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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?
Evolution of Temple Worship: From Speaking in Tongues to Masonry
If you’re interested in “real” books, I’ve got 3 new titles on paperback. (I’m testing the waters on paperback.) These are available at Amazon, and if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get free 2-day shipping!
Of course you can get all these titles on your Kindle, or individual episodes for just $3 here or at Amazon. (Note Staker’s entire interview also contains the entire Kirtland Banking Crisis. The Banking Crisis book also has images of Kirtland Safety Society Bank Notes.) Anyway, check out our new paperbacks!
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Here’s our final episode on the Kirtland Banking Scandal. (Here is Part 1.) I always blamed Joseph’s financial troubles on lack of business sense, but it seems like there were other people conspiring against him. Given the reasons cited in our previous episode, Grandison Newell trying to create a run on the bank, as well as John Johnson selling lands that was serving as collateral for the bank, why was Joseph blamed? Are there other reasons that we need to talk about? Dr. Mark Staker, anthropologist at the LDS Church History Library said,
Whether guilt or compassion for everybody else or whatever, he begins to take on the debts of all these individuals who have been losing money under his—people who have gotten loans to operate businesses, and probably primarily it was the church, he’s calling in all those debts to try to settle the books.
Newell took Joseph to court.
Now did that exonerate Joseph for operating the institution without a bank charter? No because he ended up being tried and convicted for that. But did Joseph have honorable intentions through the whole thing? Absolutely. He tried to make every effort to pay off all the debts that were incurred in the process and even the very last night of his life, while he was laying on the floor in Carthage Jail, he’s still dreaming about those Kirtland troubles and he’d been weeks before that sending letters out to people and warning people not to take Kirtland bank notes. They weren’t good anymore. It haunted him for a long time afterward.
It was a very interesting episode! I’d like to thank Dr. Mark Staker for spending so much time telling us about the Kirtland Era of Mormonism! Check out the video below, or a transcript at Amazon or here on our website!