"THE HOUSES OF THE LORD"
ONLY ONE TEMPLE, APRIL 7 1929
Prophecy given President Elbert A. Smith in the Stone Church, Independence, Missouri, during the Communion Service held in commemoration of the ninety-ninth anniversary of the organization of the church. The Spirit said:
"I have gathered My people out from the world, saith the Lord, even from many different parts of the earth, and you are here as seed to be planted in My fields of Zion, and if you will be faithful and humble and consecrate yourselves, the harvest shall be great and very beautiful. . . . Be not troubled in your minds by anything that shall occur. Mark this well: I say unto you, the only temple standing on earth today built by commandment of heaven is in your possession [Kirtland Temple], and its courts are open to this people, and they who have gone into those sacred courts and on many occasions received the Pentecostal baptism of My Spirit; and when the time shall come, in My way, and in My hour, and in My manner, which is the way of law and order, I will command you further concerning the building of My temple in Zion. I am not divided since the days of Kirtland, and My arm is not shortened. My purpose remains one. I have put into the hearts of thousands the testimony that was in My church organized nearly a century ago; and if you will bow yourselves and humble your hearts I will put into your souls the testimony that this is still My church today.
"Therefore, on this occasion, as you partake of the broken body and spilt blood of your Lord and Master, you should resolve to put out of your lives all things that displease Me, saith the Lord; and those whose hearts have been sad shall be baptized by the spirit of joy, and those who have wandered shall be called upon to return. I will build Zion, saith the Lord.
"Therefore, on this day covenant together to keep all of My commandments which I have given you, and behold My Spirit shall be with you, saith the Lord."1
Dedication of the Kirtland Temple
by Richard Bullard
It was Sunday morning, March 27, 1836, in Kirtland, Ohio. The sun was shining between the gray clouds driven swiftly along by the force of the cold northeast wind. On the hillsides the snow lay in small drifts, for the evidences of winter had not yet been obliterated. The early morning air was cold and penetrating. The sun's rays had not yet melted the frost that whitened the grasses on the bare hilltops.
An imposing structure of solid masonry, its cemented walls showing architectural beauty and strength, crowned a hill at whose base ran the swift waters of the Chagrin River. It was a scene of animation; everywhere life abounded. A crowd of people in plain apparel, but with earnest faces lighted by smiles of pleasure, stood before the unopened doors of the building. It was the morning of the dedication of the temple, that remarkable structure erected by their sacrifice, by the toil and labor of their own hands. Now it stood before them, a monument of the indomitable courage and determination of that band of workers.
The doors are opened, the social talk so common to saints is at once hushed and quietude pervades the throng. With hats removed and bowed heads they enter the building, which during its erection had received its baptism of tears, caused by the opposing forces; which, from the laying of the corner-stone to the last stroke of the painters' brush, had forced persecution and suffering upon its builders.
But the hour of their triumph had come, and the recognition of a Heavenly Father's favor was awaiting their entry into the courts of the Lord's house. A mellow, soul-pervading power took possession of the hearts of the faithful as they entered the auditorium. The eye refused to keep back the tears, the lips would quiver as the fire of God's Holy Spirit burned within the soul, and before they were conscious of it they had begun to breathe the atmosphere of heaven.
Ah, who but a true child of God could appreciate those moments of a Heavenly Father's acknowledgment. The throng still surged around the doors, and every seat provided for the assembly was taken. The aisles were rifled, also the vestibule, when at nine o'clock, the presidents, Joseph Smith, Jr., and Sidney Rigdon, reluctantly ordered the doors closed so that the exercises of this memorable day could commence. The ninety-sixth and twenty-fourth Psalms were read by Sidney Rigdon, after which the following hymn was sung (Saints' Harp, 1004):
Ere long the veil will rend in twain,
The King descend with all his train,
The earth shall shake with awful fright,
And all creation feel his might.
Proclaim the joys of heaven around,
Hosannah! now, the trump shall sound,
And all the saints together join,
With songs of love, with hosts divine.
As the saints with their well-trained choir sang, the Spirit seemed to shake the temple, and heavenly choirs were heard to mingle their voices with those of the saints, making the effect wonderful, soul-inspiring, and uplifting. A thousand voices with the help of the Spirit and augmented by the heavenly forces who had been assigned by the Father to make sacred and more impressive the service of song, made it a service of rapture.
The discourse following, by Sidney Rigdon, was one of eloquence and spiritual power, occupying two and one half hours. After this the prophet, Joseph, was presented to the congregation as their prophet, seer, and revelator. All rose from their seats to receive and acknowledge him as the one appointed of God to be their president. Then followed the song, "Now let us rejoice in the day of salvation," and the exercises of the morning closed with an intermission of fifteen minutes.
The sun shone through the windows of the temple upon a people rifled with joy and praise. The hours had fled as though they were minutes, so intensely happy were God's people under the holy influence which filled that edifice upon that occasion. But the real feast was yet to come.
All joined in singing, "This earth was once a garden-place." President Joseph Smith then arose and after some appropriate remarks, prophesied to the assembly concerning God's blessings upon that people, and the work intrusted to their care, after which followed the prayer of dedication by Joseph.
There stood the living prophet of God, clothed with a mantle of light and intelligence, even that of the Holy Spirit, with eyes closed and uplifted hands. He presented to the Infinite One the first temple built under the direction and after the pattern given of God, since the temple was raised to His name and glory in Jerusalem, and by the sacrifice of His people.
With face illuminated by the holy fire burning within him, stood this man, pouring out the longings of his soul to God, giving thanks and praise for the success which had crowned his efforts and the struggles and terrible persecutions which had attended the labors of these faithful saints while building this house to the honor and glory of God.
The fervor, pathos, and spiritual power manifested in this prayer of dedication long remained with those who listened to its outpouring. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel was earnestly appealed to, to accept the work of the hands of God's children, who through much sorrow and persecution had continued their work to its completion. The Lord was asked to permit His glory to rest upon it and to come into it for His children's blessing. The poor, the sick, and the afflicted were not forgotten before the Lord.
The persecuted ones in Missouri, who had been cruelly beaten, slain, and driven from their homes and lands, were remembered, and the tears of sympathy coursed down the cheeks of the prophet as he earnestly pleaded their cause before the Lord. The sobbing response of those who silently joined with him in prayer showed how their hearts flowed out with sorrow towards their afflicted brethren.
The Church was remembered, with all the elders in Israel, that holiness might prevail among them, and that nothing should be permitted to enter the temple to pollute it, but that it might be preserved a house of holiness unto the Lord, that His glory might ever rest upon it. He prayed for himself, that he might be strengthened to do the will of God, and delivered from his enemies. His wife and children, with the families of all the saints, were committed to the fostering hand of a loving Father.
Thus the temple was handed over to the Lord for His acceptance, and the sequel will reveal the fact that the work of sacrifice by the saints was pleasing to the Lord and accepted by Him. The Holy Spirit which had been pent up in the hearts of God's people during the wonderful prayer of the Prophet found relief when the hymn, "The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning," was sung. Oh, what ecstasy of delight, what a thrilling power pervaded the assembly!
Again heavenly choirs joined in chorus, swelling the strains of melody and praise to Jehovah. The hills surrounding the temple took up the sweet strain and reverberated the hallelujahs of that wonderful song of praise, and nature all around seemed to rejoice before the Lord. "Oh, happy people, whose God is the Lord!" The very atmosphere of the temple was filled with a soothing, melting influence which brought spiritual invigoration to the true and faithful children of God.
Quietude settled over the assembly when Joseph arose and announced that the emblems of the Lord's body would be administered. His brother, Don Carlos Smith, blessed the emblems and they were administered by the elders.
Then came a season of testimony and a wonderful display of spiritual power and manifestations of blessings in prophecy. There were tongues, and visitation of angels, one taking its seat between Joseph Smith, Sr., and Frederick G. Williams.
Loud acclamations of "Hosannah, Hosannah to God and the Lamb," with "Amen" thrice repeated was sung by the assembly as an expression of the power and the blessing of God felt within them. Those "Hosannahs" were sung by an infant who had been brought into the temple under its mother's shawl, thus showing that the Lord used every available means to display His love and willingness to bless His people upon this memorable occasion.
Oh, the depths of the riches of His grace! How willingly He reveals His wonderful goodness when His people can utilize His blessings! Thus the meeting ended and the occasion has gone into history as one of the most blessed ever recorded.
Upon the Sunday following, the saints again assembled to partake of the emblems of the Lord's body. A spiritual feast was again enjoyed. After the assembly was dismissed, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery retired to the pulpit, the veil being dropped. They bowed in solemn, silent prayer before the Lord. On rising the following vision was opened to both of them. The veil was taken from their minds and the eyes of their understanding were opened. The Lord, even Jesus Christ the Lamb, once slain, descended and stood upon the breastwork of the pulpit before them. Under His feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like unto amber. His eyes were like a flame of fire, His hair white like pure snow. His countenance shone above the brightness of the sun and His voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying,
"I am the first and the last; I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father. Behold, your sins are forgiven you, you are clean before me, therefore lift up your heads and rejoice, let the hearts of your brethren rejoice, and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have, with their might, built this house to my name, for behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here, and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house; yea, I will appear unto my servants and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments and do not pollute this holy house; yea, the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house; and the fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands; and this is the beginning of the blessings which shall be poured out upon the heads of my people, even so. Amen" (Church History 2: 47).
What an endorsement of the work accomplished was this. Even the Master Workman who had given instructions concerning its building came down and inspected it Himself, smiled upon it, then said, accept it."
Then the veil was rolled back from heaven's gate, and Moses appeared before them and gave them the keys of the gathering of Israel and the gathering of the ten tribes from the land of the north. After this Elias appeared and committed unto them the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, then Elijah, who was taken up into heaven without tasting death, stood before them and said the prophecy of Malachi was about to be fulfilled and the coming of the Lord was near at hand. Thus ended the vision. . . . .2
Joseph Smith Testifies of the Display of Power At The Kirtland Temple Dedication
Joseph Smith said: " 'President F.G. Williams arose, and testified that while President Rigdon was making his first prayer, an angel entered the window and took his seat between father Smith and himself, and remained there during his prayer. President David Whitmer also saw angels in the house.'
At the evening meeting of the same day, says Joseph, 'Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power. Many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the temple was filled with angels, which face I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the temple), and were astonished at what was transpiring. "From that day onward these Pentecostal scenes were frequent. On Sunday, April 3rd, on the occasion of a meeting in the temple, after assisting in the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, says Joseph: "I retired to the pulpit, the vails being dropped, and bowed myself, with Oliver Cowdery, in solemn and silent prayer. After rising from prayer, the following vision was opened to both of us: 'The vail was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened. We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit before us . . . .' "3
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1. Saints' Herald, vol. 76, p. 449 Copied from Infallible Proofs, p. 33-34
2. Restoration Voice, Jan/Feb 1982 - Reprinted from The Saints' Herald June 10, 1908
3. Life of Joseph The Prophet, by E. Tullidge pp. 200