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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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Selling LDS Temples!!!!

This next episode is full of surprises!  I’ve got 2 sample quotes below!  Mormons know that the Kirtland Temple is currently owned by the Community of Christ, rather than the church based in Salt Lake City.  Have you ever wondered why the Mormons in Salt Lake City don’t own that temple?  I asked Dr. Richard Bennett that question, a BYU professor of Church History and Doctrine, and was really surprised by his answer!

Brigham Young and the Quorum of Twelve made the conscious decision, not publicized to too many people that we needed to sell off the temples…

Have you heard this before?

Dr Bennett also said that the US government, and Missouri actually saved the saints!

We think of Missouri as being the great enemy of the church.  It was of course in the 1830s, the expulsion by Governor Boggs and what have you.  But as we were moving west, many of the saints went down into Missouri on side trips to work for the season wherever that might be, building fences, harvesting crops.  We have an interesting paradox that Missouri saved the Church heading west in 1846-47.

Were you aware of this?

Check out the video and transcript below, or get one on Amazon!

Selling LDS Temples!!!!

 

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Early LDS Temples Open to the Public

Modern LDS Temples are opened to the general public only prior to dedication.  Following the dedication, only Mormons who meet certain standards of conduct are allowed to enter.  It wasn’t the case in Nauvoo and Kirtland however.   There were exhibits of Egyptian mummies in Kirtland, and there was dancing in the Nauvoo Temple.  We’ll talk to Dr. Richard Bennett, a BYU professor in Church History and Religion and we’ll talk about some of the other things that were open in these two temples.

GT:  So I understand when the mummies were brought to Kirtland and then Joseph Smith and the church purchased them that they actually displayed those in the temple and I believe charged admission.

Dick:  Yes they obtained those mummies in 1835 and there’s no question that Joseph Smith had begun the interpretation of what we now have as the Book of Abraham in Kirtland.

So yeah, they were shown.  The Smith family took possession of them, or at least shall we say they were owned by the Church, but the Smith family kind of took care of them and would invite people to come and see them not just at the temple but at the Smith home for maybe 25 cents, 20 cents or something like that.

GT:  There was a lot of different music and they used to dance inside the temple.  I was reading that Brigham Young said, “The temple is a holy place and when we danced, we danced unto the Lord.”  I thought, well, we don’t dance in the temples any more.  I think this was after a wedding.  There had been a big wedding celebration in there, and it says “The sisters retired to the side rooms, the brethren stretched themselves on the floor or on the sofas, and we were all soon in the embraces of a tired nature’s sweet restorer, balmy sleep.”  They actually feel asleep in the Nauvoo Temple.

Dick:  Yeah.

GT:  As I think about my experiences in the temple, they’re very different.  {chuckles}  What do you think about those differences that the Nauvoo days and our temple worship today?

Dick:  There’s no question that they danced unto the Lord in the Nauvoo Temple.  You don’t see that so much in the Kirtland Temple, but in the Nauvoo Temple as they were preparing to move west, there was this great push.  Let’s have as many as possible receive their endowment, even though the temple isn’t dedicated yet. There where what, 5500 people who received their endowment in the Nauvoo Temple before they left between the 10th of December and the end of January.  They were giving them around the clock.  Brigham Young in particular was the one in charge because Joseph is gone by now and the Twelve hold these keys of sealing which Joseph had bestowed upon them.

What do you think of these differences in temple today compared to early Nauvoo and Kirtland?

“No Chapel in Kirtland” – Mormon Temples Opened to All

 

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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 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?

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Origins of Baptism for the Dead

Baptism for the dead is one of the most unique things Mormons do in all of Christianity.  What were the events that led Joseph to inquire about this practice?  Dr. Richard Bennett, a BYU professor in Church History talks about these events.  They started in Kirtland, although a lot of the events also happened in Nauvoo.

Alvin Smith, Joseph’s brother who died in 1823, was a big supporter of Joseph’s prophetic gift.  Alvin died from what was called bilious colic back in the day.  Doctors gave him some mercury to cure him, which ended up killing him.  The cure was worse than the disease in that case.  A Presbyterian minister said that since Alvin was never baptized, he was consigned to hell.  Joseph Smith, Sr. was so offended that he never joined with any of those protestant churches.  I asked Dr. Bennett if this was the source of Joseph’s thoughts on baptism for the dead.

It’s reasonable to suppose that this was a factor, but it’s impossible to prove.  It is certain though that Joseph Smith, Sr. himself is sick and dying in 1839, before Joseph Smith reveals baptism for the dead, and he dies within days of a few weeks of the announcement and Joseph Smith is clearly thinking about his father and perhaps of Alvin, so you wouldn’t want to dismiss this as immediate factors for it, but you can’t say for certain yet. We haven’t found anything yet where Joseph Smith says, this is where I came up with this idea.  It was a process of revelation.  We talked about the reclamation of revelation.  We have to think about the progression of revelation too.

What is the answer to the Haun’s Mill Massacre?  Joseph now is not just leading a church, people are dying for his religion.  The ante goes up in his mind.  It’s one thing to believe in what I’m telling you but people are giving their lives for it.  The Missouri conflict and conflagration, all those who died in sickness and death, David Patton [an apostle who died at Battle of Crooked River] and all the rest of the young boys and men and all the rest who died at Haun’s Mill, well what’s my answer to this?  What’s the Lord’s answer to this?  I think Joseph was asking the Lord very carefully.  We’re having an H of a time.  What are the answers to this?  I think that’s where you have to see baptism for the dead coming out of a much bigger context.

It should be noted that the Kirtland Temple never had a font.  A previous discussion said it was originally intended to be a school, not a temple, so that may explain some of that.  We talk about the Spirit of Elijah as being a spirit of genealogy work.  Could Elijah’s visit be more properly recognized as sealing dead ancestors through temple work, more so than marriage sealings?  What do you think?

Please consider a donation or purchasing a transcript here or at Amazon so we can put together some documentaries about the progression of temple work.  Please invite your friends and family who have questions about Mormon history to listen to the podcast above, video below so more can find out about this resource to learn more about Mormon history.

 

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Elijah’s Visit & the Sealing Keys

The vision of Elijah is one of the most important Church history events in all of the Doctrine & Covenants.  It’s the vision where Elijah came to Joseph and Oliver and restored the sealing power.  Did you know that Joseph was sealed to his first plural wife, Fanny Alger a year or two prior to that?  We asked LDS Anthropologist Dr. Mark Staker how to explain that, and I think you’ll find his explanation very interesting.

I believe that Joseph Smith received from Peter, James and John all the authority that he needed, including the sealing power.  He holds all those through Peter, James, and John.  What Elijah brings is keys; keys to enact those sealing powers on behalf of other individuals.

 

I don’t think that’s what we typically learn at church.  Do you agree?  Did Joseph get the sealing power in 1830, and the keys to share with others in 1836?  What do you think of this distinction between sealing and sealing keys?

I encourage you to listen to the podcast, watch the YouTube, get a transcript here or on Amazon.  If you’re interested in a free transcript ($3 value), send us a screenshot of your 5 star review on Amazon or iTunes and I’ll give you a transcript of your choice!  Spread the word!  I hope you find this podcast a valuable resource!

 

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The Reclamation of Revelation

In today’s conversation we’ll talk to BYU Church History Professor Dr. Richard Bennett.  We’ll talk about the vision of Elijah.  Did you know it took 40 years for that revelation to be canonized?  Why did it take so long?  Dr. Bennett introduced me to a concept he calls the “Reclamation of Revelation.”  What does he mean by that?  He also says why studying church history is so important.

And that really opens up a topic in church history about why studying our history is so important is because sometimes we miss things, and I think you’re referring here to section 110 and these other revelations.  It’s wonderful that Elder Bednar makes a great point of it.  These sealing keys were extremely important.  They were all written down by Warren Cowdery.  Joseph and Oliver didn’t write it down.  Warren Cowdery wrote it down.  Joseph never refers to that revelation, if you want to know the truth, although he talks a lot about the substance of it.  It’s not until Orson Pratt in [18]76, under the direction of the President of the Church of course, says we better get that down.

A few weeks ago, I told you I became a fanboy Orson Pratt because of his position on slavery.  Once again, this seems to show Elder Pratt’s unrecognized contributions to preserving Mormon history.  Why do you think it took 40 years to canonize the vision of Elijah?

Check out the links, or get a transcript here or at Amazon!

https://youtu.be/0Wc2LTHtAXE

 

 

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Did the Kirtland Temple Sparkle?

I’d like to thank everyone who listens to our podcast on your phone or iPod, or however you listen to us.  For those of you who are watching on YouTube, I want to point out a special extra thing that we’ve done this time.  I have some old public domain photographs of the Kirtland Temple that I think you’ll find really interesting.

I also have also got two special guests, rather than one today.  In addition to Dr. Mark Staker, I’ll introduce Dr. Richard Bennett.  He’s a professor of Church History at BYU and we’ll talk about the construction of the Kirtland Temple.  How much did it cost to build the temple?  We’ll also talk about the Mormon myth about whether the saints really crushed up their china and put it into the plaster of the Kirtland Temple.   When I asked Dr. Bennett that question, he said

No that’s not a true story.  It’s one of those Mormonisms that have come through, somewhere along the line.

However, Dr. Staker said,

I was digging in the ashery pit.  It’s 30 feet across, probably about 15 feet deep pit of ash, and I went through bushels of ashes and I found fragments of ceramics after fragments of ceramics…

Dr. Bennett said,

Nevertheless it was a beautiful, bluish tinge to it and that would shine in the sun…

Staker said that the LDS builders got a patent for the special process and

the sun would shine on it and you’d get little sparkling from a distance and it was quite a dramatic view from the distance.

What’s the true story?  You can listen to the link above, watch the YouTube video below, or get a transcript here, or on Amazon.  Have you heard this story before?  What do you think of the saints sacrifice to build the Kirtland Temple.

(Please note:  This is a continuation of our previous conversation about the Kirtland Temple.)

 

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Kirtland Temple University?

Mormons often refer to the temple as the “University of the Lord.”  In Doctrine and Covenants 88:119, it says the temple is to be a “house of learning, a house of faith.”  Did you know that the original Kirtland Temple was envisioned to be more of as a real school than a temple?  Dr. Mark Staker, an LDS Anthropologist at the Church History Library tells us more about the evolution of the Kirtland School into the Kirtland Temple.  Check out the video below, the audio above, or you can get a transcript here or on Amazon!

Let’s listen in our conversation….