The House of the Lord (Kirtland Temple) was dedicated on 27 March 1836.
This account was copied into Joseph Smith's journal by Warren A. Cowdery who arrived in Kirtland on 25 February 1836. He edited Smith's first-person journal to a third-person history for the dates of 22 September to 18 November 1835. The entries of 2 and 3 April 1836 are written in third-person. It appears that Warren Cowdery used a first-person account but recorded the entries in the third-person as he did for the 1835-36 History.
In the P.M. he [Joseph Smith, Jr.] assisted the other Presidents in distributing the elements of the Lord[']s Supper to the church, receiving them from the "Twelve" whose privilige [privilege] it was to officiate in the sacred desk this day. After having performed this service to his brethren, he retired to the pulpit, the vails [veils] being dropped, and bowed himself with O[liver]. Cowdery, in solemn, but silent prayer to the Most High. After rising from prayer the following vision was opened to both of them.
The vail [veil] was taken from their minds and the eyes of their understandings were opened. They saw the Lord standing upon the breast work of the pulpit before them, and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber: his eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was like the pure snow, his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun, and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the Voice of Jehovah, saying,
I am the first and the last, I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain. I am your Advocate with the Father. Behold your sins are forgiven you. You are clean before me, therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice, let the hearts of your brethren rejoice and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have with their might, built this house to my name. For behold I have accepted this house and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people, in mercy, in this House, yea I will appear unto my servants and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments and do not pollute this Holy House.
Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have already been endowed and shall hereafter be endowed in this House. And the fame of this House shall spread to foreign lands, and this is the beginning of the blessing, which shall be poured out upon the heads of my people. even so Amen.
After this vision closed, the Heavens were again opened unto them and Moses appeared before them and committed unto them the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the Earth and the leading of the ten tribes from the Land of the North.
After this Elias 1 appeared and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying, that in them and their seed all generations after them should be blessed.
After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon them, for Elijah, the Prophet, who was taken to Heaven without tasting death, also stood before them, and said, behold the time has fully come which was spoken of by the Mouth of Malachi, testifying, that he2 should be sent before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come, to turn the hearts of the Fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse. Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands, and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors
1. The mention of "Elias" appearing to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery is curious since in a subsequent vision "Elijah" stood in their view. Elias is used for Elijah in the Greek NT. Whether this is a scribal error made in the journal entry is not known.
In front, at the height of 45 feet from the ground is this inscription, in gilt letters:
I paid twenty-five cents for going through the Temple, and seeing the mummies and records, which excited my curiosity so much that I went the next day and examined them again. Upon entering the first story the keeper took off his hat, I did the same and asked him if that was the rule, he said it was. Indeed, the sublime appearance of that department, when the vails [veils] are unfurled, seem to enjoin sacred reverence.
There is a pulpit in the west end for the Melchizedek priesthood, composed of four sets parallel with each other, those in the rear suitably elevated, and each seat calculated for three officers and accommodated with a suitable desk, which is ornamented with a cushion and fringe, and a curve for each occupant, on the front of which is the initials of his office, in gilt letters. The desk of the front seat consists of the leaves of the communion table, upon which are the initials of its occupants, in letters of stain. There is also a pulpit in the east end for the Aaronic priesthood, which is of the same construction.
The vails [veils] by which the house is divided into quarters, are of canvass, painted white, and are rolled up or drawn at pleasure, by means of cords which come down the pillars concealed, and are worked with cranks; also each official seat is completely vailed [veiled], both sides and front; these are also worked with cords which come to the seats concealed.
The second story is not finished; but is to be of the same pattern, except the official seats which are not so much elevated. I have been particular in describing this apartment, because I have never seen any account of it before the world. For further accounts of the Temple see Mormon Advocate of July, 1835, also Jan. 1837.
(Wm. S. West, A Few Interesting Facts, Respecting the Rise[,] Progress[,] and Pretensions of the Mormons [Warren?, OH: author, 1837], 4-5)
The Kirtland Temple is owned and maintained by the Community of Christ (the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). See Kirtland Temple Historic Center