"The Divine Handclasp in the Hebrew Bible and in Ancient Near Eastern Iconography"

David Calabro tells us, "A handclasp exchanged between God and his human servant is mentioned in at least ten biblical passages (possibly more, depending on interpretation). This gesture has been understood in various ways: as a means of assumption into eternal life, as an induction into the divine council, as part of a coronation ritual, as a figurative reference to divine aid, or as some combination of these. Divine handclasps are also depicted in ancient Near Eastern art, including that of Egypt. In this paper, I propose a reconstruction of the gesture's form based on details described in the biblical passages and on connections with iconographic sources. I then explore how an understanding of the gesture's form impacts the interpretation of the passages in which the gesture is mentioned." Also see: Mormon Interpreter

Eastern Orthodox Christian Architectural and Liturgical Motifs

LDS scholar, Matthew Brown in his article, "The Israelite Temple and the Early Christians" talks about the Eastern Orthodox Christians and their liturgy. He tells us:
"In this last section of my presentation I would like to bring you into the modern age and read some material from the eastern orthodox Christians. Now that you have seen the patterns set forth in this talk you can decide whether or not temple architectural and liturgical motifs have been continued among the modern disciples of Jesus Christ. I will now read you a summary of information that is found in a book called, The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity.
 "The architecture of Eastern church buildings is symbolic in nature, reflecting the axis of space and also the axis of time. The axis of space forges a connection between earth and paradise while the axis of time begins with the creation and moves through the events of the Savior's life, crucifixion, and resurrection. Participants in the Syrian liturgy are considered to be personal participants in the events of sacred time. Nestorian church buildings are oriented so that the rising sun in the east strikes the holiest part of the building, thus corresponding to the location of the glory of God as seen in the prophet Ezekiel's vision of the Israelite temple (see Ezek. 43:1-4). Beyond the entrance to the church there is an open-air "forecourt" where the shoes of worshippers are removed and also a smaller open-air enclosure where prayers are offered. The interior of the church proper includes a main congregation hall called the "nave." This area of the church represents the earth and the eastern-most portion of it, or "vestibule," represents the Garden of Eden. Paradise is considered to be a bridge between heaven and earth and when scriptures are being read from this location during the liturgy the readers are considered to be angelic messengers who bring God's teachings from heaven to earth. There used to be a slightly elevated pathway built into the floor of Eastern churches which led up to the Garden of Eden called "the straight way" which signified "the narrow path" leading to the heavenly realm. In earlier times there were separate entrances into the nave for men and women and each group would gather in their respective places—males on the right and females on the left (Syrian Orthodox worshippers are placed in opposite stations with women on the right and men on the left). The most important part of the church is located in the east and is called the "choir" or Holy of Holies. This place represents heaven and is where the "liturgy of the mysteries" occurs. An altar is placed inside of this area of the church and above it is a baldachin which is symbolic of the Ark of the Covenant. "The holy of holies is raised on three levels" and thereby designates it as a space which is holier than the others in the building. Between the Holy of Holies and the nave in some Eastern churches is a barrier called the "iconostasis." This screen (which is constructed of wood or stone) is equipped with a doorway and a "curtain" is stretched across it in order to conceal the content and activities of the most holy place. In Syrian Orthodox churches only a curtain is utilized to mark this division. When the curtain is closed it is representative of the breaking of the connection between heaven and earth caused by the actions of Adam and Eve (in earlier times Adam's presence in the building was signified by his symbolic tomb in the nave). The curtain is drawn aside during the liturgy to signify the opening of heaven and the presence of Jesus Christ. Only certain ranks of clergy are allowed to pass by the curtain divider and into the Holy of Holies. The priest leads the prayers of the congregation from the altar inside the most holy place and incense is employed during the liturgy to symbolically represent rising prayers.46 Notice in all of this that there are three ascending levels of existence represented in this building's architecture.

"Finally, let me read you a short summary of the initiation rites of Greek Orthodox monks from a book published by Yale University Press, Mount Athos: Renewal in Paradise.
 "Stage 1: The initiate is brought into the church building and given "a new name" and is invested with a tunic and a headdress.

"Stage 2: The service is symbolic of three things: (#1) a second baptism or washing, (#2) the return of the prodigal son, and (#3) marriage. The initiate goes to the Royal Doors and altar [i.e., the iconostasis/veil] where the abbot (who represents the father from the prodigal son parable) meets him. There is an exchange of questions and answers between them which begins with the abbot inquiring why the initiate has come there and the initiate responds by announcing his intent. The questions and answers that follow incorporate the taking of "formal vows" of obedience, chastity, and living a monastic lifestyle. The abbot reminds the initiate that "invisible angels are present recording [his] vow." The initiate is then invested with ecclesiastical clothing, a girdle, and a headdress. At the end of the ceremony the initiate and the initiator embrace one another.

"Stage 3: The initiate is invested with the Great Schema or full religious dress which includes "an elaborately embroidered apron." This apron includes a symbol of Adam and also the acronymn for Paradise. The clothing given to the initiate in this stage of his progression is never to be taken off—day or night, "even in death." Monks at this stage of initiation vow to "renounce the world and the things of the world."47 (The Israelite Temple and the Early Christians - 47-Graham Speake, Mount Athos: Renewal in Paradise (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002), 209ñ15.)

Ancient Garments, the Veil and Gammadia Markings

E. Goodenough, in his study of Jewish symbolism, discovered that in Christian art the garment and robe were marked with signs at right angles, the gamma or square, or simply with a straight bar with prongs. He concluded that the marks had some religious significance or symbolic force.(Erwin R. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols the Greco-Roman Period 13 vols. (New York: Pantheon Books 1953), 9:164.)
In the Pistis Sophia, a Gnostic text of great importance, the garment is marked with the sacred Name and with five mysteries.(Erbetta, Gli Apocrifi, pp. 400–401; Pistis Sophia 8–10.)
One symbolically puts on Christ, in Gnostic speculation, through receiving baptism and the garment.(Gilles Quispel, “Qumran, John and Jewish Christianity,” in James H. Charlesworth and Raymond E. Brown, eds. John and Qumran (London: Geoffrey Chapman Publisher, 1972), pp. 152–54. Cf. J. MacDonald, ed., Memar Marqah (Berlin: n.p., 1963), pp. 4, 32, 80, 139, 158, and 194.)
The ancient garment was adorned with other marks besides the Name.
See Clothed Upon: A Unique Aspect of Christian Antiquity by Blake Ostler.

Among the textile fragments excavated at Masada were the remains of pieces of fabric with L-shaped cloth markings affixed to them. Dating to before A.D. 73, these are among the very earliest known examples of such marked garments. Scholars refer to these markings as gammadia, some of them being shaped like the Greek letter gamma (G). Though similar patterns have been found in several locations, the significance of these markings remains unknown to archaeologists and art historians. Because these markings seem to appear artistically in conjunction with some hope for life or glory after death, their presence on the clothing found at Masada may reflect something about the religious hopes and convictions of the Jewish fighters who died there. (BYU Studies (1996-7), 251-8)
See Gammadia on Early Jewish and Christian Garments

Ancient Markings on the Veil and on Garments
According to Hugo Odeberg, who translated the Hebrew Enoch, the veil was marked with “the secrets of the world’s creation and sustenance . . . in short, the innermost Divine secrets.”(Ibid., p. 28.)The purpose of the marks on the garment and the veil was to initiate the recipient into the divine secrets of the universe. Enoch also received a garment that was marked with divine secrets: “The Holy One . . . made me a garment of glory on which were fixed all kinds of lights, and He clad me in it. And He made a robe of honour on which were fixed all kinds of beauty.”(Ibid., p. 32.)
Each step of progress in initiation was marked by some change of the garment or robes, and so the symbolism of the garment implied increased glory, moving from one existence to another.It should be noted that the ancient garment bore the same tokens as the veil of the temple at Jerusalem. In the Testament of Levi, for example, the veil is the ¡nduma of the angel or the personified temple.(Marinus DeJonge, The Testament of the XII Patriarchs, p. 124.) This imagery brings to mind the scripture, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (1 Cor. 3: 16-17)

Many ancient texts confuse the garment with the veil of the temple, such as Ambrose of Milano’s Tractate of the Mysteries or the Hebrew Book of Enoch where “garment” and “veil” are used interchangeably.(Nibley, Joseph Smith Papyri, p. 246.)
Enoch is clothed with the veil in the Hebrew Book of Enoch: The Holy One . . . made me a throne similar to the throne of glory. And He spread over me a curtain [veil] of splendour and brilliant appearance of beauty, grace and mercy, similar to the curtain [veil] of the throne of glory; and on it were fixed all kinds of lights in the universe.(Hugo Odeberg, 3 Enoch; or The Hebrew Book of Enoch (1928; reprinted., New York: Ktav Publications, 1973), p. 32. Bracketed words added by author as another possible translation of the word.)A small church, Agios Eleftherios, in Athens has retained the old style templon, along with the archaic veil, as can be seen above. In early Byzantine churches the sanctuary was often marked by a veil in imitation of the veil of Solomon’s Temple. Over time, the veil was generally replaced in Byzantine churches with panels of icons, known as iconostasis. It is therefore uncommon to see old-style veils in contemporary churches. From: Early Byzantine Veil with Gammadia
Also see:
Iconostasis - An Eastern Orthodox Veil

Another mosic at Ravenna, Italy, ‘the kiss of Judas,’ is especially intriguing, since Christ and the Apostles have the prong-ended angle [garment mark] on the himation [shawl], but Judas does not. We can draw no conclusions, however, because the artist may have not shown it with Judas simply because in turning for the kiss Judas hides the part of the garment where the mark would normally have appeared. (Goodenough, Jewish Symbols, 9:88-89, see also 164 n. 300.)
For other examples see, Sant'Apollinare Nuovo Photo Gallery.

In addition to their appearing on clothing and veils the gammas in Ravenna Mosaics are pictured on altar cloths as well.Another Ravenna mosaic, C. A.D. 520, shows the priest-king Melchizedek in a purple cloak, offering bread and wine at the altar (Genesis 14:18-20) The white altar cloth is decorated with two sets of gammadia, as well as the so-called “seal of Melchizedek,” two interlocked squares in gold. Abel offers his lamb as Abraham gently pushes Isaac forward. The hand of God reaches down to this sacred meeting through the red veils adorned with golden gammadia on either side. The theme is the great sacrifice of Christ, which brings together the righteous prophets from the past as well as the four corners of the present world, thereby uniting all time and space.(Nibley, Sacred Vestments; pg.109.)
See Gammadia at Ravenna
The central Italian city of Ravenna is known for its superb Byzantine mosaics - as they are the finest outside Istanbul. Ravenna rose to power in the 1st century BC under the Emperor Augustus. The town converted to Christianity very early, in the 2nd century AD. Ravenna's exquisite early Christian mosaics span the years of Roman, Ostrogothic and Byzantine rule. Ravenna's early Christian churches and mosaics have been collectively designated a World Heritage Site.
There are a number of major sites (basilicas, baptisteries or mausoleums)in and around Ravenna adorned with these exquisite mosaics featuring many of the different Christian themes and symbols, clearly a Paupers' Bible.
Sant'Apollinare Basilica in Classe
Sant'Apollinare Basilica in Classe Photo Gallery
Sant'Apollinare Nuovo Basilica
Sant'Apollinare Nuovo Basilica Photo Gallery
San Vitale Basilica
San Vitale Basilica Photo Gallery
Arian Baptistery

Arian Baptistery Photo Gallery
Neonian Baptistery
Neonian Baptistery Photo Gallery
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia
Also see:
Early Christian Textile Markings from Fayum Egypt
Evidences of a Christian Population in the Egyptian Fayum and Genetic and Textile Studies of the Akhmim Noble Mummies (GospeLink.com - subscription required)
Tallit Katan - The Sacred Undergarment of Judaism
Joseph’s Coat of Many Marks
Nüwa and Fuxi in Chinese Mythology: Compass & Square

Seek After Truth

Truth is truth. Joseph Smith once said: "Have the Presbyterians any truth? Yes. Have the Baptists, Methodists, etc., any truth? Yes. They all have a little truth mixed with error. We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true “Mormons.”
Truth is found not only in religion, but in the secular things of the world as well. Joseph F. Smith said that “we are willing to receive all truth, from whatever source it may come....”
To quote Brigham Young: "Every discovery in science and art, that is really true and useful to mankind, has been given by direct revelation from God, though but few acknowledge it.... We should take advantage of all these great discoveries, the accumulated wisdom of ages, and give to our children the benefit of every branch of useful knowledge, to prepare them to step forward and efficiently do their part in the great work."
John A. Widstoe warned: “Truth is truth forever. Scientific truth cannot be theological lie. To the sane mind, theology and philosophy must harmonize. They have a common ground of truth on which to meet.”
Not only does Mormonism embrace all truth, but our religion requires that we seek out truth. We are admonished to “seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118.) In verses 78 through 80 of this same section we read: "Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand; Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms--That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you."
Brigham Young admonished us many times to acquire truth in our lives. "Whether a truth be found with professed infidels, or with the Universalists, or the Church of Rome, or the Methodists, the Church of England, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Quakers, the Shakers, or any other of the various and numerous different sects and parties, all of whom have more or less truth, it is the business of the Elders of this Church (Jesus, their elder brother, being at their head,) to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation, to the Gospel we preach, to mechanism of every kind, to the sciences, and to philosophy, wherever it may be found in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and bring it to Zion. [...] This statement is not only true of the nations termed civilized--those who profess to worship the true God, but is equally applicable to pagans of all countries, for in their religious rights and ceremonies may be found a great many truths which we will also gather home to Zion." (Intelligence, Etc. (Journal of Discourses 7:283-284)
Another time he said: "If I do not learn what is in the world, from first to last, somebody will be wiser than I am. I intend to know the whole of it, both good and bad. Shall I practise evil? No; neither have I told you to practise it, but to learn by the light of truth every principle there is in existence in the world. [...] And inasmuch as the Lord Almighty has designed us to know all that is in the earth, both the good and the evil, and to learn not only what is in heaven, but what is in hell, you need not expect ever to get through learning. Though I mean to learn all that is in heaven, earth, and hell. Do I need to commit iniquity to do it? No. If I were to go into the bowels of hell to find out what is there, that does not make it necessary that I should commit one evil, or blaspheme in any way the name of my Maker." (Organization and Development of Man--Journal of Discourses 2:90)
There is much to be learned from other religions and philosophies. So many of them even have within their beliefs fragments of the gospel, truths from when it was taught in ancient times and filtered and spread throughout the earth. It by respecting these other traditions that we might learn or understand more within our own beliefs. So it is in the grand tradition of Mormonism that "the Glory of God is Intelligence" that I share a few other traditions that I have come to know and honor. May they bless you in your study of the Gospel and give depth to your understanding as they have mine. Also, Joseph Smith instructed us in D&C 91 concerning the Apocrypha to learn through the gift of the Holy Spirit. In verse 4-6 he talks about being enlightened by the spirit which we believe applies to all truth and learning...so that we can benefit from our endeavors.
DC 91: 4-6
4 Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth;
5 And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom;
6 And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited.

Taoist Philosophy in the LDS Temple
Lao Tzu
Tao Te Ching
The Atonement (The little "I Am")by Cleon Skousen 
The Human Mind: As a Man Thinketh, So is He
Viktor Frankl
Man's Search for Meaning
Mahatma Gandhi (see section on Simplicity)
Mother Teresa
Wayne Dyer 
The Mozart Effect

Templars, Masons and Mormons, Oh My!!!

"Mormonism" is exactly what it claims to be, a genuine restoration of Primitive Christianity. Mormonism was not at all derived from Freemasonry, but both came from a common source in antiquity. Only Mormonism claims to be a restoration of that source. For a great start in understanding the vast differences and the few commonalities between Mormonism and Freemasonry see Jeff Lindsay's site, Questions About the LDS Temple Ceremony and Masonry. He also has many links to expand one's knowledge on the subject.

LDS scholar, Eugene Seaich has a very good article at Shields called, WAS FREEMASONRY DERIVED FROM MORMONISM? that goes into ancient history with some very interesting information.

Hugh Nibley in Apocryphal Writings and Teachings of the Dead Sea Scrolls tells us that the Masons didn't get their ceremonies they have today from the Apocryphal writings or the teachings of the Dead Sea Scroll documents. Talking about these documents, Nibley explains how:
Nobody had the texts until recently. They do give us an interesting check. The Masonic rites have a lot in common with ours. Of course in part they do have the same source, if you trace them way back. But what a different picture you see. The Masons don't give any religious meaning to them. They think of them as symbolic, as abstract. They don't see any particular realities behind them. The rites have nothing to do with salvation, but consist only of broken fragments. This is obvious if you've seen the Masonic rites and ordinances; they don't hang together. They have been picked up from various times and places, and you can trace them back. Actually, they go back to very early times. These are the ordinances of the Knights Templar and the Hospitalers—two early secret orders imported into Europe at the time of the Crusades. But these were actually based on Solomon's temple and on work for the dead. Read St. Bernard (he wrote both the prologue and the constitution for the Hospitalers, which we have still), who shows that they go back to the time of the Maccabees. At the time of the Maccabees, many of the Jews went off and worshiped false gods; and when they lost the battle, many of the dead were found with pagan amulets around their necks, showing that they had apostatized from the God of Israel. Still they had died as heroes for the cause, and they wondered what they might do to get them saved.
They decided to do their work in the temple by proxy. A vast fund of money was provided to have sacrifices and sin offerings made in the temple in their behalf so that these could be saved in the resurrection.203 This is the tradition carried on by the Knights Templars and Hospitalers—actual work for the dead. But all this was covered up and lost later on.
Lots of people have fragments of these things. The Egyptians had many of them. You can reconstruct from the funerary literature most of the temple ordinances. But you will also find the question, What does this mean? (E.g., in the Book of the Dead 17 and 125.) Some say it means this. Others say it means that. Others say we don't know what it means. It is just a tradition.
So the remnants of these rites and ordinances are found throughout the whole world. But nowhere out there do you find an organic whole in which they fit together and make sense and belong to the plan of salvation. We're the only people that have anything like that."

The modern day Mandaeans of Iraq who trace their religion to John the Baptist have not only secret ordinances but handclasps which are a part of their rites. Handclasps are a fundamental part of many ancient religions and are not just an element of the Freemasons. 

Similarities and Differences
The similarities between the LDS endowment and the Freemason rites are so few compared to the differences; and of those similarities the contexts are different. Only about 5% of the LDS endowment has any similarities with Freemasonry. In contrast, the LDS endowment has a much greater similarity with the ancient mystery teachings taught by Jesus to the apostles after his resurrection. See the links to the 40-day Ministry and the Nag Hammadi texts. Many of the similarities come from the Bible and many can find counter parts from other ancient sources.
None of the signs of LDS temple ceremony can be found in Freemasonry. Only two of the tokens (the first two) of the LDS temple ceremony have any degree of similarity in their forms but are not identical, whereas the other two have no counterpart in Freemasonry.

Mormon critics can produce a list but no context for the list. It is clear that Freemasonry and its traditions played a role in the development of the endowment ritual but not the degree that many of them would like to suggest. They before, they only bring up only similarities not the differences between the two. For example the central story in the endowment is the allegory of Adam and Eve. In Masonry it is the story of the master builder of Solomon's temple Hiram Abiff. Whole vast sections of the Masonic ritual are not and have never been found in the temple endowment.
As one Mormon Mason said:
“The simple fact is that no one ever received their endowment in a Masonic lodge and no one has ever been made a Mason in an LDS temple. As a LDS Freemason I find the similarities reassuring rather than disturbing.”

John A. Tvedtnes' article, Early Christian and Jewish Rituals Related to Temple Practices explains the LDS temple connection to the Jewish temple and the early Christian ordinances and rites.

Mormons, Temples, And Masonry

For an interesting study on this subject see Mormons, Temples, And Masonry.
The Knights Templars are a very interesting subject...full of mystery and intrigue. What is known is that the original eight Knights were related or were intermarried, and they stayed in the Holy Land long after the First Crusade was over. They were given the Al-Aqsa Mosque as their quarters which was located on the Jerusalem Temple Mound on the South East corner above the famous 'Solomon's Stable.' This stable was described as being large enough to hold more than 2000 horses or 1500 camels.

The southern wall of the Temple Mount and Solomon's stables

 Legend has it that Hugues de Payens, the first Grand-Master of the Templars, and Godfrey de Saint-Omer, one of the other original Knights were so poor that between the two of them they had only one horse, and this gave rise to the famous image on the seal of the Templars, of two men riding a single horse.

Another legend tells how the Knights excavated under the Temple mound for years looking for a fabulous treasure hidden there by the temple priests before it was destroyed in the year 70 AD when Jerusalem was under siege. These same legends claim they eventually found this treasure and in the process became wealthy beyond measure. When the news of the first finds were relayed back to Europe, Count Fulk d'Anjou sped with all haste to Jerusalem where he took the oath of allegiance to the new Order becoming the ninth Knight. Count Fulk d'Anjou was not only the Count of Anjou and a Templar but also later became King of Jerusalem.

Among some of their fabulous finds it was reported there were 21 temple scrolls that were taken back to France and Godfrey de Saint-Omer took them to an elderly scholar, Lambert de St Omer to translate...."whom was instructed not to make any copies - when found out [he did], he was killed."  Some of these translated copies now resides in the library of Ghent University and there are also many illustrations included, 115 colored drawings are in the Lambert of St. Omer, Liber Floridus collection. Also see, Lambert of St. Omer, Liber Floridus. Some of the titles in this collection also suggest a connection to the early Christians....such as "The evangelist St John on Patmos ..." and one shows James as the pillars of the New Jerusalem. Some are of the belief that some of the original teachings of Jesus and James along with the rituals of the Jerusalem Church were also buried under Herod's Temple and found as part of the temple treasure in 1118 when the Templars dug them up.

The famous copper scroll found among the Dead Sea Scroll was a treasure scroll revealing where temple treasure had been buried before the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. Others have used this scroll to check out the many different locations and the items listed on it.  But at the Jerusalem location mentioned on the Copper Scroll there was evidence of "others" who had been there excavating and their artifacts dating to the time of the Knights Templars were were the only items found thus far but no treasure. (For more information on the Dead Sea Copper Scroll see the website and videos on the Copper Scroll Project at Qumram at the bottom of this post. Not all the locations or the Jerusalem Temple location are mentioned on this site but it is still a fascinating look at the Cooper Scroll.)

The legend of the Templar's treasure claims that the 21 temple scrolls were found that had many interesting subjects contained on them, and a reasonable consensus is emerging that they contained ancient esoteric temple teachings, "scriptural scrolls, treatises on sacred geometry, and details of certain knowledge, art and science and the hidden wisdom of the ancient initiates of the Judaic/Egyptian tradition" - all connected to the ancient temple rites and the hidden teachings of Jesus. When the Knight Templars were later persecuted, their treasure and riches they had amassed since the time of the First Crusade, were secreted away before it was confiscated and their leaders were imprisoned and executed with the remaining members going underground. It is believed that the knowledge gleaned from these scrolls, a form of temple rites, eventually found its way into Freemasonry which came on the scenes much later in European history.

Also See:
Timeline: Crusades and FreeMasonry
The Knights Templar Chronology

Some believe that the Templar treasure was taken to Scotland for safe keeping and passed into the care of the St Clair family of Rosslyn. When the Templars were destroyed in 1307 a sizeable remnant fled to Scotland and became firmly established at Rosslyn, where the St Clair's became hereditary Grand Masters. In 1446 William St Clair almost lost the scrolls in a fire at the castle and so he decided to build a permanent home for them and built a copy of Herod's Temple which is now known as Rosslyn Chapel. The ground plan of the chapel is an exact copy of the ground plan of Herod's Temple, which was not known to archaeologists until the Wilson expedition of 1890. Above ground the building is a copy of the Heavenly Jerusalem shown in Lambert's copy of one of the scrolls. Sir William founded Freemasonry to preserve the secrets of the hiding of these scrolls and to carry the clues for their eventual recovery. He hid these clues within the verbal ritual he developed for Freemasonry from the rituals the Templars had learned from the Jewish temple scrolls and the writings of Jesus and James.

We have every reason to believe that the scrolls are still buried where Sir William put them and many continue to support an archaeological excavation to recover them . In tracing the history of the scrolls it has been deduced by some of the possible contents from the effects they have had on the development of society.

Possible Contents of the Scrolls:
1. The growth of science stems directly from the instruction to better know God's work by studying the hidden mysteries of nature and science. This led to the founding of the Royal Society by Freemasons.

2. The development of democracy via Magna Carta, the Declaration of Arbroath, the founding of Parliament and the writing of the American Constitution all stemmed from the type of organizations developed by the Templars and improved by their successors the Freemasons, using the knowledge of the teachings of the scrolls about equality in the sight of God.

3. The encouragement towards self improvement, by building within oneself a spiritual Temple to the glory of God, and the encouragement of charitable support for the needy is the basis of the teaching of Ma'at which has characterized the transmission of these secrets from Seqeuenre Tao via the Line of David to Jesus and James and finally to the Templars/Freemasons.

4.Sacred geometry, this knowledge was used to begin the extensive building of many of the Medieval European Cathedrals.

The history of the Rex Deus families in Israel keeps surfacing throughout this history...before Christ and on down through European history, the crusades, the families involved, European royalty and their connection to the royal Davidic line and their role in much of this intriguing drama.
The Copper Scroll Project Site

LDS Temple Endowment Shows Up in the Pages of the Book of Mormon

The Prophet Nephi tells us in 1Nephi, chapter 1, verse1: 

“I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.”

The key components of the LDS temple endowment can be found throughout the Book of Mormon. Note: some links have multiple chapters that are not part of the link. (1 Nephi 1, 1 Nephi 11-15, 2 Nephi 2, Mosiah 2-5, Alma 9-13, 3 Nephi 7-27, Ether 3, etc.). So it is inaccurate to state that Joseph copied the endowment from the Masonic rite.

LDS scholar, Eugene Seaich also tells how there are not only scattered fragments of the temple endowment in many traditions but how they also show up in the pages of the Book of Mormon. He explains how,
"...there are already scattered passages in the Book of Mormon (1830) which suggest the existence of a fuller and more mature Priesthood order, specifically referred to as the "Holy Order of the Son of God" (Alma 13). In these scattered passages we repeatedly encounter figures of speech which betray surprising knowledge on the part of their authors of what was yet to be revealed to Joseph Smith:
"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands..." (1 Nephi 21:16).

"...I have beheld his glory and am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love." (2 Nephi 1:15).

"O Lord, wilt thou encircle me about in the robe of thy righteousness..." (2 Nephi 4:33).

"Who so knocketh, to him will he open..." (2 Nephi 9:42).

"...I pray the God of my salvation that he will view me with his all-searching eye...(and) witness that I shook your iniquities from my soul, and that I stand before him, and am rid of your blood." (2 Nephi 9:44).

"We are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will...in all things that he shall command...that we not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment..." (Mosiah 5:5).

"...It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to that portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men..." (Alma 12:9).

"...Because of our being wanderers in a strange land..." (Alma 13:23).

"...He put forth his hand, and raised the king from the earth, and said unto him, Stand. And he stood upon his feet, receiving his strength." (Alma 22:22).

"I give unto you power that whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be sealed in heaven..." (Helaman 10:7).

"Blessed are the all pure in heart, for they shall see God." (3 Nephi 12:8).

"For thy Maker, thy Husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name..." (3 Nephi 22:5).

"...Beholding within the veil he saw the finger of Jesus..." (Ether 3:19).

"There were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong...who could not be kept from within the veil..." (Ether 12:19).

"I have seen Jesus, and...he hath talked with me face to face..."
(Ether 12:39).
"We cannot comment openly on these passages, nor shall we enter below into a discussion of the Endowment itself; but the Latter-day Saint who attends the Temple and understands its doctrines will readily recognize their relevance to modern Temple practice. They are especially important for us because they show that the Endowment was not created de novo during the last years of Joseph Smith's life, nor did it owe its initial inspiration to Smith's encounter with Masonry, but fitted perfectly into the plan for restoring the Gospel from the start." (Ancient Texts and Mormonism by Eugene Seaich)

The Importance of "Names" in the Scriptures

W. John Welsh explains the significance and the meaning of The New Name. In this excerpt he says:
"In connection with the Endowment ordinance, Latter-day Saints receive a new name. Elder Charles C. Rich noted:

"Joseph [Smith] tells us that this new name is a key-word, which can only be obtained through the endowments."

The concept of getting a new name is symbolic of many things including "a new identity, ...a new life, a new beginning. It's a refreshing of things..."  It can mean that you have been "extended a special call, marked by the reception of [the] new name, which in Jewish tradition 'denoted the conferring of a special divine mission.'"
Isaiah 56:5 “A Hand and a Name”
By The Monk
Isaiah 56:4-6 (particularly v. 5) NRSV
“For thus says the LORD: To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5 I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. 6 And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant…”
Verse 5 literally reads in Hebrew, “and I will give to them in my house, within my walls a hand and a name, (which is) better than (having) sons or daughters. I will give them an eternal name, that shall not be cut off.” Modern translations tend to follow something like the NRSV (“a monument and a name” instead of “a hand and a name”) on the basis of 1 Samuel 15:12 and 2 Sam. 18:18.

However, the idea of receiving a hand and an eternal name is quite familiar and comfortable to LDS. Several LDS commentators have made mention of this- Donald Parry, Victor Ludlow, and Avraham Gileadi, who gives a heavily-LDS translation “I will give a handclasp and a name within the walls of my house that is better than sons and daughters; I will endow them with an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”
Without doubt, Hugh Nibley believed the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. Without correct translation we have only “zeal without knowledge.” Nibley taught us to read the Greek New Testament with our LDS eyes wide open. According to the King James Version, John 17:11, in the great high priestly prayer, simply reads, “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me”; but to Hugh Nibley, who rightly sees this as a temple text, it is better translated instrumentally, “Holy Father, test them on the name with which you endowed me,” a much different reading, for those who wish to enter into the presence of God. (Hugh Nibley’s Articles of Faith; by John W. Welch)

John A. Tvedtnes in his article, Early Christian and Jewish Rituals Related to Temple Practices, he shares how, "In early Christianity, following the apostasy, temple initiation eventually merged with the baptismal initiation, which included both washing and anointing with oil, along with donning of white clothing and sometimes the reception of a new name. (Though he does not discuss baptism as part of the initiation, see William J. Hamblin, “Aspects of an Early Christian Initiation Ritual,” in John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks, eds., By Study and Also By Faith (Salt Lake City: FARMS and Deseret Book Company, 1990), volume 1.)
"The initiation as king and priest (or bishop), even in our century, also involves receiving a new name. Indeed, the giving of a new name during initiation rites is common in many cultures, as I learned while working on my BA in anthropology. Though much additional information could be added to what has already been published, I refer you to the excellent study by Bruce H. Porter and Stephen D. Ricks on this topic. (Bruce H. Porter and Stephen D. Ricks, “Names in Antiquity: Old, New, and Hidden,” By Study and Also By Faith, edited by John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks (Salt Lake City: FARMS and Deseret Book Company, 1990), 1:501-522.)  I shall add just one reference from the Mandaeans, a religious community of Iraq and Iran who claim to be descendants of the disciples of John the Baptist. Here we quote from the document known as Diwan Masbuta d Hibil Ziwa (“The Scroll of the Baptism of Hibil Ziwa”), which refers to seals, handclasps (called kuöta in Mandaean), and names:
"And the kings (spirits) took kuöta with him and (each) conferred on him some of his own glory. They gave him seven coverings and sealed him with a first seal; its name, a secret name, was graven thereon. Then (they sealed him with) a second seal, “the-seal-Maköiel” was graven thereon. (Then) a third; its name was “Zarziel-that-guardeth-him” and a secret name was engraven thereon. The fourth seal, “Great-Light” was graven thereon, a secret name. The fifth seal, “Light” was graven thereon, a secret name. The seventh seal, “Name-of-the-Life” was graven thereon (and?) “Radiance,” a secret name. Such were the sealings daily.  (E.S. Drower, The Haran Gawaita and the Baptism of Hibil-Ziwa (Vatican: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1953), 32.)"
Great significance is given to names in the scriptures.

Also see:
Who Wants to Be Jewish?
Putting on the Names: A Jewish-Christian Legacy
Biblical Baby Names
List of Biblical Names
A Hidden Message (in the names of Genesis Chapter 5)
Christian Names - Catholic Encyclopedia

Scared Vestature - To Be Clothed Upon

"And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace." (D&C 88:125)
"You shall take the garments, and put on Aaron the tunic and the robe of the ephod and the ephod and the breastpiece, and gird him with the skillfully woven band of the ephod" (Isaiah 61:10-New American Standard Bible)
Temple Garments
See Washings and Anointings

White Temple Clothes

Origen insisted, in a sermon on the book of Leviticus, that the faithful must have garments kept apart from the common clothing of the world:

Therefore, you have a priesthood because you are 'a priestly nation,' and for this reason 'you ought to offer an offering of praise to God,' an offering of prayers, an offering of mercy, an offering of purity, an offering of justice, an offering of holiness. But in order to offer these things worthily, you must have clean clothes separated from the common clothing of the rest of humanity . . . .(Origen, Homilies on Leviticus 9:1:3, FC 83:177.)

Apron, Girdle or Epod
Why do Mormons wear aprons in the Temple?
Early Christian mysteries included anointing, fig-leave aprons, garments, robes and ascensions into paradise, where hand and wrist grips took place. It is fairly common for Bible commentators to note that in the Old Testament the Hebrew word translated as "apron" (bagorah) is sometimes also translated as "girdle," and that the two words can be used interchangeably. Likewise, in the New Testament the Greek word that is translated as "apron" (simikinthion) literally means "halfgirdle." English dictionaries from the time when the Book of Mormon was being translated indicate that the words "girdle" and "apron" could be used interchangeably. 

The ephod is a Hebrew word left untranslated in the King James Bible, and in numerous other Bibles, because of the uncertainty among scholars regarding its identity, form, and function. At times, the ephod has been identified as "a special apron." This view finds support in a growing number of scholarly writings and some Bible translations have even incorporated the word apron directly into the text in place of the Hebrew word ephod.

 The fourth century Christian Father, Gregory of Nyssa, A.D. 331--395, mentions many things in the Christian mysteries, one of which was the fig-leaves apron, saying: "O Lord. . . Thou didst strip off the fig-tree leaves, an unseemly covering, and put upon us a costly garment". (Source: The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprinted, August 1979), vol. 4, p. 524, Gregory of Nyssa, A.D. 331--395, On The Baptism of Christ).
The community at Qumran of the Dead Sea Scroll fame list the 'Apron Wearers' as part of their society. See the Book: The Dead Sea Scrolls - Voices From The Dust 

Temple Robe
"Have his sons come forward. Dress them in their linen robes" (Exodus 29:8-God's Word Translation)

"A Cushion for a Crown" - Cap, Miter or Head-dress
"And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre." (Exodus 29:6-KJV)

"And let the head-dress be placed on his head and the holy crown on the head-dress." (Exodus 29:6-Bible in Basic English)

“…[T]he crown of sanctification…(the round linen cap was to act as a cushion for a metal crown during a long ceremony). Later the cap alone would suffice, since it showed that the owner was qualified to wear the ‘crown of justification.’”(Hugh Nibley, Don E. Norton, Temple and Cosmos, Deseret Book, Pg. 55)

Reportedly, the bishops anciently “wore mitres or priestly caps, after the model of the Jewish priests: which were modeled like a turban or a bonnet. Jerome described the headdress of the priests: “The fourth of the vestments is a small round cap…much as though a sphere were to be divided through the centre, and one half thereof to be put upon the head.
“…It has no peak at the top, nor does it cover the whole head as far as the hair extends, but leaves about a third of the front part of the head uncovered. It is attached by a band onto the back of the head, so as not be be liable to fall off.”(Catholic Liturgy and the Mormon Temple)

If ones live righteously, endure to the end then comes the Exaltation where they are crowned as gods and goddesses, Kings and Priests and Queens and Priestesses…and become joint heirs with Christ.
See: Deification (Theosis, Exaltation)
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:16-17)

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (II Timothy 4:8)

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12)

“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”(1 Peter 5:4)

“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Rev. 3;11)
Also see:
Crowns with Strings, Ribbons, & Lappets

Veils, the Women's Head-covering

"But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. (1 Cor. 11: 5-6)

Sash or Girdle

"And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons." (Exodus 29:9)

"You shall gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons, and bind caps on them, and they shall have the priesthood by a perpetual statute. So you shall ordain Aaron and his sons." (Exodus 29:9-New American Standard Bible)
Temple Slippers or Footwear
In the book, "The Gate of Heaven," Matthew B. Brown tells how some,

"ritual shoes in the ancient world were made of linen and could only be worn when one was standing on holy ground (compare Ezekiel 42:14; 44:19). The reason for this, evidently, was so that one would not mix common or cursed ground (see Genesis 3:17) together with holy or consecrated ground. Slippers are worn at the present time by the Christian priest of the Syrian Orthodox Church and also the Coptic Church. When the Syrian priest put on their slippers, they recite the prayer: "May my feet, O Lord God, be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace so that I may tread underfoot serpents and scorpions and all the power of the enemy, forever: (compare Genesis 3:14-15; Psalm 110:1; Isaiah 52:7; Ephesians 6:15). In the Coptic liturgy "shoes are not allowed inside the sanctuary as a sign of respect for its sanctity and as an implied expression of an inner feeling of security and absence of danger in the house of God; thus, the footwear used by...[the] priests...is a pair of slippers made of cotton, wool, or knitted material."
The officiating bishop also wore white priestly garb reminiscent of the priestly robes worn in the Jerusalem Temple. Wharton B. Marriott writes that "the dress appropriate to the most solemn offices of the holy ministry, during the primitive age, was white." He also reports that the bishops anciently "wore mitres or priestly caps, after the model of the Jewish priests." (Wharton B. Marriott, Vestiarum Christianum, the Origin and Gradual Development of the Dress of Holy Ministry in the Church (London: Rivingtons, 1868), xxxiii-xxxiv; p. 188; cf. Exodus 28:4.)

Jerome described the mitres of the Jewish priests:
The fourth of the vestments is a small round cap . . . much as though a sphere were to be divided through the centre, and one half thereof to be put upon the head . . . . It has no peak at the top, nor does it cover the whole head as far as the hair extends, but leaves about a third of the front part of the head uncovered. It is attached by a band onto the back of the head, so as not to be liable to fall off.(Jerome, Letter to Fabiola, quoted in Marriott, Vestiarum Christianum, 13-14.)

There are other articles the Catholic clergy have historically worn as part of their sacred vestments, including a girdle or sash and a stole worn over the shoulders. The stole is worn on different sides, depending on the degree within the priesthood, and is said to represent "the Stole of immortality," lost through the transgression of Adam and Eve.(Wellnitz, "The Catholic Liturgy and the Mormon Temple," 20, and references therein.)

Also See:
The Traditional Greek Folk Dances and their Ancient Roots

"Infallible Proofs" - Signs and Tokens

The "infallible proofs" spoken of in this verse are the Savior's many appearances as a resurrected being. The Greek word here means, literally, "sure signs or tokens." ("New Testament Apostles Testify of Christ." by D. Kelly Ogden and Andrew Skinner.) 

Matthew B. Brown tells us that the Greek word translated as “infallible proofs” in Acts 1:3 is a derivative of tekmerion which means “a sure sign,” “a mark,” “a token”. (All Things Restored, p. xiii, footnote #11. He uses Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words and The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.)

Tyndale's Bible, the first English Bible translated from Hebrew and Greek has "to whom also he shewed himself alive, after his passion by many tokens, appearing unto them forty days, and spake of the kingdom of God." While the 1599 Geneva Bible, the one the Pilgrims brought with them from England has, "infallible tokens." 

Isaiah uses the description of a "sure place," in his writings. “I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle. . . . And the key of the House of David will I lay upon His shoulders, so He shall open and none shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten Him as a nail in a sure place.(Isaiah 22:21–23)

Renouncing Satan in Ancient Temple Rites

In Maxwell Johnson's book on the "Documents of the Baptismal Liturgy," we find that when some of the early Christians received their initiation rites they were not only taught the story of creation but they had a confrontation with a serpent named Satan. The initiates were told during this ritual to consider the adversary to be in their immediate presence and to tell him to "depart." Thus, a victory was gained against the initiate's enemy.

From LDS temple scholar Matthew Brown we learn: The renunciation of Satan and everything associated with him is a common element in early Christian initiation texts (see Edward Yarnold, The Awe-Inspiring Rites of Initiation, 17-18, 178).

In some texts it appears that Satan was considered to be present when this renunciation occurred (see Riley, Christian Initiation, 42-43, 49). In one set of initiation texts, the candidate raises one hand while renouncing Satan (see Vellian, ed., Studies on Syrian Baptismal Rites, 93).(Matthew B. Brown, The Gate of Heaven, 203.)

"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them." (Job 1: 6)

"Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord." (Job 2: 1)

Also See:
Casting out Satan

Early Christian Garments

In the article, Gammadia on Early Jewish and Christian Garments, by John W. Welch and Claire Foley tell of many finds in archeology where the gammdia markings show up:
"Among the textile fragments excavated at Masada were the remains of pieces of fabric with L-shaped cloth markings affixed to them. Dating to before a.d.73, these are among the very earliest known examples of such marked garments"

"Gammadia have also been found in a cache of clothing believed to be himatia (shawls) that was discovered in an embankment at Dura-Europos on the Euphrates River in modern Syria. The Dura findings include another variation in the gammadia: "the ornament sometimes takes the form of a stripe ending in an arrow, which also is represented in the synagogue" ( Erwin R. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period).
Interestingly, the Talmud demands that priests execute their most sacred religious duty, that of sacrifice, by applying the blood of the sacrificial animal to the altar in a gamma pattern: "he made the single application in the shape of a Greek Gamma"" (Zebah.im 53b).
After the Lord’s ascension, Saint Mark brought Christianity to Egypt where the Coptic Church thrived and is based on his teachings. The Coptic Christians flourished in the early years of Christianity and has survived in spite of persecution down through the centuries to the present day.

In early Christian archeological finds in Egypt gammadia markings have been found on some of these ancient garments. Said to have marks or symbols on them, the Coptic tunic (shirt) has markings very similar to other markings found on garments found in other parts of the Christian world. There is a tunic-shirt that has been dated "4th to 5th century" AD. A navel mark can be seen ( - ). But also over the left breast area, is a faded ( V ) mark, or possible symbol. On the side of the right breast area is what is described as a reverse ( L ) mark or symbol. The Coptic Christians believed that "The dead" are "dressed in the clothes they had worn in life, . . . Women often had their heads covered with a veil or kerchief; men wore a cap."(Ludmila Kybalova, Coptic Textiles, (Artia, Prague: Paul Hamlyn Ltd., 1967), pp. 34, 68-69, fig.15-16. Marks or symbols in Tunic, 4 or 5th century, Pushkin Museum, Moscow; Inventory # 5823. Purchased in Egypt by V.S Golenishchev.)

Paul wrote "for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." (Gal.6:17)

And: "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus's sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh." (2 Cor.4:10-11).

Paul also likens the veil, as a type of Christ's flesh, "the veil, that is to say, his flesh." He then goes on to hint to washing & anointing ordinances, (Heb.10:16-22).

Fragments of the Lord's Gospel

Dr. Hugh Nibley wrote that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, believe that their temple mysteries, (ordinances), go way back into primitive history, and that they are as old as the human family. Furthermore, they represent "a primordial revealed religion that has passed through alternate phases of apostasy and restoration which have left the world littered with the fragments of the original structure..." Nibley says this of these fragments of the mysteries, some of them "are more and some less recognizable, but all badly damaged and out of proper context." Nibley also notes some of the explanations mentioned that early Christian fathers gave when confronted with striking parallels, plus the disturbingly close resemblances between Christianity and others, notably Egyptian, beliefs and practices. (Dr. Huge Nibley, The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, an Egyptian Endowment, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1975), explanation p. xxi.)

The Laws of God

In the article, "Secretive Mormonism" in Meridian Magazine, author, John A. Tvedtnes, senior resident scholar with Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship commented about the esoteric versus exoteric nature of the LDS temple practices:

"...some elements of the temple are so sacred that we do not discuss them publicly, but most of what goes on in the temples is well-known. One need not look far to learn that the most important such rite is the solemnization of marriage for time and all eternity and that vicarious ordinances (sacraments in Roman Catholic parlance) are performed for deceased ancestors, beginning with proxy baptism.

"Even the endowment ceremony, the one most commonly held in Latter-day Saint temples, is mostly public knowledge. Most of the teachings presented during that time derive from the Book of Moses, published in the Pearl of Great Price. During an endowment session, we are reminded of our responsibility to obey the basic laws given mankind by God, such as the law of chastity (including fidelity after marriage), the law of obedience to God’s commandments, the law of sacrifice (which culminated in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross), the law of the gospel (salvation through Christ), and the law of consecration of one’s time, talents, and other divine blessings, to building up the Lord’s work on the earth.

"Elements that are not discussed openly include ritual elements of temple prayer and the actual endowment or giving of signs, names, and tokens designed to enable one to pass the angels and ultimately to enter the presence of God. These may seem strange to most modern Christians, but they were common in early Christianity."
Also See:
The Five Celestial Laws by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw

LDS Temple Endowment IS Biblical

New Testament Refers to Being Endowed
John W. Welch explained the meaning of the Greek word Enduo/Endued/Endowed:

"What is the meaning of the word endued or endowed? In Luke 24:49, shortly after his resurrection, Jesus told his Apostles, 'I send the promise of my Father upon you,' but they were to remain in Jerusalem, 'until ye be endued with power from on high.' (see also Acts 1:4–5, 8.) The Greek word in the text is enduo.

"Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language (published in 1828) noted that the English word endue (or indue) 'coincides nearly in signification with endow, that is, to put on, to furnish... to put on something; to invest; to clothe.' The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary notes that endue means 'to put on as a garment; to clothe or cover.'(The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), 1:863.) Indeed, Joseph Smith’s diary uses the spellings endument and endowment interchangeably, as when he prayed in December 1835 that all the elders might 'receive an endument, in thy house.' (Dean C. Jessee, ed., The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1984), p. 105.)

"The Greek word enduo has two main meanings. The first is 'to dress, to clothe someone,' or 'to clothe oneself in, to put on.' Second, the word can also be used figuratively, meaning to take on 'characteristics, virtues, intentions.'(Bauer et al., Greek-English Lexicon, p. 263.)

"Thus, the endowment is a dressing not in ordinary clothes, but 'with power from on high' (Luke 24:49) and in the virtues and intentions of God. It involves the opportunity to 'put on [enedusasthe] Christ' (Gal. 3:27), so that 'this mortal [can] put on [endusasthai] immortality.' (1 Cor. 15:53.) It is possible to see both literal and figurative significance in the word enduo in connection with the desire of the pure in heart to be encircled in the robes of God’s righteousness" (New Testament Word Studies, Ensign, April 1993, pp. 28-30.)

"Be ye therefore perfect..."

John W. Welch in his article Sermon at the Temple tells how the Sermon on the Mount ties into the ordinances and the meaning of "perfect."

Interestingly, a few New Testament scholars have begun hinting that the Sermon on the Mount had cultic or ritual significance in the earliest Christian community. Betz, for example, sees the Sermon on the Mount as revealing the principles that "will be applied at the last judgment," and thinks that the Sermon on the Mount reminded the earliest Church members of "the most important things the initiate comes to 'know' through initiation," containing things that "originally belonged in the context of liturgical initiation." Indeed, the word "perfect" (teleios) has long been associated with becoming initiated into the great religious mysteries. (Hans Dieter Betz, Essays on the Sermon on the Mount, trans. L. L. Welborn (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985), ix.)

Welch explains how Christ in Matthew 5:48 invites us to become "perfect," or "the Greek word teleios, [which] when used in ritual settings means to become fully and completely initiated and introduced into the sacred experience" of ritual worship.

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." (1 Corinthians 4:1)

"Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory ." (1 Corinthians 2:6-7)

In "Temple Motifs in John 17," BYU History professor William J. Hamblin discusses the original Greek and Hebrew version of this Bible text. He shows how some of these meanings were lost in the translation of these texts into English. We discover that Christ was endowed by his Father with the power of the priesthood and that he, in turn, endows his faithful followers with this same power. All of this is done in sacred faith designed to perfect those endowed.

Also See:
LDS Temple Endowment IS Biblical

Sons of Light

In Unrolling the Scrolls—Some Forgotten Witnesses, Hugh Nibley tells about some of the early Christians writings that talk about the sacred ordinances and what the term "Sons of Light" means. Nibley explains, "that these ordinances are vital. They are not mere forms or symbols, we are told. They are analogues."

Of extreme importance is Adam as Michael. And Adam is aroused by the three sent ones. Standing with the apostles in the prayer circle, the Lord tells them, "I will teach you all the ordinances necessary that you may be purged by degrees and progress in the next life. These things make it possible for you to achieve other exaltation, but they must be performed in this life. Unless one performs them here, one cannot become a Son of Light," since the Sons of Light are by very definition those who are perfect in the ordinances. Throughout these writings, no matter where they come from, whatever part of the Old World they come from, the code word is "Sons of Light." Nobody knew what it meant until now. It means "those who have received all the ordinances." Temple ordinances are what they are. And this is the way it is explained in Second Jeu also: The sons of light are by very definition those who are perfect in the ordinances. It is interesting that this same definition applies to the once mysterious title of Nazoraean, which means the same thing.

"Until Christ came," says the Pistis Sophia, "no soul had gone through the ordinances in their completeness. It was He who opened the gate and the way of life. Those who receive these ordinances are the dispensations of the Sons of Light. And they receive whatever they desire. They are those who are upon the right hand, for it is by their faithfulness in these very things that they show that they are worthy to return and inherit the kingdom. Without the ordinances, therefore, there is no foothold or foundation or anything in this life." In First Jeu 86: "If you want to go to the Father, you must pass through the Veil."

"The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." (John 12:35-36 NIV)

"You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness." (1 Thessalonians 5:5 NIV)

"Now, as Christians, you are Light itself. Live and act as sons of Light--for the effect of the Light is seen in every kind of goodness, uprightness and truth--" (Ephesians 5: 8-9 WEY)

See Also:
Apocryphal Writings and Teachings of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Human Bodies Emit Visible Light
The Dancing Wu Li Masters (Contains some fascinating insights into the properties of light.)
The Dancing Wu Li Masters (Book)

Four Parts to the Endowment - A Test of Knowledge

Former Apostle, Elder John A. Widtsoe, explained the four distinct parts of the endowment:

"The endowment and the temple work as revealed by the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith fall clearly into four distinct parts: The preparatory ordinances; the giving of instruction by lectures and representations; covenants; and, finally, tests of knowledge. I doubt that the Prophet Joseph Smith, unlearned and untrained in logic, could of himself have made the thing so logically complete." (Widtsoe, "Temple Worship," p. 58.)

"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you … no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:2-4, 6)

"...it is noteworthy that Origen, an early Christian theologian, interpreted the word monai [mansions] as meaning 'stations or halts in the journey of the soul to God. Only after testing in theses can [the soul] proceed.' The Greek word … for 'receive' (paralambano) is also relevant to our discussion because a closely related word (paralambanein) is a 'technical term for the reception of the rites and secrets of the mysteries.'" (Matthew B. Brown--The Gate of Heaven, Insights of the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple, p. 183)

Also See:
Temple Endowment

A Seal, a Cipher, and A Name

In David Wiley’s article, ‘The Forty Day Teachings of Christ in the Books of Jeu and the Pistis Sophia: A Gnostic Endowment’ originally published online circa 1994 he explains the meanings of ‘a seal,’ ‘a cipher,’ and‘a name.’
First Jeu is dominated by the Lord teaching the disciples three things time and time again: a seal, a cipher, and a name. (1 Jeu. pp. 84, 85, 86, 91, 92, 109, 113, 118, etc.. All make similar references to coming to a special place and holding a cipher in the hand, sealing one's self with a seal, and saying a name. To quote all of the occurrences would be needlessly redundant.)
“When you come to this place, seal yourselves with this seal: . . . ,while the cipher 70331 [?] is in your hand. Furthermore say this name. . . three times, and the watchers and the veils are drawn back, until you go into the place of their Father and he gives (you his seal and name) and you cross over (the gate into his treasury).” (1Jeu. p. 83.)

The Gnostics believed they had something secret and precious, which they wanted to keep to themselves and their initiates. Ms. MacDermot's renderings of yhfoz, sfragixein, and sfragiz as "cipher," "to seal," and "seal" help preserve that aura of secrecy and mystery. However, for our purposes, a translation which is clearer, as opposed to one which better preserves atmosphere, will enhance our understanding of exactly what is going on. I found that some work with a few lexicons and context clues went a long way toward blowing away the fog of mysticism.
First consider the word Ms. MacDermot has translated "cipher," yhfoz. One lexicon (Bauer, Walter. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Second edition of the fourth revised and augmented edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1979. p. 892.) defines it as a "pebble. . .used in voting, in juries and elsewhere; a black one for conviction, a white one for acquittal." A second (Liddel, Henry G. and Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon. Clarendon Press: Oxford. 1968. pp. 892. ) gives "a pebble used for reckoning," "a counter," and "a pebble used in voting." Still a third (The Analytical Greek Lexicon. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975. p. 442. (Hereafter cited as TAGL).) renders yhfoz "a pebble variously employed" and "a pebble or stone probably given as a token." The meaning now becomes clearer. The Lord is giving His disciples something, which is "in the hand," which will be a token of their "acquittal," or their having received the necessary ordinances and instructions the Lord is giving them. Recognition of this by the watchers will be a essential step in the process of passing the watchers and going through the veil into the place of the Father. Although "cipher," which Ms. MacDermot has chosen, does create a certain atmosphere, for clarity I will use "token" as yhfoz throughout the rest of this paper. (Interestingly enough, this same word "yhfoz" is the word translated "white stone" in Rev. 2:17. " He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [it]." Read the verse again, substituting "token" in place of "white stone." With the token one receives not only a name, but a "new name.")

Next let us turn to the words rendered as "to seal" and "seal," sfragixein and sfragiz. Our first lexicon (Bauer. p.796.) gives the following for sfragixw: to "mark (with a seal) as a means of identification... so that the mark which denotes ownership also carries with it the protection of the owner." Again, to "provide with a mark of identification." The second (Liddel and Scott. p. 1742. ) gives to "authenticate a document with a seal," and to "certify an object after examination by attaching a seal." And our third lexicon (TAGL. p. 394.) renders it as "to mark distinctively as invested with a certain character." The same lexicons, on the same pages, also define sfragiz as a "seal. . .sign or stamp of approval," "impression of a signet-ring, seal," and "a seal, distinctive mark. . .a token, proof." Once again, the meaning begins to clear up. I feel safe in suggesting that Christ isn't stamping His celestial signet-ring on the fore heads of the disciples. What He is doing is giving them a sign by which they can authenticate or identify themselves as having received the ordinances and instructions to the watchers, and perhaps even to other initiates. Again, I think the words "identify" and "sign" are more easily understood than Ms. MacDermot's readings. Applying our new understanding, the passage most recently quoted would read
When you come to this place, :. . ., while the 70331 is in your hand. Furthermore say this name . . . three times, and the watchers and the veils are drawn back, until you go into the place of their Father and he gives (you his and name) and you cross over (the gate into his treasury).( Text in <> is my rendering. The name is important to know as well, as in The Gospel of Philip "If one does not acquire the name for himself, the name Christian will also be taken from him. . .[for he who receives the name] is no longer a Christian but a Christ.")

Using the tokens, names, and signs which the Lord has taught the disciples, ("Be patient and I will say it to you." Response like this to the disciples' requests to be taught greater and greater mysteries show that the ordinance itself involved oral instruction.) the receiver is allowed to approach the innermost area of the Treasury (of Light, where he will be taught a new series.

"Again you will pass in to their interior to the rank of the veils which are drawn before the great ruler (king) of the Treasury of the Light. They will give to you their great mystery and their and the great name of the Treasury of the Light. And they will be drawn back until you cross over and pass into them, until you reach the great Man, he who is the ruler (king) of this whole Treasury of Light, whose name is Jeu."2Jeu. p. 122.)

By employing the newly learned names, etc. the recipient will be enabled to pass through "until [he] reach[es] the great Man, he who is ruler of this whole Treasury of Light. . . ." Equating the ruler of the Treasury of Light and our Heavenly Father is natural, but the reference to God Himself being a "great Man" is rather unusual. (Unusual to modern Christians, perhaps, but not an uncommon theme in the literature of the time. These people understood that as children of God, we have incredible potential within us as well. Consider these quotes from the Gospel of Philip: "A horse sires a horse, a man begets a man, a god brings god." We are literally children of our Father in Heaven, or gods in embryo. What adult was there who never was a child?) However, it has a familiar ring to those acquainted with the words of the prophet Lorenzo Snow, "as man is, God once was; as God now is, man may be."( Snow, Lorenzo. Teachings of Lorenzo Snow. Bookcraft, 1984. p. 2.) President Snow explained this couplet:
"Now, how is it that God proposes to confer this mighty honor upon us and to raise us to this condition of glory and exaltation? Who are we that God should do all this for us? Why, we are just beginning to find out that we are the offspring of God, born with the same faculties and powers as He possesses, capable of enlargement through the experience that we are now passing through in our second estate. Let me illustrate. Here is an emperor sitting upon his throne, governing and controlling his empire wisely and properly. He has an infant son that sits upon the knee of its mother. That son he proposes to one day set upon his throne, to govern and control his empire. Here is that infant, perfectly helpless, not knowing how to sustain its own life, not able to walk alone, without any knowledge; and here is this mighty emperor sitting upon his throne and governing his vast empire. Who would believe that he could raise that infant up to such a condition as to make it suitable to be placed on his throne? No one would, unless he had seen such things accomplished in his experience; seen the infant develop into boyhood, and then to manhood, possessing all the powers, faculties and possibilities of its father. Now, we are the sons and daughters of God. He has begotten us in His own image. He has given us faculties and powers that are capable of enlargement until His fulness is reached which He has promised -- until we shall sit upon thrones, governing and controlling our posterity from eternity to eternity, and increasing eternally. That is the fact in regard to these matters." (Ibid, p. 2-3. )