“Endowment,” Topics and Questions (2023)
The endowment is a religious ceremony administered in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is available to adult Church members who are prepared for this sacred experience.
The endowment provides instruction, covenants, and promised blessings that offer power, purpose, and protection in daily life. It teaches about the Creation of the earth, the Fall of Adam and Eve, the plan of redemption through Jesus Christ, and our own journey back to the presence of God. The endowment helps those who receive it to follow the Savior as they strive for “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,”1 “relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.”2 Honoring the covenants of the endowment qualifies Church members to enter the covenant of eternal marriage, leading to the precious gift of eternal life.
The word endow has two related meanings: “to bestow a gift” and “to clothe upon.” In 1831 the Lord commanded the Saints to gather in Ohio, with a promise that “there I will give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high.”3 Portions of the endowment were administered in the Kirtland Temple. Beginning in 1842, the full endowment was administered to Church members in Nauvoo, Illinois. Today all members of the Church are invited to prepare to receive the endowment.
Through the endowment, Church members deepen their covenant relationship with God as they promise to follow His standards of morality, integrity, and service to others. In this sacred ceremony, Church members make covenants “to keep the law of obedience, the law of sacrifice, the law of the gospel, the law of chastity, and the law of consecration.”4 Faithfully honoring these promises helps Church members become Saints through the Atonement of Christ.5 The endowment is one way God bestows His power upon His covenant people.
President Joseph Fielding Smith said the following about the value of the endowment in our daily lives:
“If we go into the temple we raise our hands and covenant that we will serve the Lord and observe his commandments and keep ourselves unspotted from the world. If we realize what we are doing then the endowment will be a protection to us all our lives—a protection which a man [or woman] who does not go to the temple does not have.
“I have heard my father say that in the hour of trial, in the hour of temptation, he would think of the promises, the covenants that he made in the House of the Lord, and they were a protection to him. … This protection is what these ceremonies are for, in part. They save us now and they exalt us hereafter, if we will honor them. I know that this protection is given for I, too, have realized it, as have thousands of others who have remembered their obligations.”6
In addition to these blessings of daily protection, Brigham Young described the endowment in terms of its value after we have completed our mortal journey:
“Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation.”7
In his first public address as President of the Church, President Russell M. Nelson taught about the power of the endowment in terms of our mortal journey and in preparation for eternal life:
“The end for which each of us strives is to be endowed with power in a house of the Lord, sealed as families, faithful to covenants made in a temple that qualify us for the greatest gift of God—that of eternal life. The ordinances of the temple and the covenants you make there are key to strengthening your life, your marriage and family, and your ability to resist the attacks of the adversary. Your worship in the temple and your service there for your ancestors will bless you with increased personal revelation and peace and will fortify your commitment to stay on the covenant path.”8