In 1882, David John was called from Provo to serve as a Temple missionary in the St. George Temple. What was his surprise when he started his temple work?
a. Learning that the endowment was not given in Kirtland
b. Discovering that a man could only be sealed to one plural wife
c. Hearing that the temple was constructed on a swamp
d. Having it made known to him that Wilford Woodruff did the temple work for all the U.S. Presidents except for Martin Van Buren
And while it is true that the Order as an economic experiment eventually failed and faded away (John Taylor ended it in 1882), it accomplished much. It promoted thrift, created employment, and assured better, faster development of resources. Again from Arrington: “The United Order . . . helped to keep Utah economically independent of the East longer and more completely than would otherwise have been the case.” And spiritually, many managed to live by the precepts of “the great experiment.” Its central spiritual emphasis—obedience to the law of consecration—live on inside the walls of the temple, where it found permanent expression in temple ordinances. Brigham Young was reported to have said, “Several attempts had been made to work in the United Order, and almost as many failures were the result. In consequence of tradition and the weakness of our human nature, we could not bring our feelings to obey this Holy requirement. The spirt had prompted him to see if the brethren would do anything by way of an approach to it, and hence we had commence to build Temples, which was a very necessary work and which was centering the feelings of the people for a still further union of effort. “What was the United Order?” asked Brigham Young’s son Apostle Brigham Young Jr. in April 1877. “It was the order of heaven, the system which prevailed among the heavenly hosts, as we should find when we get to where God and His Christ dwelt. . . The progress of the members of this Church who will not receive and carry out the principles of the United order is at an end; and this temple [Saint George] will be a means to test the faithfulness an purity of the Latter-day Saints.”
“Which is the Wisest Course,” The Transformation in Mormon Temple Consciousness, 1870-1898. Richard E. Bennett, BYU Studies Vol. 52, No. 2, 2013, 16.