Section 149A: Temple Clarifications


Previous Editions

Earliest Source

1970 D&C 149A

1990 D&C






Having made the needs of the church a matter of earnest prayer during the time that the document which is now Section 149 was being considered by the councils, quorums, and orders, I became acutely aware that there was need for additional instruction as guidance for the church. As a consequence, I was awakened at a very early hour on the morning of April 4 and, being motivated by the Spirit of the Lord, prepared the following document as further guidance in relation to matters already under consideration pertaining to the work of the bishop and the building of the temple.

To the Councils, Quorums, Orders, and the Church:


Nothing contained in the April 1 document is in derogation of the work of the bishop. On the contrary it recognizes him as a “necessary appendage belonging unto the high priesthood” (Doctrine and Covenants 83:5). The emphasis in this case is on “necessary.” The instructions given in Doctrine and Covenants 128:2, 3 and 129:8 are still valid for the guidance of the church, but the work alluded to must necessarily be carried out under the general guidance of those who are rightfully in charge of the work as the presidency in any jurisdictional division of the church.


This further means that the bishop, when assigned, will be recognized in his rightful place as a bishop in his own right to initiate in consultation with the local authorities those programs which under the law are recognized as necessary in his ministry, being responsible in such matters to the local, stake, regional, or district conference having jurisdiction.


In further interpretation of the role of the bishop, it is necessary to understand that his support of programs will be sought by administrative officers in consultation at time of formulation and when agreed will be administered in accordance with that agreement and budgets applicable thereto; it being understood that those in the administrative line will give general direction and be kept fully informed as to the progress being made.


It should be further understood that in cases of difference, the rightful line of appeal is to the proper administrative officer in that jurisdiction with final appeal to the First Presidency.


In explanation of the use of the word “surplus” in reference to building the temple so that no one shall be denied an opportunity to participate as fully as possible, surplus shall be construed in its wider meaning to include that amount available for special appropriation from the tithes and offerings of the Saints after the budgetary needs of the church have been met, as well as those funds which are consecrated as surplus under the more restrictive use of the term.


It is also to be noted that the full and complete use of the temple is yet to be revealed but that there is no provision for secret ordinances now or ever, although there will be provision for instructional opportunities which will of necessity be restricted to the particular category concerned, viz, high priests, patriarchs, bishops, seventies, elders, Aaronic priesthood, and so forth.

Beyond these more specific instructions I am extremely happy to be able to express my deep appreciation for the devotion evidenced in the support you have given to the work entrusted to all. Be faithful and diligent and the blessings of God will be yours in abundance.

Your servant in Christ,

W. Wallace Smith
President of the Church
Independence, Missouri
April 5, 1968