From Robert H. Slover, President of the Seoul Korea Temple 1985-88: Based on Remembrances of Robert H. Slover, first president of the Korea Seoul Temple
After thirty years of growth and development, the Korean Saints were spiritually ready for the blessings of the temple but very few had received their endowments. During and after the Korean conflict, the government would not permit husbands and wives to leave the country together. In addition to the few groups of couples who were granted permission to leave, bishops, stake presidents, and counselors who were able to attend General Conferences in Salt Lake City usually took that opportunity to receive their endowments.
President Slovers first task was to provide the necessary temple staff to operate the temple and administer the ordinances. Fourteen people had been provided on a full-time basis for such duties as engineering, cleaning, security, laundry and record keeping. However, only one of the fourteen had been endowed. So the first endowment session was to endow the employed staff so that they could continue their work after the temple was dedicated.
There were no temple ordinance workers and because the number of endowed members was small this proved to be a challenge. President Slover attended the open house, and returned to Salt Lake City with a list of proposed names of members to serve as temple ordinance workers. Because they had been previously endowed, the list included mostly the names of members of bishoprics and stake presidencies and some of their wives, many of whom had small children. Also included were the names of a few members living in Korea in the military service or on business in Korea. Only one sister on the list who was from New Zealand and had worked in the temple there had had experience as a temple worker.
The initial reaction to the list at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City was to disapprove all the bishopric and stake names and the wives with children, but an appeal by President Slover to President Gordon B. Hinckley resulted in all the names being approved.
Temple endowment work began December 17, 1985 with the first endowment session, as mentioned, being for the Temple staff. Ordinance worker sessions were formed for each days temple sessions and training sessions were held. Each of the stakes was assigned a week to have endowments for their members. These first-time endowment sessions were the major work of the temple for the first two months of operation. Unlike many places, there were very few members of the Church in a retired status, so work in and attendance to the temple had to be scheduled around the patrons and workers work times. This resulted in evening and night and Saturday temple sessions with some sealing sessions during the day.