Discovery Forum Blog

Kirtland Temple Acquired by the Church

Temple The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Acquires the Kirtland Temple and Other Properties

By now, most of you will have already heard that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints purchased the Kirtland Temple, several other historic properties, and many other historical items of extraordinary significance. According to the Church’s website, the 192.5-million-dollar transaction occurred on Tuesday, March 5th, 2024, transferring the sacred stewardship of these buildings and artifacts from the Community of Christ, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Russell M Nelson of the Salt Lake, Utah-based Church and President Stephen M. Veazey of the Independence, Missouri-based Community of Christ expressed heartfelt feelings and gratitude about this momentous event. You can find details on the Church’s news release here:

I want to add my thoughts about this historic event, especially since we will have a chance to visit some of the newly acquired Nauvoo sites on our upcoming tour in April. One primary site that we will not be visiting is the Kirtland Temple. It holds a special place in the hearts of our family because of the directly relatable aspects of doctrine connected to this building.

Historical background of the Kirtland Temple

The Kirtland Temple is a place of great historical and religious significance. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known during that period as Mormons constructed this beautiful edifice at a great cost between 1833 and 1836 in Kirtland, Ohio. This sacred building holds a special place in the hearts of Latter-day Saints as it represents a period of profound spiritual awakening and the birth of a new religious movement.

The construction of the Kirtland Temple was inspired by a revelation received by the Prophet Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter-day Saint movement. The revelation instructed the Saints to build a temple “unto the Lord” where they could worship and receive sacred ordinances. The temple was a physical manifestation of God’s presence and a place where individuals could participate in sacred rituals.

The temple’s construction was a tremendous undertaking for the young Church, both financially and logistically. The Saints faced numerous challenges, including limited resources, a lack of skilled labor, and opposition from local communities. However, their unwavering faith and determination propelled them forward. The construction of the Kirtland Temple symbolized their commitment to their religious beliefs. It also provided a place where the Saints could learn new truths about the Gospel and about Heaven. The temple was both a proving ground for their faith and pattern for future growth. It remains a remarkable accomplishment for the early Saints.

The Significance of the Kirtland Temple in Mormon History

The Kirtland Temple is significant in Mormon history, as it was the first temple built by the Latter-day Saints. The temple served as a gathering place for the Saints, a house of worship, and a place where they would receive sacred ordinances and strengthen their spiritual connection to God.

The Kirtland Temple was also a place of revelation. Many vital revelations and spiritual experiences occurred within its walls, including the appearance of Jesus Christ and other heavenly beings. Among those who came were Moses and Elijah. These experiences further solidified the Saints’ belief in their chosen path and guided the future of the Church.

Additionally, the Kirtland Temple played a crucial role in the organization and development of the Church. Within the temple, the Prophet Joseph Smith restored several critical priesthood ordinances, including the ordinance of baptism for the dead. These ordinances were essential for individuals’ spiritual progression and the salvation of their ancestors.

The Importance of the Kirtland Temple Today

Joseph Smith received the dedicatory prayer he delivered at the temple’s dedication on March 27th, 1836, by direct revelation. We have that prayer preserved as Section 109 of the Doctrine & Covenants. I like to think of this as an instruction from God about how we should organize our own homes and families.

The Pattern for Our Homes

Revelation commands the Lord’s people to establish a “house” through marriage and to raise our families unto the Lord. We build our houses through great adversity and tribulation, often out of poverty but always through sacrifice. In our homes, we teach each other “words of wisdom, seek[ing] learning even by study and also by faith.” We organize our houses with everything we need. The Lord instructs us to establish a “house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, [and] a house of God.”

Our incomings and outgoings are to be in the name of the Lord, along with our salutations. We are to see that no unclean thing enters our homes, and when we transgress, we are to repent speedily. Our departing prayers are to leave with power and protection and “bear glorious tidings in truth to the ends of the Earth.” We seek protection from wickedness and all our enemies, and that we will prevail in all our works. And for all who dwell in our homes, we pray for them to receive the testimony of the covenant.

Maintaining the Historical Nature of the Temple

With this transfer of ownership, we will realize more fully the many promises and blessings related to the Kirtland Temple in our time. It is a place of historic importance to everyone everywhere and an example of how we should organize our homes. Maintaining this sacred site in this way will bless many thousands more people and families. Hopefully, it will encourage people to seek the fullness of the temple ordinances. In particular, leaving the Kirtland Temple accessible to members of all Restoration branches will significantly impact the efforts to unite people. Satan has succeeded at dividing people for far too long!

Historic Nauvoo Sites Included in the Purchase

The Smith Family Homestead, the Mansion House, the Nauvoo House, and the Red Brick Store were among the historic sites included in the purchase. Each one has significance, both historically and sacredly.

The Red Brick Store

The Red Brick Store was a place of extraordinary events. In May of 1842, the endowment was first shared with members of the Church on the second floor. Earlier that same year, on March 17th, Joseph established the Relief Society, America’s oldest operating women’s organization. The time spent in the Store were happy days for Joseph, particularly when he shared essential details about exaltation doctrines, such as baptism for the dead.

After the Saints left Nauvoo in 1846, the building fell into disrepair, and locals tore the building down to use the bricks in other buildings. Eventually, the Reorganized Church acquired the property and subsequently rebuilt the Store on its original foundation in 1980.  We’ll share more details about this incredible place on our April tour.

The Mansion House

The Mansion House also holds special significance. It was to be built according to a revelation given to Joseph Smith in January 1841 (D&C Section 124). This revelation was a herald to the Kings of the Earth to bring their riches to the aid of the people building Zion. Significant yet unfulfilled prophecies remain. Nauvoo is changing rapidly. I am sure we will live to see many incredible events unfold there!


One certainty is that the Church sees Nauvoo as an important destination for members to visit. The acquisition of these new properties has already set in motion new staffing and story development for the visitors coming this summer. The Church’s plans include building a new visitor’s center near the temple. Although not favored by many local Nauvoo citizens, this signals the ongoing move to expand site restoration and curation of this historic Mormon city. In some ways, Nauvoo is experiencing a new awakening. It remains an anchor destination for members seeking an experience with the Restoration of the gospel.

Other Significant Artifacts Included in the Purchase

The complete list of documents and artifacts has yet to be released. According to the Church’s news site, the sale included the following:

  • Manuscripts and the Bible used in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.
  • Seven letters from Joseph Smith to his wife Emma.
  • John Whitmer’s history of the Church.
  • Original portraits of Joseph and Emma Smith.
  • The cornerstone of the Nauvoo House.
  • The original door of Liberty Jail.
  • A document titled “Caractors,” which may contain a sample of inscriptions from the gold plates.

Importance of the Inspired Translation

I believe the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is the most significant among these. While it remains to be seen what the Church will do with this important item, they will at least have complete and unrestricted access to Joseph’s Inspired work on the Bible.

The Inspired Translation is one of the most important but undervalued revelations from Joseph Smith.  He commenced this work only two months after organizing the Church and publishing the Book of Mormon on April 6th, 1830. In June 1830, the Prophet, busily engaged in the Bible’s translation, received the monumental revelation canonized for Latter-Day Saints as Moses Chapter 1 (It is recorded as “A revelation to Joseph the Seer” in the 1867 printing of the Inspired Version of the Bible.)

Genesis is One of the Most Important Books of Scripture

As one of the most significantly expanded parts of the Bible, the Inspired Translation of Genesis constitutes our most important scripture. This translation represents the Creator’s own story of the Creation of the Earth. He tells it entirely in first-person narrative. To understand the Atonement, one must understand the Fall; to understand that, one must understand the Creation.  All aspects of the gospel, whether it be the Flood, the Exodus out of Egypt, the great prophecies and events of the Old Testament, or the Latter-day Restoration, require an understanding of the Creation to appreciate the fullness of each event.

Inspired Version Bible, TruthSeekers
Joseph Smith’s Inspired Version, 1857 Edition

Consequently, I felt driven to reprint the Inspired Version of the Bible. I intended to make it available to anyone interested in Joseph’s Inspired work. David Hocking and I also worked on the Annotated 5 Books of Moses (The Torah). We printed that book earlier this year. Both are on our website. In addition to these two books, The Annotated Book of Isaiah and the Annotated New Testament, both based on the Joseph Smith Translation, are available for those interested.

Search the Website
Post Categories
Post Categories
Subscribe to Our Newsletters