In keeping with this week’s theme, the following is a story told by John Taylor about his conversation with Baron Rothschild and a latter-day temple to be built in Israel.

Temple Mount Jerusalem In looking still forward we find that there are other things ahead of us. One thing is the building of Temples, and that is a very important item, and ought to rest with force upon the minds of all good Saints. I remember, some time ago, having a conversation with Baron Rothschild, a Jew.

I was showing him the Temple here, and said he—“Elder Taylor, what do you mean by this Temple? What is the object of it? Why are you building it?” Said I, “Your fathers had among them Prophets, who revealed to them the mind and will of God; we have among us Prophets who reveal to us the mind and will of God, as they did. One of your Prophets said—“The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his Temple, but who may abide the day of his coming? For he shall sit as a refiner’s fire and a purifier of silver.”

“Now,” said I, “Sir, will you point me out a place on the face of the earth where God has a Temple?” Said he, “I do not know of any.” “You remember the words of your Prophets that I have quoted?”

Said he—“Yes, I know the Prophet said that, but I do not know of any Temple anywhere. Do you consider that this is that Temple?” “No, sir, it is not.” “Well, what is this Temple for?” Said I, “The Lord has told us to build this Temple so that we may administer therein baptisms for our dead (which I explained to him,) and also to perform some of the sacred matrimonial alliances and covenants that we believe in, that are rejected by the world generally, but which are among the purest, most exalting and ennobling principles, that God ever revealed to man.”

“Well, then, this is not our Temple?” “No, but,” said I, “You will build a Temple, for the Lord has shown us, among other things, that you Jews have quite a role to perform in the latter days, and that all the things spoken by your old prophets will be fulfilled, that you will be gathered to old Jerusalem, and that you will build a Temple there; and when you build that Temple, and the time has arrived, ‘the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his Temple.’ Do you believe in the Messiah?” “Yes.” “Do you remember reading in your old prophets something like this—“They shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn, and be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. And one shall say, What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy side? And he will say—These with which I was wounded in the house of my friends?’”

“Ah! Is that in our Bible?” “Yes, sir, that is in your Bible.” I spake to him then about the Nephites having left Jerusalem and told him that the Book of Mormon represents them as descendants of their people, and that Jesus came among them, and that they, because of their iniquity and departure from the word and law of God, were stricken . . . .

. . . “this people are beginning to feel after these things, that they are coming by hundreds and by thousands and demanding baptism at our hands, just as you find recorded in that book that they would do, and that is given there as a sign that God’s work had commenced among all nations.

Said he—“What evidence have you of this?” This conversation took place in the Townsend House, and when the Baron asked me for evidence, said I—“Sir, if you will excuse me a few minutes I will give you some evidence;” and I went to Savage’s book stand, in the Townsend Hose, and obtained a photographic copy of David Cannon baptizing Indians, standing in the midst of a great crowd of them.

Said I—“Here is the evidence.” “Well, what shall we do?” Said I—“You can do nothing unless God directs. You as a people are tied hand and foot, and have been for generations, and you can’t move a peg unless God strikes off your fetters. When he says the word the things spoken of by the Prophets will be fulfilled; then the measuring line will go forth again in Jerusalem, then your Messiah will come, and all those things spoken of by the Prophets will be fulfilled.”1


  1. Taylor, John. Journal of Discourses. 18:193-203. The foregoing is an excerpt of Elder Taylor’s talk at the 46th annual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, April 6, 1876.

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