Only with the Nauvoo Temple did Mormons start to do temple ceremonies as they are today, the Kirtland Temple was preparatory.
The Mormon Church does not sacrifice the needs of the poor in order to build the Mormon temples. The Mormon Church does not release how much it spends on charitable relief efforts. Mormon temples are built so expensively because Mormons believe they are the literal House of the Lord and He deserves such a beautiful place when He comes to earth.
The letters on the pulpits of the Mormon Kirtland Temple referred to the Mormon Church positions of those who sat in those particular seats. One pulpit was for the Melchizedek Priesthood, the other for the Aaronic Priesthood.
During the dedication of Mormon temples, members in attendance carry white handerchiefs. This is done as a sign of jubilation during the Hosanna Shout and relates to the biblical practice of waving palm branches.