Monday, September 25, 2006

Joseph Smith's Quorum of the Anointed, 1842-1845 A Documentary History

Coming in May 2005
Joseph Smith's Quorum of
the Anointed, 1842-1845
A Documentary History
Hardback. 352 pages. / 1-56085-186-4 / $39.95

The first Latter-day Saint temple ceremonies were performed, not in
Kirtland, Ohio, but on the second floor of Joseph Smith's Red Brick
Store in Nauvoo, Illinois. For nearly four years beginning in 1842,
the prophet's modest mercantile functioned as the de facto temple=E2=80=94t=
site of the first washings, anointings, endowments, and sealings. In
contrast, the grand edifice known as the Nauvoo Temple was in
operation for only two months before the Saints left Illinois for the

Preparations to initiate the first members of Joseph Smith's Quorum of
the Anointed, or Holy Order, as it was also known, were made on May 3,
1842. The walls of the second level of the Red Brick Store were
painted with garden-themed murals, the rooms fitted with carpets,
potted plants, and a veil hung from the ceiling. All the while, the
ground level continued to operate as Joseph Smith's general
In this volume, the editors have assembled all available primary
references to the Anointed Quorum and its regular gatherings, both in
the Red Brick Store and elsewhere (women were initially washed and
anointed in Emma Smith's bedroom and then escorted to the store) prior
to the opening of the Nauvoo Temple. The sources include excerpts from
the diaries of William Clayton, Joseph Fielding, Zina D. H. Jacobs,
Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, Willard Richards, George A. Smith,
Joseph Smith, Wilford Woodruff, and Brigham Young; autobiographies and
reminiscences by Joseph C. Kingsbury, George Miller, and Mercy
Fielding Thompson; letters from Vilate Kimball and Lucius N. Scoville;
the Manuscript History of Brigham Young; General Record of the
Seventies, Book B; Bathsheba W. Smith's unedited testimony from the
1892 Temple Lot Case; other manuscripts such as the Historian's Office
Journal and "Meetings of Anointed Quorum"; and published records such
as the History of the Church, Latter Day Saints' Messenger and
Advocate and Times and Seasons.


from the jacket flap:

Despite the secrecy imposed upon members of the Anointed Quorum, word
of the gatherings above Joseph Smith's store soon spread. In one
instance, housekeeper Maria Jane Johnston helped prepare the special
ceremonial clothing for John Smith to wear at the group's meetings. In
another, Ebenezer Robinson innocently opened the upstairs door at the
mercantile and was startled to see church apostle John Taylor in a
long white robe and "turban," carrying a sword. Only Nauvoo's elite
were invited to participate in these new ceremonies=E2=80=94never more than
ninety individuals and even fewer during Joseph Smith's lifetime=E2=80=94an=
as the editors of the current volume write, only those who had been
introduced to the prophet's doctrine of plural marriage.

An unusual aspect of the Quorum of the Anointed, compared to the
membership in the Nauvoo Masonic Lodge, was that women were initiated
as regular members. However, the women effectively disappear after
Brigham Young's assumption of leadership in 1844, following Joseph
Smith's death, and remain virtually absent until the Nauvoo Temple is
completed nearly a year and a half later. Readers will also note some
of the differences in protocol between what Smith instigated and what
Young eventually settled on, for instance that members could be washed
and anointed repeatedly but were "endowed" only once. There were not
yet proxy ordinances.

Among Latter-day Saints today, temple worship is a sensitive topic;
but the editors of this volume do not reveal anything that would be
considered invasive or indelicate. In fact, the accounts, which come
almost exclusively from the early LDS leadership itself, manifest
discretion about what to report.

Never before have these primary, authoritative sources been correlated
by date for comparison and fuller understanding of the gradual
development of the temple ceremonies. Readers may find an added
benefit in discovering some of their own ancestors' names included in
these records; but in fact, anyone interested in LDS temple worship
will find this compilation of primary documents to be invaluable.

1 comment:

UtahSouth said...

Most of this was new infor for me.. and i had read the history of the church but it was a long time ago.. Thanks...