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Evolution of Temple Worship: From Speaking in Tongues to Masonry

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

 

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3 New Paperbacks!

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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Kirtland Banking Crisis (Part 3): Joseph Blamed

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!

Kirtland Banking Crisis (Part 3) – Joseph Blamed

 

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Kirtland Banking Crisis (Part 2): Why it Failed

In my studies of the Kirtland Banking Scandal, I’ve blamed the bank’s collapse on simple ignorance.  Joseph Smith was a prophet, but didn’t know how to make a profit.  However, in talking with Dr. Mark Staker, an anthropologist for the LDS Church History Library, I discovered some nefarious outside influences.  A man by the name of Grandison Newell from a rival bank and competitor, purposely tried to induce a bank run.  Combine that with the fact of a nationwide real estate bubble, and the Banking Panic of 1837 looks even worse than our Great Recession of 2008.  Comparing the causes between 1837 and 2008 shows a similar cause:  real estate speculation.

But it wasn’t just that.  Banking competitor Grandison Newell actively tried to cause a bank run on the Kirtland Safety Society.  Staker says,

While that charter’s still kind of out in limbo, one of those local opponents of theirs, Grandison Newell, he wants to put the bank out of commission, so he goes up and buys up all the banks notes that he can buy, and he comes in and he asks for specie, which is hard currency, gold and silver coins rather than the paper notes and the bank has to trade for those and so all of this currency, all of this specie that’s in the coffers of the bank in the vault, they’re trading out to Grandison Newell and he’s trying to create a run on the bank.

I think the actions of Newell and Johnson are not well known and under-appreciated in the bank’s collapse.  The bank run worked (combined with John Johnson’s sale of bank property which sent real estate prices plummeting.)  In our next podcast, we’ll ask this question.  Given all these reasons for the collapse of the bank, why did Joseph take most of the blame?

Please get a transcript here or at Amazon to help support more podcasts and documentaries such as this.

Kirtland Banking Crisis (Part 2) – Why it Failed

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Kirtland Banking Crisis (Part 1): Why a Bank?

The year 1837 was one of the most turbulent periods in all of Mormon history.  It was the year the Kirtland Bank collapsed.  Many, including apostles, lost faith in Joseph Smith and his ability to lead.  Why did Joseph decide that Kirtland needed a bank?  What were the economic reasons behind this?  Historian and Author, Dr. Mark Staker talks about this in his book [Hearken O Ye People:  The Historical Settings of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations] about the Kirtland period.  One of these events dealt that led Mormon leaders to consider a bank was a visit to New York City.

While they’re going out there, they go through New York and they visit Wall Street.  They see these trains.  They see all this industry going on and things.  Oliver Cowdery is writing back these letters and suggesting that banking is something that interested them.  Exactly how that congeals in their minds, what it is that they plan on doing?  Why?  What is it that they see that leads them to these decisions?  They come back and with the idea that they need to have a bank in Kirtland and they need to be able to print their own money to do their own things and it will foster this growth.

Listen to describe other events that led up to the Kirtland Bank.  (In part 2, we’ll discuss events leading to the collapse of the bank.)

 

Kirtland Banking Crisis (Part 1) – Why a Bank?