Revised Plan of the House of the Lord, circa 10 August–circa 4 September 1833

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

An explanation of the following pattern.
This for the is to be built first in ; and is to be 97 feet long, and 61 feet wide within the walls, and divided [a]nd arranged in the following manner, viz: No. 1 is to represent a pul[pi]t for the President of the ; No. 2. Do. for and his counsellors; No. 2. D[itt]o [for] the ; No. 3. Do. for the , and No 4. Do. for [the] . These seats are to occupy 9 by 14 feet, and are elevated as follows, [v]iz the first, or No 4. one foot; the next, or No. 3. 2 feet, the next, or No. 2 3. feet the next, or No. 1. 4 feet. The three highest are to have each three Coves or stands for their respective speakers. The seats on each side are to be occupied by visiting brethren of the same grade of office, occupying 6 by 14 feet, and elevated as follows, viz: The first, or No. 4. are to be raised 8 inches, the second, or [No.] 3. 16 inches; the third, or No. 2. 24 inches; the third <​fourth​> or No. 4 1. 32. inches. No.s 5, 6, 7, & 8, in [t]he east end of the inner court represent pulpits to be oocupied by the , as follows, viz: No. 5. by the ; No. 6. by the ; No. 7 by the , and No. 8 by the . The side seats to be occupied by visiting of[fi]cers of the same grade. The pulpits in the east are to be built after the [sam]e form, and elevated in the same manner as those in the west, all e off with pannel work in the best workmanlike manner. No. 9 represents five seats containing 12 by 14 feet, in each corner of the house, to be occupied by singers, constructed so as to face the respective pulpits, and elevated as follows, viz: The seat nearest the pulpit is to raise rise 6 inches, the next 12 inches, and so on to the last, one rising 6 inches higher than the other. No. 10 represents two rows of pews, one on each side of the house containing 45 by 14 feet, and divided into [f]ourteen rows <​of seats​> each. No. 11 represents two tiers of pews, contain[in]g 25 by 12½ feet each, and each tier divided into fourteen seats each. N[o.] 12 represents four Aisles, occupying 9 by 14 feet. There may be two in each aisle, the length of it, that is, 14 feet, one facing west, and the [other] east. No. 13 represents four fire-places. The chimneys should be con[structe]d in the walls. No. 14 represents two aisles four feet wide, run[ning the] whole length of the inner court from east to west. No. 15 [represent]s four aisles two feet wide between the pulpits. No. 16 represents [two ve]stries for depositing the sacred furniture of the . [No. 17 re]presents stairways and stairs. No. 18 represents four inch [spac]es marked between the pews, for the purpose of dropping [a curt]ain or vail, which is to hang in the upper wall, or arch to be [dropped d]own at pleasure, and divide the house in <​to​> four parts if [nece]ssary, the vails crossing at right angles as marked on plan. No. 19 represents a swing table 2½ feet wide to be raised [or] let down at pleasure. This table is to hold the . [N]o. 20 represents two seats, one to face each pulpit.
Note 1. Observe, that as there are pulpits in each end of the house, to avoid the necessity of the backs of the congregation being towards the [s]peaker at any time, the must be finished with pews in[s]tead of slips. The seats in the pews must be so constructed that [th]ey can be slipped, or moved from one side of the pew to the other [a]t pleasure, and then the congregation can without trouble change their position at any time, and always face the speaker.
Note 2. The pulpit in the west end of the house is to have vails, so that they may [be] shut out from the view of the congregation whenever necessary: That is, a vail will hang between the President of the high priest hood and his counsellors, and the bishop; between the bishop and his counsellors, and the high priests; between the high priests and elders; between the elders and the congregation, that is, four vails. N.B. The pulpits in the east are to be furnished with vails in the same manner.
Note 3. The stairs are to commence from the outer doors, that is, firstly a broad step, and another at the angle as you ascend. N.B. The two doors leading into the inner court are to be double pannel, two feet each, opening four feet, the whole wedth of the aisles.
Note 4. The upper story is to be finished after the same form of the lower one, and each story must be at least fifteen feet between the floors.
Note 5. There must be hooks and rings to suspend the vails, or curtains with, so that they can be raised or let down at pleasure. N.B. Each room is to be finished with an eliptic arch.
Explanation of the Side View.
This view represents nine forty eight light windows above and below, of 7 by 9 glass. The east window below, opposite the vestry, is to be blind. [T]he sils and lintels are to be hewn stone. The lintels are to extend each [w]ay a few inches, as represented on the plan. Gothics tops are to set over each window upon the lintels as represented on the plan. Raise the windows a propper distance from the foundations, according to judgment.
The foundation is to be rough stone a sufficient highth, and then four rows of hewn stone as represented on the plan; the remainder of the walls of brick of the best kind. Raise the ground round the as high as the rough wall. And when all the houses are built upon the squares, the ground will raise rise at an equal distance from each.
Explanation of the End View. East.
This represents five windows, and two doors. Four of the windows of same as those in the side. The middle window is to contain 60 [lig]hts of glass besides the side lights, and the top. The doors are [to] be double pannel, each door to be 2½ feet wide, and to clear five feet when open. There are to be side lights as represented, and also gothic tops. The middle window is to be so set that the light will reflect above and below, as represented on the plan, where the line is drawn from side to side. The gable end is to be finished with a fan light as represented on the plan. N.B. Take the pitch of the roof from the draft.
Note 1. The east doors are to open opposite the 4 feet aisles.
Note 2. There is to be a window as large as necessary, directly over the east pulp[i]t, to convey the light from the outer court through to the inner court.
Note 3. There will be no petition in the upper story, there will be a rail[i]ng over the lower petition far enough east to give room for a sufficient aisle. The east seats in the pulpits east will need a back work sufficiently high to rest the back.
Explanation of the End View West.
This represents nine windows; eight of them the same form & size of the side windows, and the middle one like the middle window in the east end. N.B. There being an error in putting the upper windows too low, it was thought needless to finish the plan; you will therefore put the four common windows above, the proper height. Also a fan light in the gable end.
It will be nesessary to have fourteen pillars for to support the building. Commence these pillars with rough stone as low in the surface as the rough foundation. These pillars are to be reared within the foundation walls. Wood will answer above the first & second floors; but they must stand directly over each other: That is, the pillars upon the first floor, must stand over, or upon those beneath, and so with these those in the upper story.
☞Remarks.— Those patterns previously sent you, per mail, by our brethren, were incorrect in some respects; being drawn in grate haste. They have therefore drawn these, which are correct. The form of the city was also incorrect, being drawn in haste. also We send you annother. I have found since my arrival, that our brethren here, have spared no pains nor labor to assist us in in all things, as fast as they had understanding communicated to them. They have withheld no revelations, nor precious knowledge of any kind; neither have they failed, [i]n the recption of our letters containing questions, to answer them immediately. I have every reason to believe, that we have often lost valuable information. In short, I may say, that our brethren here have always had the warmest feelings of friendship and esteem for us, and as deep an interest for the cause of as ourselves; and even now, they pray for her deliverance unceasingly, and manifest a love for her inhabitants, stronger than death! And although it is manifest, that it is wisdom for me to tarry in this land for a season, yet I can say in truth, that my affections, my heart, and my all are in — I love her trees— I love her springs— I love her rivers— I love her pearling streams— I love her beautiful and soul-charming landscapes, and rolling prairies— I love her dust— I love her inhabitants, and nothing but their salvation and to do the will of our Lord, would persuade me to take my life in my hand, and travel amid death and destruction alone a long and lonesome journey. And O, my everlasting father, gra[n]t in th[e] name of Jesus, that I may meet you again on that holy mountain— O that he would deliver her from her enemies— O that the day of her salvation was now come— And O that I with you may yet see her wastes exalted, her ruined places built up, her towers reach to heaven, her streets paved with gold, and finally she purified and sanctified, and bourn triumphant to the bosom of the Father through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen. God bless you brethren in Christ, is the prayer of your unworthy brother,
[Drawing of side view of House of the Lord]
Side View. [p. [1]]
Section 1
Door 5 feet
No. 166 feet wide
12 by 14
No 9
139 by 14
Section 2
61 feet wideEast
10 feet taken off for an entry and stairway
6No 156No 156
6 feet wide
Section 3
Door 5 feet
6 feet wide
DoorNo 16
12 by 14
No 9
9 by 1413
Section 4
No 12
No 14
97 feet Long45 feet by 14
4 feet wide
No 10
9 by 14
Section 5
No 20
25 by 12½18No 1825 by 12½
No 11No 11
No 20
6 feet wide
Section 6
No 12
No 14
45 by 14 feet
4 feet wide
No 10
9 by 14
Section 7
No 12
12 by 14
No 9
Section 8
Swing Table 19
3No 153No 153
No 1No 11
6 by 149 by 146 by 14
Section 9
No 12
12 by 14
No 9
Drawn by [p. [2]]
☞Note—— There is to be a ballcony on the east end of the sufficient to contain and support a large bell.
[Drawing of east end view of House of the Lord]
Eend View East.
Drawn by [p. [3]]
[Drawing of west end view of House of the Lord]
West End View. [p. [4]]


  1. new scribe logo

    Oliver Cowdery handwriting begins.  

  2. 1

    The original explanation for the plan of the House of the Lord sent in June read, “This house of the Lord for the Presidency.” This revised plan added the words “to be built first in Zion,” indicating that, of the twenty-four temples to be built in Jackson County, this one was to be constructed first. (See Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  3. 2

    In the June plan, the length of the building is eighty-seven feet. Both plans allocate ten feet at the east end for the vestibule, or entry foyer, where the stairway to the upper floors was to be located. This directive also clarified the original dimensions by noting the interior width, supplanting the ambiguous wording in the June plan that simply stated that the building was to be sixty-one feet wide. (See Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  4. 3

    TEXT: “[Page torn]nd”. Because of several page tears, some text is missing from this document. In such places, text has been editorially supplied. The supplied text here and in the rest of the transcription is based on syntax and common spellings.  

  5. 4

    The following explanations for “No. 1” through “No. 20” correspond to numbers marked on the interior floor plan on the second page of this document.  

  6. 5

    In the June plan, the seats were to occupy a space measuring eight by fourteen feet. (See Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  7. 6

    The “inner court” refers to the main assembly hall. This same term was used in the early June revelation describing the temple to be built in Kirtland. (Revelation, 1 June 1833 [D&C 95:15–17].)  

  8. 7

    The June plan numbered the east pulpits for the lesser priesthood 1, 2, 3, and 4—the same as the west pulpits for the higher priesthood. (See Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  9. 8

    TEXT: Possibly “done”.  

  10. 9

    For more information on the design of the pulpits and the various priesthood “grades” the pulpits were to serve, see Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.  

  11. 10

    In terms of location, orientation, and elevation, the specifications for these choir pews in the revised plan are the same as in the June plan, except that their overall width is shorter by one foot. (See Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  12. 11

    The shorter building length of the June plan allowed for only twelve rows. (See Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  13. 12

    TEXT: Possibly “feet”.  

  14. 13

    The aisle width between the pulpits was not specified in the June plan.  

  15. 14

    The June plan called for this swing, or drop-leaf, table to be four feet wide, which would have allowed for only one foot between the front edge of the raised table and the beginning of the center pew section. In this revised plan, the longer building and narrower table dimensions allow for a three-and-a-half- foot space, thus facilitating distribution of the emblems of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. (See Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  16. 15

    The purpose of these two single seats, one on each end, facing the pulpits, is unknown.  

  17. 16

    The June plan gave no dimensions for these inner doors.  

  18. 17

    The June plan called for fourteen-foot stories. The extra foot given here seems insufficient for the second-floor girders and joists.  

  19. 18

    This window might have been made “blind” to provide privacy for the two east-end vestry rooms.  

  20. 19

    Such extensions were neither depicted nor discussed in the June plan.  

  21. 20

    This instruction is not found in the June plan.  

  22. 21

    With four layers of carefully detailed hewn stone, this drawing doubled the amount of stone that the June plan called for. (See Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  23. 22

    The June plan had clearer instructions for this feature: “Let the under part or foundation of the house be of stone let it be raised sufficiently high to admit of banking up so high as to admit of a descent every way from the house.” In addition to serving as useful drainage for rain and snow melt, the ground sloping down and away from the house might have served aesthetic purposes in that it would have hid the roughstone portion of the foundation. (Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  24. 23

    “Houses” refers to the twenty-four temples planned to be built in the two central city squares on the revised plat of the city of Zion. (See Revised Plat of the City of Zion, ca. Early Aug. 1833.)  

  25. 24

    The horizontal line that runs through the middle of the east-end view of the building marks the location of the interior floor and is not an exterior feature. Triangular slope lines running from the top of the foundation to the ground are also visible, though Frederick G. Williams or someone else apparently tried to erase them from the plan.  

  26. 25

    TEXT: Possibly “them”.  

  27. 26

    More detail is given here than was provided in the June plan. (See Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  28. 27

    The drawn specifications of the interior view on the second page show that the doors were to be five feet wide. Thus, the statement “each door to be 2½ feet wide” refers to each of the doors’ two panels.  

  29. 28

    Given the dimensions of the middle window, including the side lights, here specified for the first time, the middle window would have been more than sixty percent larger than the other windows.  

  30. 29

    Detail of the gable window in the shape of a fan appears on this document’s third page, on the drawing of the east-end view of the building.  

  31. 30

    “Draft” refers to the June plan, which called for the roof to have a “one fourth ptich.” (Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  32. 31

    The “outer court” refers to the ten-foot vestibule on the east end where the stairways and vestry closets were to be located. The “inner court” refers to the main assembly hall. The window mentioned here was meant to allow the light entering through the large central window in the outer east wall to pass through the vestibule and into the inner court.  

  33. 32

    More detail regarding the second-floor balcony on the east end is given here than in the June plan. (See Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  34. 33

    This provision, necessitated by the window in the wall directly behind this upper row of pulpits, had been overlooked in the original plan.  

  35. 34

    The drawing for the east-end view of the House of the Lord was created with more color and detail than the drawing of the west-end view. This statement suggests that Missouri church officials were to add color and detail, similar to what appeared on the east-end sketch, to the west-end drawing.  

  36. 35

    The June plan omits any guidance regarding the interior pillars or support columns.  

  37. 36

    The “patterns”—including the plan of the House of the Lord and the plat and explanation of the city of Zion—were sent from Kirtland on 26 June 1833 and reached church leaders in Jackson County on 29 July 1833. (Plat of the City of Zion, ca. Early June–25 June 1833; Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 25 June 1833; Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833.)  

  38. 37

    “They” probably refers to the members of the presidency of the high priesthood, all of whom shared a vision of what the House of the Lord should look like, though Frederick G. Williams alone drew both the original plans and these revised plans. (See Historical Introduction to Plan of the House of the Lord, between 1 and 25 June 1833.)  

  39. 38

    The “form of the city” refers to the explanation of the plat of the city of Zion, which was sent to Missouri on 26 June 1833 and arrived there on 29 July 1833. The revised city plat and modified temple design were sent to Jackson County with Orson Hyde and John Gould. (Plat of the City of Zion, ca. Early June–25 June 1833; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 25 June 1833; Letter to Vienna Jaques, 4 Sept. 1833.)  

  40. 39

    Cowdery arrived in Kirtland on 9 August 1833. (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 10 Aug. 1833.)  

  41. 40

    It is not clear what information, if any, was lost.  

  42. 41

    The tenor of these comments reflects a long history of Missouri leaders’ periodic dissatisfaction with and suspicion of the Church of Christ leadership in Kirtland. (See, for example, Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832; Letter to William W. Phelps, 11 Jan. 1833; and Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 14 Jan. 1833.)  

  43. 42

    See Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833; and the JS postscript in Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 10 Aug. 1833.  

  44. 43

    After Oliver Cowdery arrived in Kirtland, JS wrote that Cowdery “will or aught rather to stay with me or in this land until I am permitted to Come with him.” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833.)  

  45. 44

    Missouri had been Oliver Cowdery’s home from 1831 to late July 1833. JS similarly wrote that Cowdery’s “heart bleeds as it were for Zion yea never did the hart pant for the cooling streem as doth the heart of thy Brothe[r] Oliver for thy salvation.” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833.)  

  46. 45

    Oliver Cowdery expressed similar sentiments in a letter he wrote to Missouri the day after his arrival in Kirtland. (See Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 10 Aug. 1833.)  

  47. 46

    See Isaiah 11:9; 56:7; 57:13.  

  48. 47

    See Isaiah 51:3; Ezekiel 36:36, 38; Psalm 48:11–12; and Revelation 21:21.  

  49. 48

    See Old Testament Revision 1, p. 16 [Moses 7:24].  

  50. 49

    Around the same time the explanation featured here was drafted, JS likewise prayed, “O God I ask thee in the name of Jesus of nazereth to Save all things concerning Zion and build up her wait [waste] places and restore all things O god send forth Judgement unto victory O come down and cause the moutans [mountains] to flow down at thy presance.” (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833.)  

  51. new scribe logo

    Frederick G. Williams handwriting begins.