of times.”  (T. Edgar Lyon, “The Sketches on the Papyri Backings,” IE 71(5):18-23, May, 1968)

22 May:  May garment be removed during sexual relations?



Salt Lake City, Utah  84111

22 May 1968


Personal and Confidential

Dear Brethren:

It has come to our attention that in some of the temples instruction has been given to those going through to receive their endowments prior to entering into the marriage covenant that they must not remove the temple garment during the time of sexual relations.

We have authorized no such instruction or advice. We feel that this is a matter of such intimate nature that it must be left with the persons concerned. We therefore ask that you govern yourselves accordingly.


/s/ David O. McKay

/s/ Hugh B. Brown

/s/ N. Eldon Tanner

The First Presidency”

(Letter to all Temple Presidents from the First Presidency; 22 May 1968; Bergera collection)

Oct.:  Nauvoo temple restoration.

“A partial restoration of the Nauvoo Temple, to be built on the original Illinois temple site, is projected by the Nauvoo Restoration, Incorporated (NRI).  The original temple, built about 122 years ago, was located at Nauvoo, Illinois, where the Church was headquartered from 1839-1846 on a large bend of the Mississippi River.  NRI is a non-profit corporation sponsored by the Church for the development of part of the old city of Nauvoo.  Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball serves as president and chairman of the board by appointment of the First Presidency.

. . . .

The purpose of the restoration is to create a center where the story of the Church can be told to the millions of tourists and nearby residents who travel through the Midwest.  Over 100,000 Latter-day Saints reside in the Mississippi Valley region.  It is estimated that by 1974 nearly half a million visitors yearly will visit the Nauvoo center.

Construction on the partial restoration of the Nauvoo Temple is expected to begin in 1970.  A two-year construction period is anticipated.  Preceding the restoration there will be an exhaustive program of archaeological and historical research, which will near completion the latter part of 1969.  The archaeological work has already unearthed numerous artifacts, including portions of the wall that surrounded the original temple plot, part of the bricked basement floor, segments of the stone oxen statuary that sustained the baptismal font, workmen’s tools, and many other related items.

. . . .

The main exhibit, however, will be the restored portion of the Nauvoo Temple.  The temple’s footings and floor will be built over the exact spot where once stood the original temple, and will follow the exact measurements of the original building.  Indeed, some of the original stonework, including some of the original footings, will be used in the reconstruction.  The brick basement floor will also contain some of the original basement bricks.  Portions of the legs of the original 12 oxen that surrounded the font will be used in the font restoration.  Nearby will be the temple well, which provided water for the font.

The front facade of the temple is to be rebuilt to the original height of the upper pediment, so that tourists may ascend the stairway and obtain a glimpse of the view that so enchanted early-day Nauvoo visitors.”  (Jay M. Todd, “Nauvoo Temple Restoration,” IE 71(10):11, Oct., 1968)

5 Oct.:  Genealogical Information System.

“I have also been asked to read the following announcement:

The Genealogical Society, with the approval of the First Presidency, announces an important new development in submitting names for vicarious ordinance work.

The improved genealogical program is called the GIANT System, which is a shortened version of the name GENEALOGICAL INFORMATION AND NEW TABULATION SYSTEM.

The GIANT System will begin January 1, 1970, but the announcement is being made now so that members of the Church will be prepared for this simplified program of submitting individual names for temple ordinance work.

Those who have been holding individual names, but have not submitted them because they lacked the full family group may submit them individually under the proposed new system.  A special new record form has been developed for this purpose.  The family group sheet now in use will continue to be used for sealing of wives to husbands and for completed family groups which meet the requirements for the new system.  The cut-off date for the present system will be July 1, 1969.  Names submitted under the present system will have to be submitted before July 1, 1969.  Names can be submitted under the GIANT System beginning October 1, 1969.

This new approach to genealogy and temple work will open great areas which have heretofore been untouched in the work of salvation for the dead.

The GIANT System will provide increased accuracy, elimination of duplication, simplified redording, speedier processing, unlimited expansion possibilities, easier patron input and faster information retrieval of names already in the system.  All this will be possible at a lesser processing cost to the Church and with greater ease to the patron.

Detailed information will be announced later, but we wish to give this announcement now to encourage our Saints to greater activity in genealogical and temple work.”

(Alvin R. Dyer, 5 Oct., 1968; CR Oct., 1968, pp. 88-89)

Various methods of presenting the endowment. 

“Sometimes our people who go through the temples are a bit startled because of the varied ways in which the endowment is presented.  Perhaps, as under inspiration they studied the nature of the endowment, they thought to make it a little more meaningful to the patrons who would come: part by dramatization, part by question and answer, part by lecture, part by picturization on the walls of some of the temples.  We have artists who have tried to put those who go through the temple in the mood of the lesson to be taught as they proceed through the temple.

In our more recent times, as the many language problems presented themselves (like those in the Swiss Temple where we may have a German-speaking session today, a French-speaking tomorrow, and an English-speaking the next day, as well as Scandinavian sessions) by picturing the endowment on a screen rather than by giving it by lecture and dramatization, the same message can be given with a minimum number of workers like we have in other temples: but it is the same message that was given by lecture by the Prophet Joseph Smith in his office over the John Taylor store.  Now, when we have that in mind, we will see why the Prophet in the beginning of this dispensation, gave certain instructions to have the brethren stimulated in their thinking.”  (Harold B. Lee, “Correlation and Priesthood Genealogy,” Genealogical Devotional Addresses, p. 58.  Quoted in Richard O. Cowan, “Temple Building Ancient and Modern,” BYU Press, 1971, p. 19)   

Temple Recommends:  Probationary period for sinners.

“Where applicants are not keeping the commandments, they should prove themselves by keeping the commandments through a probationary period before the recommend is issued.  This period should be long enough to establish the genuineness of their repentance and in the case of adultery should be a year or longer.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, No. 20, 1968, p. 91)

New expiration date for recommends.

“Temple recommends expire April 30 of each year.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, No. 20, 1968, p. 92)

Wife of non-member may not receive endowment.

“A recommend will not be issued for a wife to receive her endowments if her husband is not a member of the Church.  This rule does not apply to a woman legally divorced from a nonmember husband, nor in such an unusual situation as where the husband has been mission for many years, nor does it prevent a worthy wife, whose husband is willing, from participating in baptisms for the dead.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, No. 20, 1968, p. 93)

Recommends during divorce proceedings.

“Where a person who is involved in a pending divorce or annulment proceedings makes 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.

. . . .

In all cases where there has been a divorce or an annulment of a marriage in the life of a person seeking a recommend to the temple, the bishop and stake president should conduct a thorough, searching interview to determine not only the applicant’s present worthiness, but also before issuing the first recommend following the divorce or annulment, whether or not there was any unfaithfulness or serious transgression in connection with such divorce or annulment.

Bishops should make sure that in the case of a divorced person being recommended for temple marriage, a final divorce decree has been secured; and if the individual was married in the temple previously that a cancellation of sealing has been granted in the case of the women.  However, a man married in the temple who has had a civil divorce but not a cancellation of sealing may be recommended for temple marriage without first having the previous sealing cancelled if he is fully worthy and if his divorce has been cleared by the First Presidency.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, No. 20, 1968, pp. 94-95)

Civil marriages may be performed in chapels.

“When couples are not to be married in the temple, discreet counsel from bishops might lead them to have the ceremony performed in the home of one or the other of those being married.

Marriage ceremonies may, under certain circumstances, be performed in chapels.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, No. 20, 1968, p. 99)

Mock marriages [including ring ceremonies] prohibited.

“Mock marriage ceremonies following temple kmarriages, or any service somewhat similar to a wedding–where, for instance, prayer is offered, remarks are made by a Church officer, or worldly pomp and ceremony imitative of sectarian weddings is presented–must not be performed.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, No. 20, 1968, p. 100)

Sealings after civil marriages.

“Where a couple are married by civil ceremony, they should not be recommended to the temple until after a year has elapsed since the civil ceremony was solemnized.  Exceptions to this requirement may be granted only by the First Presidency.  For instance, the First Presidency may grant an exception where an unmarried couple live a considerable distance from a temple and desire to travel unaccompanied and to stop overnight while enroute from their home to the temple.  In such a case it may be advisable to have a civil marriage before leaving home, though only a few days may intervene between the civil ceremony and the sealing in the temple.

Couples who have associated together illicitly should not be recommended to the temple until they have thoroughly repented and have shown their repentance by living righteously for a prolonged period of time, usually at least one year following the transgressions.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, No. 20, 1968, p. 100)

Children born in covenant may not be sealed to others.

“Children born in the covenant cannot be sealed to anyone, but belong to their natural parents.  This rule is not altered by adoption, consent of the natural parents, request of the child after becoming of age, or death of the natural parents.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, No. 20, 1968, p. 101)

Sealing of children born to excommunicated parents.

“If parents have been sealed in the temple, and one or both of them have been excommunicated, any children born to them during the period of time between the excommunication and before their blessings are restored, may be sealed to their parents after their blessings are restored, providing the parents are living together and are not divorced.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, No. 20, 1968, p. 102)

One-year rule for ordinances for deceased persons.

“At least one year must expire after death before temple ordinances may be performed by proxy.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, No. 20, 1968, p. 102)