In the next few minutes, we’re going to talk about one of the most sacred temple ceremonies in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called the Endowment ceremony. If you’re unfamiliar with our faith or just clicked on this video to learn a bit more, please be courteous and try to respect the religious culture of faiths that may be different from your own.
Now because we Latter-day Saints consider temple ceremonies to be sacred, we don’t talk about them very much, and there are a few ceremonial details we consider so sacred that we promise in the temple not to talk about them outside the temple at all. Now to a lot of people, that sounds pretty suspicious. Some people think we’ve got something to hide. Unfortunately, there are some people who have tried to take advantage of that curiosity and have sought to “expose” our temple ceremonies to the public, which is a pretty messed up thing to do to the sacred traditions of any religion. So in this video, we’re going to set the record straight and talk about two things: What Latter-day Saints are doing in the Endowment, and how they are doing it. Let’s dive in.
First: What are Latter-day Saints doing in the Endowment ceremony? The short answer is that we are making covenants or promises with God. Specifically, we promise to (1) Obey God’s commandments, (2) Live the gospel of Jesus Christ, (3) Be chaste and faithful to our spouse, and (4) to dedicate everything we have and everything we are to the service of God. Each of these promises is associated with various signs and symbols used throughout the ceremony. There is also time set apart in the ceremony for what we call a prayer circle, where we pray for friends and family who are sick or need help.
That is all Latter-day Saints are actually doing in the Endowment ceremony. This leads us to the next question: How do Latter-day Saints make these covenants in the Endowment ceremony? What does this ceremony look like?
I’ll be the very first to admit, if you’re not familiar with why we do things the way we do things in this ceremony, we look weird! We wear sacred ceremonial clothing in the Endowment. If you’re not familiar with it, religious clothing from any faith looks a little weird. Our ceremonial clothing is not meant to be particularly stylish or modern. Each item of clothing we wear has meaning and history behind it. If we went back in time 3,000 years these clothes would be less weird, because our temple clothing is meant to follow the pattern set by ancient Israelites in their temples, as outlined in the Bible.
The presentation of the Endowment ceremony is largely theatrical. In the early days of the Church, it was essentially a play with some audience participation. It’s still a play in a couple of temples nowadays, but in most temples, the Endowment presentation is a movie. Throughout the Endowment, as we make the promises I talked about earlier, we learn about what Bruce R. McConkie called the 3 Pillars of Eternity: The Creation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As we learn more and progress through the presentation, in most temples we progress through different rooms, symbolically representing our progression towards the presence of God.
In the temples of ancient Israel, the High Priest would pass through a veil when entering the Holy of Holies—the most sacred room in the temple, where God symbolically dwells. The same thing happens for the men and women who participate in the Endowment, as they pass into what we call the Celestial Room of the temple, which you’re looking at right now.
Latter-day Saints believe that you must participate in certain ordinances or religious rites like baptism in order to be exalted. The Endowment ceremony is another one of those exalting ordinances. Being exalted is different than being “saved,” if that’s confusing to you, watch this video. If you thought that temples were no longer needed after Christ’s ministry and are wondering why Latter-day Saints have them at all, watch this video.
In a nutshell, this is what Latter-day Saints do in this temple ceremony. It’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of. As someone who has been there many times, there’s nothing sinister going on in Latter-day Saint temples. We’re not sacrificing animals, it’s not some creepy sex cult, we’re just making really great promises with God. And if someone thinks I’m part of a cult for promising to follow Jesus Christ and to be faithful to my spouse then … that’s an awesome cult to be a part of! The promises I make in the temple help make me a better person.
Now, there are also a few other ordinances we perform in temples that I didn’t talk about, like marriage ceremonies and baptisms for the dead. Check out the links in the description for more information about those. There’s also more info on our website. If you have questions, drop em in the comments or if you’re trying to be respectful and are concerned that a question on this topic may not be appropriate, feel free to message me on Facebook directly and we can chat. Thanks for watching, have a great day!
- Article: What Latter-day Saints Do in Each Room of Their Temples (With Pictures and Descriptions): https://bit.ly/2TQPOhe
- Take a video tour of the Rome Italy Temple with two apostles: https://bit.ly/2T04jwn
- Video: What is the Temple Endowment?: https://bit.ly/2LSM6A5