The LDS temple ceremony has evolved a lot since it was instituted by Joseph Smith. As the most sacred place on earth, it’s a fascinating place to learn about, so let’s take a look at some of the more interesting elements of its history. A lot of this trivia comes from our friends at Mormon Think, which we highly recommend you check out. 🙂


1. The temple endowment ceremony used to be EIGHT hours long!

(And Mormons today think they’re too busy for the 1.5 hour ceremony…. Imagine how dedicated the early saints must have been!)


2. The old temple movie included a scene illustrating the creation of the earth from the Disney classic, Fantasia.

We always knew Disney was divine!


3. In 1990, church leaders were inspired by a public opinion survey to remove the death oaths from the temple ceremony.

They also changed language that faulted Eve for the fall, references to Adam that didn’t include Eve, the lecture at the veil, and all penalties.


4. The Old Testament and the temple ceremony differ on what was created on what days when the earth was formed.

Days 3 and 4 seem to be reversed.


5. In 1982, the First Presidency identified those who engage in oral sex as unworthy for the temple.


6. The temple ceremony is almost identical to that of the Masons. For a detailed look at their similarities, click here to read more.


7. Joseph Smith administered the first LDS endowments in 1842, two months after his initiation into masonry.

The Masonic and Mormon ceremonies are almost identical in a number of ways. They were also initially just offered to men; women received them about a year later.


8. Before 2005, initiatories were done while you were naked with a poncho (that was completely open at the sides) over you!

The person administering the ordinance would touch various parts of your body under the poncho.


9. Each day, everyone of the same gender receives the same name in the temple.

There is also evidence from temple workers that temple names for the dead are often recycled so they don’t run out, meaning some people have already had their work done when you go through for them.


10. If you’re super duper righteous and connected with LDS apostles, you can potentially receive your second anointing.

This is where an apostle makes your calling and election sure! (That means you’re guaranteed to get to the celestial kingdom unless you commit an unpardonable sin.) Bishops are instructed not to discuss this, and to divert attention away from it if a member ever inquires about it. You can learn more by listening to Stake President, Tom Phillips’ interview for Mormon Stories. He received the second anointing.


We explained briefly the Apostasy and the Restoration: that there is vast evidence and history of an apostasy from the doctrine taught by Jesus and his Apostles, that the organization of the original Church became corrupted, and sacred ordinances were changed to suit the convenience of men…” – Apostle David B. Haight, “Joseph Smith the Prophet,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 22


Further Reading




Sources not linked in post




Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young would have been a millennial blogger, but she died in 1901. The wife of Brigham Young, and prior to that Joseph Smith, and prior to that Henry Jacobs, who was sent on a mission by Brigham before he married her, Zina loves writing, long walks on the beach, and playing the field.
  • Rusty

    I don’t think most bishops know about the existence of the Second Anointing; I doubt they are instructed on it at all.

  • Swagavad Gita

    The late Elder Haight was Utah billionaire Jon Huntsman, Sr’s Father-in-Law.; Huntsman recently tried to buy the Salt Lake Tribune, but the Mormon Church, which owns a stake in the newspaper, put a kibosh on the whole thing.

  • Nancy

    I have a funny story about this. Years ago an officious Stake president of mine decided that in order to make his stake a more “Zion people ” he would have to counsel couples whose wife’s had jobs about the evils of women working outside of the home. This would happen during the recommend interview.So because I had a good job I didn’t apply for a recommend until they backed down on this, which took several years. I did finally get a recommend and went to the Temple. What the heck????? They had changed the whole durn thing and never said anything to me to warn me! So typical.

    • Zelph on the Shelf


  • Cory

    A lot of people that went through the temple pre-2005 were scarred by #8 (I was definitely creeped out). Imagine the old, old version happening to you in a room like this:

    http://www.i4m.com/think/temples/temple_ordinance.htm – item #6 on the list

    Naked and drenched in oil right after another grown man (or woman) has physically bathed/washed you. I would have needed surgery to get me out of the fetal position…

  • Pleiades

    #3 – Also removed the creepy 5 points of fellowship. Nothing like getting cozy with an old guy you can’t even see…

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  • Emrys

    I would like to add some details to the Tom Phillips’ story and his second anointing experience. He is right about the date, Sunday the 19th of may 2002. I know this because I used to work at the Preston Temple (security department) and that day I was working. So I can confirm that Tom Phillips and his wife were not among the people who attended the temple that day.

    When I arrived to the temple my companion who I had to relieved told me that I should stay at the recommendation desk because some General Authorities and others members would attend the temple and I was told that a member of the temple presidency was already there (My companion was mistaken. it  was not a temple presidency member, the brother already there was Brother Atkins , the temple recorder). I was shocked for the information. So the first to show up was Elder Ballard and followed by Elder and sister Hillam and Elder and sister Peterson. After checking all their recommendations they disappeared. About 20 minutes later, I think, the couples arrived one after another one. They were taken by Elder Peterson and led them inside while Elder Hillam informed me that nobody was allowed to get into the temple. I was also informed that the doors must be locked and I could not leave the recommendation desk under any condition. 

    I think it was around one later, Elder Hillam came to me and asked me to followed him. I was informed that one of the sisters fainted on the floor and my help was needed ( I was a first aider). He took me to the big sealing room which is normally used for living sealings. Once inside, I noticed that only the couples were wearing temple clothes. The G.A. and their wives where wearing white clothing as temple workers. After helping the sister, I was told to return to my place at the recommendation desk.

    Around one later, all the couples were living the temple escorting by the G.A. and Elder Ballard and the other G.A, went back inside. A few minutes later, all of them were ready to leave but Elder Ballard approached to me and said to the others that he wanted to talk to me. I was shocked. My legs were shaking. He took me to the temple presidency office and told me that he knew that I had questions. I was very nervous and said that everything was alright. He insisted and said that it was a unique opportunity to ask him about it. So I was brave and said that if the portable golden horn at the living sealing room was for the second anointing and the white jars and white basin in the other sealings rooms were used to the washing of feet ordinance. He took my hand and shook it firmly and with a big smile said to me that all my questions had been answered. We were heading to the main door and they left.

    I would like to say again at this point that Brother Tom Phillips and his wife were not among the couples that day. So it is not true his tale about the second anointing.

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