THE LAW OF CHASTITY

PETER: A couple will now come to the altar.

We are instructed to give unto you the law of chastity. This I will explain. To the sisters, it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse (1) except with your husband to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded. To the brethren it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse except with your wife to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded. (2)

Sisters, please 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 chastity, as it has been explained to you.

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

That will do.

Brethren, please 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 chastity, as it has been explained to you.

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

That will do.

THE FIRST TOKEN OF THE MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD

PETER: We will now give unto you the first token of the Melchizedek priesthood, or Sign of the Nail, 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.]

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 the endowment today, either for myself or for the dead, I would repeat in my mind these words, after making the sign, at the same time representing the execution of the penalty:

I covenant in the name _________ that I will never reveal the first token of the Melchizedek priesthood, or Sign of the Nail, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. Rather than do so, I would suffer my life to be taken. (3)

[Peter leads the initiates in repeating this oath.]

That will do.

We will return and report.

[Peter, James, and John exit.]

THE MESSENGERS’ THIRD REPORT

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

PETER: Jehovah, we have been down to the man Adam and his posterity, have placed the robe on the right shoulder, and have introduced them into the terrestrial world. We have put them under covenant to observe and keep the law of chastity. We have also given them the first token of the Melchizedek priesthood, or Sign of the Nail, 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, have placed the robe on the right shoulder, and have introduced them into the terrestrial world. They have also put them under covenant to observe and keep the law of chastity. They have given unto them the first token of the Melchizedek priesthood, or Sign of the Nail, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. This is their report.

ELOHIM: It is well.

Jehovah, send down Peter, James, and John, and instruct them to give to the man Adam and his posterity in the terrestrial world the law of consecration, in connection with the law of the gospel and the law of sacrifice, and to cause them to receive it by covenant; to give unto them the second token of the Melchizedek priesthood, the patriarchal grip, or Sure Sign of the Nail, with its accompanying sign; and to teach them the order of prayer and prepare them in all things to receive further instructions at the veil. Then have them report at the veil.

JEHOVAH: It shall be done, Elohim.

Peter, James, and John, go down to the man Adam and his posterity in the terrestrial world and give unto them the law of consecration, in connection with the law of the gospel and the law of sacrifice, and cause them to receive it by covenant. Give unto them the second token of the Melchizedek priesthood, the patriarchal grip, or Sure Sign of the Nail, with its accompanying sign. Teach them the order of prayer and prepare them in all things to receive further instructions at the veil. Then report at the veil.

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

THE LAW OF CONSECRATION

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

PETER: A couple will now come to the altar.

We are instructed to give unto you the law of consecration as contained in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, in connection with the law of the gospel and the law of sacrifice, which you have already received. It is that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.

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 do accept  (4) the law of consecration as contained in this, the book of Doctrine and Covenants [he displays the book], in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.

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

That will do. (5)

THE SECOND TOKEN OF THE MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD

PETER: We will now give unto you the second token of the Melchizedek priesthood, the patriarchal grip, or Sure Sign of the Nail, with its accompanying sign.

[Peter demonstrates the token.]

We desire all to receive it. All arise.

[All initiates receive the token.]

This token has a name and a sign, but no penalty is mentioned. However, you will be under just as sacred an obligation of secrecy in connection with this token and sign as you are with the other tokens and signs of the holy priesthood which you have received in the temple this day.

The name of this token will not be given unto you at this stage in the endowment, but it will be given later on.

[Peter demonstrates the sign for this token and then leads initiates in making the sign.] (6)

That will do.

THE ORDER OF PRAYER

PETER: Brethren and sisters, with the robe on the right shoulder you are prepared to be taught the true order of prayer and to be introduced at the veil.

A few couples will please come forward and form a circle around the altar.

[The couples are arranged so that men and women alternate around the circle. James directs the prayer circle.]

JAMES: Only the best of feelings should exist in the circle. If any of you have unkind feelings toward any member of this circle, you are invited to withdraw so that the Spirit of the Lord may be unrestrained.

In the circle we make the signs of all the tokens of the holy priesthood.

[James leads those in the circle in making each sign, in succession. As they do this, he reminds initiates of the name for each token, except the second token of the Melchizedek priesthood, the name of which has not yet been revealed.]

We have here a list of names of persons who are sick or otherwise afflicted, whom we are requested to remember in our prayer. We will place the list upon the altar and request the faith of those present in behalf of these persons.

The sisters in the room will please veil their faces.

Each brother in the circle will take the sister at his left by the right hand in the patriarchal grip.

Each of you bring your left arm to the square and rest it upon the shoulder or arm of the person at your left.

The brethren and sisters in the circle will repeat the words of the prayer.

[James kneels before the altar, within the circle, makes the sign of the second token of the Aaronic priesthood, and offers an extemporaneous prayer. He pauses after each sentence, so that those in the circle may repeat his words.]

PETER: The sisters will unveil their faces, and the brethren and sisters in the circle will return to their seats.

We will now uncover the veil.

NOTES:

1.) The 1990 revision speaks of sexual “relations” rather than sexual “intercourse.”

2.) The 1990 revision does not have women and men covenant separately to keep the law of chastity. Instead, women and men simultaneously covenant to have no sexual relations except with their “husband or wife” to whom they are legally and lawfully wedded. This revision was no doubt made to streamline the ceremony. However, the new wording has the presumably unintended consequence of bringing same-sex marriages–if legalized–within the pale of the law of chastity.

3.) 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.

4.) Note that while initiates covenanted to “observe and keep” the law of obedience and sacrifice, the law of the gospel, and the law of chastity, they covenant only to “accept” the law of consecration. Presumably this is because the Saints no longer practice communitarianism. Even so, the consecration of one’s time, talents, and means remains a key LDS value.

5.) Until the 1920s, the infamous “oath of vengeance” was administered in conjunction with the law of chastity and the law of consecration. This oath, as described by initiates during Congressional hearings in 1904-1906, ran as follows:

You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.

The “blood of the prophets” is generally understood as a reference to the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

6.) Up until 1990, while making the sign of the second token of the Melchizedek priesthood, initiates chanted three syllables which were said to have meaning in the Adamic language; Peter provided a translation. In the 1990 revision, there is no mention of the Adamic language. Instead, initiates simply recite (in English, or whatever language the endowment is being administered in) the phrase that Peter used to give as the syllables’ meaning in Adamic.