Monday, June 19, 2017

The first call for a Logan Temple: 1873

THE first time it was likely suggested that a temple be built in Logan, Utah was on June 29, 1873.
President Brigham Young, speaking at meetings in Logan, "suggested the erection of a fine Temple to be built on the bench crowning the eastern part of this city," according to the Salt Lake Herald Newspaper of June 29, 1873.
(At the same time, President Young suggested a road be built beyond Franklin to lessen the grade to Soda Springs and Rich County.)
According to, the Logan Temple was not officially announced to be built for another three plus years, until Oct. 6, 1876. Its groundbreaking was on May 18, 1877 and its dedication took place on May 17, 1884.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Salt Lake Temple: Most Expensive LDS Temple Ever?

THE next time you enjoy the gothic and symbolic features  of the one and only Salt Lake LDS Temple, consider it’s dollar price to build -- $3,469,118.
That was the price given by Elder George Reynolds, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, back in 1895, to a Philadelphia newspaper, as quoted in the Deseret Weekly News of March 23, 1895.

Factor in the inflation and even in 1916 dollars (the furthest back an on-line government inflation calculator goes), that price equals at least $86,559,450 in 2017 dollars.
(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hasn’t revealed the actual costs of any temples for many decades now.)
However, in contrast the San Diego Temple, which opened in 1993, was reported by the Los Angeles Times to have cost an estimated $24 million. (That’s $40.6 million in 2017 dollars.)

                                                             San Diego Temple.

And, the original Ogden Temple, that opened in 1972, cost $4.29 million (or some $25 million in today’s dollars.)
Note that the Salt Lake Temple required some 40 years to build – far more than any other temple. Also, some volunteer, unpaid labor was used back then, or the price over four decades likely would have been much more, likely $100 millon plus.
Furthermore, Elder Reynolds in that 1895 article stated that exact costs of the temple were impossible. Still, he said about the Salt Lake Temple’s construction:

“In the early stages the progress was slow and very expensive, for it took four yoke of oxen four days to bring a single stone from the quarry twenty miles distant.”
He said some estimated it cost $100 for every stone cut, moved by oxen to the temple site and then laid in place. He also stressed that metal and other materials were very expensive to obtain, especially until the railroad came along.

                                                        Pencil drawing by Steve Arave

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Did the Gadianton Robbers live in the Wasatch Mountains?

                       The High Uintas, with the Wasatch Mountains in the far background.

DID the infamous Gadianton Robbers of the Book of Mormon (Helaman 6:18-29) inhabit western U.S. mountains?
Yes, they did and even the Wasatch Mountains, according to Brigham Young:
"There are scores of evil spirits here -- spirits of the old Gadianton robbers, some of whom inhabited these mountains, and used to go into the south and afflict the Nephites. There are millions of those spirits in these mountains, and they are ready to make us covetous, if they can; they are ready to lead astray every man and woman that wishes to be a Latter-day Saint." (Journal of Discourses, 8:344, from a discourse by President Young on January 20, 1861, in the Tabernacle of Salt Lake City.

-On a trip to southeast Deseret territory by W.D. Huntington and with 11 other men and one Indian in 1854 by a request from Brigham Young,is another Gadianton Robber tale:

This group of explorers found some extensive Indian ruins which the current Native Americans said they didn't build and which were very old. Here was the men's conclusion:

"We very readily came to a conclusion drawn from  the Book
Of Mormon In second Chapter of  the  book  of
Nephi that the ancient possessors of these strong holds
were robbers of the Gadianton band and we considered this locality as one of their strongholds." (-From the Deseret News Dec. 28, 1854.)

              Navajo Mountain in S.E. Utah.                                   Photo by Ravell Call

-EXTRAPOLATING on these comments is more proof that NORTH AMERICA was where the Nephites and Lamanites primarily lived, NOT Central or South America ....

Monday, January 16, 2017

Full-Time Missionary Rules and Guidelines from 1946

FULL-TIME missionary regulations and guidelines for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were somewhat different in the 1940s than they are today.
For example, back then swimming WAS allowed (just not with the opposite sex); Saturday was pretty much the universal preparation day back then; missionaries often wore hats; no tracting was recommended on Sunday; and sample door approaches didn’t say “Mr. Smith,” or “Mr. Jones,” but rather “Mr. A,” or “Mr. X.”
Membership in YMCA’s and similar organizations for missionaries was not only legal in 1946, it was encouraged, since not only is recreation necessary, but “may be turned to preaching the gospel.”
If there were enough elders in one area, a team for basketball or baseball was suggested to be formed – and to face local competition.
“The Missionary’s Hand Book,” 1946 edition (and first printed in 1937) is 164 pages long. It was published by the Church Radio, Publicity, and Missionary Literature Committee, of which future President Gordon B. Hinckley, was a key member of.
The Hand Book did not mention going without purse or scrip (not having money, food, nor a place to reside and having to live off the generosity of those you meet). That's probably because that practice stopped in about 1941, at the start of World War II. (Yet, into the 1950s, some mission presidents still sent some of their elders to the country for several weeks each summer to get a taste of what living without means and by such great faith really felt like.)
Some of the Hand Book’s advice is certainly relevant today. However, since sister missionaries were very rare in that era, the entire Hand Book only talks about rules and guidelines for elders.

Other interesting excerpts from the Hand Book are:
-“Never call a woman by her first name … Do not touch a woman except to shake hands with her.”
-“Bless, but do not curse.”
-“The missionaries greatest reward from tracting is the humility it never fails to bring.”
-Tracting door-to-door was not to be done on Sunday; and often also NOT on Saturday, if there were other missionary duties.
-“Do not engage in undignified games, sports or pastimes.”
-An occasional good picture show or better still, a fine artistic production, is stimulating.”
-“Remember that you are sent out to preach the first principles of the gospel and to call men to repentance; not to pose as expounders of mysteries …”
-Dress – The Latter-day Saint ministry wears no distinguishing costume, but missionaries should always dress with respect to the the dignity of their work … dark shoes, dark suit, quiet hat …”
-“Sacrament meetings – “…Ushers should always be posted at the door to greet the Saints and welcome strangers.”
-“It is important that missionaries keep up appearances and maintain physical fitness.”
-Notwithstanding a prohibition against swimming with the opposite sex, the 1946 Missionary Handbook also quoted the late President Joseph F. Smith (who died in 1918): "It is not a good thing, neither is it at all wise, for our elders to go out on excursions on dangerous lakes, or streams, or bodies of water, just for fun. They had better stay away. The Lord will protect them in the discharge of their duties."
Thus, missionaries by an early 20th Century admonition, were advised not to run rivers or take any pleasure boating excursions on  any “dangerous” bodies of water.