Wilford Woodruff's Witness of the Development of Temple Doctrine
High Desert Publishing
Many existing books and articles discuss specific temple ordinances, but the historical development of all temple ordinances has never been included in a single volume-until now. Author Jennifer Mackley elucidates the doctrine's sixty-year progression from Old Testament practices of washings and anointings in the 1830s, to the endowment, sealings, and priesthood adoptions in the 1840s, through all of the vicarious ordinances for the dead in the 1870s, to the sealing of multigenerational families in the 1890s. Mackley's narrative is enhanced by 120 archival images (some previously unpublished), as well as extensive footnotes and citations for the reader's further study. The history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' ("Mormon") temple doctrine begins in 1823, when Joseph Smith is taught of the ancient prophecy regarding the mission of Elijah. The first temple ordinances were introduced through Joseph Smith in 1836 and additional ordinances and ceremonies were revealed between 1840 and 1844. After Smith's death in June 1844, Brigham Young refined the rituals according to Smith's instructions, administered new ordinances, and suspended others as the Church and circumstances evolved. In 1894, Wilford Woodruff received a revelation that resolved unsettled issues and established modern temple worship.Jennifer Mackley's meticulously researched biographical narrative chronicles the development of temple doctrine through the examination of Wilford Woodruff's personal life. The account unfolds in Woodruff's own words, drawn from 27,000 primary sources including journals, discourses, and letters. It follows Woodruff's experiences and perspectives on decisions made by his predecessors Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor in relation to the temple ceremonies and ordinances during their tenures as leaders of the church. Over the seventy-one years following Smith's introduction to the mission of Elijah, Woodruff was a witness to and catalyst in the implementation of temple ordinances and practices. Through the years he continued the pattern of seeking revelation in order to clarify rites and effect changes based on practical experience. The book explores how Woodruff came to firmly believe in revelation and the role of prophets, but not expect perfection in either. It conveys the depth of his sacrifices for his beliefs, the importance he placed on the redemption of his extended family-both living and dead-and the impact this level of focus had on his daily pursuits. What Mackley discovered through her research may surprise you. Viewing the development of temple doctrine from Wilford Woodruff's perspective will provide new insight even to those who are very familiar with Mormon history.