Skip main navigationSkip main navigation

Historic

Sites

Nauvoo Temple

Nauvoo, Illinois

Introduction

The Nauvoo Temple was the first in which ordinances such as eternal marriage and baptism for the dead were performed. This temple, which was such an integral part of the Lord's work, was not completed before Joseph Smith died a martyr.

Construction of the Nauvoo Temple began in the spring of 1841 on a hilltop overlooking the Mississippi River. The Saints eagerly labored to receive the blessings promised by the Lord. In the baptismal font, dedicated nine months later, the Saints performed proxy baptisms in behalf of the dead.

Work on the temple continued at great sacrifice after the death of Joseph Smith, and portions of the temple were dedicated as they were completed. Between December 1845 and February 1846, nearly 6,000 Latter-day Saints received their endowments in this house of the Lord before moving west. The temple was dedicated in the spring of 1846.

After the Saints left Illinois, the temple was destroyed by fire and a tornado. The Church reacquired the temple lot in 1937 and rebuilt the Nauvoo Temple on its original site in 2002.

Quotes

Joseph Smith Quotes

Never since the foundation of this Church was laid, have we seen manifested a greater willingness to comply with the requisitions of Jehovah, a more ardent desire to do the will of God, more strenuous exertions used, or greater sacrifices made than there have been since the Lord said, "Let the Temple be built by the tithing of my people." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 230.)

Witnesses

John Taylor, 3rd President of the Church, 1880–1887 

When the Temple was commanded to be built in Nauvoo, after the Temple had been built in Kirtland, and after so many keys had been turned, and after so many manifestations, visions and ministrations had been had, yet it was said then that there was not a place upon the earth in which to perform the ordinance of baptism for the dead, and Joseph was commanded to build a house for that purpose. (Deseret News: Semi-Weekly, June 10, 1884, 1.)

Key Events

Revelations Received

  • No revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants were received at this site. — 

Readings

Online Resources at LDS.org

Online Resources at BYU