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    Archive Section III


    An Historical Paper

    The following historical paper was written in the 1988-92 period of the New Covenant work when the Church was known as the "Independent Church of Jesus Christ" and was still strongly influenced by Restorationist concepts. It is included on the LDS Page for the interest of Restorationist readers who may be interested to learn where their worship patterns orginated and how they evolved.

    The Independent Church of Jesus Christ is a young Church and currently enjoying an explosion of revelation and fresh insights into the Gospel of Christ. But I wonder how many of us realise to what extent we have borrowed from the other churches, especially in regard to our worship? And as a follow-on question, we should be asking ourselves: how should we worship the Lord? For a people, even when it enjoys revelation through prophets, may still be basically ignorant as to what worship is [1]. In this article I want to explore not so much inner atttidues of worship but the outer forms, though the two are obviously closely connected together.

    The Old Testament Connection

    Any study of the history of Christian worship must, of course, begin with a look at the Old Testament. From the earliest times there have been two strands or patterns of worship which broadly-speaking may be called the Priestly and the Prophetic.

    Priestly worship may be defined as the worship of God through a priestly intermediary whereas prophetic worship is the private worship by an individual of God without recourse to priests. Both forms are to be found in the Old Testament though under the lesser Law of Moses the emphasis is quite definitely on the priestly side.

    In the dispensation of the Patriarchs, which marks the time before the institution of the Mosaic Covenant, worship is almost exclusively prophetic. Ritual was confined to animal sacrifice (a forward-pointing type of the sacrifice of Christ), circumcision (the fleshly sign of the Covenant), and the erection of stone stele (memorial pillars). Little is said of priestly worship in the Book of Genesis save for a single reference to the fact that Abraham paid his tithes to Melchizedek, the King of Salem, and received bread and wine from him (Communion). Otherwise the Patriarchs worshipped almost entirely in the prophetic vein. Most of what we know about Patriarchal worship comes from the Three Books of Abraham which, though recognising priestly worship, places the emphasis on the prophetic. These are closely connected with the Temple.

    With the rebellion of Israel came a lesser Covenant, the Law of Moses, with its emphasis on priestly intermediaries, elaborate cleansing rituals and statutes. The temple retained its place of prominence but the administration of its ordinances became the preserve of a select Priestly class from the Tribe of Levi.

    The Othodox Christian Legacy

    The Mosaic temple ritual and synagogue liturgy became the legacy of Christian worship, the first Christians being Jews. But Christianity also inherited the conflict between priestly and prophetic worship which has plagued humankind for so long. The New Testament Church's Jewish background is also revealed in its concept of worship as a "sacrifice", a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, a concept of worship as a sacrifice as a means of communion between God and man, symbolic of the covenant between God and Israel. Later this concept became connected with the Lord's Supper. The whole Church was seen as being offered to God in this act of communion through its unity with Christ's offering of Himself. By the time of Paul, the Lord's Supper already appears as a principle Christian service. For Christians, this was both a sharing in Christ and a union of one another through Him. This sacred meal, called the Eucharist (thanksgiving), was modelled after the Passover which was a family festival, or, as sone scholars believe, the Kiddush, a sort of religious meal on the eve of Sabbath and festival days. Characteristic of these special family meals was the giving of thanks, the breaking of bread, and the distribution of wine.

    By the second and third centuries the Church had moved out of a situation in which the pattern of worship was planned and free under the direction of the Holy Spirit, and with believers each making contributions as seemed good to them (with all the attendant perils which surround such liberty) into an area of experience which comes with organisation and development, and where the worship (though no less Spirit-inspired and real) was offered according to recognised rules. By the end of the third century two patterns of worship emerge, the Service of the Word and the Eucharist (i.e. Holy Communion or the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper). The Service of the Word with its roots in synagogue worship consisted of prayers, scriptures (Old and New Testament), Psalms or hymns, and a Sermon. The Eucahrist was reserved only for baptised members of the Church. Those who were preparing to become Christians (Catechemens) were dismissed at the end of the Service of the Word. This dismissal was the origin of the word "Mass". As time went on the Mass developed into four acts of liturgical tradition: taking of the elements in an offering, giving of thanksgiving for them in forms of prayers, breaking the bread that it might be distributed, and giving of communion to God's people.

    By the end of the fourth century specific patterns of prayers and scripture reading had become common and special times were set aside by the clergy for "doing" these religious exercises on behalf of the people. These were called "offices" which could be said by any Christian, but in practice became more and more the work of the monasteries and the clergy.

    The fourth century brought a dramatic change in the history of the Church and its worship. Because of the "conversion" of Emperor Constantine, the Church moved from a forbidden religion under persecution to toleration, eventually becoming the state church of the Byzantine Empire with its capital at Constantinople. The new respectable faith found thousands of adherants; sumptuous churches were constructed and the wealth of the empire lavished on their ornamentation. To the simplicity of Christian worship was added the splendour of court ceremony and, as the centre of the empire moved east, the etiquette or oriental potentates found its way into the worship of the church. The major branch of the church in Syria, Alexandria, Rome and Galatia each worked out their own variations of the liturgy of the Mass. The western church with its literal sense of calendar time used numerous elements in the Mass which changed to match certain dates in the Christian year to commemorate seasons and special days. To facilitate use of this Church Calendar service books were found to be necessary. Throughout this period the role of the laity became increasingly transformed, and the service gradually became clerical-centred. Having no part in the liturgy, the laity were forced to continually look inward for their own inward salvation and developed their own devotions sauch as saying the rosary, meditating on the sufferings of Christ, and venerating relics of the Saints. The corporate sense of worship by the entire Body of Christ through common acts, words, and structures became obscured. This was replaced by religious individualism rather than a sense of oneness of those engaged in common worship.

    Lacking sufficient knowledge about New Testament worship, the 16th century Reformation often carried legalism to excess while protesting at the same time against the idolatry of others. Through leaders such as Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, the Anabaptists, Puritans and Quakers, the church strove to rediscover itself as the people of God. Many of the abuses of the mediaeval church were corrected but neither the spirit nor forms of early Church worship were fully recaptured. Much of the individualism of late mediaeval Catholicism persisted within Protestantism and the corporate life of the church manifested in Protestant worship generally lacked the intensity of New Testament worship.

    In the 18th century, under John Wesley's guidance, the two halves of Christian worship, the Service of the Word and the Eucharist, received a balance rarely surpassed in the history of Protestant worship. Christian groups since that time, however, have tended to emphasise one or the other aspect of worship, i.e. the prophetic or the priestly.

    The 19th century church succeeded in reversing many of the trends of the Reformation though professing loyalty to the spirit of the reformers. Characteristic of Christian worship in this century were two diametrically opposite trends which, however, proved similar in the total effect. Revivalism, a characteristic from frontier camp meeting experiences, placed an emphasis on the winning of souls to Christ conceived largely in individualist terms developing one aspect of Christian worship and neglecting the other. The other movement, that of the Tractarians of the Oxford Movement, with its high concepts of the church and its sacraments, often turned out to be a high doctrine of the ministry. They and their Cambridge disciples took a romantic view of the worship of the church in the Middle Ages but overlooked its debilitating individualism. Their effort was directed toward the recapturing of the splendour of mediaeval worship, building many fine churches in Gothic architectural style, divinding the chancel and recovering the ornamentation of 14th century Christian worship. The latter movement welcomed clericalism and succeeded in restoring mediaeval ceremonial worship -- elements which have since found their way into all major Protestant denominations.

    Worship patterns in the Restoration have been markedly influenced by such factors as the revolt against creeds and formalism, limited resources for formal worship, emphasis on lay ministry, the primacy of preaching, the free guidance of the Holy Spirit, etc..

    The Latter Day Saint Experience

    Worship practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (1830-44) and its successor, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (1852-1984), have always been characteristic of the "free church tradition" [2]. Basically this means that there is no established form, procedure or order by which worship services are regulated. From the time of organisation in 1830, variation of procedure has been typical. This has been true not only from one time period to another but also between local churches (Branches) at a given time and even within a given local church over a short period of time.

    With regard to the basic "free church" stance, several things should be said by way of introduction. First, the Latter Day Saint movement attracted in its early years persons of various religious backgrounds who brought with them the practices of a number of denominations. This is one important reason for diversity of interest and practice.

    Second, the Latter Day Saint movement is "Restorationist". From the very beginning considerable emphasis was placed on justifying Church belief, authority, and practice in terms of adherance to what was understood to be the primitive (i.e. first century A.D) Christian Church. With this came the rejection of belief, authority, and practice of all Christian denominations of the time. Such rejection was not optional; it was required as an integral part of the Church's identity [3]. The Latter Day Saint justification for existence was based on the incorrectness and unacceptability of other denominations. In words attributed to Joseph Smith, we read:

      My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join...I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong...that all their creeds were an abomination [4].

    This rejection of other denominations moved beyond doctrine to practice and is therefore closely related to the style of worship adopted by Latter Day Saints.

    With these considerations present it was not long before Joseph Smith's firm belief in present-day revelation led him to inquire of God for guidance in the matter of worship practices. The Doctrine & Covenants includes the following presented by him with the date of 8 March 1831 -- less than a year after the Church was organised:

      Hearken, O ye people of My Church, for verily I say unto you, that these things were spoken unto you for your profit and learning; but notwithstanding those things which are written, it always has been given to the elders of My Church, from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit [5]

    The concept of meetings being conducted with the Holy Spirit's guidance reinforced existing practice and established the general expectation that worship services would be characterised by flexibility and by manifestations of the Holy Spirit which was guiding those who presided. Variously interpreted, this statement in the Doctrine & Covenants has provided the basic principle behind worship practices from the time it was issued and up to the present day in both the Reorganized and Independent Churches [6].

    There were three major types of worship services conducted by the Latter Day Saints in the period 1830-44:

    (1) The Preaching Service

    The most prominent and regular event in early Latter Day Saint worship was the preaching service in which one or more sermons or discourses occupied most of the time. Preaching played two roles in the Church. First, and probably more important, it was used as the means of proclaiming the Gospel message to all who would hear and of persuading persons to join the Church. Second, it constituted the core of the saints' worship in gatherings where mostly members were present. In this context it provided members with information on matters of doctrine and practice including admonition to righteous living.

    Preaching was performed by men ordained to the ministry. In the case of Elders and Priests, their job description emphasises this function by the use of the words "preach, teach, expound, exhort" [7]. However, no formal training was required. It was assumed that ordination and a personal devotional life was sufficient preparation. Members of the priesthood would preach "according to the Spirit" for long periods of time. At the service of dedication of the Kirtland Temple, Sidney Rigdon spoke for two and a half hours. Sermons were usually based on Biblical texts.

    Preaching services in the early Church were held regularly on Sundays with between one and three sessions per Sunday. Hymn singing was an important part of these services, the first of several Church hymnals being published in 1835. Extemporaneous prayer was characteristic of Latter Day Saint worship appearing at various places in the service.

    (2) The Lord's Supper

    The Lord's Supper has been a regular part of Latter Day Saint worship from the earliest years. Procedures for this sacrament were presented as part of this basic law of the Church published in the first issue of the Evening & Morning Star (June 1831), p.5.

    The practice was to administer the Lord's supper every Sunday often in the afternoon.

    Normally the practice of close (or closed) communion was adhered to. However instruction given by Joseph Smith to the Church presented in March 1831 said: "Ye shall not cast anyone out of your sacrament meetings who is earnestly seeking the Kingdom; I speak this concerning those who are not of the Church" [8]. The matter of worthiness of persons who were members was covered by the instruction: "Ye are also commanded not to cast anyone who belongeth to the Church out of your sacrament meetings; nevertheless, let him not partake until he makes reconciliation" [9]. This provided the basis for a policy of self-examination and self-exclusion. Whether or not a person who had been baptised but not yet confirmed was eligible to partake cannot be easily determined. References to partaking of the sacrament before confirmation are found as are other references to the reverse procedure. Home-made unfermented wine was normally used in the sacrament [10].

    (3) Prayer Meetings

    At several places in Joseph Smith's history of the 1830-44 period the practice of holding prayer meetings is mentioned.

    At certain periods, regular prayer meetings were held. On completion of the "House of the Lord" in Kirtland, a schedule of activities includes reference to the fact that prayer meetings were scheduled regularly on Thursday evenings. In Nauvoo prayer meetings were held weekly and on occasions more often. Prayer meetings included the opportunity for members to pray for persons who were sick or who had other needs. Sometimes community or national concerns were reflected. Prayer meetings were the occasion for exhortations (sometimes lengthy) by Church leaders. Spiritual gifts were exercised with some frequency.

    Worship services were held in a variety of places, because of the high degree of mobility the saints did not always have a place of their own to meet in. Homes were used for some meetings. Others were held in buildings such as schoolhouses. Outdoor settings such as a grove were also used. In both Kirtland and Nauvoo the temples were used for worship.

    The Lord's day was important in the eyes of the early saints. Joseph Smith gave the following instruction to the Church, dated 7 August 1831: "But remember that on this, the Lord's day, thou shalt offer thine oblations, and thy sacraments, unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord" [11]. This also suggests that public confession may have been a part of corporate worship on occasions [12]. Respect for the Lord's Day also placed certain expectations regarding order and propriety in services of worship. There is some evidence to suggest that men and women sat in separate sections of the congregation as was the practice in many churches in this period.

    The exercise of spiritual gifts was quite widespread. However, on several occasions Joseph Smith cautioned as to the improper use of such gifts.

    The Reorganized and Mormon Churches

    The Utah Mormon Church, organised by Brigham Young when he rebaptised and reordained his followers in the Salt Lake valley, has evolved its worship practices in different ways to the Reorganized Church which, until its drift into liberal Protestantism, followed the patterns of the early Church.

    Mormons have discarded prayer services and no longer exercise the gifts in meetings (such as tongues or prophecy) and have combined the preaching service and Lord's Supper service into what is called the "sacrament meeting". One of these meetings is monthly devoted to fasting and the bearing of "testimonies". The latter has taken on the form of a liturgical confession and typically includes one or more of the following elements: (1) "I know the Church is true", (2) "I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God", (3) "I know that Ezra Taft Benson (or whoever is the current president) is a prophet of God", and sometimes (4) "I know that Jesus is the Christ". These confessions are often repeated parrot-fashion by very small children also. The sermons or talks are normally given by two or more persons and are usually about some principle of the Mormon gospel like tithing or temple worship. The sacrament (or fast and testimony meeting) is normally followed by a Sunday School which is itself followed by Priesthood meetings (for the men) and Relief Society meetings (for the women [13]). There are many business meetings both on Sundays and during the week both for the local administration and for the youth. Temples are no longer used for preaching and sacrament services but are used for secret rituals.

    The Reorganized Church has also combined the Communion meeting with a Preaching Service. Until the liberal reforms of the 1980's, there would normally only be one preacher. Reorganized Latter Day Saints continue to hold a mid-week Prayer Meeting, often on Wednesday evenings. There is a Sunday School organisation called "Church School" that is normally held before the main Worship Service. The modern RLDS Church has, however, radically moved away from traditional Latter Day Saint worship practices and has adopted the orthodox Christian calendar, worshipping habits (such as congregational recitals, etc.). The one Temple owned by the RLDS Church is used for worship and education as shall the one currently being built be.

    The Independent Church and Worship

    Like the early Latter Day Saint Church, the Independent Church has three separate worship services: Preaching, Communion, and Prayer. There are, in addition, Praise Fellowships, Priesthood meetings, Schools of the Prophets and Temple worship.

    The Communion Service

    The Communion service is held early on Sunday mornings before the main public services begin and is presided over by the two pastors [14]. This is open to baptised and confirmed members only who are invited to examine themselves and make confession and reconiliation before entering the Sacrament Room. A traditional hymn is sung and the emblems administered by the Priesthood [15]. Unfermented wine is used [16]. The wine is poured during the service [17]. Following the administration, the communicants are invited to share their testimonies, read scriptures, or pray as moved by the Holy Spirit. The service is conducted solemnly and is often used for meditation and reflection to prepare the soul for the public services of witness and ministry.

    Women always wear head-coverings in worship meetings [18].

    Communion is not restricted to the Communion Service per se and may, with propriety, be administerd at other times when the saints meet if constrained to do so by the Holy Spirit. The Communion Service is typically held once a week but may be more or less frequent depending on the spiritual condition of the people. The Pastors have the right to postpone the administration of the emblems if they feel the proper spirit is not present.

    The Praise Fellowship [19]

    Communion is followed by the Praise Fellowship which is open to everyone, including children. It is the first public meeting of the day and is presided over by an Evangelist whose special responsibility is to discern the spirits and regulate the meeting. Singing (using more modern praise songs), praying, confession, scripture readings, and short testimonies are given. Dancing is also done, individually and as a congregation. The gifts of prophecy, tongues, and revelation are allowed free expression.

    The Worship Service

    This is more formal and traditional music is used. There is normally one main preacher and two subsidiary ones. The children leave after the subsidiary talks (normally given by children and unordained members) for the Schools of Taphim (for infants) and Alumim (for older children). Though this is a structured service the presiding minister may, if moved by the Spirit, allow the expression of gifts. Sometimes blessings are administered. The main sermon is typically about 40 minutes long though these sometimes go on for as long as one and a half hours. Subsidiary talks are about two and five minutes long, respectively. Occasionally services may be given over to special children's presentations (typically twice a year). If there is a strong spiritual endowment in the Praise Fellowship, the Worship Service may simply be absorbed into the former, albeit under a different leadership, in order not to quench the Spirit. One Sunday a month is devoted to witnessing and formal worship ends after an extended Praise Fellowship.

    Schools of the Prophets [20]

    The Schools of the Prophets have two main arms -- the Church and the Temple -- and are the equivalent of traditional Sunday or Church Schools. They are divided into the Schools of Taphim (small children), Alumim (older children/teenagers), Goyim (investigators), and Israel (members). These are further subdivided as needs warrant. The Temple Schools of the Prophets include the Schools of the Levites (Aaronic Priesthood), Elders (Melchizedek Priesthood) and Patriarchs (Patriarchal Priesthood). Teaching is almost exclusively done by Aaronic Teachers (male and female). Instruction lasts typically from 50 minutes to an hour and a half. Instruction is also given by Priests and Elders.

    Prayer Meetings

    Though these are typically a part of the Communion Service and Praise Fellowship (prayers are also offered in the main Worship Service) there is usually a mid-week Prayer Service which may be combined with Priesthood meetings. They are similar to Praise Fellowship meetings in form though there is usually instruction also. Gifts are given free reign.

    House Fellowships

    In large congregations or in congregations where the saints are geographically spread out, house fellowships are organised for mid-week meetings. These will often combine elements of all other meetings in proportion to their need. Most New Covenant Christian meetings are held in homes but as congregations expand halls are rented. Church building has not this far been a feature of the Independent Church which is concerned mostly with Temple building.


    Temple worship is an integral part of Church life even though strictly speaking there are no Temples in the Independent Church of Jesus Christ. Temple worship belongs to a different church organisation called the Chevra B'Qor [21], or Church of the Firstborn. In this respect the system is quite different from the LDS and RLDS churches [22]. Membership in the Independent Church is not automatic membership of the Chevra B'Qor.

    Chevra B'Qor temples are used for worship, praise, prayer, washing and anointing and footwashing ordinances, and spiritual education. Services are typically about two hours long but have been known to last as long as five hours when there has been a strong spiritual endowment. A slightly different form of communion is administered in the temple using white instead of red unfermented wine, and the wine is taken from a single cup rather than from many [23].


    Restoration Christian worship services are therefore seen to contain elements from many sourses, particularly early Latter Day Saint and RLDS, but that it contains many elements unique to itself. We have here spoken only of outward forms. The inner reality of worship is a different matter altogether. Certainly we believe that the vessel of our worship -- the structures plus the flexibility that allows the Spirit free reign -- provides the best balance possible of the prophetic and the priestly. And here the word "balance" is paramount. The Independent Church therefore allows both for worship of a quiet and contemplative kind and that which is more outward and charismatic. Though it is true these structures have not, as yet, been fully exploited by us (because of their unfamiliarity and the typical human reticence to open up) their existence provides, in our view, the opportunity for full worship of God, a worship that reflects diversity, colour and wholeness of the Creator.

    Postscript (1998)

    New Covenant practice and belief has evolved considerably since this article was written. And whilst the Restoration continues to leave its mark outwardly in some of the forms of the New Covenant Church of God, the spirit is quite different. What is, perhaps, of the greatest interest, is to see how different churches, whether Catholic, Protestant, Restorationist, or New Covenant, have all borrowed freely from one another at one time or another. No Christian movement arises in a vacuum but out of other traditions and is, in most cases, constantly in flux. The modern New Covenant Church of God may, in years to come, present quite a different picture to that which obtains today, and may be so distant from its original Restoration roots as to be virtually unrecognisable. The important thing is that the Spirit of God is present, moulding and sanctifying human beings who are living in a vital relationship with the Lord Yahshua haMashiach (Jesus Christ).


    [1] One of Joseph Smith's revelations, received in May 1833, says: "I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in My Name, and in due time receive of His fulness" (D&C 93:19/90:3b). Smith recognised the importance of true doctrine to true worship

    [2] The Independent Church of Jesus Christ (1988-92) followed in the RLDS rather than the LDS tradition and viewed the RLDS Church as being more faithful to the biblical tradition than the LDS (1844-).

    [3] This is still true of the Mormon (LDS) Church and was true of the Reorganized (RLDS) Church until its liberalisation in the 1970s and 80s

    [4] Times and Seasons, Vol.3, No.11 (April 1, 1842), p.748. Earlier accounts seem to suggest that when Joseph Smith went to the grove and experienced his First Vision the question on his mind was not the status of the existing churches but of his position before God. This is wholly missing from later Joseph Smith accounts, such as the one here quoted, and this has led some researchers to conclude that the question of Church authority is a later embellishment coming out the then current theology of the Church. This is no better supported than in one of Joseph Smith's early revelations, subsequently changed, that his mission was to effect a "reformation" and not a "restoration" (Book of Commandments, Section IV; cp. D&C 5:17-19/5:3f-g). It could be argued that during the course of his ministry Joseph Smith progressively moved away from a prophetic form of ministry to a priestly or clerical one.

    [5] D&C 46:1-2/46:1a-b; also see D&C 20:45/17:9. (References are given first to Utah Mormon and then RLDS editions of the Doctrine & Covenants)

    [6] Utah Mormon worship services are in general structure more formal and less flexible, the form being dictated by the general authorities of that church such that the program of worship is uniform throughout the world. This is also the pattern followed by Jehovah's Witnesses though in the latter case the structure is even more rigid with the same sermons being given worldwide in all congregations.

    [7] D&C 20:46/17:10a

    [8] D&C 20:75-79/17:22-23

    [9] D&C 46:4/46:1d

    [10] D&C 27:3/26:1d

    [11] D&C 59:12/59:2h

    [12] Public confession is a part of Indepedent Church worship

    [13] Women are not ordained in the LDS church but are in the liberal RLDS church

    [14] There is a male and a female pastor in each Branch. In the modern New Covenant Church of God (1996-) these are the Pastor and Pastress

    [15] This may be administered by women in certain instances -- see NC&C 81. New Covenant Christian administration of the emblems also includes a ritual of hand washing (NC&C 83) during the service which in traditional Latter Day Saint practice was done before the service began. The RLDS practice, codified by Joseph Smith III and modified for use in the Independent Church, is to be found in NC&C 73.

    [16] The Mormon Church has substituted water

    [17] This is also sometimes the practice in the RLDS Church. The water is poured before the service in the LDS church, usually straight from the tap.

    [18] NC&C 8

    [19] C&C 22; 23 (these sections, which were not revelations, are not a part of the modern NC&C). The modern RLDS recently began introducing praise meetings in its "Contemporary Christian Centres" (CCC) but go so far as to use rock music and other forms that are unacceptable to the Independent Church. The Mormon Church, by contrast, has no such service of worship and still uses pre-twentieth century hymn music almost exclusively.

    [20] Completely reorganised in the the New Covenant Church of God (1996-) following its discarding of the old Restoration Priesthood structures. See NC&C 72 and footnote for the new priesthood and school structures

    [21] This was renamed the Chavurat Bekorot in 1997 both to reflect Hebrew phoenetics and to indicate a reorganisation of the Order

    [22] Temple worship in the early Latter Day Saint Church (1830-44) underwent a dramatic evolution. The first temple, built at Kirtland, Ohio, was principally a House of Worship and Instruction. The Schools of the Elders were located there (as they are in Chevra B'Qor temples). Solemn assemblies were convened and washing and annointing and footwashing ceremonies performed. By the time of the Nauvoo period, corruptions of the Gospel had begun to creep in radically altering Temple Worship which became almost entirely ritualised. The corruption was compounded in Utah where the Mormons established a neo-Masonic system of rituals which the Independent Church regards as wholly corrupt and apostate. The RLDS Church, which gained possession of the Kirtland Temple, used that structure in the same manner as it had been used in Joseph Smith's day though the washing and annointing and foot washing rituals were lost. With the liberalisation of that body, temple worship has almost entirely disintegrated.

    [23] The principle of using many small communion cups in the Restoration is probably for hygiene reasons

    This page was created on 5 July 1998
    Updated on 9 March 2001

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