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Dedication of the Kirtland Temple. Doctrine and Covenants Sections 109, 110. Two Temples. In September 1832 the Saints in Jackson County received a commandment to build a temple and were promised that if they did they would see the Lord there and be endowed with power (D&C 84).

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Dedication of the Kirtland Temple

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Dedication of the Kirtland Temple

Doctrine and Covenants

Sections 109, 110

Two Temples

  • In September 1832 the Saints in Jackson County received a commandment to build a temple and were promised that if they did they would see the Lord there and be endowed with power (D&C 84).

  • In December 1832 the Saints in Kirtland were commanded to build a temple with the same promised blessings (D&C 88).

  • You will see that the Lord commanded us, in Kirtland, to build a house of God, and establish a school for the Prophets, this is the word of the Lord to us, and we must, yea, the Lord helping us, we will obey; as on conditions of our obedience He has promised us great things; yea, even a visit from the heavens to honor us with his presence.

    • Joseph Smith to William Phelps, Kirtland, January 14, 1833, HC 1:316-17

Brigham Young President of the Church, 1847–1877 

  • The Church was too few in numbers . . . and too poor in purse to attempt such a mighty enterprise. . . . Joseph [labored] in the stone quarry, quarrying rock with his own hands, and the few then in the Church, follow[ed] 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.

    • Deseret News, Apr. 16, 1853, 42.

  • 20 families (100 people) in Kirtland.

  • They lacked land, money, and architectural knowledge, but united and called upon the Lord for help.

  • Through visions and revelations to the First Presidency (Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams) the pattern of this building was unfolded, after which these leaders supervised its construction. Meanwhile, missionaries went forth converting others and instructing converts to gather in Kirtland and contribute financially to the temple project. Heeding this call, many faithful Saints migrated to northeastern Ohio.

  • 3 years later, membership in Kirtland 1,300 individuals . . . Nearly every member devoted their time, talent, and material wealth for the building of the Lord's House.

  • Joseph Smith acted as foreman in the stone quarry and frequently worked on the construction of the temple. "Come, brethren," he would say, "let us go into the stone-quarry and work for the Lord." Meanwhile, the women made stockings, pantaloons, and jackets for the men. The sisters, Heber C. Kimball recalled, "were continually knitting, spinning and sewing, and in fact, I may say doing all kinds of work! They were just as busy as any of us," he added.

  • After sacrificing for three years, Latter-day Saints met in the temple to receive the promised blessings.

    • Backman & Millet, “Heavenly Manifestations in the Kirtland Temple,” Studies in Scripture, 1:417


“A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto [eternal] life and salvation.”

  • Kirtland was the most expensive temple ever built by the Church. It cost the Saints between $60 and $70,000.

Joseph Smith

Lectures on Faith 6:7

Questions Regarding Sacrifice

  • How are sacrifice and faith related?

  • Why must it be the sacrifice of all things?

  • How does sacrifice lead a disciple to godhood?

  • What powerful lesson did the Saints learn in the building of the Kirtland Temple?

  • Why is their learning important to us?

  • Why are people often happiest when asked to sacrifice the most?

A Solemn Assembly

  • [12 November 1835] We must have all things prepared. . . . The endowment you are so anxious about, you cannot comprehend now . . . but strive to be prepared in your hearts . . . when we meet in the solemn assembly we must be clean every whit. . . .

  • If we are faithful . . . I will venture to prophesy that we will get a blessing that will be worth remembering, if we should live as long as John the Revelator; our blessings will be such as we have not realized before, nor received in this generation.

  • All who are prepared, and are sufficiently pure to abide the presence of the Savior will see Him in the solemn assembly.

The Dedicatory Prayer

  • Saturday, March 26, 1836

  • 1 day before solemn assembly

  • Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Warren Cowdery (Oliver's brother), and Warren Parrish (Joseph's scribe) met in the president's room on the third floor of the temple to make final preparations for the service.

  • Joseph received the dedicatory prayer by revelation

  • Oliver and the others assisted Joseph “in writing a prayer for the dedication.”

“The congregation began to assemble at the temple, at about seven o’clock, an hour earlier than the doors were to be opened. . . . Such was the anxiety on this occasion that hundreds assembled before the doors were opened.”

HC 2:410-411

The Service

  • Sunday, March 27, 1836

  • About 800 members (only a portion of those who desired to attend) crowded into the temple to participate in its dedication.

  • The meeting began at nine o'clock and continued until four in the afternoon with only a brief intermission

  • Sidney Rigdon conducted and spoke for 2 ½ hours.

  • In the afternoon, Joseph Smith delivered the dedicatory prayer: D&C 109


Following prayer the choir sang a hymn written earlier by Brother William W. Phelps in anticipation of a glorious occasion, "The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning."

  • “The word Hosanna is of Hebrew origin, meaning literally, save now, or save we pray, or save we beseech thee—[and] is both a chant of praise and glory to God and an entreaty for his blessings.” McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 368

  • Following the closing remarks by Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon and Brother Rigdon's closing prayer, the congregation sealed the proceedings with the Hosanna Shout, shouting "Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna to God and the Lamb!" three times, and "sealing it each time with amen, amen, and amen"


  • President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

  • . . . When we dedicate a house to the Lord, what we really do is dedicate ourselves to the Lord's service, with a covenant that we shall use the house in the way He intends that it shall be used . . .

  • Dedicatory prayers for temples, however, are formal and long and cover many matters of doctrine and petition. This pattern was set by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the dedication of the Kirtland Temple.

  • The prayer given on that occasion was revealed to him by the Lord; all prayers used since then have been written by the spirit of inspiration and have been read by such of the Brethren as have been appointed to do so.

    • (Church News, Feb. 12, 1972)

Spiritual Manifestations Seen in the Kirtland Temple

  • “From January 21 to May 1, 1836 probably more Latter-day Saints beheld visions and witnessed other spiritual manifestations than during any other era in the history of the Church.” (Backman, The Heavens Resound, 282-300)

Spiritual Manifestations Seen in the Kirtland Temple

January 21, 1836

A vision is given to Joseph Smith the Prophet, in the temple at Kirtland Ohio. Joseph was teaching about and administering the ordinances of the endowment as far as they had been revealed.

February 6, 1836

Joseph Smith then saw the recently appointed Quorum of the Twelve “standing together in a circle, much fatigued, with their clothes tattered and feet swollen,… and Jesus standing in their midst, and they did not behold Him. The Savior looked upon them and wept.

“Many of my brethren who received the ordinance [of washing] with me saw glorious visions also. Angels ministered unto them as well as to myself, and the power of the Highest rested upon us. The house was filled with the glory of God, and we shouted Hosanna to God and the Lamb…

“… Some of them saw the face of the Savior,… for we all communed with the heavenly host.” (History of the Church 2:381)

March 27, 1836 Day of Dedication

“While George A. Smith was speaking, 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; manybegan to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels.”

“David Whitmer bore testimony that he saw three angels passing up the south aisle”

“The people of the neighborhood came running hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple. Others saw angels hovering over the temple and heard heavenly singing.”

Joseph Smith

HC 2:428

George A. Smith

Journal of Discourses


Joseph Smith

HC 2:428

Doctrine and Covenants 109Latter-day Visions in the Kirtland Temple

Doctrine and Covenants 109Latter-day Visions in the Kirtland Temple

“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 taking place. This continued until the meeting closed at eleven p.m.”

(History of the Church 2:428)

“I left the meeting in the charge of the Twelve, and retired about nine o’clock in the evening. The brethren continued exhorting, prophesying, and speaking in tongues until five o’clock in the morning.

The Savior made His appearance to some, while angels ministered to others, and it was Pentecost and an endowment indeed, long to be remembered, for the sound shall go forth from this place into all the world, and the occurrences of this day shall be numbered and celebrated as a year of jubilee, and time of rejoicing to the Saints of the Most High God.”

(History of the Church 2:432-433)

The Spirit of GodHymn #2

The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!

The latter-day glory begins to come forth

The visions and blessings of old are returning,

And angels are coming to visit the earth.

We’ll sing and we’ll shout

with the armies of heaven,

Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!

Let glory to them in the highest be given,

Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!

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