Why have there been changes to the Mormon temple endowment?

Why have there been changes to the Mormon temple endowment?


hey guys, so if you’re familiar with
latter-day Saint temple practices you’re probably aware that important temple
ceremonies like the endowment, have undergone various changes throughout the
years, considering our belief that the endowment was received by revelation
from God some people wonder if it’s okay that changes have been made. Let’s talk
about it. So the idea that the endowment ceremony
should never change in any way because it was revealed by God exhibits a bit of
a misunderstanding of what revelation is and how it is received. Isaiah outlined
an extremely important principle: the word of the lord was unto them precept
upon precept … line upon line; here a little and there a little and we see
this kind of revelation all over the place in scripture. The Jaredite barges,
Peter’s revelation about missionary work, Nephi’s vision of the Tree of Life,
Joseph Smith received the temple endowment through a similar gradual
piece-by-piece process. That process implies a progression of changes,
adjustments and modifications. In fact, after the first endowment was
administered in May 1842 Joseph told Brigham Young: Brother Brigham, this is
not arranged right. But we’ve done the best [we] could under the circumstances in
which we are placed and I wish you to take this matter in hand and organize
and systematize all these ceremonies. In other words, Joseph knew from the
beginning that future changes would need to be made. He knew things weren’t
exactly as they should be and that was fine. That’s how a restoration works it; it
takes time you do your best and the Lord keeps you pointed in the right direction.
Sometimes I think we humans in many ways are like bowling balls and God sort of
acts as the bumpers as we seek to discover His will. Sometimes we wish we
could just fly straight down the middle and nail that strike, but in reality we
often follow a jagged path bouncing back and forth between the bumpers until we
finally end up somewhere acceptable to God. And so as time goes on the church
continues to make course corrections as needed, most past adjustments have been
quite minor there’s a lot of instruction that goes on in the endowment and as the
culture of teaching and learning has changed over the decades changes have
been made to reflect that. But there also have been more substantial changes made
as we’ve come to a better understanding of the purpose of the covenants we make
there. For example, for a long time Saints would covenant to pray that God would
avenge the blood of the prophets it was added in a time when the Saints were
heavily persecuted and frankly ready to fight back
I think this covenant reminded the Saints in a
very sacred setting that vengeance belongs only to the Lord. It was
ultimately based on revelation 6 I saw under the altar the souls of them that
were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held and they
cried with a loud voice saying how long O Lord holy and true dost thou not judge
and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth
unfortunately documentation of early temple ceremonies is scant. Impossible
perhaps the archives are incomplete. Some people say the oath of vengeance called
for the Saints themselves to avenge the prophets, which is obviously contrary to
everything the gospel is about but because the ceremony wasn’t even written
down until 1877, we don’t know, but it’s certainly possible that the wording of
this covenant could have varied at different times and/or there may have
been some misunderstanding among the saints. Whatever the case may be, it was
not a covenant essential to exaltation and was removed from the ceremony about
a hundred years ago. Some elements of Freemasonry Joseph adopted for the
endowment for various reasons were also dropped as masonry as a teaching tool
ran its course for our membership. For example, the five points of fellowship
were removed as well as some symbolic penalties associated with breaking
certain temple commitments. The imagery of those penalties was quite graphic
compared to the rest of the temple you were essentially saying I’d rather die
than reveal certain things about the temple. They were basically the
equivalent of saying cross my heart and hope to die. Nobody actually dies for
breaking those commitments but those penalties were removed because they
understandably made people uncomfortable and weren’t essential. The First
Presidency recently reminded us details associated with temple work have been
adjusted periodically prophets have taught that there will be no end to such
adjustments as directed by the Lord to his servants. Back in 2014, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave us another reminder: Sometimes, we think of the restoration of
the gospel as something that is complete, already behind us. Joseph Smith
translated the Book of Mormon, he received priesthood keys,
the church was organized. In reality, the restoration is an ongoing process; we are
living in it right now. It includes all that God has revealed, all that he does
now revea,l and the many and important things that He will yet reveal. Hopefully
that answers some of your questions, make sure to check out the resources in the
description and have a great day.

24 Replies to “Why have there been changes to the Mormon temple endowment?”

  1. Capitulation. In theory the Lord's church would never capitulate to pretended feminism. The church unfortunately appears to be trying to find a balance between accepting societal trends and God's unchangeable truth. Pray about it and receive revelation about why the Lord would make these changes right? Why can't the First Presidency explain in full the reasons for the changes? Like women veiling their face in the temple? Had a beautiful meaning and symbolism to it but because people are quick to make ignorant conclusions and not strive for deeper meaning we are forced to live a lower law and shallowness of religion.

  2. Take your vitamins because the LDS church has arguably changed more than any other church on earth and is continuing to change. Even the Temple endowment barely resembles the session I remember 3 changes and 30 years ago.

    If you really want to understand the Mormon Temple, read a comprehensive book on FreeMasons and their rites. The handshakes, grips, signs, and tokens used by both groups are either identical or close. No surprise considering Joseph always borrowed from everything around him every time he created anything and Joseph developed the Temple endowment rites just weeks after receiving status as a Master Mason. There's a good reason why the Kirtland Temple is entirely different from the Nauvoo. The Nauvoo Temple rites were created after Joseph became a Master Mason.

  3. Good stuff. The essence of the covenants haven't changed, but the actions associated with learning them have… and that is ok. If it were like in ancient times, we would be "washed" topped to bottom in water and anointed with a whole lot of oil instead of one drop during the initiatory. Then again… it's all symbolic of what is literally happening spiritually, so who cares if some of the symbols are modified? Making symbols of the symbols.

  4. Interesting. I love your editing. I could see someone getting upset but we understand how sacred this covenants are …but most of us understand that it's how each and every one of us makes them a priority.

  5. Great video. If I'm allowed to add my 2 cents.. at 4:22, I'd be careful with assuming why the penalties were removed. Unless you have a source for your reasoning?

  6. Changes? Bug or feature? This is an essential that separates and defines the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints, to me, as true. While God's character never changes, the people of our planet are gradually, even line upon line, learning better to understand God. And the Latter Day Saints, unique to my knowledge, are continuously improving our practices to conform to our better understanding.

  7. What do tell older saints who swore to have their throats cut if they reveal ed or broke their vows ; do they go through the new ceremony as a replacement of the old, or are people obligated to the type they went through originally?

  8. First off, David is a good guy and talking about topics that not even LDS prophets or apostles will address openly. So respect is due.
    I don't think a lot of people have issues with things changing in temples, per say. What they do take issue with are the things that are openly hypocritical, absurd or dangerous.

    An established fact is the temple ceremony had a vengeance ceremony to it, which did pray for vengeance against those that killed Smith and those that fought and fight against the Mormon faith, even the nation of the U.S. was condemned and under the oath. It gave hope to early LDS members that vengeance would be delivered. Christianity at its heart, is about forgiveness, and especially forgiveness of enemies. So we see the first major fault of the temple ceremony, as a place where anger, contempt and hatred got a center stage and indoctrination for a bit. One can spin how they want but at the end of the day it was called a vengeance ceremony.

    The vengeance oath was removed due to senators in the government being outright concerned with this and due to political pressure was banned in 1904 because of a senate investigation.

    Then you have, which I don't think was mentioned, the suicide oaths, which were called penalties, taken out in 1927, going so graphic as to physically depict or act out someone being cut open from neck to chest! and recently taken out in the 90's was the promise to slit one's throat if they revealed things in the temple, referred to as blood oaths. Well now in the age of Youtube there are whole videos showcasing the temple rituals and rights. So the idea that it can't be revealed to outsiders is now a forgone conclusion.

    And the wording about Lucifer's Popes and priests was dropped too in the 90's. A clear swipe at Catholics.

    Then the complete subservient atmosphere of having the woman obey the man, and then man set up as the go to between woman and God was cut. which was due to not being p.c. anymore was thankfully changed.

    Many of these changes support strong evidence that it was not revelation that banned these rituals but outside pressure again pressuring the church to change. Which is a good thing because without the outside world pressuring the LDS church you would have the FLDS,lol.

    Even when I went through the temple there were veiled threats that the punishments of God would visit anyone who revealed these sacred things to outsiders. Even a part in the temple ceremony that declares with a voice in the stereo system that GOD will not be mocked, a warning to those not taking this seriously.

  9. The oath of vengeance reminded the saints that vengeance was to be had "only from the Lord"? The oath was referenced by John D. Lee in his confession of his involvement in the Mountain Meadows massacre (over 120 innocent people killed). Lee stated, "I believed then as I do now, that it was the will of every true Mormon in Utah, at that time, that the enemies of the Church should be killed as fast as possible, and that as this lot of people had men amongst them that were supposed to have helped kill the Prophets in the Carthage jail, the killing of all of them would be keeping our oaths and avenging the blood of the Prophets."

  10. By the way, I see you guys are using the Youtube option to "shadowban" comments you don't like. I think that's a lame and shifty way to handle criticism because you're doing it to give the impression that everyone who posts to this forum agrees with you. If you can't handle any critical discussion whatsoever and quietly white-out people who disagree with you, then your attempt to portray yourself as open and honest is pretty much just a sham. What does that say about your religion, and how much you truly believe its teachings?

  11. You didn't mention the depiction of the pre-1990 endowment film showing a Protestant minister in the employ of Satan. You also didn't mention the introduction of the Adam-God theory at the Lecture at the Veil, which was later removed. Were these both restored elements? If not, why did God allow the prophets to lead the church astray in this way?

  12. If the Restoration is incomplete or in progress… then the "fullness of the gospel" cannot be claimed. You can't have fullness if part is still missing. Just some basic logic.

  13. I would think that in the "House of the Lord" that his house really is a "House of order", and not a "God of confusion". If the Book of Mormon is the "Most Correct Book on Earth" you would think the temple endowment necessary to receive Exaltation, should at least be get it right. David, do you have time line of the changes made to the 2nd endowment? I would be interested to see that.

    There are many statements by church leaders indicating to members that Gods ordinances wouldn't change. This is why your discussing this topic because there is this contradiction. Here are two examples:

    “…God is unchangeable, the same yesterday, today and forever… The great mistake made down through the ages by teachers of Christianity, is that they have supposed they could place their own private interpretation upon scriptures, allow their own personal convenience to become a controlling factor, and change the basis of Christian law and practice to suit themselves. This is apostacy"
    • The Prophet's Message, Church News, June 5, 1965

    “Now the purpose in Himself in the winding up scene of the last dispensation is that all things pertaining to that dispensation should be conducted precisely in accordance with the preceding dispensations…. He set the temple ordinances to be the same forever and ever and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them."
    • The Prophet Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol.4, p. 208

  14. I love your videos and appreciate how willing you are to address the controversial issues. My two cents: Why would we want to go to the temple knowing that there could be things there that aren't necessary for salvation, like the old throat cutting penalties and second, if Prophets can make mistakes and sometimes speak as just men, how much of the current endowment is of God and how much is from man? Did you intentionally not talk specifics about the latest gender related changes? I believe there was a video from Russel Nelson asking people to not talk about the fact there were changes. Curious if this influenced your video. Thanks.

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