Nauvoo Temple Ceremonies - 1845
Warsaw Signal – April 15, 1846
For the Warsaw Signal.
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 the 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. 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 with sweet oil scented (I think) with lavender. 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 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 but 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 Priest craft for the last six years; the first four years I suspected nothing 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... 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 Shekinah 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.
Note 1: The "Emeline" letter was written in response to an article published in the Feb. 18, 1846 issue of the Signal, in which it was stated that Mormons going through the endowment in the Nauvoo Temple, did so "in a state of nudity" all through the ritual.
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