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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1970

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1970.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1970.

1970:  19 Mar.:  No recommends for homosexuals. 

“There is much concern on the part of the brethren concerning the apparent increase in homosexuality and other deviations, and we call to your attention a program designed to assist those who are thus afflicted.  Two of the Council of the Twelve have been appointed to direct a program to help those who may be involved in these devastating patterns of behavior.

We urge that you be alert to this menace in your own area and see to it that you and your bishops keep the matter in mind when interviewing people for temple recommends, for missions and for other important responsibilities.

[Letter continues to speak of homosexuality]

(First Presidency Circular Letter, 19 Mar., 1970.  First Presidency Notebook)

4 Apr.:  No exaltation without fullness of the priesthood.

” What a glorious thing it is to know that the Lord has offered to each of us the fullness of the priesthood, and has promised us that if we will receive this priesthood and magnify our callings, we shall gain an everlasting inheritance with him in his kingdom! * * *

To prepare the way for the coming of Elijah and the restoration of the sealing power, because of which men may receive the fullness of the priesthood, John the Baptist came in May of 1829 and conferred upon Joseph and Oliver the Aaronic Priesthood. A short time later Peter, James, and John came and gave them the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Then on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple, Elijah the prophet returned and bestowed upon them the sealing power, the power to use the priesthood to bind on earth and seal in heaven.

Then in 1841 the Lord revealed to the Prophet that “the fullness of the priesthood” was available to men only in the temple in “a house” built to his name. (See D&C 124.) And in 1843 the Prophet said: “If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.” (D.H.C., Vol 5:244)

Let me put this in a little different way. I do not care what office you hold in the Church—you may be an apostle, you may be a patriarch, a high priest or anything else—but you cannot receive the fullness of the priesthood and the fullness of eternal reward unless you receive the ordinances of the house of the Lord; and when you receive these ordinances, the door is then open so you can obtain all the blessings which any man can gain.

Do not think because someone has a higher office in the Church than you have that you are barred from receiving the fullness of the Lord’s blessings. You can have them sealed upon you as an elder if you are faithful; and when you receive them, and live faithfully and keep these covenants you then have all that any man can get. There is no exaltation in the kingdom of God without the fullness of the priesthood, and every man who receives the Melchizedek Priesthood does so with an oath and a covenant that he shall be exalted.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, 4 Apr., 1970, IE 73[Jun., 1970]:65-66.  Note that this was Smith’s first address to the Priesthood since becoming President of the Church.) 

Jul.:  Standards of conduct around temples.

“Bishops and stake presidents are reminded that when they are interviewing young people for temple recommends for marriage, the young people and their families should be told there must be no rice thrown on or around the temple grounds.  Furthermore, it should be made clear that it is improper to deface or decorate automobiles that are to be parked near the temple.  Honking horns and dragging objects behind automobiles are also violations of good taste in the proximity of the temple.  Such customs are not in keeping with the sacredness of the temple marriage ordinance.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 6(2):4, Jul., 1970)

Aug.:  Temple endowments for women.

“A female Church member married to a nonmenber is not permitted to receive a temple recommend for her endowment blessing.  The same applies to a female member married to a Church member who has not received his endowment, even though the husband is willing to give his consent in writing for his wife to receive her endowment.

Furthermore, Church leaders should not urge young unmarried female members to obtain their endowments unless they are to be married in the temple or are preparing to go on missions.  An unmarried female member should be authorized to obtain her endowment only when her age and maturity justify it.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 6(3):5;, Aug., 1970)

Sep.:  Civil ceremonies and temple weddings.

“Frequently couple whose parents, one or more, are not members of the Church desire to be married by civil ceremony before going to the temple so that the non-member parents may witness the marriage.  It is contrary to policy to grant such requests.

In lieu thereof, if the parties concerned desire to do so, they may arrange through the bishop of the bride or groom for the holding of a meeting in the cultural hall or some room other than the chapel subsequent or prior to the temple marriage which the nonmember parents and other friends may be invited to attend.  This meeting might include a musical number, such as a vocal selection, and prayer; and the bishop of the ward or some other qualified person might explain to those present the principle of eternal marriage.  There would, however, be no exchanging of vows nor marriage ceremony of any kind as a part of this arrangement. 

Under no circumstance may a civil marriage ceremony follow a temple marriage.  This would be mockery and something that cannot be condoned.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 6(4):3-4, Sep., 1970)

Dec.:  Don’t ask GA’s to perform temple marriages.

“Couples planning to be married in the temple should be encouraged to use the regular temple officiators who have been given the sealing power and are on duty for this very purpose.  They should be discouraged from asking General Authorities to perform such marriages.  Bishops, stake presidents, temple officers, and others should keep this in mind so that the burden on General Authorities will be lessened.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 6(5):1, Dec., 1970)

9 Dec.:  Sessions by audio tape discontinued.

“Consideration has been given to the various methods of presenting the endowment ceremonies in the temples.  We have learned that in some temples the endowment ceremony has been given by voice on tapes alone, where no picture is shown by film or slide nor by live dramatization.

After giving careful consideration to this matter, we now request that hereafter the endowment not be presented merely by tape recordings.  We are certain that some reflection on this matter will convince you that this is the least effective method of teaching and that other methods are much more satisfactory both for those going through for their own endowments or as proxies for those deceased.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter to All Temple Presidents, 9 Dec., 1970)

21 Dec.:  Temple Ordinances:  The New Name.

“Ofttimes female members of the Church receive their endowments in a certain temple and tne for varying reasons enter a different temple later on with their intended husband to whom they expect to be sealed for time and eternity.

As you know, on such occasions the sister is to convey to her intended husband in the ‘short veil ceremony’ her new name which she received in the temple at the time she was endowed.  Quite often they have forgotten what this new name is and thus she cannot give it to him and disappointment follows.

Because of its sacred and confidential nature, this information should not be transmitted by mail or by telephone; therefore, The First Presidency recommends that you use a simple code system which will be made known to each temple president who will keep it in a special file.  The information requested may then be transmitted by letter or if necessary by telephone using combinations of numbers.  The information will be given only by a temple president to another temple president–never to the patron directly.

Of course, the need for this applies only to those sisters who were endowed prior to January 1, 1965, when the present new name system was adopted.

The method is this:  Instead of spelling out the new name, the numbers corresponding to the letters in the name should be transmitted along with a person’s name and date of the endowment.


A  B  C  D  E  F  G  [etc.]

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  [etc.]

If the name given were Martha, the numbers transmitted would be:  ‘The information you seek on behalf of _____ is 13-1-18-20-8-1.’

We ask that after January 1, 1971, all temple presidents use the simple code system herein outlined when transmitting the new name on behalf of patrons who need such information.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter to Temple Presidents, 21 Dec., 1970)  

13 Second Anointings in 1970.

“Paul F. Royall, general secretary of the Genealogical Society, across whose desk record of all temple endowments and other ordinances must pass, stated that 13 second anointings were done last year [1970].”  (Myron W. Horne, “Second Annointings,” Graduate Religion 524 Paper for Roy W. Doxey, 13 Jul., 1971.  Bergera notes.) 

ca. 1970:  Hugh B. Brown on temple sealing decisions.

“About one year after I came down from Canada, President McKay called my into his office and said, ‘We have a number of applications from married people for cancellation of their temple sealings.  This involves inquiry into the causes and results of civil divorce.  I would like you to take this assignment over, if you will.  Investigate all these cases and with your legal background advise me as to what should be done in each case.’

Elder Albert E. Bowen had partially fulfilled this position previously, and later Elder Matthew Cowley.  Elder Cowley did a remarkable job but had to call in help to do much of the detail work which was involved.  When I took over I called in an extra secretary and gave it a great deal of my time between stake conferences.  During that assignment, I must have processed several hundred cases where applications had been made for the cancellation of temple sealings.  These were usually granted if there was sufficient evidence of infidelity on the part of either of the parties involved or if there was conclusive evidence that there was no hope of reconciliation.

One of the first things I did was to ask President McKay to advise me as to the grounds for divorce and as to what I was to look for in my investigations before making my recommendations to him.  He explained that the initial reason for a temple cancellation was immorality on the part of either the husband or wife, but that this was not the only reason.  He noted that ‘where a couple had learned that they could not live together, where they had obtained a civil divorce and had married again (sometimes in the temple, which should not have been done and consequently had to be corrected), and especially where there were no children involved, a cancellation should be granted.’

In those instances where a divorced man or woman had been remarried in the temple without first having been granted a cancellation of temple sealing, we very often would immediately authorize a cancellation of the first sealing.  Sometimes we found ourselves in a position where the woman who had the civil divorce had been permitted to go to the temple to be sealed to another man.  This meant, in effect, that she was sealed to two men.  President McKay required that in all future cases a woman could not be sealed to another man until there was first a cancellation of the former sealing.  (Of course, the doctrine of a plurality of wives allows for the possibility of more than one wife being sealed to one husband in the hereafter.)

As time went on we established rules by which we were later guided as to how to proceed in investigating these cases.  For example, I made it a rule to call in the parties concerned or to visit them during a stake conference in their own area.  I would get them together and talk to them together, then separately, and try to find out the reason for their civil divorce.  I found that this kind of investigation frequently resulted in reconciliation, especially of there had been no intervening marriage of either of the parties. . . .

During the several years I was employed in this capacity, President McKay never refused or failed to concur in my recommendations.  I realize that I may be patting myself on the back a little, but acting under his instructions and guidelines, I was able to weed out those that should not be considered and present to him only those that qualified for divorce under his rules. . . .

While working with the various marital questions, I encountered several other difficult decisions.  For example, a man and a woman marry and then the man goes to war but is killed without first having any children.  The woman later falls in love.  She wants to be married in the temple again but is officially sealed to her first husband.  Should I advise her to be sealed to the second man, which would require a cancellation of the first sealing, or should she remain sealed to her first husband, who would have claim in the hereafter on all the children of the second marriage?  I was never able, in these situations, to forbid a young woman a temple cancellation so that she could marry another man and raise a family by him.  Several times, when I would make my recommendations to President McKay, I would advise him, ‘I think we should leave ot to the Lord and let him settle it and not try to settle it here.’  President McKay usually agreed, and even permitted several women to be sealed to two men, saying, ‘Let the Lord straighten it out when they get to the other side.’

I look upon the question of conditions in the next world in the light of my conviction that God is all wise and that he will do for us what is for our best good.  Relying on his love, wisdom, and power, I do not think we need worry much about what is going to happen when we get there.  The details of life after death leave much to the imagination and to speculation.

The overall question of the eternal family goes in both directions.  It is eternal backward as well as forward.  There are some breaks in the line as we go back and some breaks as we go forward, but the eternity of the marriage covenant, as I grow older, becomes more and more impressive.”  (Hugh B. Brown, ca. 1970, in An Abundant Life:  The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown, 1988, pp. 116-118, 120)

ca. 1970:  Hugh B. Brown on death.

“He approached death with the same curiosity with which he approached life.  He instructed us that no heroic measures were to be used to prolong his life and particularly that he be given no drugs that would dull his sensory experience of death.  He told me that he was likely to enjoy this only once, and he did not want to miss a thing.  Never once did he speak fearfully or regretfully or disparagingly of death.  He loved life and enjoyed it enormously.  But he also anticipated death with what I can only describe as positive zest.  We speculated together about the nature of life after death.  He had absolutely no doubt about our continuing to live.  In fact, he promised, only half jokingly, to come back and tell me what it was like.  He has not done that yet, and I still hold him to the promise.”  (Edwin B. Firmage, in An Abundant Life:  The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown, 1988, p. 145)