Eve do you covenant
Ep 111 – Queen Me! Endowment Ceremony pt. 2
On this episode, we dive into the women’s perspective of the endowment ceremony as introduced by Joseph and Hyrum Smith and streamlined by Brigham Young. We rely on exposes published after 1845 when thousands were initiated as the original endowment ceremony was successfully kept under wraps by the Mormon elite. What must it have been like for a woman to go through this mind-bending esoteric ritual culminating in the revelation on the growing practice of polygamy? We can’t possibly put our minds there, but it’s at least worth examining their writings and musing on in the meantime.
Maria Van Dusen 1849 Endowment expose
Emeline expose April 1846 Warsaw Signal
1847 original Van Dusen Expose
Nick Literski’s Endowment 1845/46
Temple Ceremony by Edward Ashment
Music by Jason Comeau http://aloststateofmind.com/
Show Artwork http://weirdmormonshit.com/
Legal Counsel http://patorrez.com/
Last week we covered the experience of Increase McGee Van Dusen when him and his wife went through the temple endowment ceremony under the direction of Bloody Brigham Young. This earliest version of their expose, published in 1847, centered largely around Increase’s male experience in the temple. He even said when his wife entered the room at one point of the ceremony that he hadn’t thought of her since they’d been separated at the beginning of the ceremony. Today, we’re going to focus on the women’s perspective of the endowment ritual.
I want you to take a minute to sit back and try to put your mind in 1845. This Victorian era of American history shaped, moved, and ruled by men; women were a suppressed class of citizens with very little power to control their own lives. By in large, women’s power in 19th-century American culture was only exercised through the men she was able to convince to do something. It was another 60 years at the turn of the 20th century that women were being arrested for wearing pants in public. But the culture was so much deeper than just that. Women were always tasked with being the gatekeepers of sexual morality. Their worth was determined by their sexual purity and public modesty. A woman’s virginity was lost, her entire worth was lost. What good was having a daughter to trade in a business transaction if she wasn’t a virgin?
This repressed culture of Victorianistic sexual ideals was a toxic way for people to live. Now, to take this mentality and culture even further, imagine being a Mormon in 1840s Nauvoo. You’re already a maligned group in broader society and rumors of polygamy have plagued the church’s leadership since the earliest Kirtland days. Now rumors are being circulated about the endowment ceremony that the attendees are naked and all sorts of abominations take place behind those closed doors. From an outsider’s perspective, Mormonism looks like a giant wife-swapping sex ring manufactured for the benefit of the ruling men in the society. These rumors fueled much of the conflict which led the Mormons to be removed from Illinois and forced Bloody Brigham to take thousands to a place where they wouldn’t be bothered. Because of these rumors, Mormon women were looked down upon by their non-Mormon Protestant counterparts in society.
To clarify, there’s not really any explicit evidence that sex rituals were happening in the temple, but from an outsider’s perspective, what we discuss today will make it seem like women were dragged into the temple for all nefarious sexual purposes of the Mormon elite. These rumors required answering by well-meaning women who didn’t believe in the Church, but wanted to set the record straight.
Let’s begin with picking up on the Van Dusen expose to hear what Maria’s experience was like. The expose that Increase and Maria published in 1847 was primarily under Increase’s name and it reads as if he was the primary author. Subsequent editions include passages from Maria about her experience. We’re going to read a few excerpts from the later editions to get her take, after which we’ll read from the Warsaw Signal of another expose published by a woman going under the pen name Emeline.
From Maria Van Dusen in the fifth edition of the Van Dusen exposes, published in 1849 under the title of Startling disclosures of the great Mormon conspiracy against the liberties of this country: being the celebrated “endowment” as it was acted by upwards of twelve thousand men and women in secret in the Nauvoo temple, in 1846, and said to have been revealed from God…. They really needed an editor.
“The order of initiation is as follows:--A gentleman and lady pass through a narrow temporary hall, in the attic or upper floor of the Temple, at the opposite end of which is a man stationed, whose duty it is to guard the door, and admit proper persons only; when he orders them to separate, passes the gentleman through a door to the right of the hall, and the lady through one to the left, where she finds herself in an unfurnished room, with the exception of a few chairs. Here is a conductor, whose duty it is to examine her, to know who she is, where from &c. After which she is divested of her outside apparel, all but chemise and stockings. She is next conducted back to quite a remote part of the Temple, into a small room, say sixteen feet square, where she is met by a conductor, whose duty it is to officiate in the strange ceremonies of this degree of initiation, when she is divested of the remainder of her clothing, which leaves her in a perfect state of nakedness. The conductor next takes this nude female into a bath of water, and washes her all over, from head to foot, with a similar ceremony to what follows:--I wash you for purposes thus and so. Your eyes, that you may behold the glory of God;….
And it continues the same way as discussed last week.
She is now pronounced clean, and is taken out of the water; and after being placed in a standing position, the conductor takes a crooked cow’s horn, filled with highly perfumed oil, and turns the contents on the top of her head, from which the whole naked person is anointed, from head to foot, by its being applied to every part by the hand of the conductor.
She is next seated, and ordained to be a queen from this time forth and forever. After this strange, unexpected, and most excitable ceremony is performed thus far, she is presented with, and has put on, a kind of under-garment, say chemise and drawers, somehow made into one, which has been prepared expressly for this purpose, and forms a tight fit. In this garment are two particular marks cut, if I recollect right—the square on the breast and compass on the knee. The one on the knee signifies willingness to bow to the Lord, the other something else—protection, I think. They are told this garment represents the white stone spoken of in Scripture, in which was a new name given, which no man knew but him which received it. The conductor now whispers a name in her ear, which she is never to reveal, except to a certain individual (B. Young), on a particular occasion. The meaning of this particular mystery she is made acquainted with on another occasion, when she is ordered to meet Brigham at the Vail, as it is called. After this new and queer made article of costume is nicely fitted on, she is furnished with a chemise, night-gown, white stockings, and kind of muslin napkin.
In this dress she is conducted into another apartment, where she is left alone for a short time, when she has an opportunity to reflect on the wonderful and unheard of scenes through which she has just passed, at something of a loss to know whether it is a reality, or whether she is not just rousing from a horrible dream or trance.”
Let’s just take a pause here and try to understand what may have been going through the minds of the thousands of women who went through this ceremony in the Nauvoo Temple. Given the role and mentality of women in the culture of 19th-century America, you go into the Temple not knowing what to expect and the first thing that happens is female temple workers strip you completely naked, wash you from head to foot by hand, pour out a horn of oil on top of your head an rub you all over your body with the oil and pronounce you clean before the lord before giving you a weird thin white jumpsuit to dress in, and then they lead you to a room and just leave you alone in complete silence to contemplate whatever the hell it was you just experienced. In an age where women’s individuality was seen as a problem to society and women were to been seen not heard and never voice their own opinions or risk getting physically and emotionally abused by the head of the household, what would this whole situation do to your mind? What would you think? Not only that, but you’re separated from your husband for the entire procedure. Rumors were rife throughout Nauvoo that Mormonism was a sex cult, what was he doing while you were sitting in silence in that room? Was he consummating a polygamous marriage with another woman in another room of the Temple?
Another variable worth addition here is the possibility of psychoactive plant substances being infused in the “highly perfumed oil” which was poured over your head. If any listeners have ever experimented with any of the entheogen substances which could have made their way into that consecrated oil, you’ll know that your mind simply operates differently on those substances. Your mind jumps to thoughts you otherwise may never have had. It makes connections between thoughts that otherwise would have remained disparate had you never partaken of the sacrament. When dosed with an entheogen, happy thoughts become ecstasy and melancholy thoughts become bottomless pits of despair and complete dissolution of everything you ever knew in life. The most adept shamans or spirit leaders can direct one’s mind down any number of predetermined paths. Entheogenically altered hypnotism grants a lot of power to the hypnotist conducting a ceremony and the dosed person basically looses all autonomy.
This Temple ritual was an assembly line of mind control. At the very beginning the person literally sheds their clothing and metaphorically removes any semblance of individuality or autonomy and they become mental slaves to the person directing every action. What could possibly have been going through Maria’s mind sitting alone in that room? We can’t possibly empathize with her. She continues:
“After having her mind calmed a little from the great excitement produced from this wonderful initiation, which has been of about two hours’ duration, she comes to the conclusion, however, that it is a reality, and has only now to wait the final result of this strange procedure.
The object of this unheard of initiation, and the woman’s being left here alone, in this peculiar dress and situation, will be fully realized by the reader after describing the initiation of the gentleman who accompanies the lady, and was separated from her at the hall of the first apartment of the Temple…”
It continues telling the male side of the ceremony we discussed at length last week. We’ll pick up where the creation narrative talks of forming the woman from the man’s rib.
“After going through a ceremony as if in the act of taking the rib, &c., he [Brigham Young] passes out into the apartment where the woman has been placed for this purpose, and forms her of the rib. The particular manner in which this is done I will not explain; suffice it to say, it is not very long, however, before he returns, with the woman in place of no rib, and presents her directly before the man, as he sits, head down, in a profound feigned sleep. When Brigham calls out, “Adam! Here is thy companion. I give her to be with thee, what wilt thou call her?”
The man now wakes up, salutes the woman, and says—“This is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.”…
We’ll pick up where the devil speaks with Eve in the garden to continue to see how much of a mind-bending ritual this was. Just try to keep in mind what kind of weird state of anxiety this must have put the women in throughout the entire ceremony.
“And the woman said unto the Devil (Orson Hide), “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden the Lord (Brigham) hath said, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” And the Devil said unto the woman, “Thou shalt not surely die!” (For Brigham Young doth know, that in the day he succeeds in making you believe that this wonderful device of his and his associates is a revelation from God, and that he is commanded by him to palm it on you all, as being a reward from God for building this Temple, then your eyes will be closed to all virtuous principles, and you shall not be able to discern between God’s truth and Brigham’s lies. After this he can also easily make you believe that God has given you to him and his associates for a spiritual wife, that a holy seed may be more speedily raised up, to populate the Mormon city in the Great Salt Lake valley (California), in order that his evil purposes may be accomplished.)
And when the woman saw the wonderful device of Brigham Young and his associates she was deceived, and so was also the man, and their eyes were closed; and they were thus subjected, in the future, to be led by Brigham to California, and to do whatsoever he listeth to have done. And they knew that they were naked, and they had them furnished small aprons of white cloth, about eighteen inches square, on which were green silk leaves pasted.”
After that the ceremony acts out the original sin narrative during which Bloody Brigham Young, the God of Mormonism at this time, tells the woman, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed.’ And unto the woman he says, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow: thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy (spiritual) husband, and he shall rule over thee.’”
Exhibiting this is indeed a later creation with some editorializing, the Van Dusens paint Bloody Brigham in the worst possible light with passages like this that he supposedly said to the man.
“in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return not the dust; for dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.’ (And thou shalt have no wife, for I desire to take her unto myself, spiritually, for I perceive she is young, fair, and desirable.)”
Passages like this make historians prefer earlier editions where these passages aren’t present. This was the fifth edition and it sold like hotcakes. The Van Dusens had notoriety for being the expose writers and people eagerly ate up any new versions. In order to make them increasingly interesting, some license was obviously taken to make the ceremony more explicitly nefarious than the original 1847 edition of the expose. I’ll read the next paragraph to make that case even further.
“And Brigham Young said unto his designing associates, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Eber C. Kimble, Orson Hide, Wilford Woodruff, and numerous leading ones engaged in this great scheme, “Behold! We have by this wonderful and unheard of device succeeded in deceiving the people. And now, lest some of them should go forth and tell to others what this secret consists in, and in this way we be defeated in our great undertaking, we will institute and administer a solemn oath, and attach to it the most cruel penalty:”—when the man and the woman are ordered to kneel at an altar, on which is the Bible.”
Bloody Brigham may have said that at some point, but Increase and Maria weren’t in any social circle to be privy to that conversation. This is a fascinating passage, but historians regard the 1849 edition as significantly less reliable than the 1847 edition because of this frequent editorializing which expands on the original to an extent that strains credulity.
Continuing on the woman’s experience of the ceremony:
“After a variety of ceremonies of not much importance, a female conductor takes the man and leads him to what is called the vail, which separates the holy from the most holy place. In the vail there are a variety of corresponding marks cut, which were given at the two altars, the meaning all explained by Brigham Young, who stands behind the vail, which consists of thin cloth, drawn on a wire across the vacancy in the partition. After which the man is conducted through ha door about four feet to the left, which is the entrance into the most holy place. Brigham next explains the objects of the marks in the vail to the woman alone, when he tells her she must have a corresponding one in a certain place in the foreground of her under-garment, which is his duty to perform. After which the woman is passed through the same door which the man has gone before, which brings them both into the celestial kingdom, where they are crowned king and queen; and which apartment forms a grand lodge also, where all the mysteries of the kingdom are taught by the leader-such, for instance, as the plurality of wives system; when the women are seduced, and led into all manner of abominable and licentious practices; in short, every thing which is of such a character that it cannot be made public, is here taught and practiced. And this is the object, no doubt, of this wonderful initiation, to restrain the mind, which it has a tendency to do, so that, in case those abominable principles should be disbelieved by some, they cannot be told of by reason of the penalty.”
The endowment ceremony was weird. As more Mormons disaffected from the Church, the rumors about it being a sex cult increased exponentially. Any woman attached by name to the Church could be branded in the society as moreso a commodity than she had been by the standards of the Victorian Protestant society in which Mormonism flourished. Here’s a brief expose published in February of 1846 in the Warsaw Signal with no name attached. This article alone fueled the narrative that Mormons were in a wife-swapping ring to an extent unheard of prior to it’s publication. When people wanted to know what was going on with those crazy Mormons, they went to Thomas Sharp’s articles in the Warsaw Signal. This single article did a lot to shape perceptions of the Mormon endowment ceremony.
“CEREMONY OF THE ENDOWMENT.
The Saints have endeavored to keep the ceremony of the endowment perfectly quiet; but some of them have let the cat out of the bag and disclosed all. We have the story from two different sources, and as both correspond, we give it credit, although persons abroad, not acquainted with Mormonism, will be loath to believe that so much depravity as is evinced as in the invention of this ceremony can exist, and that men and women can be found who consider the obscene rites sacred.
There must always be two candidates, a male and a female presented for the endowment at once. These must pay one dollar each as a fee. If a male cannot find a female to take the endowment with him, the heads of the church provide one, and vice versa. The candidates are first taken into a room together, where they are stripped of all their clothing and are made to wash each other from head to foot. They are then separated and put into different rooms, where they are oiled -- with perfumed sweet oil, by one of the functionaries of the church. They then pass into another room still separate, where one of the Twelve pronounces a blessing upon them and gives them extensive powers and privileges -- such as a plurality of wives to the male, and other similar blessings to the female. The ceremony being ended, the candidates are brought together, still in a state of nudity, into a room where they are allowed to remain together, alone, as long as they see proper. They are then invested with their robes to take their departure.
The really deluded amongst the Saints consider this ceremony as sacred and intended as a trial of their virtue. But it was invented by the Twelve, evidently for the purpose of an opportunity for gratifying their brutal lusts.”
The thing is, that article isn’t too far from the truth. It lacks a number of prominent details to put the information in context, but on the whole the article described the ceremony as accurate with the exception of the participants being nude for the entire endowment. It also provides false attribution in claiming that it was invented by the Twelve. The iteration of the endowment ceremony practiced in the Nauvoo Temple came from Joseph Smith when he introduced it in May 1842, which is why we’re talking about it now while bouncing around the timeline a bit, the ceremony was merely adapted for large-scale practice as was necessitated by the size of the Temple and the number of participants passing through the mill. But false attribution is an understandable mistake. Jo initially intended this ceremony to only be practiced by the most promised elites of Mormonism and likely would have expanded it upon the completion of the temple, but to be clear, the Quorum of the Anointed, where this endowment ceremony was introduced, was comprised almost entirely of Mormon elites. The endowment ceremony under Jo’s watch was highly secretive and kept under wraps extremely well. That’s the entire reason we’re relying so heavily on exposes written after his death when the ceremony was given to thousands of people. When Jo initiated people into the Holy Order of the Anointed through this endowment ceremony, they were vetted as long-standing members of the Church he could trust. They didn’t reveal the secrets. Once Bloody Brigham was passing thousands of people through the ceremony, it was only a matter of time before people defected and revealed the secrets contrary to their death oaths.
That was just an aside though, consider what it must have been like to be a Mormon woman in 1847 after these exposes made their way into the public and everybody regarded Mormonism as a polygamous sex cult with oiled up naked ceremonies where the leadership taught the doctrine of polygamy. Mormons were already outcasts from the larger religious community, these ceremonies caused them to truly be demonized as the deluded fanatics they were seeking to satiate the carnality of the leadership.
One Mormon woman wrote a letter of clarification to Thomas Coke Sharp to be published in the Warsaw Signal in April. She was responding to the previous article. History has yet to reveal the true identity of the author, but she was definitely a member who likely didn’t enjoy popular media lampooning her beliefs. Her expose reveals a deep inner conflict which she couldn’t reconcile without losing everything. She only took the oaths of secrecy seriously as being enforced by Mormons, not God as the ceremony claims.
“Mr. Sharp: -- Dear Sir: -- I discover by your paper, in what you have published in regard to the Mormon endowments, given of late in the temple, that you have been wrongly informed at least, so far as actual experience has taught me in the orgies of an afternoon, in that (as I have been taught to believe) most holy building. In revealing what I am about to do, I have no lashing of conscience; notwithstanding I took upon myself, during the laughable farce, several oaths and obligations of a serious character, not to reveal the secrets of the priesthood -- had they been given me by anything other than assumed authority, and vile, corrupt, licentious libertines, taking upon themselves the livery of Heaven, and essaying to represent the characters of our God and Savior -- knowing these characters as I did previously to be the most debased wretches upon earth, the whole farce appeared to me to be nothing less than fearful blasphemy.
I went into this pretended holy operation, in company with 14 others, all sisters in the Mormon church, and with most of whom I was well acquainted. They were, in the main, women of good character, and appeared sincere in their respective devotions. We were first received past the Guard into a private room on the north side of the Temple -- this was the room of preparation of purification. -- We were divested of all our apparel, and in a state of perfect nudity were washed from head to foot, -- a blanket was then thrown about our persons, and then commencing at the head we were anointed from head to foot with sweet oil scented (I think) with lavender (sweet scented oil…. Olive oil isn’t sweet. Every expose says the oil is sweet, Emeline says with Lavendar, I would add this perfuming could have been done to conceal any foul-smelling herbs which were infused into the oil during the consecration process, or the herbs themselves could have given off the sweet smell. It depends on what recipe they were using to “consecrate” this oil and pour out the spirit of the lord on the initiates.). We were then clothed in white robes. All this was done by sisters in the church -- none others were present -- it is false to say that men and women are admitted together in an indecent manner. We were then conducted into a room called the Garden of Eden; here we found several of our brethren robed in white also, and apparently in a soporific (drugged) state. We were presented before them and a voice from the Lord awoke them from sleep. After a considerable ceremony, which I do not recollect much of, we were left by the Lord and soon a very dandy-like fellow appeared with a black cap on; that had a long tail attached to it; he appeared very familiar -- and by his very insinuating and friendly manner induced some of our sisters to eat of the "forbidden fruit." Soon after the voice of the Lord appeared again in the garden; we all appeared frightened, and both men and women huddled together into the corner of the room, as if in the act of hiding. The fellow in the black cap presents himself before the Lord and engages in a controversy, boasting of what he had done. The Lord pronounces a curse upon him -- he gets down upon his belly and crawls off. At this period of the holy ceremony, I could not suppress my risible passions; for this fellow acted his part well -- undoubtedly his part being the part of a Devil -- was the most natural. We were then presented with aprons, which we put on about this time, a sword was shook at us through the partition of the room, which was to guard the Tree of Life. After considerable ceremony, which I do not recollect, we were passed into another room, which was dark and was dreary. This was called the Terrestrial Kingdom; immediately the dandy in the black cap made his appearance; at first he appeared very sly -- peeping about, and when he found the Lord was not present, he became very familiar and persuasive. Said he, 'here we are, all together, and all good fellows well met. Some Methodists, some Presbyterians, some Baptists, some Quakers some Mormons, and some Strangites, &c. &c. Come let us drink together.' In this way he tempted us, and we partook with him. After a considerable parade and ceremony, we passed into another room, or Celestial Kingdom. Here I saw some of the Twelve, and particularly Brigham Young, with a white crown upon his head, and as I have since been told, representing God himself. We passed this room without much ceremony into another. I have forgotten what it represented; not much of interest transpired here, & we were conducted back and put in possession of our clothing -- all save sister ______; she had a very fine alpaca dress stolen during her absence, and has never been able to recover it.
In the different apartments of this singular farce, we took ourselves oaths and obligations not to reveal the secrets of the priesthood. I do not consider them binding; as I have had ample and repeated opportunity to prove the administrators of these obligations as corrupt as the Devil in Hell. In one place I was presented with a new name, which I was not to reveal to any living creature, save the man to whom I should be sealed for eternity. By this name I am to be called in eternity, or after the resurrection. This name was _____; and from all that I can gather, all the females had the same name given them, but we are not allowed to reveal it to each other, under no less penalty than to have our throats cut from ear to ear, our hearts torn out, &c., &c. I have forgotten a part of the penalties. In one place something was spoken to me which I do not recollect -- the meaning was "marrow in the bone;" the token was a firm hold of the hand, pressing the finger nails firmly into the wrist of the right hand. I have since been told by a brother, that there was a mystical meaning in this, that will hereafter be revealed to me.
Now, sir, this is the substance of the Mormon endowment -- and the Mormon who says it is not true, is a liar, and the truth is not in him! I have been a member of this farce of Priestcraft for the last six years; the first four years I suspected nothing but what I was in the right of all holy things. The last two years I have been doubtful, seeing the abandoned conduct of the priests; but I toiled on, expecting something would be revealed in the endowments of the Temple that would strengthen my faith, and qualify me for heavenly purposes. For this I have toiled by night and by day; for this I have worked my fingers to the quick, to gain something from my scanty allowance, to assist in the completion of that building, the motto of which was the to be "HOLINESS TO THE LORD," and illumined by the Shekina of heaven. Imagine then my disappointment in the blasphemous farce I saw acted before me, and by men who have at repeated trials, attempted to seduce me into the lowest degradation and ruin. But thanks to my Heavenly Protector! I have been enabled to withstand the shock, and hope and trust I shall outlive this disgrace of once being associated with such a set of heartless scoundrels. I hope, sir, for the good of community, you will give my "revelation" a place in your columns, for in the presence of high heaven, I pronounce every word of it truth, and nothing but truth.
Life was hard for women in Nauvoo Mormonism. Life was hard for women in 19th-century America. I can read first-hand accounts from these women all day, but I can never get inside their minds, none of us can. Women were a subjugated class of people and Mormons were a considerable minority beyond that. Mormon women were viewed as victims of brutish carnality at best and promiscuous willing broodmares of a counterculture polygamist society at worst with all accompanying insults. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a woman today, trying to understand what it was like to be a woman as part of the rumor mill of Mormonism with nowhere to turn, branded as fanatics, swearing oaths of secrecy and vengeance with mimed death penalties should you disobey and leave your priesthood-holding husband, only to be traded among Mormon elites as a commodity, I can’t put my brain in that headspace.
It’s a tale as old as time. I’ll tell you what I mean by that right after a few reminders for events we have coming up.
Sunstone is coming up everybody! Sunstone is the annual symposium in Salt Lake City all about Mormonism. It’s a 3-day conference from July 26-28th with panels on all topics surrounding Mormonism. A few talks that will be featured are Confessions of a Mormon Historian concerning the recently published Leonard Arrington diaries presented by the editor, Gary James Bergera. If you want to know the interplay and conflict between the apostles and Church historian Leonard Arrington, that presentation on Thursday at 5 is not to be missed.
Also D. Michael Quinn will be presenting on his most recent book, Mormon Hierarchy: Wealth and Corporate Power, granting a surprising view into the shady world of Mormon Money and politics on Saturday at 2 p.m. John Larsen of Mormon Expression will even be taking a brief hiatus from his retirement on all things Mormon to talk Mormonism in the age of Trump, that ought to be quite interesting.
And of course, Marie and myself are nearly done with reading through the Doctrine & Covenants on MyBook of Mormon podcast so we’ll be doing a presentation on what we’ve learned in the past 2 years of reading Jo’s revelations from cover to cover. That will be on Saturday at 10:15 and we’d really like to see you there if you can make it.
This year’s Sunstone outgrew University of Utah and will instead be held at the Mountain America Expo Center on State Street in Sandy. There’s free parking, tons of food vendors and good times will be had by all.
I’m giving away a free ticket to Sunstone this year. The cost of tickets went up from last year to accommodate the new venue, so if you want to go for any or all days from July 26-28th, but can’t afford it, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This ticket giveaway is first come first serve. If I get a bunch of emails it’ll go to the first email. But, if a patreon supporter sends an email, they’re going to get preference for it. I only have one Sunstone ticket to give away. If you want to go but can’t afford it or haven’t picked up your ticket yet for any reason, get that email in and we’ll see if we can’t get you there.
If Sunstone doesn’t quite itch that Mormon scratch or you can’t make it, Marie Kent and I have invited Colleen Dietz of Mormon Happy Hour to do a live show on the demise of Joseph Smith at Squatters on Friday July 27th. It’s a $5 entry fee to pay for the venue and we’re starting at 8. If you want to hear the martyrdom story you won’t learn in any Church videos, you won’t want to miss Squatter’s pub July 27th at 8 p.m. at 147 Broadway in Downtown Salt Lake City. We hope to see you there!
Now, let’s talk about this tale that’s as old as time.
There’s an archetype worth noting at the center of Mormonism. When we view the founder of Mormonism through a patternistic lens, the pieces begin to fall into place. One word can summarize Joseph Smith and explain so many of his actions and decisions. “More”. More money, more power, more followers, more women, more of everything, he always wanted more. He’s not the first, he isn’t the last, Joseph fits right into a pantheon of demagogues in constant pursuit of more. The interview on episode 2 of Glass Box podcast was with my good friend Deb who’s recently been studying Muhammed while she’s reading through the Quran on one of her podcasts and she kept telling me that anytime she reads something on Muhammed that Joseph Smith must have known Muhammed’s history to emulate him so closely, of course I’m paraphrasing, you’ll have to go listen to it yourself. But the point is Joseph fits comfortably among so many men throughout history who followed similar trajectories of gluttonous wealth and power. He shouldn’t be revered above and beyond any other religious or secular leader who would stop at nothing to climb atop a heap of ruins they manufactured to rule over. Joseph Smith is merely one more data point on the scale of tyrants throughout human history.
What can be certain, Jo didn’t die at the crux of his career. He died on the upward trajectory and he had grand plans for his community of followers and his great war machine Talos slowly progressing the construction phase throughout the 1840s. I don’t know how else to say this, but Joseph Smith wanted to take over the entire world, starting with North America. Anybody in a position like his had to employ some kind of litmus test to ensure his followers were devoted and wouldn’t betray. He could only share his deepest darkest desires with people he knew he could trust, thus the Holy Order, the Quorum of the Anointed was created and the endowment ceremony became that litmus test.
May 4th begin
So, 4th May 1842, Joseph and Hyrum Smith forever shaped Mormonism with the introduction of the endowment ceremony, thus creating the holy order, the Anointed Quorum. The following day they went through the ceremony to become initiated into the Anointed Quorum themselves.
Let’s be very clear, one of the primary purposes of the Quorum of the Anointed was to initiate people into the doctrine of the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage, polygamy. Mormons were on a need to know basis. If certain elites were going to practice polygamy, Jo had to make sure they were on the up and up and they wouldn’t betray him. More than half of the original 9 members of the quorum had more than one wife before Jo died and the majority of the inducted members after this initial 9 were polygamists.
But, polygamy was merely one aspect of the Holy Order. Historians have long claimed that the Holy Order was for spiritual rejuvenation, not for political purposes. The Council of Fifty was Jo’s political body, but the Council of Fifty evolved from this Anointed Quorum as Jo’s cabinet for his presidential campaign and body of advisors for the overthrowing of the government. The Anointed Quorum was made for culling the unworthy who may balk at a religious fanatic attempting to overthrow the government. Only the elect Mormons could go in to the temple and receive this endowment procedure, only then could they be trusted with the secret designs of Mormonism seeking to become the new world theocracy. From its inception to restore Zion to Jackson County Missouri, to Utah gaining statehood in the mid 1890s, Mormonism’s sole purpose was to become the one true religion and build Zion on the American continent, so that the earth may be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
Mormonism we have today may be 110 years removed from these more bloody and evil theocratic notions, but it’s not fundamentally different. These are the depraved roots of Mormonism, and what good fruit can come from evil and corrupt roots? It cannot be done. This is Mormonism. Today’s Church may be much softer and less boldly theocratic, but that’s only because the morality of the secular world has forced it to soften. The Mormonism of Joseph and Brigham’s day was ruthless and horrific; those in opposition were lucky to have an article published in the wasp about them. It should be no mystery why the Mormons were violently removed from Illinois after having been violently removed from Missouri after their violent removal from Ohio, all beginning with violent actions taken against the prophet back in New York at the inception of this nightmare.
Sure, the church today can cause people to do good things, but that’s the humanity in them doing those benevolent acts. The Church itself since day one has been a shamelessly corrupt and debased system of theocratic rule. Nothing can extricate the Church today from these malicious roots.
In the Van Dusen expose, I told you there was one part we’d get to as the concluding remarks. I’ll let Mr. Increase McGee take us out for the night.
Now the man that lead the twelve or fifteen thousand through this farce, has gone with the main body of the Mormons, to California, with the express understanding, to my certain knowledge, of carrying out these principles among the Western Indians, and all whom he has influence over. He told others that were at Nauvoo, those who were not let into these Temple Mysteries, (for all did not go in for want of time and opportunity,) that when they got to California, there would be a tent pitched in the wilderness for the Indians’ benefit and all others that had not an opportunity at the Temple at Nauvoo. The idea is, if they had not been driven from Nauvoo, all the Mormons in all the world would have went there in their turn, and received their great anticipated blessing, which I have described in these few pages to the very letter, in substance particularly, for the benefit of those who are under this wicked leader’s influence.
After Smith’s death, he issued his proclamation to all the Momrons in the United States, that they must come forthwith to Nauvoo, and the Lord would tell them what to do, when they get there. He takes us in the Temple in secret, and says, this is the Lord’s will, that you are to cease preaching to these United States, and go to other nations. This is the reason why you see so few preaching here. (Hence the remark—“I think they are about broken up.”) I know of thousands of young and able bodied men, who had all this secret instruction with me in Nauvoo the winter before they left, and are now actively engaged in making converts in foreign nations and the Islands of the sea, and are instructed to go west after this Brigham Young, the wickedest man probably now on the earth. While I am writing this, let no one say it is persecution or fiction. I would not say one word on the subject, if I did not know the awful consequences of carrying out that aspiring man’s principles. Look for one moment at its awful effects. He has actually issued his proclamation to all the Mormons in all the world where they are, to now center at California, and build another city. They are some of them already there, with access to some of the most secluded and powerful tribes of Indians to the world. Now suppose his principles are carried out, as I am certain they will be, who cannot see but there will be great trouble and loss of thousands of the lives of innocent men, women and children? Now if there was no deception in this Almighty Machine and Engine of Death, (this secret farce,) I would say nothing. But how can I hold my peace, when I know the foundation of a scheme that cannot fail of the literal ruin of my fellow men? Oh, if I was in possession of sufficient eloquence, I could here write a true picture of consequences, that would make the hair raise on the reader’s head.
Only contemplate for one moment:--A few thousand have already arrived at their destined home, between the Rocky Mountains and the west sea, with good reasons, as they suppose, for forming this conspiracy against the government. Thousands already under their influence, all calculating to go to that place, with an inducement that the Lord has, in the Nauvoo Temple, and will reveal, great secrets, essential to their salvation. Now this is all brought on by degrees. By the time they pass through all the hardships they necessarily must in getting there, they are pretty well instructed and prepared to believe it is of God; I mean this great farce that they are all calculating to go through when they get there. The consequence must follow, that if this principle is carried out only for a very few years, it must result in a civil war; for, depend on it, when people make any thing their religion, I don’t care what it is, they will fight for it with good courage.
That’ll do it for today. Be sure to get your email into email@example.com with Sunstone ticket in the subject line to get that free ticket to Sunstone. Also, the Sunday after Sunstone I’ll be presenting at a local Davis county ex-Mormon meet up some of my research on the Smith-entheogen theory. This is a closed session and it won’t be recorded and put online because I’ve been advised by a few people I deeply respect to keep my research on the Smith-entheogen theory on this side of the veil until the book is ready. But, if you want to know the latest developments in my personal research for the eventually forthcoming Smith-entheogen biography in the works, get in touch with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media and I’ll share the details with you. It’ll be a small group and very intimate with Q&A throughout instead of a formal lecture. If that sounds like fun, get in touch and I’ll make sure you have the details to attend.
We have new patrons to thank. Gregory, Jacob, and Kent.
Quick note for anybody supporting the show on patreon.com/nakedmormonism, this week was a very special patron only episode. Andrew and Thomas of opening arguments podcast reviewed a Mormon law movie called Day of Defense, apparently based on a book by the same title. It truly was a horrible movie and we had a good time lampooning it. So, if you support this show you get access to that lawd awful movies we did and it was so much fun, it’s truly not to be missed. And of course, patrons of the show get a ton of extra content including an extended edition of this episode where I talk about the evolution of the endowment ceremony from 1842 to today. You don’t want to miss that either. So, if you can spare a buck a show, that’s literally sparing one cup of coffee a month at your favorite coffee shop. Your hard-earned money funds the tireless research required for this show and spurs further content creation, and for that I thank you.
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