Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Passing the Heavenly Gift/The Nauvoo temple was not built with enough speed

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Response to Passing the Heavenly Gift: Claims that the Saints did not build the Nauvoo Temple quickly enough

Summary: Portions of this wiki response are based upon Gregory L. Smith, "Passing Up The Heavenly Gift Part 1 Part 2," Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 7 (2103), 181–341. The text here may have been expanded, reworded, or corrected given the nature of a wiki project. References in brackets like this: (xx) refer to page numbers in Denver C. Snuffer, Jr., Passing the Heavenly Gift (Salt Lake City: Mill Creek Press, 2011).

A FAIR Analysis of: 'Passing the Heavenly Gift', a work by author: Denver C. Snuffer

Response to Passing the Heavenly Gift: Claims that the Saints did not build the Nauvoo Temple quickly enough

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Is it true that the Nauvoo temple was not built with enough speed?[1]

PTHG tells us that “the revelation [D&C 124] required the construction of the Nauvoo Temple….There was a set time. If at the end of that time the temple was not constructed, the words are clear ‘ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God'” (104).

PTHG does not tell us that the First Presidency had already urged the Saints to build a temple in August 1840, and the Saints had sustained this plan at an October 1840 conference.[2] The Times and Seasons announced temple construction had begun on 15 January 1841, four days prior to the revelation, which suggests the Saints were not particularly slack regarding the temple:

The Temple of the Lord is in process of erection here, where the Saints will come to worship the God of their fathers, according to the order of His house and the powers of the Holy Priesthood, and will be so constructed as to enable all the functions of the Priesthood to be duly exercised, and where instructions from the Most High will be received, and from this place go forth to distant lands.[3] “In Nauvoo at the time of Joseph’s death,” Snuffer observes, “there were completed homes built, a Masonic Temple, and manufacturing and retail facilities, but the Nauvoo Temple had been neglected. It was nowhere near completed when Joseph and Hyrum died” (105).

It is certainly true that homes and commercial buildings had been built. Snuffer’s claim that the temple was “neglected” must be established from the evidence, not merely asserted because his theory demands it. The temple required much more labor to complete than homes or businesses. Furthermore, commercial structures were also necessary in order to provide the economic muscle to supply labor and materials for the temple, which could not be built in a void. Does Snuffer believe the Saints were to have no homes until the temple was built? Joseph Smith evidently did not think so—the Heber C. Kimball family was living in a 14 x 16 foot log house about a mile from the Mississippi river, but in the summer of 1841, Joseph urged a move. Heber’s daughter recorded that “the prophet Joseph being anxious to have my father nearer to himself and his brethren our place was exchanged for one on the flat where father built us a more commodious house.”[4] The Prophet’s behavior is simply inconsistent with Snuffer’s theory that the temple was being neglected, or that improvements in housing were inappropriate with the Lord’s timetable. If it was, Joseph would have surely urged one of his most obedient followers to dedicate still more labor to the temple, rather than a new home.

Absent from Snuffer’s entire discussion is the Nauvoo House, a hotel whose construction was commanded in the same revelation (D&C 124:22–24). The Saints were not, then, to focus on the temple to the exclusion of all else, and it would have been economically impossible to do so anyway.

Joseph’s discourses in the relevant period

If Snuffer is correct, there ought to be evidence in the historical record—Joseph spoke often and frequently of the Nauvoo temple and its construction. Does Snuffer expect us to believe that God would allow his people to fail without first requiring the prophet to repeatedly warn them? Let us look at some of the historical evidence which PTHG does not provide.

24 April 1842

Joseph “pronounced a curse on the Merchants and the rich, who would not assist in building” the temple. [5] But he gives no warning that the Saints are in danger of losing their privileges simply because a few wealthy folk are not helping. God does not punish the many for the inaction of a few. The day prior to Joseph’s speech, Nauvoo’s Wasp newspaper (operated by Joseph’s brother) would note that “We passed by the Temple, and was delighted at the prospect that here presented itself. A scene of lively industry and animation was there. The sound of the polisher’s chisel—converting the rude stone of the quarry into an artful shape—sent forth its busy hum: all were busily employed—the work was fast progressing.”[6] Yet, Snuffer claims that scant days later, “[b]y May, 1842 Joseph could see the temple would never be completed in the time allowed” (285). Evidence that we will see below is not consistent with this hypothesis.

1 September 1842

A revelation states:

Let the work of my temple, and all the works which I have appointed unto you, be continued on and not cease; and let your diligence, and your perseverance, and patience, and your works be redoubled, and you shall in nowise lose your reward, saith the Lord of Hosts. And if they persecute you, so persecuted they the prophets and righteous men that were before you. For all this there is a reward in heaven (D&C 127:4).

The audience is encouraged to continue, but no warning or chastisement is forthcoming. (Note that the transitive verb “redouble” does not mean to “double,” but means “to repeat in return…to repeat often….To increase by repeated or continued additions,” such as in repeated blows.)[7] Less than a week later, Joseph Smith sent a letter:

6 September 1842

Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation (D&C 128:24)

Again, there is encouragement but no sign of condemnation. But in Snuffer’s telling, Joseph had already decided that failure was inevitable (285).

29 October 1842

About 10 {in the forenoon I rode up and viewed the Temple. I expressed my satisfaction at the arrangements, and was pleased with the progress made in that sacred edifice….}[8]

Joseph here praises the Saints' progress and efforts.

15 November 1842

The Times and Seasons reported the enthusiastic response to the arrival of timber from Wisconsin for the temple. The temple committee made assignments by ward, and “requested all the carpenters to come together on the Thursday to prepare the timbers”. The response exceeded their expectations:

we had a cheering assemblage of wagons, horses, oxen and men who began with zeal and gladness to pull the raft to pieces and haul it up to the Temple. This scenery has continued to the present date and the expectations of the committee more than realized.

On Thursday we had a large assemblage of carpenters, joiners &c. who succeeded in preparing the lumber and laying the joists preparatory to laying the temporary floor and fixing seats &c….

Whilst watching for a few moments the zeal and cheerful labors of the brethren to accomplish this thing we could not avoid feeling grateful to the great Jehovah, and to the brethren engaged in this noble cause. We are constrained to feel thankful to the Almighty for the many blessings we receive at his hands for the prosperity of the place-for the harmony and good feeling prevailing in our midst-and for the great and glorious privileges granted unto us as a people….

Now brethren, if so great and glorious have been the blessings realized in so early a stage of the work what may we expect when the building is completed, and a house prepared where the Most High can come and restore that which has been taken away in consequence of transgression; even the FULNESS of the priesthood.

Truly, no exertion on our part ought to be lacking but to double our diligence because great, yea very great are the consequences pending.

As we have already said, we feel thankful to the brethren for the interest they have taken, not only on the present, but on all former occasions. They have come forth like Saints of God and great will be their reward. Not long since they were naked, destitute, afflicted, and smitten having been twice plucked up by the roots; but again they lift their heads with gladness and manifest a determination to fulfil the revelations and commandments of the Most High if it be at the expense of all their property and even their lives. Will not God reward them? Yea, verily![9]

21 February 1843

Joseph urges both the temple and the Nauvoo House be built:

for I began it & will finish it. Not that public spirit here as in other cities dont deny revelation if the Temple and Nauvoo house are not finished you must run away….every thing God does is to aggrandize his kingdom how does he lay the foundation? build a temple to my great name. and call the attention of the great. but where shall we lay our heads…. The building of N. House is just as sacred in my view as the Temple.

I want the Nauvoo House built it must be built, our salvation depends upon it. When men have done what they can or will for the temple, let them do what they can for the Nauvoo House. We never can accomplish our work at the expense of another….[10]

We note that Joseph urges that the temple be given priority, though both are important. A few months later, he will urge a shift of resources to the Nauvoo House, suggesting that the temple was not being neglected.[11]

6 April 1843

Joseph discusses using the Twelve to fund-raise for the Nauvoo House—something for which he would be unlikely to slight the temple.[12] He notes, in fact, that: “there has been too great latitude in individuals for the building of the Temple to the exclusion of the Nauvoo house.” [13] The Saints, then, can hardly have been slacking on the temple if Joseph wants them to put more emphasis on the Nauvoo House.

11 July 1843

He [Joseph] beautifully and in a most powerful manner, illustrated the necessity of the gathering and the building of the Temple that those ordinances may be administered which are necessary preparations for the world to come: he exhorted the people in impressive terms to be diligent—to be up and doing lest the tabernacle pass over to another people and we lose the blessing.[14]

Joseph encourages diligence—slackening would be unwise. Work on the temple had slowed over the spring, but this was due to the illness of a key craftsman, William W. Player. An English convert who was the temple’s principalle stone setter, Player’s absence delayed the spring start on the walls. Technical problems with the crane needed to raise massive timbers and stones also slowed the work, but this cannot be blamed on a lack of zeal either.[15]

9 October 1843

“President Smith concluded with exhortations to the church to renew their exertions to forward the work of the Temple, and in walking before the Lord in soberness and righteousness[.]”[16] Joseph discussed temple business, but no report is made of a rebuke or warning for being behind schedule.[17]

15 October 1843

Joseph responds to some critics about the economic cost of the temple—clear evidence that work was proceeding and diverting significant resources:

some say It is better, say some to give [to] the poor than build the temple.—the building of the temple has kept the poor who were driven from Missouri from starving. as has been the best means for this object which could be devised

all ye rich men of the Latter Day Saints.—from abroad I would invite to bring up some of their money and give to the temple. we want Iron steel powder.—&c—a good plan to get up a forge[?]. bring in raw materials, & manu[f]act[ur]ing establishments of all kinds.—& surround the rapids—[18]

1 January 1844

The Times and Seasons noted:

Considering the many improvements that have been made, and the difficulties in many instances under which the committee have had to labor, the Temple has made great progress; and strenuous efforts are now being made in quarrying, hauling, and hewing stone, to place it in a situation that the walls can go up and the building be enclosed by next fall.

There has not been much done at the Nauvoo House during the past season, further than preparing materials; most of the brick, however, and hewed stone are in readiness for that building; and the Temple and Nauvoo House committees, having purchased several splendid mills in the pineries, place them in a situation to furnish both of the above named buildings with abundance of excellent lumber, besides having a large amount to dispose of.[19]

We recall that delays had occurred in the previous year because a key tradesman was taken ill. There were also technical problems with the temple’s crane.[20]

21 January 1844

Snuffer cites this discourse, and uses it as evidence that Saints were ignoring Joseph’s warnings:

Interestingly, only Wilford Woodruff recorded the content of that talk. Willard Richards reports only that a talk was given, the weather was ‘somewhat unpleasant,’ and the subject was ‘sealing the hearts of the fathers to the children.’ Joseph’s warning that there was a limited time to ‘make use of the seals while they are on earth’ seems to have gone unheard by those in Nauvoo, and later their descendants. Even the leadership of the church at the time were tone deaf to Joseph’s alarm (106–107).

Unsurprisingly, this gloss distorts Joseph’s message:

I would to God that this temple was now done that we might go into it & go to work & improve our time & make use of the seals while they are on earth & the Saints have none to much time to save & redeem their dead, & gather together their living relatives that they may be saved also, before the earth will be smitten & the Consumption decreed falls upon the world & I would advise all the Saints to go to with their might & gather together all their living relatives to this place that they may be sealed & saved that they may be prepared against the day that the destroying angel goes forth & if the whole Church should go to with all their might to save their dead seal their posterity & gather their living friends & spend none of their time in behalf of the world they would hardly get through before night would Come when no man Could work & my ownly trouble at the present time is concerning ourselves that the Saints will be divided & broken up & scattered before we get our Salvation Secure for thei[r] is so many fools in the world for the devil to operate upon it gives him the advantage often times….[21]

Joseph’s advice to the Saints is not “hurry up and complete the temple.” Instead, he urges them to get all their living relatives in Nauvoo so they can be endowed (after all, most of the Twelve and some others had already been endowed and received all the temple ordinances). Joseph's “only worry” about the Saints is not their failure or unworthiness, but of them being attacked. This is a risk not because of their failure—rather, it is because there are “so many fools in the world” whom Satan can act upon.

Furthermore, when Joseph speaks of the Saints having “none to[o] much time” to redeem “their dead” and “their living relatives,” this is not because the temple will not be done within God’s time limit—rather, he is explicit that the time is short because “the earth will be smitten & the Consumption decreed falls upon the world” and “the day that the destroying angel goes forth.” These are clearly eschatological concerns, “before night would Come when no man Could work” (see John 9:4)—the time before Christ’s second coming is short. Snuffer’s gloss abuses the text from start to finish.

It makes no sense for Joseph to encourage gathering to Nauvoo to receive living ordinances if his real message (as Snuffer claims) is that the members are being slothful in building the temple and are in danger of not being allowed to receive the blessings at all. It is likewise incoherent to argue, in light of this instruction, that Joseph had known since May 1842 that they would fail. The leadership is not “tone deaf”—they simply don’t hear what Snuffer’s bias and torture of the text creates out of thin air.

5 February 1844

The History of the Church reports that Joseph told the Nauvoo Temple’s architect:

if he had to make the Temple ten feet higher than it was originally calculated; that one light at the center of each circular window would be sufficient to light the whole room, and when the whole building was thus illuminated, the effect would be remarkably grand. "I wish you to carry out my designs. I have seen in vision the splendid appearance of that building illuminated, and will have it built according to the pattern shown me."[22]

Joseph declares that he has seen the finished temple in vision. There is again no evidence that Joseph worries that they will be denied its blessings.

4 March 1844

at a meeting of the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles, the Temple Committee and others, Joseph Smith announced that under the circumstances "he did not know but it was best to let the Nauvoo house be till the temple is completed. [W]e need the temple more than anything Else . . . . we will let the Nauvoo house stand till the temple is done and we will put all our forces on the temple -- turn all our lumber towards the temple."[23]

Surely Joseph would tell the Twelve—nine of whom he had initiated into all the higher temple ordinances, including the “fullness of the priesthood”—if the Saints were slighting God with regard to the temple. But, he did not (compare 7 March 1844 below).

7 March 1844

A critic, Charles Foster, claims that the Saints cannot finish the Nauvoo temple due to the cost. Joseph therefore proposes that they prove him wrong: “who don[‘]t know that we can put the roof on this building this season? by turning all the means of the N[auvoo] House & doubling our diligence we can do it.”[24] Joseph has thus been content with the pace at which the temple and Nauvoo House are progressing (at times urging more effort to be diverted to the Nauvoo House) and now suggests diverting all effort to the temple. Again, there is no condemnation, nor any hint that the Saints’ chances are running out with Joseph’s death fast approaching (compare 4 March 1844).

10 March 1844

Joseph speaks extensively about election, and the spirit and power of Elijah, which

is that ye have power to hold the keys of the revelations ordinances, oricles powers & endowments of the fulness of the Melchezedek Priesthood & of the Kingdom of God on the Earth & to receive, obtain & perform all the ordinances belonging to the Kingdom of God even unto the sealing of the hearts of the hearts fathers unto the children & the hearts of the children unto the fathers even those who are in heaven….Then what you seal on earth by the Keys of Elijah is sealed in heaven, & this is the power of Elijah, & this is the difference between the spirit & power of Elias and Elijah, for while the spirit of Elias is a forerunner the power of Elijah is sufficient to make our calling & Election sure….[25]

In all this, there is no sign that the Saints are falling behind, or that they are in danger of losing these blessings—and Joseph’s death is less than four months away. He even takes time to assure the congregation that Christ will not come in 1844 as William Miller had predicted, and also prophesies that Christ will not come before 1890.[26] Why would he not address the much more pressing issue of an incomplete temple, if Snuffer’s fanciful historical reconstruction is correct?

15 March 1844

The Church’s official newspaper praises the Nauvoo saints, and encourages those not gathered to Nauvoo to be likewise faithful in building the temple. There is no sign that the Nauvoo Saints are slacking or risking condemnation:

We are also pleased that we can inform our friends abroad, that the saints here of late, have taken hold of the word on the Temple with a zeal and energy that in no small degree excites our admiration. Their united efforts certainly speaks to us, that it is their determination that this spacious edifice shall be enclosed, if not finished, this season. And a word we would say to the Saints abroad, which is, that the Temple is being built in compliance with a special commandment of God not to a few individuals, but to all. Therefore we sincerely hope you will contribute of your means as liberally as your circumstances will allow, that the burden of the work may not rest upon a few, but proportionately upon all.[27]

12 May 1844

it is not only necessary that you should be baptized for your dead, but you will have to go thro' all the ordinances for them, same as you have gone through, to save yourselves; there will be 144,000 Saviors on Mount Zion, and with them an innumerable host, that no man can number—Oh! I beseech you to forward, go forward and make your calling and your election sure—and if any man preach any other gospel with that which I have preached, he shall be cursed, and some of you who now hear me, shall see it & know that I testify the truth concerning them; in regard to the law of the Priesthood—there should be a place where all nations shall come up from time to time to receive their endowments, and the Lord has said, this shall be the place for the baptism for the dead—every man that has been baptized and belongs to the Kingdom, has a right to be baptized for those who are gone before, and, as soon as the Law of the Gospel is obeyed here by their friends, who act as proxy for them, the Lord has administrators there to set them free—a man may act as proxy for his own relatives—the ordinances of the Gospel which was laid out before the foundation of the world has been thus fulfilled, by them, and we may be baptized for those who we have much friendship for, but it must be first revealed to the man of God, lest we should run too far….[28]

Less than two months before his death, Joseph spoke again of both making one’s calling and election sure and of performing ordinances for the dead—both of which he had insisted require the temple. He did not, however, rebuke them or tell them that they were being slothful. Why teach them of matters they cannot—in Snuffer's telling—have?

There is, in short, little or no evidence that the Saints were being slothful in building the Nauvoo temple. At various times, Joseph expressed his pleasure with their progress, encouraged them to diligence, asked that more resources be given to the Nauvoo House, declared he had seen the completed structure in vision, and then later moved full attention back to the temple. He encouraged members to bring all their family to Nauvoo so they would have time to receive their endowments before the wicked disturbed them—a strange command if he believed they would not be permitted to receive those blessings. The textual record simply does not match Snuffer’s rather speculative reconstruction.

How much time were the Saints given to build the temple?

Snuffer argues that “[i]t is critical to know when the time period of that ‘appointment’” with God in the completed temple “ended” (104). It probably would be critical—which is why the silence of Joseph on this matter is so telling.

A look at some figures does not, however, suggest that there is an obvious problem. The Nauvoo temple was 60% larger than the Kirtland temple, with over three times the floor area.[29] The Kirtland construction was commanded on 27 December 1832 (D&C 88:119), and the Saints were severely rebuked for their lack of speed on 1 June 1833 (D&C 95:3,11–17). The dedication took place on 27 March 1836.[30] From commandment to dedication was 1186 days.

From the commandment to the martyrdom at Nauvoo, 1255 days had elapsed. It would seem unreasonable for the Lord to expect a structure more than half again as large to be built within essentially the same number of days, while also building the Nauvoo House, settling a new city on malarial swamp land,[31] and developing all the infrastructure necessary to support both a city and temple construction.

Kirtland’s temple cost $40–60,000;[32] Nauvoo’s was 16–25 times more, requiring a minimum of $1,000,000.[33] Thus, while Nauvoo had a population of 11,057 by 1845 (with a total of 15,000 Mormons in all Hancock County),[34] compared to Kirtland’s 2,025 by 1836,[35] the cost of Nauvoo’s temple was still three times greater on a per person basis: $66.67/citizen compared to Kirtland’s $29.63/citizen. The construction times also favor Nauvoo over Kirtland: Kirtland did $50.59 of work per day, while Nauvoo did $518.94/day to its dedication on 30 April 1846.[36] To be completed by the martyrdom, the Saints would have had to do a staggering $796.81/day.

Put simply, even with Nauvoo’s larger population base, the cost per citizen was 2–3 times higher than Kirtland, with at least ten times more labor and materials expended per day of construction. Only someone committed to seeing the Saints as failures would condemn and downplay this accomplishment, especially as almost all had arrived in Nauvoo destitute. Even getting adequate food was an on-going issue:

“Even the best providers were often short of flour, milk, butter, eggs, and other staples. Almost every letter from this period deals with the great struggle for food.” On balance it should be reported that food supplies were much better by the fall of 1845. Fruit trees planted earlier were now in production, and grain and vegetable products were plentiful. Distribution of these commodities now became the problem as farmers in outlying areas were driven from their farms by mobs, and crops were destroyed.[37]

It seems even more capricious for God to see the Saints fail to pull the plug without a single clear warning from the Prophet or the Lord himself. We can profitably compare the rebuke of June 1833 at Kirtland with the essential silence at Nauvoo:

For ye have sinned against me a very grievous sin, in that ye have not considered the great commandment in all things, that I have given unto you concerning the building of mine house;…Verily I say unto you, it is my will that you should build a house. If you keep my commandments you shall have power to build it. If you keep not my commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with you, therefore you shall walk in darkness (D&C 95:7,11–12).


  1. Portions of this wiki response are based upon Gregory L. Smith, "Passing Up The Heavenly Gift Part 1 Part 2," Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 7 (2103), 181–341. The text here may have been expanded, reworded, or corrected given the nature of a wiki project. References in brackets like this: (xx) refer to page numbers in Denver C. Snuffer, Jr., Passing the Heavenly Gift (Salt Lake City: Mill Creek Press, 2011).
  2. Lisle G. Brown, “The Sacred Departments for Temple Work in Nauvoo: The Assembly Room and the Council Chamber.” Brigham Young University Studies 19/3 (1979): 361.
  3. History of the Church 4:269; citing Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, “A Proclamation of the First Presidency of the Church to the Saints Scattered Abroad, Greeting,” Nauvoo, [Illinois], 15 January 1841. It was also discussed by Joseph in a report in Times and Seasons 1/12 (October 1840): 186.
  4. Stanley B. Kimball, “Heber C. Kimball and Family, The Nauvoo Years,” Brigham Young University Studies 15/, no. 4 (1975): 454.
  5. Manuscript History of the Church, discourse of 24 April 1842; cited in WJS, 114.
  6. The Wasp (23 April 1842); cited in Don F. Colvin, Nauvoo Temple: A Story of Faith (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; printed by Covenant Communications, 2002), 22.
  7. Noah Webster. An American dictionary of the English language (1828), q.v. “redouble”.
  8. Manuscript History of the Church (material in braces from “Book of the Law of the Lord”), discourse of 29 October 1842; cited in WJS, 132.
  9. “The Temple of God in Nauvoo,” Times and Seasons 4/1 (15 November 1841): 10–11.
  10. Willard Richards, Joseph Smith Diary, discourse of 21 February 1843; cited in WJS, 164–166.
  11. See note 203 herein.
  12. See note 201 herein, where he asks that the Nauvoo House be next in priority after one has donated to the temple.
  13. Willard Richards, Joseph Smith Diary, discourse of 6 April 1843; cited in WJS, 175.
  14. Eliza R. Snow Diary, discourse of 11 June 1843; cited in WJS, 215–216.
  15. Colvin, 22–23.
  16. “Minutes of a Special Conference,” Times and Seasons 4/21 (15 September 1843): 331–332, reporting discourse of 9 October 1843; cited in WJS, 254. Joseph Diary, kept by Willard Richards, notes “Hasten the work of the temple. and all the work of the Last Days. Let the elders & saints do away light mindedness and be sober” (255).
  17. “Minutes of a Special Conference,” 330–331; cited in WJS, 252.
  18. Willard Richards, Joseph Smith diary, discourse of 15 October 1843; cited in WJS, 257.
  19. “Editorial Address,” Times and Seasons 5/1 (1 January 1844): 391.
  20. See note 206 herein.
  21. WWJ, 2:341 (discourse of 21 January 1844); cited in WJS, 317–319; Snuffer cites TPJS, 330–331.
  22. History of the Church 6:196–197.
  23. Ehat thesis, 154; citing Joseph Smith, Diary, 4 March 1844.
  24. Willard Richards, Joseph Smith Diary, discourse of 7 March 1844; cited in WJS, 322.
  25. Wilford Woodruff Journal, discourse of 10 March 1844; cited in WJS, 329–331. Also in WWJ, 2:361–362.
  26. WJS, 331–332; see WWJ 2:361–362.
  27. "Our City, and the Present Aspect of Affairs," Times and Seasons 5/6 (15 March 1844): 472
  28. Thomas Bullock report, discourse of 14 May 1844; cited in WJS, 365–369.
  29. Wikipedia lists the Kirtland temple floor area as 15,000 square feet, and Nauvoo as 54,000 square feet. See my conservative calculations in the appendix, which yield 14,400 square feet and 44,143 square feet respectively.
  30. Milton V. Backman, The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830–1838 (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co., 1983), 142–149, 157, 286, 286–294.
  31. See Kyle M, Rollins, Richard D. Smith, M. Brett Borup, and E. James Nelson, “Transforming Swampland into Nauvoo, the City Beautiful,” Brigham Young University Studies 45/3 (2006): 125–157. “[D]rainage benefits were slow in coming [to Midwestern states’ swampland] and generally were not realized until after the Civil War….the drainage efforts in Nauvoo represent a rare early success story” (125). The city’s main drainage ditch alone “would have required at least 22,100 man-hours of effort to complete by hand,” and labor on drainage was a constant throughout the Mormons’ stay in Nauvoo (153).
  32. Backman, 161; Eugene England, Brother Brigham (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980), 26.
  33. Colvin, 44; citing Andrew Jenson Historical Record 8 (June 1889): 872 and Deseret News Church Almanac (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1975), F4.
  34. Glen M. Leonard, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, A People of Promise (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co., 2002), Chapter 8. An earlier work [Leonard J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom (Harvard University Press, 1958), 17] estimated 25,000 Mormons in 1844. The calculations using these older estimates can be seen in the Appendix.
  35. Marvin S. Hill, Larry T. Wimmer, and C. Keith Rooker, “The Kirtland Economy Revisited: A Market Critique of Sectarian Economics,” Brigham Young University Studies 17/4 (1977): 403, 408. The authors note (409) that their assumptions may lead to an underestimate of Kirtland’s population. In all my calculations, I have used the largest estimate for Kirtland’s cost ($60,000), and used the estimate of 15,000 for all Mormons in Hancock County. I have assumed that the entire population was present throughout, which is an obvious over-simplification. My estimates are thus conservative, since these factors will underestimate the cost to individuals who helped throughout construction. Those living away from Nauvoo would also have been less able to provide volunteer labor, though monetary donations were solicited.
  36. From 19 January 1841 to 30 April 1846 is 1927 days.
  37. Colvin, 44; quotation from Kenneth W. Godfrey, “Some Thoughts Regarding an Unwritten History of Nauvoo,” Brigham Young University Studies 15/4 (1975): 420.