Subject: The Mormon temple experience (long)
Date: Feb 19, 2008
Author: Former temple worker

Because several posters have left the church prior to attending the temple for their own endowment, some have questions regarding the experience. As has been addressed, a person only attends the temple for their own sake a few times in their lives- endowment and sealing. Even as a member, I believed there was too much secrecy regarding the temple. In the temple there is no covenant not to discuss what occurs there (that is a misconception). The only promises are not to reveal the tokens and names of the tokens. Everything else, in my opinion, could be discussed openly and frankly by active members.

I have not included the words of the ordinances here. In some cases, the ceremonies are lengthy and would interfere with the purpose of this post. The actual temple ordinances can be found elsewhere on the internet.

I. Baptisms for the dead and confirmations

Usually Mormon youth and new LDS converts attend the temple to do baptisms for the dead. When a youth is twelve years old, or a new member is baptized, they can immediately go to the temple for this work after being interviewed by their bishop.

Youth and new members are encouraged to go to the temple wearing their Sunday best. Also, youth are reminded to bring extra underwear because they will be getting wet. Most often, the youth attend as a group with ward youth leaders and bishopric members.

Once at the temple, the bishop presents a group recommend to the male temple worker at the temple entrance desk. He reviews the list as the youth pass, ensuring that each youth present is on the list. This list can only be used once, on that visit.

A. Baptisms

The youth are escorted to the temple baptistery, which is usually off the lobby entrance and separate from other parts of the temple. After getting white jump suits, boys are escorted to the boys locker room and girls go to the girls locker room. These locker rooms are private with individual enclosed changing areas. Each youth removes his church clothes and puts them into a locker and puts on the white jump suit. After dressing, they assemble next to the font. Most temples have church like pews to onside of the font where the youth wait.

Once all the youth are assembled they are reminded to be reverent in the temple. A prayer is offered at the direction of the bishop. Then one of the Melchizedek priesthood holders who came with the group enters the font. He is dressed in a white jump suit too. There is another man who sits at a desk next to the font. His job is to provide names of the deceased person for each baptism. Finally, two men sit overlooking the font as witnesses. Their job is to ensure that the words are properly said and that the youth is fully submerged.

Once the youth enters the font, the man performing the baptism will hold the youth by the wrist, just like a normal baptism. He looks up to the recorder’s desk. Today, most temples have a monitor which projects a name onto a screen. The “baptizer” states the words of the ordinance exactly then lowers the youth into the water. The recorder inches the temple produced sheet of names forward, revealing the next name on the sheet of paper. Then it is all repeated again. Each baptism takes about thirty seconds or so. They will continue unless one of the witnesses interrupts. If there is a question, the ordinance is re-performed. After each baptism, the recorder checks the name completed. There are about six names per sheet of paper. Male names are on blue paper and female names are on pink paper.

Males can only be baptized for deceased men and females can only be baptized on behalf of deceased females.

Depending on the size of the group and the length of time attending, each youth will do about ten to thirty baptisms. After they are done, the youth exits the font and is handed a towel by a sister next to the font. The youth tries to squeeze most of the water out of the drenched jumpsuit before heading to the locker room. The floor from the font to the locker rooms is usually tiled and capable of handling the water.

Once in the locker room the youth re-enters the private changing area and puts on dry underwear and redresses into their church clothes. Hopefully they remembered to bring a plastic bag for their now wet underwear. Once dressed, they wait for their turn to do confirmations. (Some temples let the youth do the confirmations first, while still dressed in the white and dry jumpers, before heading to the font for baptisms).

The next youth enters the font and process continues until all the youth have had a chance to do baptisms. The men will change jobs every so often. The person doing the baptisms usually gets tired from all the lifting.

B. Confirmations

The youth are also able to participate with confirmations performed on behalf of the deceased. In the baptistery area of the temple is a room with a chair and a couple of slightly elevated side stool-like chairs with arm rests. The youth sits reverently in the center chair. Three Melchizedek priesthood holders are seated around the youth, facing him or her. Two of them lightly place their hands on the youth’s head. One performs the ordinance of the confirmation of the church and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The words are nearly identical as the ordinance is for the living. The second man helps by placing his hands on the head of the youth (the ordinance requires two priesthood holders). The third person is the recorder who uses the temple sheet of names. After each name is completed, it is checked off. There are six names per sheet. The youth do about the same number of confirmations as baptisms.

Once all the youth have finished doing baptisms and confirmations and have changed back into their Sunday dress, they reassemble at the pews near the font. Usually a member of the temple presidency thanks them for their time and efforts and reminds them of the importance of the work. After a closing prayer, they leave the temple.

The time that they are in the temple is about two hours, depending on the size of the group.

The completed forms are brought to the temple office and the bar codes are scanned. This information is transmitted to Salt Lake.

II. Own endowment

Only adults attend the temple to receive “their own endowment.” For many males, this occurs prior to leaving on a church mission, or prior to being sealed (married) in the temple. For most women, this occurs prior to being married or leaving on a church mission. Some adults, male or female, will receive their own endowment later – after mission age and after marriage seems unlikely.

Prior to attending the temple, the person must be interviewed by his or her bishop and stake president. The purpose of the interview is to ensure temple worthiness. Most will have some sort of temple preparation classes taught. In my experience, these preparation classes are inadequate because the teacher is not allowed to discuss much of what occurs in the temple during the ceremony.

Once the person is found worthy, two recommends are issued, one is the standard temple recommend which now has a two year duration, and the other recommend is for a specific ordinance (i.e, own endowment or own sealing).

An appointment is made with the temple for a specific date or time. The person is instructed to be at the temple early and to bring garments and perhaps temple robes (for the smaller temples with no rentals). Also, if a sealing is to occur, other documents are needed such as marriage certificate for couples previously wed and birth certificates for children born to the couple who are being sealed to their parents.

Assuming that the person is single for this explanation, the person arrives at the temple. Most young adults are accompanied by their parents (or close previously endowed friends). They arrive at the temple dressed in their Sunday clothes. As they enter the temple doors they are greeted by a temple worker at the entry desk. The temple worker will have been previously told to expect the person.

(The temple is a highly organized place. Most work performed there is scheduled and the workers are highly trained to do temple work.)

In the temples where I served, a temple worker is assigned to accompany and guide the person and their escort. The escort is a person who comes with the attendee – usually the dad or mother (depending on whether it is a son or daughter).

Once the recommends are checked, the person is invited reverently into the temple itself. The ordinance recommend is kept by the temple but the temple recommend is returned to the person for future use. The person is given a small colored tag to pin to their clothes so others know that is it that person’s first time. This tag is helpful to temple workers who can spend extra time with the person and make sure the person is properly instructed.

Normally, a member of the temple presidency speaks with the initiate about the sacredness of the temple and safekeeping the temple garment. The person is told how to properly dispose of the garment once it is worn out, and is instructed to wear it at all times. Men are instructed by the temple presidency and women are instructed by the temple matron or her assistant (these are usually the wives of the temple presidency members). The instruction lasts about fifteen minutes.

The person is escorted to the appropriate locker room (male or female). Normally, the temple has placed a reserve sign on the locker booth for the person. The person is given their own private changing area and locker. (Each changing area is enclosed and has about three separate lockers – not unlike a gym). The person removes all their clothes and adorns a white shield. They have been given a one piece temple garment for temporary use. (I understand that this may have recently changed).

The person is escorted to the initiatory area, which is attached to the locker room area. (The person doesn’t leave the locker room). The initiatory room has four curtained enclosed areas (visualize a square divided onto quarters). The person leaves their garment on a handle in the first area. The person enters the second area. Usually there is a bench and small water faucet. The person sits on the bench. The temple worker (men for male attendees, women for female attendees) addresses the person. The first part is called the washing. When I worked in the temple the person is washed clean from the sins of the world and receives specific blessings for various parts of the body. The temple worker lightly touches those parts with a finger which is slightly damp. This part then another worker enters from the third section. The two place their hands on the attendee and seal those blessings.

The person is then escorted into the third area and is anointed. The process is nearly identical as the washing, but olive oil is used (I understand that this part may have recently changed). After the anointing, another temple worker enters from the fourth area and together with the anointer, seals the anointing by placing hands on the persons head. Finally, the person is escorted in the fourth area and the temple worker there, who just helped seal the anointing, places the garment on the person in a specific manner – right leg, left leg, right arm, and left arm. The person is promised protection and finally is given a new name. The new name is considered very sacred. The person is told never to divulge the new name to another, except at a certain place at the temple. Every male at the temple that day receives the same name and every female at the temple receives the same name; however, the people aren’t told this.

This initiatory part of the endowment takes about ten minutes, in addition to all the changing. As the person leaves the initiatory area, they reenter their locker. The take off the temple garment and put on their own garment. If male, the person dresses in white pants, white shirt, white neck tie, white socks and white slippers. If female, the person puts on a white dress and white stockings.

The temple worker assigned as a guide then checks to ensure all the temple clothing are present in the bundle. For men, the temple clothes are a white temple robe (toga like), a white hat, a white sash, and a green apron. For women, the temple clothes are a white temple robe, white veil, white sash, and a green apron. The clothes are stored in a small white cloth envelope.

The person and their escort are then guided into the endowment room. (In some temples, they are escorted into a chapel, then the endowment room). In the endowment room, the person sits on one side or the other side of the room, depending on gender. Men sit on the right side of the room and women sit on the left side of the room.

Because it is their first time attending, a seat has been reserved in the front row for the person and their escort (usually mom or dad).

The first room in the endowment process is a theatre room. The lighting is soft. In front is an altar with a padded bench in front for kneeling. Behind the altar, or the side, are chairs for temple workers, men and women.

(This description does not include the ceremony itself – it can be viewed elsewhere).

As the ceremony starts, the doors to the room are closed, a male officiator (temple worker) stands behind the altar. He is dressed in a white suit. He presses a green button on the altar and the recorded session begins.

During the session, the person is instructed to put clothes on over the white clothing being worn. Because there are repeated changes in robe positions, the escort is very important. The clothing must be worn properly. Also tokens (handshakes) are given to everyone present four times, corresponding to four different covenants.

At the end of the ceremony the person is invited to stand in the prayer circle, and afterwards, is instructed as to how to pass through the veil. The person is requested to recite back names of covenants and give the newly acquired tokens to a man on the other side of the veil (who represents the Lord). Most need help with this part of the ceremony, so a temple worker stands closely by to help the person. Once through the veil, the person enters the beautifully adorned celestial room where both sexes can now commingle. There are sofas and chairs for reverent and quiet visiting.

After several minutes in the celestial room, the person returns through a hallway to the locker room. They take off their temple clothes, not the garments, those stay on for good. They change back into their church clothing, pack their temple clothes into a small case, and meet their party in the lobby, where they exit.

The first time someone enters the temple for their own endowment, it takes about three hours. Later, when they return and go through for the dead, the session takes about ninety minutes and the total time in the temple is probably just around two hours.

After leaving the temple the person is now endowed. He or she now has a new temple name, wears the garment, has been given the tokens, and has made covenants. According the LDS belief, if the person lives his or her life in accordance with those promises, they will receive eternal life after death – meaning they will live in the presence of God.

III. Own sealing

A. Newlyweds

Both bride and groom will have received their endowment prior to being able to be sealed. They will have been interviewed by their bishop and stake president for worthiness and must bring a separate recommend with them for the sealing, in addition to their normal temple recommends.

Sealings are previously scheduled with the temple.

Sometimes, the bride will not have been through the temple, so on the day of her marriage, she will also go through for her own endowment. As the endowment is a tedious and tiring experience, most brides are encouraged to go to the temple for their own endowment the week prior to the temple sealing.

After both have put on their white temple clothes and temple robes, they are escorted to the veil room. The husband will then learn his wife’s temple name. He is the only other person on earth able to learn it (she will never learn his). This is accomplished by him receiving her through the veil, just as at the end of the temple endowment session. He stands on one side of the veil, in the position of the Lord (highly symbolic) and she stands on the other side. He asks her for the names of the tokens while they make the tokens through the veil. Once finished, he lets her enter into his presence on the other side of the veil. He now knows her temple name. Thereafter, the only other place she can tell him is in the celestial room – and only if he forgets. This part only takes minutes. Temple workers sometimes call this the “short veil.”

While outside the sealing room, the couple usually gets advice from a member of the temple presidency. The bride has received help from not only her mother (if endowed and current temple recommend holder) but female temple workers. Everyone loves a wedding. The male has also been escorted that day too, but has not been as pampered!

Temple guests are escorted in to the sealing room. They must have current temple recommends. Two Melchizedek priesthood holders sit on either side of the sealer. They will be witnesses and will sign their names as witnesses. Commonly, the two witnesses are the fathers – if they are temple recommend holders. Once all the guests have arrived, the couple is brought in the room.

The sealing room is a rectangular shaped room with a temple altar in the center of the room. It has padded benches along all four sides at the bottom for kneeling.

The sealer, a specially set apart male temple worker, officiates. He greets the guests and the couple. After very few words, he invites the couple to kneel at the altar with the husband on one side and the wife on the other side of the altar. They are dressed in all their temple clothes. As the sealing ordinance is spoken, they join hands on the final temple token received.

The sealing is very short. The only words spoken by bride or groom are one short “yes’ from each.

(The words sealing ceremony can be found on the internet).

After words, they can kiss each other (no “Hollywood” kisses are allowed). Then away from the altar, they can exchange rings – it is not part of the ceremony. Guests are invited to greet the new couple as they exit the room. The entire ceremony is short, lasting about twenty minutes, depending on advice from the sealer.

After guests leave, the couple returns to their perspective locker room and dress into picture taking clothing. Usually the bride usually puts on a more elaborate wedding dress and the groom puts on a tuxedo. They leave the temple proper and take pictures outside the temple, where sometimes they greet others not allowed to have attended the ceremony. Once the pictures are taken, the re-dress into their church clothes and leave for a later wedding reception.

B. For previously wedded couples

If a couple is entering to be sealed, the procedure is nearly identical as previously described for newlyweds. If they have children, the children do not witness the husband-wife sealing, they enter latter. When the children enter the room, they too are dressed in white clothes, but not the temple robes. The sealer places each child around the altar kneeling.

There is an exact position for each child. As I understand, the oldest child kneels to the right of his father (who is at the head of the altar – the wife is at the other end), the next oldest child is placed to the left of the father, the third oldest child to the right of the father - next to the oldest, the fourth oldest is the father’s left – next to the second oldest, and so on.

As each child’s name is read, the child places his or her own hand atop of the parents’ hand which are grasped in a temple grip. All the children’s names are called and sealed to their parents as if born into the new and everlasting covenants, meaning the children are now sealed to their parents forever.

This only lasts for about fifteen minutes. It can be a very emotional time as mothers know shed tears believing that their children cannot be taken from them, even by death.

After the ceremony, the family re-dresses into their church clothes in the locker rooms and leave the temple.

IV. Endowment session (Proxy)

The endowment session is the most common temple experience. Once a person receives their own endowment, they never attend an endowment session for their own behalf again. They attend as proxies for the deceased.

In smaller temples appointments must be made to attend the temple. At large temples, endowment sessions start every so often that no appointment is required.

The person enters the temple dressed in their Sunday clothes. The temple worker at the desk, checks the person’s recommend. The person then goes to the appropriate locker room. The person finds an empty locker and then changes into white clothing he or she has brought. Some temples have clothes the patron can rent. Once the person is dressed in white, they go to a small booth usually located in the locker room exit. They enter the booth, and a temple worker gives them the new name on behalf of a deceased person. The person is handed a small slip of paper with the name of the deceased person – or if they brought their own slip for their own deceased family member they bring it into the booth to present to the worker. The words spoken are very similar as to the words used for a first time attendee except that for a recognition that the work is on behalf of the dead. Once the new name is given, the card is checked so that other temple workers know that the new name has already been communicated. Women temple workers provide this for women patrons and male temple workers take care of male patrons.

The person leaves the small booth. (From personal experience, at this point I try to remember the new name given to me.) The person then enters to the chapel, if it is a larger temple, or directly to the endowment room, if a smaller temple. When entering the room, temple workers ensure that the new name has been given by looking for the check mark on the name slip

As previously described men sit on the right and women sit on the left. One couple is asked to be the witness couple – the man will take the first seat nearest the altar and the woman will take the nearest seat on her side to the altar. During the session, the witness couple have to leave their seats frequently as they go and kneel at the altar during the presentation.

(The presentation itself can be found on the internet).

Once the prayer circle has finished at the end of the session, and the instructions have been given to go through the veil, the person sits patiently and waits for their turn at the veil. Temple workers assist each patron through the veil. Most temples can process three to six women and three to six men through the veil simultaneously. Women temple workers are at each “female” veil and male temple workers are at each “male” veil. Their job is to help remind the person of the exact names of the tokens and to ensure that each token is properly performed. Male temple workers stand behind all the veil and test the person as to the tokens. Once the person has exactly made and spoken the tokens and their names, the veil is slightly parted and the person passes through the veil to the celestial room.

Sometimes, when the temple is full, a person may have to wait ten to twenty minutes after the session has ended to go through the veil; however, normally, it only takes a few minutes of waiting. Once in the celestial room, the person can reverently visit with friends or quietly prayer. However, no one is encourage or permitted to stay in the celestial room for very long. After the person leaves the celestial room, they travel to their locker room, renter their booth and change back into their church clothes. Temple clothing is either folded up and stored for later use in the small suite case, or returned to the temple if rented in a laundry slot.

The person then exits the temple through the lobby.

A session lasts about ninety minutes and person is in the temple for about two hours.

The small slips of paper with the name of the deceased are collected by the temple workers at the veil. Once collected they are normally handed to the man who officiated the session. He then brings them directly to the temple office where they are scanned using a bar code scanner and the data is transmitted to Salt Lake. If a patron brought their own card, it is brought to a location near the lobby for them to retrieve after dressing and before departure. A small boxed entitled “endowment” on the card is stamped with the date – reflecting that the ordinance was completed that date. There are also small boxes for initiatory, sealing to spouse, and sealing to parent, on the card.

V. Initiatory (Proxy).

A person, usually by ward assignment, attends the temple to help with the initiatory ordinance for the deceased. Once in the temple, the person presents his or her own recommend. He or she may indicate that they are there to help with initiatory work as it is presumed that most patrons are going to attend an endowment session.

The person goes to his or her respective locker room and are given a temple garment and temple shield to wear. (Since I left some of this has been changed). The person takes off their clothes and puts on the shield.

The person then goes to the initiatory area in the locker room and takes a seat. Once the three temple workers are ready and the patrons are ready (hopefully there are three patrons so no time is wasted), the first patron goes into the first booth, as previously described above.

There are a couple of differences from initiatory work of the living. One difference is priesthood ordination. As the dead have not received the priesthood during life, dead men are ordained elders – the male patrons sit as proxies. This is done in the second booth – the washing booth. The temple worker quickly ordains the dead man an elder in the Melchizedek priesthood. The patron, upon entering the first changing booth was given a list of six names per sheet. Once the priesthood ordination is completed, the worker proceeds with the washing, just as with the living, except it is all done in the name and behalf of the deceased. The patron goes to the anointing booth then the garment booth. This is the other change. The deceased is not given a new name at this point (as would occur with a “live” ordinance.). The person is just dressed with the garment. Once the garment is placed upon the person with the appropriate language , the person exits the booth back into the first booth to await his washing again, on behalf of the next person on his list. The “clother” the worker placing the garment on the person, marks the initiatory box on the sheet once the garment has been placed on the person.

Initiatory is a “carousel” type of ordinance. Three patrons can go through at a time, one in the washing booth, one in the anointing booth and one in the garment dressing booth. It takes about five minutes per name. A sheet takes thirty minutes. Most patrons stay for three sheets (30 names). Once finished, the person changes into their clothes and exits – normally with a lot of olive oil all over them! Again, this may have changed.

The sheets are periodically taken to the office for recording upon completion.

VI. Sealing (Proxy)

Those attending to the temple for proxy sealing are usually there by ward assignment. As usual, they present their recommends at the front desk and inform they are there to help with sealings. They then proceed to their respective dressing rooms and change not only into their white clothes, but also their temple robes. After fully dressing in their temple robes, they exit the locker room and proceed to the appropriate sealing room. Once there they find a seat and wait for everyone to assemble, especially the sealer.

Men act as proxies for husbands or sons and women act as proxies for wives or daughters. Also, two men sit on either side of the sealer and witness each ordinance. For sealing of couples, a man kneels on one side of the altar and a woman kneels on the opposite side of the altar. During the ordinance, works spoken by the sealer, they join hands in a temple grip. Each says “yes” at the appropriate place. The words are similar to a live sealing, but the work is mentioned as being done for specific deceased people. A sealing for the deceased only takes a couple of minutes, so the kneeling couple can do a lot of proxy sealings at one time. The sealer marks the appropriate box as a sealing is performed.

Because knees get tired, and most patrons are elderly, changes in assignments are made about once every fifteen minutes or so.

When sealings are being done for a deceased child, a male patron (patron is a person who attends the temple as opposed to a temple worker) acts as father by kneeling at the head of the altar. A woman patron acting as mother kneels at the opposite side of the altar. A male patron acts as proxy for a male child and a female patron acts as proxy for a female child. Each child is sealed to his or her parents with very similar words as used in sealing children to living parents. As each child’s name is said, the patron rests his or her right hand on the proxy parents’ gripped hands, resting on the altar.

Most proxy child sealing is done one child at a time, but if the sealer identifies several cards with the same family, he can do all the cards at once, using multiple proxies as children.

Sealings don’t take long. In a ninety minute time period, a lot of proxy sealings can be completed. Once finished, patrons exit the sealing room, change into their normal church clothes then exit the temple. The sealer brings the completed cards to the office for recordings and puts the uncompleted cards back into the stack for future work.


Subject: To Complete the Temple Ceremony Post - The Tokens and their Names (link)
Date: Feb 19 15:17
Author: Teacher of the Temple


Subject: Wow, thanks for your labor of love in typing this all up... Do you have any insights re. the
Date: Feb 19 15:36
Author: brain frees

symbols, like as to what they mean? When I was first starting to question I had a couple of meetings with the temple president in dallas (since i thought you could only ask these questions in the temple...). I specifically wanted to know what the symbols embodied in the clothing represent, like the hat, the string from the hat to the shoulder, the shoulder epaulette, the robe switching, bows, etc.

The pad answer that I used to get was to attend often, because every time you attend you get more answers, light, knowledge, etc. Wellllllll, the more I attended, the more questions I developed, which is why I wanted to see the temple prez.

I also wanted to know why the creation days were different in the temple versus the pearl of great price (don't ask me why i only recently noticed that). I think it was because I was trying so hard to learn and grow in the temple experience (isn't that what I was supposed to be doing?).

So the best answer I ever received from talking to the temple prez. was, "i don't know why we have that, or why we do that, or what that means"... In addition, he said that in a recent meeting with the temple presidents that someone asked Hinckley why the women veiled their faces during "the true order of prayer." Wanna know Hinckley's response (not talking to the media but to temple presidents) - "I don't know why the women veil their faces."

Well, as with most of my mormon investigations - go in with one question, come out with two...

I did learn in later research (on the devil's information superhighway) that the true order of prayer used to be performed outside of the temple in people's homes and chapels until one of the Prophets yanked it. From what I understand, some people even had constructed make-shift altars to 'do it right'. Well, i think that even though that previous practice is weird it makes more sense so a family wouldn't be forced to pray in the "un-true" order of prayer so much.


Subject: Re: Wow, thanks for your labor of love in typing this all up... Do you have any insights re. the
Date: Feb 19 15:53
Author: Former Temple Worker

Sorry for the typing errors. But I am glad that the information is helpful.

Second. "What does it all mean?" - NOTHING at all. It is nonsense. In the training videos temple workers view each day, the workers are instructed not to answer questions about the meaning of the temple. Instead they are told that "in the temple, the Spirit is the teacher."

Even temple presidents won't advice members as to significance.

In the end, the temple ceremony is a cheap knock off of the masonic ritual Joseph Smith learned weeks before introducing his own ritual.


Subject: The present endowment ceremony does not require a secrecy covenant, but the former did....
Date: Feb 19 16:32
Author: Chad (Swedeboy) Spjut

The Sign and Penalty of the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood:

ELOHIM—The sign is made by bringing the right arm to the square, the palm of the hand to the front, the fingers close together, and the thumb extended (Officiator demonstrates). This is the sign.

The Execution of the Penalty is represented by placing the thumb under the left ear (Officiator demonstrates), the palm of the hand down, and by drawing the thumb quickly across the throat to the right ear (Officiator demonstrates) and dropping the hand to the side (Officiator drops his right hand to his side).

I will now explain the covenant and obligation of secrecy which are associated with this token, its name, sign and penalty and which you will be required to take upon yourselves. If I were receiving my own Endowment today and had been given the name of "John" as my New Name I would repeat in my mind these words, after making the sign (Officiator makes the sign), at the same time representing the execution of the penalty:

I, John, covenant that I will never reveal the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood with its accompanying name, sign and penalty. Rather than do so I would suffer (the right hand, palm down, is now placed near the throat so that the thumb is under the left ear)—my life—(the thumb is now drawn under the jaw-bone and across the throat to the right ear)—to be taken (the hand is now dropped to the side).

The Sign and Penalty of the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood:

The sign is made by bringing the right hand in front of you, with the hand in cupping shape, the right arm forming a square and the left arm being raised to the square. This is the sign. (Officiator demonstrates.)

The Execution of the Penalty is represented by placing the right hand on the left breast (Officiator demonstrates), drawing the hand quickly across the body (Officiator draws his right hand from his left to right breast and drops his left hand to his left breast with the elbows of both arms facing outwards) and dropping the hands to the sides (The Officiator drops both hands to his sides).

I will now explain the covenant and obligation of secrecy which are associated with this token, its name, sign and penalty and which you will be required to take upon yourselves. If I were receiving my own endowment today and if my first given name were "David" I would repeat in my mind these words, after making the sign (The Officiator makes the sign), at the same time representing the Execution of the Penalty:

I, David, 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 (Brief pause. Officiator places his cupped right hand on his left breast)—my life—(Brief pause. Officiator draws his right hand from his left to right breast and drops his left hand to his left breast with the elbows of both arms facing outwards)— to be taken (The Officiator drops both hands to the side).

The Sign and Penalty of the First Token of the Melchezedek Priesthood:

The sign is made by bringing the left hand in front of you with the hand in cupping shape, the left arm forming a square; the right hand is also brought forward, the palm down, the fingers close together, the thumb extended and the thumb is placed over the left hip. (Officiator demonstrates the sign.) This is the sign.

The Execution of the Penalty is represented by drawing the thumb quickly across the body and dropping the hands by the sides (Officiator demonstrates).

I will now explain the covenant and obligation of secrecy which are associated with this token, it name, sign and penalty and which you will be required to take upon yourselves. If I were receiving my Endowment today, either myself or for the dead, I would repeat in my mind these words, after making the sign (Officiator makes the sign), at the same time representing the Execution of the Penalty:

I covenant in the name of the Son 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—(Brief pause. Officiator places the thumb of his right hand over the left hip)—my life—(Brief pause. Officiator draws his right hand across his waist to his right hip and brings his left hand to his left hip. Both elbows face outward from the body)—to be taken.

Early Wording of the Penalties:


In earlier days, the wording of the penal oaths was even more graphic:

Early Penalty of the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood:

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 our throats be cut from ear to ear and our tongues torn out by our roots.

Early Penalty of the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood:

We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the Seond Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, or penalty. Should we do so, we agree to have our breasts cut open and our hearts and vitals torn out from our bodies and given to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.

Early Penalty of the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood:

We, and each of us, 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 our bodies be cut assunder in the mdst and all our bowels gush out.

(Sources of Information: U.S. Senate Document 486; "Endowment Oaths and Ceremonies" in Salt Lake Tribune, February 8, 1906)

Related topics:  Second Anointing   Mormon 508 and similar topics below:

13. Non-Mormon and Garments

15. Temple Divorces

19. Feel Ugly in Temple Clothing?

32. The Changing Temple

33. First Time to the Temple

42. Washing and Anointings

 44. Stopped wearing garments

66. Secret or Sacred?

127 Temple Marriage Ceremony

155  New Names Given in the Temple

165  Not allowed to the Temple Wedding

169  Can Temple Ordinances be Changed?

234  Changing Rules? Temple Marriages

238  She Can't Stand The Temple 

243  Temple Hype Versus Reality 

285  First Time to Temple II

288. Protestant Minister Pre-1990 Endowment

293 Excluded from Children's  Wedding

301 Speaking Publicly about the Temple

306 Temples are Running out of Names

331 The Temple Endowment not Changed per Apologist

339 Temple Marriage vs. Traditional

359 Canceling a Temple Sealing

366 Naked Touching in the Temple?

371 Young Women Dress up in Mother's Temple Wedding Gown

382 Excluded from Children's Mormon Temple Wedding II

474.  My Mother Denies Making Motions of Slitting her Throat in the Temple Prior to 1990

475.  My Father had to Pay $4000 to the Church to Attend My Wedding

478.  Mormon Doctrine:  Women Must Wear Bras over Garments?

 503.   A non-Mormon Mother unable to attend her daughter's temple wedding


Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church

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