D&C 109 The Kirtland Temple
As recorded in the section heading, this is the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland, Ohio Temple, and was revealed by the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Kirtland was the first temple of this dispensation and this prayer has been a pattern for all subsequent temple dedicatory prayers. Construction on the Kirtland Temple began in June 1833 and completed less than three years later. It was built by the members when they were few and poor (see verses 4-5), at a cost of $40,000, an extreme amount for the time. At the dedication meetings, angels appeared and there were great outpourings of the Spirit, including much prophesying; showing a literal fulfillment of Doctrine and Covenants 109:35-37.
This section reveals dozens of purposes and promises related to temples and temple work. These purposes and promises are usually preceded by that and/or may. For example:
- “that the Son of Man might have a place to manifest himself to his people” (verse 5).
- “that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power” (verse 22).
D&C 109:12-24 “That Thy Glory May Rest Down upon Thy People”
Identify the many blessings in these verses which were pronounced or petitioned by the Prophet. Which ones have you seen fulfilled in your life or in the lives of others? Consider also:
- Have you felt the Lord’s power as you simply cross through the doorway into temple? (verse 13).
- What does it mean to you to “seek learning even by study, and also by faith”? (verse 14). How does the temple experience help in this process?
- What does it mean to you to “grow up” in the Lord? (verse 15).
- Note the Lord’s mercy in allowing us to “speedily repent and return” (verse 21).
- Verses 22-23 may be applied to all, but perhaps especially to full-time missionaries (see also verses 35-42). Have you seen any of these blessings in your life or in the lives of others?
- What does it mean to you that the Lord will “establish” you? (verse 24).
Regarding verses 14-15, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve taught, “The ‘fulness of the Holy Ghost’ includes what Jesus described as ‘the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom’ (D&C 88:4)” (Ensign, May 2009, p. 23, footnote 5). And regarding blessings for this life, President Gordon B. Hinckley promised, “If there were more temple work done in the Church, there would be less of selfishness, less of contention, less of demeaning others. The whole Church would increasingly be lifted to greater heights of spirituality, love for one another, and obedience to the commandments of God” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 622).
D&C 109:25-33, 43-53 “That No Combination of Wickedness Shall Have Power”
Satan opposes all things good, especially the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and its leaders, and the Prophet Joseph Smith had been experiencing severe opposition for sixteen years. His pleas in these verses can provide comfort and confidence as we seek to carry on the Lord’s work in our families, wards and branches, and communities. What stands out most for you in these verses, and why? How do temples and temple work assist in fulfilling the Prophet’s pleadings?
D&C 109:33, 38 To Rise Up Despite Trouble
Ponder these two tremendous blessings petitioned by the Prophet: “that we may rise up in the midst of this generation and do thy work” (verse 33), and “that thy people may not faint in the day of trouble” (verse 38).
D&C 109:54-75 “Have Mercy, O Lord, upon All the Nations”
President Russell M. Nelson has invited us to engage more fully in the gathering of Israel. Consider adding some of the following to your prayers, and perhaps to your efforts:
- That the principles of the U.S. Constitution may be established forever upon all nations (verse 54).
- That the hearts of leaders and others may be softened and thus receive the Lord’s servants and His truths (verses 56-57).
- That the New Jerusalem (Zion) may be built in Jackson County, Missouri (verse 58).
- That the Church and its stakes may continue to grow “in great power and majesty” (verse 59).
- That the Jews may gather and come unto Jesus Christ and His restored gospel (verses 61-64).
- That the “remnants of Jacob,” or Israel, may come to enjoy “the fulness of the everlasting gospel” (verses 65-67).
- That those we sustain as living prophets—along with their families—may be “preserved” (verses 68-71).
- That the Church and all its members may “become a great mountain and fill the whole earth” and “shine forth,” being prepared for the Lord’s Second Coming (verses 72-75).
D&C 109:76-80 “An Infinity of Fulness”
As Joseph ends the dedicatory prayer, he highlights the glorious blessings that the temple and its ordinances can lead us to. Make a list of these blessings, as found in verses 76-80. When we speak about and receive the temple teachings, ordinances, and covenants, we are pondering nothing less than one day being “clothed with salvation” in the presence of God (verses 79-80).
D&C 110 “I Have Accepted this House”
One week after the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, on Easter Sunday 1836, the Lord answered the Prophet’s plea that He would accept the temple as “a place to manifest himself to his people” (D&C 109:4-5). After partaking of the sacrament in the temple, along with Oliver Cowdery, members of the Twelve, and other Church leaders, Joseph and Oliver were given a vision which is crucial to the latter-day work of the Church, then, now, and into our future:
- The Lord Jesus Christ appeared, pronounced them clean, and declared His acceptance of the temple (verses 1-10).
- What impresses you about Joseph’s description of the Lord’s appearance? (verses 2-3).
- What did Jesus say about Himself? (verse 4).
- What did He say about Joseph, Oliver, and the others? (verses 5-6).
- What things did the Savior promise and prophesy? (verses 7-10).
- What did Moses specify about the future of this work?
- It is not clear who this “Elias” is. The LDS Bible Dictionary states: “A man called Elias apparently lived in mortality in the days of Abraham, who committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery…. We have no specific information as to the details of his mortal life or ministry.” Others have commented about Elias’s identity, but there is no official Church statement.
- Elias came and “committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham” (verse 12). In Abraham 2:8-11, the Lord promised Abraham an eternal, righteous posterity which would bear the gospel message to all the world, blessing all the families of the earth.
- Also, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve has taught: “Three ancient prophets, Moses, Elias, and Elijah, appeared and committed keys which were essential to accomplish the Lord’s purpose for His restored Church in this dispensation. That purpose has been simply, but eloquently, defined as gathering Israel, sealing them as families, and preparing the world for the Lord’s Second Coming” (Ensign, May 2018).
- Joseph Smith recorded that this part of the vision “burst upon us” (verse 13). It would appear that Elijah just couldn’t wait!
- This is the prophet Elijah whose ministry is recorded in 1 Kings 17-19, 21; 2 Kings 1-2.
- “To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers” is generally interpreted to refer to the work of gathering family histories and performing ordinances in the temple in behalf of our ancestors.
- Elijah also repeated Malachi’s words regarding his coming “before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come” (verses 14, 16). Let us always remember that things in our world may sometimes seem “dreadful,” but there are so many “great” things happening—that we are able to witness and to participate in—related to the ongoing latter-day work of the Lord.
- Elijah stated that without the keys he was restoring and the work they would lead to, “the whole earth [would] be smitten with a curse” (verse 15). Among other things, this curse may refer to the dissolution of families (without the sealing keys).