Mormons: Pentecostals Gone Bad! (The Sequel)

Posted: September 11, 2012 in Beggar's Bread, LdS Temple Theology, Mormon Studies, Pentecostalism, Theology, Tongues Speaking

Introduction
While I was preparing the prior Beggar Bread article, “Mormons: Pentecostals Gone Bad!”  I was fortunate enough to find an email address for the webmaster of the now (and I hope temporarily) defunct WhyMormons.net website that contained important articles that I had sourced when I originally researched and wrote my piece back in 2009.

Recontact in this case was important because two articles from that much missed resource are cited in both editions of my piece. Further, I make every attempt to be diligent in providing not only justification for the evidence that I present and conclusions that I draw but in creating an audit and research trail for future researchers should they wish to validate or build on my work as I have on the work of others.  Fortunately, in this case, I had had the foresight in 2009 to capture one of the articles in it’s entirety (Shamdango’s “Alcohol & Mormon Temples: Getting Crunk in the House of the Lord” – see Appendix A of “Mormons: Pentecostals Gone Bad!”) in my research archives.  However, one article was still Missing In Action (MIA). 

That MIA article, I felt, was especially critical because it contained rare and unique summations of early Latter-day Saint initiatory ordinances – including the unusual practice of washing in perfumed whiskey – as well as some important historical transcripts of that ordinance.   So you can imagine my delight and surprise today when I not only received a response to my email from the WhyMormons.net webmaster but the entire text of that MIA article as well! 

So it’s with delight and pleasure that I present that same said article as  both Appendix B to “Mormons: Pentecostals Gone!” and as it’s own stand-alone article:  

APPENDIX B:
The Kirtland (Spiritual Endowment): An Early Template for the Initiatory
by “Shamdango” (author’s pen name)
The early Kirtland initiatory ordinances were for “worthy brethren” who were,“invited to participate in certain purifying ordinances preparatory to receiving a spiritual endowment of power. These ordinances consisted of washing ‘head to foot’ in soap and water, washing in clear water and perfumed whiskey, having one’s head anointed with consecrated oil and receiving a blessing by the spirit of prophesy, having the anointing blessing sealed with uplifted hands (solemn prayer, a sealing prayer, and the hosanna shout), and washing of faces and feet and partaking of the Lord’s Supper.”
(Backman & Cook eds. “Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record” (1985), p.25-26)

Artist’s depiction of the Kirtland Temple

In summary, the Kirtland Endowment & Initiatory Ceremony included:

  • Washing with soap and water;
  • Washing with water and perfumed whiskey
    (Using whiskey for washing is supported by Doctrine and Covenants 89:7);
  • Consecration with oil and receiving blessing
    (solemn prayer, sealing prayer, and hosanna shout);
  • Blessing sealed;
  • Washing of faces and feet and partaking of the Lord’s Supper;

The men participating in these Spiritual Endowments were informed that they should fast during the day that they attended to these ordinances.

The men would become completely naked and bathe themselves completely in soap and water.
After attending to the duties above spoken I repaired to a room in Company with Elder Meeks & Priest J Turpin to attend to our first washing. After washing our bodies from head to foot in soap & watter we then washed ourselves in clear watter next in perfumed spirits [whiskey].”
(“Wilford Woodruff’s Journal”, edited by Scott G. Kenny)

Upon breaking the fast to partake of the Lord’s supper…
The fast was then broken by eating light wheat bread, and drinking as much wine as they saw proper. Smith knew well how to infuse the spirit which they 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.”
(William Harris, “Mormonism Portrayed”)

These washings and anointings would later be incorporated into the Nauvoo temple ceremony and became known as the “initiatory ordinance” or “preparatory ordinances” to the secret and sacred endowment created for Joseph Smith’s closest inner-circle of polygamy-practicing friends.

The earliest account that we have of the Nauvoo initiatory ordinance is given to us in Heber C. Kimball’s journal in 1845. He says:
. . . John D Lee and others have been fitting up stoves in the two west rooms [of the temple]. As they will be devoted to washing and Anointing and to heet water. We have two Large traves [troughs]. . . . Three men can wash in either of them at the same time”

Men and women’s washings and anointings were performed in separate areas of the temple by members of the same gender (males performing the ritual on males and females performing the ritual for females)

The earliest accounts of the initiatory washings indicate 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 and allowing it to run over the whole body.

As late as 1931, the Salt Lake Temple had full-sized bathtubs for the washing ceremony. Men and women were still expected to become completely nude and “wash” themselves according to the ordinance.

(The House of the Lord: A Study of Holy Sanctuaries Ancient and Modern, by James E. Talmage, Signature Books, 1998, p. 118)On the right is a photo of one of the ten washing and anointing rooms in the Salt Lake Temple as it appeared in 1912.

Sometime after 1931, the ordinance for the initiatory washings and anointings was modified to become a much less intimate procedure – one requiring a simple and symbolic touching of the patron’s naked body in certain places with oil and water.

This ordinance continued to evolve into the patron wearing a white pancho-looking cloth called a “shield” with the sides completely open allowing the officiator to touch the patron’s naked body in the places that were being symbolically washed and anointed.

While the initiatory & endowment work is now done for both the living and the dead within Mormon temples, these secret rituals and ceremonies weren’t performed for the dead within Mormon temples until 1877.

“The first recorded endowments for the dead were performed in St. George on 11 January 1877, according to temple president David H. Cannon. Shortly thereafter Wilford Woodruff, the new temple president, received a revelation about endowments and sealings for his dead, which he recorded in his journal . . . 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.”
(David J. Beurger, “The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship” pp.108-9)

Cross section view of the Kirtland Temple

The Initiatory Ordinance (Pre-2005)
What Follows is the actual wording of the initiatory.
(parenthesis indicates my own description of the actions)
Words in red represent wording & actions from the initiatory pre-2005

(Each initiate is presented individually to the washing rooms. Throughout the initiatory, women officiate for women, and men for men.)

Washing
(An officiator places water on the initiate’s head while pronouncing the following words)

Brother _________, 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.

(While pronouncing the blessings which follow, the officiator touches each part of the body as it is named)

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 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 might have joy in your posterity;

your legs and feet, that you might run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.

(A second officiator enters. Both officiators place their hands on the initiate’s head, and the second officiator seals the washing as follows.)

Brother _________, 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.

Anointing
(An officiator places oil on the initiate’s head while pronouncing the following words.)

Brother _________, 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.

(While pronouncing the blessings which follow, the officiator touches each part of the body as it is named)

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 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 might have joy in your posterity;

your legs and feet, that you might run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.

(A second officiator enters. Both officiators place their hands on the initiate’s head, and the second officiator confirms the anointing as follows.)

Brother _________, having authority, we lay our 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 Garment
Click here [note: link now dead] for the history of the garment
(An officiator clothes the initiate in the garment. The officiator then pronounces the following words.)

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.

The New Name
(In the case of a living endowment, the officiator who clothed the initiate in the garment continues as follows.)

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 _________.

Temple Square, Salt Lake City 1891

The 2005 Changes to the Initiatory
In January 2005, the initiatory ordinance was once again changed. This time the patron arrives already wearing the garment and the pancho-looking shield zips up on the sides. The patron is no longer naked or touched on any parts of their body other than their head.
Words in red represent the new verbiage & changes
Everything else about the verbiage is exactly the same as the pre-2005 ordinance verbiage.

(The initiate dons the garment and the shield before being presented individually to the washing rooms. Throughout the initiatory, women officiate for women, and men for men.)

PREFACE
Brother _________, the temple washing, anointing, and clothing ordinances were given anciently, as recorded in the book of Exodus: “And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him.”

We likewise administer these ordinances in our day, but you are washed and anointed only symbolically, as follows.

Washing Changes
(While pronouncing the blessings, the officiator lays hands on the initiate’s head only.)

Anointing Changes
(While pronouncing the blessings, the officiator lays hands on the initiate’s head only.)

Garment Verbiage Changes
Brother _________, under proper authority, the garment placed upon you is now authorized [for and in behalf of _________, who is dead], and is to be worn 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.

Everything else about the verbiage is exactly the same as pre-2005.

New Name
(In the case of a living endowment, the officiator who authorized the initiate’s garment continues as follows.)

Pre-2005 verbiage is exactly the same.

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