Monday, May 07, 2012

First Nauvoo temple marriage and a revelation on dancing

Inline image 1
Brigham Young received more
than one revelations on dancing
Mormon-Church-History has finished detailing the year 1845 and has begun posting day-by-day details of 1846. The following looks at January 1, 1846.
On the first day of 1846, Brigham Young performed the first marriage sealing of a man and woman for "time and all eternity" in the Nauvoo Temple, and issued a revelation regarding the new practice of dancing "unto the Lord" in the temple.

The attic of the temple had been dedicated for use on November 30, 1845 and the first endowments (initially, re-endowments) performed on December 9, continuing daily. The Twelve had been organizing procedures and streamlining methods to wash, anoint and endow as many people as possible as Brigham Young had agreed with with Governor Thomas Ford that the saints would leave Nauvoo in the spring.

Two days earlier, a spontaneous dance broke out in the temple when the day's temple work unexpectedly ended early.  William Clayton noted:

The labors of the day having been brought to a close at so early an hour viz; half past 8, it was thought proper to have a little season of recreation, accordingly, Brother Hans Hanson was invited to produce his violin. He did so, and played several lively airs, among the rest some very good lively dancing tunes. This was too much for the gravity of Brother Joseph Young, who indulged in a hornpipe, and was soon joined by several others, and before the dance was over several French fours were indulged in. The first was opened by President B. Young with Sister Whitney and Elder H. C. Kimball with Sister Lewis. The spirit of dancing increased until the whole floor was covered with dancers. After this had continued about an hour, several excellent songs were sung, in which several of the brethren and sisters joined. The Upper California was sung by Erastus Snow. After which Sister Whitney being invited by President Young, stood up and invoking the gift of tongues, sung one of the most beautiful songs in tongues, that ever was heard. The interpretation was given by her husband, Bishop Whitney, it related to our efforts to build this House, and to the privilege we now have of meeting together in it, of our departure shortly to the country of the Lamanites, and their rejoicing when they hear the gospel, and of the ingathering of Israel. (2)

On Janurary 1, after the washings, anointings and other items of business were completed, Heber C. Kimball, prayed for the preservation, health and leadership of Brigham Young, the Twelve and the saints.  He asked that "that God would bless our wives and give unto them strength of body, that they might live and administer to the servants of God" so they could live to the age of 70 "and behold the kingdom of God established in the earth." 

Brigham Young then performed the first wedding in the partially constructed temple. Following Brigham's instruction, the couple stood, joined hands, and Brigham sealed them "up to eternal life, against all sins, except the sin of the Holy Ghost, which is the shedding of innocent blood." (1)

A  feast was then served in the garden room followed by music and dance. He announced a "thus saith . . . the Spirit" revelation(2)  regarding dancing in the temple telling the assembly that "when we danced, we danced unto the Lord, and that no person would be allowed to come on to this floor, and afterwards mingle with the wicked. He said the wicked had no right to dance, that dancing and music belonged to the Saints."

Some testimonies and confessions regarding dancing were heard and Brigham had the saints covenant they would "keep themselves from mingling with the wicked."  "Tears came into the eyes of many of those present."

At 2:30 AM, Brigham announced it was time to end the day's events.  "The sisters retired to the side rooms, and the brethren stretched themselves on the floor, or on the sofas and all were soon in the embraces of 'tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep,' with the exception of the Bridegroom and Bride, and a few of their friends who, being unable to close their eyes in sleep, from the abundance of their joy, passed the short hours of the morning, in agreeable conversation...." (3) 

The next day Brigham addressed the endowed. After talking of future sacrifices in temples, he discussed the new covenant regarding no entertainment with the wicked, asking regarding those worked hard to built the temple, 

[S]hall they have any recreation?  Yes!

Where?  Why in the Temple of the Lord. That is the very place where they can have liberty, and we will enjoy it this winter and then leave it. And we will go to a land where there are at last no old settlers to quarrel with us, where we can say that we have killed the snakes and made the roads, and we will leave this wicked nation, to themselves, for they have rejected the gospel, and I hope and pray that the wicked will kill one another and save us the trouble of doing it.' (4)
See here for more information about Mormon-Church-History.

(1)  Smith, George D. An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton. Salt Lake City: Signature in Association with Smith Research Associates, 1995.  p.244.
(2)  Quinn, D. Michael. The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power. Salt Lake City: Signature in Association with Smith Research Associates, 1997. p. 655.
(3) Smith, 245-9. The full account of the day's events in Clayton's journal can be read here.
(4) ibid, 251.