Calling and Election made Sure and the Second Anointing

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” -2 Peter 1:10-11

In the Latter Day Saint movement there are two temple anointings. The “First Anointing” is also known as the “Kirtland endowment” and is given in the Fellowship of Christ as a part of one’s ordination to the priesthood. The Second Anointing is given to those who’s calling and election is made sure. The Second Anointing, sometimes called the Second Endowment, is both a temple ordinance and an extension of the endowment ceremony1 found in the Latter Day Saint movement.

The Second Anointing

In the Fellowship, the term “second anointing” is less accurate as one does not require priesthood keys to have their calling and election made sure. However, thus far everyone that has received this ordinance has been a High Priest or High Priestess, and it may be that those that have their calling and election made sure without the ordinance are sealed unto God without being given priesthood keys. In other words, priesthood keys may be required for the ordinance but not to have one’s calling and election made sure. This would be similar to the Lamanites that “were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not” (3 Nephi 4:50 RAV, 9:20b OPV).

Joseph Smith Jr. taught that “to obtain this sealing is to make our calling and election sure which we ought to give all diligence to accomplish” (Journal of Franklin D. Richards; March 10, 1844; pg. 33). Joseph also stated that “there are two sins against which this power does not secure or prevail. They are ‘the sin against the Holy Ghost,’ and [the] ‘shedding of innocent blood,’ which is equivalent to ‘crucifying the son of God afresh and putting Him to an open shame.’” Thus we should not see having our calling and election made sure or this ordinance as a “free card” into heaven. Those that have received the Second Comforter are likely still growing in Grace.

Three Types of Sealings

Joseph stated that this sealing power is the spirit of Elijah (Journal of Franklin D. Richards; March 10, 1844; pg. 33). This spirit or power, as Joseph calls it, is the “power to hold the keys of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers, and endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the kingdom of God on the Earth, and to receive, obtain and perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God even unto the sealing of the hearts.” According to Doctrines of the Saints, there are three type of sealing powers:

    1. To seal, both on earth and in heaven (17c:6-11)
    2. For the benefit of the Church of the First Born (17c:12-13)
    3. A higher sealing of the priesthood (17c:14-16)

The first sealing power is given to every Elder. As stated, it is used to seal and unseal the heavens and the earth. It carries “the keys of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers, and endowments.” However, the second being for the benefit of the Church of the First Born, and this Church being those that have had their calling and election made sure, it would appear the that second sealing power then is the power and spirit of Elijah. The third sealing power was lost2 when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were taken from the earth.

The Ordinance Preformed

According to Greg Prince, the first time this ordinance was performed was on September 28, 1843 (Ordinances: The Second Anointing, 1983, pp. 22–23). At that time, Joseph and Emma received it. According to Joseph Smith’s Journal, December 1842–June 1844, Joseph was “anointed and ordained to the highest and holiest order of the priesthood” (pg. 110). Emma is not mentioned, it is presumed that she too received the ordinance as Joseph seems to believe that husbands and wives receive it together (Doctrines of the Saints, Epistles, 9 Joseph 1:4-12). Since that time, the practice3 built up to regularity in the main body of the Brighamite sect only to be mostly abandoned today.

The Book of Remembrance teaches us that Adam and Eve received their Second Anointing (Chapter 23). The service began with a prayer circle, likely in the true order of prayer. Then Adam and Eve washed each other’s feet. Finally, they blessed one another, ordaining the other a ruler and High Priest/High Priestess of the Most High God, to rule and reign in the House of Israel forever. (Israel here meaning the straight path to God, not the House of Jacob.) Then, Raphael talks of a sealing power given to the High Priest and the High Priestess, echoing what the Lord told Hyrum through the prophet Joseph Smith Jr. (Doctrines of the Saints 78:93-99). This may be the second type of sealing power and implies that the High Priest and the High Priestess who receive their calling and election made sure are are also Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Book of Remembrance 23:21-22).

Is This Practice Necessary?

Like all ordinances in the Fellowship of Christ, we look to the Holy Spirit to tell us what ordinances are needed. Our Constitution states that “the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: First, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; Second, Repentance; Third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; Fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost; Fifth, the Lord’s Supper” (Doctrines of the Saints 3b:4). And even then, we encourage people to be baptized as moved by the Spirit, and not merely to “check a box.” As William Clayton stated, “I feel desirous to be united in an everlasting covenant to my wife and pray that it may soon be” (Doctrines of the Saints, Epistles, 9 Joseph 1:13). It is the moving of the Holy Spirit that calls us to Christ, that calls us to the Fellowship, that calls us to the ministry, and that calls us to receive this ordinance. All things by the spirit of prophecy and revelation.


    1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints performed this ceremony for couples from their beginnings in the late 1840’s to the 1920’s. They believe that only those sealed to their spouses are worthy of this ordinance. The practice became much less common after 1940 within their sect, though it continues in fundamentalist groups that have broken from the main body. Other LDS denominations, such as the Community of Christ and their offshoots, historically do not practice the Nauvoo endowment ceremonies, and thus do not use the Second Anointing. Read more on Wikipedia.
    2. While we do not know exactly what this third sealing power entails, we know that only one may hold it on the earth at a time (Doctrines of the Saints 17a:15). Based on Doctrines of the Saints 78:93-99, some believe that Joseph removed the keys from himself and gave them to Hyrum. Regardless, we know that only one may hold these keys and thus know church upon the earth holds these keys today (Doctrines of the Saints 17c:14-16).
    3. Not many Latter Days Saints received the ritual in Joseph’s lifetime. Though the Latter-day Saints took the service with them to Utah, under Lorenzo Snow they became strict as to who would receive the ordnance. In the 1920’s they began to phase the practice out, though it is still performed today. The only known couple to have received the ordinance in their sect today is Russell M. Nelson, their current president and his wife in 1974, as stated in his 1979 autobiography (From Heart to Heart: An Autobiography, pg. 360). If one were to ask a Latter-day Saint about the practice, they would likely not be familiar with it. Read Bruce R. McConkie’s 1967 thought on the subject here.


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