Ordinances that Can Only Be Administered in the Temple—Endowments, Etc.
Discourse by President Brigham Young, delivered at Franklin, Cache County, Thursday Evening, September 4, 1873.
We have taken you a little by surprise, brethren and sisters, in coming in to your town today. This is in consequence of its being so stormy where we have been, and we thought we would not venture to drive from Soda Springs through to Logan in two days. By taking more time, we thought we would have an opportunity of stopping in the settlements and having meetings. I will talk to you a few moments, then I will retire to my rest, and not stay here during the meeting. I feel very wearied; but I was quite unwell when I left home, and our journey has been quite fatiguing.
The remarks that I shall make to you this evening will be upon the salvation of the people. There are a few ideas that I will relate to you, that the brethren and sisters should understand. There are many of the ordinances of the house of God that must be performed in a Temple that is erected expressly for the purpose. There are other ordinances that we can administer without a Temple. You know that there are some which you have received—baptism, the laying on of hands, the gifts of the Holy Ghost, such as the speaking in and interpretation of tongues, prophesying, healing, discerning of spirits, etc., and many blessings bestowed upon the people, we have the privilege of receiving without a Temple. There are other blessings that will not be received, and ordinances that will not be performed according to the law that the Lord has revealed, without their being done in a Temple prepared for that purpose. We can, at the present time, go into the Endowment House and be baptized for the dead, receive our washings and anointing, etc., for there we have a font that has been erected, dedicated expressly for baptizing people for the remission of sins, for their health and for their dead friends; in this the Saints have the privilege of being baptized for their friends. We also have the privilege of sealing women to men, without a Temple. This we can do in the Endowment House; but when we come to other sealing ordinances, ordinances pertaining to the holy Priesthood, to connect the chain of the Priesthood from father Adam until now, by sealing children to their parents, being sealed for our forefathers, etc., they cannot be done without a Temple. But we can seal women to men, but not men to men, without a Temple. When the ordinances are carried out in the Temples that will be erected, men will be sealed to their fathers, and those who have slept clear up to father Adam. This will have to be done, because of the chain of the Priesthood being broken upon the earth. The Priesthood has left the people, but in the first place the people left the Priesthood. They transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broke the everlasting covenant, and the Priesthood left them; but not until they had left the Priesthood. This Priesthood has been restored again, and by its authority we shall be connected with our fathers, by the ordinance of sealing, until we shall form a perfect chain from father Adam down to the closing up scene. This ordinance will not be performed anywhere but in a Temple; neither will children be sealed to their living parents in any other place than a Temple. For instance, a man and his wife come into the Church, and they have a family of children. These children have been begotten out of the covenant, because the marriages of their parents are not recognized by the Lord as performed by his authority; they have, therefore, to be sealed to their parents, or else they cannot claim them in eternity; they will be distributed according to the wisdom of the Lord, who does all things right. When we had a Temple prepared in Nauvoo, many of the brethren had their children who were out of the covenant sealed to them, and endowments were given. Then parents, after receiving their endowments, and being sealed for time and all eternity, and they have other children, they are begotten and born under the covenant, and they are the rightful heirs to the kingdom, they possess the keys of the kingdom. Children born unto parents before the latter enter into the fullness of the covenants, have to be sealed to them in a Temple to become legal heirs of the Priesthood. It is true they can receive the ordinances, they can receive their endowments and be blessed in common with their parents; but still the parents cannot claim them legally and lawfully in eternity unless they are sealed to them. Yet the chain would not be complete without this sealing ordinance being performed.
Now, to illustrate this, I will refer to my own father’s family. My father died before the endowments were given. None of his children have been sealed to him. If you recollect, you that were in Nauvoo, we were very much hurried in the little time we spent there after the Temple was built. The mob was there ready to destroy us; they were ready to burn our houses, they had been doing it for a long time; but we finished the Temple according to the commandment that was given to Joseph, and then took our departure. Our time, therefore, was short, and we had no time to attend to this. My father’s children, consequently, have not been sealed to him. Perhaps all of his sons may go into eternity, into the spirit world, before this can be attended to; but this will make no difference; the heirs of the family will attend to this if it is not for a hundred years.
It will have to be done sometime. If, however, we get a Temple prepared before the sons of my father shall all have gone into the spirit world, if there are any of them remaining, they will attend to this, and as heirs be permitted to receive the ordinances for our father and mother. This is only one case, and, to illustrate this subject perfectly, I might have to refer to hundreds of examples for each case.
With regard to the heirship, I cannot enter into all the matter to– night. The subject would require a good deal of explaining to the people, consequently, I will pass over it at present. I can merely say this, however, that we see that the Lord makes his selection according to his own mind and will with regard to his ministers. Brother Joseph Smith, instead of being the firstborn, was the third son of his father’s family who came to maturity, yet he is actually the heir of the family; he is the heir of his father’s house. It seems to us that the oldest son would be the natural heir; but we see that the Lord makes his own selection. There are some inquiries now with regard to officiating in ordinances, which I wish to answer. Some brethren here are anxious to know whether they can receive endowments for their sons or for their daughters. No, they cannot until we have a Temple; but they can officiate in the ordinances so far as baptism and sealing are concerned. A man can be baptized for a son who died before hearing the Gospel. A woman can be baptized for her daughter, who died without the Gospel. Suppose that the father of a dead son wishes to have a wife sealed to his son; if the young woman desired as a wife is dead and have a mother or other female relative in the Church, such mother is the heir, and she can act in the sealing ordinances in the stead of her daughter. But if the young woman desired as a wife have no relative in the Church, to act in her behalf, then the mother of the young man can be baptized for her, and act as proxy for her in the sealing ordinances. We can attend to these ordinances now before the Temple is built here; but no one can receive endowments for another, until a Temple is prepared in which to administer them. We administer just so far as the law permits us to do. In reality we should have performed all these ordinances long ago, if we had been obedient; we should have had Temples in which we could attend to all these ordinances. Now, the brethren have the privilege of being baptized for their dead friends—when I say the brethren, I mean the brethren and sisters—and these friends can be sealed.
For instance, a man and his wife come into the Church; he says, “My father and mother were good people; I would like to officiate for them.” “Well, have you any other friends in the Church?” “Nobody but myself and my wife.” Well, now, the wife is not a blood relation, consequently she is not in reality the proper person, but she can be appointed the heir if there are no other relatives—if there are no sisters, this wife of his can officiate for the mother; but if the man has a sister in the Church, it is the privilege and place of the sister of this man, the daughter of those parents that are dead, to go and officiate—be baptized, to go and be sealed with her brother for her father and mother. If this man and woman have a daughter old enough to officiate for her grandmother, she is a blood relation, and is the heir, and can act; but if there is no daughter, the man’s wife can be appointed as the heir.
I want to say a few words with regard to other operations. In the law that the Lord has revealed he requires obedience. I do not know of one ordinance but what there are laws connected with it, and they cannot be disregarded by the Saints and they be blessed as though the laws were observed. We are required to believe in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior; we are required to repent of our sins; then we have the privilege of entering in through the door of baptism and going into the house of God. There is another commandment that the Lord has given—it is that they must have hands laid on them that they may receive the Holy Ghost and the gifts and graces that the Lord has for his children; but if we are not baptized, we are not entitled to the other blessings. If we do not believe in the first ordinance we cannot receive the second. If we do not go forth and be baptized for the remission of sins, we are not entitled to the Holy Ghost and its blessings through the law or the requirements of heaven to the children of our Father. Now, as to the requirements, we will ask, “Do you know the law? Should you keep the law?” Yes, certainly you do know by the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which is for us, and the New and Old Testament; these are a foundation and contain the first laws that have been given. We have them now in our possession. Then the Book of Mormon contains the same. The Book of Mormon contains the same plan of salvation that the Lord requires the world to listen to, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants is given for the Latter-day Saints expressly for their everyday walk and actions. Now, for instance, the Latter-day Saints are required to go to meeting on Sunday. How many are there that come to these meetings and repent of their sins, confess their sins and partake of the Sacrament of our Savior and testify by these acts that they are actual believers? Do we keep the Sabbath, brethren and sisters? Do we deal justly one with another? Those things are required of us. Do we walk humbly before our God? Do we permit ourselves to speak evil of the anointed of the Lord. Do we permit ourselves, brethren, to take the name of the Lord in vain? It is certainly written that we should not do it; that we should not falsify, lie, cheat, etc. Now all these requirements are made of us. We are required to pay Tithing, we are required to deal justly one with another and be honest in our dealing; and all these requirements which I need not repeat over to you, you read and you understand them. Now are we entitled to the blessings of the house of God if we keep the commandments he has given to us? Yes. If we observe his precepts and do them, are we entitled to these blessings? Yes. Are we entitled to them if we do not keep the commandments? No, we are not. Brethren go and get their endowments, and they get a recommendation so as to go into the house of the Lord. Now you go to the Bishop and enquire strictly as to some of these brethren: “Does such a brother pay his Tithing? Is he faithful and industrious?” “Well, no.” “Is he honest in his dealings?” “Well, I guess he means to do right.” “Does he always speak the truth?” “Well, I cannot say that he does exactly.” “Does he drink liquor?” “Well, yes, sometimes he does. Yes, I think he does, although I never saw him drunk.” “Does he take the name of the Lord in vain?” “Well, I don’t know, I have heard that he does swear sometimes.” “Does he quarrel with his wife?” “I don’t know; I understand, how– ever, they do not live very happily together.” This man probably wants another wife. Is he entitled to these blessings? He pays a little Tithing, perhaps, but he says he is going to pay it in full; and the Bishop says: “He has been teasing me a long time for a recommendation.” “But why did you give it to him?” I will answer this. “I had to give it to him to get rid of him, so that he won’t tease me any more.” This is the answer. Now ask yourselves, my brethren and sisters, is he entitled to the blessings that the Lord has for his faithful children?
Be faithful and obedient to the few words that I have said to you, with regard to the ordinances, etc., and what we can do and what we cannot do. I said but a few words, but they are enough.
I will say to you, may the Lord bless you—peace be to you. I am glad that I am able to be here; there are others here who will speak to you. I will tell you honestly I do not feel well; I do not feel pleased; it is not gratifying to me when I hear of those who profess to be Latter-day Saints, living short of their privileges and duties; but when I hear of men and women living up to the privileges that the Lord has for them, it endears them to me, and I delight in them; and I can say that I continually pray for the Latter-day Saints, that the Lord will bless and preserve us, that we may be saved in the kingdom of God. This is my constant prayer, and I say God bless you. Amen.