This morning we have assembled on one of the most solemn, interesting,
joyful, and glorious occasions, that ever have transpired, or will
transpire among the children of men, while the earth continues in its
present organization, and is occupied for its present purposes. And I
congratulate my brethren and sisters that it is our unspeakable
privilege to stand here this day, and minister before the Lord on an
occasion which has caused the tongues and pens of Prophets to speak
and write for many scores of centuries which are past.
When the Lord Jesus Christ tabernacled in the flesh—when he had left
the most exalted regions of His Father's glory, to suffer and shed his
blood for sinning, fallen creatures, like ourselves, and the people
crowded around him, a certain man said unto him, "Master, I will
follow thee whithersoever thou goest." Jesus said unto him, "Foxes
have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man
hath not where to lay HIS head." And we find no record that this man
followed him any farther.
Why had not the Son of Man where to lay his head? Because his Father
had no house upon the earth—none dedicated to Him, and preserved for
His exclusive use, and the benefit of His obedient children.
The Ark containing the covenant— or the Ark of the Covenant in the days
of Moses, containing the sacred records, was moved from place to place
in a cart. And so sacred was that Ark, if a man stretched forth his
hand to steady it, when the cart jostled, he was smitten, and died.
And would to God that all who attempt to do the same in this day,
figuratively speaking, might share the same fate. And they will share
it sooner or later, if they do not keep their hands, and tongues too,
in their proper places, and stop dictating the order of the Gods of
the Eternal Worlds.
When the Ark of the Covenant rested, or when the children of Israel
had an opportunity to rest (for they were mobbed and harassed
somewhat like the Latter-day Saints), the Lord, through Moses,
commanded a Tabernacle to be built, wherein should rest and be
stationed, the Ark of the Covenant. And particular instructions were
given by revelation to Moses, how every part of said Tabernacle should
be constructed, even to the curtains—the number thereof, and of what
they should be made; and the covering, and the wood for the boards,
and for the bars, and the court, and the pins, and the vessels, and
the furniture, and everything pertaining to the Tabernacle. Why did
Moses need such a particular revelation to build a Tabernacle? Because
he had never seen one, and did not know how to build it without revelation, without a pattern.
Thus the Ark of the Covenant continued until the days of David, King
of Israel, standing or occupying a Tabernacle, or tent. But to David,
God gave commandment that he should build Him a house, wherein He,
Himself, might dwell, or which He might visit, and in which He might
commune with His servants when He pleased.
From the day the children of Israel were led out of Egypt to the days
of Solomon, Jehovah had no resting place upon the earth (and for how
long a period before that day, the history is unpublished), but walked
in the tent or Tabernacle, before the Ark, as it seemed Him good,
having no place to lay His head.
David was not permitted to build the house which he was commanded to
build, because he was a "man of blood," that is, he was beset by
enemies on every hand, and had to spend his days in war and bloodshed
to save Israel (much as the Latter-day Saints have done, only he had
the privilege to defend himself and people from mobocrats
murderers, while we have hitherto been denied that privilege), and,
consequently, he had no time to build a house unto the Lord but
commanded his son Solomon, who succeeded him on the throne, to erect
the Temple at Jerusalem, which God had required at his hands.
The pattern of this Temple, the length, and breadth, and height of the
inner and outer courts, with all the fixtures thereunto appertaining,
were given to Solomon by revelation, through the proper source. And
why was this revelation-pattern necessary? Because that Solomon had
never built a Temple, and did not know what was necessary in the
arrangement of the different apartments, any better than Moses did
what was needed in the Tabernacle.
This Temple, called Solomon's Temple, because Solomon was the master
workman, was completed some time previous to the appearance of the Son
of Man on the earth, in the form of the babe of Bethlehem, and had
been dedicated as the House of the Lord, and accepted as a finished
work by the Father, who commanded it to be built, that His Son might
have a resting place on the earth, when he should enter on his
Why, then, did Jesus exclaim to the man who volunteered to follow him
wheresoever he went, that "the Son of Man hath not where to lay his
head?" Jesus knew the pretended Saint and follower to be a hypocrite,
and that if he told him plainly that he would not fare as well as the
birds and foxes, he would leave him at once, and that would save Him
But how could Jesus' saying, that he had "not where to lay his
be true? Because the house which the Father had commanded to be built
for his reception, although completed, had become polluted, and hence
the saying, "My house is the house of prayer; but ye have made it a
den of thieves," and he made a scourge of cords, and drove the
moneychangers, and dove sellers, and faro gamblers, all out of his
house, and overthrew their tables; but that did not purify the house,
so that he could not sleep in it, for an holy thing dwelleth not in an
If Jesus could not lay his head in an unholy, polluted temple, how can
the Latter-day Saints expect that the Holy Spirit will take and abide
its residence with them, in their tabernacles and temples of clay,
unless they keep themselves pure, spotless, and undefiled?
It is no wonder that the Son of Man, soon after his resurrection from
the tomb, ascended to his Father, for he had no place on earth to lay
his head; his house still remaining in the possession of his
enemies, so that no one had the privilege of purifying it, if they had
the disposition, and otherwise the power, to do it; and the occupants
thereof were professors in name, but hypocrites and apostates, from
whom no good thing can be expected.
Soon after the ascension of Jesus, through mobocracy, martyrdom, and
apostasy, the Church of Christ became extinct from the earth, the Man
Child—the Holy Priesthood, was received up into heaven from whence it
came, and we hear no more of it on the earth, until the Angels
restored it to Joseph Smith, by whose ministry the Church of Jesus
Christ was restored, reorganized on earth, twenty-three years ago
this day, with the title of "Latter-day Saints," to distinguish them
from the Former-day Saints.
Soon after, the Church, through our beloved Prophet Joseph, was
commanded to build a Temple to the Most High, in Kirtland, Ohio, and
this was the next House of the Lord we hear of on the earth, since the
days of Solomon's Temple. Joseph not only received revelation and
commandment to build a Temple, but he received a pattern also, as did
Moses for the Tabernacle, and Solomon for his Temple; for without a
pattern, he could not know what was wanting, having never seen one,
and not having experienced its use.
Without revelation, Joseph could not know what was wanting, any more
than any other man, and, without commandment, the Church were too few
in numbers, too weak in faith and too poor in purse, to attempt such a
mighty enterprise. But by means of all these stimulants, a mere
handful of men, living on air, and a little hominy and milk, and often
salt or no salt when milk could not be had; the great Prophet Joseph,
in the stone quarry, quarrying rock with his own hands; and the few
then in the Church, following his example of obedience and diligence
wherever most needed; with laborers on the walls, holding the sword in
one hand to protect themselves from the mob, while they placed the
stone and moved the trowel with the other, the Kirtland Temple—the
second House of the Lord, that we have any published record of on the
earth, was so far completed as to be dedicated. And those first Elders
who helped to build it, received a portion of their first endowments,
or we might say more clearly, some of the first, or introductory, or
initiatory ordinances, preparatory to an endowment.
The preparatory ordinances there administered, though accompanied by
the ministration of angels, and the presence of the Lord Jesus, were
but a faint similitude of the ordinances of the House of the Lord in
their fulness; yet many, through the instigation of the devil, thought
they had received all, and knew as much as God; they have apostatized,
and gone to hell. But be assured, brethren, there are but few, very
few of the Elders of Israel, now on earth, who know the meaning of the
word endowment. To know, they must experience; and to experience, a
Temple must be built.
Let me give you the definition in brief. Your endowment is, to receive
all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for
you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to
the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels,
being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens,
pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in
spite of earth and hell.
Who has received and understands such an endowment, in this assembly?
You need not answer. Your voices would be few and far between, yet the
keys to these endowments are among you, and thousands have received them, so that the devil, with all his aids, need not suppose he
can again destroy the Holy Priesthood from the earth, by killing a
few, for he cannot do it. God has set His hand, for the last time, to
redeem His people, the honest in heart, and Lucifer cannot hinder Him.
Before these endowments could be given at Kirtland, the Saints had to
flee before mobocracy. And, by toil and daily labor, they found places
in Missouri, where they laid the cornerstones of Temples, in Zion and
her Stakes, and then had to retreat to Illinois, to save the lives of
those who could get away alive from Missouri, where fell the Apostle
David W. Patten, with many like associates, and where were imprisoned
in loathsome dungeons, and fed on human flesh, Joseph and Hyrum, and
many others. But before all this had transpired, the Temple at
Kirtland had fallen into the hands of wicked men, and by them been
polluted, like the Temple at Jerusalem, and consequently it was
disowned by the Father and the Son.
At Nauvoo, Joseph dedicated another Temple, the third on record. He
knew what was wanting, for he had previously given most of the
prominent individuals then before him their endowment. He needed no
revelation, then, of a thing he had long experienced, any more than
those now do, who have experienced the same things. It is only where
experience fails, that revelation is needed.
Before the Nauvoo Temple was completed, Joseph was murdered—murdered
at sunlight, under the protection of the most noble government that
then existed, and that now exists, on our earth. Has his blood been
atoned for? No! And why? A martyr's blood to true religion was never
atoned for on our earth. No man, or nation of men, without the
Priesthood, has power to make atonement for such sins. The souls of
all such, since the days of Jesus, are "under the altar," and are
crying to God, day and night, for vengeance. And shall they cry in
vain? God forbid! He has promised He will hear them in His own due
time, and recompense a righteous reward.
But what of the Temple in Nauvoo? By the aid of sword in one hand, and
trowel and hammer in the other, with fire arms at hand, and a strong
band of police, and the blessings of heaven, the Saints, through
hunger, and thirst, and weariness, and watchings, and prayings, so far
completed the Temple, despite the devices of the mob, that many
received a small portion of their endowment, but we know of no one who
received it in its fulness. And then, to save the lives of all the
Saints from cruel murder, we removed westward, and being led by the
all-searching eye of the Great Jehovah, we arrived at this place.
Of our journey hither, we need say nothing, only, God led us. Of the
sufferings of those who were compelled to, and did, leave Nauvoo in
the winter of 1846, we need say nothing. Those who experienced it know
it, and those who did not, to tell them of it would be like exhibiting
a beautiful painting to a blind man.
We will not stop to tell you of the sufferings of widows and orphans
on Omaha lands, while their husbands and fathers were traversing the
burning plains of the South, to fight the battles of a country which
had banished them from civilization, for they secured the land on
which we dwell, from our nation's foe, exposed the gold of California,
and turned the world upside down. All these things are before you—you
know them, and we need not repeat them.
While these things were transpiring with the Saints in the wilderness;
the Temple at Nauvoo passed into the hands of the enemy, who polluted
it to that extent the Lord not only ceased to occupy it, but He
loathed to have it called by His name, and permitted the wrath of its
possessors to purify it by fire, as a token of what will speedily
fall on them and their habitations, unless they repent.
But what are we here for, this day? To celebrate the birthday of our
religion! To lay the foundation of a Temple to the Most High God, so
that when His Son, our Elder Brother, shall again appear, he may have
a place where he can lay his head, and not only spend a night or a
day, but find a place of peace, that he may stay till he can say, "I
Brethren, shall the Son of Man be satisfied with our proceedings this
day? Shall he have a house on the earth which he can call his own?
Shall he have place where he can lay his head, and rest overnight,
and tarry as long as he pleases, and be satisfied and pleased with his
These are questions for you to answer. If you say yes, you have got to
do the work, or it will not be done. We do not want any whiners about
this Temple. If you cannot commence cheerfully, and go through the
labor of the whole building cheerfully, start for California, and the
quicker the better. Make you a golden calf, and worship it. If your
care for the ordinances of salvation, for yourselves, your living, and
dead, is not first and foremost in your hearts, in your actions, and
in everything you possess, go! Pay your debts, if you have any, and go
in peace, and prove to God and all His Saints that you are what you
profess to be, by your acts—a God of Gods, and know more than He that
But if you are what you profess to be, do your duty—stay with the
Saints, pay your Tithing, and be prompt in paying, as you are in
feeding your family; and the Temple, of which we have now laid the
Southeast Corner Stone, will arise in beauty and grandeur, in a
manner and time which you have not hitherto known or contemplated.
The Saints of these valleys have grown in riches, and abundance of the
comforts of life, in a manner hitherto unparalleled on the page of
history, and if they will do by their Heavenly Father as He has done
by them, soon will this Temple be enclosed. But if you go in for a
speculation with passers by, as many have hitherto done, you will not
live to see the Topstone of this Temple laid; and your labors and
toils for yourselves and friends, dead and alive, will be worse than
though you had had no existence.
We dedicate this, the Southeast Corner Stone of this Temple, to the
Most High God. May it remain in peace till it has done its work, and
until He who has inspired our hearts to fulfil the prophecies of His
holy Prophets, that the House of the Lord should be reared in the
"Tops of the Mountains," shall be satisfied, and say, "It is
And may every tongue, pen, and weapon, that may rise against this or
any other Corner Stone of this building, feel the wrath and scourging
of an incensed God! May sinners in Zion be afraid, and fearful news
surprise the hypocrite, from this hour. And may all who do not feel to
say Amen, go speedily to that long night of rest from which no sleeper
will awake, till roused by the trump of the Second Resurrection.