September, 18, 2012

The Kirtland Temple: first of many!

One of the most recognized aspects of the Education in Zion gallery are the beautiful murals, one of which depicts the first temple built in this dispensation, the temple in Kirtland, Ohio. This temple has great significance in the history of the Church, and what happened there has great impact on our lives today.

According to the Lord’s command, not two years after settling in Kirtland, the Saints built a temple to provide a place where worthy Church members could receive spiritual power, authority, and enlightenment (D&C 109, 110). It took four years of labor and miracles while enduring extreme poverty and menacing mobs to complete the temple. The temple was dedicated on March 27, 1836. On that occasion, the Lord gave several important revelations and restored vital priesthood keys for the salvation of mankind (D&C 137).

While this temple was not used for the full temple ordinances received in temples today, it still had many functions for faithful early Saints so that they could “be instructed more perfectly…in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God” (D&C 88:78). The temple provided the means for the Saints to receive certain saving ordinances and attend worship services, priesthood meetings and instructional classes. The School for the Elders, a successor to the School of the Prophets, met in the attic rooms of the temple. Its goal was to prepare the brethren for the ministry and to “be endowed with power from on high” (D&C 38:32). Between 1834 and 1837 the Kirtland School operated in the temple as well. Saints studied languages, penmanship, arithmetic, English grammar, and geography in a spiritually conducive, academic setting.  The secular and spiritual knowledge gained in the Kirtland temple strengthened the Saints and enabled them to endure their trials to come.

The Kirtland temple was the first of scores of latter-day temples that have been constructed around the world. In them, worthy members receive divinely revealed instruction and ordinances of salvation. From these they can obtain an understanding of God’s plan for His children’s happiness, and strength to live according to that plan.

Come to the gallery and see the beautiful mural of this special temple that has impacted our lives.