Cardston, Alberta Canada
December 14, 1933
Robert W. Smith, Esq. Salt Lake City, Utah
Dear Brother Smith:
I am pleased to answer your letter of December 1st-first as to the letter of a non-member who wrote of "impressions" received while going through the Temple before it was dedicated, the truth of which letter you ask me to verify and which I am pleased to do.
It was a Quaker lady who was a magazine writer from eastern Canada. She has some relatives in Lethbridge, about 60 miles from Cardston; and being so deeply impressed on her first visit, she had them bring her a second time -this time I was acting as guide. She would sit in each room and never said a word to any in the company, but seemed to be in deep meditation all the time.
When she reached her own home several weeks after, she wrote this letter which has caused so much comment all over the Church. We have never been able to understand how she seemed to know so much about our faith and our belief in our future life and works after death. I never learned her real name. She visited us along in 1921. I have never heard from her since that time, but the letter is genuine, and of her own "impressions!" received while in the Temple while on the two visits she mentions.
Sincerely your Brother,
0/S Elder J. Wood, Pres. Alberta Stake
This is her actual letter of her visions:
We have been to the Temple erected by your church wherein are to be performed the sacred rites in accordance with your faith. The first time I was strongly impelled to describe to you my impressions. I did so but before the completion of the letter, I received some news that so affected me that acting upon the spur of the moment, I destroyed the document in its entirety.
The continued feeling within me of dissatisfaction as to something left undone, coupled with the desire upon the part of the members of my household who had not visited the temple, led to our second visit to Cardston, in which you so kindly consented to accompany us, notwithstanding the inclement weather and personal inconvenience to yourself which the journey entailed.
It was because of this and many other evidences of your friendship that has given me the privilege to presume to bother you with what after all may be foolish fantacies of a too impressionable mentality. To me it does seem so, for never before in my life have such powerful impressions been infringed upon my inner consciousness as during my visit thru the Temple. Especially was this true at our second visit. The impressions of our first visit were repeated with such overwhelming intensity and variety of detail that I must positively inform you of my experience.
It seems to me it were a sacred duty upon my part to do this, and knowing as I do that your friends will lightly ridicule what to me is a personal matter, I am going to give you in detail my experience in the hope, that if it is well, maybe it is something more than imagination, that you and others of your faith may wisely analyze and correctly use whatever may be gleaned from this letter.
A fortress in time of storm, was the first thought that shaped itself in my mind with my first view of this ancient, yet modern temple; mellowed with the spiritual usage of ancient civilization and customs, yet alert, virile, and watchful.
A grand, solemn, strong, beautiful, useful house of spiritual progression which seemed to be the embodiment of architectural expression of ancient civilization and glories suddenly re-incarnated and for a future and higher civilization than our own. Strength and beauty exaggerated the more flimsy houses and buildings of the town and gave a painfully obvious example of how the soul within is expressed thru the material body, either in the individual or nation, or a race, either in the man or his architecture. Try how I would I could not get away from the feeling that the town itself was inferior to the latest building, so new and yet so old. Even the electric lights failed to change this thought, that the Temple and the town represented two different epochs of humanity’s spiritual development expressed in architecture. The town embodied the present epoch, science, art, invention harnessed purely for trade or commerce, irrespective of past or future development. The Temple embodies the accumulated knowledge of the ancient world combined with the modern inventions of science and inspiration as the road to a higher future development so near at hand. Let me put it down even another way.
There is a place called Cardston. A Temple linking the past with the present has been built at Cardston and the town has become a collection of flimsy huts nestling at the foot of the Temple which will continue to function for the spiritual purposes for which it is raised.
Just as the exterior impressions compared with the present and future epochs so did the interior also reflect comparison. Of the beautiful and artistic effects I need not dwell; abler pens can describe the interior from this viewpoint. Sufficient for me to say that the shape of the Temple is a cross, that each apartment is symbolical in artistic and structural effects of some stage of humanity's progress thru the ages. In fact, everything physical is a stepping stone to spiritual progress as such is typified in these ceremonies.
All this was kindly and intelligently explained to us by Mr. Duce on one occasion and by Mr. Wood on the second visit; but I am afraid I was very indifferent and inattentive upon both occasions, for which I tender them my sincere apologies. I had no intentions of being rude or discourteous, but from the moment of entering the Temple until leaving, I was placed in the position of having, as it were, to listen to and grasp a dual narrative all the time, with the result that so engrossed was I at times that I am afraid I was so absent-minded as to appear inattentive if not positively stupid.
I have stated that my impression of the exterior of the building was that of a place of waiting for a higher civilization than our present one. This would suggest a condition of emptiness, but that is not what I mean. An ordinary newly erected building has no atmosphere at all until it has been inhabited some time; after which, it has, as it were, a living atmosphere. What kind of an atmosphere this is, is largely determined by the spiritual development and thought of the persons using and inhabiting the building. This applies especially to places of worship or consecration, and is very noticeable to a sensitive person. Sometimes such an atmosphere is agreeable, exalting, etc.; sometimes very much the reverse, depending upon the spiritual harmony or otherwise of the persons under this atmospheric rule; but was not so as far as it was concerned while outside the Temple.
I could not understand the overwhelming scene of ancient atmosphere which the building actually possessed in its very granite blocks in spite of the fact that I know a few months previous these stones had been laid, yet the feeling of age predominated. I dismissed the feeling as well as I could by thinking that the place of the structure was responsible for the suggestion of age, but when I entered the Temple, how quickly I found there was nothing to suggest to me that present atmosphere of which I have spoken, but was it empty? Emphatically no! Time and again as I listened to the speaker explaining some phase of the building or its meaning, I would be seeing beyond him some illustration of kaleidoscopic nature, depicting what he was describing, only more completely and vividly. The characters were so plain to me that I required all my self control to keep silent from room to room. This continued and only ceased when we were out in the frost and snow once more.
There was no set plan for presenting these pictures to me. It seemed as if when I thought something mental, a picture instantly presented itself in explanation of some word of the conductor, which would have the same effect. I was not afraid, only awed by the wonder of it all and the fearful impressive feeling that I received which seemed to imbed every little detailed scene into my brain, from which it will ever remember and record; and vivid as all of it was, these incidents herein related are the ones upon which I received instructions.
The scenes which I observed of an historical character seemed chiefly to verify and amplify the speaker's outline of past history, and so I do not feel impressed to record such, except to state that the same patriarchal characters whom I observed directing and influencing the early movements of the Church, were the same down through every age and epoch, and as the scenes advanced to more modern times, I saw among these spiritual characters and counselors, persons whose features I had previously observed as being in the material body on other historical occasions.
It seemed as though the temple was filled with the actual spiritual bodies of these previous leaders of your church, each seeming to have the work that person was engaged in whilst in the flesh. In that temple I saw persons who were leaders of your church, during its march across the American desert now engaged in helping these higher patriarchs under whose orders they seemed to be working. It was these latter spiritual leaders, if I may use that term, who seemed to be instructed to show me the scenes here recorded.
I can give no time as to the happening, except that the impressions I received were of actual present or immediate future.
I saw first a brief but comprehensive sketch of the present state of the world, or as you would term it, the Gentile Kingdoms. Each country in turn was shown, its anarchy, hunger, ambitions, distrusts and warlike activities, etc., and in my mind was formed from some source the words, "As it is today with the Gentiles."
I saw international war again break out with its center upon the Pacific Ocean, but sweeping and encircling the whole globe.
I saw that the opposing forces were roughly divided by so-called Christianity on the one side, and by the so-called followers of Mohammed and Buddha on the other. I saw that the great driving power within these so-called Christian nations, was the Great Apostasy of Rome, in all its political, social and religious aspects. I saw the worldwide dislocation and devastation of production and slaughter of people occur more swiftly and upon a larger scale than ever before. I saw an antagonism begin to express itself from those so-cal1ed Christian nations against your people. I saw those with a similar faith to yours in the far east begin to look toward Palestine for safety.
I saw the international world war automatically break down, and national revolution occur in every country, and complete the work of chaos and desolation. I saw geological disturbances occur, which helped in this work as if it were intended to do so. I saw the Cardston Temple preserved from all of this geological upheaval. I saw the international boundary line disappear as these two governments broke up and dissolved into chaos. I saw race rioting upon the American continent on a vast scale.
I saw hunger and starvation in this world; I saw disease produced by hunger, strife and chaos complete the end of this present order or epoch. How long these events were in reaching this consummation I do not know, but my impression was from the outbreak of the international war these things developed into a continuous procession, and almost ran concurrently, as it is with a sickness, the various symptoms are all in evidence at one and the same time, but in different stages of development.
My intensified thought was "What of the Church," if such is to become of the Kingdoms of the earth? Was immediately answered by a subconscious statement. "As it is in the church today," and I saw these higher spiritual beings throughout the length and breadth of the air, marshalling their spiritual forces, and concentrating them upon the high officials of your church upon earth.
I saw the spiritual forces working upon those officers, impressing and moving them, influencing and warning them. I saw the spiritual forces begin to unfold these things into the minds of your elders and other high officials, especially during their spiritual devotions and official duties, and those activities which exalt the mind of the individual or groups. I saw the impressions take hold and inspire the more receptive and spiritual men, until it was all clearly revealed to them in the way the spiritual patriarch desired.
Again I seemed to hear the words, "As it will be." I saw the high officials in council, and under inspired guidance issue instructions to your people to re-consecrate their lives and energies to their faith, to voluntarily discipline themselves, by abstaining from all those forms of indulgence which weaken the body, sap the mentality and deaden the spirit, or waste the income.
I saw further on, instructions given whereby places of refuge were prepared quietly but efficiently by inspired elders. I saw Cardston and the surrounding foothills, especially north and west, for miles, being prepared as a refuge for your people quietly but quickly.
I saw elders still under divine guidance, counseling and encouraging the planting of every available acre of soil in this district, so that large supplies would be near the refuge. I saw the church property under cultivation of an intensified character, not for sale or profit, but for the use of the people. I saw artesian wells and other wells dug all over that territory so that when the open waters were polluted and poisoned that the people of the church and their cattle should be provided for.
I saw the fuel resources of the district develop in many places and vast piles of coal and timber stored for future use and building. I saw the territory carefully surveyed and mapped out, for the camping of a great body of the people of the church. I saw provision also made for a big influx of people who will not at first belong to the church, but who will gather in their tribulation.
I saw vast quantities of surgical appliances, medicines, disinfectants, etc., stored in the temple basement. I saw inspiration given the elders whereby the quantity, quality and kind of things to be stored were judged, which might not be attainable in this territory in time of chaos. I saw defensive preparations working out the organizations of the camps on maps.
I saw the mining corridors used as places of storage underground: I saw the hills surveyed and corrals built in sequestered places for cattle, sheep, etc., quietly and quickly. I saw the plans for the organization of the single men and their duties, the scouts, the guards, the nurses, the cooks, the messengers, the children, the herders, the temple guards, etc.. I saw these things going on practically unknown to the Gentile world, except the Great Apostasy, whose knowledge and hatred is far reaching, in this day of its temporary power. This was going on piece by piece as the Elders were instructed so to do.
I saw the other officials obeying the inspired instructions, carrying their message and exhorting the people to carry out, from time to time the revelation given them, whilst all around throughout the Gentile world the chaos developed in its varying stages, faction against faction, nation against nation, but all in open or secret hostility to your people and their faith. I saw your people draw closer and closer together, as this became more tense and as the spiritual forces warned them through the mouth of your elders and your other officers. I saw the spiritual forces influencing those members who had drifted away, to re-enter the fold. I saw a greater tithing than ever before. I saw vast quantities of necessaries supplied by members whose spiritual eyes had been opened. I saw a liquidation of properties and effects disposed of quietly but quickly by members of the church, as the spiritual influences directed them.
I saw the inspired call sent forth to all the church, to gather to the refuges of Zion. I saw the stream of your people quietly moving in the direction of their refuge. I saw your people moving more quickly and in larger numbers until all the stragglers were housed. I saw the wireless message flashed from Zion's refuge to Zion's refuge in their several places that all was well with them, and then the darkness of chaos closed around the boundaries of your people, and the last days of tribulation had begun.