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Part 1 of 0 in the series Kirtland Temple

The following is the beginning of a series of articles about the Kirtland Temple. This was the first temple built by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many reported that the events which accompanied its dedication on March 27, 1836 were similar in nature to the events which transpired on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2.

Kirtland Temple Angels Pentecost means “the fiftieth day” and is directly related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot which commemorates the Lord’s appearance on Mount Sinai fifty days after the exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt.1 Pentecost is also celebrated by many Christian religions since it commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, fifty days after the Savior’s resurrection.2

Those who compiled Joseph Smith’s history recorded the significance of similar events at the Kirtland Temple dedication:

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 fact 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 taking place.3

Writing just a few years after the temple dedication, one participant wrote:

At the same time the saints in Kirtland, Ohio, were actively engaged in building a Temple to the Lord. The branches of the Church in the east were doing all they could to assist them to build and prepare for the day of Pentecost. The news from the west caused sorrow and lamentation, it was a day never to be forgotten. In the spring following, Elders Joseph and Hyrum Smith, in company with two hundred male members of the Church, went up to Missouri, for the purpose of rendering all the assistance they could to the afflicted saints. The dark clouds seemed to break away, the spirit of mobocracy was checked for a short time, and the beams of light once more dawned on the afflicted. After they had done all in their power to do at that time, Elders J. and H. Smith and many others, returned to Kirtland, Ohio. The same fall and winter a large school convened for instruction, composed of Elders, and members of the Church. Elders Smith, Rigdon, and others, acted as teachers. In the course of the winter the Quorum of the Twelve was chosen and ordained, also one Quorum of the Seventies. The next spring many of the Elders went forth to preach the word, to prove themselves worthy of the blessings expected at the day of Pentecost. In the spring of 1836, the lower room of the Temple being finished, some three hundred or over of the official members of the Church, assembled for the purpose of attending to the ordinances of washing and anointing, and the sacraments, that they might be sanctified before the Lord, and prepared for the reception of the Holy Spirit from on High. Prayer and fasting were attended to, the ordinations and anointings were sealed with great solemnity. The Holy Spirit descended in power as in bye-gone days, when it rested on the disciples at Jerusalem, some spoke with tongues and others prophesied—the visions of Heaven were also opened to some, intelligence burst upon their understanding, enabling them to comprehend things past, present and future.4

Another participant in the dedicatory events recorded that the gift of tongues and other Spiritual Gifts were given to many:

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  1. See Exodus 19 – 24; cf. D&C 84:19 – 27.
  2. For an explanation of these events, see Gift of the Holy Ghost a Higher Endowment.
  3. Roberts, Brigham Henry, ed. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1912. 2:428.
  4. Grant, Jedediah M. Collection of Facts, Relative to the Course Taken by Elder Sidney Rigdon in the States of Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Brown, Bicking, & Guilbert, 1844. 8-9.

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Last weekend, in an address about the recent Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple Dedication, our stake president referred to a talk by David A. Bednar called “The Character of Christ.”1 In this talk, Elder Bednar stated:

The Temptation of Christ by Ary Scheffer Last September I participated in an area training meeting in Twin Falls, Idaho. Elder Neal A. Maxwell presided at the training session, and on a Friday night and a Saturday morning he, the Idaho Area Presidency, and other general church officers instructed a group of approximately one hundred stake presidents. It was a meaningful and memorable time of spiritual enrichment, learning, and edification.

During the course of his teaching and testifying, Elder Maxwell made a statement that impressed me deeply and has been the recent focus for much of my studying, reflecting, and pondering. He said, “There would have been no Atonement except for the character of Christ.” Since hearing this straightforward and penetrating statement, I have tried to learn more about and better understand the word “character.” I have also pondered the relationship between Christ’s character and the Atonement–and the implications of that relationship for each of us as disciples. This morning I hope to share with you just a few of the learnings that have come to my mind and heart as I have attempted to more fully appreciate this teaching by Elder Maxwell.

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  1. Bednar, David A. “The Character of Christ”. 25 Jan 2003. BYU – Idaho. 8 Nov 2009.

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I recently came across the videos below about the Mayan Temple at El Mirador in Guatemala. The temple is located in the Mirador Basin which contains the Petén rainforest, the last tract of virgin rainforest in Central America.1

Dr. Richard Hansen, an archaeologist from Idaho State University, is the current director of the Mirador Basin Project. He recently took CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on a tour of the site and the surrounding area.

In the video clip below, Dr. Hansen shows Ms. Baldwin an artefact of the Popol Vuh. The Popol Vuh was written by anonymous members of the Quiché-Maya nobility, a branch of the Maya that dominated the highlands of western Guatemala prior to the arrival of Spanish conquerors in 1524 and contains the creation story of the Mayas.

El Mirador appears to be one of those “‘powerhouses’ that attest to ‘the fading or fictive nature of the vaunted powers from on high.’”2


  1. Baldwin, Brooke. “Uncovering a masterpiece the Mayans left behind“. 15 Oct 2009. CNN. 31 Oct 2009.
  2. See Nibley on Book of Mormon Geography.

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Today, Carrie told me of a talk given by Merrill J. Bateman about the history of Brigham Young University.1 Just as Henry B. Eyring spoke about the future of BYU in A Consecrated Place, Elder Bateman spoke of those who were given dreams of its future destiny.

Recently I shared with the faculty and staff some key events from BYU’s history. During the preparation of the material, some insights were gleaned with regard to the special nature of this institution. Today I wish to share a few of them with you.

Lessons from BYU’s History

Karl G Maeser The first lesson one learns in reviewing BYU’s history concerns the extraordinary faith of the early Saints who forged this institution. They founded Brigham Young Academy in a desert with a fragile economic base. However, they understood the importance of education, especially for their children, and were willing to sacrifice every temporal asset they had in order to keep the school alive. This was true of the faculty and staff and also of the citizens throughout the valley. It was not uncommon for Karl G. Maeser and his staff to receive less than one-half pay during the 1880s. Abraham O. Smoot, a highly successful businessman, stake president, mayor of Provo, and chairman of the board of Brigham Young Academy, gave his buildings, his land, and mortgaged his home in order to save the institution. He died penniless, having given everything to the school.

The faith of BYU’s founders was never stronger than during times of crisis. I was particularly impressed with Karl G. Maeser’s conviction as he responded to Reed Smoot, a student, during the 1884 fire that destroyed the academy’s only building. As it became apparent that they could not save the Lewis building, the student said to Maeser, “Oh, Brother Maeser, the Academy is burned!” Maeser responded, “No such thing, it’s only the building.”2 Six years earlier, shortly after the death of Brigham Young, Maeser had a dream in which President Young showed him the design of a new building. At the time Brother Maeser did not understand the purpose of the dream. Six years later, as he looked at the charred ruins of Lewis Hall, he could see in his mind’s eye the building that would take its place.3

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  1. Bateman, Merrill J. “Gathered in the Tops of the Mountains”. 7 Sep 1999. BYU Speeches. 21 Oct 2009. See BYU Broadcasting for a PDF of the talk.
  2. Ernest L. Wilkinson and W. Cleon Skousen, Brigham Young University: A School of Destiny (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1976), 74–75.
  3. See ibid., 118–19.

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It has been a couple of weeks since the last series of posts in anticipation of the dedication of the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple.1 Since the dedication, much has transpired and other things took priority.

Today, while reviewing some gospel-related material, I came across this talk by F. Enzio Busche who spoke about awakening to the Spirit. Considering the prior series of articles, perhaps this is a timely and fitting follow-up.2

Given its importance, the entire text of Elder Busche’s talk follows:

F. Enzio Busche I am overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and love as I stand before you, my dear brothers and sisters. We have the opportunity to spend a few minutes together where we can turn our minds and our souls away from our daily routines to ponder and to contemplate the things that matter most.

I want to draw our attention today to a very special scripture that has been on my mind for quite some time and that, the more I contemplate and ponder on it, seems to open more dimensions of understanding and of enlightenment. It is taken from section 45 of the Doctrine and Covenants. In this section the Lord reveals to the Prophet Joseph the very circumstances of the world at the time of his Second Coming. In the middle of this eye-opening descriptive picture, the Lord is answering the question that Christendom has had about the meaning of the parable of the ten virgins.

And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived–verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day. (D&C 45:56-­57).

As we stop and think, we suddenly see that in these words the Lord is revealing some key truth that, when not taken into consideration, affects the very essence of our eternal existence. In my understanding, we cannot afford to overlook the fact that the Lord is literally telling us that nothing really matters unless we take the Holy Spirit as our guide and avoid being deceived. Let us seriously ask ourselves, therefore: Do we really understand the importance of this message?

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  1. For the start of this series, see Philo Dibble and the Three Degrees of Glory.
  2. Especially to the post the Gift of the Holy Ghost a Higher Endowment.

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