George Albert Smith, Aug 18, 1949

-- Aug 18, 1949
[Temple] At the 10:00 A.M. Council meeting of the [First] Presidency and Twelve I read a paper of 5 or 6 pages deploring the neglect on our part in not administering Second blessings as formerly. The paper and other statements made by me in connection therewith were accepted 100%. [George F. Richards diary, Aug. 18, 1949] (1)

Dear Brethren: For a long time I have felt that I would like to express to you the disappointment I feel[,] that we have practically discontinued the administration of Second Anointings in the Church, and to give to you some of the reasons why I feel as I do. I have not been able to bring myself to feel that the Lord is pleased with us in neglecting such an important and sacred endowment, which He has given us to be administered in His holy temples to worthy members of His Church. The Second Anointings were given by revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith to be administered to worthy members of the Church, both the living and the dead; and from the days of the Prophet Joseph [Smith] to the days of President Heber J. Grant that practice continued. * I understand [D&C 124:40-41] to mean and include the Second Anointings, a neglect to administer which[,] in the temples reared for that purpose[,] will be attended by the Lord's displeasure, and bring upon us cursings instead of ble
ssings, wrath, indignation and judgments. ["]We [quoting Joseph Smith] calculate to give the Elders of Israel their washings, and anointings, to attend to those last and more impressive ordinances without which we cannot obtain Celestial thrones.["] * This refers directly to the Second Anointings. Nowhere else in Church ordinances are men made kings and priests unto the Most High God. In olden times, kings in Israel were anointed such by the Prophets of God. Should not those who are to become kings and priests and attain to Godhood be anointed thereto while here on earth? That is the nature of the work of Second Anointings. Every man and woman who has received his or her first endowments has received a PROMISE that through faithfulness they would be privileged to receive the Second Anointings. "Brethren and Sisters [quoting the temple liturgy], if you are true and faithful, the day will come when you will be chosen, called up and anointed kings and queens, priests and priest
esses, whereas you are now anointed only to become such. The realization of these blessings depends upon your faithfulness." * Thousands of good and faithful men and women are dying without receiving a fulfillment of the promise made them in connection with the temple ceremonies. When living members receive their Second blessings, or anointings, they are given a charge that they must not speak of those things to anybody; that only those who are invited by the President of the Church are to receive them; and that none others are supposed to know anything about them. Formerly, the Stake Presidents made their recommendations for Second Anointings to the President of the Church, and when approved by him the individuals so approved received their invitation from the President of the Church, and on presentation of that recommend to the Temple President of the temple district where the individuals resided, the temple president officiated for them. The Stake Presidents had SPECIAL r
ecommend books for that purpose. About 1928 an incident occurred which so incensed the First Presidency that they had all the recommend books brought in to the President's office, and instructions were given that no recommends of that character should be given by stake presidents thereafter. The Twelve were authorized to make recommendations; but their recommendations were rarely ever acted upon favorably, so that the administering [of ] Seconds almost entirely ceased. In twelve years, from 1930 to 1942, when these facts were tabulated, but eight such blessings were administered in the Church. Only EIGHT blessings in twelve years! The following tabulation of Second Blessings administered in the temples where such blessings were administered will no doubt be of interest to you: Temple Period Living Dead Total Salt Lake To Dec. 10, 1942 14,847 6,226 21,073 Logan To Oct. 13, 1931 3,139 1,229 4,368 St. George To Jan. 13, 1938 1,885 1,619 3,504 Manti To Dec. 12, 1929 2,407 1,143
3,550 Nauvoo In Jan. & Feb. 1846 406 Totals . . . . . . . . . . 22,278 10,217 32,901 11 The incident above mentioned which so exasperated the First Presidency was as follows: A brother who had received his Second Blessings, while speaking in a priesthood meeting in one of the Idaho stakes, told the brethren that they all should have their Second Blessings. Of course that was a serious infraction of the charge which he received when he had his Second Anointings; but I have never learned of any serious consequences to follow, except the action on the part of the Authorities, discontinuing the administration of those blessings in the Church. It appears to me that the mistake made by the good brother in Idaho was not so serious as to justify letting those sacred ordinances come into disuse in the Church. I think now is the time to act; with such modifications as to details as the brethren might feel to make, insuring that these blessings be administered only to those who are wor
thy to receive them. * If there is condemnation resting upon us for our neglect, the longer we delay action the greater will be our condemnation. * Temples under construction now and in the future should be provided with a room for the administration of these blessings alone, to be known as the Holy of Holies, for if we do not move in the matter before us, some others coming after us will do so for it must be done, and temples should be designed and constructed with that thought in mind. It is to be hoped that this communication will not be shelved and forgotten without full consideration by this Council. For several years these matters have given me great mental anxiety and spiritual concern, and but for want of courage I would have sought an opportunity to be heard years ago. I do not want to leave this sphere of action without VIGOROUSLY protesting our indifference and neglect. [George F. Richards to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, Aug. 18, 1949, typed cop
y in Buerger Papers; emphasis in original] (1)

1 - Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History,

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