-- Sep 16, 1877
[Temple] I will say here, before closing, that two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead were gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, "You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God." These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. I thought it very singular, that notwithstanding so much work had been done, and yet nothing had been done for them. The thought never entered my heart, from the fact, I suppose, that heretofore our minds were reaching after our more immediate friends and relatives. I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon Brother [John D. T.] MacAllister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others; I then baptized him for every President of the United States, except three; and when their cause is just, somebody will do the work for them. [Wilford Woodruff discourse, Sept. 16, 1877 , Journal of Discourses, 19:229-30] (1)
-- Sep 25, 1877
[Temple] Your favor of the 22nd, inst.[,] asking the form of ceremony you ought to use in rebaptizing persons who wish the ordinance, and also the form of ceremony in confirming the same, has been received. Your letter was read to the Council, and it has been decided that the proper form to be used in rebaptizing persons who have not been cut off the Church or dealt with for their fellowship is as follows: the person who has authority from the Lord to baptize shall go down into the water with the person to be baptized, and shall say, calling him or her by name, "Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you for the remission of your sins, and for the renewal of your covenants, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." In confirming[,] it is proper to reconfirm the members of the Church and to seal upon them all the former baptisms, confirmations, ordinations, patriarchal blessings, and if they have had their endowments, their washings, anointings and their sealing ordinances. [John Taylor to Moses Thatcher, Sept. 25, 1877] (1)
-- Oct 6, 1877
[Apostle Wilford Woodruff Journal] Oct 6 1877 I received 2 letters No 12. I wrote No 19. I met in general Conference this Morning with all the Quorum of the Twelve John Taylor presiding. All the Authorities of the Church in this Country were preset. Prayer by Joseph Young. G. Q. Cannon said it was the intention to have read the report of all the Stakes but the report of all the Stakes was not handed in but He would read what He had.
Elder Woodruff gave An account of his labors in St George from the time of the dedication of the Temple uP till the time He left from the 9 Jan till the 20 Sept 1877.
We Baptized for the living 395 for the Dead 23,989. Gave Endowments for the Living Males 424, females 520 Dead Males 4,204 Females 6,448. Ordinations For the dead 7 High Priest, Living Elders 264, Dead 4,085. Sealing of females to Males Living 356, Dead 3,352. Sealing of Children to parents Living 174, Dead 95. Adoptions Living 25 Dead 28. Second Anointings Living 179, Dead 130. Elder E Snow then addressed the Meeting Followed by G Q. Cannon.
Afternoon. The Authorities of the Church were presented Begining with the Twelve Apostles with John Taylor as their presidet. All these votes were put to each Quorum separately and each body Rose to their feet and raised their right hand and all the Authorities were presented in this way through all the Quorums then put to the whole Assembly. It was A vary solumn occasion and oppresive scene. (2)
-- Nov 15, 1877
[A]fter a very free expression of the members of the Quorum [of Twelve], it was obvious that it was the feeling of all present that the [means] to lawful marriage according to the sealing ordinance of the Holy Priesthood should not be diminished amongst the Latterday Saints, but that marriage should be encouraged in our midst by every means within our power not inconsistent with the revealed will of God. It was also deemed salutory to have the Priesthood discountenance wherever practicable, the marriages of Latter-day Saints in any place not especially dedicated and set apart for the performance of the ordinances of the House of the Lord, of which the ceremony which unites the sexes in the bonds of matrimony is a very im portant part. To aid in the accomplishment of this object, it was unanimously resolved by the Councils of the Apostles to re-open the Endowment House in this city for the performance of certain ordinances of the House of the Lord, namely: * First, for the sealing of those in full fellowship in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have been married for time by any Apostle, Bishop, Elder, Justice of the Peace, etc. since the close of the Endowment House in October, 1876. Secondly, for the sealing of the members of the Church in good standing who have not been married but who desire to be sealed, and to whom a journey to the Temple at St. George for this purpose would not be convenient or practicable. Thirdly, for the purpose of giving endowments to the very aged, sick, or infirm, such, and such only as their Bishop may think will probably not live until the Temple at Salt Lake City, Manti, or Logan is completed and opened. Those desiring to receive the benefit of these ordinances must obtain a recommend from the Bishop of the Ward or settlement in which they reside, or in the absence of the Bishop, the recommend may be signed by the President of the Stake. It will be well for persons presenting themselves at the Endowment House to receive the ordinances thereof, to be prepared to reply to the following questions: * "When were you born?" "Where were you born?" "When were you first baptized?" "What is your Father's name?" "What was your Mother's maiden name?" No person will be eligible to receive these blessings except they have been rebaptized. The Endowment House will be open for the performance of the ordinances mentioned on the last Thursday in November and thenceforth, until otherwise ordered, on the last Thursday of every month. All parties interested should be at the House not later than 8 o'clock a.m. Please notify the Bishops in the Stake over which you preside of these instructions. [John Taylor to Angus M. Cannon, Nov. 15, 1877] (1)
1 - Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History, http://amzn.to/TempleWorship
2 - Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Volumes 1-9, Edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books 1993, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies
LDS History Chronology: Unconventional Baptisms
Mormon History Timeline: Forms of Rebaptism in LDS History