Valentine's Day and the history of the Salt Lake Temple

Published: Monday, Feb. 14 2011 5:00 a.m. MST

On Day Eight of the dedication — in keeping of the old Jewish tradition that a firstborn son should be circumcised and then on the eighth day receive his name and become a son of Abraham — Sister Bennett brought her son to the temple.

The doorkeeper, one Joseph F. Smith, asked for her ticket. She didn't have one, but then indicated she was one who wasn’t quiet during the first session, Black said.

Joseph F. Smith takes Sister Bennett and the baby into the temple and gives him a blessing and a name – Joseph Temple Bennett. He was known a Temple Bennett.

“He became one of the most famous fireside speakers this church has known,” Black said.

Temple work

The temple is up and running.

The first temple president is Lorenzo Snow and his apartment was in the temple, Black said. The General Relief Society President was the matron.

When people came to the temple, they could do the work for themselves, but they didn’t have little blue or pink name slips.

They were asked who their earliest ancestor in the church was and then they would look in the file to see if there was a name available to do.

“If there weren’t any more names in the file, they couldn’t go through,” Black said.

Many people who were from England or Scandinavia would write to relatives and researchers so they could return to the temple to do the work.

Women in the church, at the time, didn’t cut their hair. Pictures of early pioneer women showed no bangs, no short hair.

“Women believed their crowning glory was her hair,” Black said.

That changed. The pioneer women started to cut their hair because they could sell it for about 40 cents an inch. They would use that money to send to researchers in Europe so that they would be able to bring family names to temple.


Black and her husband were married in the Salt Lake Temple. Her parents were also married there.

“No matter what happens in our country, where is a safe place to go? Make sure you always have a temple recommend,” Black said.

And the temple continues to stand.

“The Salt Lake Temple is a temple with a promise,” Black said. It would last through the eternities and the persecution of the pioneers would end.

The temple can also be seen as a bookend, the way President Gordon B. Hinckley saw it.

The Angel Moroni on the Salt Lake Temple faces east and bookends with the Angel Moroni on the Nauvoo Temple that faces west.

e-mail: rappleye@desnews.com

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