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Joseph Smith's Introduction of Temple Ordinances and the 1844 Mormon Succession Question by Andrew Ehat

Joseph Smith's Introduction of Temple Ordinances and the 1844 Mormon Succession Question by Andrew Ehat

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Joseph Smith's Introduction of Temple Ordinances and the 1844 Mormon Succession Question
by Andrew F. Ehat | December 1982
Joseph Smith's Introduction of Temple Ordinances and the 1844 Mormon Succession Question
by Andrew F. Ehat | December 1982

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Page 1 of 189
Joseph Smith's Introduction of Temple Ordinances and the1844 Mormon Succession Question
by Andrew F. Ehat | December 1982
ABSTRACTThe murder of Joseph Smith in June 1844 created a complex succession problem for TheChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The immediate question, however, waswhether the Quorum of Twelve Apostles should lead the Church or whether SidneyRigdon, counselor in the First Presidency, should alone lead. On 8 August 1844 theChurch in Nauvoo unanimously chose to follow Brigham Young and the Twelve. Theywere sustained in large part because they constituted the priesthood quorum Joseph Smithdesignated to be the stewards of his temple revelations, should anything happen to him.The revelations included the higher priesthood ordinances of the temple: the endowment,eternal marriage, plural marriage and the fullness of the priesthood. The apostles,however, did not feel that the unique position qualifying them for immediate leadershipallowed them to disregard Joseph Smith's intention that his eleven-year-old son, JosephSmith III, should eventually be successor. Nevertheless, the interim leadership of theapostles became permanent when Joseph Smith III rejected the efficacy of the templerevelations received by his father.This thesis, by Andrew F. Ehat, is accepted in its present form by the Department of History of Brigham Young University as satisfying the thesis requirement for the degreeof Master of Arts.James B. Allen, Committee ChairmanD. Michael Quinn, Committee Member James B. Allen, Department ChairmanACKNOWLEDGMENTSIn the process of this study of the Temple and Succession, numerous additional insightsto the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of-Latter-day Saints came from variousrecords. Besides the role temple ordinances played in clarifying the succession fromJoseph Smith to the Twelve Apostles in 1844, this work presents for the first timecomprehensive data on individuals and on the nature of the meetings in which templeordinances were performed during the lifetime of the Prophet. There is herein presented aconsiderable refinement of the chronological framework regarding the introduction of thetemple ordinances of endowment, eternal marriage, plural marriage, and the fullness of the priesthood -- a framework crucial to new interpretations of the history of the Churchin Nauvoo and beyond. The following is a summary of the data and new interpretationsof this study.
 
Page 2 of 189The historical and doctrinal context of Joseph Smith's introduction of sacred templeordinances is explored, as appropriate, in detail as never before done.Joseph Smith's public teachings on the meaning of temple ordinances are analyzed afresh based on contemporary source materials.Important new source materials (including the diaries of William Clayton and WilliamLaw) are here first discussed together in their temple ordinance-related context.A deeper analysis of the original sources of the History of the Church regarding templeordinance meetings in Nauvoo is presented. In particular, decipherment and interpretationof shorthand in the Joseph Smith diary reveals for the first time the dates of the eternalmarriage sealings of Joseph and Emma Smith, Hyrum, and Mary Fielding Smith,Brigham and Mary [iv] Ann Young, and Willard and Jeanetta Richards -- sealings thattook place a year before the Martyrdom.The previously, undiscussed difficulty that Hyrum Smith had with plural marriage andthis difficulty's effect on the introduction of temple ordinances is made clear. The episode particularly gives fresh insight into Joseph Smith's religious convictions regarding this practice.It also provides insight into the apostasies of John C. Bennett and William Law andreveals the nature of alleged denials of plural marriage in 1842 and 1844.Anomalies in the ecclesiastical interrelationships among the First Presidency and amongthe Twelve Apostles are represented by who did and who did not receive certain templeordinances. In particular, the reasons for the intentional exclusion of Sidney Rigdon andhis replacement in the First Presidency by Amasa Lyman is addressed.The temple-related context and meanings within the newly discovered Joseph Smith IIIdesignation document is discussed in depth for the first time. New insight into the operations of the Council of Fifty provides important understandingof the activities of Joseph Smith shortly before his death.A date for Joseph Smith's "Last Charge" is here given and is placed in its historicalcontext.The Sidney Rigdon excommunication trial is analyzed because of its pervasive discussionof the temple and succession. In particular, this discussion makes clear Sidney Rigdon'sillegitimate attempt to institute his own version of the Council of Fifty and of the templeordinances.Within the perspective of temple ordinances, the relationship of the Twelve Apostles andJoseph Smith's wife and children is discussed.
 
Page 3 of 189I owe deep gratitude to so many people in the production of this work that simply to listthem all would require many pages. The following are preeminent:Truman G. Madsen has never been just an employer. On that day in 1971 when heemployed me as his research assistant, he changed my life and unknowingly became mymentor. His desire as director of the [v] Brigham Young University Institute of MormonStudies to see that a collection of the primary source materials of Joseph Smith's sermonsled directly to the book, The Words of Joseph Smith. In the process of compiling andediting that book, I analyzed the temple related diary entries of early Church leaders,entries fundamental to this thesis. Because of Dr. Madsen's intense interest in JosephSmith and his unabashed love and honor of the temple he greatly aided me inappreciation of these and many other source materials which now, eleven years later,shape this thesis. His loyal and always too generous praise made this work possible.Cited in the footnotes are many people who have supplied invaluable source materialsand ideas. They deserve recognition here also. I remember with particular pleasure DeanC. Jessee, Lyndon W. Cook, Ronald K. Esplin, Richard L. Anderson, Mark WilliamHofmann, Steve Pratt, Gertrude Richards, and LaJean Purcell. Dr. Esplin deserves specialrecognition because very early in my research he became a kind friend who was alwaysencouraging, truly feeling this study important. His significant article "Joseph, Brighamand the Twelve: a Succession of Continuity" appeared in Brigham Young UniversityStudies and is reflective of his insight.Materials used in this study were gleaned principally from the Church Archives, theHistorical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City,Utah. Other institutions included Special Collections, Archives and Manuscripts, and theMicrofilm Reading Room -- all in the Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University,Provo, Utah; Manuscripts Division, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of [vi] Utah,Salt Lake City, Utah; Library-Archives, History Commission, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Auditorium, Independence, Missouri; The Widener Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and the Boston Public Library,Boston, Massachusetts. I am extremely thankful to the kind, professional staffs of theselibraries, who were patient with my requests and unfailing in their service.In early stages of this work many were kind enough to read and make suggestions whichwere incorporated in this study. I remember especially Grant Underwood, SteveGilliland, Richard L. Anderson, Truman G. Madsen, Dean C. Jessee, Lyndon W. Cook,and Ronald K. Esplin. Linda Hunter Adams, editorial assistant with Brigham YoungUniversity Studies, because I was away from Utah when the final draft of this manuscriptwas typed, spent much time making sure that my committee received a manuscript intact.As is her nature, she voluntarily applied her gifts and improved the readability of this paper.I appreciate the painstaking efforts and patience of Karin Orr, who typed the manuscriptthrough each of its drafts. I am also grateful for the assistance of Leigh Price, who aidedin the typing of the first draft.

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