Monday, September 22, 2014

The Allegory of the Windmill

Today I was driving with my 2 year old son. We drove past a windmill spinning furiously. He said, "Daddy, airplane!" The windmill had a propeller, a thicker than usual body, and a tail fin. I could see why he would think that.

I said, "No, that's a windmill." He looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "No, daddy. That's an airplane." I said, "No. It's a windmill. That propeller spins and it generates electricity." I instantly realized there was a load of concepts outside of his experience: electricity, motors, etc. I tried to regroup. "Planes aren't on poles. That's a windmill." That difference, crucial to an adult, was invisible to a child. It was unmistakable to him: it was a windmill.

Following Christ will take us so far off the beaten path that any attempt to explain our world view to the uninitiated is utter foolishness. It takes knowledge, skill, patience, and a lot of time to persuade. Don't rush into it.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Nauvoo Temple, Elijah and the Unfinished Restoration

The Lord's Word on the Subject

An in-depth perusal of D&C 124 will provide us with a starting point for what was expected of the Saints in Nauvoo, and what depended on the completion of that expectation.
 28 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.
[This indicates that at the time this revelation was given (1841), the fullness of the priesthood was not available.] 
 29 For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead— 
 30 For this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me. 
 31 But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me. 
 32 But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.
[There was a fixed time for the saints to complete the temple. After that, the ordinances therein (which included more than just baptism, but the other ordinances had not yet been revealed) would not be valid and the Lord would reject the church.] 
 33 For verily I say unto you, that after you have had sufficient time to build a house to me, wherein the ordinance of baptizing for the dead belongeth, and for which the same was instituted from before the foundation of the world, your baptisms for your dead cannot be acceptable unto me
 34 For therein are the keys of the holy priesthood ordained, that you may receive honor and glory.
[Clearly, if "the keys of the holy priesthood" must be ordained in the temple that was not yet built, the keys of the holy priesthood were not yet ordained, and would not be until the temple was completed.] 
 35 And after this time, your baptisms for the dead, by those who are scattered abroad, are not acceptable unto me, saith the Lord. 
 36 For it is ordained that in Zion, and in her stakes, and in Jerusalem, those places which I have appointed for refuge, shall be the places for your baptisms for your dead. 
 37 And again, verily I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name? 
 38 For, for this cause I commanded Moses that he should build a tabernacle, that they should bear it with them in the wilderness, and to build a house in the land of promise, that those ordinances might be revealed which had been hid from before the world was. 
 39 Therefore, verily I say unto you, that your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name. 
 40 And verily I say unto you, let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein unto my people;
[All of these ordinances (and many are referred to here that were not yet revealed to anyone but Joseph) belong to the temple. This casts serious doubts on the validity of the "ordinances" received in places other than the temple prior to the death of Joseph. It also calls into question whether these were everything that had been revealed to Joseph.] 
 41 For I deign to reveal unto my church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times. 
 42 And I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house, and the priesthood thereof, and the place whereon it shall be built.
[It does not say he will show it to Brigham or anyone else. Joseph did not show the brethren everything the Lord had shown him before he was murdered. Therefore, God's intent with the Nauvoo temple was not realized, and subsequent temples built on that model also fall short from God's intent.] 
 43 And ye shall build it on the place where you have contemplated building it, for that is the spot which I have chosen for you to build it. 
 44 If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy. 
 45 And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.
[The Saints were moved out of their place. In fact, they were run out by mobs before the dedication of the temple. (See timeline below)] 
 46 But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them. 
 47 And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord
 48 For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord
 49 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.
[This was not the case in Nauvoo. The Saints had ample means to complete the temple, but instead preferred to hoard their money or spend it otherwise. They were actively investing in property, building lavish brick homes for themselves, and even building a spacious masonic temple.] 
 50 And the iniquity and transgression of my holy laws and commandments I will visit upon the heads of those who hindered my work, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord God.
[The Lord indicates here that this curse would last 3 or 4 generations. Interestingly, we are now at the close of the 4th generation from Nauvoo if you use the line of the church patriarchs: Hyrum Smith (died in Nauvoo)->John Smith->(John's son did not serve)->Hyrum G. Smith->Eldred G. Smith, who died 4 April 2013.] 
 51 Therefore, for this cause have I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and a house unto my name, in Jackson county, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God. 
 52 And I will answer judgment, wrath, and indignation, wailing, and anguish, and gnashing of teeth upon their heads, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord your God. 
 53 And this I make an example unto you, for your consolation concerning all those who have been commanded to do a work and have been hindered by the hands of their enemies, and by oppression, saith the Lord your God.
[Note that "their enemies" included many members of the church who were rebelling against God] 
 54 For I am the Lord your God, and will save all those of your brethren who have been pure in heart, and have been slain in the land of Missouri, saith the Lord. 
 55 And again, verily I say unto you, I command you again to build a house to my name, even in this place, that you may prove yourselves unto me that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever I command you, that I may bless you, and crown you with honor, immortality, and eternal life.
["In this place" God was going to crown the faithful with "honor, immortality, and eternal life."]

The Nauvoo temple was not completed prior to the death of Joseph Smith. The reason, according to Joseph (see Nauvoo discourses in Words of Joseph Smith) was that the Saints thought that building brick houses, a masonic temple, and other speculations were of higher importance than giving their time and money to the temple. One attendant recalled one example of this:
"I never shall forget the words he spoke on the first Sunday after I came to Nauvoo. The temple was built a few feet above the ground. While preaching he pointed towards it and said, 'The Lord has commanded us to build that temple. We want to build it, but we have not the means. There are people in this city who have the means, but they will not let us have them. What shall we do with such people? I say damn them!' and then he sat down." (recollection of Elder William E. Jones) 
Joseph repeatedly warned that there was a time given by the Lord for them to build the temple, and, as the Lord said in D&C 124, if the Saints didn't fulfill the commission in time, they would lose the opportunity to gain the promised blessings.
"I will now ask this assembly and all the Saints if you will now build this house and receive the ordinances and blessings which God has in store for you; or will you not build unto the Lord this house, and let Him pass by and bestow these blessings upon another people? I pause for a reply." (June 11, 1843.) DHC 5:423-427. TPJS p312
Joseph was murdered before the temple was completed. We hear a lot about how "the temple was completed." This is strictly true, as the temple was finally dedicated before it was destroyed. However, the details are important and frequently glossed over.

Nauvoo Temple Timeline

I've compiled the following timeline from "Nauvoo Temple History" by David R. Crockett.

1841 Nov - The basement rooms were enclosed and a temporary roof was constructed.  A temporary wooden font resting on twelve wooden oxen was used for baptisms.
1844 Jun - At the time of the martyrdom, the walls were not yet built up to the final height.
1845 May - Walls completed. The Saints conduct a hosanna shout. The interior was not at all finished, the attic level was not framed, roof not shingled.
1845 Oct - General conference held in the temple. Temporary floors and chairs used, as the real ones were not finished. Brigham Young partially dedicated the partially completed temple.
1845 Nov - Attic level dedicated. The rest of the interior was unfinished, and the attic level was not furnished or organized. The attic level was then used for endowments.
1845 Feb - Brigham ceases the ordinances in the temple. After this date, no ordinances are conducted in the Nauvoo temple. Note that only the attic was finished at this time. The Saints began moving west. Before leaving, members of the 12 prayed in the temple that the Lord would "bless their move to the west and asked Him to enable them to complete the temple and have it formally dedicated" as it was not yet "formally dedicated." The day after this, the roof caught fire.
1846 Feb - Floor cracks under weight, some smash windows to make it out of the building. All 12 except for Orson Hyde were now gone from Nauvoo. He is charged to watch over the temple.
1846 Apr - General conference held in basement of temple, as the other floors were still being worked on. At the end of the month the carpenters reported finishing the woodwork in the building. The brethren make plans to sell the temple. The mob activity was so great that, for fear that it would be forestalled, the first "total" dedication of the completed temple, done by Joseph Young, was conducted in secret.
1846 May - A public dedication was held with a one dollar cover charge. Orson Hyde states "If we moved forward and finished this house we should be received and accepted as a church with our dead, but if not we should be rejected with our dead.  These things have inspired and stimulated us to action in the finishing of it which through the blessing of God we have been enabled to accomplish and prepared it for dedication.  In doing this we have only been saved as it were by the skin of our teeth." By this time, the main body of Saints had fled Nauvoo leaving only the poor, elderly, and those who would not follow Brigham Young behind. It is important to understand that the mob was so severe and active at this time that Winter Quarters, with makeshift shelters during the frigid winter where several hundred died, was more hospitable than Nauvoo. Elders Hyde and Woodruff, the last apostles in Nauvoo, head west.
1846 Jun - The mob takes over the temple. "Holes have been cut through the floors, the stone oxen in the basement have been considerably disfigured, horns and ears dislodged, and nearly all torn loose from their standing."
1846 Sept - Lightning strikes the steeple of the temple.
1848 Oct - The temple burns down.
1849 Mar - The temple is sold by the church to another church.
1859 May - A cyclone knocks down the north wall of the charred ruins, leaving only part of the west wall standing. The stones are used to build other buildings.

Facts about the Nauvoo Temple:

  • The ordinance work was not only started but fully shut down over 5 months before the building was finished.
  • The attic which was dedicated apart from the rest of the temple to allow for the pre-exodus endowment required field-expedient canvas "room" separators, since the wall layout in the attic was not designed for that purpose.
  • Mob persecution was so great that the Saints fled Nauvoo 5 months prior to the temple's completion.
  • The Saints had fled Nauvoo five months before the temple was finished, leaving only a skeleton crew of workers behind to finish the project.
  • The 12 attempted to sell the temple before it was completed and fully dedicated. They were not successful in finding a buyer who would offer what they thought it was worth, thus retained it long enough to finish it.
  • The 12 succeeded in selling the temple to another church.
  • The completed temple was taken over by a mob within 30 days of completion and vandalized.
  • The temple was destroyed by a fire and a cyclone, and the stones were recycled for other buildings.

What Now?

From the foregoing, it is clear that Joseph preached often enough about the importance of the Nauvoo temple that Saints pushed hard to complete at least the structure of the temple to avoid the promised cursings. They thought there was still time. However, Joseph had not revealed to them what exactly was meant to happen there. One reason for this was that most of what was supposed to happen there was not based on what they would do at all, but what heaven would do after they had completed the temple (more on this later).

When Joseph was killed, this divine channel of instruction did not continue with Brigham Young or anyone else. We know this because we have snippets like this:
"Pres Young said that Joseph taught him [that] under the pulpit on the west end [of the Nauvoo temple] will be the place to offer sacrifices; there will be an altar prepared for that purpose so that when any sacrifices are to be offered they should be offered there." (Journal History, Dec 18, 1857)
that show us that Joseph had said enough about the intended purpose of the temple for us to point out that it did not achieve its intended purpose, but he didn't provide enough detail for Brigham and others to implement that intent.

In actuality, the use of the temple was demonstrably far removed from the intended purpose (more on this later).

In absence of its intended purpose, the structure didn't quite fit what Brigham used it for. This picture shows how canvas curtains had to be erected in the attic story to retrofit the architecture to fit Brigham's endowment ceremony.

If the endowment ceremony conducted by Brigham (which, incidentally, was different than the one we have today) was exactly the way Joseph had showed him, why didn't the architecture approved by Joseph fit the needs of the ceremony?

Moreover, it is incorrect to assume that modern temples (St. George and forward) were modeled after Nauvoo. Only the attic story and baptistry were used for ordinances in the Nauvoo temple. And even these, as described above, were ill-suited for Brigham's use of them.

The best illustration of this can be gained by comparing Joseph's Nauvoo temple with the modern reconstructed replica. Though great lengths were taken to make it look similar on the facade, the interior is quite different.

"At its base the Nauvoo Temple was 128 feet (39 m) long and 88 feet (27 m) wide with a tower and weather vane reaching to 65 feet (20 m). The second temple of the Latter Day Saint movement was built 60% larger in dimensions than its predecessor, the Kirtland Temple. Like Kirtland, the temple contained two assembly halls, one on the first floor and one on the second, called the lower and upper courts. Both had classrooms and offices in the attic. Unlike Kirtland, it had a full basement which housed a baptismal font." (Wikipedia)

Though the dimensions are nearly the same on the facade (the tower of the new temple is 2 feet lower than the original), "the intererior of the temple, however, is a different story." This article tells about the differences.

Here is the original floor plan:

The current floorplan is similar to any modern temple, centered around the rooms of the endowment. From here: "The first floor Assembly Room, featuring ten chandeliers, was duplicated on a smaller scale allowing enough area for planned administrative offices. The second floor has dressing rooms, and the upper floors house the six sealing rooms and endowment rooms, which were arranged in progressive style to include a Creation Room, Garden Room, World Room, Terrestrial Room, and Celestial Room."

Was the Restoration Completed?

Frequently, we hear people in the church say, "the gospel was restored through Joseph Smith." Did Joseph complete his assigned mission? Do we have everything that God has promised to give before the Second Coming?

Some have taught, since at least the time of John Taylor's tenure as President, that Joseph Smith restored the fullness of the gospel, meaning everything that ever pertained to previous dispensations. It is also commonly understood that God, through Joseph (and, according to some, others) everything has been given that is required to be received before the Second Coming. What would it mean if that claim was not true? How would we be inclined to act differently as individuals and as a community if we did not yet possess what we need to in order to be prepared for the Second Coming? How would that challenge the common narrative? My goal here is to lay out a case that God has told us that more is needed before we are prepared for the Second Coming. Much of that case rests on the idea that Elijah has not yet revealed the priesthood, as Joseph and others foretold he would.

John Taylor taught,
"How perfect it was in the days of Enoch we are not told, but everything that they had revealed to them pertaining to the organization of the Church of God, also pertaining to doctrine and ordinances, we have had revealed to us, excepting one thing, and that is the principle and power of translation; that, however, will in due  time be restored also."  (John Taylor JD 23 p 28).
This quote provides us with two points. First, we can dismiss out of hand the notion that God has revealed to us all that we need for the Second Coming, or all the power that he gives to men on earth, as John Taylor points out one obvious exception: the keys to translation.

Do we have any other sources which indicate something that was promised to be restored, but has not yet been restored? We do. Here are some passages of interest, with a bullet list following each which enumerates what has been promised but not fulfilled.
``it is generally supposed that Sacrifice was entirely done away when the great sacrifice was offered up—and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of Sacrifice in future, but those who assert this, are certainly not acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the priesthood. or with the prophets The offering of Sacrifice has ever been connected and forms a part of the duties of the priesthood. It began with the priesthood and will be continued until after the coming of Christ from generation to generation—We frequently have mention made of the offering of Sacrifice by the servants of the most high in ancient days prior to the law of moses, which ordinances will be continued when the priesthood is restored with all its authority power and blessings. Elijah was the last prophet that held the keys of this priesthood, and who will, before the last dispensation, restore the authority and delive[r] the Keys of this priesthood in order that all the ordinances may be attended to in righteousness.'' ("Words of Joseph Smith", 5 Oct 1840)
  • Animal sacrifice. Animal sacrifice requires fresh ("living") water to wash the animal in before killing it. Interestingly, the original Nauvoo temple originally had a well in the basement.
  • A future return of Elijah, with priesthood keys.
``the offring of Sacrifice which also shall be continued at the last time, for all the ordinances and duties that ever have been required by the priesthood under the direction and commandments of the Almighty in the last dispensation at the end thereof in any of the dispensations, shall all be had in the last dispensation. Therefore all things had under the Authority of the Priesthood at any former period shall be had again—bringing to pass the restoration spoken of by the mouth of all the Holy Prophets.'' (Words of Joseph Smith)
"For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood." (D&C 124:28, given Jan 19, 1841, long after Kirtland). 
"It will be necessary here to make a few observations on the doctrine, set forth in the above quotation, As it is generally supposed that Sacrifice was entirely done away when the great sacrife was offered up---and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of Sacrifice in future, but those who assert this, are certainly not aquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the priesthood. or with the prophets The offering of Sacrifice has ever been connected and forms a part of the duties of the priesthood. It began with the prieshood and will be continued untill after the coming of Christ from generation to generation---We freequently have mention made of the offering of Sacrifice by the servants of the most high in antient days prior to the law of moses, See which ordinances will be continued when the priesthood is restored with all its authority power and blessings. Elijah was the last prophet that held the keys of this priesthood, and who will, before the last dispensation, restore the authority and delive[r] the Keys of this priesthood in order that all the ordinances may be attended to in righteousness." (Words of Joseph Smith, 5 Oct 1840)
  • Animal sacrifice, as well as any other ordinance or duty that has ever been required by the priesthood.
``It is a very prevalent opinion that in the sacrifices of sacrifices which were offered were entirely consumed, this was not the case if you read Leviticus [2] Chap [2-3] verses you will observe that the priests took a part as a memorial and offered it up before the Lord, while the remainder was kept for the benefit maintenance of the priests. So that the offerings and sacrifices are not all consumed upon the Alter, but the blood is sprinkled and the fat and certain other portions are consumed These sacrifices as well as every ordinance belonging to the priesthood will when the temple of the Lord shall be built and the Sons Levi be purified be fully restored and attended to then all their powers  ramifications and blessings—this the Sons of Levi shall be purified. ever was and will exist when the powers of the Melchisid Priesthood are sufficientIy manifest. Else how can the restitution of all things spoken of by all the Holy Prophets be brought to pass be brought to pass It is not to be understood that, the law of moses will be established again with all it rights and variety of ceremonies, ceremonies, this had never been spoken off by the prophets but those things which existed prior Mose's day viz Sacrifice will be continued—It may be asked by some what necessity for Sacrifice since the great Sacrifice was offered? In answer to which if Repentance Baptism and faith were necessary to Salvation existed prior to the days of Christ what necessity for them since that time.'' (Words of Joseph Smith)
  • Animal sacrifices and any other ordinance or duty that has ever been required of the priesthood.
  • The building of a temple where animal sacrifice will be done.
  • The restoration of the temple service of the Levites.
``The dispensation of the fulness of times will bring to light the things that have been revealed in all former dispensations, also other things that have not been before revealed. He shall send Elijah the prophet &c., and restore all things in Christ.'' (Words of Joseph Smith, 3  October  1841)
  • A return of Elijah, who will be the one through whom "all things" are restored.
"Elijah was the last Prophet that held the keys of the Priesthood, and who will, before the last dispensation, restore the authority and deliver the keys of the Priesthood, in order that all ordinances may be attended to in righteousness...'And I will send Elijah the Prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord,' etc., etc. Why send Elijah? Because he holds the keys of the authority to administer in all the ordinances of the Priesthood; and without the authority is given, the ordinances could not be administered in righteousness." (HC 4:207-212)
  • A return of Elijah, who will "restore the authority and deliver the keys of the Priesthood" 
" is generally supposed that sacrifice was entirely done away when the Great Sacrifice the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was offered up...but those who assert this are certainly not acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the Priesthood, or with the Prophets. .... These sacrifices, as well as every ordinance belonging to the Priesthood, will, when the Temple of the Lord shall be built, and the sons of Levi be purified, be fully restored and attended to in all their powers, ramifications, and blessings....else how can the restitution of all things spoken of by the Holy Prophets be brought to pass[?]"
We learn at Church that the Aaronic priesthood was revealed through John the Baptist, and that Peter, James, and John restored the Melchezidek priesthood to Joseph Smith sometime after that. So this priesthood being revealed must be something other than what we understand to be the Aaronic and Melchezidek priesthoods. Is this possible? Are there any writings that suggest this is the case? Yes, there are.
``1st Levitical which was never able to administer a Blessing but only to bind heavy burdens which neither they nor their father able to bear 2 Abrahams Patriarchal power which is the greatest yet experienced in this church 3d That of Melchisedec who had still greater power even power of an endless life of which was our Lord Jesus Christ which also Abraham obtained by the offering of his son Isaac which was not the power of a Prophet nor apostle nor Patriarch only but of King & Priest 22 to God to open the windows of Heaven and pour out the peace & Law of endless Life to man 23 & No man can attain to the Joint heirship 24 with Jesus Christ with out being administered to by one having the same power & Authority of Melchisedec'' (Words of Joseph Smith, 27 Aug 1843)
What was this patriarchal power that was yet unexperienced in the church? Note that endowments and sealings had been performed for some time before this date. Some content that, although there were some who had been endowed and sealed, it was not a general practice. My counter to that is, why was it not a general practice? If Joseph wanted to, couldn't he have sealed and endowed anyone he wanted? Joseph already was told by God that whatever he sealed on earth would be sealed in heaven. He was already carrying out that privilege. Also recall that, although Joseph was killed before Elijah restored the patriarchal power, Brigham Young made the endowment and marriage sealing open to all members of the church before they left Nauvoo. So, either the patriarchal power was something different than the power to conduct plural sealings and endowment ordinances, or Brigham Young and subsequent leaders have been doing that without God's sanction. I don't see a third option.
Are there scriptures that refer to another priesthood? Yes. The refer to it as the Melchizedek priesthood, but it has clear distinctions to what we call the Melchizedek priesthood today.

JST Genesis 14 says:
 25 And Melchizedek lifted up his voice and blessed Abram.
 26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.
 27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
 28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;
 29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.
 30 For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;
 31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.
32 And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven.
What are the features of this priesthood?
  • It is given via a covenant directly from God to the individual, by his own voice.
  • It does not come by the will of man (including priesthood leaders) nor by inheritance, but by God himself. This is a key that ties it into the prophecy of what Elijah was going to restore (see above).
  • EVERY ONE being ordained to it will have power to break mountains, divide seas, etc.
  • EVERY ONE being ordained to it will stand in the presence of God.
  • Men "coming up unto this order of God were translated and taken up into heaven."
Was this list of fruits seen in Nauvoo, before, or since? When was the last time you saw a "high priest" command the waters or put at defiance an army? When was the last time you met a high priest who stands in the presence of God, or is translated?
Note that this is the priesthood referred to in the "Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood" which actually requires an oath and a covenant, not simply an interview and ordination at the hands of men. D&C 84 says: 
40 Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved. 41 But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come. 42 And wo unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you.
So the "higher priesthood" in D&C 84 seems to be the same one talked about that Elijah would reveal. The oath and covenant are given by the Father (see v40 above), not a man. Also note that this group (in 1832) are told by Christ that he confirms this priesthood upon them at that time (v42). 
  • The resumption of "every ordinance belonging to the Priesthood", including animal sacrifice.
  • The return of Levites doing temple service.
  • A temple where these things can take place.
 ``how shall god come to the rescue of this generation. he shall send Elijah law revealed to Moses in Horeb—never was revealed to the C. of Israel and he shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers. 11—anointing & sealing—called elected and made sure 12 without father &c. 13 a priesthood which holds the priesthood by right from the Eternal Gods.—and not by descent from father and mother 14'' (Words of Joseph Smith, 27 Aug 1843)
  • Elijah will reveal covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children.
  • He will reveal "a priesthood which holds the priesthood by right from the Eternal Gods and not by descent from father and mother" and some tie to anointing and sealing and calling and election, which is tied to the fathers.
"The world is reserved unto burning in the last days—he shall send Elijah the prophet. and he shall reveal the covenants of the fathers in relation to the children.—and the children and the covenants of the children in relation to the fathers." (WoJS 13 Aug 1843)
  • Elijah will come to reveal the covenants of the fathers in relation to their children as well as covenants of the children in relation to the fathers.
Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming. (Moroni's version of Malachi 4:5-6) "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6)
Who were the fathers?
Abraham 1:31
"But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs..."
Abraham 1:2
2 And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers. [These are blessings of the faithful and chosen of God, not blessings automatically dispensed to random sires of children]
Abraham 1:31
31 But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs [NOTE: Not his apostate dad!], concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me.
Romans 9:4-5
"Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." 
"The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the kingdom of God on the earth; and to receive, obtain, and perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God, even unto the turning of the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the hearts of the children unto the fathers, even those who are in heaven." (TPJS p337)
The fathers are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. You could also include Shem, Noah, and Noah's line back to Adam in that group. These are they who were promised eternal life from the Lord during their lives here on earth. They are the prototypes of saved beings. They are those who received promises (covenants) from God, including promises about their posterity.
Most of what we know about the fathers was restored through Joseph Smith. Through him, God gave us knowledge of the covenants made to the fathers, and the knowledge of how to obtain that covenant for ourselves. We were told about the covenant God made to Adam (D&C 107: 53-57). We were told about the covenant God made to Enoch (Moses 7:60->). We were told about the covenant God made to Abraham (Abraham 1,2) and so on. So Elijah can't restore a knowledge of the covenants God made to the fathers, because we already have that. He is going to restore the covenants themselves. Better said, he will be the administrator who offers those same covenants to us.
Today we are told that we receive these same covenants in the temple. I can't buy that. The covenants made to the fathers were not conditional, as is the sealing covenant in D&C 132. However, everything you receive in the temple is conditional, it's right there in the words. Also, each of the fathers was chosen by God. It was not a general experience available to anyone. [sidenote: For those who will object with "But the temple recommend interview---": Recall that this did not exist for decades after Joseph's death and reacquaint yourself with the lives of the patriarchs. What they went through to qualify to be chosen was much more than paying a little money and not drinking tea. Joseph said that any who want to receive the blessings of Abraham must do the works of Abraham.]
Despite all the attempts to make Malachi's promise seem fulfilled with the attention to family history work, the real meaning is far from that. First, realize that work for the dead today is very different than anything taught or practiced by Joseph or Brigham or John Taylor. Briefly, the doctrine in Joseph's day was to become saved yourself, obtain the sealing power, then seal ancestors you could personally vouch for (having known them in life) to yourself. That changed to up to 4 generations back in Brigham's day. By the time Wilford Woodruff was president, he decided to change the focus, which was you getting sealed to THE fathers (patriarchs---called the law of adoption) to you getting sealed to YOUR fathers (a geneological interpretation). He did not cite revelation in that change. From wikipedia: "In a church general conference address on 8 April 1894, Wilford Woodruff stated that 'I have not felt satisfied, nor has any man since the Prophet Joseph Smith who has attended to the ordinance of adoption in the temples of our God. We have felt there was more to be revealed on this subject than we have received … and the duty that I want every man who presides over a Temple to see performed from this day henceforth, unless the Lord Almighty commands otherwise, is let every man be adopted to his father.' Thus, as of 1894, the practice of the law of adoption ceased in the LDS Church."
Compare this to what Joseph taught:
"When a seal is put upon the father and mother it secures their posterity so that they cannot be lost but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father." (Words of Joseph Smith, 13 August  1843) (This is an unconditional situation)
"if you have power to seal on earth & in heaven then we should be Crafty, the first thing you do go & seal on earth your sons & daughters unto yourself, & yourself unto your fathers in eternal glory, & go ahead and not go back, but use a little Craftiness & seal all you can; & when you get to heaven tell your father that what you seal on earth should be sealed in heaven 31 I will walk through the gate of heaven and Claim what I seal & those that follow me & my Council" (Words of Joseph Smith, 10 March 1844)
I believe that the meaning of Moroni's version of Malachi 4 was exceedingly clear in Joseph's day. However, generations of differing interpretations have led us to interpreting it in a way other than the way it is written. To counter that, I would suggest the following version, which (I think) is as plain as can be:
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And I will make to the children the promises made to the fathers, because the hearts of the children will be like the hearts of the fathers. For all those whose hearts are not like the hearts of the fathers will be consumed by fire when I return." 
  • Elijah will come to reveal the promises made to the fathers, and the children's hearts will turn to their fathers so as to prevent the whole earth being wasted at his coming.
  • These teachings will include the revelation of "the ordinances of his house" AND "the glories of His kingdom," which things cannot be taught and practiced outside of a temple. Thus, the endowment practiced in Brigham's administration (and the highly modified version practiced today) could not be what Joseph was referring to because a) these endowments had occurred previous to this quote, and b) they occurred outside the temple, such as in the red brick store.
"What was the object of gathering the Jews, or the people of God in any age of the world? I can never find much to say in expounding a text. A man never has half so much fuss to unlock a door, if he has a key, as though he had not, and had to cut it open with his jack-knife. The main object was to build unto the Lord a house whereby He could reveal unto His people the ordinances of His house and the glories of His kingdom, and teach the people the way of salvation; for there are certain ordinances and principles that, when they are taught and practiced, must be done in a place or house built for that purpose." (TPJS p308, 11 Jun 1843)
"As the Father hath power in Himself, so hath the Son power in Himself, to lay down His life and take it again, so He has a body of His own. The Son doeth what He hath seen the Father do: then the Father hath some day laid down His life and taken it again; so he has a body of His own; each one will be in His own body; and yet the sectarian world believe the body of the Son is identical with the Father's. Gods have an ascendency over the angels, who are ministering servants. In the resurrection, some are raised to be angels, others are raised to become Gods. These things are revealed in the most holy places in a Temple prepared for that purpose. Many of the sects cry out, "Oh, I have the testimony of Jesus; I have the spirit of God; but away with Joe Smith; he says he is a prophet; but there are to be no prophets or revelators in the last days." Stop, sir! The Revelator says that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy; so by your own mouth you are condemned. But to the text. Why gather the people together in this place? For the same purpose that Jesus wanted to gather the Jews---to receive the ordinances, the blessings, and glories that God has in store for His Saints." (TPJS p312)  


Here are all the above points in one list:
  • Translation.
  • Animal sacrifice.
  • A future return of Elijah, with priesthood keys.
  • Animal sacrifice, as well as any other ordinance or duty that has ever been required by the priesthood.
  • Animal sacrifices and any other ordinance or duty that has ever been required of the priesthood.
  • The building of a temple where animal sacrifice will be done.
  • The restoration of the temple service of the Levites.
  • A return of Elijah, who will be the one through whom "all things" are restored.
  • A return of Elijah, who will "restore the authority and deliver the keys of the Priesthood" 
  • The resumption of "every ordinance belonging to the Priesthood", including animal sacrifice, which are beyond what is contained in today's endowment.
  • The return of Levites doing temple service.
  • A temple where these things can take place
  • Elijah will reveal covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children.
  • He will reveal "a priesthood which holds the priesthood by right from the Eternal Gods and not by descent from father and mother" and some tie to anointing and sealing and calling and election, which is tied to the fathers.
  • Elijah will come to reveal the covenants of the fathers in relation to their children as well as covenants of the children in relation to the fathers.
  • Elijah will come to reveal the promises made to the fathers, and the children's hearts will turn to their fathers so as to prevent the whole earth being wasted at his coming.

Let's now combine these points where possible:
  1. Elijah will return to restore all things ever revealed, including:
    1. A priesthood which holds the priesthood by right from the Eternal Gods and not by descent
    2. The administration of the Levites in the temple, including animal sacrifice
    3. The covenants made to the fathers (the patriarchs, not our ancestors) will be offered to the children, which will turn the children's hearts into the hearts of the fathers.
  2. A temple where these things can take place


In April 1842, the Prophet said: “The Church is not fully organized, in its proper order, and cannot be, until the Temple is completed, where places will be provided for the administration of the ordinances of the Priesthood." (History of the Church, 4:603; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Apr. 28, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Eliza R. Snow)

Would Joseph consider the church fully organized today?

Every disciple of Christ should ponder the historical facts surrounding this critical time in the restoration. The facts are clear. What God promised would happen if the Nauvoo temple was completed in time did not happen. God's indication of the purpose of the Nauvoo temple was not fulfilled. The promised signs to accompany God's rejection of the church immediately happened in full, and they happened prior to the completion of the temple.

Elijah's promised visit to the Nauvoo temple did not happen, and all he was promised to accomplish is now a future event.

Should we:

  • Continue constructing copies of the St. George temple, whose purpose deviates from what God revealed through Joseph?
  • Continue spending time and money on this watered down version of temple work?
  • Continue claiming the restoration was a completed event?

Or should we:
  • Realize that the restoration was not completed.
  • Realize that we, as a church, have been rejected with our dead.
  • Recognize that modern temple ordinances are a vain and impotent pantomime of the real thing. How can we give to the dead what we have not yet received?
  • Realize that we are not "the Lord's church", as we were disowned the moment Joseph was killed.
  • Humble ourselves in sack cloth and ashes, seek forgiveness for our arrogance and high-mindedness, and seek the Lord to re-establish his covenant with us?
  • Be searching for further light and truth through true messengers?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Oct 2014 LDS General Conference

2014 4-5 4 Oct
2013 5-6 14 Sep
2012 6-7 26 Sep
2011 1-2 8 Oct
2010 2-3 18 Sep
2009 3-4 28 Sep
2008 4-5 9 Oct
2007 6-7 22 Sep
2006 7-8 2 Oct
2005 1-2 13 Oct
2004 2-3 25 Sep
2003 4-5 6 Oct
2002 5-6 16 Sep
2001 6-7 27 Sep
2000 7-8 9 Oct

Note that this October will be the only conference I am aware of (I did not go back beyond 2000, I invite someone else to do so) that intersects with Yom Kippur. Not only that, but it occurs on a Gregorian Saturday (Sabbath). The Saturday PM session in when we sustain the leaders of the church.

Yom Kippur is regarded as the "Sabbath of Sabbaths." From Wikipedia: "According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person's fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to 'seal' the verdict.... The evening and day of Yom Kippur [a Jewish day starts at dusk and ends at dusk, dark to light] are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt (Vidui). At the end of Yom Kippur, one hopes that they have been forgiven by God." So Yom Kippur is the day of judgment, which immediately follows the day of atonement---the day before Yom Kippur---one final chance to repent and ask forgiveness from God before your fate is sealed. Repentance in Judaism means to return to God. This is much more than abstaining from certain acts or engaging in neglected acts. It is establishing (returning to) a relationship of loyalty with God. It is the opposite of apostatizing.

On the 8th of October (Wednesday after conference), there will be a blood moon. This date is also the eve of Sukkot, the feast of tabernacles, when Jews build a rough shelter and sleep in it for 7 days. The last day of Sukkot will feature the start of a meteor shower which will last 2 weeks. During the meteor shower (23 Oct) there will be a partial solar eclipse. This eclipse will begin at the northwest tip of Alaska (right next to Russia), and trace a line from that point to the southern tip of Florida, tracing the whole United States. The meteor shower goes on for over a week, but will peak the 21st and 22 of Oct. The 23rd of Oct is a new moon, meaning the moon will not be visible.

So, in October 2014 we have:

  • General conference at the same time as Yom Kippur.
  • The moon turning to blood.
  • Stars falling from the sky.
  • The sun not giving its light.
  • The moon not giving its light.
  • An eclipse that traces the whole of the USA from Russia's border with Alaska to the tip of Florida.

The Parable of the Bicycle*

A certain little boy saw a bike he really wanted to buy. His father offered to compensate him for contrived, simple tasks, adequate to his immaturity and smallness in stature, in order for him to save for the bike. Weeks passed by. One day, the father asked the boy if he wanted to go on a walk. He intentionally led the boy to the store window where the boy's desired bike was on display. He asked his dad if he had enough to buy the bike yet. The father said, "Son, I love you. If it wouldn't hurt you to do so, I would grant your every wish, including making up the vast difference between what you have and what you need in order to purchase that bike. Look at that bike, son. It is everything you've ever wanted. I promise you in the presence of that shop clerk that if you continue to abide in my instructions, one day that bike will be yours." The boy would have been sad at this seeming rejection if it weren't for his trust in his father, and the overwhelming love he sensed in his voice, which he had come to recognize through their frequent exchanges.

When they got home, the boy asked if there was anything harder he could do, knowing that the simple tasks just didn't compensate well enough to obtain the bike in any short amount of time. "Well, you are quite little, I don't know if you can handle stacking wood." "No, I'll do it!" Off they went. The father spent copious amounts of time patiently showing the boy how to stack wood. At first the father did almost all of the work. Because he was doing it through the boy, it took much longer and required a lot more effort than if he had done it himself. But this was not for the wood, it was for the boy. After a few days practice, the father decided to give the boy a chance to do it on his own. After an hour, he went to check on his boy. The wood pile was not correct. He knelt beside his son and explained how improperly stacked wood couldn't be stacked very high, and would topple over and could hurt others. The boy was frustrated that he had wasted so much time (an hour is an eternity to a boy) and would have to redo the wood pile.  But, he loved his dad, and trusted him, so he obeyed. He improved his lack of knowledge and was given pointers along the way. After weeks of practice, and a little growing up, the boy learned how to heft pieces of wood, and how to stack them so they wouldn't fall. His father paid him more than he would have received on the small jobs.

And so it went, the father patiently teaching the son new skills, and the son rising up to the instructions of his father. It was a long journey, but eventually the son earned enough money to purchase the bike. On that day, the father was surprised at calm demeanor of the boy, now a young man. He said, "son, we've worked so hard for years for you to get that bike. You've really earned this. I really thought you would be more excited than this..." "Dad," the son replied, with an air of maturity beyond his years, "the bike is nice, but I hope I can still work with you. I think I like the idea of working with you more than I do riding this bike by myself..."

"For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;
 Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven;" (D&C 1:31-32)

*intentionally named

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Timeline of LDS Ordinance Changes

NOTE: This is a very popular post. If this is your first time on this blog, please check out some of the other posts. If you are interested in church history, check out my free e-book (also available on Amazon for print cost).

The book "The Development of LDS Temple Worship: A Documentary History" is indispensable. I highly recommend owning it if historic modifications to temple worship interest you. Most of this information was found with the help of that book, but it's not the only resource.

"A man may act as proxy for his own relatives; the ordinances of the Gospel which were laid out before the foundations of the world have thus been fulfilled by them, and we may be baptized for those whom we have much friendship for; but it must first be revealed to the man of God, lest we should run too far." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:366)

"Now the purpose in Himself in the winding up scene of the last dispensation is that all things pertaining to that dispensation should be conducted precisely in accordance with the preceding dispensations.... He set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:208)

"Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles." (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, pp412-422)

1841, Jan 19: "And I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house..." (D&C 124:42)

Before 1855: "The earliest accounts of the Nauvoo temple endowment indicate that initiatory washings followed a literal Old Testament model of actual bathing. Large tubs of water are specified in the separate men's and women's rooms. The anointing was performed by liberally pouring consecrated oil from a horn over the head and allowing it to run over the whole body." (The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship, p 81)

Before 1855:  Initiates were given an unmarked garment during the initiatory. The officiator would cut the markings in the garment, and the recipient would then go and hem the marks later at home. These garments were one piece (needed to be steped into via the neck) and full body (to the wrist and to the ankle) and could only be makde of white cotton, flax, or wool. Those who shortened or modified their garments were not allowed into the temple. (See "LDS Temple Worship" by Anderson)

1855, May: Endowment house opens. Only living ordinances are allowed unti 1876 and patrons can only come once.

1856: Baptisms for dead resumed after 20 year pause.

1867, Jan: Second Annointings performed for the first time after Nauvoo.

1876: St George temple is dedicated. Elder Wilford Woodruff begins proxy endowments.

1877: Brigham Young gives instruction that patrons who have already received their living ordinances can return to the temple but only "passing through as visitors" and "not wearing Temple clothing."

1877, Jan 15: Wilford Woodruff, Brigham Young, Jr., John D.T. McAllister, and L. John Nuttall write down the endowment script for the first time. It takes two months for them to agree on the text.

1877, Feb 1: Wilford Woodruff begins the practice of wearing white while officiating. Just one month prior, President Young had reiterated the previous practice of wearing normal clothing while officiating in the temple, which had been the practice since Joseph's time.

1884: Pres. John Taylor declares that a woman married to a man of another faith should not wear garments and should not officiate in the temple.

1887, June 8: Wilford Woodruff writes "we ought to follow out, as far as we can, the pattern laid down by our leaders. I condiser that if there ever was any man who throoughly understtod the principle of the Endowments it was Brigham Young. He had been with Joseph Smith from the beginning of the Endowments to the end; and he understood it if any man did. And before his death he required me to write in a book every Ordinance in the Church and Kingdom of God, from the first to the last...and President Young corrected it all until he got through. Then he said to me, 'Now, there you have a pattern of all the Ordinances and Endowments for every Temple we shall build, until the coming of the Son of Man.' Now if I ever have anything to do, or to say, in any Temple on the earth, concerning Endowments, I would say: follow the pattern that President Young has set us; and not deviate from it on iota....While on the other hand, if every man...introduces his own form and ceremonies, our Temple work would be as diverse as the sectarian world and God would not appro[ve] it."

1894: "It has been the practice to mark the shirt, but we think this unnecessary as it is not strictly a part of the Temple clothing. The marking of the garment should be done in the washing room and not at the veil;" (Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith to Lorenzo Snow, Aug 31 1894) Since the beginning the garment symbols were cut into the garment when the garment was placed upon the patron for the first time. Brigham Young also instructed to cut the shirt over the garment.

1905: President Joseph F. Smith instructs that sealings for the dead cannot be performed except for those who were married in life. Also, ordinances for the dead are not to be performed for those who committed murder, suicide, or were excommunicates except by permission of the temple president.

1904-1907: "...the endowments have never changed and can never change; as I understand it; it has been so testified, and that Joseph Smith Jr., himself was the founder of the endowments." (Elder Reed Smoot, Reed Smoot Case, vol. 3, p. 185)

1912: President Joseph F. Smith says "The Saints should know that the pattern of endowment garments was revealed from heaven, and that the blessings promised in connection with wearing them will not be realized if any unauthorized change is made in their form, or in the manner of wearing them."

1915, Mar 10: "The pattern of the temple garment was given by revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith." (Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, and Charles W. Penrose to Arthur C. Smith)

1916: A woman who marries a non-member is not allowed to be endowed. In LDS couples, women are not allowed to be endowed before their husbands.

1922, May 31-June 3: Apostle George F. Richards makes the first significant changes to ceremony since 1877. Among them "the robes should be placed on the left shoulder first and then changed to the right shoulder once only before entering the Terrestrial room; also that Aaronic and Melchizedek be used instead of lower order of the Melchizedek and higher order of the Aaronic...This on my own suggestion." (George F. Richards diary, June 3, 1922) "I presented the suggestions of a change in the order of robing and in the wording of the ordinances and lecture which were by vote approved. This order is to place the robe on the left shoulder at that point in the Telestial room when formerly it was placed on the right shoulder, and change onto the right shoulder at that point in the ceremony in the Telestial room where at present it is changed onto the left shoulder---there will be no other changing of the robes [previously there was an additional switch back to the right shoulder]. The ceremonies and Lecture will be changed to conform..." (George F. Richards diary, June 7, 1922). "I represented having discussed with associates in the temple the advisability of instituting a change in the procedure of placing the Endowment Robes on the individuals receiving endowments the present method being to first pace the robe on the right shoulder, subsequently change it to the left shoulder, and later again back to the right shoulder. The proposed change would be to place the robe first on the Left shoulder, ...then to change it to the Right shoulder,...thus obviating one of the changes heretofore made, and more effectively indicating transition from the lower to the higer orders of the Priesthood. After considering carefully the proposed change, the [1st] Presidency decided unanimously that from that time on the Robe should first be placed on the Left shoulder, and then be changed to the Right shoulder..." (George F. Richards memorandum, June 7 1922) His changes are announced to all temple workers on Aug 14.
1922, Sept: Apostle George F. Richards "spent the day at the Temple where I read carefully all the ordinances used in the temples as changed and corrected and noted 18 times which I think need changing." (Ibid, Oct 5 1922) He reports his changes were accepted and adopted. Until this time, the covenants and the instructions regarding the prayer circle and veil were unscripted. Richards' work included writing a script for these portions.

1923, April: Garment is modified: Collar flap removed. Tie-strings are replaced with buttons, and women's garments are shortened to the elbows and knees.

1923, June 4: Salt Lake Tribune reports, "Encasing the lower limbs the old-style garment reaches to the ankles and is looked upon by young members as baggy, uncomfortable and ungainly. The young of the gentler sex complained that to wear the old style with the new and finer hoisery gave the limbs a knotty appearance. It was embarrassing in the view of the generally accepte sanitary shorter skirt. Permission is therefore granted by the first presidency to shorten the lower garment. Also buttons are permitted to take the place of the tie-strings.....Instead of the old-style coarse, unbleached, irritating material of which temple garments were once made, the finer knitted goods, and even sliks, are now used. These materials and modified styles are officially approved, but such alterations are optional with each individual, and by no means compulsory, church officials desire it understood."

1923, June "For some time past the First Presidency and Council of Twelve have had under consideration the propriety of permitting certain modification in the temple garment, with the following result: After careful and prayerful consideration it was unanimously decided that the following modifications may be permitted, and a garment of the following style be worn by those Church members who wish to adopt it, namely: 1) Sleeve to elbow. 2) Leg just below knee. 3) Buttons instead of strings. 4) Collar eliminated. 5) Crotch closed. It may be observed that no fixed pattern of Temple garment has ever been given, and that the present style of garment differs very materially from that in use in the early history of the Church, at which time a garment without collar and with buttons was frequently used."14: (First Presidency letter to bishops)

1923: "When Joseph Smith received the endowments and revelation from the Lord to be given to his peope by authority, he also received instructions as to how to make this garment. None had ever seen anything like it and the sisters who made it were under his direction and when it was submitted to him, he said that it was right and the way it had looked to him [in his mind] and he accepted it. This garment had a collar and it had strings to tie it and sleeves that came to the wrist, not to the hand, but about an inch above, and the leg came down to the ankle joint. This was the pattern given and it is right for Aunt Eliza Snow was the governess and seamstrees [sic] in his house at the time the first garments were made and heard the instructions to the sisters. Thus the Kingdom of God rolls on and the living authorit[ies] are the ones who can make changes in the revealed work of the Lord to answer the purposes of the day in which they live. Today there is a change in the garments that can be made outside of this Holy House in the garments we wear on our bodies. This garment is called the modified or permitted garment and the pattern of this garment I will point out to you....In days past there was a great variety in the way they made the garments as then they were always made from cloth. President Taylor prayed to the Lord that they might be permitted to use the knitted garment and they could all be of the same pattern. They might vary a little, but the garments were all similar and when they made these garments, many people questioned the change from the cloth garment to the knitted garment. It was because the living authority said we might....The [new] garment is not too low in the neck, just a nice, modest neck, but wieth collar omitted. Instead of being to the wrist, they come to the elbow, and the leg instead of coming to the ankle, comes below the knee, always covering the knee so that the mark placed by the holy Piresthood can come over the knee, for that is where i[t] should be worn....When you wear anything besides these two approved patterns you are wearing only a piece of underwear which is not a garment and you are placing upon your body something with the marks of the Holy Priesthood where these marks should not be placed for it is not approved of nor accepted by the authority of God. These are vital questions and thousands of people are being deceived and are wearing something that exposes their bodies and des[e]crates the marks of the Holy Priesthood." (Zina Y. Card, "Garments", Temple Instructions)

1924, June 19: St. George temple president David H. Cannon says that he responded to Elder Richards' request to implement the temple changes by saying, "Pres. Young had 20 men revise the ceremonies of the ordinances. Pres Young said 'we are going to give endowments for the dead for the first time and we want to give you the ceremonies as they were given by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Nauvoo Temple.' These endowments were received from the Lord by the Prophet Jos Smith in the Nauvoo Temple..." Prest Cannon referred to the President's book which contained all the ceremonies of the Temple ordinances...which we have been using since this Temple opened 47 years ago, and when we came to talk to President Richards, he said that was wrong....President Cannon stated that President Richards...said 'you must either conform to our method or we to yours.' Said Prest Richards told him that the Presidency of the Church and the twelve Apostles were the presiding authorities of in [sic] the Church at present, and they must stand at the head and be responsible for the direction of the affairs of the Church, and the parts in the ordinances of the Temples must be rendered as they have directed. Said Prest Richards instructed him to gather up all the old rulings and instructions and burn them up..." (St George Temple Presidency Meeting Minutes)

1927, Feb 15: "At request of President Grant we have already adopted some of the changes decided upon, and it will be in order for you to do the same. In sealing for the dead, whether one or both be dead, omit the kissing. Omit from the prayer in the circle all references to avenging the blood of the Prophets. Omit from the ordinance and lecture all reference to retribution....This letter is written with the approval of the Presidency." (George F. Richards to the President of the St. George Temple.)

1930: Garment is modified: Men's garments are shortened to knees and elbows, but full length (ankle and wrist) garments are required in the temple.

1934: Women married to non-LDS men are allowed to obtain a temple recommend if they receive permission from their husbands.

1934: "The temple ordinances were revealed as many other things have been revealed to the Prophet....There have been no changes in the garment. Fundamentally it is like it was in the beginning. Lenthening or shortening of the sleeve is not a change really. It is just a minor thing, in line with our needs, especially in the summer time; but that does not make any difference to the garment itself. It is a covering for my body, representing covenenats I have made. We make entirely too much of the so-called changes. There have been no changes to the ideas." (John A. Widstoe, "Answers to Seminary Teachers' Questions," 1934 pp 32, 33)

1936, Apr 22: "We recommend that we authorize the wearing of garments without sleeves which conform in all other respects to the pattern at present agreed- upon, provided, however, that this modification, if adopted, shall not be construed to permit the wearing of mere shoulder straps....We make this recommendation somewhat reluctantly and with deference only because we have convinced ourselves that it will tend to bring about more respect for instructions given for the wearing of the garment on the part of many members of the Church....We fell sure that such a modification will greatly please many good women throughout the Church, and we have not been able to see that we are yielding any vital thing in this slight change. Very short sleeves are now permitted, but such short sleeves are just enough to carry an undesirable display of the garment with modern styles of clothing....We recommend that a definition be given in the temple of the symbolism and significance of the various marks in the garment. We believe that an understanding on the part of those entitled to wear the garment of these sacred markings will tend greatly to bring about more reverence for the garment itself. The best interpretation which has come to us up to this time has been supplied by President McKay. It is as follows: A. The square: Honor, integrity, loyalty, trustworthiness. B. The compass: An undeviating course in relation to truth. Desires should be kept within proper bounds. C. The navel: That spiritual life needs constant sustenance. D. The kness: Revernce [sic] for God, the source of divine guidance and inspiration." (George F. Richards, Joseph Fielding Smith, Stephen L. Richards, and Melvin J. Ballard, Committee Report to the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles, Apr 22 1936)

1937: 1st Presidency decides to disallow live baptisms in temples, which to this time were allowed.

1938, Jul 20: "....The so-called should strap [garments] are not allowable." (First Presidency Letter)

1939, Mar 13: "As you are aware, a few years ago the Temple Covenant of chastity was modified so as to permit faithful, worthy women of the Church whose husbands have not received the Endowment to go to the Temple for their own endowments and not be violating their covenant by living with their husbands thereafter, to whom they have not been given of the Lord in the authority of the Holy Priesthood. Young unmarried women are also affected by the foregoing named action, so, if they marry outside the Temple after receiving their endowment they will not be violating their covenants." (George F. Richards letter to Heber J. Grant)

1940: Ring ceremony removed from sealing ordinance

1940: Rooms with altars at which individuals could pray privately repurposed.

1955-1989: Filmed version of the endowment, a creation of then temple dept. member Gordon B. Hinckley, includes 3 minutes of Disney's film Fantasia.

1955, Nov 4: "SPECIFICATION OF APPROVED GARMENTS: 1. The material used shall be white and of such texture as to constitute a "covering" of the body. (Transparent nets and similar materials not permitted.) 2. The pattern shall in general conform to that of the ceremonial garment used in the temple with the following express modifications thereof permitted; but none others: The legs of the garment may be shortened from ankle length to a length extending merely below the knee. The sleeves may be shortened from wrist length to [short-sleeved]. Collars, as provided for the ceremonial garment, may be eliminated. Buttons and other acceptable fasteners may be substituted for strings. The crotch may be closed. Side-leg or shoulder openings may be provided instead of front and back openings or any combination of these openings is permissible. 3. The so-called sleeveless and shoulder strap patterns are now allowable. 4. It is permissible to use a wide leg, provided it conforms in all other particulars to specifications, and provided it is not designated as a sleeping garment." (First presidency letter to European mission presidents)

1955, Dec 15: First Presidency sends letter requesting more brethren to perform ordinances, as many more female vicarious work is being done precluding sealings. Emphasis is made on sending "unemployed or retired brethren" who could be paid by the temple president 90 cents for each endowment session.

1957, Oct 6: "[The endowment] is seldom, if ever, really comprehended by our young folks when they first go through the Temple. I think the ceremony can be presented more effectively, but before any changes are made they will be presented to the members of the Temple Committee." (David O McKay diary)

1959, Mar 16: "Realizing the burden that is placed upon the stake president in the matter of signing recommends to the temple for worthy members of the Church residing in his stake, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, in recently considering the matter, decided to authorize counselors in stake presidencies to share this responsibility with the stake president, with the understanding that the brethren of the stake presidency shall make careful interrogation of and investigation regarding each one who seeks a recommend to the temple, in an effort to avoid permitting unworthy people to enter the House of the Lord. It should be understood that this permission does not extend to bishops' counselors, except in cases where the bishop is away from the ward or otherwise unavailable." (First presidency letter to stake presidents)

1959, July 15: "We enclose herewith a copy of the adoption ceremony which has been prepared for use in the various temples in lieu of the form you have heretofore used for this ordinance. You will note that there are some changes in the copy of the ceremony as herewith enclosed, which changes we feel are vital and of such a nature as to make the form more comprehensive and to give greater significance to the ordinance. We shall be pleased to have you replace the form that you now have in your books with this copy we are sending herewith." (First presidency to temple presidents)
Late 1950s: Gary Carlson: "What happened in these early days really when we started working with Brother [Hugh B.] Brown, is that they asked us to look at some basic concepts. We worked with the people in the Genealogical Society and did what [we] thought were some very simple calculations such as estimating how many people have been born on the earth. Some estimates were around seventy billion. At the time we were doing about one million endowments per year in the temples. One million goes into seventy billion an awful lot of times. We made some charts and some fancy overheads and so on to try to explain to the Brethren and help them understand that the numbers get very large, if you assume we need to do the genealogical work for everybody...The figures showed that if the Church kept on growing the way it was, then every adult member of the Church could spend eight hours a day in the temple seven days a week all of his life and we would never come up to the rate of new births in the world. Even if we were all in the temple all day, we'd still be falling behind. We must have made a half dozen presentations to various groups trying to just get that idea across...some of the Brethren thought we were tampering with doctrine. They were very nervous about our inferences. (Q: You mean doctrine in the sense of who is responsible for geneology research, or other doctrine?) The family responsibility was the initial one that came up; I remember one time we made a presentation to the Quorum of the Twelve and I don't remember who it was, but one of the Brethren said, 'Now Brother Carlson, you mean to tell me that you think that I am not responsible for my direct ancestors?' I said, 'Now, brother, I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying that there are seventy billion names to be done, and if you have to do them all, we're not going to make it. Something has to change.'...One of the earlier questions...was whether we could separate the physical processing in the temples as we could separate it in the computer. That is, could you do initiatory work separate from endowments and separate from sealings, et.c?...some of the Brethren thought we were a bunch of heretics....Brother [Harold B.] Lee was very disturbed by the idea [of performing vicarious ordinances out of order]. At a meeting when he first clearly understood what we were suggesting, I remember him saying, 'Now you mean to tell me, brethren, that you can give someone his endowments before he's had the washing and anointing?'...he was very unhappy with that. (Q: In effect that's what happens now, isn't it?) That's correct. In the temple now we don't care if you seal them first and baptize them next, endow them next, and wash and anoint them next. The sequence doesn't matter." (Gary Carlson oral history Jan 15 1980 pp 8, 10, 25 from Buerger Papers)

1960, Feb 1: "One letter I dictated was to a woman in answer to her question about the wearing of the garments while sun bathing. I said to her: 'The wearing of the garment is a personal responsibility, and conditions that justify temporary removal should be determined by each person.'" (David O McKay diary)

1961: About this same time, in 1961, we were down to a point where we were so short of names that literally we were running backwards and forwards to the Salt Lake Temple almost on a daily basis taking the names for the next day. The alternatives were that we would have to do something drastic in providing names or we would have to close the temples or decrease the number of sessions they had. When that was placed before the Brethren, Presiden McKay said that the temples must not close. Therefore the Geneological Society would be responsible for keeping those temples open and supplynig names....So then really what we were doing is performing ordinances and these were being held until a person proved himself worthy to accept them. Now if that was a true concept, then why couldn't we go ahead and perform ordinances not necessarily in the same sequence as we had been doing for the living? This concept would enable us to take a christening record and not only perform the baptism and endowment, but also seal the child to his parents from that one record. In doing that we would be sure that the child would be sealed to his correct parents. We wouldn't have to worry about grouping them. In other words, if we sealed every child to his parents and assumed we had all the records of the whole world, in the end we would have sealed everyone in the world. Well, I took that concept to the Brethren....they decided that is was a correct concept and that we should pursue it. (Q: What percentage of the names for the ordinances in the temples does the Genealogical Dept now prepare?) Seventy-six. (Q: You mentioned that in May of 1972 a committee had been appointed to investigate endowment procedures in the temple. I was wondering what this comittee did.) Well, I think that this was a committee probably headed by Brother Howard W. Hunter to look at some of the procedures which were being followed in the temple with some recommendations to be made to the First Presidency as to how maybe those procedures could be streamlines. That kind of a report would have gone directly to the First Presidency and I wouldn't really know what was proposed." (George Fudge oral history, Jan 29-30 1976, pp 15, 17, 19, Buerger Papers).

1962, Apr: "Effective since March 7, 1962, the daily schedule of the endowment sessions in the Salt Lake Temple has been reduced to five each day Monday through Friday....Furthermore, sisters will be permitted to perform not more than one endowment each day." ("Special Salt Lake Temple Notice," Messenger)

1964, 21 Feb: "I asked President [Joseph Fielding] Smith, 'Is it wrong to wear the string tie garments outside the temple?' President Smith looked at me for several moments and then unbuttoning the third button in his shirt, brought out one of the ties on a pair of old style temple garments and said, 'This is what we should be wearing---the Lord gave them to us, and so this is what I wear.' I said, 'I have worn the old style garments for two years now and some of the ignorant brethren have accused me, so now I wear a tee shirt over them.' President Smith then said, 'When the Lord gave the garments to us they had strings. I have never worn a button pair; however, I don't say those with buttons are not garments.'" (W. Cleon Anderson, notarized statement, in Buerger Papers)
1965, Jan 1: New names are standardized: any patron of a given gender receiving a new name in any temple on a given day will receive the same name as all other members of that gender. Prior to this the new name was individual. This is done to facilitate record keeping. (Development of LDS Temple Worship, p 389)

1965, May 4: President McKay addresses an inconsistency in the temple veil ceremony; some workers in some temples embrace the patron as historically practiced. Others found it was "offensive and humiliating to some of the sister patrons" and modified it for their sake. (David O McKay diary)

1965, May 14: 1st presidency replaces string garment used in temples; adds crotch, buttons instead of strings, and a collar (which was present on earlier garments but subsequently removed). (David O McKay diary)

1965, Jun 5: President David O. McKay writes: "...God is unchangeable, the same yesterday, today and forever... The great mistake made down through the ages by teachers of Christianity, is that they have supposed they could place their own private interpretation upon scriptures, allow their own personal convenience to become a controlling factor, and change the basis of Christian law and practice to suit themselves. This is apostacy." (The Prophet's Message, Church News, June 5, 1965)

1966, July 6: 1st presidency letter states that although civilly married couples normally have to wait one year for a sealing, this is usually waved for those whose parents are non-members so that parents can see the wedding. (1st Presidency letter)

1966, Aug 30: Policy of only doing work for those who have not murdered, committed suicide, or been excommunicated is recinded. All names are cleared for vicarious work "except those of known Negro blood." (1st Presidency Letter)

1966, Aug 30: 1st Presidency announces to stake presidents and missions that those who work at casinos are not to have administrative callings or temple recommends.

1968: "No jot, iota, or tittle of the temple rites is otherwise than uplifting and sanctifying. In every detail the endowment ceremony contributes to covenants of morality of life, consecration of person to high ideals, devotion to truth, patriotism to nation, and allegiance to God." (Elder James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord, 1968, p. 84)

1969, Feb 19: President [N. Eldon] Tanner said the suggestion has been made that the temple ceremonies for the dead be shortened to do away with repetition. This would not pertain to the living but only the dead. The brethren who have considered the matter say that it would not in any way detract from the importance of the covenants, promises and ceremonies. President Tanner said that if I felt that the suggestion is worthy of consideration there could be arranged a condensed version of these ceremonies for presentation to me for my approval. President Tanner said that Elders Howard W. Hunter, Gordon B. Hinckley and Theodore M. Burton think it could be done very well and he believed that Brother Richard L. Evans felt the same way. President [Hugh B.] Brown suggested that these brethren be asked to bring a copy of the present ceremony and also a copy of the proposed ceremony so that comparisons could be made. I said this might be done." (David O McKay diary)

1969, Mar 18: "President Tanner referred to approval given by the First Presidency for the wearing of the new style garment in the temple. He mentioned that the question had been raised in connection therewith as to the use of the new style garment in place of the so-called ceremonial garment in the washing and anointing rooms. The question was raised as to whether the procedure which has been followed over the years as to the manner in which the garment should be placed on the individual, one leg at a time, etc., is a part of the ceremony. The brethren did not feel that this is a part of the ritual. It was agreed to announce this new policy regarding the garments to the General Authorities in their meeting on Thursday, March 27th." (David O McKay diary)

1969: Brethren debate the cognative dissonance of "place[ing] on the individual...the so-called ceremonial garment telling him that he must wear it the rest of his ife and then giving permission for him to immediately replace this garment with the modified garment normally worn by members of the Church" (David O. McKay's diary, Apr 8, 1969)

1969, Oct 23: "President [N. Eldon] Tanner mentioned proposed changes in the dialogue in the temple rituals, some of which he said had been implemented and some will be implemented on the tape and film that are being prepared. He said that some of these are intended to save repetition and others to clarify the statements made. He said the changes proposed were minor, and mentioned one or two changes as an illustration of what it is proposed to do. President Tanner said that a few of these suggested changes had been presented to President McKay some time ago by Elder ElRay L. Christiansen and had received his approval. Elder [Harold B.] Lee said that we must assume that all that has been done is under the inspiration of the Almighty to the Presidency and the Twelve, which is the legislative body of the Church. He said, 'If you will tell us that you have that inspiration and you now bring that for our approval, I will have no question, but when you sit down to make changes in some things that we have had for a whole century, I have some reservations.' The brethren discussed at some length the various parts of the ceremony and proposed changes, but there was some opposition expressed to the proposal to make changes at this time, especially without reading carefully and discussing the proposed changes. Elder Romney said he had confidence in the President, and that everything he says he would sustain. He also had great confidence in President Tanner and the other brethren, and was willing to rest on their judgment, but he did not want to pass on anything without knowing what it is. He said he was willing to leave it to the committee if it is thought that is what should be done, but if they wanted his opinion on it he had to know what it is, and wouldn't want to vote to pass this as long as there was one person in the Council who questioned it." (David O McKay diary)

1975: Old garment no longer required in the temple.

1978, May 3: First presidency letter ends the practice of private prayer circles. Until this time, local leaders were authorized to invite groups to prayer circles in chapels and the temple where regular members would be the voice of the prayers, not temple workers (until I date I am not sure of, normal members were always the voice in the prayer during the endowment as well---not sure when that changed). Individual members could also hold prayer circles in their homes.

1978, Jun 8: Worthy members of all races are allowed full participation in the temple. Previously blacks were only allowed to be proxies for baptisms for the dead.

1979, Jun 1: "Many of the garments (with the exception of the cotton garments) are being marked electronically. As a result, the material is not cut, nor is there a need for backing. This procedure has been approved by the First Presidency, and members, when inquiring, should be assured that the marking is proper and that they have no need to communicate with the Relief Society Distribution Center." (Washington, D.C. Temple Presidency to All Stake and District Presidents in the DC Temple District)

1979, Dec 15: "After due consideration the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve have approved and authorized the Beehive Clothing Mills to manufacture two-piece garments for both men and women. These garments will be in addition to one-piece garments. Distribution will be handled by the Relief Society through normal channels..." (First presidency letter)

1981, Dec: "The First Presidency has approved a crew-neck top for the two piece temple garment for men serving in the military forces. This top meets military requirements to wear crew-neck T-shirts..." (Bulletin [monthly publication to bishops, stake presidents, and mission presidents])

1982, Jan 5: "Married persons should understand that if in their marital relations they are guilty of unnatural, impure, or unholy practices, they should not enter the temple unless and until they repent and discontinue any such practices....The First Presidency has interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice." (First Presidency letter)

1982, Jan 16: "As temple work progresses, some members wonder if the ordinances can be changed or adjusted. These ordinances have been provided by revelation, and are in the hands of the First Presidency. Thus, the temple is protected from tampering." (W. Grant Bangerter, executive director of the Temple Department and a member of the First Quorum of Seventy, Deseret News, Church Section)

1982, Oct 15: "Under date of January 5, 1982, we addressed a letter to you which outlined procedures to be followed in conducting worthiness interviews. Since then, we have received a number of letters from members of the Church which indicate clearly that some local leaders have been delving into private, sensitive matters beyond the scope of what is appropriate. In conducting worthiness interviews, you...should never inquire into personal, intimate matters involving marital relations between a man and his wife. You should never deviate from or go beyond the specific questions contained in the temple recommend book..." (First presidency letter)

1985: "No special arrangements are made for members to pray privately in the temples. However, members may remain briefly in the celestial room and meditate in silent prayer." (General Handbook of Instructions)

1987: With more and more complaints about temple content, church issues survey to over 3,000 members to ascertain their opinion on the endowment ceremony.

1989, Sept 20: "There is pressing need for less complex temple procedures and reduced personnel requirements. Accordingly, we have prayerfully determined that it is no longer necessary to permanently record the names of proxies, witnesses, or officiators for any temple ordinances for the deceased....The implementation of this decision will substantially reduce the complexity of temple operation and simplify record storage. However, temples will no longer be able to provide stakes and wards with patron attendance information." (First presidency letter)

1990: As a result of the 1987 survey, changes are made to the endowment ordinance. These include:
 the removal of a Protestant minister who is paid by Lucifer to preach false doctrine, originally in the dramatic portion of the presentation; the removal of all penalties associated with revealing the things patrons promise to reveal; a softening of the promise made by women to their husbands; the modification of the position at the veil with the worker on the other side, which used to be foot to foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, hand on shoulder and mouth to ear, to what it is today; and, finally, the words Adam says, which also play a role in another part of the endowment, were changed.

2005, Jan: Washing and anointing modified; temple workers place hands on head instead of touching parts of body that are washed and anointed.