Endowment House in Salt Lake City - (1855-1889)

The Endowment House was an early building used (1855-1889) by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) to administer temple ordinances in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory. From the construction of the Council House in 1852, Salt Lake City's first public building, until the construction of the Endowment House, the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints used the top floor of the Council House for administering temple ordinances. When this arrangement proved impractical, Brigham Young (1801-1877) directed Truman Osborn Angell (1810-1887) architect of the Salt Lake Temple, to design a temporary temple. Completed in 1855, the building was dedicated by Heber Chase Kimball (1801-1868) and came to be called the Endowment House after the endowment ceremonies that were conducted inside it.


The Endowment House was used primarily for performing temple ordinances. From 1857 to 1876 the baptismal font was used to perform 134,053 baptisms for the dead. Between 1855 and 1884 54,170 persons received their washings and anointings and endowments. Between 1855 and 1889 68,767 couples were sealed in marriage—31,052 for the living and 37,715 for the dead.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not consider the Endowment House a temple, so they did not perform all temple ordinances in it. Brigham Young explained, “We can, at the present time [1874], go into the Endowment House and be baptized for our dead, receive our washings and anointings, etc. ... We also have the privilege of sealing women to men without a Temple ... but when we come to other sealing ordinances, ordinances pertaining to the holy Priesthood, to connect the chain of the Priesthood from father Adam until now, by sealing children to their parents, being sealed for our forefathers, etc., they cannot be done without a temple”.[1] Hence, there were no sealing of children nor endowments for the dead performed in the Endowment House. These ordinances were first administered in Utah’s first temple, in St. George, in 1877.


  1. ^ Journal of Discourses 16:185.

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