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Nauvoo Temple (Nauvoo, Ill. : 1841-1850)



  • Existence: 1841 - 1850

Administrative History

The Nauvoo Temple (1841-1850), in Nauvoo, Illinois was the second temple built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Never fully finished, it was set on fire by arsonists in 1848, and the building was destroyed by 1850.

In October of 1840, the prophet, Joseph Smith, called upon the Saints to help build the Nauvoo Temple. Though some of the construction would require payment, he explained that the temple would be built by the tithes of the people and that male members would perform nearly all the labor. Many volunteered to labor continually, and the men were giving one-tenth part of their time, or one-tenth part of their income, according to circumstances; while women were knitting socks and mittens, and preparing garments for the laborers, so that the men would be made as comfortable as possible while working outside during the winter.

Initially baptisms for the dead were performed in the Mississippi River, but the Saints hastened to prepare the basement of the temple with a temporary wooden font, which rested upon the shoulders of 12 carved oxen. It was dedicated on 8 November 1841, and Saints joyfully began the work for their dead ancestors.

Joseph Smith also taught of temple sealing ordinances that assured family relationships would continue after the Resurrection. On 4 May 1842 the Prophet Joseph Smith administered for the first time what we know as the temple endowment to nine men in a large upper room of his red brick store.

Early in 1844 the Prophet Joseph called together the Quorum of the Twelve and administered to them all the ordinances of the house of the Lord. He proceeded to confer the keys of the sealing power on Elder Brigham Young. The Prophet then declared, “Now if they kill me you have got all the keys, and all the ordinances, and you can confer them upon others.” On 27 June 1844, the Prophet and his brother Hyrum were martyred at Carthage. Construction on the temple stopped then, but only briefly.

On 30 November 1845 the attic story was dedicated, and the administering of endowments commenced on 10 December. Over the next eight weeks, about 5,600 Saints received their temple ordinances, including 295 on the day before wagons began leaving the city and heading west. All felt satisfied that during the two months they occupied the temple in the endowment of the Saints, they were amply paid for all their labors in building it.

Never fully finished, the temple was set on fire by arsonists in 1848. The building was totally destroyed by 1850.

McGavin, E.C. The Nauvoo Temple, 1962: p. 1 (The year 1841 ... authorized the building of the Nauvoo Temple)

Colvin, Don F. A historical study of the temple at Nauvoo, Illinois, 1962.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, via WWW, April 9, 2002 (The Original Nauvoo Temple, Foundation stones had been laid by March of 1841, and an official cornerstone laying ceremony was conducted on 6 April 1841; Portions of the temple were dedicated and used prior to its completion in the spring of 1846. A public dedication service for the Nauvoo temple took place on May 1. An uncontrolled lawless element forced the removal of the Latter-day Saints from Nauvoo, leaving their temple behind. In October 1848, an arsonist destroyed the interior of the temple. In May 1850, a tornado knocked down one wall of the gutted structure and weakened the other walls, which were eventually taken down)

Found in 14 Collections and/or Records:

Benjamin Riter letters

 File — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197225522272]
Identifier: MSS 3140
Scope and Contents Two letters, written by Benjamin Riter in 1849 and 1850, describing the conditions in Nauvoo, Ill. following the exodus of the Saints. Letters are addressed to a Morgan J. Thomas of Philadelphia, Pa. The first letter describes the future prospects of the city, including information on land purchases and some of the recent settlers. It also describes Riter's involvement in mob activities against the Latter-day Saints. The second seeks additional information about some of the individuals...
Dates: 1849-1850

P. J. Sanders and J. F. Curtis debate transcripts

 Collection — Box 1: [Barcode: 31197225536843]
Identifier: MSS 2018
Scope and Contents The debates between Peter James Sanders of the Mormon Church and James Frank Curtis of the Reorganized Mormon Church were held 4-7 Aug. 1908 in the Murray Opera House in Murray, Utah. The collection includes transcripts of the debates and biographical information regarding Sanders and Curtis. The issues covered in the debates include the succession in the leadership of the Mormon Church following the death of Joseph Smith (1805-1844), the first president of the Mormon Church, and Mormon...
Dates: 1908

Joseph Smith's original temple

 File — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197230238518]
Identifier: MSS SC 345
Scope and Contents

Printed drawing of the Nauvoo, Illinois Latter-day Saint Temple printed by Chester B. Dike.

Dates: 1890

A. O. Smoot family papers

Identifier: MSS 3843
Scope and Contents

The A. O. Smoot family papers consists of correspondence, publications, genealogy records, journals, account books, receipts, and related ephemera. The collection covers several generations and family members of the Smoot Family. Materials are dated 1815 to 1961.

Dates: 1815-1961

Additional filters:

Collection 11
Archival Object 3
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 7
Letters 4
Religion 4
Diaries 3
Immigration and American Expansion 3
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Church Government 2
Kirtland (Ohio) 2
Pioneers 2
Account books 1
American letters 1
Architects -- Utah -- History 1
Architectural drawing -- 19th century -- Illinois -- Nauvoo -- History 1
Architecture 1
Articles 1
Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences 1
Autobiographies 1
Baptism for the dead 1
Baptism for the dead -- History 1
Certificates 1
Church records and registers 1
Deeds 1
Documents 1
Drawings 1
Frontier and pioneer life 1
Home and Family 1
Illinois -- Politics and government -- To 1865 -- Sources 1
Latter Day Saint churches 1
Latter Day Saint churches -- History -- 19th century 1
Latter Day Saint churches -- History -- Pictorial works 1
Latter Day Saint churches -- Missions -- Southern States -- History 1
Latter Day Saint churches -- Presidents -- History 1
Latter Day Saint temples -- Illinois 1
Latter Day Saint temples -- Illinois -- Nauvoo 1
Latter Day Saints 1
Latter Day Saints -- Illinois -- Nauvoo -- History 1
Latter Day Saints -- Persecutions 1
Mayors -- Utah -- Provo -- History 1
Methodism -- History -- Sources 1
Middle West -- Description and travel 1
Minutes (Records) 1
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail 1
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail -- History 1
Mormons -- Emigration and immigration 1
Nauvoo (Ill.) 1
Nauvoo (Ill.) -- Church history -- 19th century 1
Nauvoo (Ill.) -- History 1
Notes 1
Orderville (Utah) 1
Overland Journeys to the Western United States 1
Palmyra (N.Y.) 1
Patriarchal blessings (Latter Day Saint churches) -- History 1
Patriarchs (Latter Day Saint churches) 1
Photocopies 1
Photographs 1
Poetry 1
Postcards 1
Presbyterianism -- History -- Sources 1
Presidents -- Succession 1
Receipts (Acknowledgments) 1
Research (Documents) 1
Scrapbooks 1
Social Life and Customs 1
Transcripts 1
Typescripts 1
Utah 1
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