Historical Changes Relating to Temples

  1. Elder John A. Widtsoe, “Is the Gospel Changing?” in Evidences and Reconciliations (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft 1960), 47ff. 

  2. “Can the Temple Ceremony Change?” – Mike Ash, FAIR paper.

  3. Longer and respectful treatment of the same, on his website.

  4. While this is indirect, Hugh Nibley’s older articles (such as in Temple and Cosmos or Mormonism and Early Christianity) often refer to the temple ceremony. You can pick up on subtle changes that way. Or, ask an old-timer in the temple sometime.

  5. Go Forward with Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley –Sheri L. Dew. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996): 176-184. Gospelink (subscription required) Account of President Hinckley’s very personal involvement with the adaptation of film as a medium for the temple.

  6. “‘Not to be Riten’: The Mormon Temple Rite as Oral Canon.”- Kathleen Flake. Journal of Ritual Studies 9.2 (1995):1-21. Kathleen Flake is an LDS professor of American Religious History at Vanderbilt University.

  7. “ ‘The Source of All Good Things’: Hugh Nibley and the Temple.” – Boyd Peterson. Hugh Nibley- A Consecrated Life (SLC: Greg Kofford Books, 2002): 351-363, esp. 355-56.

    • Details Hugh Nibley’s involvement with the Apostles and First Presidency on the “history and significance” of the Endowment at a time when changes were being considered. First page of chapter in .pdf format. ISBN 1-58958-020-6
  8. Edward L. Kimball. “The History of LDS Temple Admission Standards.” Journal of Mormon History Spring (1998): 135-175. .

    • Available electronically from the University of Utah library.
    • This paper details the history of requirements, standards, and questions to receive a temple recommend (if they had them at the time) and enter an LDS temple. The implementation and standards embodied by the temple recommend questions have changed over time, but not extensively. An excellent and important article.
  9. Richard Bennet, “‘Line upon Line, Precept upon Precept: Reflections on the 1877 Commencement of the Performance of Endowments and Sealings for the Dead” BYU Studies 44:3 (2005).

    • Summary.
    • A copy may be downloaded from BYU Studies for 2.00 from that page.
    • Prior to 1877, few ordinances for the dead were performed, due to the prevailing conceptions of family and sealing at the time (ie. “adoption.” For more on that topic, seeJames B. Allen, “Line upon Line,” Ensign, July 1979 and Gordon Irving, “The Law of Adoption: One Phase of the Development of the Mormon Concept of Salvation, 1830-1900,”  BYU Studies 14:3 )
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