Friday, May 3, 2013


Please share this article. 
This is a Christian blog with biblically-themed articles. It also includes respectful articles on the errors of Mormonism. If you would like to be automatically notified each time a new article is posted (once a month), please contact me at

The LDS Church claims its temple ceremony, which is designed to prepare one for Godhood, is patterned after Solomon's temple. To its members, the temple is sacred. Outsiders are often fascinated with it, even awed; while others, especially those who are eager to point out the temple's unbiblical content, use their evangelical zeal to write negative articles, including name-calling, that go far past the stage of Christian decency. But don't misunderstand. The Mormon temple and all that it stands for is indeed unbiblical. However, I don't think one has to bash it to death in order to illustrate this.

Below is a detailed account, including pictures, describing my experience when I went through the Mesa Arizona temple in 1952. It contains no negative assessments but just states what goes on. If you know your Bible, I think you're smart enough to evaluate it.

(Last month's article, "Paul's Secret Discovery: How to get through the struggles of life," is below this article.)


Italicized comments are by Janis Hutchinson; images, non-italicized commentary 
and words of temple workers in red, by John Stuart 
(Please see attributions and copyright restrictions at end of article)

Mesa, Arizona Temple


                                      Site Dedication:          28 November 1921

                                      Groundbreaking:         25 April 1922

                                      Dedication:                  23–26 October 1927 by Heber J. Grant

                                      Rededication:              15–16 April 1975 by Spencer W. Kimball

The Mesa Arizona Temple was the first temple built in Arizona; and is located just east of the original Mesa Town site, settled by Mormon pioneers. The Temple anchors a historic district which has predominantly retained its residential character. It was also the first temple to present the endowment in a language other than English. (The first non-English session was presented in Spanish in 1945.)

The Temple was designed around a grand staircase that leads to the Celestial Room, occupying the highest level of the temple and is one of only three temples built with no towers or spires.

The Temple was closed in February 1974, for extensive remodeling that equipped the ordinance rooms for motion-picture presentation of the endowment which added a new entrance and an additional 17,000 square feet, providing much larger dressing rooms and increasing the number of sealing rooms. For many years, the Mesa Arizona Temple was known as the "Lamanite Temple," as it was the destination of annual temple excursions for Hispanic and Native American members of the Church, especially the Mexican Saints. (Adapted from

Order of progressive events when first entering the temple

The 1952 ceremony as described below continued without change until 1960, after which changes were gradually made.

Show recommend
Rental of ceremonial clothes, including
the Garment of the Holy Priesthood.

Basement of temple
Washing and confirmation
Anointing and confirmation
Garment of Holy Priesthood
New Name

Ground level of temple
Chapel service for those receiving their endowments for the first time.

Creation room
Introduction lecture
Creation account; voices of Eloheim, Jehovah and Michael

Garden of Eden room
Adam and Eve story
Donning of Aprons
Law of Obedience
Law of Sacrifice
First token of Aaronic Priesthood

Telestial room—The Lone and Dreary World
Law of the Gospel
Robes of Priesthood donned (left shoulder)
Second token of Aaronic Priesthood
Robes of Priesthood changed (right shoulder)

Terrestrial room
Law of Chastity
First token of Melchizedek Priesthood
Law of Consecration
Second token of Melchizedek Priesthood
Prayer circle – true order of prayer
Veil of the temple revealed
Lecturer at the veil
Ceremony at the veil
Five Points of Fellowship

Celestial and Sealing rooms
Exit or remain for a sealing

Janis Hutchinson's account

When I lived in California during the early 50s, I traveled with my teenage church group to the St. George, Utah temple to perform baptisms for the dead. This is performed in a giant baptismal font in the basement of the temple. The font rests upon the backs of twelve oxen that represent the twelve tribes of Israel. In 1952, I went through the Mesa, Arizona temple to receive my Endowments. Then, in 1953, I was married in the Salt Lake City temple to a returned missionary. In my day, the Temple Ceremony was a lengthy, drawn out ritual that took more than four hours. But now the ceremony has been revised, and it takes far less time. Since then, and up until 1980, I have been through many other Temples and Endowment ceremonies, both as drama and film versions.

The temple ceremony, referred to as the Endowment, is a course of instructions through which actors representing Eloheim, Jehovah, Michael, Adam and Eve, Lucifer, Peter, James and John and a protestant minister, present a dramatization describing how the universe was created, what took place in the Garden of Eden and other events, including the giving of tokens, signs, names, oaths and penalties. In previous years, the actors presented a live drama, but now it has been filmed.

In addition to the secret passwords of the priesthood, its handshakes and special names, members are required to covenant to keep certain laws. They must make oaths, and are threatened with the penalty of death if they should ever reveal them.

These... are to prepare Mormons to pass by the angels who guard heaven's gates. These angels will test them, asking for the signs and secret handshakes. Mormons will (if they went through the temple) be the only ones who can do this and enter the highest heaven, the Celestial Kingdom, where they will become a God or Goddess and propagate spirit children who will eventually be born into a future world.

Temple Recommend 

1963: USA Temple Recommend

When members seek permission to go to the temple, the bishop interviews them. The man (who must be 18 or older) must be first ordained an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood. Single ladies are not encouraged to go to the temple unless they are being called as missionaries, or are going to be married in the temple. This is mainly because of the unsightly undergarments, which if they marry a non-Mormon would prove problematic.

In the bishop’s interview, they must answer certain questions to determine their loyalty and faithfulness to the church. This also includes members who have already been through the temple and are renewing their Temple Recommend. Do they keep the Word of Wisdom? (No tea, coffee, tobacco, alcohol.) Do they recognize the President of the Church as a prophet? Do they pay a full tithe? (If they haven’t, they are asked to make it up by the end of the year.) Are they morally clean? Do they have any sympathies with apostate groups? Do they wear the temple garments day and night? Do they have financial or other obligations to a former spouse or children? If yes, are they current in meeting those obligations? Other questions may be added. If they pass, the bishop signs a Recommend—a card that must also be signed by the Stake President—which the individual presents at the temple for entry.


[Post 1975:  Main Hallway leading through the Temple. Caption over doorway: The Glory of God is Intelligence.]

Unlike in earlier years, one's personal genealogy or financial donations were not expected upon entry into the annex.

When members first enter, they may rent the required white temple clothing and undergarments, or they may bring their own that they have purchased beforehand. If they have been through the temple before for their own endowments, they will receive a slip of paper with the name of a dead person for whom they are to vicariously represent during the ceremony. They pin this slip to their lapel. If members are going through for the first time, they will not be doing proxy endowment work for the dead, but will use their own name.

Initiatory Ordinances:  Washing

I was directed, along with other women, into the basement of the temple to the dressing rooms, where I was told to remove all my clothing and put on a white, knee-length sheet called a Shield that has an opening for the head and is open down both sides like a Mexican serape.

After complying, I was directed to a small cubicle, similar to an open-topped shower stall. A female temple worker, holding a thin hose from which a small stream of water poured, anointed my brain, eyes, nose, lips and ears with her fingers, then reached under my Shield and letting the water run down over my body, touched my back, breasts, stomach and groin, pronouncing spiritual blessings for each function of my body, e.g., that my intellect may be clear and active, my ears so that I may hear the word of the Lord, my lips that they may never speak guile, etc.

Initiatory Ordinances:  Confirmation of the Washing

“Sister Hutchinson, having authority, we lay our hands upon your head 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.”

Initiatory Ordinances:  Anointing

I was then ushered into another small cubicle where a lady, instead of using water, used consecrated olive oil to anoint me, touching me in the same places. If I had been going through proxy for a dead person, I would have been required to name that person, indicating that I was receiving this washing and anointing in their behalf. For a Mormon’s first time, he or she will use his or her own name.

Initiatory Ordinances: Confirmation of the Anointing

“Sister Hutchinson, having authority, we lay our hands upon your head and confirm upon you this anointing, wherewith you have been anointed in the temple of our God, preparatory to your becoming a Queen and a Priestess (for the men, 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.”

Consecration of The Garment of the Holy Priesthood

I was then led to another room in the basement, where a lady dressed my naked body (although my Shield hung loosely over me) in a pair of up-to-the-neck, down-to-the-wrist, long-legged, garment that resembled long-johns.

The form of garment used inside the temple was of the original ceremonial design. The undergarment had a collar and no buttons, just string-ties, and an open crotch.  However, the garments required to be worn outside the temple was "modernized" to accommodate modern dress wear with short sleeves capping over the shoulder down to mid upper arms, legs to the knees, and closed crotch.

Sewn into the garment was the Masonic square and compass, plus a mark over the knee and navel, the meaning of which is explained later. She then tied the front opening together using the string-ties.

As the temple worker placed the garment on me, she explained that this was the Garment of the Holy Priesthood and represented the coat of skins that God gave to Adam and Eve in the Garden to cover their nakedness. She also gave me a new name, which I was never to reveal except to my husband at a certain place in the temple. (This is so that on resurrection day he can call me forth from the grave by this name.) Women, however, are never allowed to know the new name of their husband.

After receiving the washing and anointing, the garments and my new name, I returned to the dressing room. I removed my Shield, leaving my long garments on, and over them put on white hosiery, white shoes, white dress (a nurse’s white uniform and shoes) and slip, and carried in my arms, a green apron, white temple robe (similar to a Roman toga), sash, and a bonnet with a veil. These items would be donned at certain points in the Endowment ceremony upstairs. The men wear similar clothing—white shirt, tie, pants, socks and shoes over their undergarment.

We were expected to bring two pairs of white shoes; one brought from home for outdoor use, plus the moccasins that were given to us as part of the temple clothing package.  At a certain point during the Endowment we changed into our moccasins then carried our outdoor shoes with us for the remainder of the ceremony. In later years, we just took off the same moccasins and then put them back on as part of the ceremony's ritual.

Representation:  US Navy nurse's white uniform c 1950

Representation: Nurse type outdoor footwear


After we were washed, anointed, and received our garment and new name in the basement, we returned to the ground level of the temple to attend a service in the chapel. It was quite lengthy, and I remember the sermon delivered by the official: “Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters.” We also sang hymns and prayed before moving on to the Endowment Ceremony upstairs. The first room would be the Creation room.

The Creation Room

Salt Lake Temple Creation room. Mesa’s was similar.

Beautiful murals are painted on the walls with planets, sky, clouds, etc. The seats filling the room are like movie-theatre seats, with an aisle down the middle. The men are seated on one side of the room, the women on the other side.

A lecturer presents himself and explains to the men that they have been washed and anointed to become kings and priests unto God. The women are told basically the same thing, although they are told that they will become queens and priestesses, not to God, but to their husbands. Emphasis is given concerning the garments—they are to be worn at all times. If obedient, the garments will protect them both spiritually and physically because they contain the marks of the Holy Priesthood.

Next, participants are told that in the forthcoming Endowment ceremony they will be required to take upon themselves sacred obligations, the violation of which will bring upon them the judgment of God. Participants are then given the opportunity to raise their hand if they wish to withdraw and not accept these obligations. Of course, no one is told ahead of time what these obligations are, so not knowing, it’s puzzling on how one can agree or disagree to them?

I could see that almost all the women in the temple wore the white nurse’s uniform. Even before I entered the temple, that is the type of clothing I was recommended to buy. I’m sure, at that time nurses’ uniforms were the only white dresses one could find.

The Creation Account

Soon, you hear the voice of Elohim (head God) over a loudspeaker speaking to Jehovah (Jesus), commanding him and Michael, the Archangel, to go down and create the world. They do so. Later in the drama, Michael will be transformed into the mortal Adam.

After Jehovah and Michael finish creating the world, a deep sleep is placed upon Michael the Archangel, during which his memory of his heavenly identity is erased. He awakens as Adam. The participants are then directed to leave the Creation room and go into the Garden of Eden Room.

The Garden Room

Post 1975:  Mesa Temple Garden Room

During the early 1950's, the entire Endowment ceremony was performed by live actors, Temple workers especially called and set-apart for this mission, and was not the current audio/film presentation.

Lucifer appears in the Garden and pretends to pick a piece of the forbidden fruit from one of the trees painted on the Garden room walls; and when Lucifer offers this imaginary fruit to Adam, Adam refuses. After Lucifer gets Eve to "eat" the forbidden fruit. Eve tells Adam about being seduced by the serpent and encourages him to eat too.

Lucifer reappears to Adam and Eve, wearing an apron with Freemason symbols, which consisted of geometrical signs, balls, pillars and lines, etc. which he says represent the power of his priesthoods. 
Representation: Satan's Apron based upon George Washington's Masonic Apron

Adam, not being deceived, does not want to, but recognizes that Eve will be cast out of the Garden without him. Also, that the Fall is part of the Heavenly Plan so that “men might be.” He realizes that in order for the Plan to take place, he must join Eve in her fallen state, or stay so he partakes. Discovering their nakedness, they make aprons of fig leaves.

At this point the drama stops, and participants are instructed to put on their green aprons that are embroidered with fig leaves.

Elohim then commands Jehovah to "let cherubim with a flaming sword be placed to guard the way of the Tree of Life, lest Adam put forth his hand, and partake of the tree of life, and live forever in his sins".  This sword was also imaginary and not a literal (as opposed to a real sword which was waved through the curtains in earlier versions of the Endowment.)

The Law of Obedience

Since Eve was the one at fault (and she represents all women), the women participants are then instructed to raise their right hand to the square, and covenant to obey the law of their husbands.

Then the men covenant to obey the law of God and keep His commandments. All participants make another covenant before God, angels and the witnesses in the room to keep the Law of Obedience. This Law states that participants will agree to obey the law of God, and keep his commandants.

The Law of Sacrifice

Peter, after speaking to Adam and Eve, turns to the audience and instructs all participants that they must covenant to keep the Law of Sacrifice. This Law states that participants will agree to sacrifice all they have, including their lives if necessary, for the building up of the Kingdom of God...

Law of Sacrifice as contained in the Old and New Testaments

First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood

Participants are then given the “First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood” (a special handgrip), with its accompanying name, sign and penalty. The penalty, if they ever reveal it, consists of a physical gesture of how life may be taken if they ever divulge it. This is done by drawing the thumb quickly across the throat from ear to ear, at the same time repeating, “rather than do so, I would suffer my life to be taken.”

The name of this Token is the individual’s new name, or the new name one gives in behalf of a dead person if they are going through proxy for them. They do not verbalize it until later in the Endowment (and then only whispered) at the Veil. The gesture of the penalty, the slitting of the throat, also includes having your tongue torn out by its roots is also not verbalized.

Participants are then directed to the Lone and Dreary World Room.

The Lone and Dreary World (representing Telestial Kingdom)
Post 1975:  Mesa Temple World Room

Representative of the Telestial Kingdom, it is the lowest heaven, described as comparable to the world we now live in. Every room the participants will enter will be analogous to one of their three heavens. They are: (a) Telestial (lowest), (b) Terrestrial (intermediate), and (c) Celestial

In this room it is explained that when Adam was driven out of the Garden of Eden, he built an altar and offered prayer "calling upon Father." He raises and lowers his hands three times, saying “Pay Lay Ale,” which in the Adamic language supposedly means, “O God, hear the words of my mouth.”

Lucifer appears claiming to be the "God of this World", and upon discovering that Adam "wants' religion" sends a Protestant preacher "along presently." The preacher appears and after a conversation with Lucifer, leads the congregation in singing:
When I can read my title clear
In mansions in the sky
I'll bid farewell to all my fears
And wipe my weeping eyes.

The Preacher attempts to covert Adam to the Protestant religion. Adam however awaits for “further messengers from Father."

The Law of the Gospel

Peter, James and John enter. They dismiss Lucifer and after speaking to Adam and Eve, turn to the audience and instruct all participants that they must covenant to keep the Law of the Gospel. This Law states that participants will agree to avoid all light-mindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord's anointed, the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice…

Robes of the Holy Priesthood

...after which the participants are told to put the robes of the Holy Priesthood that they are carrying with them on their left shoulder, place the cap on their head (for women, the veil of the bonnet is pushed back over the top of their head away from the face), and tie the sash around their waist with the bow tied on the right side, and tie the apron back on.

In later years, at this point in the ceremony, we also took off our moccasins and then put them back on as part of the official Temple clothing.

Simulated temple scene of temple clothing from the Big Love television show

Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood

Next comes the “Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood,” which involves another secret handgrip, a vow to never reveal anything, and another physical gesture of how their lives may be taken if they ever do—which is to have their breast ripped open. For this Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, participants remove the robe and sash, switch the robe to their right shoulder, and tie the bow of the sash at the left waist, and replace the apron.

The Law of Chastity

In the Terrestrial room (comparable to the intermediate heaven), the Law of Chastity is presented. Everyone must covenant never to commit adultery, and to only have sexual intercourse with his or her lawful and legal spouse.

First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood or Sign of The Nail

Then they are given the “First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood,” which involves another special handgrip, name, and performance of the gesture to indicate how life can be taken, which is to have their bowels ripped out. The “Law of Consecration” follows next where participants, always raising their right hand to the square, covenant to consecrate themselves, their time, talents, everything they have, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Law of Consecration

Peter speaking to the audience instructs all participants that they must covenant to keep the Law of Consecration. This Law states that participants will agree to consecrate themselves, time, talents and everything which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.

Law of Consecration as contained in the book of  Doctrine and Covenants 
This picture portrays the “three-in-one” containing the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price.

Second Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood
The Patriarchal Grip, or the Sure Sign of The Nail

The “Second Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the Patriarchal Grip or Sure Sign of the Nail” follows next, with its special handclasp. However, no special name of it is given as in the previous tokens. But the “sign” is made by copying what Adam did earlier, raising both hands high above the head and lowering hands to the side, each time saying, “Pay lay ale.”

The Prayer Circle and True Order of Prayer

Participants are then taught how to function in an official prayer circle by watching it demonstrated at the front of the room. For the circle demonstration, a few couples are selected from the audience. All the signs and tokens they have received thus far are repeated in the circle. Both the ladies in the circle and in the audience are instructed to pull the veil down and cover their face while a prayer list of names, previously submitted to the temple, is prayed over. Only at the conclusion of the prayer circle can the women unveil their faces.

Lecture Before the Veil

After the prayer circle, a man gives a lecture summarizing everything that has transpired up to that point.

Ceremony at the Veil 
The above is a picture of the Salt Lake City Temple Terrestrial room and its veils. 
The Mesa temple, however, was much smaller and definitely not as elaborate.

The veil of the temple is revealed by drawing aside a huge curtain at the front of the endowment room that then exposes many individual veils made of a thin, white nylon-like material hanging like curtains over a series of doorways. When participants go through a veil, which typifies our leaving mortality and going to heaven, it will take them into the Celestial Room that represents the highest heaven.

But before anyone goes through, the Lecturer steps up to one of the veiled doorways and with a pointer in his hand describes the marks of the Holy Priesthood that are on the veil, explaining that they correspond to the marks on the participants’ undergarments (the square, compass, navel and knee mark, and gives their meanings as follows:

            Square: A reminder of the covenants entered into that day.

            Compass: that all truth is circumscribed into one great whole and that desires,
            appetites and passions are to be kept within the bounds the Lord has established.

            Navel mark: A reminder of the constant need of nourishment to body and spirit.

            Knee mark: Indicates that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus
            is the Christ.

He explains that each veil also contains three other slits for the convenience of the male temple workers who are hidden on the other side of the veil at each doorway. The male behind the veil represents the Lord who will project his hand through the slit and ask questions to test each individual’s knowledge of the priesthood tokens and names he or she has received during the Endowment.

Each participant in the room will take their turn doing this. In the case of a married couple who have previously been married outside the temple in a civil ceremony but going through for a temple marriage, the husband is taken through the veil and tested before the wife, so he can take the temple worker’s place behind the veil when it’s his wife’s turn (after all, he is his wife’s Lord). The purpose of this is so that in the series of questions asked of her regarding the names and tokens, she can give him her new name. Later, neither she nor her husband will ever mention her name outside of the temple, even in intimate moments. For a couple who have not been previously married civilly but will be married in the temple that day for the very first time, the groom will do the same.

Their marriages will take place in a sealing room located on the perimeter of the Celestial room, which is on the other side of the veil.

When each individual is presented before one of the veiled doorways, a temple worker (a helper) will first give three taps with a mallet (similar to what the Masons do in their ceremony), upon which the Lord’s voice on the other side asks, “What is wanted?” The temple worker states that “Adam (or Eve) having been true and faithful, desires to converse with the Lord through the veil.”

The man representing the Lord responds and then extends his hand through one of the slits and begins the questions to test the individual’s knowledge of the handgrips, names and tokens. The temple worker helps by prompting the correct answers if the individual doesn’t have it memorized yet. When it comes to the last token, the Second Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, Patriarchal grip or Sure sign of the nail, when asked if it has a name and will the individual give it to him, the individual must say, “I cannot, for it has not yet been given to me. For this purpose I have come to converse with the Lord through the veil.”

Five Points of Fellowship 

The man representing the Lord says he will give it to the person upon the Five Points of Fellowship. The man extends his other arm through another slit and places it on the participant’s shoulder with the participant doing the same to the man. This is a kind of embrace, even though the veil is between their bodies. The position is: inside of right foot to right foot; knee to knee; breast to breast; hand to back; and mouth to ear.

The man whispers the name of this token into the ear of the individual, the name of which is lengthier than any of the others previously given. The person repeats it with the help of the temple worker who still remains at his or her side.

After the individual gives all the right answers, the veil is pulled aside and he or she is allowed to enter the Celestial Kingdom. This is the end of the Endowment ceremony.

The Celestial Room

This room is elegantly furnished with luxurious carpeting, couches, tables and chairs, with beautiful crystal-like chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

Post 1975:  Mesa Temple Celestial Room

After sitting for a while, contemplating how beautiful the Celestial Kingdom will be, you may leave and return to your dressing room, don your street clothes and leave, unless you are going to be married, or stand in as a proxy for a dead person who is to be sealed/married. In case of the latter, you enter one of the sealing rooms located around the perimeter of the room.

The entire Ceremony up to this point took around four hours to complete. The ceremony today is much shorter.


If you plan on being sealed or married, you will enter one of the many sealing rooms. These are small side rooms situated around the perimeter of the Celestial room. There is more than one in order to accommodate more than one sealing at a time.

In the center of the room is an altar with kneeling cushions on each side. At the head of the altar are three seats, one for the officiator and two seats for the "Witnesses" whose signatures will appear on the temple’s marriage certificate. The Officiator, while performing the sealing stands at the head of the altar.

Chairs line the outer edge of the room for qualified, Recommend-holding family members and friends to be seated while observing the ceremony. Often, some have to stand if there are not enough chairs to accommodate everyone. In the center of the room is an altar, with a kneeling pad at its base.

Post 1975:  Mesa Temple Sealing Room

[The Mesa Temple Sealing rooms had no mirrors. However, in the Salt Lake Temple, there are twelve sealing rooms and inside these rooms the walls are lined with mirrors. When participants face the solid wall of mirrors on one side of the room, with the opposite wall’s mirrors behind them, their image is projected many times, seemingly into infinity. They are told that this is representative of how eternity and one’s marriage will go on forever.]

The bride and groom, facing each other, kneel on opposite sides of the altar and extend their right hands across the padded top, grasping each other’s hands in the Second Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the Patriarchal Grip, or Sure Sign of the Nail.

A temple official performs the ceremony declaring that he is conducting the ceremony by virtue of his Holy Priesthood, and after certain words that describe the couple’s future eternal relationship, he seals them as husband and wife—not just for time, as in a civil ceremony, but for “time and all eternity.” If a husband and wife have already been married in a civil ceremony and have minor children, these children, dressed in white, will be brought in the last minute and sealed to them. Any children born to the couple thereafter, will be “born under the Covenant,” so there will be no need to have them sealed.
If performed for the living the Officiator welcomes the group and usually makes a few remarks on the importance of marriage as an institution of God, stating that only those who marry in the temple can become Gods themselves. He counsels the couple to be kind to and understanding of each other throughout their lives, remembering that they seek a common goal which can only be achieved by mutual cooperation.

When Sealings are performed for and in behalf of the dead, only the proxies, Officiator and two Witnesses are present in the room. No speech is given, and the couple remain kneeling at the altar. If standing in proxy for more than one deceased couple, they briefly release the token after each sealing, rejoining their hands again when instructed.

The following is the ceremonial procedure, including statements if representing a dead person: 

Officiator:  Will the Witnesses please take their seats at the head of the altar.

Witnesses:  Take their seats as requested.

Officiator:  Brother ______, [naming groom] and Sister ______, [naming bride] will you please take your places and kneel opposite each other at the altar.

Marriage Couple:  Kneel opposite each other as requested.
Officiator:  Brother ______, [naming groom] and Sister ______, [naming bride] please join hands in the Patriarchal Grip or Sure Sign of the Nail.
Marriage Couple:  Join hands in the “Patriarchal Grip, or Sure Sign of the Nail.” This token is given by clasping the right hands, interlocking the little fingers and placing the tip of the forefinger upon the centre of the wrist. No clothing should interfere with the contact of the forefinger upon the wrist.

Officiator:  Brother ______, [acting as proxy for ______, who is dead,] do you take Sister ______ [acting as proxy for ______, who is dead] by the right hand and receive her unto yourself to be your lawful and wedded wife for time and all eternity, with a covenant and promise that you will observe and keep all the laws, rites, and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant, and this you do in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses of your own free will and choice?

Groom:  Yes.

Officiator:  Sister ______ [acting as proxy for ______, who is dead,] do you take brother ______ [acting as proxy for ______, who is dead,] by the right hand and give yourself to him to be his lawful and wedded wife, and for him to be your lawful and wedded husband, for time and all eternity, with a covenant and promise that you will observe and keep all the laws, rites and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant, and this you do in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses of your own free will and choice?

Bride:  Yes.

Officiator:  By virtue of the Holy Priesthood and the authority vested in me, I pronounce you ______, and ______, legally and lawfully husband and wife for time and all eternity, and I seal upon you the blessings of the holy resurrection with power to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection clothed in glory, immortality and eternal lives, and I seal upon you the blessings of kingdoms, thrones, principalities, powers, dominions and exaltations, with all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob [if living, he adds: and say unto you: be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth] that you may have joy and rejoicing in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. All these blessings, together with all the blessings appertaining unto the New and Everlasting Covenant, I seal upon you by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, through your faithfulness, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

This concludes the ceremony.  A kiss over the altar (for non-proxy couples) is customary, but not essential. Any exchange of rings may now also be performed, though it is not part of the ceremony.

Hope this has proved informative for you—at least satisfied your curiosity!

Until next time,



The next post will be in approximately 1 month. 



To leave a comment, scroll down.

© 2013 by Janis Hutchinson. Italicized commentary by Janis Hutchinson. Images, non-italicized commentary and statements of temple workers appearing in red, by John Stuart. 
All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without written permission in writing from the author except for brief quotations in printed reviews.

1 comment:

Fred W. Anson said...

Thank you for postng this Janis. For those interested in seeing today's ceremony - and perhaps compare and contrast it with this 1952 version - you can do so by watching this hidden camera video: