Temple Penalties and Blood Oaths



NOTE: The following text refers to the 1984 endowment ritual. It is unfortunately vague regarding the proper method of representing the Execution of the Penalties associated with the Tokens and Signs of the Holy Priesthood. The penalties were represented first by the Officiator during the explanation of the "covenant and obligation of secrecy" followed by the patrons during their assumption of the same.

Following is the proper method to demonstrate them:


The Sign and Penalty of the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood


ELOHIM—The sign is made by bringing the right arm to the square, the palm of the hand to the front, the fingers close together, and the thumb extended (Officiator demonstrates). This is the sign.

The Execution of the Penalty is represented by placing the thumb under the left ear (Officiator demonstrates), the palm of the hand down, and by drawing the thumb quickly across the throat to the right ear (Officiator demonstrates) and dropping the hand to the side (Officiator drops his right hand to his side).

I will now explain the covenant and obligation of secrecy which are associated with this token, its name, sign and penalty and which you will be required to take upon yourselves. If I were receiving my own Endowment today and had been given the name of "John" as my New Name I would repeat in my mind these words, after making the sign (Officiator makes the sign), at the same time representing the execution of the penalty:

I, John, covenant that I will never reveal the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood with its accompanying name, sign and penalty. Rather than do so I would suffer (the right hand, palm down, is now placed near the throat so that the thumb is under the left ear)—my life—(the thumb is now drawn under the jaw-bone and across the throat to the right ear)—to be taken (the hand is now dropped to the side).

The Sign and Penalty of the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood


The sign is made by bringing the right hand in front of you, with the hand in cupping shape, the right arm forming a square and the left arm being raised to the square. This is the sign. (Officiator demonstrates.)

The Execution of the Penalty is represented by placing the right hand on the left breast (Officiator demonstrates), drawing the hand quickly across the body (Officiator draws his right hand from his left to right breast and drops his left hand to his left breast with the elbows of both arms facing outwards) and dropping the hands to the sides (The Officiator drops both hands to his sides).

I will now explain the covenant and obligation of secrecy which are associated with this token, its name, sign and penalty and which you will be required to take upon yourselves. If I were receiving my own endowment today and if my first given name were "David" I would repeat in my mind these words, after making the sign (The Officiator makes the sign), at the same time representing the Execution of the Penalty:

I, David, covenant that I will never reveal the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. Rather than do so I would suffer (Brief pause. Officiator places his cupped right hand on his left breast)—my life—(Brief pause. Officiator draws his right hand from his left to right breast and drops his left hand to his left breast with the elbows of both arms facing outwards)— to be taken (The Officiator drops both hands to the side).

The Sign and Penalty of the First Token of the Melchezedek Priesthood


The sign is made by bringing the left hand in front of you with the hand in cupping shape, the left arm forming a square; the right hand is also brought forward, the palm down, the fingers close together, the thumb extended and the thumb is placed over the left hip. (Officiator demonstrates the sign.) This is the sign.

The Execution of the Penalty is represented by drawing the thumb quickly across the body and dropping the hands by the sides (Officiator demonstrates).

I will now explain the covenant and obligation of secrecy which are associated with this token, it name, sign and penalty and which you will be required to take upon yourselves. If I were receiving my Endowment today, either myself or for the dead, I would repeat in my mind these words, after making the sign (Officiator makes the sign), at the same time representing the Execution of the Penalty:

I covenant in the name of the Son that I will never reveal the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood or Sign of the Nail with its accompanying name, sign and penalty. Rather than do so I would suffer—(Brief pause. Officiator places the thumb of his right hand over the left hip)—my life—(Brief pause. Officiator draws his right hand across his waist to his right hip and brings his left hand to his left hip. Both elbows face outward from the body)—to be taken.

Early Wording of the Penalties


In earlier days, the wording of the penal oaths was even more graphic:

Early Penalty of the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood


We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, or penalty. Should we do so, we agree that our throats be cut from ear to ear and our tongues torn out by our roots.

Early Penalty of the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood


We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the Seond Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, or penalty. Should we do so, we agree to have our breasts cut open and our hearts and vitals torn out from our bodies and given to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.

Early Penalty of the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood


We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, or penalty. Should we do so, we agree that our bodies be cut assunder in the mdst and all our bowels gush out.

(Sources of Information: U.S. Senate Document 486; "Endowment Oaths and Ceremonies" in Salt Lake Tribune, February 8, 1906)

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