Because of persecution the Church was at a critical period when Wilford Woodruff became President.
President Woodruff received the Manifesto by revelation, which helped preserve the temporal salvation of the Church.
Following the Manifesto, Church leaders turned their attention to the task of achieving statehood for Utah.
After forty years of building, the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated on 6 April 1893.
Student manual, chapter 34, pp. 435–50.
Student Manual and Scripture Sources
Have students read Official Declaration 1. Discuss the important principles found in Excerpts from Three Addresses by President Wilford Woodruff Regarding the Manifesto, following Official Declaration 1.
The Lord inspired the temple architect, Truman O. Angell, and the prophet Brigham Young to place certain symbols on the Salt Lake Temple. These symbols remind us of eternal truths. Have the students tell you what each of the following symbols carved on the walls of the Salt Lake Temple represents:
Earth stone Symbolic of the telestial kingdom of glory.
Moon stone Symbolic of the terrestrial kingdom of glory (see D&C 76:71, 78).
Sun stone Symbol of the celestial kingdom of glory (see D&C 76:70).
Cloud stone Like rays of light bursting through a storm cloud, the temple is a place of revelation (see D&C 121:33).
Clasped hands Symbolic of the brotherhood and sisterhood we have with one another (see Ephesians 2:19). President David O. McKay said, “There is no better way to manifest love for God than to show an unselfish love for your fellow men” (Gospel Ideals [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1953], p. 129).
Angel Moroni The angel with “the everlasting gospel to preach” (Revelation 14:6–7).
Big dipper Sailors have used stars in the heavens to chart a safe course across the seas. The big dipper points unfailingly to the north star, just as the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles point to the course that members of the Church must follow to return to their Heavenly Father.
Lighting the temple Elder Boyd K. Packer said, “If you have seen one of the temples at night, fully lighted, you know what an impressive sight that can be. The house of the Lord, bathed in light, standing out in the darkness, becomes symbolic of the power and the inspiration of the gospel of Jesus Christ standing as a beacon in a world that sinks ever further into spiritual darkness” (The Holy Temple [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980], pp. 42–43).
Discuss the importance of keeping records. President Wilford Woodruff made a great contribution to the history of the Church because of the records he kept. Records preserve for future generations accounts of the labors and the suffering of the first elders and Saints of this dispensation, that generations following them, witnessing the faith of their fathers, might follow paths of righteousness. President Woodruff wrote:
“The devil has sought to take away my life from the day I was born until now, more so even than the lives of other men. I seem to be a marked victim of the adversary. I can find but one reason for this: the devil knew if I got into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I would write the history of that Church and leave on record the works and teachings of the prophets, of the apostles and elders. I have recorded nearly all the sermons and teachings that I ever heard from the Prophet Joseph, I have in my journal many of the sermons of President Brigham Young, and such men as Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt and others. Another reason I was moved upon to write in the early days was that nearly all the historians appointed in those times apostatized and took the journals away with them” (Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff—History of His Life and Labors [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1964], p. 477).
Comprehensive History of the Church, 6:191–355.
Readings in LDS Church History, 3:101–35.
Richard O. Cowan, Temples to Dot the Earth (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1989), pp. 100–118.
Describes the events leading up to and surrounding the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple.
Edward Leo Lyman, Political Deliverance: The Mormon Quest for Utah Statehood (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1986).
Traces the efforts of Latter-day Saint leaders as they overcame seemingly insurmountable barriers blocking admission of Utah as a state.
Gustive O. Larson, “Federal Government Efforts to ‘Americanize’ Utah before Admission to Statehood,” Brigham Young University Studies, Winter 1970, pp. 218–32.
The “enabling act” and the Manifesto in their historical setting.
Jean Bickmore White, “The Making of the Convention President: The Political Education of John Henry Smith,” Utah Historical Quarterly, Fall 1971, pp. 350–69.
Traces the political activities of Elder John Henry Smith, together with the important contribution he made to the 1895 Utah Constitutional Convention.
Wallace Alan Raynor, The Everlasting Spires: A Story of the Salt Lake Temple (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1965).
The faith-promoting story of the forty-year construction of the Salt Lake Temple.
Wilford Woodruff, “The Law of Adoption,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Oct. 1922, pp. 145–58.
An explanation of why the law of adoption was done away with during the administration of President Woodruff.
Cowley, Wilford Woodruff, pp. 557–90.
Shows the hand of God in the life of a prophet.
Francis M. Gibbons, Wilford Woodruff: Wondrous Worker, Prophet of God (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988), pp. 353–87.
Provides insight into the life and ministry of President Woodruff.