Hear the words of my mouth

Ep 110 – King Me!

On this episode, Joseph Smith introduces the endowment ceremony and forms the Quorum of the Anointed, or the Holy Order. Jo had been practicing esoteric rites from his earliest days in Kirtland, but this was the codification of the ceremony which would come to be practiced in every Mormon temple after Smith’s death. We read through one of the earliest available exposes created to reveal the terrifying theocratic rituals embodied by Jo and the elite Mormons who went through this occult initiation.

Links:

Anointed Quorum in Nauvoo by Devery Anderson
https://archive.org/stream/AnointedQuorum/Anointed%20Quorum_djvu.txt

Evolution of Endowment Ceremony
http://www.ldsendowment.org/timeline.html

Duncan’s Royal Arch Masonic ritual expose
http://www.sacred-texts.com/mas/dun/dun08.htm

Warsaw Signal Apr 1846
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/il/sign1846.htm#021846

LDS Temple Ceremony by Edward Ashment
https://dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V27N03_303.pdf

A Dialogue between Adam and Eve by Increase and Maria Van Dusen
https://archive.org/stream/dialoguebetweena00vand#page/4/mode/2up

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Life in Nauvoo was busy as ever while Pistol Packin’ Porter Rockwell was off fulfilling prophecy with a stolen pistol in Missouri. 2 days before Port’s bullets struck Ex-Governor and Senatorial candidate Lilburn Boggs, on May 4th, 1842, Joseph Smith altered the trajectory of Mormonism forever.

According to Heber C. Kimball, Joseph recognized that “masonry was taken from presthood but has become degenerated.” Jo had ascended to the sublime degree of Masonry in the newly dedicated Nauvoo Masonic Lodge in mid-march, now 7 weeks later, he coopted the procedure to make his own ascendancy ritual, complete with Mormon proprietary drama.

Those familiar with the Masonic passion narrative, Joseph’s passion narrative was similarly based in the bible. Whereas Masonic passion narratives, dependent on rite of course, usually act out the creation of Solomon’s temple and the death of beloved brother Hiram Abiff, Joseph went much earlier than the temple of Solomon. Like way earlier, like to the creation narrative. Jo always had his own version of creation and Christian theology constantly adapting and developing in his mind and he was a propaganda machine. Jo himself had produced plenty of proprietary scripture to create his own passion narrative, loosely based on the Masonic narrative.

So, on 4 May 1842, Jo as the Highest of Priests and Master of Ceremonies, along with his brother Hyrum, likely as the Senior Grand Warden or some other similarly named position, gathered 9 fellow master Masons; James Adams, Heber the Creeper Kimball, William Law, William Marks, George Miller, White-out Willard Richards, Father Newel K. Whitney, and Bloody Brigham Young and performed the first temple passion narrative. This narrative would adapt and grow for the two remaining years of Jo’s life, eventually be performed by Brigham Young in the newly dedicated Nauvoo Temple beginning at the end of 1845, and continue a system of adaptation and development until Bloody Brigham’s death in 1877. 1877 was the first year that the endowments were performed for the dead. It continues to develop and evolve to this day, which we’ll get into.

These 9 men Jo and Hyrum initiated in the first week of May 1842 would come to be known as The Anointed Quorum, the Holy Order, or the Holy Order of the Anointed. This quorum was the most secretive and esoteric group Jo had ever created in his entire ministry. For the purposes of understanding the Quorum of the Anointed and the ritual they practiced, it’s necessary to forget anything you know about the Modern temple rituals in Mormonism. If you’ve watched Mike Norton’s surreptitious temple ritual videos on the NewNameNoah YouTube channel, those are merely the most recent adaptation of the passion narrative which takes place in Mormon temples. Those videos are different in many ways from what Jo and Hyrum introduced in May of 1842 when they created the Quorum of the Anointed.

A major issue when talking about the Anointed Quorum is that so little survives of what took place in the historical record. A few historians have been able to painstakingly reconstruct Joseph’s passion narrative in vague terms through the few surviving accounts that could be counted on one hand.

Glen M. Leonard, an historian with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute of Religious Studies at BYU said this of the original Anointed Quorum ritual in his book, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, A People of Promise circa 2002:

“[The rituals] set forth a pattern or figurative model for life. The teachings began with a recital of the creation of the earth and its preparation to host life. The story carried the familiar ring of the Genesis account, echoed as well in Joseph Smith’s revealed book of Moses and book of Abraham. The disobedience and expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden set the stage for an explanation of Christ’s atonement for that original transgression and for the sins of the entire human family. Also included was a recital of mankind’s tendency to stray from the truth through apostasy and the need for apostolic authority to administer authoritative ordinances and teach true gospel principles. Participants were reminded that in addition to the Savior’s redemptive gift they must be obedient to God’s commandments to obtain a celestial glory. Within the context of these gospel instructions, the initiates made covenants of personal virtue and benevolence and of commitment to the church. They agreed to devote their talents and means to spread the gospel, to strengthen the church, and to prepare the earth for the return of Jesus Christ.”

As we’ll see very soon, Leonard’s characterization of the anointed quorum ritual sounds pleasant and biblical. However, once we get into the exposes we’ll be reading today, it becomes clear that Mormonism was a death cult that required the utmost fealty when passing through this anointing rite.

Where various iterations of Masonry practice a fairly standardized passion narrative which may be adapted to different rites and localities, Jo and Hyrum created their own passion narrative based on Jo’s revealed scriptures. We don’t know exactly what this looked like, however. We know some version of it came to be practiced in the Nauvoo Temple of which there are 3 noted exposes which were published after 1846 so those are the earliest iterations of the endowment ceremony historians can use to attempt some kind of reconstruction of the ritual as it was practiced at some point. We’ll be reading through 2 of those today. However, as with any new patternistic ritual, when Jo and his Sidekick Abiff Hyrum Smith introduced the endowment ritual, it likely rapidly developed and adapted during the first few attempts. The process was eventually streamlined and women were inducted into the Quorum of the Anointed beginning with Emma Smith in Autumn of 1843.

It’s worth noting that this didn’t just happen. It wasn’t May 3, 1842 and there was no esoteric rites practiced in Mormonism, then suddenly on May 4th Jo has an entire washing and anointing ceremony complete with passion narrative of Adam and Eve worked out in his mind, he’d been practicing these rituals since the beginning of the Church in Kirtland, Ohio. Famously the School of the Prophets, first hosted in the upper floor of the Johnson home then in the meeting room in the Newel K. Whitney store, included a washing ceremony where the men would all bathe and cover their entire bodies in whiskey infused with cinnamon. What followed were frequently visions of angels and very strange spiritual manifestations. It’s worth noting that cinnamon, in high dosages, is psychoactive, but you have to eat a TON of it to get the psychoactive effects. However, your skin is a really large organ and topical chemicals make their way into your bloodstream through your skin. Also, the whiskey cinnamon mix evaporating off a person’s skins would have an interesting effect like menthol or lidocaine, only warming instead of cooling. After the whiskey bath, the men would then anoint each other on the head with “consecrated” anointing oil, and the term consecrated as it was used in early Mormonism meant more than just saying a prayer over it. The Smith-entheogen theory would posit the anointing oil was a vehicle for a psychoactive substance the way it was used in witching ointments like datura or mandrake from the nightshade family. It shouldn’t be a mystery as to how the brethren in the school of the prophets were able to see the face of god with their spiritual eyes, but I would posit that it wasn’t actually the power of God. Some psychonauts out there may disagree with me on that point. God apparently lives in psychedelic plants.

Fast forward to the upper floor of the printing office in Kirtland with the School of the Elders and similar ritualism was practiced nearly weekly by the elites of the Church until the Kirtland Temple was completed in early 1836 when they moved their parties to the 3rd floor of the massive new monolith adorning the hill overlooking Chillicothe ravine. The Kirtland temple was used for just over a year before “persecution” (in air quotes) became too much for Jo to handle and he was chased out of town and moved to the congregation in Missouri.

Esoteric rituals took on a new form in Missouri out of desperation to make the Mormons a force to contend with. The Danites, previously known as the Daughters of Zion and the Brother of Gideon society before that, were the most trusted Mormons who would swear their lives to Mormonism. Similarly, initiation into the Danite society required a washing and anointing and included an oath of undying fealty to the prophet and spreading the gospel. Also, a death threat was invoked should any person reveal the secrets of the society, which was fitting as it was used for extra military affairs in Missouri during the 1838 conflict.

During each of these iterations, Jo adapted and evolved the Mormon higher degree initiation rite. Now, in May of 1842, he had ascended to Master Mason and the Mormon ceremony wildly evolved to become much more similar to what has been practiced in the temple ever since. But, keep in mind that the ceremony Jo introduced is not what is in the great and spacious buildings today. The Mormon temple ceremony has undergone no less than 17 major periods of change as Mormon history has progressed through the remainder of the 19th and 20th centuries. We’ll discuss that evolution after we read through our exposes today to discuss exactly how it’s changed.

One thing worth mentioning as well, this washing and anointing Jo introduced as the endowment in May 1842 is not the second anointing ritual. The second anointing wouldn’t be introduced for another year. The second anointing is referred to in technical terms as the Calling and Election sure ritual.

Bruce R. McKonkie defined it as this in Mormon Doctrine 1st ed. circa 1958:

“Those members of the Church who devote themselves wholly to righteousness, living by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, make their calling and election sure. That is, they receive the more sure word of prophecy, which means that the Lord seals their exaltation upon them while they are yet in this life. Peter summarized the course of righteousness which the saints must pursue to make their calling and election sure and then (referring to his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration with James and John) said that those three had received this more sure word of prophecy….

JS: “When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter.” To receive the other Comforter is to have Christ appear to him and to see the visions of eternity.”

McKonkie concludes with this:

“It should be clearly understood that these high blessings are not part of celestial marriage. “Blessings pronounced upon couples in connection with celestial marriage are conditioned upon the subsequent faithfulness of the participating parties.””

The second anointing rite would come along in 1843 and that’s the ceremony where the initiates are blessed with exaltation while still in this mortal coil, which is separate from the endowment ritual we’re discussing today. Those with the second anointing will go to the highest level of the celestial kingdom and get their own planet unless they shed innocent blood, that’s the only disqualifier. Killing an innocent person the only thing which would bar them from the celestial kingdom, and luckily the Church leadership designates who is and is not innocent.

However, the second anointing ritual did evolve from what was practiced when this endowment ritual introduced in May 1842. A sharp divide exists in the realm of Mormon historians as to how much influence Masonic rituals had on the endowment ceremony Jo introduced. D. Michael Quinn articulates the conflict well in Early Mormonism and the Magic Word View, 2nd ed pg 230

“A scholar of Christian Gnosticism added that ‘in order to reach the highest heaven the spirit must pass through the lower heavens’ governed by ‘rulers’ to whom the departed spirit must give ‘magical passwords’.

None of the emphasis on the magic ascent bore any similarity to Masonic teachings. However, the purpose of the occult mysteries in the ancient world paralleled Brigham Young’s explanation of the modern endowment’s purpose: ‘passing the angels who stand as sentinels being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood.’

In fact, Hugh Nibley and other LDS scholars have consistently turned to the occult rites of ancient Egyptian and Gnostic mystery religions to demonstrate by parallel evidence the antiquity of Mormon endowment rituals. As William J. Hamblin has noted: ‘Much of Nibley’s other work [before 1989] also abounds with references to early Gnosticism, which has important links to the hermetic and alchemical traditions of late antiquity.’ Hamblin and fellow FARMS polemicists Peterson and Mitton have added that ‘there is a large body of work which indicates that the closest analogues [of the LDS endowment] are to the rituals and esoteric doctrines of early Christianity and Judaism in the eastern Mediterranean in the first two or three centuries before and after Christ.’ In making such comparisons, Hamblin has acknowledged that ‘there are many elements in Jewish ascension mysticism that we today would find very strange, including various magical incantations and practices and a strong emphasis on gematria. Gematria is a complex system of mystical interpretations of numbers, letters, and words.’ By drawing only on authorized descriptions of the endowment by LDS leaders, it is possible to see how the Mormon endowment reflected the ancient and occult mysteries far closer than Freemasonry.”

It’s crucial to Mormon claims of Joseph’s divinity that he didn’t coopt the Masonic ritual for the endowment ceremony. Should that be the case, it may prove that Joseph Smith was a synthesizer instead of a prophet. It’s absolutely necessary to prove for Mormons that Jo’s endowment ceremony introduced in May 1842 was a restoration of the original ancient mysteries. Anything otherwise makes Jo seem like a serial plagiarist. We can examine the timeline for some possible answers. Jo ascended to Master Mason in March of 1842, and in May of 1842 he created the endowment ceremony which looks like Masonic rites. We shouldn’t get lost in positing causation and rely on Post Hoc ergo propter hoc logic to do it, but the similarities are far too brazen for Masonry not to have influenced Jo’s mind.

Apologists and Mormon historians often claim Jo restored the original ancient Christian mysteries as Quinn posited in the previous reading, thus concluding that Freemasonry merely evolved in parallel with Jo’s endowment ceremony. Had Jo created the endowment without ever being exposed to Masonry and none of his friends and family members being Masons, this argument may hold water. However, he was surrounded by Masons and had himself just become a Mason when the endowment ceremony came along. Sure, the similarities may be superficial, but nobody can claim Masonry didn’t influence the endowment ceremony unless doing so with ulterior motives.

But a question still remains. If Jo restored the original ancient mysteries which were lost since the death of Jesus, what exactly does the rite look like? Also, the endowment rite has been adapted so many times even during Jo’s lifetime and it’s undergone many adaptations after his death, so when did this endowment ceremony hit its perfect form? Did Jo restore the perfect form of the endowment ceremony, or have the changes made since his death made the ceremony more perfect, or even less perfect? What are the true ancient rites of Christianity to be restored to the earth through modern-day prophets?

What I mean by that is the average member of the church today understands that Mormonism is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and what they practice today is what Jo restored. The dark ages lost the one true gospel of Jesus, so Jo was there to pick the world up out of its ignorance by restoring the original gospel. But we know there was a constant evolution of Jo’s theology as he progressed through his ministry. It wasn’t April of 1830 at the organization of the Church and instantly everything that Mormons do today was brought to life. Endowment ceremony, sacrament practices, different priesthoods, baptisms for the dead, missionaries in two by twos, polygamy, all of it is rarely ever questioned as to when and how each practice came about. I’ve documented extensively the evolution of each of these aspects of Mormonism in this show and the events leading up to their genesis to illustrate that Jo’s theology was constantly adapting and changing, much like the endowment ceremony itself.

With that in mind, let’s talk about the earliest version of the endowment ceremony historians have access to from an outside source. The earlier quote from Glen Leonard was far too vague to understand any of the details or recreate the ceremony. Instead we’ll be relying on two exposes. The first was published by Maria and Increase McGee Van Dusen who went through the endowment in 1846 and published their expose early the next year. The second expose is from an unknown author who went under the pen-name Emeline. It’s worth noting before we get started that this is the endowment ceremony after it had been practiced for 4 years and had likely undergone a number of adaptations to become what we’re about to get in to. Unfortunately for historians, this is about the best they can do as far as understanding the exact proceedings of the earliest endowment ceremony. Records of the most original ceremony created in May of 1842 may exist, but they’re not available to historians as secrecy was, and still is, of the utmost importance.

Increase Mcgee and Maria Van Dusen’s 1847 expose of the Mormon endowment ceremony divides the rite into 7 separate degrees. They’d both converted to Mormonism in 1842 and began laboring on the temple as soon as they got in town along with thousands of other Mormons from when the cornerstone was laid in April of 1840 to the dedication in late 1845. This initial expose was titled A Dialogue Between Adam and Eve, but the book went through no less that 7 printings all the way into the late 1850s with new titles each time. The 1849 edition was titled Startling Disclosures of the Mormon Conspiracy, and it elaborates significantly on the 1847 edition, likely to sell more copies. Subsequent editions become more epic and salacious which is exactly why historians prefer the original 1847 edition over later editions, it’s the most authentic and what we’ll be reading from today.

We’ll get to that momentarily, but before we do I wanted to give everybody a couple reminders for events we have coming up very soon.

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On the day of their initiation, the Van Dusens were told to bring with them white pants for Increase and a night gown for Maria and arrive at the temple at 5 in the morning. After that, the endowment ceremony unfolds. I’ve adapted some of the language to make it more listenable.

“First Degree in the Temple

We go according to orders at five precisely, for we are anxious to receive our long expected blessing from God, for which we have labored faithfully, and for the knowledge of which we have been held in suspense, with thousands of others, for years, especially for the last number of weeks, while others have been going in their turn before us. We are met at the outside porch of the Temple and ordered to pass up the main winding stairway, from the base to the upper attic story; here is a sitting room; we are ordered to be seated, where we lay off the hat, cloak, bonnet, &c.; our anxiety now begins moderately to increase, by some curious and strange movements we see here, such as carrying water to and from a certain direction, &c. A few of such and other similar strange movements are here accidentally crossing our observation, as we sit here on this singular occasion, conducted to begin with, where we did not expect to go, that is, in the attic story of the Temple. We are now called out of the sitting room and placed in front of a closed door, that opens on a floor the whole size of the Temple. I am ordered now to take my wife and pass through this door, which opens as we approach it. We are brought immediately into a narrow hall formed by the canvass I spoke of; at the farther end of the hall stands a man; as we approach him, he says, you must here separate; directs me through a door to the right, my wife through one to the left, in an opposite direction. I am now ordered to be seated; I next pass through an examination to this effect; ~~whether I am~~ [are you] sufficiently responsible to receive what ~~they~~ [we] are about to commit to ~~me~~[you?], &c. If I am known to be so, I am initiated through; if not, I go no further. After undergoing an examination of this kind, I am ordered by the conductor ~~to~~ lay off ~~my~~ [your] outside clothes, such as coat, vest, pants, boots, &c., and lay them on a pile in the centre of the floor. After some more ceremony of not much consequence,

Second degree in the Temple

I am conducted through a door into another room, this room is considerably shaded nearly to twilight. There is a variety of ceremony going on in this room, some of rather to[o] delicate a nature to speak of as this work is designed to be read by all classes of both sex. I am however divested of the remainder of my clothing, and placed [nude] in a horizontal position in a bath of water that has been prepared for this purpose, and am washed from head to foot, with the following ceremony: “I wash you that you may be clean to perform the work assigned to you; your eyes, that you may see the glory of God; your ears, that you may hear His voice; your mouth, that you may speak forth His praise; your arms and breast, that you may be strong to perform His work; and so down to your feet, that you may be swift to run the race,” &c. All this time I am rolled and tumbled about from one side of the bath to the other. Head a part of the time under water, half strangled under a considerable excitement, not knowing what was coming next. At last the priest lays his hands on my head, and pronounces ~~me~~ [you are] clean in the name of the Lord, and prepared for the further ordinances of his house.

I am now ordered out of the bath in a standing position, and have sweet scented oil poured from a horn on the top of my head, until it runs all over my body. ~~I am now said to be~~ [you are now] the Lord’s Annointed, as in the days of old, when they were annointed to the office of King, &c. After this I am seated, and the priest lays his hands on my head and ordains me to be king in time and eternity. After receiving this ordination I am presented with, and have put on, what they call an under garment. This is a tight fit, made of white cotton cloth, with two marks on it; a square in the breast, and a compass on the knee. I am told this garment represents the white stone in scripture which was a new name given, I here have a new name given me. ~~I am told also, that I am~~ [you are] always to wear this garment under ~~my~~ [your] clothes, while ~~I am~~ [you are] in the world. God has ordered this; and ~~I~~ [you] can receive no harm while ~~I~~ [you] have it on. The name I received was Lehi, one of the names in the Book of Mormon. This name I was forbidden to reveal to any one but the one at the door of the Celestial Kingdom. What this meant, I found out afterwards. The compass on the knee signifies our willingness to bow always; the square, God’s protection, &c. I now have put on me, over this under garment, a common shirt open at the collar. In this dress, after so much ceremony, I am conducted into a third room, where a lesson commences. It will readily be perceived by the intelligent reader, that this whole ceremony is designed to represent a certain thing, and what has been acted in the two rooms already described, consists altogether in a preparation of what follows, probaly designed to represent some of the ancient customs where the children of Israel were required to wash their clothes &c. to appear in the presence of the Lord.

Third degree in the Temple

I am now placed in a certain position on the floor designed to represent a certain thing, and that is Adam in embryo. All is now silent for awhile, the silence is at lenght broken by a rumbling noise, as from a distance, the noise terminates in a voice: “Let the light be divided from the darkness; let the light be called day, and the darkness night: Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters; Let the firmament be called Heaven; let the waters under the firmament be gathered together in one place, and let the dry land appear; let the dry land be called earth; and the gathering together of the waters, seas; let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit, after his kind, whose seed is in itselt upon the earth; let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth, after their kind.”

[The reader will perceive that this conversation differs from Moses’ history of the creation. Moses says, “And the Lord sayed let there be light &c.” and there was light, speaking of the Deity in the third person. It is here as if the Almighty himself is first in the act of creation; and this is the idea intended in the farce.]

After the individual thus representing the Lord behind the curtain (as in the act of creation,) is supposed to have created the heavens and the earth, cattle, beasts, creeping things, fowls of the air, fish of the sea, &c., he continues his work farther and says, “Now let us go down and make man in our image, after our likeness.” All this time I am in silence, hearing, but not seeing any thing, and knowing not what is to take place the next moment; for all is new and unexpected from first to last, of this whole drama. When he says, “Let us go down and make man,” I hear his footsteps approaching the room where I am; he comes in—comes to where I am—puts his hand to the floor, and then on me, as if fulfilling this scripture: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” After going on as if forming me newly of the dust of the ground, he stoops down and breathes on me, and now I am supposed to first spring into life. I am next ordered to change my position to a sleeping one, as if fulfilling, “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept.” I am now ordered to put my head down low and feign myself in a deep sleep. The individual representing the Almighty, continues his work, as if fulfilling, “And he took a rib, and the rib which the Lord God had taken from man made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” After he has taken the rib, he passes out of the room and is supposed to have formed the woman of the rib; he soon returns with a woman and places her directly before me, as I am sitting, head down, as if in a deep sleep. I am now saluted with a loud voice, “Adam, here is thy companion. I give her to be with thee—what wilt thou call her?” I now raise up my head and awake out of my feigned sleep, and to my surprise, here stands a female directly in front of me, about 3.5 feet from my knees, as I am seated; her dress consists of an under piece of linen, white stockings, long night gown all tied down before, and a kind of white head dress of book muslin, looking me directly in the face, without a smile. As I raise up my head from the voice, “Adam, here is thy companion—what wilt thou call her?” I now answer by direction, “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.” After a second squint at this supposed new made Eve, I found her to be my wife that I had separated from me on first entering the Temple. This was the first time I had seen her, or even thought of her, from the commencement of this very queer and excitable farce, my mind being altogether taken up with the novelty of this unexpected ceremony.—She tells me after leaving me where we were ordered to part, on first entering, she has gone through two rooms, and the same ceremony precisely, only conducted by females exclusively. We are now supposed to be Adam and Eve, and the reason is to represent nature. I am now ordered to take Eve and follow our conductor out through a partition door into another apartment.

Fourth Degree in the Temple

This is a much larger room than the others through which we have passed, the floor all nicely covered with green trees, shrubbery, plants, flowers, &c., one varying from the other in height as they stand on the floor, forming allies, walks, &c., representing the garden of Eden. This place being a little shaded, at least as dark as twilight, and the shrubbery interspersed with human beings, dressed in this peculiar way, acting out so sublime a piece, formed a sight both novel and sublime in the extreme. (that perfumed anointing oil starts to take effect and induce sublimity)

We follow a man here through the aisles and walks of the garden, representing the Almighty, beholding the strange and unexpected scenery that has just presented itself to our view. He says, “This is a beautiful place, every thing delightful for the eye and taste—of all these things you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (pointing to a certain tree,) thou shalt not eat; neither shalt thou touch it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” He leaves the garden, and in a few moments another individual comes in, representing the Devil. He walks round between the trees, and peaks and skulks as if intent on some mischief, and coming to the tree which we have been forbidden to partake of, he says to my wife: “This is the best of all the fruit of the garden,” and solicits her to partake. She takes, eats and gives to me. While we are amusing ourselves with the delicious fruit, (which is raisins tied on a small tree on the floor,) the conductor starts up all of a sudden, and says, “Hark! The Lord is coming; let us hide!” We are ordered to squat down behind the shrubbery on the floor. The feigned Lord’s foot steps are now heard—coming in, he walks on the floor, at last calls out, “Adam, where art thou?” We answer, “We heard thy voice and foot steps in the garden, and were afraid and hid ourselves.” And he says, [angrily with thunderclaps!]“Who told thee that thou wast naked?” Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee not to eat?” The answer is, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat.” He then turns to my wife, and says, “What is this that thou has done?” She answers, “The Serpent beguiled me and I did eat.” He now turns to the individual representing the Devil, and says, “Because thou has done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.” After the man representing the Devil receives the curse from the one acting the part of the Lord, he gets down and crawls out of the room on his belly, dragging himself slowly along, as if cursed indeed. To my wife the Lord now adds, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children,” &c. And to me he says, “Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee;… till thou return unto the ground; for dust thou art, and unto the dust shalt thou return.”

We now have aprons put on of white cloth, about eighteen inches square, with green silk leaves pasted on. We are ordered to kneel down to an altar that stands on the centre of the floor, where we are instructed in a variety of things, such as the folly and impropriety of being deceived by the devil, and our not obeying the command of God, &c. We are also strictly cautioned [do] not ~~to~~ be led astray again by the devil’s influence in any shape that it may come hereafter. We now say on our knees, we renounce the devil forever, and promise also to keep the commandments of God. We have now certain signs, grips, key-words, &c., given, and all the whys and wherefores explained. One of the grips is, the two right hands clasped with the end of the thumbs directly between the upper two joints of the first and second fingers. One of the key-words is the Sun. We are particularly instructed in these signs, key-words, grips, &c., three of each.

Fifth Degree—A Burlesque on all the Sects

After some ceremony of not much consequence, we are conducted into another, a fifth room, which is a representation of the present Religious world. This room is darker than any of the others through which we have passed, I suppose expressive of what the Mormons say of the sects, that they are all wrong and in gross darkness. The idea conveyed of what is in this room is, that we, Adam and Eve, have strolled away from the true ways of the Lord, and have become contaminated with some or all of the sectarian religion of the day; or in other words, a lapse of six thousand years is supposed to have intervened between what is here acted and that in the room we were in previous to this.

Our attention is now attracted by an individual coming in from an adjoining room, representing the Devil. He comes in great glee, hopping and skipping about the floor, holding in his hand a long-handled wooden noggin, which holds about a pint. He says, “Good morning brother Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Universality, Shaking Quaker, Millerite, Campbelite,” &c., enumerating all the sects of the day, except the Mormons: “Come, let us drink the cup of fellowship this morning,” He now drinks, and hands the noggon to us; we drink, and hand it back. He then goes on with a long ceremony, as follows: Well, brethren, you must have done well—had a great many revivlas—gained a numerous host of converts, and would have succeeded in getting the world into some of our churches, had it not been for that Joe Smith and the Mormons. They are round everywhere, preaching that we are all wrong—not organized according to Scripture, and say we (Protestants) have no authority to preach, except what we have got from the Catholics, and all the world agrees that is good for nothing. And now, brethren of the sects, I tell you that Mormon plan is an almighty one, and much to be dreaded—It strikes at the very root and foundation of all our holy religion, and will eventually become the prevailing religion, unless something can be done to stop it. It has been supposed a humbug, and would soon come to naught. But this supposition is founded altogether in ignorance. Now, who can not but see this (Joe’s) plan is well calculated to undermine all of us. ~~He says,~~ ‘God has nothing to do with our churches—he has never sent us to preach; and they have the impudence to ask us to show our authority, and this we cannot do, of course. It is true, we read in the Bible, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature; but they say that commission is not to us, but to men of the generation in which it was given. (And is not this true?) Now, the world has been long wondering how so many ways could be right, and differing one from the other; and Mormonism is calculated to unravel all this mystery. They come right out and say we have all been preaching men’s precepts for the commandments of God. And now, I tell you there is much truth in their sayings. We might as well know the truth, and then prepare ourselves accordingly. We could do well when our authority was not questioned; but when they come with the evidence they bring, and say, ‘They are sent by Revelation;’ I tell you it is not easy to withstand them. And finally, brethren, I am satisfied that it will not do to undertake to hold an argument with them, and we had better let them entirely alone, and neither hear nor read any of their books, but keep up the popular cry, ‘Oh, how great is the delusion of Joe Smith and Mormonism! Oh, how great!’ and as long as we can keep the people ignorant of their real principles, we shall do well. Now, brethren, of all sects, we are talking over things this morning among ourselves—and it must not go to the world,” &c.

After a long ceremony of this kind in favor of the Mormon Fraternity, we are interrupted by an other individual coming in, representing the Almighty. He commands ~~the~~ Devil [, depart] ~~to depart~~ and let these deceived people (the sects,) alone, and trouble them no longer; for the time has come when they shall be delivered from his Satanic influence and power, by which they have been bound since the Apostolic age of the world.

The Devil now reluctantly withdraws, and makes towards the door looking back over his shoulder at the heavenly messenger, and halts, as if at a loss to leave or stay. He is now commanded again, ~~to~~ (MORE ANGER AND THUNDER) leave, and let the sects alone[!!!!]. He now drops his noggin and flees out of the room with great haste and fury. The supposed Lord that has acted the last part and conquered the Devil, takes us now and teaches us the folly of every other way, that is all the sectarian ways and recommends the one true way to us, i.e., the Apostolic way which he tells us is Joseph Smith’s doctrine in every particular. (ominous tone in bg) We are now supposed to be converted to the Mormon faith exclusively, in token whereof, we have our clothing changed, and are dressed in white linen, exactly alike with a curious cap of the same material. Another idea is here conveyed in this room, that is all the other religions have to be renounced in turn, and this the particulars of which we are here instructed in must eventually be embraced. (end ominous tone)

Sixth Degree in the Temple

We are next conducted through a partition door into a room that represents the Millenial Morning, or the holy, not the most holy, place; on the center of this floor stands another altar erected, with three Books on it—The Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, (the revelation of Joseph.) We are required to kneel to this altar, where we have an oath administered to the effect, that we will, (more ominous tones!) from this time henceforth and forever, use our influence to murder this nation, and teach it to our posterity and all that we have influence over, in return for their killing the Prophet Joseph. They say the murdering of Smith is a national offence. It is true that all was not personally engaged in the act; but the nation has long winked at the abuse of the Mormons, and in this way they have encouraged mobs from time to time, until they have finally taken the life of the Lord’s Prophet, and now it is the will of the Lord, that the nation should be destroyed; and this is his will, that we shall enter into this secret conspiracy against the Government, &c., for the above reasons and many more given. We are also all sworn at this altar, by a solemn oath, that we will never reveal to any person what we here do and see in the Temple, during this whole farce, from first to last. If we give the least idea or intimation of it, our lives are to be taken; and the way of taking it is described; our bowels are to be taken out, tongue taken out by the roots, throat cut across, &c. The Lord, his holy angels and all that are in the room are called on to witness the solemn covenant we here make. The individual that administers this oath, next takes hold of the hand and gives other grips, signs, words, &c., of a higher order than those given in the Garden of Eden.”

(Breaking 4th wall)

After this sixth degree the author provides commentary which I’m going to get to as a concluding remark after we finish reading through the rest of the ceremony. Just keep in mind what was performed in the fifth and sixth degrees. Complete denunciations of all religions except Mormonism. All protestant sects are in error and any Mormon who’s gone through this ceremony can’t be a member of any other religion. The sixth degree I find the most ominous, that’s the blood oath portion where the temple ceremony blames all of the United States for the death of Joseph Smith and that vengeance would be had at the overthrow of the government, the great Mormon conspiracy. Remember, by the time this adaptation was instated by Brigham Young, Joseph Smith had already run to be President of the United States and had petitioned Congress to be granted 100,000 fighting militiamen to conquer the remaining uncolonized United States Territory all the way to Oregon. Joseph Smith had been crowned king over Israel and the entire world in his Council of Fifty. Joseph Smith was a revolutionary who wanted to completely overthrow the government and incite a second revolutionary war so he could construct a true Mormon theocracy from the ashes of the fallen nation mixed with the blood of hundreds of thousands of dead Americans. Wacky party-boy Jo of the Ohio years has finally become Joseph Hitler Hussein Moussolini Mao Polpot Ghengis Khan Alexander the Great Smith. Pious prophet? Holy fraud? Trickster? No, evil is the word we’re looking for. Joseph Smith was a malevolent, destructive, and heinously venal demagogue who cared for nothing beyond his own narcissistic notions of what it looks like when a corrupt knave will do anything to corrode the universe before his throne. Say what you will, but it’s a damn good thing Jo was killed when he was. More on that momentarily.

“Seventh Degree in the Temple

I now pass through this door, which brings me in a very large and spacious room, perfectly light, all nicely furnished, representing the Celestial Kingdom of God, or the highest degree of glory that man is to arrive at in the eternal world. This being the last room representing the final rest of man, we are now all clothed exactly alike, in fine white linen, with crowns on our heads, representing what we are finally to come in possession of—that is what we were ordained to in the second room, king and queen, for that is the object of this whole drama, to represent what has ben and will be through time and eternity. This being the last room, we come in turn, two at a time, through all the others, here we remain as long as we please, sometimes numbering hundreds, all in white as before described, male and female, with crowns on our heads, all conversing of course on the singular and unexpected blessing just received, as pretended, from the hand of the Lord, for which we have labored so hard, presenting a neat curious and novel sight. There is another door that enters this room. Many come in from that direction, that have gone through the initiation previously. This is the reason of so many being in that room.—The law is, that all who have thus been initiated have the privilege of coming in this last room when they please, by going first to a certain place in the Temple and preparing themselves with the kingly apparel before described, for none are permitted to enter this holy place on any other condition than that he is one that can give the signs, &c., that he receives going through this ordeal. In this room, when thus assembled, are all the Mysteries of the Kingdom taught, such as what is called the Spiritual Wife Doctrine for instance. We are here told ~~that~~ this ceremony is the commencement of the law of God, and the laws of the land are no more binding on us; all our former ties of marriage, &c., are all now cut asunder, and we are all thrown loose upon the world as if never married. It is now the woman’s privilege to choose whom she sees fit; if she likes the one she has been living with, she can keep him; if not, she is at liberty to ship him and take another; and it is the man’s privilege to have one, two, four, ten, or twenty, according to his standing in the church, and the influence he has with the leader, for he is the one whom they are brought before and married over. He says every other marriage as performed by ministers, justices, &c., is null and void, and it is strictly essential to our salvation and future prosperity, both in time and eternity, that we are thus joined together. The philosophy of this is, we are ordained to be king, for instance, and what is the title good for if we have no kingdom to rule over? A king without a kingdom, would be without honor. Here you see in a hint, the foundation of this plurality of wives’ system, and the object a man has in getting more than one wife. He is to be promoted through all eternity according to this theory, by his posterity, which are the subjects of his dominion; and of course the more wives, the more numerous his posterity.”

It's a cult. What more can you say than Mormonism is a cult? The entire process of leaving everything behind including one’s clothing and going into a strange room with all new white clothing, looking exactly like everybody in the room removes individuality while at the same time requiring the initiates to swear complete devotion and fealty to the religion. This brainwashing was used to create a society hell-bent on overthrowing the United States government to create their own sovereign theocracy under the dictates of the holy prophet. It’s mind control. It’s an entire narrative created to put the participant in an altered state of mind of discomfort and anxiety where the only semblance of normalcy is their best friends and family members in the same clothing, doing the same handshakes, swearing the same oaths. If everybody’s doing it then it must be alright. The prophet told me to do it so it must be from God.

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