". . . Gluttonous Temple Birthday Parties with Virgins and Other Fleshly Frolics for the Endowed Faithful.
In the wake of past press reports of alleged sexual intercourse performed upon beds made available in the temple erected on the grounds of Warren Jeffs' male polygamous playground compound, questions have arisen concerning what, over time, may also have secretly transpired in the walled-off temples of the so-called "mainstream" Mormon Church.
Before addressing those curiosities, a preliminary review is in order of media reports concerning what has been discovered behind the closed doors of Warren Jeffs' FLDS temple--evidence that may pertain to purported sexual activity said to have taken place in sordid secrecy, and at the expense of young, vulnerable, trapped child brides.
REPORTED SEX ACTS IN THE FLDS TEMPLE
According to recent media reports, the temple located on the grounds of Jeffs' patriarchal playground was used to consummate sex acts between male members of the sect and their new temple-signed, sealed and delivered underage wives.
A "Fort Worth Star Telegram" article headlined, "Eldorado temple used for sex with young girls, records say," reports the following:
" . . . The temple inside [the FLDS] polygamous sect's outpost was used by husbands when they had sex for the first time with their new underage wives, according to an affidavit released Wednesday by Texas officials.
"The search- and arrest-warrant affidavit said the temple at the YFZ (Yearn for Zion) Ranch contains an area with a bed where males over 17 engaged in sexual activity with females under 17.
"On Saturday, investigators found 'disturbed bed linens and a strand of hair that appears to be from a female head,' the affidavit states. . . .
"The affidavit, signed by Department of Public Safety investigator Leslie Brooks, said evidence was found inside the temple that the men would force the young girls to have sex 'at the initial time of marriage.' . . .
"Investigators have refused to reveal how many men are being detained at the ranch. . . .
"Once inside the gleaming white structure that towers over the compound, investigators found 'multiple locked safes, locked desk drawers, locked vaults, as well as multiple computers and beds,' court documents said.
"Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange would not comment about what else investigators have found on the 1,691-acre ranch. . . ."
("Temple Used for Sex with Young Girls, Officials Say," by Bill Hanna, "Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 9 April 2008, at: http://www.star-telegram.com/2008/04/09/v-print/572931/temple-used-for-sex-with-young.html
These revelations (so to speak) raise certain questions related to the Mormon Church itself.
If fundamentalist polygamists claim (as, of course, they do) to be following the original doctrines and practices of Joseph Smith's Mormon Church, then what has historically taken place within the secrecy-shrouded temples of the so- called "mainstream" Mormon Church?
SEX ACTS IN EARLY MORMON TEMPLES?: FROM PRESS REPORTS OF THE DAY
The Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has strongly disavowed any doctrinal or practitional connection to the polygamous beliefs and activities of Warren Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
However, dating back to the early days of Joseph Smith's Mormon Church and keeping in mind its historically paranoid penchant for tight-lipped secrecy surrounding its closely-guarded temple rituals, rumors have continued to swirl alleging that faithful Mormons have engaged in all kinds of improprieties within the walls of their temples.
David John Buerger, in his book, "The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship" (San Francisco: Smith Research Associates, 1994) reviews accusations from early Mormon temple days that secret sexually-oriented acts were being performed inside these edifices.
Early official Mormon reluctance to openly address and disavow these alleged practices (particularly relating to goings-on in the Nauvoo temple) did nothing but fuel speculation.
"Despite injunctions for secrecy, accounts soon began to circulate about the temple rituals. During the 28 December 1845 meeting of the Quorum of the Anointed, [Heber C.] Kimball had, according to [William] Clayton, 'alluded to the stories in circulation that several persons had been killed on their way through the ordinances, and that men and women were stripped naked here. Joseph [Smith] said that for men and women to hold their tongues, was their salvation.'
"An example of such a lurid contemporary account can be found in the 'Warsaw Signal,' edited by rabid Mormon critic Thomas Sharp, for 18 February 1846:
"'The Saints have endeavored to keep the ceremony of the endowment perfectly quiet; but some of them have let the cat out of the bag and disclosed all. We have the story from two different sources, and as both correspond, we give it credit, although persons abroad, not acquainted with Mormonism, will be loath to believe that so much depravity as is evinced in the invention of this ceremony can exist, and that men and women can be found who consider the obscene rites sacred.
"'There must always be two candidates, a male and female presented for the endowment at once. These must pay one dollar each as a fee. If a male cannot find a female to take the endowment with him, the heads of the church provide one, and vice versa.
"'The candidates are first taken into a room together, where they are stripped of all their clothing and are made to wash each other from head to foot.
"'They are then separated and put into different rooms, where they are oiled--with perfumed sweet oil, by one of the functionaries of the church.
"'They then pass into another room still separate, where one of the Twelve pronounces a blessing upon them and gives them extensive powers and privileges--such as a plurality of wives to the male, and other similar blessings to the female.
"'The ceremony being ended, the candidates are brought together, still in a state of nudity, into a room where they are allowed to remain together, alone, as long as they see proper. They are then invested with their robes and take their departure.
"'The really deluded among the Saints consider this ceremony as sacred and intended as a trial of their virtue. But it was invented by the Twelve, evidently for the purpose of offering them an opportunity for gratifying their brutal lusts.'"
DENIAL OF SEX ACTS IN EARLY MORMON TEMPLES, COMBINED WITH ADMISSION OF FARCICAL EARLY MORMON TEMPLE PRACTICES
Buerger goes on to cite the contradicting claims of an ex-Mormon woman who, despite her disaffection from the Church, disputed the 'Warsaw Signal's' account of what supposedly secretly transpired in Mormon temples.
"A woman who had been through the temple herself but had since left the Mormons wrote to correct this distorted account. Her letter was published in the 15 April 1846 number of the 'Warsaw Signal.' Although her personal response to the temple and an unrelated polygamous proposition were negative, her description in large part fits with the more sympathetic accounts provided by Clayton's record and adds some intriguing details. Writes 'Emeline':
"'I discover by your paper, in what you have published in regard to the Mormon endowments, given of late in the temple, that you have been wrongly informed at least, so far as actual experience has taught me [what transpires] in the orgies of an afternoon, in that (as I have been taught to believe) most holy building.
"'In revealing what I am about to do, during the laughable farce, several oaths and obligations of a serious character, not to reveal the secrets of the priesthood--had they been given me by any thing other than assumed authority, and vile, corrupt, licentious libertines, taking upon themselves the livery of Heaven, and essaying to represent the characters of our God and Savior--knowing those characters as I did previously to be the most debased wretches upon earth, the whole farce appeared to me to be nothing less than fearful blasphemy.
"'I went into this pretended holy operation, in company with 14 others, all sisters in the Mormon Church, and with most of whom I was well acquainted. They were, in the main, women of good character, and appeared sincere in their respective devotions.
"'We were first received past the Guard into a private room on the north side of the Temple--this was the room of preparation or purification.
"'We were divested of all our apparel, and in a state of perfect nudity we were washed from heat to foot--a blanket was then thrown about our persons, and then commencing at the head we were anointed from heat to foot with sweet oil scented (I think) with lavender. We were then clothed in a white robe.
"'All this was done by sisters in the Church--none others were present--[I]t is false to say that men and women are admitted together in an indecent manner.
"'We were then conducted into a room called the Garden of Eden; here we found several of our brethren robed in white also, and apparently in a soporfic [i.e., sleepy] state. We were presented before them and a voice from the Lord awoke them from sleep.
"'After a considerable ceremony, which I do not recollect much of, we were left by the Lord and soon a very dandy-like fellow appeared with a black cap on, that had a long veil attached to it; he appeared very familiar--and by his very insinuating and friendly manner induced some of our sisters eat of the "forbidden fruit."
"'Soon after the voice of the Lord appeared again in the garden; we all appeared frightened, and both men and women huddled together into the corner of the room, as if in the act of hiding.
"'The fellow in the black cap presents himself before the Lord and engages in a controversy, boasting of what he had done. The Lord pronounced a curse upon him--he gets down upon his belly and crawls off.
"'At this period of the holy ceremony, I could not suppress my visible passions, for this fellow acted his part well--undoubtedly his part being the part of a Devil--was the most natural.
"'We were then presented with aprons, which we put on about this time, a sword was shook at us through the partition of the room, which was to guard the Tree of Life.
"'After considerable ceremony, which I do not recollect, we were passed into another room, which was dark and was dreary. This was called the Terrestrial Kingdom; immediately the dandy in the black cap made his appearance; at first he appeared very sly--peeping about, and when he found the Lord was not present, he became very familiar and persuasive. Said he, "[H]ere we are. all together, and all good fellows well met. Come Methodists, come Presbyterians, come Baptists, come Quakers, come Mormons, and come Strangites, etc., etc. Come let us drink together."
"'In this way he tempted us, and we partook with him.
"'After a considerable parade and ceremony, we passed into another room, or Celestial Kingdom. Here I saw some of the Twelve, and particularly Brigham Young, with a white crown upon his head, and so I have since been told, representing God himself.
"'We passed this room without much ceremony into another. I have forgotten what it represented, not much of interest transpired here, and we were conducted back and put in possession of our clothing--as save sister ---; she had a very fine alpaca [i.e., woolen] dress stolen during our absence, and has never been able to recover it.
"'In the different apartments of this singular farce, we took upon ourselves oaths and obligations not to reveal the secrets of the priesthood. I do not consider them binding; as I have had ample and repeated opportunity to prove the administrators of these obligations are corrupt as the Devil in Hell.
"'In once place I was presented with a new name, which I was not to reveal for eternity. By this name I am to be called in eternity, as after the resurrection. This name was---; and from all that I can gather, all the females had the same name given them, but we were not allowed to reveal it to each other, under no less penalty than to have our throats cut from ear to ear, our hearts torn out, etc., etc. I have forgotten a part of the penalties.
"'In one place something was spoken to me which I do not recollect--the meaning was "marrow in the bone;" the token was a firm hold of the hand, pressing the fingernail firmly into the wrist of the right hand. I have since been told by a brother that there was a mystical meaning in this, that will hereafter be revealed to me.
"'Now, sir, this is the substance of the Mormon endowment--and the Mormon who says it is not true, is a liar; and the truth is not in him!
"'I have been a member of this farce of Priestcraft for the last six years; the first four years I suspected nothing but what I was in the right of all holy things.
"'The last two years I have been doubtful, seeing the abandoned conduct of the priests; but I toiled on, expecting something would be revealed in the endowments of the Temple that would strengthen my faith, and qualify me for heavenly purposes. For this I have toiled by night and by day; for this I have worked my fingers to the quick, to gain something from my scanty allowance, to assist in the completion of that building, the motto of which was to be "HOLINESS TO THE LORD" and illumined by the Shekina of heaven.
"'Imagine then my disappointment in the blasphemous farce I saw acted before me, and by men who have at repeated trials, attempted to seduce me into the lowest degradation and ruin.
"'But, thanks to my Heavenly Protector! I have been enabled to withstand the shock, and hope and trust I shall outlive the disgrace of once being associated with such a set of heartless scoundrels.
"''I hope, sir, for the good of the community, you will give my "revelation" a place in your columns, for in the presence of high heaven, I pronounce every word of it truth, and nothing but truth.'"
In a bizarrely humorous account of the early Mormon temple-ritual workers playing the role of Satan by wriggling on the floor like a snake (combined with a scene of eating raisins), Fawn Brodie writes the following in her book, "No Man Knows My History":
"After swearing to an oath of secrecy, the initiate was dressed in white robes and permitted to witness a long allegorical drama depicting the creation of the earth and the fall of Adam. Joseph [Smith], it is said, took the role of God, Hyrum Smith that of Christ and Bishop George Miller that of the Holy Ghost. The drama followed the language of Genesis, with God pretending to create Eve from the sleeping Adam, with Eve plucking raisins from a tiny tree symbolizing the tree of knowledge and with W.W. Phelps as the devil crawling about serpent-like on his stomach . . . (according to John C. Bennet, 'History of the Saints, Boston, Massachusetts, 1842, p. 277)."
(Fawn Brodie, "No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet," Chapter 19, "Mysteries of the Kingdom" [New York City: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983], p. 281)
Author Buerger follows the above account with this summary:
"Other exposes' followed, some more reliable than others, but by this time the majority of Saints had departed Nauvoo and environs for the exodus to the Rocky Mountains." (pp. 91-95)
RfM poster Richard Packham confirms the nudity element of the Mormon temple ceremony (contained in the ritual up until at least the mid-20th century), as he details it from his own temple experience:
"I got my endowment in 1952 in the Idaho Falls Temple. I went through endowment sessions in all of the then-operating Utah temples (four!) during the next five years.
"At that time, when doing a proxy endowment, you did the whole thing, including the initiatory, so I went through it several times in different temples.
"For the washing and anointing, I disrobed in the locker room, put a shield over me, and walked to the washing booth, carrying the garment and a white towel. In the washing booth, the shield was removed and hung on a hook while the washing and anointing took place.
"Yes, I was completely naked.
"After toweling off, the garment was placed on me, the shield was put over me again, and I returned to the locker room.
"I have no idea what the procedure was in the women's side."
("Re: 1931 Temple Ceremony--Naked?," posted by RPackham, "Recovery from Mormonism" board, 26 November 2012, at: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,717427,717514#msg-717514
ACCOUNTS OF SEXUALLY SEGREGATED, WHOLE-BODY OIL DOUSINGS IN EARLY MORMON TEMPLES
Buerger provides further details of early Mormon temple initiatory washings which took place with the male and female participants separated from each other.
"The earliest accounts of the Nauvoo temple endowment indicate that initiatory washings followed a literal Old Testament model of actual bathing. Large tubs of water are specified in the separate men's and women's rooms. The anointing was performed by liberally pouring consecrated oil from a horn over the head allowing it to run over the whole body." (p. 81)
EARLY MORMON WHISKEY WASHINGS IN PREPARATION FOR SACRED WORK IN THE KIRTLAND TEMPLE
Buerger writes of "[the Kirtland temple ritual being] . . . a simple, staged ceremony consisting of washing and anointing the body, blessing and sealing the individual and washing the feet"--with an interesting twist.
In this regard, Buerger reports the account of Oliver Cowdery of early Mormon washings, which Cowdery said included being bathed in cinnamon-scented whiskey:
"According to Book of Mormon witness Oliver Cowdery, five days prior to the 21st [of January 1836] some preliminary washings took place:
"'[M]et in the evening with [B]ro. Joseph Smith, Jr. at his house, in company with [B]ro. John Corrill, and after pure water was prepared, called upon the Lord and proceeded to wash each other's bodies, and bathe the same with whiskey, perfumed with cinnamon. This we did that we might be clean before the Lord for the Sabbath, confessing our sins and covenanting to be faith to God.
"'While performing this washing unto the Lord with solemnity, our minds were filled with many reflections upon the propriety of the same, and how the priests anciently used to wash always before ministering before the Lord.'" (Oliver Cowdery Sketch Book, 16 January. 1836, pp. 4-5, archives, Historical Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah) (p. 11)
WASHING DOWN BOOZE, AS WELL AS BODIES AT THE KIRTLAND TEMPLE DEDICATION
Buerger writes that the solemn assembly accompanying the dedication of the Kirtland Temple wasn't, at least to some participants, all that it was washed up to be:
"Although other participants reported pentecostal experiences, not all remembered the incident in glowing terms.
"Years later two prominent apostates would denounce the events. William McLellin, at the time a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, subsequently wrote that 'it was no endowment from God. Not only myself was not endowed, but no other man of the five hundred who was present--except it wa with wine!'
"David Whitmer later described the event as a 'grand fizzle' and denied any angelic visitations.
"In 1841 William Harris, by then a disaffected participant, wrote:
"'When the day [of the 'endowment meeting, or solemn assembly'] arrived, great numbers convened from the different Churches in the country. They spent the day in fasting and prayer, and in washing and perfuming their bodies, they also washed their feet, and anointed their heads with what they called holy oil, and pronounced blessings.
"'In the evening, they met for the endowment. The fast was then broken by eating light what bread, and drinking as much wine as they saw proper.
"'Smith knew well how to infuse the spirit which the expected to receive; so he encouraged the brethren to drink freely, telling them that the wine was consecrated, and would not make them drunk.
"'As may be supposed, they drank to the purpose. After this, they began to prophesy, pronouncing blessings upon their friends, and curses upon their enemies.
"'If I should be so unhappy as to go to the regions of the damned, I never expect to hear language more awful, or more becoming the infernal pit, than wa uttered that night. The curses were pronounced principally upon the clergy of the present day, and upon the Jackson county mob in Missouri. After spending the night in alternate blessings and cursing, the meeting adjourned.'
Buerger further notes:
"This account is echoed as well by John Corrill, a church historian:
"'The sacrament was then administered, in which they partook of the bread and wine freely, and a report went abroad that some of them got drunk: as to that every man must answer for himself.'" (pp. 28-29)
TEMPLE PRESIDENT WILFORD WOODRUFF'S PERSONAL DESCRIPTION OF RECEIVING A REVELATION CONCERNING TEMPLE ENDOWMENTS FOR THE DEAD--WHICH HE THEN PERFORMED WITH DOZENS OF FEMALE VIRGINS
Buerger reports the revelation Wilford Woodruff claims to have received in early 1877, as the St. George temple's new president.
Buerger quotes the words of the purported heavenly message, as penned by Woodruff in his personal journal:
"'Let my servant Wilford call upon the virgins, Maidens, Daughters, and Mothers in Zion and let them enter my Holy Temple on the 1 day of March, the day that my servant Wilford has seen the time allotted to man . . . and let them receive their washing and anointing and endowments for and behalf of the wives who are dead and have been sealed to my servant Wilford, or those who are to be sealed to him, and this shall be acceptable unto my, saith the Lord . . .'"
Buerger then reviews what Woodruff claims transpired next:
"Accordingly on 1 March 1877 Woodruff spent his seventieth birthday in the St. George temple with 154 women performing proxy endowments for deceased women who had been or were being sealed to Woodruff:
"'I arrived at the Temple of the Lord in Saint George Washington County, Utah, at 8 o'clock in the morning. I was there surrounded with one hundred and fifty-four virgins, Maidens, Daughters and Mothers in Zion from the age of fourteen to the aged mother leaning upon her staff . . .
"'When they had all assembled to gather in the Creation Room I presented myself before them clothed in m y white doe skin temple dress. I there delivered unto them a short address. . . . You are today in this Endowment without a man with you. But we shall furnish one Man as an Adam. . . .
"'I went through the Endowments of the day more like being in vision than a reality. These 154 sisters were led to three veils and three of us . . . all dressed in Temple clothing, took them all through the three veils. . . . President Young was present at the Temple in witnessing the ceremonies.
"'At the close of the labor at the temple, I . . . [was] placed in the midst of a surprise party got up for the occasion, the room decorated, and a table set loaded with all the luxuries of life, surrounded by nearly one hundred of those who had been receiving endowments for my dead during the day.
"'President Young sat at the head of the table surrounded by his family and after blessing was asked there was presented before me a present of a birthday bridal cake three stories high adorned with the beasts of the field from the elephant down, and ornamented with two satin sheets covered with printed poetry composed for the occasion. . . .
"'This scene this day is among the most wonderful events of the last dispensation and fullness of times in which we live.
"'And this door which is open for the redemption of the dead in this manner will accomplish great and important results, for it is not being carried out in a great many instances in the Temple of the Lord, and will continue to be more and more unto the end.'" (pp. 108-110)
So, there you have it: Early Mormon temple delights, including full nudity, alleged sex acts, washings in whiskey, gluttonous birthday parties with virgins--the list goes on and on.
Not like any of that kooky fundamentalist temple stuff. :)
Related thread: "Cutting to the Chase: The Actual Physical Slicing of the Secret Mormon Garments (and Scarring of Temple-Goer Flesh) During Those Primitive Endowment Years (more damning details)," by Steve Benson. "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 26 November 2012, at: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,717519
Edited 13 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2012 05:41PM by steve benson.