Blood Oaths

When I was twenty I went to the LDS temple for what is called an endowment. In Mormon lingo, the endowment is where you receive your “spiritual gifts”, that enable you to pass the sentinels and enter the presence of god. Washed and anointed with oil, pronounced clean and blessed to be a “king and a priest unto the most high god, to rule and reign in the house of Israel forever” The endowment ceremony is about an hour and a half where you rehash the creation!story and make various covenants that are sworn to secrecy with signs, special handshakes, and followed by an oath to never reveal the signs and tokens or suffer your life to be taken. As you made the oath, you symbolically slit your own throat in one phase, and disembowel yourself in the other. All the while wearing the robes of the priesthood and a fig leaf apron to cover your nakedness.

Besides having to agree to all the covenants by acting out a blood oath it happens BEFORE YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY ARE. It was shockingly strange, but you move along to the veil and use those key words, signs, and tokens to pass through and enter the presence of god in the “celestial ” room. Hushed tones and reverence rule, and discussing these things is vague and symbolic in nature. Everyone around you congratulating you and telling you how wonderful it is. It wasn’t. But, trusting those that have gone on before, convinced that you just lack understanding, and being reassured that the more times you go (the next times in behalf of the deceased that missed this opportunity) the more you understand the wonderful significance of it all.

To anyone who thinks this is even remotely normal, you have a problem. The ceremony now, some 35 years later, has been dumbed down to be less offensive, but the one I went through had already been lightened several times before. The initial ceremony was vastly more ghastly, but as times changed, so did people’s ability to tolerate it. While some fought the changes, apparently god is changing how important this is to have it exactly right.

Mormon culture is a persuasive closed system, where open criticism is the road to apostasy, and questions about anything inside the approved doctrines are unwelcome.

In most cases (mine being extremely rare where my wife left with me) the mere mention of unbelief deems you an outcast, failing your priesthood and your family. Tell your wife and extended family you don’t believe, and you are told to pray, study, do not doubt, trust me, trust us, and the fear of hell from denying your testimony, losing every friend, spouse, kids, and practically every sense of your life is on the chopping block. I have one friend left after 50 years of church. But it was worth it.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

55 thoughts on “Blood Oaths”

  1. Oh, and Jim. Hubby and I invited two young Mormons in a couple of years ago. It was cold outside and we felt terrible for them – so young, innocent, and fired up on their ‘mission’. We thought they were very polite, sensible and . . Well, indoctrinated. We had a lovely chat and we tried our best to point out the weak spots of their faith without being rude. I just couldn’t help but think that they just came from a totally different place than us philosophically and they seemed to take what we said to heart. However, I’m sure they are trained to listen politely and feign agreement even though they are opposed to ‘the other side’s arguments. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Agree with thine adversary while thou art in the way with him, lest he esteem thee as thine enemy”. It is a Christian missionary tool. The real talk happens after you part ways. A bit of a two faced approach.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Remember Jim, horrible taste in clothes is highly subjective. 🙂 Our girls left strict instructions for their father when we were meeting them in Hawaii last Fall – “Tell Dad absolutely NO grey work socks with sandals!!” As it turned out, it was too damned hot for socks anyway!

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Good grief, Jim! That sounds like a weird combination of Masonic rituals, college fraternity stuff and amateur theater. Just missing the goat as ancient Master and the bit with the birdcage on your head… 👀

    How on earth did you make it through without laughing yourself into a hiccup? Or throwing yourself into the role like a hobby actor playing Caesar in a Shakespeare production?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well I grew up in it and passed through the initiations as I was expected. It was an odd thing, but promised enlightenment by those that had gone before, so I stayed the course. Who was I but a lone lad of little knowledge, and what knowledge was afforded me was drip fed with a caution that unhappiness lies outside the church. One reason alone that I know so much about Christian apologetics, was the fact that we were outsiders to mainstream
      Christianity, so I learned all of the key points and then some. I knew more about their faith than they did, to prove I was right. But in the end, people get into apologetics because of doubt, and it was only a matter of time before I had to take a peek outside the Mormon approved doctrines. When I did, I had to follow the honest route. That is my nature. I can’t defend what I know is wrong to prove I’m right. And I owe a lot to the very people that blog here with me. It was them who crushed my ideas with tons of sense and made me think for myself for the first time. Everything I believed was not me, and awakening changed my views on everything. Socially, politically, and of course, I’m now an irreligious blogger, so match, set, point!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So, the old donkey/carrot trick. Keep running, one day you might find enlightenment. Only the donkey is usually smart enough to figure out the scam after a bit. Say, 20 seconds… (very clever, your average equus asinus).
        Add the bit about the stick if you walk away … I can imagine how one might go through even the most bizarre rituals in that fear/hope state.

        If didn’t know how frighteningly well indoctrination can work, I’d wonder why that church would take such an insane risk in encouraging people to learn about other faiths and even point out their flaws!

        It obviously backfired with you – spectacularly!
        Match, set, point indeed. 👊

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well thank you. It took a while since they keep you so damn busy you never get to look up. Living in the jungle without the influences did the trick. And this group here knocked some sense into me.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Um, never knew that part. Figured Mormons were a cult of some kind.

    Polytheists have oaths but usually we do a lot of thinking before making them. And they are usually public since people need to witness them.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Intelligent millenials are so much less religious than their, perhaps, older, counterparts. Good for them! They’re simply not gonna have such homophobic attitudes. They don’t think homophobia is acceptable. That’s a very, very good thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yeah, my Pentecostal experience was short-lived, but memorable. I still have vivid memories from about 20 years ago of people bouncing around, doing their jumping jacks in the aisles while screaming and moaning. I’m a little disappointed they didn’t bring any rattlesnakes out to show their power over the serpent. Guess that’s a southern thing. Oh well.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. That’s a crazy story Jim. I attended an assembly of God in my early twenties. Not sure of any disturbing rituals like you had but they were big into speaking in tongues. I was already a little uncomfortable there with the woman who was always moaning behind me during prayer time. It was hard to keep from laughing hearing her near-orgasmic noises while shouting an occasional, “Oh yes Lord” and “Jesus you are welcome here!”

    This church would have you come to the altar so they could rub oil on your head. Then several elders would pray (chant really) over you until you started spouting out gibberish. I guess I was not as faithful as they were as I never had the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. I am glad they didn’t ask for blood oaths or secret handshakes. That would be a little much…on top of everything else they did that was too much.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Mormon is just as crazy but different. That’s funny though. I talked to Matt over at godless Iowan, and he has a training video on how to speak in tongues. He was an AOG minister and knows the ropes there. Funny funny stuff. This falls in line with Arks post today about evangelicals sounding stupid. On the outside looking in it is pretty funny, and sad at the same time. My wife’s niece was Pentecostal and she got railed on by her family because she never spoke in tongues. There is a lot of pressure on the young ones to conform to the crap. She left it and attends a different denomination now. She’s still super pious and judge mental though.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. That woman needs a skilled gentleman-friend, stat.
      Sorry.

      I can speak in tongues, though. Just give me a bottle of fine Scotch and watch me go. Fluent Swedish after five glasses, Klingon after eight. Cheerful snoring in the tongues of heaven after ten.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. @shiarrael
        I neglected to mention this woman was somewhat old back 20 years ago. If she is still alive, she’d be quite elderly. Not saying she wouldn’t be frisky but I wouldn’t want to put money on it.

        Also, your tongue-speak is quite impressive. Not sure why my old church never offered any Scotch

        Liked by 3 people

        1. As one of the female persuasion I can point out that a skilled gentleman is appreciated at any age, just the techniques change. A good driver/mechanic will know the difference between a VW Beetle, a Jaguar, and a vintage Morgan.
          Worse, if said lady never had a skilled pilot at the helm, those years (decades?) of pent up frustration would need a lot of church to find an outlet. I’d be willing to put money on it that if she’d ever had a fine gentleman at home, you’d have been spared her orgasmic sounds. Her neighbors however …

          Hum hum. Anyways.

          The Scotch-less got themselves into a bit of a bind with the whole “alcohol is the devil” thing. On the other hand, a happily snoring congregation is hard to whip into a Holy Frenzy, so…

          (Enter the Bavarian Catholics whose monks are famous for their excellent – dare I say heavenly – beer. Talk about marketing for the faith! They got me to set foot in a monastery! Prost…)

          Liked by 2 people

        1. Scottie you’d be welcome at my place any day – with or without booze!

          Dirty jokes and giggles are my idea of Valhalla though (plus chocolate ice cream), so we might end up on the religious train after all 😋

          Hugs back!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m sure there’s some really gullible people who go to those ceremonies and claim that they could “feel the presence of God” within them.

    It’s all based on the setting and the subject matter.. Some can see through it and others can not.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever done. Everyone grinning like idiots and I sat there wondering what was wrong with these people. I wanted to laugh throughout the whole process but held it in. I’m glad I opted out of that cult.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. What a silly goose. They let anyone in, as long as they pay the 10%. There was no payoff either. A very cream and white colored hotel lobby minus the amenities. What a ripoff.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. 12% fig leaf apron, 13% odd veil, 50% weird sash/robe thing, 25% protective magical underwear =100% shamefully dress up as a putz. I really hated the whole adjustment of robe. I ended up getting tangled and almost swearing.

            Liked by 2 people

  9. It is fascinating to see how a non Mormon, non religious person views these things at first glance. I guess you just don’t understand the importance. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow sounds like a cult or a club made up by young boys. I remember such a club we boys had in school. You had learn all these finger moves, made up words, and stuff to join. We grew out of that nonsense when sex became more important to us. Puberty had a way of making the club not fun. I guess some religions need to either get puberty or the leaders need dates. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very very good comment Scotty. How insightful. Wanna join my club? What’s the password? Like a scene from huckleberry Finn. Same time period too.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Reminds me of that old saying … you’re either for me or against me. Period. No ifs and or buts. Amen and amen.

    I think there’s a word for that type of thinking … begins with a “c” … hmmm … let me think on it for a minute … Ah yes!

    C.O.N.T.R.O.L.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is a manipulative setting. This is a part the missionaries never tell you about. I wonder why they save it till you’re in your seat at the temple surrounded by others that believe it? Or are afraid to say…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. There’s a video out there that somebody took from inside an endowment ceremony. I watched the whole thing, it was both really boring, and amazingly stupid. What kind of a god would care about whether you knew the correct signs or the passwords or the secret handshakes? I’ve seen mentioned that it’s just an adapted version of the Masonic ceremonies, which makes it make more sense. You aren’t learning the secret handshake to become a priest, you’re just learning it so they will let you into the club.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. True. Not sure which version you saw, but it is pretty boring. The throat slitting and the disemboweling has been removed, but that was with controversy.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I also thought it sounded similar to Masonic rituals. All very bizarre that so many people have been suckered into this. My “worst” experience in mainstream Methodist was a simple baptism!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The Mormon founder was also a mason. He said that the rituals were ancient in nature but had become corrupted. He claimed to have restored the rituals in their proper form. He was an expert at adding whatever to completion of how he thought things should be. What happened at the baptism!?

        Liked by 1 person

            1. I see all religions as cults and being about a few wanting to have power over many. Some are worse than others, for sure. My brother is a Jehovah’s Witness true believer.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. Whoa! That’s an arrogant faith from my experience. Worse than Mormon arrogance is hard to come by, but I think JWs have the advantage. Lol

              Liked by 2 people

            3. To go to the church school I needed to go to I had to be baptised. When told the Pastor was going to submerge me totally under the water and hold me there I loudly said if he did I would take him with me. No one believed me until after we waded out in the water, when he grabbed me and thrust me under the water, I kicked my feet out and took his out from under him. I was angry, and lashed out. I did not want this. I had been told I had to do do it, but this seemed a really aggressive act to me. I still remember the look on his face as we both came up from the water. I said to him “I told you I would” he replied ” worth it”. So I guess I got played. He knew what I would do and still pushed me under the water. He felt he won, and maybe at that time he did. I do not like the baptism idea. There is something creepy to it in my view. Hugs

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            4. Right on Scottie. I had a friend a little older than me that went to a Pentecostal revival to check it out and get some laughs. Everyone was getting baptized and they drug him into the water. When they put him under, he got away and swam to the other side of the lake. Lol. He was freaked out by it years later when he would tell the story. There was something wrong with those people.

              Liked by 1 person

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