“Hearken ye Elders of my Church, whom I have appointed: Ye are not sent forth to be taught, but to teach the children of men the things which I have put in your hands by the power of my Spirit; and ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power from on high that ye may give even as I have spoken.” -Doctrines of the Saints 2b:18-21
In the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ, held from June 3 to June 6, 1831, a number of men were ordained to the High Priesthood of Melchizedek, and this ordination consisted of an endowment to bestow authority. The Kirtland endowment ceremonies consisted of preparatory washings, at first administered in the homes of the Saints. Men washed and purified their bodies with soap, clear water, and perfumed whiskey (Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record 1836).
Following this initial endowment, many men reported participating in a day of Pentecost, having extraordinary spiritual experiences, including seeing visions, prophesying, speaking in tongues, and receiving revelations. In December of 1832, Joseph Smith Jr. was given a revelation letting the Saints know that God wanted them to build a temple, a sacred place for these endowments (Doctrines of the Saints 53c:56).
Today the Kirtland Endowment is called the Initiatories. Initiatories are not necessary for salvation or for membership into the Fellowship of Christ. They are performed as a Sacrament to the Lord. This Sacrament is a step one takes on their journey of service in Christ’s Fellowship and kingdom here on the earth. The following article will go over this Sacrament, as preformed in the Fellowship of Christ.
For the Ministry
Before entering the Offices of the Priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship, one must obtain their Initiatories; that they may be washed clean, preparing them for the work of the Lord. This may be done before being ordained a new Deacon, if new to the Priesthood, or Elder, High Priest or High Priestess if coming from a branch of Mormonism where one has already been fully endowed and wishes to be re-washed and re-anointed. It is not necessary for every ordination as one grows in the Priesthood but may be redone upon request as moved by the Spirit.
If at any point one wishes to re-dedicate themselves to their call to serve, they may be washed, anointed, and clothed again. They would not, however, receive a new name except under special circumstances.
If one is coming from another branch of Mormonism that performs these rituals in their temples, the perspective minister has the option of having them performed again and obtaining another new name; or using the new name given them by the sister organization, as we are all branches from the same tree of Zion. If retaking the Initiatories, they would use the new name found in his Fellowship records as they move forward in Christ.
Washing and Anointing
The Washing and Anointing should be done by a High Priest for those that identify as men or a High Priestess for those that identify as women. The only exception being spouses Washing and Anointing one another when/if possible. And, this may be done privately, at home to they re-dedicate themselves as they so desire. The other exception might be parents working together to give the Initiatories to their offspring, or grandparents handing these down in patriarchal and/or matriarchal succession.
It should be decided before hand who will be performing which parts of the rituals. One person may take the lead in all, with a second as an assistant to seal the washing and anointing and assisted in the blessing giving the garments and the new name. Or, one may ask as many as one person per task to perform the rituals. Their choices should be made prayerfully.
Spouses retaking their Initiatories in the privacy of their own homes may perform them on one another without any additional witnesses or officiators.
“And behold, these Initiatories and these Endowments are to prepare thee for service in my kingdom and exaltation in the Celestial worlds.” -Book of Remembrance 11:25
Before the Initiatories are performed, all present should be offered the Sacrament of Communion. There are four parts to the Initiatories: Washing of the Feet, Washing of the Body, Anointing the Body, and the Gift of the Garments and New Name. The following guide will walk one through these steps.
Washing of the Feet
The following Scripture should be read before the Initiatories are performed:
“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” -John 13:14-15
Then, the ritual of the Washing of the Feet with water or oil, as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, will be performed (John 13: 4-5). It is recommended the congregation’s Bishopric, or the Pastor, or another leader perform the service. The Washing of the Feet should not be showy or drawn out. Neither should it be merely done quickly to get it out of the way. It should be performed with love as an act of charitable service to the individual and to God. After the Washing of the Feet, the Hosanna Shout may be performed, as moved by the Spirit.
The full Initiatory should be completed together on the same day, with each step following the other. However, if the Initiatories will not be completed the same day, one may wait up to seven days for their Initiatories. If one has waited longer than seven days, the Washing of the Feet would need to be done again before one receives their Initiatories.
The Washing ritual should be performed after the individual’s feet have been washed. They should be barefoot, met at the altar, and seated comfortably. This Initiatory is not a literal washing, thus the person should be properly clothed, unless this are spouses performing the Initiatories on one another in the privacy of their own home.
To begin the Initiatory, holy water is placed upon the head, and the person is “washed” by a High Priest or High Priestess. They should place their hand gently upon the individual’s head and anoint them. For this part, the body part may be touched, or a hand may hover over each area of the body as the following is read/stated: the eyelids or eyebrows will do for the eyes, etc. If the person receiving requests it, the officiator may put holy water on each part to symbolize washing. It is best to go over all of this with the person in advance, to make sure their personal space is not violated. If they are not comfortable with either touching or hovering, just placing hands upon their head and stating the words will also be acceptable.
A second High Priest or High Priestess then places their hands on the initiate’s head, with the first officiator, and the second officiator seals the washing. A few others may be invited to join the circle beforehand. If there are more than three, all in the circle should use the First Order of Prayer.
After washing, consecrated oil and is placed upon the head, and the individual is anointed by the other officiator. To anoint, the body part is touched as the following is read/stated. If they are not comfortable, merely putting hands upon their head and stating the words will also be acceptable. See “Washing” above for more information.
A second High Priest or High Priestess then places their hands on the initiate’s head, with the first officiator, and the second officiator confirms and seals the anointing. A few others may be invited to join the circle beforehand. If there are more than three, all in the circle should use the First Order of Prayer.
Garments of the Holy Priesthood
After receiving one’s Washing and Anointing, the individual is ready for service to Christ in the Fellowship. They are taken back to the altar, facing eastward, and given the Garments of the Holy Priesthood, as described in the Book of Remembrance Chapter 12. They are shown how to wear them on.
After gaining their garments, the individual is asked to be seated once again, and is given a new name as a part of their blessing, as the garment is activated. This name is given them by revelation. The revelation may come from the individual; they may prayerfully choose someone to receive this revelation for them, or it may be given at the time of their blessing as moved by the Spirit. How it is received should be settled beforehand and approved by revelation from their Bishopric and Patriarch/Matriarch, unless it is given at the time of the blessing. This new name is to be recorded in the Church records.
To begin, the sisters and brethren previously asked to join in the blessing are invited to the circle. Gathering again over them and placing their hands upon their head, the officiator (Elder/High Priest or High Priestess) then blesses them.
At this point the individual is clean, anointed, and clothed just as Adam and Eve were. If desired, and so moved by the Spirit, those present may be led in the Hosanna Shout. The individual may then be Endowed. Their Endowment may be immediate, or they may wait up to seven days. If they wait more than seven days, the individual may not perform the duties of their call in the ministry.