"KIRTLAND TEMPLE" Ohio Things to Do Tip by mtncorg

Ohio Things to Do: 157 reviews and 295 photos

  Temple at Kirtland in early spring snow
by mtncorg
  • Temple at Kirtland in early spring snow - Ohio
      Temple at Kirtland in early spring snow
    by mtncorg
  • Front of the Kirtland Temple shines in sunlight - Ohio
      Front of the Kirtland Temple shines in sunlight
    by mtncorg
  • Kirtland Temple stands in spring snow - Ohio
      Kirtland Temple stands in spring snow
    by mtncorg
  • Kirtland Temple from neighboring cemetery - Ohio
      Kirtland Temple from neighboring cemetery
    by mtncorg

In December 1832, Joseph Smith, Jr., revealed a commandment directing him to erect a temple in Kirtland. It was to be ?a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.? Construction was not able to start until the following summer and was completed in the spring of 1836. Even with working on the temple themselves, the costs were upwards towards $60000, a very large sum that when combined with the prodigious efforts required to settle the many new converts both in the Kirtland area and in Missouri put a severe strain on the church?s finances. That financial constraint would lead to the ill-advised Kirtland Safety Society Bank, whose failure would lead to another Mormon exodus.

The temple was one of the largest buildings built in northern Ohio at the time of completion. The exterior is reminiscent of a New England church house which was where many of the members of the new religion originated from - including Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. There were three levels, the first level being a large open congregation hall. On the second level was another large meeting hall with raised seat rows on either end. This is where different priesthood groups met for their meetings. Curtains could subdivide the hall and seating could be arranged to face either end. On the third level, education classes were held and offices including Joseph Smith?s could be found. The main meeting hall was constructed to be large enough to hold the entire community but by the time of the dedication - into which over a thousand crammed in for the seven hour long proceedings - the movement had far outstripped the space - a second dedication service was held for those who didn?t get into the first. The next completed Mormon temple would come in Nauvoo, Illinois and at three times the size of the Kirtland temple, it would also prove to be grossly inadequate in size.

The function of the temple in Kirtland was much different from what is found in other temples. Present day LDS temples are only open to members deemed to be in good standing and aim at functions that were not practiced within the church during its Ohio days. Those practices would come about in the last days of Smith?s days in Nauvoo.

Smith and many of the faithful left Kirtland in 1838 following the financial catastrophes following the failure of the Kirtland Bank. By 1844, following different orders from the church hierarchy to ?gather? anew in Nauvoo, there were not many Mormons left behind. The temple was used in succeeding years in a number of functions - religious hall, school and office space. In 1873, the RLDS (now Community of Christ) church - organized from the Mormon groups that did not recognize Brigham Young as the movement?s leader following Smith?s death in 1844 and groups that did not recognize Smith?s later practices which included polygamy among others - acquired the title to the temple and have held it ever since. Eventually, the temple was restored to its present state and is open for several services throughout the year as well as tours to the public.

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  • Written Apr 3, 2008
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