History of the Church Series

The Appearance of Elijah and Moses in the Kirtland Temple and the Jewish Passover

This daily feature is an introduction to a full article by Stephen D. Ricks. Each Wednesday we focus on an aspect of church history, beginning in New York in the early 19th century and progressing throughout the year to Utah in the 20th century. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.

A brief note in the History of the Church under the date of Sunday, 3 April 1836, records the appearance of the Lord, Moses, Elias, and Elijah to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple. Subsequent writers have noted that this date corresponds to the Jewish Passover, during which the arrival of Elijah is traditionally awaited. A parenthetical note in the Missionary Training Manual: For Use in the Jewish Proselyting Program states the correlation of the two events emphatically. There we are informed that Elijah appeared in the Kirtland Temple "at about the same hour that the Jewish families in that time zone would have been preparing to begin their feast of the Passover." These statements, although correct in their identification of the Jewish Passover with the ritual expectation of Elijah and in their connecting the time of the appearance of Elijah in the Kirtland Temple with the Passover season, warrant further elucidation and modest chronological correction.