On May 4, 1842, Joseph and Hyrum met in his store with Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Newel K. Whitney, George Miller, and James Adams to administer ordinances and communicate things "to be received only by the spiritual minded." Though the gathering was small, Joseph taught, "There was nothing made known to these men but what will be made known to all the Saints of the last days, so soon as they are prepared to receive, and a proper place is prepared to communicate them . . . ; therefore let the Saints be diligent in building the Temple" (History of the Church, 5:2). "When the spirit prompted him [Joseph] that his life's work was drawing to a close, and when he saw that his earthly days might be ended before the completion of the temple," noted Franklin D. Richards of the Quorum of the Twelve, "he called a chosen few, and conferred upon them the ordinances of the holy endowments, so that the divine treasures of his mind might not perish from the world with his death" ("A Tour of Historic Scenes," The Contributor, May 1886, 301).
On January 19, 1841, the Lord indicated to Joseph Smith that He would show him "all things pertaining to" the Nauvoo Temple (D&C 124:42). When William Weeks, chief engineer of the temple, disagreed with some of the architectural features of the building, the Prophet responded, "I have seen in vision the splendid appearance of that building illuminated, and will have it built according to the pattern shown me" (History of the Church, 6:197).