ADAM PRAYS

ADAM: Brethren and sisters, this represents the telestial kingdom, or the world in which we now live. Adam, on finding himself in the lone and dreary world, built an altar and offered prayer, and these are the words he uttered:

[Adam kneels at the altar and lifts his hands towards heaven, each arm raised to the square.]

Oh God, hear the words of my mouth.
Oh God, hear the words of my mouth.
Oh God, hear the words of my mouth.

[Lucifer comes into view.]

LUCIFER: I hear you. What is it you want?

ADAM: Who are you?

LUCIFER: I am the god of this world.

ADAM: You, the god of this world?

LUCIFER: Yes. What do you want?

ADAM: I am looking for messengers.

LUCIFER: Oh, you want someone to preach to you. You want religion, do you? I will have preachers here presently.(1)

LUCIFER’S PREACHER

[A preacher enters.]

LUCIFER: Good morning, sir!

PREACHER: Good morning! [Looking out over the initiates.] A fine congregation!

LUCIFER: Yes, they are a very good people. They are concerned about religion. Are you a preacher?

PREACHER: I am.

LUCIFER: Have you been to college and received training for the ministry?

PREACHER: Certainly! A man cannot preach unless he has been trained for the ministry.

LUCIFER: Do you preach the orthodox religion?

PREACHER: Yes, that is what I preach.

LUCIFER: If you will preach your orthodox religion to these people and convert them, I will pay you well.(2)

PREACHER: I will do my best.

LUCIFER: [Indicating Adam.] Here is a man who desires religion. He is very much exercised and seems to be sincere.

PREACHER: I understand that you are inquiring after religion.

ADAM: I was calling upon Father.

PREACHER: I am glad to know that you were calling upon Father.(3)

Do you believe in a God who is without body, parts, or passions; who sits on the top of a topless throne; whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere; who fills the universe, and yet is so small that he can dwell in your heart; who is surrounded by myriads of beings who have been saved by grace, not for any act of theirs, but by his good pleasure? Do you believe in such a great being?

ADAM: I do not. I cannot comprehend such a being.

PREACHER: That is the beauty of it. Perhaps you do not believe in a devil, and in that great hell, the bottomless pit, where there is a lake of fire and brimstone into which the wicked are cast, and where they are continually burning but are never consumed?

ADAM: I do not believe in any such place.

PREACHER: My dear friend, I am sorry for you.

LUCIFER: I am sorry, very very sorry! What is it you want?

ADAM: I am looking for messengers from my Father.

THE GODS SEND MESSENGERS

[Elohim, Jehovah, and their messengers are heard speaking outside the World Room.]

ELOHIM: Jehovah, send down Peter, James, and John to visit the man Adam in the telestial world, without disclosing their identity. Have them observe conditions generally, see if Satan is there, and learn whether Adam has been true to the token and sign given to him in the garden of Eden. Have them then return and bring me word.

JEHOVAH: It shall be done, Elohim.

Peter, James, and John, go down and visit the man Adam in the telestial world, without disclosing your identity. Observe conditions generally. See if Satan is there, and learn whether Adam has been true to the token and sign given to him in the garden of Eden. Then return and bring us word.

PETER: It shall be done, Jehovah. Come, James and John, let us go down.

JAMES: We will go down.

JOHN: We will go down.

THE MESSENGERS’ FIRST VISIT

[Peter, James, and John enter the World Room.]

PETER: Good morning.

LUCIFER: Good morning, gentlemen.

PETER: What are you doing here?

LUCIFER: Teaching religion.

PETER: What religion do you teach?

LUCIFER: We teach a religion made of the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.(4)

PETER: How is your religion received by this community?

LUCIFER: Very well–excepting this man. He does not seem to believe anything we preach.

PETER: [To Adam.] Good morning. What do you think of the preaching of these gentlemen?

ADAM: I cannot comprehend it.

PETER: Can you give us some idea concerning it?

ADAM: They preach of a God who is without body, parts, or passions; who is so large that he fills the universe, and yet is so small that he can dwell in your heart; and of a hell, without a bottom, where the wicked are continually burned but are never consumed. To me, it is a mass of confusion.

PETER: We do not wonder that you cannot comprehend such doctrine. Have you any tokens or signs?

LUCIFER: [Interjecting.] Do you have any money?

PETER: We have sufficient for our needs.

LUCIFER: You can buy anything in this world for money.(5)

PETER: [To Adam.] Do you sell your tokens or signs for money? You have them, I presume.

ADAM: I have them, but I do not sell them for money. I hold them sacred. I am looking for the further light and knowledge Father promised to send me.

PETER: That is right. We commend you for your integrity. Good day. We shall probably visit you again.

[Peter, James, and John leave the World Room.]

LUCIFER BOASTS OF HIS POWER

LUCIFER: Now is the great day of my power. I reign from the rivers to the ends of the earth. There is none who dares to molest or make afraid.

PREACHER: Shall we ever have any apostles or prophets?

LUCIFER: No. However, there may be some who will profess revelation or apostleship. If so, just test them by asking that they perform a great miracle, such as cutting off an arm or some other member of the body and restoring it, so that the people may know that they have come with power.

THE MESSENGERS’ FIRST REPORT

[Elohim, Jehovah, and their messengers are heard speaking outside the World Room.]

PETER: Jehovah, we have visited the man Adam in the telestial world as thou didst command us. We found Satan there, with his ministers, preaching all manner of false doctrine and striving to lead the posterity of Adam astray. But Adam has been true and faithful to the token and sign given him in the garden of Eden and is waiting for the further light and knowledge you promised to send him. This is our report.

JEHOVAH: It is well, Peter, James, and John.

Elohim–Peter, James, and John have been down to the man Adam in the telestial world. They found Satan there, with his ministers, preaching all manner of false doctrine and striving to lead the posterity of Adam astray. But Adam has been true and faithful to the token and sign given him in the garden of Eden, and he is waiting for the further light and knowledge you promised to send him. This is their report.

ELOHIM: It is well.

Jehovah, instruct Peter, James, and John to go down in their true character, as apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the man Adam and his posterity(6) in the telestial world and to cast Satan out of their midst. Instruct them to give unto Adam and his posterity the law of the gospel as contained in the Book of Mormon and the Bible; also, a charge to avoid all lightmindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed, the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice; and cause these to be received by covenant.

Instruct Peter, James, and John further to clothe Adam and his posterity in the robes of the holy priesthood, with the robe on the left shoulder, and to give unto them the second token of the Aaronic priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. Then have them return and bring me word.

JEHOVAH: It shall be done, Elohim.

Peter, James, and John, go down in your true character, as apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the man Adam and his posterity in the telestial world. Cast Satan out of their midst. Give unto them the law of the gospel as contained in the Book of Mormon and the Bible; also, a charge to avoid all lightmindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed, the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice. Cause them to receive these by covenant.

Clothe them in the robes of the holy priesthood, with the robe on the left shoulder, and give unto them the second token of the Aaronic priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. Then return and bring us word.

PETER: It shall be done, Jehovah. Come, James and John, let us go down.

THE MESSENGERS’ SECOND VISIT

[Peter, James, and John return to the World Room.]

PETER: I am Peter.

JAMES: I am James.

JOHN: I am John.

LUCIFER: Yes, I thought I knew you. [To the preacher.] Do you know who these men are? They claim to be apostles. Try them!

PREACHER: [To Peter.] Do you profess to be an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ?

PETER: We do.

PREACHER: This man told me that we should never have any revelation or apostles, but if any should come professing to be apostles, I was to ask them to cut off an arm or some other member of the body and then restore it, so that the people might know that they came with power.

PETER: We do not satisfy men’s curiosity in that manner. It is a wicked and an adulterous generation that seeks for a sign. Do you know who that man is? He is Satan. (7)

PREACHER: What? The devil?

PETER: That is one of his names.

PREACHER: He is quite a different person from what he told me the devil is. He said the devil has claws like a bear’s on his hands, horns on his head, and a cloven foot, and that when he speaks he has the roar of a lion. (8)

PETER: He has said this to deceive you, and I would advise you to get out of his employ.

PREACHER: Your advice is good. But if I leave his employ, what will become of me?

PETER: We will preach the gospel unto you, with the rest of Adam’s posterity.

PREACHER: That is good. [To Lucifer.] I would like to have a settlement. I want you to pay me for preaching.

LUCIFER: I am ready to keep my word and fulfill my part of the agreement. I promised to pay you if you would convert these people, and they have nearly converted you! You can get out of my kingdom–I want no such men in it!

[The preacher exits.]

LUCIFER IS BANISHED

LUCIFER: [To Peter.] Now what are you going to do?

PETER: We will dismiss you without further argument.

LUCIFER: Ah! You have looked over my kingdom and my greatness and glory. Now you want to take possession of the whole of it.

[He indicates the initiates.]

I have a word to say concerning these people. If they do not walk up to every covenant they make at these altars in this temple this day, they will be in my power!

PETER: Satan, we command you to depart.

LUCIFER: By what authority?

PETER: [Raising his right arm to the square.] In the name of Jesus Christ, our Master.

[Lucifer exits.]

ADAM TESTS THE MESSENGERS

PETER: Adam, we are true messengers from the Father and have come down to give unto you the further light and knowledge he promised to send you.

ADAM: How shall I know that you are true messengers?

PETER: By our giving unto you the token and sign you received in the garden of Eden.

[Peter takes Adam by the hand in the first token of the Aaronic priesthood.]

ADAM: What is that?

PETER: The first token of the Aaronic priesthood.

ADAM: Has it a name?

PETER: It has.

ADAM: Will you give it to me?

PETER: I cannot, for it is the new name. But this is the sign, and this represents the execution of the penalty.

[Peter demonstrates the sign and penalty as he says this.]

ADAM: Now I know that you are true messengers sent down from Father.

[To the initiates.] These are true messengers. I exhort you to give strict heed to their counsel and teachings, and they will lead you in the way of life and salvation.

THE LAW OF THE GOSPEL

PETER: A couple will now come to the altar.

Brethren and sisters, this couple at the altar represent all of you as if at the altar, and you will be under the same obligations as they will be.

We are required to give unto you the law of the gospel as contained in the Book of Mormon and the Bible; to give unto you, also, a charge to avoid all lightmindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed, the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice; and to cause you to receive these by covenant.

All arise.

Each of you bring your right arm to the square.

You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar that you will observe and keep the law of the gospel and this charge, as it has been explained to you.

Each of you bow your head and say, “Yes.”

That will do.

THE ROBES OF THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD (9)

PETER: We are instructed to clothe you in the robes of the holy priesthood.

Place the robe on your left shoulder. Place the cap on your head with the bow over the right ear. Replace the apron. Tie the girdle with the bow on the right side. Remove the slippers from your feet, and put them on again as part of the temple clothing.

You may now proceed to clothe.

THE SECOND TOKEN OF THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD

PETER: A couple will now come to the altar.

With the robe on the left shoulder, you are prepared to officiate in the ordinances of the Aaronic priesthood.

We will now give unto you the second token of the Aaronic priesthood with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty.

[Peter demonstrates the token.]

We desire all to receive it. All arise.

[All initiates receive the token. Peter then reveals the name, sign, and penalty for this token. Not all initiates receive the same name.]

I will now explain the covenant and obligation of secrecy which are associated with this token, its name, sign, and penalty, which you will be required to take upon yourselves.

If I were receiving my own endowment today, and if [here Peter provides a sample name for the token], I would repeat in my mind these words, after making the sign, at the same time representing the execution of the penalty:

I, _________, covenant that I will never reveal the second token of the Aaronic priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. Rather than do so, I would suffer my life to be taken. (10)

[Peter leads the initiates in repeating this oath.]

That will do.

We will return and report.

[Peter, James, and John exit.]

THE MESSENGERS’ SECOND REPORT

[Elohim, Jehovah, and their messengers are heard speaking outside the World Room.]

PETER: Jehovah, we have been down to the man Adam and his posterity in the telestial world and have cast Satan out of their midst. We have given unto them the law of the gospel as contained in the Book of Mormon and the Bible; also, a charge to avoid all lightmindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed, the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice, and have caused them to receive these by covenant.

We have also clothed them in the robes of the holy priesthood and have given unto them the second token of the Aaronic priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. This is our report.

JEHOVAH: It is well, Peter, James, and John.

Elohim–Peter, James, and John have been down to the man Adam and his posterity in the telestial world, have cast Satan out of their midst, and have done all else that they were commanded to do.

ELOHIM: It is well.

Jehovah, send down Peter, James, and John again to the telestial world. Have Adam and his posterity change their robes to the right shoulder, preparatory to officiating in the ordinances of the Melchizedek priesthood, and introduce them into the terrestrial world.

Instruct Peter, James, and John further to give unto Adam and his posterity the law of chastity and to put them under covenant to obey this law, which is that the daughters of Eve and the sons of Adam shall have no sexual intercourse except with their husbands or wives to whom they are legally and lawfully wedded, and to give unto them the first token of the Melchizedek priesthood, or Sign of the Nail, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. Have them return and bring me word.

JEHOVAH: It shall be done, Elohim.

Peter, James and John, go down again to the telestial world. Instruct Adam and his posterity to change their robes to the right shoulder, preparatory to officiating in the ordinances of the Melchizedek priesthood, and introduce them into the terrestrial world.

Give unto Adam and his posterity the law of chastity and put them under covenant to obey this law, which is that the daughters of Eve and the sons of Adam shall have no sexual intercourse except with their husbands or wives to whom they are legally and lawfully wedded. Give unto them the first token of the Melchizedek priesthood, or Sign of the Nail, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty; and return and bring us word.

PETER: It shall be done, Jehovah. Come, James and John, let us go down.

THE ROBES OF THE MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD

[Peter, James, and John return to the World Room.]

PETER: We are instructed to have you change the robe to the right shoulder, preparatory to officiating in the ordinances of the Melchizedek priesthood, and to introduce you into the terrestrial world.

You may now make the change by removing the robe.

[The initiates change the robe to the right shoulder. They then pass into the Terrestrial Room.]

NOTES:

1.) The part of Lucifer’s preacher was entirely eliminated in the 1990 revision, and with it the satire of Christian orthodoxy. Instead, Lucifer tells Adam simply that there will be many willing to preach to him the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. Adam retorts that he is waiting for messengers from his Father. Elohim is then heard commanding Jehovah to send messengers down to Adam.Through the 19th century and into the beginning of the 20th, the satire of Christian orthodoxy was played up for comic relief. Lucifer might produce preachers representing various denominations, all of which would become targets of ridicule.

2.) In earlier versions of the endowment, Lucifer offered a specific amount as the preacher’s salary, which the preacher complained was small.

3.) For many years, the preacher led initiates (or, prior to the 1920s, a temple choir) in singing a hymn at this point. The hymn chosen would be one Latter-day Saints were likely to associate with “sectarian” Christianity–for instance, “Hail! Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” or “Rock of Ages.” Hymn singing was discontinued during the late 1960s, when the widespread use of the filmed endowment made it awkward.

4.) A 1931 exposé has Lucifer tell Peter that he and the preacher are “making” religion out of “newspapers, novels, notions of men and women sugared over with scripture.” As this snippet illustrates, early performances of the endowment had a satirical bite reminiscent of Mark Twain and recalling the earthy wit of Brigham Young.

5.) It is not clear to whom Lucifer is meant to say this. Of the two filmed versions of the endowment currently in use, one has Lucifer direct this line to Peter and the other to Adam. During a live endowment, I have seen the line treated as an aside to the initiates watching the ceremony.

6.) From this point on, the 1990 revision replaces references to “Adam and his posterity” with references to “Adam and Eve and their posterity.” However, the messengers are still sent to see if Adam specifically has been faithful to the token and sign he received, and during their visits the messengers address only Adam directly. (The most recent temple film tries to soften Eve’s marginalization by having her stand close beside Adam during the messenger’s visits and having Adam and Eve exchange frequent glances.)

7.) In a 1931 exposé, the preacher responds to Peter’s question, “Do you know who that man is?” by replying, “Why, certainly! He’s a great gentleman and is at the head of all the religious denominations of the day.”

8.) Sometime in the 1970s, a reference to black skin was omitted from the preacher’s description of Satan.

9.) There was a period before the 1920s when initiates were clothed in the robes of the priesthood, with the robe on the right shoulder, at the time they received the first token of the Aaronic priesthood. (This would mean that initiates first donned the robes while they were still in the Garden Room.) At the time of receiving the second token of the Aaronic priesthood, the robe was shifted to the left shoulder; then it was shifted back to the right shoulder just before entering the Terrestrial Room to receive the first token of the Melchizedek priesthood. During the 1920s, the rite was simplified so that the robes had to be shifted only once from one shoulder to the other.

(10.) With the elimination of the penalties in 1990, this last sentence (“Rather than do so, I would suffer my life to be taken”) was omitted from every oath of non-disclosure.