Throughout the following account of the Temple ceremonies certain explanatory notes have been added to help you understand the flow of events. These sections are clearly distinguished by the bold face type used. The temple ceremonies are set forth with no editorial commentary on our part, for we feel that the words spoken and doctrines revealed truly “Speak for themselves,” and demonstrate that Mormonism is not in any way Christian.
THE TEMPLE CEREMONIES - Continued
The rituals, called “ordinances” or “temple work”, which are performed inside the temple are of two classes, work for the living and work for the dead.
Please refer to the introduction for an explanation of these. Over 95% of the temple rituals are performed for the dead by a patron acting as proxy for the dead person.
PRE-INITIATORY” RITUALSThe first ceremony for the dead in the Temple is that of Baptism. This is performed in the beautiful baptismal font mounted on the backs of 12 full sized oxen, located in the Temple basement. The officiator and the patron are dressed in heavy white jump-suits. There are two or more witnesses observing the procedure. Usually a closed circuit T.V. is used to project the names of the deceased persons on a large T.V. screen. Typically 200-300 baptisms are performed per hour. The baptismal pronouncement is recited in full for each baptism, and the patron is completely immersed. BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD Brother (or Sister) ________, having authority, I baptize you, for and in behalf of________, who is dead, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, amen.
Next comes the Confirmation for the Dead. This is usually performed at or near the baptismal font, by the same persons who performed the baptism ritual. CONFIRMATION FOR THE DEADBrother (or Sister) ________, in the name of Jesus Christ, we lay our hands upon your head for and in behalf of ________, who is dead, and confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and say unto you: Receive the Holy Ghost. Amen.
After the Baptism and Confirmation for the Dead are done, the person who is doing work for the dead is ready to be washed with water, anointed with oil and clothed in the garment of the Holy Priesthood. This is the beginning of the Endowment Ceremony.
The ordination of the dead males to the Mormon “Holy Melchizedek Priesthood” is usually (but not always) performed in the same area of the Temple by the same proxy. Other temple workers perform this ordinance following the baptism and confirmation. Two workers lay their hands upon the patron’s head and one of them pronounces the ordination.
ORDINATION FOR THE DEADBrother ________, having authority we lay our hands upon your head and confer upon you the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordain you an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for and in behalf of ________, who is dead, and seal upon you every grace, gift and authority appertaining to his office in the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, for and in his behalf, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. INITIATORY ORDINANCESFollowing the pre-initiatory ordinances of baptism and confirmation and ordination, other proxies will perform the next group of rituals for these deceased parsons. These are called the “initiatory ordinances” or rituals and are performed on the main floor level of the Temple, adjacent to the men’s and women’s locker rooms. These include washing with water, anointing with oil, and clothing in the Garment of the Holy Priesthood. PREPARATION FOR PARTICIPATIONAs patrons enter the Temple, they present their “Temple Recommend” to a doorkeeper immediately inside. They then proceed to a room with two typists at counters, one for men and the other for women. Each patron presents his recommend to the typist, she types his name, then tears off a strip of the page approximately 1/2 inch wide by 2 1/2 inches long. This contains the name and birthdate of the deceased person, and the proxy’s name. The patrons proceed to a room where Temple clothing may be rented. Many patrons do not own their own Temple clothing but prefer to rent it as a nominal charge. Each Temple has a large and busy laundry and sewing facility to provide this service. The patrons separate at this point to the men’s and women’s locker rooms, where each patron is assigned a locker.
The typical locker rooms are identical for men and women with one exception, the bride’s rooms. The locker rooms are composed of rows of dressing booths with chest high partitions. The booth contains three tall lockers with locks and keys. There is a space on top of the lockers for suitcases in which most patrons carry their own white temple clothing. Most patrons will remove their street clothing and place it in the locker, leave their temple garment on, and put on the white temple clothing - white dress, slip, stockings and slippers, or white pants shirt, tie, belt, socks and slippers which they either bought or rented.
They will then lock their locker and proceed to receive the “New Name” in a special booth, and then go to the theater like endowment room to receive the Endowment. These patrons who are receiving the Washing, Anointing, and Clothing in the Garment of the Holy Priesthood, either for themselves or for a dead person for whom they are proxy, will proceed as follows
WASHING AND ANOINTING ROOM FOR MENThe patron prepares for these rituals, called the initiatory ordinances, by removing all clothing and placing it in the locker. The patron puts on a devise called a shield. This strip of white sheeting approximately three feet wide by 8 feet long with a head sized whole in the center. It hangs open at the sides and covers the body front and back. The patron then proceeds to the washing and anointing room, taking with him his temple garment, name slip and locker key. Usually he joins group of similarly attired patrons on a bench waiting their turn to enter. As each patron enters, the temple worker takes the garment from the patron and the patron enters the first section of the room to be washed with water.
The temple worker wets his right hand in running water and proceeds to ceremonially wash the patron’s body. As he recites the words of the ceremony, the temple worker lightly touches each part of the patron’s body mentioned with his fingers or hand.
WASHING - OF MENBrother ________, having authority, I wash you preparatory to your receiving your anointings (for and in behalf of ________, who is dead), that you may become clean from the blood and sins of this generation. I wash your head, that your brain and your intellect may be clear and active; your ears, that you may hear the word of the Lord; your eyes, that you may see clearly and discern between truth and error; your nose, that you may smell; your lips, that you may never speak guile; your neck, that it may bear up your head properly; your shoulders, that they may bear the burdens that shall be placed thereon; your back, that there may be marrow in the bones and in the spine; your breast, that it may be the receptacle of pure and virtuous principles; your vitals and bowels, that they may be healthy and strong and perform their proper functions; your arms and hands, that they may be strong and wield the sword of justice in defense of truth and virtue; your loins, that you may be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, that you may have joy and rejoicing in your posterity; your legs and feet, that you may run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.
The washing is then sealed by two temple workers placing their hands upon the patron’s head. One of them pronounces the sealing.
CONFIRMATION OF WASHING - OF MENBrother ________, having authority, we lay our hands upon your head (for and in behalf of ________, who is dead), and seal upon you this washing, that you may become clean from the blood and sins of this generation through your faithfulness, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Next, the patron enters the second part of the room where he is seated upon a sort of a tile covered throne chair. Another temple worker pours some drops of oil from a large horn into his hand and proceeds to anoint the patron’s body, by dipping his fingers in the oil and touching each part in turn.
ANOINTING - OF MENBrother ________, having authority, I pour this holy anointing oil upon your head (for and in behalf of ________, who is dead), and anoint you preparatory to your becoming a King and a Priest unto the Most High God, hereafter to rule and reign in the House of Israel forever. I anoint your head, that your brain and your intellect may be clear and active; your ears, that you may hear the word of the Lord; your eyes, that you may see clearly and discern between truth and error; your nose, that you may smell; your lips, that you may never speak guile; your neck, that it may bear up your head properly; your shoulders, that they may bear the burdens that shall be placed thereon; your back, that there may be marrow in the bones and in the spine; your breast, that it may be the receptacle of pure and virtuous principles; your vitals and bowels, that they may be healthy and strong and perform their proper functions; your arms and hands, that they may be strong and wield the sword of justice in defense of truth **and virtue; your loins, that you may be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, that you may have joy and rejoicing in your posterity; your legs and feet, that you may run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.
The anointing is then sealed by two of the temple workers laying their hands upon the patron’s head and one of them pronouncing the sealing.
CONFIRMATION OF ANOINTING - OF MENBrother ________, having authority we lay hands upon your head (for and in behalf of ________, who is dead), and confirm upon you this anointing, wherewith you have been anointed in the Temple of our God preparatory to becoming a king and a priest unto the Most High God hereafter to rule and reign in the House of Israel forever; and seal upon you all the blessings hereunto appertaining, through your faithfulness, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
The patron now enters the third section of the room to be clothed in the garment that he brought with him to the washing and anointing room. A temple worker holds the garment open for the patron, who is still wearing the shield, to step into. He then helps the patron pull the garment up and put his arms in as the worker is giving instructions and “New Name”.
RECEIVING THE “GARMENT OF THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD” AND THE “NEW NAME”Brother ________, having authority, I place this garment upon you (for and in behalf of ________, who is dead), which you must wear throughout your life. It represents the garment given to Adam when he was found naked in the Garden of Eden, and is called the Garment of the Holy Priesthood. Inasmuch as you do not defile it, but are true and faithful to your covenants, it will be a shield and a protection to you against the power of the destroyer until you have finished your work here on earth. With this garment I give you a new name, which you should always remember, and which you must keep sacred, and never reveal except at a certain place that will be shown you hereafter. The name is “________”.
Each of the men and each of the women participating in the Endowment (on a particular day) receive the same “New Name”.. The “New Name” is usually Biblical, such as Abraham, Joseph, Moses, etc. or Martha, Mary, or Naomi. An alternate New Name is provided to those patrons who are representing a dead person whose first name sounds like the New Name in use.
The patron then goes back to his locker, removes his shield, and puts on his white clothing, which he either rented or brought with him. This includes white shirt, trousers, belt, socks, tie and mocassins. This is put over the garment. He then carries in his hand the Temple Clothing which he will put on later in the ceremony.
The women patrons have been going through similar rituals in their identical area of the Temple. Over the Temple garment they now dress in white slip, long dress, hose and mocassins.
Today it is common practice for the Washing, Anointing and Clothing in the Garment of the Holy Priesthood to be performed separately from the Endowment by other proxies. Those who come to the Temple to perform only the Endowment dress in their white Temple clothing and pass through a special booth where they receive the “New Name” on their way to the Endowment rooms. The name slip containing the name of the dead person is green or gold for these persons.
The patrons will usually pass through a beautiful foyer and climb an impressive flight of stairs to reach the Endowment room where they will be segregated by a temple worker, women to the left and men to the right (entering always from the rear) and be seated on richly upholstered theater type seats. In the older Temples, patrons often still move from room to room through the various stages of presentation of the Endowment. In modern Temples, patrons remain in one room throughout the first one and one half hours of the Endowment, which is presented in motion picture form except for the secret tokens, names, signs, penalties, prayer circle and veil explanation portion, which are on tape recording. The Officiator, who is “in charge” of the presentation pantomimes much of the taped portion, and rarely speaks.*
Next: Creation Room and the Ceremony Back to Mormonism Page