This reconstruction of the endowment, which drew on various accounts of the ceremony, was published in 1931. The text appears to describe the pre-1927 endowment and thus was already outdated by the time it was published. The temple referred to in this text is the Salt Lake Temple.

FOREWORD

The Temple ritual as it is here given, while true to the spirit, action and phrasing of the Endowment Service, is of course a condensation as the service is at least three hours long. The Redactor has simply taken the various endeavors which have been made to put the ritual or portions of it on paper and sought to cipher out the greatest common divisor of these reports. Some of the reporters have seen rather than heard; some have been more interested in the words of the ritual; others in its action; and still others have felt their way through the service. Those who have given fullest account of the action and wording of the service do not always agree as regards the dramatis personae and the points at which they appear. But the reporters who have been through the Temple oftenest are in closest agreement as regards the content of the ritual. Moreover, those who have been through the Temple most recently agree, in the main, with those whose knowledge of the ritual goes back to the old Endowment House. As the Redactor is not and never has been a member of the Masonic or other Fraternity, his acquaintance with forms of initiation has been derived from Mormons and ex-Mormon sources.

(Sgd.) REDACTOR

PREPARATORY WORK

The first step towards taking the endowment is to go to the Bishop of the Ward to which the candidate belongs. If the candidate pays a full tithing a “recommend” is given him at once. He then takes it to the President of the Stake, who countersigns it.

The candidate then procures his or her temple clothing. For a man this consists of the special under garment, a shirt and a pair of white pants, a robe and a girdle, a cloth cap and a pair of cloth moccasins and a green silk apron, upon which is embroidered nine fig leaves. For a woman the sacred under garment, a white skirt and blouse, the robe and girdle, a white cloth, cap or hood, a part of which may be used as a veil, the cloth moccasins and the fig leaf apron.

THE ANNEX

Armed with the “recommend” and endowment clothing, the candidate goes to the Temple and enters by the Annex, the door of which is nearly always open. Here he finds a small room which has the appearance of an office. In the center of this room is a table on which is some suggestive cash–the contribution of those who have gone before him. At this table he presents his “recommend,” which is closely examined for future identification, as the “recommend” is good for six months, and makes his donation to the cash. The very poor, we are told, are not expected to contribute. They can, however, be made to feel very uncomfortable.(1)

RECORDER’S OFFICE, CHAPEL AND SUBWAY

Having presented his credentials and paid his fee or honorarium, he goes to the recorder’s desk, where there are three or four recorders. To one of these he gives his genealogy, which consists of the place where he was born, the names of his parents, etc. If he is taking endowment for the dead he gives his data concerning them. The data for sealing or marriage are given to another recorder.

THE CHAPEL AND ORDAINING OF ELDERS

He then proceeds to the chapel, which is located in the Annex, where he sits quietly until the others have settled their genealogy, etc. When all are ready a hymn is sung, there is a prayer, a short address, and another hymn.

Then the males who are taking endowments for the dead retire to an alcove behind curtains, where they are ordained elders on behalf of the dead, as no one can take these endowments excepting those holding the Melchizedek Priesthood. One of the Temple workers officiates in this ordination, laying his hands upon the candidate and saying:

“Brother–In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the authority of the holy Melchizedek Priesthood I ordain you an elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for and in behalf of _______, who is dead.”

The candidate is then allowed to pass through a door on the left to a subway connecting with the main building, where he is instructed to remove his shoes, as “the place whereon he stands is holy ground.” Having done this, he is permitted to go up some steps into the Temple, the same order being observed by the women.

Entering the Temple, he finds himself in a long corridor which passes from north to south through the basement or lower floor of the Temple proper. The Creation Room and the Garden of Eden are on the left side of this corridor, the Washing Rooms and Baptismal Font are on the right or west side.

THE WASHING ROOMS

The baths and dressing rooms for the men are located along the northwest side of this half of the Temple. Similar rooms for the women are on the southwest side. Intervening and entirely separating these rooms is the great Baptismal Font. Each of these Washing Rooms contains its quota of bath tubs, which are well supplied with hot and cold water.

The candidate, being directed to these washing and dressing rooms and having divested himself of all his clothing, awaits his time in the bath with his special inner garments over his shoulder. A Temple worker goes with him into the bath to officiate in these Temple lustrations. As the candidate is washed, the officiant hurries through the lustration ritual.

THE LUSTRATION

“Brother, having authority, I wash you that you may be clean from the blood and sins of this generation. I wash your head that your brain may work clearly and be quick of discernment; your eyes that you may see clearly and discern the things of God; your ears that they may hear the word of the Lord; your mouth and lips that they speak no guile; your arms that they may be strong to wield the sword in defense of truth and virtue; your breast and vitals that their functions may be strengthened; your loins and reins that you may be fruitful in the propagating of a goodly seed; your legs and feet that you may run and not be weary, walk and not faint.”

THE ANOINTING

After being dried with a towel–not always fresh–the candidate is passed on to another attendant and is anointed with oil. The oil is very definitely applied to the various organs of his body. The pronouncements used in this ceremony are much the same as those used in the lustration ritual.

THE CONSECRATION OF THE GARMENTS

After the washing and anointing the candidate is then taken in hand by another officiant, who, having given him the right to put on his endowment garments, gives him his new name, saying:

“Brother, I now give you these garments, which are patterned after those given to our father Adam when he was found naked in the Garden of Eden. They are called the garments of the holy priesthood, and will prove a shield and protection to you till you have finished your work in righteousness upon the earth. They are never to be removed except for purposes of cleanliness, and then for no longer than necessary. With these garments I give you a new name which is never to be divulged to anyone. It is a key word and will be required of you at a certain part of these proceedings this day. The name I shall give you is _________.”

The name is then whispered in the ear, usually one taken from the Bible or the Book of Mormon. The candidate then puts on the garment, over the oil.

DRESSING ROOM

The candidate then retires to the dressing room, where he puts on a shirt and a pair of white pants and white stockings. In early days a long white shirt or smock was the only covering worn over the endowment garment. The women wear a white skirt and blouse over “the garment.”

THE DOOR OF CHAOS OR THE CREATION ROOM

The candidate now takes his bundle, containing robe, sandals, cap and apron, and falls in line to await the opening of the door to the Creation Room. He passes through this door and, when his turn comes, goes to a table where he is again identified and supplied with a ticket. On this ticket, if he is doing proxy work, is inscribed the name of the dead person whose endowment is to be taken. He is counted with the others by a man who stands beside the doorway and, being identified, takes a seat, and awaits the arrival of the rest of his class. The delay may be tedious as the washings and anointing take time if there are many candidates. The seats in this room are of the adjustable kind, the same as used in theatres and places of amusement, as are the seats in all the other rooms.

The room in which the candidate now finds himself is called “Chaos or The Lower Instruction Room,” and is supposed to represent the state of affairs before the world was organized. It is totally devoid of ornament of any kind except two hands clasped in the grip known as “Fides” (2) over a doorway, which is concealed by a curtain. After all are seated the men on the right, the women on the left, which is the order all the way through the initiation service, they are again counted very carefully.

When all is quiet, a man dressed in white flannels, representing Elohim, comes from behind the curtain and, addressing the audience, says:

“Brethren, you have been washed and pronounced clean–that is, clean from the blood and sins of this generation. You have been anointed that you may become kings and priests to our God and His Christ: not that you have been anointed kings and priests, but that you may become such. This will depend upon your faithfulness.

“Sisters, you have been washed and anointed that you may become queens and priestesses unto your lords, that is, your husbands. You also have had garments given you and with those garments, a new name which you were told never to divulge to anyone; it is, however, a key word and will be required of you at a certain place in going through these endowments this day.

“And here I would ask if any of you desire to retire at this stage of the proceedings. If so, you have now an opportunity to do so by raising the right hand–No hands raised; very well.

“You will now hear three voices,–the voices of Elohim, Jehovah and Michael. Elohim will command. Now give your attention and hear what you shall hear.”

THE CREATION

Elohim retires behind the curtain. After some minutes’ pause, the silence is broken by voices apparently at a distance.

Elohim–“Jehovah! Michael! See, there is matter unorganized. Let us go down and form a world like unto other worlds which we have formed, where the spirits who are awaiting bodies may tabernacle.”

Jehovah and Michael–“We will go down.”

Elohim remains in the Celestial World while Jehovah and Michael do the work of creation. This is now carried on in accordance with the account found in the Book of Genesis. Jehovah and Michael say, at the end of each day, “We will now go and report this our labor of the first, second, third day,” and so on. On receiving instructions concerning the work of the next day, they invariably answer, “We will go down.” Elohim saying, “It is well.” On the fourth day, when Elohim gives the order to place lights in the firmament, the word “lights” is spoken in a loud voice, and immediately the lights in the chandelier or electrolier are turned on. At the end of the fifth day Michael and Jehovah, being well pleased with their work, feel to say:

Michael–“Jehovah, see the earth which we have formed and plentifully supplied with animal and vegetable life; it looks glorious and beautiful.”

Jehovah–“It does, Michael. We will return and report this our labor of the fifth day.”

THE CREATION OF ADAM AND EVE

Here there is again a pause for a few minutes, when Elohim, Jehovah and Michael enter. Michael seats himself in a chair facing the audience, Elohim and Jehovah standing on either side of him.

Jehovah–“See the earth which we have formed but there is not a man to till the ground.”

Elohim–“We will make man in our own image.”

Elohim and Jehovah now stand in front of Michael, make passes over him, breathe on him and he apparently goes to sleep.

Elohim–(Turning to audience)–“This man who is now being operated upon is Michael who helped form the world. When he awakes he will have forgotten everything, will have become as a little child, and will be known as Adam.”

Then, turning to Michael, he calls in loud voice:

Elohim–“Adam, awake!”

Adam awakes and looks around as though startled.

Elohim–“It is not good for man to be alone.”

Jehovah–“It is not, Elohim, for we are not alone.”

Elohim–“We will cause a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and make for him a woman to be with him.”

Sleep is again produced by the same means.

Elohim (To the men)–“The brethren will close their eyes as if they were asleep.”

While Adam sleeps Eve enters and stands beside him.

Elohim (In a loud voice)–“Adam, see the woman we have formed for you. What will you call her?”

Adam wakes up and, looking her over with appreciation, answers, “Eve.”

Elohim–“Why will you call her Eve?”

Adam–“Because she is the Mother of all living.”

Elohim–“True, Adam, she is the Mother of all living.”

Elohim (To Jehovah)–“We will plant a garden eastward in Eden, and there we will put the man whom we have formed.”

(Man and woman are spoken of as the man.)

Elohim (To audience)–“The brethren will now follow Adam and the sisters will follow Eve into the room representing the Garden of Eden.”

THE GARDEN OF EDEN

This is on the same floor and is reached by going through the curtain covered door, through which Eve and the gods have entered.

The walls of this room are decorated profusely, being entirely covered with trees, flowers and pleasant plants. All sorts of birds and animals are living together in perfect peace. The ceiling is arched and painted to represent a sky and is studded with silver stars. At the end of the room is an altar and behind it an elevator on which the gods ascend and descend. To the left of the altar, as the audience faces it, is “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” There is a small shelf fastened to the back of this tree, on which is placed the forbidden fruit. This may be an apple, or it may be strawberries or other fruit of the season, or it may be a bunch of raisins.

All being seated, Elohim and Jehovah lay down the laws and suggest the possible joys of the garden.

Elohim (To Adam)–“Adam, see this garden which we have planted for you. Of all the trees of the garden thou mayst freely eat, but of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest of it thou shalt surely die. Now be fruitful and multiply; be happy and enjoy yourselves. We go away, but we will return and give you further instructions.”

Elohim and Jehovah now ascend by the elevator, which is painted to represent clouds. As they disappear

Adam (To the class)–“Now, brethren, let your minds be calm and be not surprised at anything you may see or hear. We shall be visited soon.”

(Enter Lucifer)

Then from the doorway by which we entered, the one with the curtain, a man enters who proceeds up the central aisle with arms akimbo and who surveys the place with expectant interest. He is usually dressed in a suit of black, wears a silk hat, carries a cane, and has on a sort of Masonic apron, sometimes decorated with crossed crow-quills and sometimes with pillars surmounted by balls. This is Lucifer.

Lucifer–“Adam, you have a nice new world here: it is patterned after the world where we used to live.”

Adam–“I know nothing of any other world.”

Lucifer–“Oh, I see, you haven’t had your eyes opened yet.”

He then goes to the tree and pretends to pluck some of the fruit, which he offers to Adam.

Lucifer–“Here, Adam, take some of the fruit of that tree.” (Pointing). “It will make you wise.”

Adam–“I shall not partake.”

Lucifer–“Oh, you won’t! Well, we shall see!”

(As Adam turns away Lucifer pretends to discover Eve and makes his appeal to her.)

Lucifer–“Here, Eve, is some of the fruit of that tree; it will make you wise.”

Eve–“Who are you?”

Lucifer–“Your brother.”

Eve–“You my brother, and come to tempt me to disobey Father!”

Lucifer–“Oh, I said nothing about Father.”

(Then shaking the fruit which he holds in his hand.)

Lucifer–“Here, take some of this fruit; it will open your eyes; it will make you wise.”

Eve–“But our Father said in the day we ate thereof we should surely die.”

Lucifer–“Ye shall not surely die but ye shall be as the gods; ye shall know good from evil, virtue from vice, happiness from misery.”

Eve–“Is there no other way?”

Lucifer–“There is no other way.”

Eve–“Then I will partake.”

(She then takes some of the fruit and begins eating it.)

Lucifer–“That’s right. Now go and get Adam to have some.”

Eve (To Adam)–“Adam, here is some of the fruit of that tree; (pointing) it is pleasant to the taste and will make you wise.”

Adam–“I shall not partake. Don’t you know our Father commanded us not to touch the fruit of that tree?”

Eve–“Do you intend to obey all Father’s commands?”

Adam–“Yes, all of them.”

Eve–“Well, you know our Father commanded us to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. Now I have partaken of the forbidden fruit and shall be cast out, while you will remain a lone man in the Garden.”

Adam–“Yes, I see how it is. I will partake that man may be.”

Lucifer (Nodding approval)–“Yes, that is right.”

Eve (To Lucifer)–“I know thee now. Thou art Lucifer who wast cast out of our Father’s presence for his rebellion.”

Lucifer–“Oh, I see you are beginning to get your eyes open already.”

Adam (To Lucifer)–“What apron is that you’re wearing?

Lucifer–“That is an emblem of my power and priesthood.”

Adam–“Priesthood?”

Lucifer–“Aye, priesthood.”

Heavy footsteps are heard and Elohim and Jehovah step off the elevator.

Elohim–“Adam!” (Louder) “Adam!” (Louder still) “Adam, where art thou?”

(Adam, who had concealed himself, comes out of his hiding place very much ashamed.)

Adam–“I heard thy voice as I was walking in the garden and I was afraid because I knew that I was naked, and I hid myself.”

Elohim–“Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the fruit whereof I commanded thee thou shouldst not eat?”

Adam–“The woman that thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the fruit and I did eat.”

Elohim–“Eve, what hast thou done?”

Eve–“The serpent beguiled me and I did eat.”

Elohim (To Lucifer)–“Lucifer, what have you been doing here?”

Lucifer–“Oh, the same as we have been doing in other worlds–I gave them some of the fruit to open their eyes.”

Elohim–“For this that thou hast done, thou art cursed above all cattle. Upon thy belly shalt thou go and dust shall be thy meat all the days of thy life on the earth.”

Lucifer (Defiantly)–“And I will take of the treasures of that earth, silver and gold, and buy up armies and navies, popes and princes, and I will reign with blood and terror.”

Elohim–“Begone.”

Lucifer, retreating through the door by which he entered, halts in the doorway, shakes his fist, stamps his heel and, with a look of defiance retires.

Adam (Turning to the audience)–“In your bundles brethren and sisters, you will each find an apron, you will now put it on.”

(They do so)

Elohim (To Eve)–“Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of the Tempter and hast eaten of the fruit whereof I commanded thee thou shouldst not eat, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children. Nevertheless thou mayst be saved in child-bearing; thy seed shall bruise the serpent’s head but he shall bruise thy heel.”

Elohim (To Adam)–“Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife and hast eaten of the fruit of the tree, cursed is the ground for thy sake. In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground from whence thou wast taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Elohim (To Jehovah)–“Let Adam be cast out of the garden and cherubim with a flaming sword be placed to guard the way of the tree of life.”

Jehovah–“Let cherubim and a flaming sword be placed to guard the way of the tree of life.”

A sword is waved through the curtain. Eve, who has been standing on the left side of the elevator, looks up at the sword and crosses over to Adam and places herself on his left hand.

Elohim–“Adam, we will provide for you a Savior and send you messengers to instruct you how you may return to our presence.”

Having laid down the law of obedience sealed by oath and made this promise, Elohim and Jehovah now ascend on the elevator and Adam turns to the audience.

Adam–“Brethren and Sisters. I would here ask if any of you have forgotten your new name that you hold up the right hand.”

The robes, girdles, caps and sandals are then taken from the bundles by way of preparation for the first degree.

FIRST TOKEN OF AARONIC PRIESTHOOD

Adam–“You will now arise, push back the seats, place the robe on the right shoulder, put on your caps and moccasins, and receive the first token of the Aaronic priesthood. And you will not forget that the utmost secrecy is to be observed with respect to these proceedings. They are not to be even spoken of to each other.”

[The sign for this token is described.]

Adam–“We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the first token of the Aaronic priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign or penalty. Should we do so, we agree that [the penalty for this token is described].”

Adam–“All bow your heads and say Yes.”

[The name and grip for this token are described, along with the execution of the penalty. Readers are informed that “the Name is the new name given with the garments.”]

Adam–“The brethren will now follow Adam and the sisters will follow Eve into the room representing the Lone and Desolate World.”

THE LONE AND DESOLATE WORLD

Going out of the Garden Room we go up a long flight of stairs from the south end of the corridor to the Lone and Desolate World, which has walls painted as in the Garden of Eden, save that peace has evidently fled. The vegetation appears to have run wild, and the birds and beasts are fighting. There is an altar at the end of the room behind which stand Adam and Eve. Eve is on the side of the room facing the women.

Adam–“When Adam was cast out of the Garden of Eden, he built an altar and called on the Lord, saying:

“O Lord, hear the words of my mouth!
“O Lord, hear the words of my mouth!
“O Lord, hear the words of my mouth!”

[At this point Adam recites syllables said to have meaning in the Adamic language.] Adam, when asked why he gives this cry of distress replies that he does not know, save that he has been so instructed and is in need of help.(3)

(Reenter Lucifer)

Lucifer–“I hear you. What is it you want?”

Adam–“Who are you?”

Lucifer–“The god of this world.”

Adam–“Who made you the god of this world?”

Lucifer–“I made myself. What is it that you want?”

Adam–“I was calling on Father.”

Lucifer–“Oh, I see, you want religion. I’ll have some preachers along presently.”

(Enter Preacher)

Preacher–“You have a very fine congregation here.”

Lucifer–“Oh, are you a Preacher?”

Preacher–“Yes.”

Lucifer–“Ever been to college and studied the dead languages?”

Preacher–“Why, certainly; no one can preach the gospel acceptably unless he has been to college and studied the dead languages.”

Lucifer–“Well, if you’ll preach your gospel to this congregation and convert them, mind you, I’ll give you–let me see–four thousand a year.”

Preacher–“That is very little, but I’ll do the best I can.”

Preacher (To Adam)–“Good morning, sir.”

Adam–“Good morning.”

Preacher–“I understand you are looking for religion?”

Adam–“I was calling upon Father.”

Preacher (Producing a hymn-book)–“We’ll sing two verses of the grand old hymn.

“Hail Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
One Lord, in persons three;
To Thee we make our joyful boast,
Our songs we raise to Thee.

“Fountain of every joy and grace,
Our God, we Thee adore;
Beyond the bounds of time and space
Thou dwellest evermore.”

The preacher leads in singing the hymn, Lucifer keeping time with his feet and viewing the audience with smug complacency. After singing the hymn and making his appeal to the audience, he turns to Adam to test his faith.

Preacher (To Adam)–“Do you believe in that great Spirit, without body, parts or passions, who sits on the top of a topless throne, ‘beyond the bounds of time and space’, whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere; who fills immensity with His presence and yet is so small He can dwell in your heart. Do you believe this?”

Adam–“No. I don’t believe a word of it.”

Preacher–“Then I am very sorry for you. But perhaps you believe in hell–that great and bottomless pit which is full of fire and brimstone, into which the wicked are cast and where they are ever burning and yet never burn.”

Adam–“No, I do not, and I am sorry for you.”

Lucifer–“We are very, very sorry for you. What is it you want?”

Adam–“I want nothing. I am awaiting messengers from Father.”

Voices of the gods are now heard talking in another room.

Elohim (To Jehovah)–“Jehovah, the man Adam seems to be true and faithful. Let us send down to him Peter, James and John.”

Jehovah–“That is good. They shall go down.”

(Enter Peter, James and John)

Peter, James and John now descend a flight of stairs at the rear of the room and Lucifer advances to meet them.

Peter–“Hello, what’s going on here?”

Lucifer–“We are making religion.”

Peter–“Indeed! What are you making it out of?”

Lucifer–“Newspapers, novels, notions of men and women sugared over with Scripture.”

Peter–“And how does it take with this congregation?”

Lucifer–“Oh, pretty well with all except this man Adam; he doesn’t believe anything.”

Peter (To Adam)–“Good morning, sir. How do you like the preaching of this gentleman?”

Adam–“Not at all. He tells of a God without a body, and a hell without a bottom into which the wicked are cast and where they are forever burning and yet never consumed. I cannot believe it.”

Peter–“We do not blame you. We will visit you again shortly.”

Peter, James and John now ascend by the stairway.

Peter is now heard above addressing Elohim.

Peter (To Elohim)–“We have been down to the man Adam. Lucifer is there with a preacher who is trying to teach him all manner of false doctrine; yet amid it all he still remains true and faithful.”

Elohim (Above)–“Go down to the man Adam in your proper characters. Give him the second token of the Aaronic Priesthood, instruct him to place the robe on the left shoulder and come back and report.”

(Enter Peter, James and John by the stairway)

Peter (To Adam)–“I am Peter.”

James (To Adam)–“I am James.”

John (To Adam)–“I am John.”

Preacher–“Are you the Apostles of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ?”

Peter–“We are.”

Preacher (Pointing to Lucifer)–“Why, he said we should have no more Apostles and if any should come along professing to be such I was to ask them to cut off a leg or an arm and put it on again, just to show they had come with power.”

Peter–“He did that to deceive you. A wicked and an adulterous generation seeketh after a sign. We do not satisfy people’s idle curiosity. Do you know who that man is?”

Preacher–“Why, certainly! He’s a great gentleman and is at the head of all the religious denominations of the day.”

Peter–“I can fully believe that. Why, that’s Lucifer!”

Preacher–“What! the Devil?

Peter–“Yes. I believe that is one of his names. I would advise you to have a settlement with him and get out of his employ.”

Preacher–“But if I get out of his employ, what’s to become of me?”

Peter–“Why, we will teach you the everlasting gospel in connection with the rest of the sons of Adam.”

Preacher–“Well, that’s very good.”

Preacher (going to Lucifer and tapping him on the shoulder)–“I say, sir, is it not time we had a settlement?”

Lucifer–“Oh, I’ll keep my word. I offered you four thousand a year to convert this people, and by what I can see, they have nearly converted you. Get out of my kingdom. I don’t want such men in it.”

Peter (To Adam)–“Have you your tokens?”

Lucifer–“Have you got money?”

Peter–“Enough for our wants.”

Lucifer–“You can get anything in this world for money.”

Peter (To Adam)–“Do you sell your tokens for money? You have them, I believe.”

Adam–“I have them, but I value them too highly to part with them for money.”

Lucifer (Turning to Peter)–“I thought I knew you.”

Peter–“Begone.”

Lucifer–“By whose authority?”

Peter (Left arm to the square)–“In the name of Jesus Christ, my Master.”

(Lucifer departs through a side door by which the preacher has already disappeared. Peter now takes Adam by the right hand and asks:)

Peter–“What is that?”

Adam–“The first token of the Aaronic Priesthood.”

Peter–“Has it a name?”

Adam–“It has.”

Peter–“Will you give it to me?”

Adam–“I can not, for it is connected with my new name, but this is the sign.”

[Adam gives the sign for this token.]

Adam (To audience)–“Brethren and Sisters, these are true messengers from Father. Give heed to their instructions and they will lead you in the ways of life and salvation.”

Peter–“We will now go and report.”

(They do so)

Elohim–“Peter, James and John, go down again in your own proper characters and reveal to Adam the second token of the Aaronic Priesthood and place the robe upon his left shoulder.”

SECOND TOKEN OF THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD

Peter–“The brethren and sisters will now stand, push back the seats, place the robe on the left shoulder, and receive the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood.”

“We and each of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal the secrets of this, the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, grip or penalty. Should we do so, we agree to have [the penalty is described].

“All bow your heads and say yes.”

[The sign, name, and grip for this token are described.]

The voice of Peter is now heard as he returns to report to the gods.

Peter–“We have been down to the man Adam, have given him the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood and instructed him to place the robe on the left shoulder.”

Elohim–” ‘Tis well. Go down again, instruct him to place the robe on the right shoulder, give him the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, and come back and report.”

Peter, James and John–“We will go down.”

Peter–“The brethren will now follow Adam and the sisters follow Eve into the room representing the Terrestrial Kingdom.”

TERRESTRIAL KINGDOM

This room is sometimes called the “Blue Room” and sometimes the “Upper Lecture Room.” From it the candidate enters through the veil into Celestial Glory.

FIRST TOKEN MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD

Peter–“The brethren and Sisters will now stand, push back the seats, place the robe on the right shoulder, and receive the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood.”

[The sign for this token is described.]

Peter–“We and each of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign or penalty. Should we do so, we agree that [the penalty is described].

Peter–“All bow your heads and say yes.”

[The name and grip for this token are described.]

Peter, James and John–“We will now go and report.”

(They again ascend by the stairway, and their voices are heard again.)

Peter–“Elohim, we have been down to the man Adam, have given him the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood and have instructed him to place the robe on the right shoulder.”

Elohim–“It is well. Go down again, instruct him to place the robe on the left shoulder, give him the Second Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, and teach him the true order of prayer.”

Peter, James and John–“We will go down.”

SECOND TOKEN MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD

Peter–“The brethren and sisters will now stand, push back the seats, place the robe upon the left shoulder, and receive the Second Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood.”

There is no penalty attached to this, but we are told the obligation of secrecy is the same, for God will not be mocked.

[The sign for this token is described. This sign involves elevating the hands in a manner that is said to represent the crucifixion.](4)

[The grip is described.] There is a tradition that when our Saviour was crucified, the nail drew out between the fingers with the weight of His body, and the executioner then drove the nail through the wrist for better security. This Grip is called the “Patriarchal Grip” or “Sure Sign of the Nail.”

The following obligations are now taken with the right arm at the square:

LAW OF SACRIFICE

“You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will sacrifice your time, talents and all you may now or hereafter become possessed of to the upbuilding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

“All bow your heads and say yes.”

LAW OF CHASTITY FOR MEN

“You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will not have sexual intercourse with any of the opposite sex except your lawful wife or wives who are given you by the holy priesthood.”

“All bow your heads and say yes.”

LAW FOR WOMEN

“You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will not have sexual intercourse with any of the opposite sex save your lawful husband, given you by the holy priesthood.”

“All bow your heads and say yes.”

LAW OF VENGEANCE

“You and each of you do solemnly promise and vow that you will pray, and never cease to pray, and never cease to importune high heaven to avenge the blood of the prophets on this nation, and that you will teach this to your children and your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.”

“All bow your heads and say yes.”

PRAYER CIRCLE

The true order of prayer is now taught in what is known as the Prayer Circle. As many candidates as can conveniently do so now surround the altar, when all the Tokens of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood are gone over.

Peter–“The Sisters will now veil their faces.”

The veil attached to the hood is here lowered.

The men who are kneeling now take each other by the right hand in the Patriarchal Grip and place the elbow of the left arm on the shoulder of the person next to them, arm at the square, palm of the hand to the front.

An elder kneels at the altar, with right arm at the square and the left extended, the hand cupped as though about to receive a blessing. He then offers a prayer, which is repeated by all who compose the circle. A prayer of this type is used in the Prayer Circles of the priesthood.

THE ENDOWMENT LECTURE

Elohim, or one in authority, now mounts the platform in front of the veil and gives a lecture, reviewing the whole Endowment service. This lecture is often very long and tedious. The speaker goes over the Temple work of the day and explains its signs and meaning. The marks in the veil are also explained, with their significance and uses. In speaking of the creation, he is sure to say that Adam was not made out of the dust of the earth but begotten the same as other men; that the creation of Adam was done by a figure just to show you how man was made; and that when he came here he brought one of his wives with him.(5) On days when there are few who are going through the Temple for the first time, this lecture before the veil is very much shortened, only the essential part which refers to the creation of Adam being recited or read.

THE PLATFORM BEFORE THE VEIL

The platform from which this lecture is delivered is reached by three steps on either side of an altar. Up these steps the candidates must ascend for final testing before admission to the inner sanctuary or Celestial Glory. The veil itself covers a large archway at the east end of the Lecture Room. The archway is supported by five pillars and covered with a curtain heavy with gold lace trimmings. Between these pillars candidates give their grips, signs and tokens before being admitted to the holy of holies. Benches are placed on this platform for the accommodation of those whose names have been called until there is room for them to do their work through one of the veiled openings.

Peter–“We will now uncover the veil.”

This is done by two workers–one on each side pulling upon lines which take the covering of the veils to one side or the other. We now have the veil explained to us. We are told that it represents the veil of the temple. The marks are the same as those on the garments–the compass on the left and the square on the right side, the navel mark corresponding to that part of the body, and the knee mark, which is supposed to mean that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. There are four other marks, called “Marks of Convenience.” One, a hole through which the Lord puts forth his hand to test the knowledge of the candidate; two others through which the hands of the Lord and the candidate are thrust to be placed upon each other’s backs; and one through which the candidate whispers in the Lord’s ear. All now being in readiness, a man’s name is called, who goes up on the platform with his woman or women following him. There, as has been said, they seat themselves till their turn comes. A man will sometimes take three or four, or even more, women with him, whom he has never seen before, but who must have a man to take them through and be lord to them.(6)

The candidate is now taken to one of the openings between the pillars by one of the Temple workers, who gives three raps with a mallet on the pillar. The Lord parts the veil slightly and asks what is wanted.

Temple Worker–“The man Adam having been true and faithful in all things now desires to converse with the Lord through the veil.”

Lord–“See that his garments are properly marked, present him at the veil, and his request shall be granted.”

Attendants or Temple workers prompt the candidate in his answers and grips. The endowee is then taken up to the veil. The Lord puts forth his hand and, taking that of the candidate, asks:

Lord–“What is this?”

Endowee–“The first token of the Aaronic priesthood.”

Lord–“Has it a name?”

Endowee–“It has.”

Lord–“Will you give it to me?”

Endowee–“I will, through the veil.” [The name is given.]

Lord–“What is that?”

Endowee–“The second token of the Aaronic priesthood.”

Lord–“Has it a name?”

Endowee–“It has.”

Lord–“Will you give it to me?”

Endowee–“I will, through the veil.” [The name is given.]

Lord–“What is that?”

Endowee–“The first token of the Melchizedek Priesthood.”

Lord–“Has it a name?”

Endowee–“It has.”

Lord–“Will you give it to me?”

Endowee–“I will, through the veil”–[the name is given].

Lord–“What is that?”

Endowee–“The second token of the Melchizedek Priesthood–The Patriarchal Grip or Sure Sign of the Nail.”

Lord–“Has it a name?”

Endowee–“It has.”

Lord–“Will you give it to me?”

Endowee–“I can not for I have not yet received it. For this purpose I have come to converse with the Lord behind the veil.”

Lord–“You shall receive it upon the five points of fellowship through the veil. These are, foot to foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, hand to back, and mouth to ear.”

The five points of fellowship are given by putting the inside of the right foot to the inside of the Lord’s, the inside of your knee to his, laying your breast close to his, your left hands on each other’s backs, and each one putting his mouth to the other’s ear, in which position the Lord whispers [the name of the token].

Lord (Without changing position)–“What is that?”

Endowee (Answering as before)–“The second token of the Melchizedek Priesthood.”

Whereupon the candidate, taught by the Lord, repeats the formula which has been whispered in his ear.

Lord–“That is correct.”

The Endowee is then taken to the opening by the attendant, who gives three more raps with the mallet.

Lord–“What is wanted?”

Attendant–“Adam, having conversed with the Lord through the veil, now desires to enter his presence.”

Lord–“Admit him.”

As he says this he extends his hand and welcomes the candidate into the Glory Room. He is now the lord over his women and the three raps being again sounded, the man having assumed the part and place of the Lord, asks the female attendant what is wanted.

Attendant–“Eve having been true and faithful in all things desires to converse with the Lord through the veil.”

Lord or man–“See that her garments are properly marked, present her at the veil and her request shall be granted.”

And so on over the same ground again, save that it is Eve in place of Adam who must be tested for admission.

THE CELESTIAL ROOM

This is the “Glory Room” of the Temple. One of the Mormon thrill masters calls it “an ecstasy of delicate and luxurious color.” The endowees fill their eyes with its splendor, preen their feathers before its great mirrors, or rest from the excitement of their hours of initiation on its richly furnished chairs and lounges. Some, however, who are to be married for time or eternity, or both, are busy with the recorder of credentials. If they are to be married for time as well as eternity, the licenses required by the state must be presented. The licenses for eternity must have the okeh of the Temple president. Others who are to be sealed or married for the dead also present their credentials.

Then the candidates for connubial felicity enter one or other of two small, but richly furnished, rooms, which open from the Glory Room. Each of these rooms is provided with an altar. In one of these the sealings or marriages are vicarious and in the other the marriages are more personal. Between these two small apartments is a small circular room “used only for the highest of the Temple ordinances.”(7)

While the candidates and those who have personal or vicarious work to attend to remain, members of the class who have been in the Glory Room before and who have no sealing work to detain them put their super-imposed robes, girdles and aprons into their bundles, hasten downstairs to the dressing room and get into their everyday clothes. Meanwhile, the Temple workers have gone to the Temple refectory to get something to eat.

Source: Temple Mormonism: Its Evolution, Ritual and Meaning (New York: A. J. Montgomery, 1931).

NOTES:

1.) I do not know when temple officials stopped soliciting donations from initiates. In contemporary practice, the only donation or fee required is the small fee charged to initiates who wish to rent ceremonial clothing (in those temples where rental clothing is available; increasingly, the smaller temples being built today lack rental and laundry facilities).

2.) “Fides” is a Masonic reference. Since this exposé is the only one I know of in which the term appears, I doubt that the grip was actually called “Fides” during the endowment. Rather, I suspect that the term was used by an informant for this exposé who had independently noted the Masonic parallel.

3.) “Cry of distress” is a Masonic term. It’s plausible, though not certain, that the term may once have been used at this point in the endowment, since Adam could indeed be understood as calling for God’s help. On the other hand, it’s possible that an informant for this exposé who was familiar with Masonry used the term when describing this part of the ceremony, thus giving the incorrect impression that the term was used during the endowment itself.

4.) It’s possible that at some point in the endowment’s history, the sign was indeed presented as a symbol of the crucifixion, as reported here. But I think it more likely that one of the informants for this exposé independently drew the conclusion that the sign was meant to evoke the crucifixion. (Personally, I find this interpretation of the sign’s symbolism implausible.)

5.) The statement that “when [Adam] came here he brought one of his wives with him” seems to be an allusion to Brigham Young’s Adam-God doctrine, according to which Adam was an exalted, polygamous being.

6.) In contemporary practice, men and women approach the veil simultaneously, as individuals. The procedure described in this text (the woman following the man) is practiced today only on those occasions when a husband takes his wife through the veil immediately prior to their being sealed.

7.) This room is the Holy of Holies, where second anointings are performed.