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Endowment (Ordinance)

Overview

The endowment is a priesthood ordinance administered in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is available to adult Church members who are prepared for this sacred experience.

The endowment provides instruction, covenants, and promised blessings that offer power, purpose, and protection in daily life. It teaches about the Creation of the earth, the Fall of Adam and Eve, the plan of redemption through Jesus Christ, and our own journey back to the presence of God. The endowment helps those who receive it to follow the Savior as they strive for “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13), “relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save” (2 Nephi 31:19). Honoring the covenants of the endowment qualifies Church members to enter the covenant of eternal marriage and to ultimately return to the presence of God.

The word endow has two related meanings: “to bestow a gift” and “to clothe upon.” In 1831 the Lord commanded the Saints to gather in Ohio with a promise that “there I will give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:32). Portions of the endowment were administered in Ohio in the Kirtland Temple. Later, in Nauvoo, Illinois, the Prophet Joseph Smith administered the full endowment to a number of Church members. Today all members of the Church are invited to prepare to receive the endowment.

Through the endowment, Church members deepen their covenant relationship with God as they promise to follow His standards of morality, integrity, and service to others. In this sacred ceremony, Church members make covenants “to keep the law of obedience, the law of sacrifice, the law of the gospel, the law of chastity, and the law of consecration” (David A. Bednar, “Prepared to Obtain Every Needful Thing,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2019, 103). Faithfully honoring these promises helps Church members become Saints through the Atonement of Christ (see Mosiah 3:19). The endowment is one way God bestows His power upon His covenant people.

President Joseph Fielding Smith said the following about the value of the endowment in our daily lives:

“If we go into the temple we raise our hands and covenant that we will serve the Lord and observe his commandments and keep ourselves unspotted from the world. If we realize what we are doing then the endowment will be a protection to us all our lives—a protection which a man [or woman] who does not go to the temple does not have.

“I have heard my father say that in the hour of trial, in the hour of temptation, he would think of the promises, the covenants that he made in the House of the Lord, and they were a protection to him. … This protection is what these ceremonies are for, in part. They save us now and they exalt us hereafter, if we will honor them. I know that this protection is given for I, too, have realized it, as have thousands of others who have remembered their obligations” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith [2013], 235–36).

In addition to these blessings of daily protection, Brigham Young described the endowment in terms of its value after we have completed our mortal journey:

“Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 416).

In his first public address as President of the Church, President Russell M. Nelson taught about the power of the endowment in terms of our mortal journey and in preparation for eternal life:

“The end for which each of us strives is to be endowed with power in a house of the Lord, sealed as families, faithful to covenants made in a temple that qualify us for the greatest gift of God—that of eternal life. The ordinances of the temple and the covenants you make there are key to strengthening your life, your marriage and family, and your ability to resist the attacks of the adversary. Your worship in the temple and your service there for your ancestors will bless you with increased personal revelation and peace and will fortify your commitment to stay on the covenant path” (“As We Go Forward Together,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2018, 7).

Additional teachings by modern-day prophets and apostles referencing the endowment can be viewed at ChurchofJesusChrist.org/temples/prophetic-teachings-on-temples.

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