Temple worship has changed significantly over the years. In early Kirtland, many of the Saints spoke in tongues at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. Also in Kirtland, the ritual of washing and anointing was first practiced by many of the early saints. In Nauvoo, not only did we have baptisms for the dead, but also many Mormons were Masons, and Masonry was highly influential in the development of temple endowment. In this episode, Dr. Richard Bennett a BYU professor of history and religion will talk to us about the development of many of these early temple practices. Some quotes:
Brigham Young spoke in tongues many times. When they got here out in the [Salt Lake] valley they spoke in tongues. But it’s just gradually been, not replaced, but that other gifts have been emphasized more than the gift of tongues.
The development of the Kirtland Endowment is a progressive one. It doesn’t come immediately. Joseph seemed to indicate something was coming and it created an anticipation of something special at the Kirtland Temple to coordinate with its dedication in April of 1836. Even before that there were what they would call special washings and anointings and washing of the feet as well which began in the Newell K. Whitney store and eventually migrated into the Kirtland Temple. There were a series of what we would today call preliminary ordinances that were given to priesthood holders for preparation for going on missions and as a blessing and a benediction for having worked so hard on the temple.
The signs and symbols that you sometimes see in the temple, whether they are the all-seeing eye, or the geometric symbols have some similarity to Masonry. There’s no question about that. Maybe even some of the clothing has some parallels. But Joseph Smith explained that he did it, he may have borrowed some of it, but for and entirely different reason, something that they were somewhat familiar with but for an entirely different reason. To the best of my knowledge, the differences are very, very stark when it comes to scripture and prophetic and Christian. Masonry is a benevolent and wonderful society, but it’s not necessarily for just the Christians. It’s not a religion.
What do you make of early temple practices?