The first temple of the Church was supposed to be built in Zion, Jackson County, Missouri, the center place for the gathering of the Saints and the planned site of the New Jerusalem. But mobs drove out the Saints before it could be completed. A second temple planned for Kirtland, Ohio, became the first completed in this dispensation. Sections 109 and 110 of the Doctrine and Covenants pertain to this first completed temple, its dedication, and the keys restored there.
Doctrine and Covenants 109
The revelation that became the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple came to Joseph Smith and others as they met in Joseph’s office in the attic story of the building the day before its dedication. The prayer was printed, probably that evening at the Church’s adjacent print shop, for the Prophet to read the next day.
To see the printed original, click here.
For more on the history of this section, including the outpouring of spiritual experiences that occurred at and after the dedicatory meeting, click here.
The dedicatory prayer quoted an earlier revelation in which the Lord commanded the Saints to “establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:119; 109:8).
The Kirtland Temple was a place of not only revelation and ordinances, but also a multipurpose building for prayer meetings, fast meetings, worship services, school classes, and administrative meetings that were later moved to other types of buildings in the Church as it grew and progressed over the decades. Today the building is owned by the Community of Christ, also known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which graciously makes the building available for tours by others, many of whom are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
For virtual tours of the Kirtland Temple, click here.
Doctrine and Covenants 110
The Kirtland Temple was more familiarly known as the House of the Lord when it was built and dedicated. The most important event to take place in the structure occurred on Easter Sunday, April 3, 1836, which was also Passover. That afternoon, the Savior appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, accepting the sacred structure. He was followed by Moses, Elias, and Elijah, who bestowed keys essential for the work of the Lord.
For a historical explanation about how this event was recorded, click here.
For more on the keys given in the temple, read President Dallin H. Oaks’s April 2020 conference address “The Melchizedek Priesthood and the Keys,” as well as Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s April 2016 conference talk “Where Are the Keys and Authority of the Priesthood?”
Credit for the image at top of the page: Historic photo of Kirtland Temple, public domain, from https://www.historicsitesfoundation.org/kirtland-temple-pilgrimage.html.