Posted on

1st International Temple was almost a Temple Ship!

Trivia question for you:  what was the first LDS temple outside the United States?  The answer is below but see if you can guess before you read the answer.  In our final conversation with BYU Church History professor Dr. Richard Bennett, we learned that this temple marked the end of gathering the church to Utah, and the beginning of creating temples away from the center of Mormonism.

Temples were magnets and were a powerful factor in people gathering from Europe and inland to the Rocky Mountains.  Originally they went to Nauvoo.  The saints wanted to be where the temple is.

After 1900 and the beginning of an understanding that we should stay where we are and gather to the local units and gather in their own nations, you begin to see temples now moving out from Utah.  I think the first major expression of that would be the Cardston Temple.

We also discussed the Temple Ship, an idea mentioned in Greg Prince’s biography of President David O. McKay!

Yes I know that story, like a Hope Ship.  It had a lot of traction at one time.  It’s pretty hard to keep sacred a ship though, {chuckles} and I think that was the thing that sunk it, the idea that, oh we can have this boat that would be a dedicated temple.  The reason it had traction was you could go to places where the saints were. You could go to the islands and different countries all over the world.  But I think, I don’t know.  I remember studying that when I was studying the life of David O. McKay years ago, and I wrote the history of Brigham Young University, shadow boat history.  This was going to be difficult to keep a ship afloat that’s a temple and keep it sacred, going all over the place, and having it serviced and everything else, plus the cost.

Check out our conversation, and give us a 5 star review on iTunes or Youtube!

 

1st International Temple was almost a Temple Ship!

 

Posted on

Ouija boards, Spiritualism, Manifesto, & Endowments for the Dead

You’ve probably heard lots of ghost stories, Ouija boards, and other supernatural phenomenon.  I was surprised to hear Dr. Richard Bennett, a BYU professor of Church History tell us that Spiritualism, the idea of communing with the dead, may have had some impact on the LDS endowment.  Some quotes from Dr. Bennett:

Spiritualism, the practice of communing with the dead, adulterated today by Ouija boards and things like this and telekinesis and paranormal, but Spiritualism is well-known in American history as flowering after the Civil War with so many dead and lost and the great desire of many families to know what happened to their sons or their fathers or their brothers.

In the 1870s there’s a lot of comment by general authorities, leaders of the church, particularly Orson Pratt about this is a counterfeit, but it has its place.  We understand why people are seeking the dead.  Was that a factor in the beginning of endowments for the dead for the church in 1877?  I claim that it may have been one of the factors to begin to address how we really think about them.  There is redemption for the dead but it’s not that way.  So was it a factor?  I argue that it probably was one of the factors.

We also talked about the start of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper!

There were a small number of astute, intellectual Latter-day Saints who broke with Brigham Young in the 1870s, who thought they knew the gospel a little bit better than Brigham Young did.  But they thought that they knew economics better than Brigham Young did and they broke with the church over that.  The Salt Lake Tribune starts with the Godbeite movement which was very negative,of course against the church.  It still tends to be a little bit on that side, but that’s its history.

There’s also a discussion about the revelation that preceded the Manifesto.  Check it out!

 

Ouija Boards, Spiritualism, the Manifesto, and Endowments for the Dead

 

 

 

Posted on

Sealing to GA’s Through Law of Adoption

It was once a common practice for faithful LDS Church members to be sealed Church leaders until about the 1890s when President Wilford Woodruff put a stop to the practice.  This was known as the Law of Adoption.  BYU professor Dr. Richard Bennett will talk to us and tells us about the theological justifications and why church members felt the need to be sealed to church leaders. Bennett makes the case that until Joseph F. Smith’s 1918 of the Spirit World, that many didn’t know the gospel was preached to the dead.  How do we better understand the Law of Adoption?

Dick:  I don’t think you can talk about the Law of Adoption without understanding the development of the doctrine of the Spirit World and the doctrine of the gospel being taught in the Spirit World, which really doesn’t come to fruition in our doctrine and our history until Joseph F. Smith’s great revelation in 1918 and what was going on in the spirit world.  It’s a progressive doctrine about the souls of men and women that are living in the spirit world.

Are they being reclaimed?  Are they being taught the gospel?  Are they being converted?  Are they being forgiven?  Are they receiving the fullness of the gospel there?

Baptism for the dead opened that door, to actually begin to do ordinances for the dead.  But could we be sealed to our ancestors like we do today?  We take it so for granted.  You’re just being sealed to your ancestors.  Well if they’re not receiving the gospel, we don’t want to take the risk of being sealed to them because what’s going to happen to us if they don’t accept the gospel?

Until it became clear that the fullness of the gospel was being taught to them, the deceased, and that they were receiving the fullness of the ordinances, better be on the safe side and be sealed to a living prophet or a deceased prophet maybe like Joseph Smith and we’ll be sealed.  Until we know more clearly what’s going to happen, let’s be sealed to the prophetic priesthood lineage of the prophet Joseph priesthood claim and therefore it’s a done deal.  Can I use that term?  It’s a safer way than, we don’t know what’s happening to our ancestors.  That’s going to change as we learn better and more clearly, especially in 1877 with Wilford Woodruff when he announces that from now on, we’re going to do endowments for the dead.  We don’t begin to do endowments for the dead until 1877. That’s 40 years after Nauvoo, 30 years after Nauvoo.

Were you aware that this is why church members were sealed to prophets and other general authorities?

 

Law of Adoption

 

 

Posted on

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!!!!

 

Posted on

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

 

Posted on

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!

Posted on

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.

 

Posted on

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!

 

Posted on

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.)