||Two months after his initiation into Freemasonry,
Joseph Smith administers the first endowments on the upper floor of
his Nauvoo store. The rite consists of washing, anointing, clothing
in the garment, and instruction in the signs, tokens, and keywords
of the holy priesthood.
||Eternal marriage (sealings) and the second
anointing are instituted.
Women receive the endowment for the first time.
||Under Brigham's Young leadership, the endowment
is performed in the Nauvoo Temple as a ritual drama, with a Creation
Room, Garden Room, Telestial Room, Terrestrial Room, and Celestial
||The first recorded endowments for the dead
Brigham Young produces the first written text of the endowment, for
use in the St. George Temple.
||Church leaders order minor alterations
to the language and procedures of the endowment, trying to ensure
greater consistency in how the endowment is administered in different
||The endowment is publicly scrutinized during
Congressional hearings to determine if senator-elect Reed Smoot has
taken a treasonable oath. Of particular concern is the "oath
of vengeance," added to the ceremony after Joseph Smith's death.
||A committee appointed by Heber J. Grant
produces a revised endowment to be used in all temples. Changes include:
- Eliminating the oath of vengeance.
- Omitting graphic descriptions from the penalties.
- Reducing the number of times the robes of the priesthood are
changed from one shoulder to the other.
- Discontinuing temple choirs (who had formerly performed the
hymn chosen by Lucifer's preacher), in favor of congregational
||The Church approves a shorter garment for
optional use outside the temple (extending to the elbows and knees
rather than the wrists and ankles). However, the longer garment remains
mandatory for use in the temple.
||A codified explanation of the symbolism
of the marks on the veil is added to the endowment.
||The endowment is administered in Spanish in the Mesa,
Arizona temple, the first time the ceremony is administered in a language
other than English.
||The first filmed versions of the endowment
are made, for use in the Swiss and New Zealand temples (with different
casts for different languages).
||Film becomes the standard medium for presenting
the endowment. Filmed endowments take on a theatrical quality (with
costumes, scenery, music, etc.) and are dubbed from English into other
As the filmed endowment makes congregational singing awkward, the
preacher's hymn is discontinued.
||Revisions are made to the portion of the
ceremony involving Lucifer's preacher: Lucifer no longer specifies
the amount of the preacher's salary, and a reference to Satan's having
black skin is omitted.
||The long, pre-1923 garment becomes optional
in the temple and is eventually discontinued.
||The lifting of the priesthood ban on blacks
makes the endowment available to all Latter-day Saints, regardless
||Following surveys of Church members' feelings
about the endowment, major revisions are made:
- All penalties, the five points of fellowship, and syllables
purported to having meaning in the Adamic language are omitted.
- The part of the preacher is eliminated, as well as a reference
to Lucifer's "popes and priests."
- Women no longer covenant to obey the law of their husbands.
- Language which faults Eve for initiating the Fall is dropped.
- Many references to Adam are replaced with references to Adam
- The lecture at the veil is discontinued.
- Orders from Elohim are repeated fewer times for brevity's sake.
Procedures for the initiatory are revised
such that initiates clothes themselves in the garment before entering
the washing room, thus eliminating the final vestiges of ritual
nudity (which had been curtailed by introduction of the shield,
probably during the 1920s). Water and oil are applied to the head
only, not to multiple parts of the body.
Possibly out of consideration for the elderly and disabled, initiates are no longer instructed to stand while making covenants.
Much of the information for this timeline was taken from
David John Buerger, The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon
Temple Worship (San Francisco: Smith Research Associates, 1994).