Understanding the Endowment: A Return to His Presence
A new area of this website has been completed and it is dedicated to the preservation of the temple endowment and ceremony, and also, to teach according to the spirit of prophecy and revelation the meaning and purpose for the tokens and signs of the priesthood in this mortality, that you may know how more perfectly, to approach the Lord and receive. This specific section under the sub-heading "EXPOUNDING THE ENDOWMENT" has reference to the tokens and signs of the priesthood and their meaning.
"Anyone approaching the holy enclosure must identify himself in three steps--the admission of initiates is the central theme of the Manual of Discipline. First, at a distance, he seeks admission, giving a visible sign by raising his arms (a greeting that can be seen from afar and is a sign, among other things, that he is unarmed); approaching closer for inspection, he gives his name; then approaching for the final test, he actually makes physical contacts with certain grips, which are the most secret and decisive. His final acceptance is by the most intimate tokens of all, including an embrace, or a unio mystica (mystical union), in which the candidate becomes not only identified, but identical, with the perfect model." (Hugh Nibley, "Return to the Temple" in Temple and Cosmos: Beyond This Ignorant Present, 1992, pp. 58-59.)
"F. Preisigke, studying the same gesture among the Egyptians (it is none other than the famous 'Ka' gesture), notes that it represents submission (the 'hands up' position of one surrendering on the battlefield) while at the same time calling the attention of heaven to an offering one has brought in supplication. He also points out that the early Christians used the same gesture in anticipation of a visitation from heaven, to which they added the idea of the upraised arms of the Savior on the cross...Enoch was another who as he prayed 'stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity' and to comfort him God sent him the vision of Noah's salvation." (Hugh Nibley, "The Early Christian Prayer Circle" in Mormonism and Early Christianity, 1987, p. 59.)
"He (Joseph Smith) also spoke concerning key words. The g. [great or grand?] key word was the first word Adam spoke and is a word of supplication. He found the word by the Urim and Thummim. It is that key word to which the heavens is opened." (William Clayton, Diary entries for 15 June 1844 in two notebooks, found in An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, ed. George D. Smith, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, UT, 1991, pp. 133-34 .)