TEMPLES AND SALVATION FOR THE DEAD
Concerning revelations pertaining to building temples, I will give you the words of our beloved Prophet while he was yet living upon the earth. Many of us that are here today, were with him from the commencement of the Church. He was frequently speaking upon the building of temples in Kirtland, Missouri, and Illinois. When the people refused in Kirtland to build a temple, unless by a special revelation, it grieved his heart that they should be so penurious in their feelings as to require the Lord to command them to build a house to his name. It was not only grievous to him, but to the Holy Spirit also. He frequently said that if it were not for the covetousness of the people, the Lord would not give revelations concerning the building of temples, for we already knew all about them; the revelations giving us the order of the Priesthood made known to us what is wanted in that respect at our hands.
We that are here are enjoying a privilege that we have no knowledge of any other people enjoying since the days of Adam, that is, to have a temple completed, wherein all the ordinances of the house of God can be bestowed upon his people. Brethren and sisters, do you understand this? It seems that a great many of the people know nothing about it. It is true that Solomon built a temple for the purpose of giving endowments, but from what we can learn of the history of that time they gave very few if any endowments, and one of the high priests was murdered by wicked and corrupt men, who had already begun to apostatize, because he would not reveal those things appertaining to the Priesthood that were forbidden him to reveal until he came to the proper place. I will not say but what Enoch had temples and officiated therein, but we have no account of it. We know that he raised up a people so pure and holy that they were not permitted to remain with the wicked inhabitants of the earth, but were taken to another place.
The earth, the Lord says, abides its creation; it has been baptized with water, and will, in the future, be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost, to be prepared to go back into the celestial presence of God, with all things that dwell upon it which have, like the earth, abided the law of their creation. Taking this view of the matter, it may be asked why we build temples. We build temples because there is not a house on the face of the whole earth that has been reared to God's name which will in anywise compare with his character, and that he can consistently call his house. There are places on the earth where the Lord can come and dwell, if he pleases. They may be found on the tops of high mountains, or in some cavern or places where sinful man has never marked the soil with his polluted feet.
He requires his servants to build him a house that he can come to and where he can make known his will.
We enjoy the privilege of entering into a temple, built to the name of God, and receiving the ordinances of his house, with all the keys and blessings preparatory to entering into the "lives"; we also enjoy the privilege of administering for our fathers and mothers, our grandfathers and grandmothers, for those who have slept without the Gospel.
In the spirit world those who have got the victory go on to prepare the way for those who live in the flesh, fulfilling the work of saviors on Mount Zion.
To accomplish this work there will have to be not only one temple but thousands of them, and thousands and tens of thousands of men and women will go into those temples and officiate for people who have lived as far back as the Lord shall reveal. If we are faithful enough to go back and build that great temple which Joseph has written about, and should the Lord acknowledge the labor of his servants, then watch, for you will see somebody whom you have seen before, and many of you will see him whom you have not seen before, but you will know him as soon as you see him.
Temples Indispensable for Higher OrdinancesIn consequence of our having been driven from our homes, and because of our destitute circumstances, the Lord has permitted us to do what we have done, namely, to use this Endowment House for temple purposes. But since, through the mercies and blessings of God, we are able to build temples, it is the will and commandment of God that we do so.
Do we need a temple? We do, to prepare us to enter in through the gate into the city where the Saints are at rest. Ordinances necessary to this have not yet been performed and cannot be in the absence of a suitable place. We wish a temple, not for the public congregation, but for the Priesthood, wherein to arrange and organize fully the Priesthood in its order and degrees, to administer the ordinance of the Priesthood to the Saints for their exaltation.
We cannot now administer the further ordinances of God, in the fullest sense of the word, legally unto the people, neither shall we be able to do so until we have a temple built for that purpose. Some may consider that I am notifying our common foe in saying this, but it is true, notwithstanding, and our common foe knows it. We must be situated in local circumstances wherein we can efficiently administer in those ordinances of the house of God that cannot be administered to a people while they are scattered abroad among the nations of the wicked.
There are some of the sealing ordinances that cannot be administered in the house that we are now using; we can only administer in it some of the first ordinances of the Priesthood pertaining to the endowment. There are more advanced ordinances that cannot be administered there; we would, therefore, like a temple, but I am willing to wait a few years for it. I want to see the temple built in a manner that it will endure through the Millennium. This is not the only temple we shall build; there will be hundreds of them built and dedicated to the Lord. This temple will be known as the first temple built in the mountains by the Latter-day Saints. And when the Millennium is over, and all the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, down to the last of their posterity, who come within the reach of the clemency of the Gospel, have been redeemed in hundreds of temples through the administration of their children as proxies for them, I want that temple still to stand as a proud monument of the faith, perseverance and industry of the Saints of God in the mountains, in the nineteenth century.
We have often told you that we want to build a temple, but not for convening promiscuous congregations. I inform you, long before you see the walls reared and the building completed, that it will be for the purposes of the Priesthood, and not for meetings of the people; we shall not hold public meetings in it. I should like to see the temple built, in which you will see the Priesthood in its order and true organization, each Quorum in its place.
Endowments Given in TemplesThe commandments contained in the New Testament with regard to the ordinances of the house of God are obligatory upon us.
Every individual who is prepared for the celestial kingdom must go through the same things.
It is absolutely necessary that the Saints should receive the further ordinances of the house of God before this short existence shall come to a close, that they may be prepared and fully able to pass all the sentinels leading into the celestial kingdom and into the presence of God.
Then go on and build the temples of the Lord, that you may receive the endowments in store for you, and possess the keys of the eternal Priesthood, that you may receive every word, sign, and token, and be made acquainted with the laws of angels, and of the kingdom of our Father and our God, and know how to pass from one degree to another, and enter fully into the joy of your Lord.
Some of us are not dependent on the temple for our endowment blessings, for we have received them under the hands of Joseph the Prophet, and know where to go to bestow the same on others. You may ask me whether the leaders of this Church have received all their endowment blessings. I think that we have got all that you can get in your probation, if you live to be the age of Methuselah; and we can give what we possess to others who are worthy.
A great many of you have had your endowments, and you know what a vote with uplifted hands means.
It is a sign which you make in token of your covenant with God and with one another, and it is for you to perform your vows. When you raise your hands to heaven and let them fall and then pass on with your covenants unfulfilled, you will be cursed.
I feel sometimes like lecturing men and women severely who enter into covenants without realizing the nature of the covenants they make, and who use little or no effort to fulfil them.
Some Elders go to the nations and preach the Gospel of life and salvation, and return without thoroughly understanding the nature of the covenant. It is written in the Bible that every man should perform his own vows, even if to his own hurt; in this way you will show to all creation and to God that you are full of integrity.
Most of you, my brethren, are Elders, Seventies, or High Priests; perhaps there is not a Priest or Teacher present. The reason of this is that when we give the brethren their endowments, we are obliged to confer upon them the Melchizedek Priesthood; but I expect to see the day, when we shall be so situated that we can say to a company of brethren, You can go and receive the ordinances pertaining to the Aaronic order of Priesthood, and then you can go into the world and preach the Gospel, or do something that will prove whether you will honor that Priesthood before you receive more. Now we pass them through the ordinances of both Priesthoods in one day, but this is not as it should be and would, if we had a temple wherein to administer these ordinances. But this is all right at present; we should not be satisfied in any other way, and consequently we do according to the circumstances we are placed in.
The ordinances of the house of God are for the salvation of the human family. We are the only ones on the earth at the present time, that we have any knowledge of, who hold the keys of salvation committed to the children of men from the heavens by the Lord Almighty; and inasmuch as there are those who hold these keys, it is important that they should be acted upon for the salvation of the human family. The building of temples, places in which the ordinances of salvation are administered, is necessary to carry out the plan of redemption, and it is a glorious subject upon which to address the Saints.
Giving endowments to a great many proves their overthrow, through revealing things to them which they cannot keep. They are not worthy to receive them.
Were it not for what is revealed concerning the sealing ordinances, children born out of the covenant could not be sealed to their parents.
The ordinances of the house of God are expressly for the Church of the Firstborn.
I would rather see this people cleansed, and give the righteous their endowments after they have waited awhile. Let the poor, and those who are humble before the Lord, have the first chance.
Vicarious Work for the Dead in TemplesWe are preaching to them the Gospel of Salvationto the deadthrough those who have lived in this dispensation.
There is an opportunity for men who are in the spirit to receive the Gospel. Jesus, while his body lay in the grave two nights and one day, went to the world of spirits to show the brethren how they should build up the kingdom, and bring spirits to the knowledge of the truth in the spirit world; he went to set them the pattern there, as he had done on this earth. Hence you perceive that there, spirits have the privilege of embracing the truth.
You may ask if they are baptized there? No. Can they have hands laid upon them for the gift of the Holy Ghost? No. None of the outward ordinances that pertain to the flesh are administered there, but the light, glory, and power of the Holy Ghost are enjoyed just as freely as upon this earth; and there are laws which govern and control the spirit world, and to which they are subject.
Now a few words to the brethren and sisters upon the doctrine and ordinances of the house of God. All who have lived on the earth according to the best light they had, and would have received the fulness of the Gospel had it been preached to them, are worthy of a glorious resurrection, and will attain to this by being administered for, in the flesh, by those who have the authority. All others will have a resurrection, and receive a glory, except those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost. It is supposed by this people that we have all the ordinances in our possession for life and salvation, and exaltation, and that we are administering in these ordinances. This is not the case. We are in possession of all the ordinances that can be administered in the flesh; but there are other ordinances and administrations that must be administered beyond this world. I know you would ask what they are. I will mention one. We have not, neither can we receive here, the ordinance and the keys of the resurrection. They will be given to those who have passed off this stage of action and have received their bodies again, as many have already done and many more will. They will be ordained, by those who hold the keys of the resurrection, to go forth and resurrect the Saints, just as we receive the ordinance of baptism, then the keys of authority to baptize others for the remission of their sins. This is one of the ordinances we cannot receive here, and there are many more. We hold the authority to dispose of, alter and change the elements; but we have not received authority to organize native element, to even make a spear of grass grow.
We have no such ordinance here. We organize according to men in the flesh. By combining the elements and planting the seed, we cause vegetables, trees, grains, etc., to come forth. We are organizing a Kingdom here according to the pattern that the Lord has given for people in the flesh, but not for those who have received the resurrection, although it is a similitude. Another item: We have not the power in the flesh to create and bring forth or produce a spirit; but we have the power to produce a temporal body; the germ of this, God has placed within us. And when our spirits receive our bodies, and through our faithfulness we are worthy to be crowned, we will then receive authority to produce both spirit and body. But these keys we cannot receive in the flesh. Herein, brethren, you can perceive that we have not finished, and cannot finish our work, while we live here, no more than Jesus did while he was in the flesh.
We cannot receive, while in the flesh, the keys to form and fashion kingdoms and to organize matter, for they are beyond our capacity and calling, beyond this world. In the resurrection, men who have been faithful and diligent in all things in the flesh, have kept their first and second estate, and are worthy to be crowned Gods, even the Sons of God, will be ordained to organize matter. How much matter do you suppose there is between here and some of the fixed stars which we can see? Enough to frame many, very many millions of such earths as this, yet it is now so diffused, clear and pure, that we look through it and behold the stars. Yet the matter is there. Can you form any conception of this? Can you form any idea of the minuteness of matter?
Do you recollect that in about the year 1840-41, Joseph had a revelation concerning the dead? He had been asked the question a good many times: "What is the condition of the dead, those that lived and died without the Gospel?" It was a matter of inquiry with him. He considered this question for himself, and for the brethren and the Church, "What is the condition of the dead? What will be their fate? Is there no way today by which they can receive their blessings as there was in the days of the Apostles, and when the Gospel was preached upon the earth in ancient days?" When Joseph received the revelation that we have in our possession concerning the dead, the subject was opened to him, not in full, but in part, and he kept on receiving. When he had first received the knowledge by the spirit of revelation how the dead could be officiated for, there are brethren and sisters here, I can see quite a number here who were in Nauvoo, and you recollect that when this doctrine was first revealed, and in hurrying in the administration of baptism for the dead, that sisters were baptized for their male friends, were baptized for their fathers, their grandfathers, their mothers and their grandmothers, etc. I just mention this so that you will come to understanding, that as we knew nothing about this matter at first, the old Saints recollect, there was little by little given, and the subject was made plain, but little was given at once. Consequently, in the first place people were baptized for their friends and no record was kept. Joseph afterwards kept a record. Then women were baptized for men and men for women, etc. It would be very strange, you know, to the eyes of the wise and those that understood the things pertaining to eternity, if we were called upon to commence a work that we could not finish.
This, therefore, was regulated and all set in order; for it was revealed that if a woman was baptized for a man, she could not be ordained for him, neither could she be made an Apostle or a Patriarch for the man, consequently the sisters are to be baptized for their own sex only.
This doctrine of baptism for the dead is a great doctrine, one of the most glorious doctrines that was revealed to the human family; and there are light, power, glory, honor and immortality in it.
There are many of the ordinances of the house of God that must be performed in a temple that is erected expressly for the purpose. There are other ordinances that we can administer without a temple. You know that there are some which you have receivedbaptism, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, such as the speaking in and interpretation of tongues, prophesying, healing, discerning of spirits, etc., and many blessings bestowed upon the people, we have the privilege of receiving without a temple. There are other blessings, that will not be received, and ordinances that will not be performed according to the law that the Lord has revealed, without their being done in a temple prepared for that purpose. We can, at the present time, go into the Endowment House and be baptized for the dead, receive our washings and anointing, etc., for there we have a font that has been erected, dedicated expressly for baptizing people for the remission of sins, for their health and for their dead friends; in this the Saints have the privilege of being baptized for their friends. We also have the privilege of sealing women to men, without a temple. This we can do in the Endowment House; but when we come to other sealing ordinances, ordinances pertaining to the holy Priesthood, to connect the chain of the Priesthood from Father Adam until now, by sealing children to their parents, being sealed for our forefathers, etc., they cannot be done without a temple. When the ordinances are carried out in the temples that will be erected, men will be sealed to their fathers, and those who have slept, clear up to Father Adam. This will have to be done, because of the chain of the Priesthood being broken upon the earth. The Priesthood has left the people, but in the first place the people left the Priesthood. They transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broke the everlasting covenant, and the Priesthood left them; but not until they had left the Priesthood. This Priesthood has been restored again, and by its authority we shall be connected with our fathers, by the ordinance of sealing, until we shall form a perfect chain from Father Adam down to the closing up scene. This ordinance will not be performed anywhere but in a temple; neither will children be sealed to their living parents in any other place than a temple. When we had a temple prepared in Nauvoo, many of the brethren had their children, who were out of the covenant, sealed to them, and endowments were given. Then parents, after receiving their endowments and being sealed for time and eternity, and they have other children; they are begotten and born under the covenant, and they are the rightful heirs to the kingdom, they possess the keys of the kingdom. Children born unto parents, before the latter enter into the fulness of the covenants, have to be sealed to them in a temple to become legal heirs of the Priesthood. It is true they can receive the ordinances, they can receive their endowments, and be blessed in common with their parents; but still the parents cannot claim them legally and lawfully in eternity unless they are sealed to them. Yet the chain would not be complete without this sealing ordinance being performed.
Now, to illustrate this, I will refer to my own father's family. My father died before the endowments were given. None of his children have been sealed to him. If you recollect, you that were in Nauvoo, we were very much hurried in the little time we spent there after the temple was built. The mob was there ready to destroy us; they were ready to burn our houses, they had been doing it for a long time; but we finished the temple according to the commandment that was given to Joseph, and then took our departure. Our time, therefore, was short, and we had no time to attend to this. My father's children, consequently, have not been sealed to him. Perhaps all of his sons may go into eternity, into the spirit world, before this can be attended to; but this will make no difference; the heirs of the family will attend to this if it is not for a hundred years.
It will have to be done sometime. If, however, we get a temple prepared before the sons of my father shall all have gone into the spirit world, if there are any of them remaining, they will attend to this, and as heirs be permitted to receive the ordinances for our father and mother. This is only one case, and, to illustrate this subject perfectly, I might have to refer to hundreds of examples for each case.
We trust in God. I reckon he will fight our battles and we will be baptized for and in behalf of the human family during a thousand years; and we will have hundreds of temples and thousands of men and women officiating therein for those who have fallen asleep, without having had the privilege of hearing and obeying the Gospel, that they may be brought forth and have a glorious resurrection, and enjoy the kingdom which God has prepared for them. Suppose that the notion entertained by some is true, that after the death of our bodies our spirits sleep an eternal sleep, and I am baptized for my father, grandfather, and so on, above, beneath, or around about the earth! All will admit that no harm would be done in practicing these ordinances. Then let us alone if our practices will do no harm, why oppose us in their observance? The result might possibly affect beneficially our progenitors, and then you who oppose would be found fighting against God. Better let the Gospel have its course.
Let me say to you, if it is true that no man can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of the water and of the Spirit, God must provide a plan by which those who have died ignorant of the Gospel may have the privilege of doing so, or he would appear to be a partial being. Has he provided that way? He has. The Christian world have taught, preached, contemplated, meditated, sung about and prayed for the Millennium. What are you going to do during that period, Christians? Do you know what the Millennium is for, and what work will have to be done during that period? Suppose the Christian world were now one in heart, faith, sentiment and works, so that the Lord could commence the Millennium in power and glory, do you know what would be done? Would you sit and sing yourselves away to everlasting bliss? No, I reckon not. I think there is a work to be done then which the whole world seems determined we shall not do. What is it? To build temples. What are we going to do in these temples? Anything to be done there? Yes, and we will not wait for the Millennium and the fulness of the glory of God on the earth; we will commence as soon as we have a temple, and work for the salvation of our forefathers; we will get their genealogies as far as we can. By and by, we shall get them perfect. In these temples we will officiate in the ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for our friends. We will officiate for those who are in the spirit world, where Jesus went to preach to the spirits, as Peter has written in his first epistle.
We will also have hands laid on us for the reception of the Holy Ghost; and then we will receive the washing and anointings for and in their behalf, preparatory to their becoming heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. Are you going to do this, Latter-day Saints? Yes. What will the Christian world do with their dead? Let them sleep an eternal sleep, for there are no provisions made for them in the Gospel they believe in and have taught to them.
We will bring up all the inhabitants of the earth, except those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost, and save them in some kingdom where they will receive more glory and honor than ever the Methodist contemplated. This should be a comfort and a consolation to all the inhabitants of the earth. They will not save themselves, millions have not had a chance, and millions now living, through the strength of their traditions, will not do it; their consciences and feelings are bound up in their systems and creeds, whereas if they felt as independent as they should feel, they would break loose and receive the truths; but they will live and die in bondage, and we calculate to officiate for them. Many a man I know of, who has fallen asleep, we have been baptized for, since the Church was organizedgood, honest, honorable men, charitable to all, living good, virtuous lives. We will not let them go down to hell; God will not. The plan of salvation is ample to bring them all up and place them where they may enjoy all they could anticipate.
Can we do anything for them? Yes. What are we trying to build a temple for? And we shall not only build a temple here, if we are successful, and are blessed and preserved, but we shall probably commence two or three more, and so on as fast as the work requires, for the express purpose of redeeming our dead. When I get a revelation that some of my progenitors lived and died without the blessings of the Gospel, or even hearing it preached, but were as honest as I am, as upright as I am, or as any man or woman could be upon the earth; as righteous, so far as they knew how, as any Apostle or Prophet that ever lived, I will go and be baptized, confirmed, washed, and anointed, and go through all the ordinances and endowments for them, that their way may be opened to the celestial kingdom.
As I have frequently told you, that is the work of the Millennium. It is the work that has to be performed by the seed of Abraham, the chosen seed, the royal seed, the blessed of the Lord, those the Lord made covenants with. They will step forth, and save every son and daughter of Adam who will receive salvation here on the earth; and all the spirits in the spirit world will be preached to, conversed with, and the principles of salvation carried to them, that they may have the privilege of receiving the Gospel; and they will have plenty of children here on the earth to officiate for them in those ordinances of the Gospel that pertain to the flesh.
What do you suppose the fathers would say if they could speak from the dead? Would they not say, "We have lain here thousands of years, here in this prison house, waiting for this dispensation to come? Here we are, bound and fettered, in the association of those who are filthy?" What would they whisper in our ears? Why, if they had the power the very thunders of heaven would be in our ears, if we could but realize the importance of the work we are engaged in. All the angels in heaven are looking at this little handful of people, and stimulating them to the salvation of the human family. When I think upon this subject, I want the tongues of seven thunders to wake up the people.
We are trying to save the living and the dead. The living can have their choice, the dead have not. Millions of them died without the Gospel, without the Priesthood, and without the opportunities that we enjoy. We shall go forth in the name of Israel's God and attend to the ordinances for them. And through the Millennium, the thousands years that the people will love and serve God, we will build temples and officiate therein for those who have slept for hundreds and thousands of yearsthose who would have received the truth if they had had the opportunity; and we will bring them up, and form the chain entire, back to Adam.
If we preserve ourselves in the truth and live so that we shall be worthy of the celestial kingdom, by and by we can officiate for those who have died without the Gospelthe honest, honorable, truthful, virtuous and pure. By and by it will be said unto us, Go ye forth and be baptized for them and receive the ordinances for them, and the hearts of the children will be turned to the fathers who have slept in their graves, and they will secure to them eternal life. This must be, lest the Lord come and smite the earth with a curse. The children will go forth and revive this law for those who have slept for thousands of years who died without the Gospel. Jesus will prepare a way to bring them up into his presence. But were it not for the few who will be prepared here on the earth to officiate when the Lord shall come to reign King of nations, what would be the condition of the world? They would sleep and sleep on; but the way is prepared for their redemption.
Hundreds of millions of human beings have been born, lived out their short earthly span, and passed away, ignorant alike of themselves and of the plan of salvation provided for them. It gives great consolation, however, to know that this glorious plan devised by Heaven follows them into the next existence, offering for their acceptance eternal life and exaltation to thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers in the presence of their Father and God, through Jesus Christ, his Son.
If we obey this law, preserve it inviolate, live according to it, we shall be prepared to enjoy the blessings of a celestial kingdom. Will any others? Yes, thousands and millions of the inhabitants of the earth who would have received and obeyed the law that we preach, if they had had the privilege. When the Lord shall bring again Zion, and the watchmen shall see eye to eye, and Zion shall be established, saviors will come upon Mount Zion and save all the sons and daughters of Adam that are capable of being saved, by administering for them.
Our enemies will yet be glad to come to us for safety and salvation; and we will do as Brother Kimball has saidwe will save the old veteran fathers; and the time will come when we will be baptized for them, while those who trample upon the rights of their fellow men will be weltering in hell. Yes, we will bring up those old revolutionary sires and save them; for God loves men who are true to each other and are true to him.
"Saviors on Mount Zion"We have a work to do just as important in its sphere as the Savior's work was in its sphere. Our fathers cannot be made perfect without us; we cannot be made perfect without them. They have done their work and now sleep. We are now called upon to do ours; which is to be the greatest work man ever performed on the earth. Millions of our fellow creatures who have lived upon the earth and died without a knowledge of the Gospel must be officiated for in order that they may inherit eternal life (that is, all that would have received the Gospel). And we are called upon to enter into this work.
We are called, as it has been told you, to redeem the nations of the earth. The fathers cannot be made perfect without us; we cannot be made perfect without the fathers. There must be this chain in the holy Priesthood; it must be welded together from the latest generation that lives on the earth back to Father Adam, to bring back all that can be saved and placed where they can receive salvation and a glory in some kingdom. This Priesthood has to do it; this Priesthood is for this purpose.
Can the fathers be saved without us? No. Can we be saved without them? No, and if we do not wake up and cease to long after the things of this earth, we will find that we as individuals will go down to hell, although the Lord will preserve a people unto himself. Now, we are ready to give endowments, do you have any feelings for those who have died without having the Gospel?
The ordinance of sealing must be performed here man to man, and woman to man, and children to parents, etc., until the chain of generation is made perfect in the sealing ordinances back to Father Adam; hence, we have been commanded to gather ourselves together, to come out of Babylon, and sanctify ourselves, and build up the Zion of our God, by building cities and temples, redeeming countries from the solitude of nature, until the earth is sanctified and prepared for the residence of God and angels.
The doctrines of the Savior reveal and place the believers in possession of principles whereby saviors will come upon Mount Zion to save the House of Esau, which is the Gentile nations, from sin and death,all except those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost. Men and women will enter into the temples of God, and be, in comparison, pillars there, and officiate year after year for those who have slept thousands of years.
When his Kingdom is established upon the earth, and Zion built up, the Lord will send his servants as saviors upon Mount Zion. The servants of God who have lived on the earth in ages past will reveal where different persons have lived who have died without the Gospel, give their names, and say, "Now go forth, ye servants of God, and exercise your rights and privileges; go and perform the ordinances of the house of God for those who have passed their probation without the Gospel, and for all who will receive any kind of salvation; bring them up to inherit the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms," for every person will receive according to his capacity and according to the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad, much or little.
Who will possess the earth and all its fulness? Will it not be those whom the Lord has reserved to this honor? And they will come upon Mount Zion as saviors to labor through the Millennium to save others.
Suppose we are ready to go into the temples of God to officiate for our fathers and our grandfathersfor our ancestors back for hundreds of years, who are all looking to see what their children are doing upon the earth. The Lord says, I have sent the keys of Elijah the ProphetI have imparted that doctrine to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers. Now, all you children, are you looking to the salvation of your fathers? Are you seeking diligently to redeem those that have died without the Gospel, inasmuch as they sought the Lord Almighty to obtain promises for you? For our fathers did obtain promises that their seed should not be forgotten. O ye children of the fathers, look at these things. You are to enter into the temples of the Lord and officiate for your forefathers.
Suppose we are ready to enter into the temple to be baptized and attend to the ordinances for one hundred of our best forefathers, and Thomas should say to John, "John, take this affair and see to it; I want to go to this ferry to make a little money;" or, "Joseph, you know the names of our ancestors better than I do; won't you go and see to their salvation? I have not time myself; I want to build a bridge." "James, are you ready to perform your duties for the dead?" "No; I want to go and keep a grocery." And you know the language that is common to such places; the name of the Lord is blasphemed, and his servants are cursed with bitter oaths.
What do you think of it, gentlemen, Elders in Israel? What would money have to do with you, if you were now upon the threshold of eternity, and eternity open to you? Would you have the apostasy, as you have now? A little money is more to such persons than the salvation of all the sons and daughters of Adam. I wish I had a voice like ten thousand earthquakes, that all the world might hear and know the loving kindness of the Lord.
What is going to be done with them? By and by Zion will be built up; temples are going to be reared, and the holy Priesthood is going to take effect and rule, and every law of Christ will be obeyed, and he will govern and reign King of nations as he now does King of Saints. Pretty soon you will see temples reared up, and the sons of Jacob will enter into the temples of the Lord. What will they do there? They will do a great many things. When you see Zion redeemed and built upwhen you see the people performing the ordinances of salvation for themselves and for others, (and they will hereafter,) you will see simply this (but I have not time this morning to tell you, only a little part of it): About the time that the temples of the Lord will be built and Zion is establishedpretty nigh this time, you will see (those who are faithful enough,) the first you know, there will be strangers in your midst, walking with you, talking with you; they will enter into your houses and eat and drink with you, go to meeting with you, and begin to open your minds, as the Savior did the two disciples who walked out in the country in the days of old.
About the time the temples are ready, the strangers will be along and will converse with you, and will inquire of you, probably, if you understand the resurrection of the dead. You might say you have heard and read a great deal about it, but you do not properly understand it; and they will then open your minds and tell you the principles of the resurrection of the dead and how to save your friends; they will point out Scriptures in the Old and New Testament, in the Book of Mormon, and other revelations of God, saying, "Don't you recollect reading so and so, that saviors should come up on Mount Zion?" etc., and they will expound the Scriptures to you. You have got your temples ready; now go forth and be baptized for those good people. There are your father and your motheryour ancestors for many generations backthe people that have lived upon the face of the earth since the Priesthood was taken away, thousands and millions of them, who have lived according to the best light and knowledge in their possession. They will expound the Scriptures to you, and open your minds, and teach you of the resurrection of the just and the unjust of the doctrine of salvation, they will use the keys of the holy Priesthood, and unlock the door of knowledge, to let you look into the palace of truth. You will exclaim, That is all plain: why did I not understand it before? and you will begin to feel your heart burn within you, as they walk and talk with you.
You will enter into the temple of the Lord and begin to offer up ordinances before the Lord for your dead. Says this or that man, I want to save such a personI want to save my father; and he straightway goes forth in the ordinance of baptism, and is confirmed, and washed, and anointed, and ordained to the blessings of the holy Priesthood for his ancestors? Before his work is finished, a great many of the Elders of Israel in Mount Zion will become pillars in the temple of God, to go no more out. They will eat and drink and sleep there; and they will often have occasion to say, "Somebody came to the temple last night; we did not know who he was, but he was no doubt a brother, and told us a great many things we did not before understand. He gave us the names of a great many of our forefathers that are not on record, and he gave me my true lineage and the names of my forefathers for hundreds of years back. He said to me, you and I are connected in one family; there are the names of your ancestors; take them and write them down, and be baptized and confirmed, and save such and such ones, and receive of the blessings of the eternal Priesthood for such and such an individual, as you do for yourselves." This is what we are going to do for the inhabitants of the earth. When I look at it, I do not want to rest a great deal, but be industrious all the day long; for when we come to think upon it, we have no time to lose, for it is a pretty laborious work.
Then in the spirit world they will say, "Do you not see somebody at work for you? The Lord remembers you and has revealed to his servants on the earth what to do for you."
When the Lord shall usher in the morning of rest, we may enter into our labors to officiate for our dead friends back to Adam.
Powers of Evil Opposed to Temple BuildingSome say, "I do not like to do it, for we never began to build a temple without the bells of hell beginning to ring." I want to hear them ring again. All the tribes of hell will be on the move, if we uncover the walls of this temple. But what do you think it will amount to? You have all the time seen what it has amounted to.
I can say, for my comfort and consolation, and for yours, too, that we did build two temples, and commenced another. We completed a temple in Kirtland and in Nauvoo; and did not the bells of hell toll all the time we were building them? They did, every week and every day.
The Salt Lake TempleThis I do knowthere should be a temple built here. I do know it is the duty of this people to commence to build a temple. Now, some will want to know what kind of a building it will be. Wait patiently, brethren, until it is done, and put forth your hands willingly to finish it. I know what it will be. I scarcely ever say much about revelations, or visions, but suffice it to say, five years ago last July I was here, and saw in the spirit the temple not ten feet from where we have laid the chief cornerstone. I have not inquired what kind of a temple we should build. Why? Because it was represented before me. I have never looked upon that ground, but the vision of it was there. I see it as plainly as if it was in reality before me. Wait until it is done. I will say, however, that it will have six towers, to begin with, instead of one. Now do not any of you apostatize because it will have six towers, and Joseph only built one. It is easier for us to build sixteen, than it was for him to build one. The time will come when there will be one in the center of temples, we shall build, and, on the top, groves and fish ponds. But we shall not see them here, at present.
I have determined, by the help of the Lord and this people, to build him a house. You may ask, "Will he dwell in it?" He may do just as he pleases; it is not my prerogative to dictate to the Lord. But we will build him a house, that, if he pleases to pay us a visit, he may have a place to dwell in, or if he should send any of his servants, we may have suitable accommodations for them. I have built myself a house, and the most of you have done the same, and now, shall we not build the Lord a house?
"Does the Lord require the building of a temple at our hands?" I can say that he requires it just as much as ever he required one to be built elsewhere. If you should ask, "Brother Brigham, have you any knowledge concerning this; have you ever had a revelation from heaven upon it?" I can answer truly, it is before me all the time, not only today, but it was almost five years ago, when we were on this ground, looking for locations, sending our scouting parties through the country, to the right and to the left, to the north and the south to the east and the west; before we had any returns from any of them, I knew, just as well as I now know, that this was the ground on which to erect a templeit was before me.
We shall attempt to build a temple to the name of our God. This has been attempted several times, but we have never yet had the privilege of completing and enjoying one. Perhaps we may in this place, but if, in the providence of God, we should not, it is all the same. It is for us to do those things which the Lord requires at our hands, and leave the result with him. It is for us to labor with a cheerful good will; and if we build a temple that is worth a million of money, and it requires all our time and means, we should leave it with cheerful hearts, if the Lord in his providence tells us so to do. If the Lord permits our enemies to drive us from it, why, we should abandon it with as much cheerfulness of heart as we ever enjoy a blessing. It is no matter to us what the Lord does, or how he disposes of the labor of his servant. But when he commands, it is for his people to obey. We should be as cheerful in building this temple, if we knew beforehand that we should never enter into it when it was finished, as we would though we knew we were to live here a thousand years to enjoy it.
I want this temple that we are now building to the name of our God, to stand for all time to come as a monument of the industry, faithfulness, faith, and integrity of the Latter-day Saints who were driven into the mountains. I want to see the temple finished as soon as it is reasonable and practicable. Whether we go in there to work or not makes no difference; I am perfectly willing to finish it to the last leaf of gold that shall be laid upon it, and to the last lock that should be put on the doors, and then lock every door, and there let it stand until the earth can rest before the Saints commence their labors there. They receive more in the house of the Lord now than is their due. Our brethren and sisters, baptized three, four, or six months ago, go and get their endowments, the sealing blessings for all eternity, the highest that can be conferred upon them, yet how lightly they are treated! Many do not consider, they do not realize these things. They have not the spirit of revelation, they do not live for it, hence they do not see these things in their proper light, and we are not in such a hurry as many think we ought to be.
The temple will be for the endowmentsfor the organization and instruction of the Priesthood. If you want to build a temple on these conditions, you can have the privilege. But I never again want to see one built to go into the hands of the wicked. I have asked my Father to give me power to build a temple on this block, but not until I can forever maintain my rights in it. I would rather see it burnt than to see it go into the hands of devils. I was thankful to see the temple in Nauvoo on fire. Previous to crossing the Mississippi river, we had met in that temple and handed it over to the Lord God of Israel; and when I saw the flames, I said, "Good, Father, if you want it to be burned up." I hoped to see it burned before I left, but I did not. I was glad when I heard of its being destroyed by fire, and of the walls having fallen in, and said, "Hell, you cannot now occupy it." When the temple is built here, I want to maintain it for the use of the Priesthood; if this cannot be, I would rather not see it built, but go into the mountains and administer there in the ordinances of the holy Priesthood, which is our right and privilege. I would rather do this than to build a temple for the wicked to trample under their feet.
Address at the Laying of the Cornerstone of the Salt Lake TempleThis morning we have assembled on one of the most solemn, interesting, joyful, and glorious occasions that ever have transpired, or will transpire among the children of men, while the earth continues in its present organization, and is occupied for its present purposes. And I congratulate my brethren and sisters that it is our unspeakable privilege to stand here this day, and minister before the Lord on an occasion which has caused the tongues and pens of Prophets to speak and write for many scores of centuries which are past.
When the Lord Jesus Christ tabernacled in the fleshwhen he had left the most exalted regions of his Father's glory, to suffer and shed his blood for sinning, fallen creatures, like ourselves, and the people crowded around him, a certain man said unto him, "Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest." Jesus said unto him, "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath nowhere to lay his head." And we find no record that this man followed him any farther.
Why had not the Son of Man where to lay his head? Because his Father had no house upon the earthnone dedicated to him, and preserved for his exclusive use, and the benefit of his obedient children.
The Ark containing the covenantor the Ark of the Covenant in the days of Moses, containing the sacred records, was moved from place to place in a cart. And so sacred was that Ark, if a man stretched forth his hand to steady it, when the cart jostled, he was smitten and died. And would to God that all who attempt to do the same in this day, figuratively speaking, might share the same fate. And they will share it sooner or later, if they do not keep their hands, and tongues, too, in their proper places, and stop dictating the order of the Gods of the Eternal Worlds.
When the Ark of the Covenant rested, or when the Children of Israel had an opportunity to rest (for they were mobbed and harassed somewhat like the Latter-day Saints), the Lord, through Moses, commanded a tabernacle to be built, wherein should rest and be stationed, the Ark of the Covenant. And particular instructions were given by revelation to Moses, how every part of said tabernacle should be constructed, even to the curtainsthe number thereof, and of what they should be made; and the covering, and the wood for the boards, and for the bars, and the court, and the pins, and the vessels, and the furniture, and everything pertaining to the tabernacle. Why did Moses need such a particular revelation to build a tabernacle? Because he had never seen one, and did not know how to build it without revelation, without a pattern.
Thus the Ark of the Covenant continued until the days of David, King of Israel, standing or occupying a tabernacle, or tent. But to David, God gave commandment that he should make preparation for a house, wherein he, himself, might dwell, or which he might visit, and in which he might commune with his servants when he pleased.
From the day the Children of Israel were led out of Egypt to the days of Solomon, Jehovah had no resting place upon the earth (and for how long a period before that day, the history is unpublished), but walked in a tent or tabernacle, before the Ark, as it seemed him good, having no place to lay his head.
David was not permitted to build the house which the Lord told him should be built, because he was a "man of blood," that is, he was beset by enemies on every hand, and had to spend his days in war and bloodshed to save Israel (much as the Latter-day Saints have done, only he had the privilege of defending himself and the people from mobocrats and murderers, while we have hitherto been denied that privilege), and, consequently, he had no time to build a house unto the Lord, but, commanded his son Solomon, who succeeded him on the throne, to erect the temple at Jerusalem, which God had required at his hands.
The pattern of this temple, the length and breadth, and height of the inner and outer courts, with all the fixtures thereunto appertaining, were given to Solomon by revelation, through the proper source. And why was this revelation-pattern necessary? Because Solomon had never built a temple, and did not know what was necessary in the arrangement of the different apartments, any better than Moses did what was needed in the tabernacle.
This temple, called Solomon's temple, because Solomon was the master workman, was completed some time previous to the appearance of the Son of Man on the earth, in the form of the babe of Bethlehem, and had been dedicated as the house of the Lord, and accepted as a finished work by the Father, who commanded it to be built, that his Son might have a resting place on the earth, when he should enter on his mission.
Why, then, did Jesus exclaim to the man who volunteered to follow him wheresoever he went, that "the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head?" Jesus knew the pretended saint and follower to be a hypocrite, and that if he told him plainly that he would not fare as well as the birds and foxes, he would leave him at once, and that would save him much trouble.
But how could Jesus' saying, that he had "not where to lay his head," be true? Because the house which the Father had commanded to be built for his reception, although completed, had become polluted, and hence the saying, "My house is the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves," and he made a scourge of cords, and drove the money-changers, and dove-sellers, and faro-gamblers, all out of his house, and overthrew their tables; but that did not purify the house, so that he could not sleep in it, for an holy thing dwelleth not in an unholy temple.
If Jesus could not lay his head in an unholy, polluted temple, how can the Latter-day Saints expect that the Holy Spirit will take and abide its residence with them, in their tabernacles and temples of clay, unless they keep themselves pure, spotless, and undefiled?
It is no wonder that the Son of Man, soon after his resurrection from the tomb, ascended to his Father, for he had no place on earth to lay his head; his house still remaining in the possession of his enemies, so that no one had the privilege of purifying it, if they had the disposition, and otherwise the power, to do it; and the occupants thereof were professors in name, but hypocrites and apostates, from whom no good thing can be expected.
Soon after the ascension of Jesus, through mobocracy, martyrdom, and apostasy, the Church of Christ became extinct from the earth, the Man Child,the Holy Priesthood, was received up into heaven from whence it came, and we hear no more of it on the earth, until the angels restored it to Joseph Smith, by whose ministry the Church of Jesus Christ was restored, reorganized on earth, twenty-three years ago this day, with the title of Latter- day Saints to distinguish them from the Former-day Saints.
Soon after, the Church, through our beloved Prophet Joseph, was commanded to build a temple to the Most High, in Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph not only received revelation and commandment to build a temple, but he received a pattern also, as did Moses for the tabernacle, and Solomon for his temple; for without a pattern, he could not know what was wanted, having never seen one, and not having experienced its use.
Without revelation, Joseph could not know what was wanted, any more than any other man, and, without commandment, the Church were too few in number, too weak in faith, and too poor in purse, to attempt such a mighty enterprise. But by means of all these stimulants, a mere handful of men, living on air, and a little hominy and milk, and often salt or no salt, when milk could not be had; the great Prophet Joseph, in the stone quarry, quarrying rock with his own hands; and the few then in the Church, following his example of obedience and diligence wherever most needed; with laborers on the walls, holding the sword in one hand to protect themselves from the mob, while they placed the stone and moved the trowel with the other, the Kirtland templethe second house of the Lord, that we have any published record of on the earth, was so far completed as to be dedicated. And those first Elders who helped to build it, received a portion of their first endowments, or we might say more clearly, some of the first, or introductory, or initiatory ordinances, preparatory to an endowment.
The preparatory ordinances there administered, though accompanied by the ministrations of angels, and the presence of the Lord Jesus, were but a faint similitude of the ordinances of the house of the Lord in their fulness; yet many, through the instigation of the Devil, thought they had received all, and knew as much as God; they have apostatized, and gone to hell. But be assured, brethren, there are but few, very few of the Elders of Israel, now on earth, who know the meaning of the word endowment. To know, they must experience; and to experience, a temple must be built.
Let me give you a definition in brief. Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.
Who has received and understands such an endowment, in this assembly? You need not answer. Your voices would be few and far between, yet the keys to these endowments are among you, and thousands have received them, so that the Devil, with all his aids, need not suppose he can again destroy the holy Priesthood from the earth, by killing a few, for he cannot do it. God has set his hand, for the last time, to redeem his people, the honest in heart, and Lucifer cannot hinder him.
Before these endowments could be given at Kirtland, the Saints had to flee before mobocracy. And, by toil and daily labor, they found places in Missouri, where they laid the cornerstones of temples, in Zion and her stakes, and then had to retreat to Illinois, to save the lives of those who could get away alive from Missouri, where fell the Apostle David W. Patten, with many like associates, and where were imprisoned in loathsome dungeons, Joseph and Hyrum, and many others. But before all this had transpired, the temple at Kirtland had fallen into the hands of wicked men, and by them been polluted, like the temple at Jerusalem, and consequently it was disowned by the Father and the Son.
At Nauvoo, Joseph dedicated another temple, the third on record. He knew what was wanted, for he had previously given most of the prominent individuals then before him their endowment. He needed no revelation then, of a thing he had long experienced, any more than those now do, who have experienced the same things. It is only where experience fails, that revelation is needed.
Before the Nauvoo temple was completed, Joseph was murderedmurdered at sunlight, under the protection of the most noble Government that then existed, and that now exists, on our earth. Has his blood been atoned for? No! And why? A martyr's blood to true religion was never atoned for on our earth. No man, or nation of men, without the Priesthood, has power to make atonement for such sins. The souls of all such, since the days of Jesus, are "under the altar," and are crying to God, day and night, for vengeance. And shall they cry in vain? God forbid! He has promised he will hear them in his own due time, and recompense a righteous reward.
But what of the temple in Nauvoo? By the aid of sword in one hand, and trowel and hammer in the other, with firearms at hand, and a strong band of police, and the blessings of heaven, the Saints, through hunger, and thirst, and weariness, and watchings, and prayings, so far completed the temple despite the devices of the mob, that many received a small portion of their endowment, but we know of no one who received it in its fulness. And then, to save the lives of all the Saints from cruel murder, we removed westward, and being led by the all-searching eye of the great Jehovah, we arrived at this place.
Of our journey hither, we need say nothing, only, God led us. Of the sufferings of those who were compelled to, and did, leave Nauvoo in the winter of 1846, we need say nothing. Those who experienced it know it, and those who did not, to tell them of it would be like exhibiting a beautiful painting to a blind man.
We will not stop to tell you of the sufferings of widows and orphans on Omaha lands, while their husbands and fathers were traversing the burning plains of the south, to fight the battles of a country which had banished them from civilization, for they secured the land on which we dwell, from our Nation's foe, exposed the gold of California, and turned the world upside down. All these things are before you, you know them, and we need not repeat them.
While these things were transpiring with the Saints in the wilderness, the temple at Nauvoo passed into the hands of the enemy, who polluted it to that extent the Lord not only ceased to occupy it, but he loathed to have it called by his name, and permitted the wrath of its possessors to purify it by fire, as a token of what will speedily fall upon them and their habitations unless they repent.
But what are we here for, this day? To celebrate the birthday of our religion! To lay the foundation of a temple to the Most High God, so that when his Son, our Elder Brother, shall again appear, he may have a place where he can lay his head, and not only spend a night or a day, but find a place of peace, that he may stay till he can say, "I am satisfied."
Brethren, shall the Son of Man be satisfied with our proceedings this day? Shall we have a house on the earth which he can call his own? Shall we have a place where he can lay his head, and rest over night, and tarry as long as he pleases, and be satisfied and pleased with his accommodations?
These are questions for you to answer. If you say yes, you have got to do the work, or it will not be done. We do not want any whiners about this temple. If you cannot commence cheerfully, and go through the labor of the whole building cheerfully, start for California, and the quicker the better. Make you a golden calf, and worship it. If your care for the ordinances of salvation, for yourselves, your living, and dead, is not first and foremost in your hearts, in your actions, and in everything you possess, go! Pay your debts, if you have any, and go in peace, and prove to God and all his Saints that you are what you profess to be, by your acts.
But if you are what you profess to be, do your dutystay with the Saints, pay your tithing, and be prompt in paying, as you are in feeding your family; and the temple, of which we have now laid the southeast cornerstone, will arise in beauty and grandeur, in a manner and time which you have not hitherto known or contemplated.
The Saints of these valleys have grown in riches, and abundance of the comforts of life, in a manner hitherto unparalleled on the page of history, and if they will do by their Heavenly Father as he has done by them, soon will this temple be inclosed. But if you go in for a speculation with passers-by, as many have hitherto done, you will not live to see the topstone of this temple laid; and your labors and toils for yourse