BAPTISM AND THE ENDOWMENT
In the Bibliography, Werner Foerster has two books, ‘vol. 1 is Patristic evidence. When quoted Vol. 1 is referred to, when Vol 2 on Coptic and Mandaic sources is used Vol 2 is not identified or referred to, just his name and page number. Most of Vol. 2 are resources from the Nag Hammadi, discoveries of the 3rd and fourth century AD, In particular the Gospel of Philip and the Acts of Thomas, he also had access to the works “of Lady Drower, Ethel S. Stevens, a diplomate’s wife in Persia, of numerous manuscripts …of Mandean culture…she brought back to Great Britain (fifty four in all…) now housed in Oxford.” (Lupieri p. 8) The sources Jack Finegan uses are mostly Coptic and Greek Papyri and Mandean fragments and sayings attributed to Christ. Those fragments, again, are mostly from the first four centuries AD. The apostacy had set in and the ancient gospel doctrines were enclosed in perverted, bizarre and weird teachings. Embedded in the Gnostic distortions are gems of the original gospel. (see the Lectures on the Nag Hammadi and Mandean discoveries for details). The highlighted areas reflect and identify the doctrinal themes of both the Mormon and the ancient documents. If you are a temple goer you will recognize the parallels.
From the writings of President Russell M. Nelson, we learn that in the “Temple we receive an endowment…Each temple ordinance “is just not a ritual to go through, it is an act of solemn promising.” “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” (see Mat. 16:19)… [That same authority has been restored in these latter days]… Eternal life is more than immortality. Eternal life is exaltation in the highest heaven-- the kind of life that God lives…Temple patterns are as old as human life on earth…temples [were]… established even before the foundation of the world…Though many ordinances of the gospel have been restored—blessings, baptism, Confirmation, ordinances, and endowments—the sealing ordinances [marriage] are supreme…The sealing ordinance is an absolute…The temple teaches of Christ… The endowment comprises a course of instruction relating to the eternal journey of a man and woman from their premortal existence through the earthly experience and on to the exaltation that each may attain… The temple blesses such ordinances and instructions of God… It blesses with the ultimate linkage to unite families forever…The antiquity and modernity of temple activity blend and bridge the gulf of time. Even the newest temples closely relate to ancient times. To receive the highest blessings available through the names and by the authority of the temple He uses covenants, signs, and tokens. …The same pattern is evident in holy writ. [for example what does this reference mean? “...What are these which are arrayed in white robes?”...temple clothing is unique, and it is special. (Rev. 7:13, 15)]… Unless such sealing ordinances were performed…the earth would be utterly wasted…At the root of every temple ordinance and covenant—at the heart of the plan of salvation---is the Atonement of Jesus Christ….my presence shall be there, for I will come into it…and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God…we begin to feel the infinite impact of his matchless love.” (Nelson pp.362-374;)
“A ritual presentation [is] called the endowment. At the heart of this endowment is the knowledge and power given through ordinances, that enable faithful participants to receive exaltation and all that God the Father possesses. (see D&C 84:33-38)…Your endowment is also 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 the them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell…It is the step-by-step ascent into the Eternal Presence.” (Millett p. 182) “…A knowledge of the way …of the sacraments [ordinances] to be performed now, of the “names” leaving to be employed later when the ascending spirit meets the powers after the body at death, and whatever ritual or ethical preparation may assure this future passage. …the secrets of the way…the ascent doctrine in all details.” (Foerster pp. 271-273)…”every ordinance every covenant, every law every thou shalt,’ every ‘thou shalt not,’ and every teaching received from …father in Heaven and His Son our Savior…is an expression of divine love.” (Ogden p. 183) [The]…”Doctrine [is that] …the eternal marriage has been an integral part of the gospel plan from the beginning.“ (Challis p. 195)
“These ordinances of exaltation including the endowment were established and firmly set in our premortal existence.…one of these ordinances and endowment, is washing and anointing ….[and] baptism for the dead.” (Ogden p. 183)… “They …possessed authority from the power of the Immortal Man”…[see Moses 6:57; McConkie p. 742-743], “Since they had the authority each of them created for himself great kingdoms.” (Foerster p. 35)
“Joseph Smith said: I spent the day…attending to washings, anointings endowments and the communication of keys pertaining to the Aaronic Priesthood, and so on to the highest order of the Melchizedek Priesthood setting forth the order pertaining to the Ancient of days and all those plans and principles by which any one enabled to secure the fullness of those blessings which have been prepared for the Church of the First Born and come up and abide in the presence of the Elohim in the eternal world.” (Millett p. 185) “This is part of Latter-day Saint theology of marriage which perpetrates the family in eternity… Eternal marriage would have little meaning without knowing of the premortal existence and necessity of the Priesthood and its keys and powers the degrees of glory or the concept of temples and eternal covenants.” (Challis p. 195-196)
“…The power and authority of the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church-to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom (D&C 107:18-19) which mysteries [endowments] are encompassed in the endowment.” (Millet p. 118) “Thus as once in primeval times beings of light first baptized Adam [Moses 6:64]…without baptism no Mandean (or his soul) may pass on to next world…they have a firm belief in the after-life of the soul…for the Mandeans the fate of the soul is a chief concern. …nearly all Ceremonies, including even the wedding ritual are in some way associated with a rite which has value for the souls of the dead…[for] the journey of the soul… guarantees are required which involve more than those things which accompany the soul, like baptism, the sign, the name and the good works,” (Foerster pp. 132-133) ”….to this belongs above all baptism. Mass for the dead…carried out in the miskna (temple)… consecration, of priests and bishops, weddings and festival rites… The most important ceremonies and also the oldest are baptism and the “ascent of the soul ceremonies.” (Foerster p. 131) There is also…”the Laying on of hands…anointing with oil, the offering of the sacrament of bread and water and the sealing of the neophyte …the extension of the right hand…known as kusta (‘truth’, ‘justice’) …usually performed at all ceremonies and has a special sanctity.” (Foerster p. 131) Think: Patriarchal grip.
“Souls after death had to ascend to the highest heaven in passing through the seven spheres [gates] …every gate being watched by an archon [warder]…Passage through the seven spheres or heavens is obtained by repeating the sacred pass-word or secret names to the warder…the Lord revealed to me what the soul must say when ascending into heaven, and how she must answer each of the upper powers…[There is] a successive putting on and off of garments” (Hembold pp. 224-226)
Every LDS Temple has a celestial room and off to one side one or more sealing rooms where most ceremonies are concluded. My wife and I were married and sealed just off the Celestial Room in the Manti, Utah Temple. Many of our children and grandchildren have been married and sealed in the special sealing room just off the Celestial room of the St. George, Utah temple and the Salt Lake City temple.
“Bridegrooms and brides belong to the bridal chamber… The bridechamber or bed chamber …is the holy in the holy…the veil at first concealed how God ordered the creation …If some are in the tribe of the priesthood, those will be able to enter within the veil with the high priest…the veil… would be open only for those from above.” (Foerster pp. 99-100) .
“…The women is united to her husband in the bridal chamber… those who have been united in the bridal chamber shall no longer be separated.” (Foerster p. 91)
…“After being born again through Christ (saying 74) this is presumably the spiritual rebirth of John 3:2. There in John. 3:5. The reference to being born of the spirit suggests the rebirth is connected with baptism as well as with the gift of the Spirit. [Holy Ghost] [The Lord did everything by an ordinance] [or a Mystery].” (Finegan pp. 282-283)
From the ancient documents 6 we learn that: “In the public ministry …Jesus made himself a guide and proclaimed the word…there is revealed in their hearts the living Book of the Living …which was written in the thought and mind of the Father…Indeed …a person has gnosis it is shown that he is a being from on high. If he is called he hears, responds and turns to him who calls him, in order to re-ascend to him...Ye are the children of the understanding of the heart…to them he gives ethical exhortation …Strengthen the foot of those who have stumbled and stretch out your hands (see Matt 8:3; Mark 1:41; Luke 5: 13) to those who are sick, feed those who are hungry (Matt 25:30). And to those who are weary give rest (Matt 11:28); Lift up those who wish to arise (Matt 13:25; Mark 8:54; Luke 8:54 ; John 5:8) awaken those who are sleep (Rom 13:11)…Christ was born of a virgin in order that he might set in order the fall which took place at the beginning….The Lord “did” or made” or “brought” or “worked” everything in a mystery [ordinance] …there follows …a list of five items which appear to be the sacraments recognized by the author. The first item is “a baptism.” (Finegan pp. 283)
“[This] is designated by a [Greek] word which, in the form [Greek] which means literally “that which is dipped,” but which is the regular word for “baptism” in the canonical New Testament (Matt 4:7; Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3. Etc.) In Greek the verb …means to dip under, with one specific meaning to dye…but God’s dyes are immortal therefore those who are dyed with them are immortal. But God baptizes with water….saying (101) speaks of living water…presumably meaning running water …”we must put on the living man,“ and describes the one who goes down to the water as unclothing himself “in order that he may put this one on,” Sayings (59, 112, 22-29) and 109 (125, 7-15) also speaks about going down “into the water“ and confirms the picture of the baptism as an immersion….if anyone comes up out of the water without having received anything and still says “I am a Christian…he has the name …he has just borrowed it, and is subject to having it demanded of him. But if he receives the Holy Spirit [Holy Ghost] he possesses the gift of the name, and who ever has received a gift does not have it taken away from him.” (Finegan pp. 282-283) “This is the baptism with which Hibil-Ziwa baptized the first man (Greek) Adam. With it the baptism Hibil-Ziwal baptized the first man Adam and it was preserved throughout the ages for the elect righteous.” (Moses 6:64; Foerster p. 282)
“The Christ came and brought out those who had gone in and brought in those who had gone out. By this same Gnostic interpretation he can mean that he delivered souls from the world and reintroduced them to the divine realm.” (Finegan p. 282) [from whence we had come.]
"The second item is “…a chrism. “ …the word is used…for oil for anointing… It is also used… for the act or the fact of anointing, e.g. …”you have an anointing from the Holy One …”His anointing teaches you about everything.” [this is the laying of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost]….There is a necessity for baptism in light [spirit] as well as in water, and the light is the anointing…the Chrism and the light is the anointing…mentions the olive tree from which the anointing oil is made, so the ceremony was probably performed literally…the Chrism is superior to the baptism…The reason given is that it is on account of the chrism …that we are called Christians…[the] anointing as following upon baptism, and connects the name Christ with the chrism… describes anointing as following upon baptism and connects the name Christ with the chrism…an appropriate name [for] the Lord because he was “anointed” with the Spirit by God the Father.“ (Foerster p. 284)
“Article of Faith No. 4: We believe that the first principals and ordinances of the Gospel are: First faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance, third Baptism by immersion for the remission of sin; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Joseph Smith 1842, PGP). “And there was just there a water spring, to which the apostle went and baptized Mygdondia in of the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And when she had been baptized and had dressed again, he broke bread and took a cup of water, and made her a partaker of the body of Christ.“ (Foerster Vol. 1, p. 363) [Witnesses stand by to oversee the baptism and to make sure every one of “of the,” are said and that the body is totally immersed.]
MARIAGE FOR TIME AND ALL ETERNITY
“The item in saying 68 [in the Coptic papyri] is …also a sacrament of the church…this is “a eucharist,” The word is … a name for the Lord’s Supper. (1 Cor 11:26). The fourth item in saying 68 “redemption” is listed in addition to baptism “redemption.” The fifth item in saying 68, is ”a bridechamber”… for some of them prepare a bridechamber… and perform a mystical rite [the endowment] with those who are being perfected (being initiated), pronouncing certain invocations, and they confirm that it is a spiritual marriage…which is celebrated by them, after the likeness of the unions above...In the gospel according to Philip the “bridechamber” seems to be very important…In saying 68 …the “Bridechamber” stands in a sequence of items including baptism.” (Finegan pp. 284-286) “The spiritual marriage simulates the unions above…this sacrament is intended to celebrate and prefigure on earth what is to be enjoyed in ultimate entry into the Pleroma [eternity]. …entry into the kingdom is synonymous with entry into the bridal chamber… the bridal chamber seems to be accorded the highest place among the sacraments …baptism [Greek word] is the holy house…The Holy of Holies is the bridechamber…”(Finegan p. 286)
“If anyone becomes a son of the bridechamber, he will receive the light. This light must be received in this place…in this world, otherwise it will not be possible [if rejected here] to receive it in the other place…the other world. He who does receive the light cannot be seen or detained by the hostile powers.” (Finegan p. 286) “This is the good end of those who have obtained knowledge, to become [a]God. What then are you waiting for? Will you not, as one who has received everything became a guide to the worthy that the human race may by means of you be saved by God?” (Foerster Vol. 1, pp. 333-334)
None of the teachings of the prophet Joseph have been redacted, recanted, rescinded or recalled. He got them all right the first time. In fact he got them all right all of the time!
CHALLIS, John K., & John G. Scott, The Riches of Eternity, Aspen Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1993
FINEGAN, Jack, Hidden Records of the Life of Jesus, Pilgrim Press, Philadelphia, 1969
FOERSTER, Werner, GNOSIS Vol. 1: Gnostic and Mandaic sources, & 2, Patristic Sources, Oxford, at the Clarendon Press, 1974
HELMBOLD, Andrew R., Gnostic Elements in the Ascension of Isaiah, New Testament Studies, 18, pp. 222-226, 1975
LUPIERI, Edmondo, The Mandaeans, William B. Eerdman’s Pub. Co.,Grand Rapids , Michigan, 2002
MILLET, Robert L., Camille Fronk Olson, Andrew C. Skinner, Brent L. Top, LDS Beliefs, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 2011
NELSON, Russell M., Teachings of Russell M. Nelson, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 2018