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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1971

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1971.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1971.

1971:  6 Jan.:  Temple manufacture of clothing discontinued.

“Any temples now manufacturing ceremonial clothing or other items of clothing for temple wear are requested to discontinue doing so.  Sewing rooms in temples should be maintained only for the repair or reconditioning of clothing.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter to Temple Presidents, 6 Jan., 1971)

12 Feb.:  Instructional materials from 1st Presidency.

“Enclosed are copies of the following memoranda:

     ‘So You Are Going to the Temple’

     ‘Important Information for the Brides and Grooms’

     ‘Concerning Sealings for the Living’

This material is to be used in connection with your interviews with those who are preparing to go to the temple for their own blessings.

The information will, we believe, help you to help them to understand in a general way the nature and meaning of the blessings promised them through the temple ordinances.  It will help them also to know what they need to do in preparing for that significant event.”  (1st Presidency Circular Letter, 12 Feb., 1971)

“It has come to our attention that many of those planning to go to the temple for the first time are not properly oriented as to what to expect there.  Under such circumstances they may fail to receive adequate understanding from their experiences in the temple.  Conversely, we have been made aware of the fact that a number of people have been told more than is necessary about the temple ordinances before they go there. . . .

Without discussing the intimate ordinances and other sacred matters which should not be spoken of ourside the temple, a general explanation of the origin, purpose, and blessings of the endowment should be given.  This explanation should be given after it has been determined that the applicant has met the requirements necessary to enter the temple worthily. . . .

All this ceremonial work, which takes place in the temple (baptisms, ordinations, endowments, marriages, and other sealing ordinances) is necessary for the exaltation of the living and of the dead. . . .

Before a person can be married (or sealed as husband and wife) in the temple, he (or she) receives the ordinances of the ‘endowment.’

What comprises the temple endowment?

The Prophet Brigham Young gave this excellent definition of the endowment:

Let me give you a definition in brief.  Your endowment is to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.

As you receive your endowment, you will be given instruction relative to the purposes and plans of the Lord in creating and peopling the earth.  You will be taught that which must be done in order to gain exaltation.  These matters are so sacred the Lord has withheld them from the knowledge of the world and disclosed them only to the faithful in certain places dedicated for this purpose.

Elder James E. Talmage has given us a clear description of the endowment:  [quotes from The House of the Lord, pp. 99-101]

To endow is to enrich, to give something long-lasting and of much worth to another.  The endowment ordinances enrich in three ways:

(a)  The one receiving the ordinance is given power from God.  ‘Recipients are endowed with power from on High.’  [McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 227]

(b)  A recipient is also endowed with information and knowledge.  ‘They receive an education relative to the Lord’s purposes and plans.’  [ibid.]

(c)  When sealed at the altar a person is the recipient of glorious blessings, powers, and honors, as part of his endowment. . . .

Associated with the endowment are washings and anointings–mostly symbolic in nature, but with definite, immediate blessings as well as future blessings promised.  Concerning these ordinances the Lord has said:

‘I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable unto me except ye perform them in the house which ye have built to my name?’  [D&C 124:37]

and again,

‘I say unto you, that your anointings . . . are ordained by the ordinance of my Holy House.’  [D&C 124:39]

Also, you will be officially clothed in the garment of the Holy Priesthood and promised marvelous blessings in connection with it. . . .

The ordinances of the temple are so sacred that they are not open to the view of the public, but only to those who qualify through righteous living to participate in them.  Likewise, their sacred nature is such that discussion of them outside the temple is unappropriate [sic].

Apart from the blessings coming to participants from receiving sacred ordinances necessary for exaltation of the living and the dead, are other blessings.  Participation in temple ordinances, among other things, provides dynamic, vivid, useful instruction in gospel principles.  It provides a place for medidation and worship–a place for contemplation and prayer.  The temple is a sanctuary from the world, and is a bit of heaven on earth.  (“So You’re Going to the Temple.”)

17 Feb.:  Lauritz Petersen notes on Temple Ceremonies.

“Lectures given in the Nauvoo Temple were not given as part of the ceremony. After members had received their endowments, they were called together into an assembly room and lectures were given there. This may or may not have been the same day of receiving the endowment.

The endowment record kept by the First Council of Seventy deals only with those who have received their washings and anointings. The record gives the new name, the present name of the members, together with date and place of birth. In some instances there were ordinations to the Melchizedek Priesthood performed and they too are recorded. The Seventy did not record the other part of the endowment.

The record gives who were assigned to perform the washing and anointing. As mentioned above, the name of the person being washed is given, with his birthdate, the priesthood he held, his wife’s name and her birthdate, time session began, to the minute, and the time session ended.

Time spent washing and anointing male 15 persons, one hour and 10 minutes.

Time spent washing and anointing female 12 persons, one hour and 50 minutes.

Another group spent 45 minutes washing and anointing 17 male, and one hour and 20 minutes with 24 female. *Complete endowment, washing and anointing and endowment, 6 hours, 30 minutes. Time spent differs with the number of those doing the washing and anointing. For the male department, they had 2 washing and 3 anointing. Another interesting item is that members were called to come for their endowments. Also the men, Peter, presiding at the veils called the names of those present, when to come to the veil. This agrees with the sermon given the 28th of December 1845 in the temple.

*Everyone started with the washing and the anointing and went straight through to the complete endowment. There was no break for lunch.

The lectures gave a much better explanation of the meaning and use of the new name, etc.

An item of interest is that there were no garments given in the Kirtland Temple during the washing and anointings. Garments are not mentioned until in Nauvoo.”  (Temple Ceremonies — Notes; Compiled by Lauritz G. Petersen; 17 February 1971.)

Feb.:  Temple ordinances for recently deceased persons.

“The General Handbook of Instructions, No. 20, 1968, page 102, item FF, is amended to read as follows (reference is also made to the ‘Temple Ordinance Policies’ manual, sections B, D, G, and I, item 1 in each section):

Temple ordinances for a deceased person, whether a member or nonmember, will not be performed until the expiration of one year from the date of death.  This waiting period may be waived upon application to the First Presidency if a deceased person was a member of the Church and worthy to go to the temple but was unable to do so while alive due to circumstances beyond his control, as for example, a confining illness or an age limitation.”

(“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 7(1):5, Feb., 1971)

9 Mar.:  Regulations regarding garments.



Salt Lake City, Utah  84111

March 9, 1971

To All Stake and Mission Presidents

Dear Brethren:

Authorized Pattern Garments are an item of temple clothing. Certain regulations with regard to individuals making temple clothing as set forth in the leaflet, “Instructions for Making Temple Clothing – Clothing the Dead,” apply equally to individuals making garments. We call to your attention the following regulations as applied to garments:

1. Individuals who have received their endowments who desire to make garments for themselves or a family member may do so.

2. Individuals, as such, are not authorized to make garments for sale.

3. The practice of a group of sisters meeting together to make garments is not approved. Should a sister need help in making garments, it would be given through the stake Relief Society president in the privacy of a home.

4. Because of the sacred character of garments, Relief Society Presidents should not permit Relief Society members to sew garments during a Relief Society meeting or a Relief Society gathering; nor should they sponsor or in any way participate in organizing sewing classes for making garments.

5. The Church does not issue patterns for garments, nor does it issue instructions for making them; neither does it issue to individuals the Approved Pattern label.

Any sister choosing to make garments for herself or family, using as a pattern a pair of garments bearing the Authorized Pattern label which she may have on hand, is reminded that the garment bearing the Authorized Pattern label is made according to specifications set by The First Presidency. There should be no modification in the design of a garment as approved by The First Presidency.

Sincerely yours,

/s/ Joseph Fielding Smith

/s/ Harold B. Lee

/s/ N. Eldon Tanner

The First Presidency”

(First Presidency letter to all Stake and Mission Presidents; March 9, 1971; Bergera collection)

11 Mar.:  Delay in closing sewing departments.   

“In issuing these directives, we had not fully contemplated the extent of the sewing being done in some of the temples, nor of the quantity of fabrics on hand or the wide variety and differing costs of fabrics being used by the various temples.  These matters posed an almost insurmountable problem for the [Beehive] Mills in immediately taking over stocks on hand and in standardizing and properly pricing clothing made from these fabrics.

In light of these problems, we herewith authorize temples to phase out their manufacturing on or before July 1, 1971.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter to Temple Presidents, 11 Mar., 1971)

23 Mar.:  “A certain deviated sex practice.”

“Your recent letter has been received at the office of the First Presidency in which you make inquiry regarding a certain deviated sex practice which you say is being used by some of your married friends.  You inquire if there is a standard of moral conduct between a man and his wife.  

The brethren wish me to tell you that there are some questions that even today should be felt to involve such delicacy and modesty as not to be the subject of common discussion.  The brethren feel that the question which you raise is such as should be answered by you and your husband and in accordance with your own convictions.  The Church has never believed it necessary to issue instructions pertaining to intimate relations between husband and wife.”  (Joseph Anderson, Secretary to the First Presidency, to Luci Atwater, Ogden, Utah; 23 Mar., 1971.  In Richard L. Evans Collection)

Mar.:  Temples are the gates to heaven.

“Pondering upon the subject of temples and the means there in provided to enable us to ascend into heaven brings to mind the lesson of Jacob’s dream. You will recall that in the twenty-eighth chapter of Genesis there is an account of his return to the land of his father to seek a wife from among his own people. When Jacob traveled from Beersheba toward Haran, he had a dream in which he saw himself on the earth at the foot of a ladder that reached to heaven where the Lord stood above it.  He beheld angels ascending and descending thereon, and Jacob realized that the covenants he made with the Lord there were the rungs on the ladder that he himself would have to climb in order to obtain the promised blessings–blessings that would entitle him to enter heaven and associate with the Lord.

Because he had met the Lord and entered into covenants with him there, Jacob considered the site so sacred that he named the place Bethel, a contraction of Beth-Elohim, which means literally “the house of the Lord.” He said of it: “. . . this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”  (Gen 28:17)  (“Temples–The Gates to Heaven”; Elder Marion G. Romney, Council of the Twelve; the Ensign, pp. 12-16; March, 1971.)

Apr.:  New temple recommends.

“It is suggested that all temple recommends issued on and after Sunday, March 14, 1971, be postdated to May 1, 1971.  Such recommends will expire April 30, 1972.  These recommends will be honored immediately at all temples and will be stamped with an expiration date of April 30, 1972, the first time they are presented at the temple.

Bishops should set up their schedules for interviews starting March 14 so that all those who are eligible will have ample time to get their recommends from their bishops and to get them signed by a member of the stake presidency well in advance of May 1.

In past years there has been a letdown in temple work during the month of May due to patrons not having their new recommends.  If the above procedure is followed, this can be avoided.  The procedure will also help the bishops by granting them a longer period for their interviews.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 7(2):2, Apr., 1971)

Aug.:  “Ordinance” of restoration of blessings.

“Excommunicated persons who have had their temple endowments and who are readmitted into the Church by baptism and confirmation must receive a restoration of their blessings by a member of the First Presidency or by a member of the Council of the Twelve as authorized by the President of the Church.  Members in such instances are to be considered as still on probation until former blessings are restored.  The ordinance of restoration of blessings pertains only to the temple blessings and Melchizedek Priesthood offices of endowed persons.  Pending the receipt of this ordinance, the members involved may partake of the sacrament and pay tithes and offerings, but they are not entitled to speak or pray in meetings nor to hold offices or teachings positions in the Church organizations.”  (“The Priesthood Bulletin,” 7(4):2, Aug., 1971)

The highest priesthood blessing.


The Lord through Moses revealed that it was his purpose to bring to pass man’s resurrection and also his eternal life, or godhood; it was designed in the heavens that through priesthood powers the blessing of exaltation would be received. (Moses 1:39; D&C 128:5) * * *

The temple has been built to provide a place where the endowment, eternal marriage, and the fullness of the priesthood may be received. (D&C 124:25-28; TPJS, p. 308) The Prophet said the following regarding women in the Church:

The faithful members of the Relief Society should receive them [the keys of the Priesthood] with their husbands. (Ibid., p. 226)”  (Relief Society Courses of Study, 1971-72, pp. 40-41.)