LDS Temple and Lucifer’s Power and Priesthood
The private nature of the LDS temple Endowment ceremony provokes considerable speculation. Besides the fact that initiates learn and perform a series of rituals with direct ties to Masonry, some have been troubled by information showing that Lucifer plays a role in the LDS endowment rites.
Well, the main Mormon temple ceremony is no longer secret. It has been filmed by members of the LDS Church on at least two different occasions and made available on YouTube.1 This article refers to the “live” version of the temple ceremony filmed in the Salt Lake City Temple. This article includes minute-marker times for quotes or references to the temple ceremony to help those who wish to verify the information for themselves. You can also read a transcript of the ceremony.
Without a doubt this is a sensitive topic and we have no desire to offend unnecessarily. However, since Mormons themselves have made this information public, and since many Mormons have approached us and expressed concerns over the LDS temple rituals, we wish to address it for their spiritual benefit. We also want non-Mormons to have an accurate, factual understanding of what happens behind closed doors.
Lucifer in the Temple
Lucifer does appear in the ceremony—well, a person playing the role of Lucifer. He comes to tempt Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (21:45). Eve takes the forbidden fruit at Lucifer’s suggestion, eats it, and pressures Adam to eat it also. Adam acquiesces. Up to this point the story loosely follows the Bible (Genesis chapter 3) except for the Mormon addition to the story that Adam must disobey God and eat or they won’t be able to obey God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. This is consistent with the LDS teaching that the Fall was a noble and necessary act. This LDS doctrine directly contradicts Christian teaching from the Bible that says the Fall was an act of sinful rebellion that brought all of creation under the curse and corruption of sin. In a separate article we address the problematic and unbiblical LDS teaching on the Fall of man.
When Lucifer appears in the Mormon temple ceremony he is wearing an apron. When Adam asks him about it Lucifer boldly replies: “It is an emblem of my power and Priesthoods” (25:15). So, there is no ambiguity here—the apron has nothing to do with God; it is an emblem of Satan’s power and priesthoods. A few minutes later, when they hear God coming, Lucifer tells Adam and Eve to make themselves aprons and hide (25:45). Adam replies, “Come, let us hide,” and at that point in the ceremony everyone is told to put on their aprons. And they do. So, for the rest of the ritual, on top of their temple undergarments with the masonic-type markings, and on top of their white temple clothes, temple patrons wear a dark green apron—in obedience to Lucifer and symbolizing his power and priesthoods.
This stands in stark contrast to what happens in the Bible: God removes the fig-leaf coverings that Adam and Eve make and replaces them with animal skins He provides. This foreshadows and represents the covering for sins provided by Jesus when he was slain on the cross as the Lamb of God (see John 1:29; Hebrews 9:22).
Latter-day Saints are NOT in League with Lucifer
Now let me make something clear. Temple-worthy Mormons do not consider themselves in league with Lucifer, nor do they see Satan in any kind of positive light. He is their enemy, a liar, deceiver, and tempter of evil. However, although they generally do not realize the implications of their actions, they have implicitly aligned themselves with Lucifer’s teachings, and they have voluntarily taken on the emblem of his power and authority and put it over everything related to the LDS God’s power and priesthood authority. At no point in the ceremony do they reject the apron or remove it. They wear it every time they go through the ceremony, and they expect to be buried in it.
This should trouble and sadden anyone who desires to be a whole-hearted follower of Jesus Christ. The fig-leaf apron represents man’s attempt to deal with his sin and separation from God—and to do so apart from God. In the temple ceremony it further represents Satan’s ploy to get man to provide a covering for sin on his own apart from God.
Have sincere, dedicated LDS church members ever considered the implications of this act of obedience to Lucifer for their spiritual lives?
Do You Still Struggle with Sin and Unworthiness?
So here is where I want to talk directly to temple-worthy Latter-day Saints. How worthy do you feel right now of eternal life in the presence of Heavenly Father? How are you doing keeping all the commandments? When you are honest with yourself, how much does sin characterize and control your life and relationships? No, not the obvious stuff like murder, or adultery and fornication, but the subtler, easier to hide stuff, like your thought life, being angry enough to wound and damage your spouse and kids, or a secret addiction to pornography, or getting emotional and social satisfaction from relationships outside your marriage. And yet, Jesus did say those things were the same as being guilty of murder and adultery; they are happening at the level of your heart (see Matthew 5:21-30), but you’re not any less guilty. In fact, Scripture says that whoever keeps the whole law and breaks just one commandment is guilty of breaking it all (James 2:10).
So do you ever feel like you should be doing better? Do you feel like you have to wear a mask, to keep up appearances? Do you feel like even your best, closest relationships are marred by a lack of transparency, intimacy, and authenticity; that if people really knew you they would reject you? Do you find yourself feeling frustrated, fearful, and fake?
The Solution is to Get Rid of the Apron
Satan’s solution to sin is self-effort. “Make you aprons” is what Lucifer tells Adam and Eve in the Endowment ceremony. But according to Scripture you can’t cover or resolve sin with self-effort: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.… But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6, 8). Christ did for us what we were powerless to do for ourselves. But, you say, what about the atonement? Christ shed his blood for our sins. Very true. But how do you get the atonement applied to your life, your sin, and your relationships? LDS leaders have said things like,
The demands of justice for broken law can be satisfied through mercy, earned by your continual repentance and obedience to the laws of God (Ensign, Nov. 2006, p. 42, emphasis added).
So, according to LDS Apostle Richard G. Scott, any mercy from God must be earned by continual repentance and obedience. Can anyone do this, continually?
Please consider also this quote on the Atonement from an official LDS Church website:
Jesus Christ did what only He could do in atoning for our sins. To make His Atonement fully effective in our individual lives, we must have faith in Christ, repent of our sins, be baptized and confirmed by one having authority, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, obey God’s commandments, receive sacred ordinances, and strive to become like Him. As we do these things through His Atonement, we can return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father forever.
The LDS Church teaches that to get the full effects of the atonement in your life you have to do stuff, a lot of stuff, and make sure it is the right stuff, given to you by the right people. You have to contribute quite a bit in order to make it work. This is Lucifer’s apron.
Trade the Apron for the Gift of Perfect Righteousness
Contrast the LDS teaching with God’s testimony found in the Bible:
- “he [God] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5).
- “For by grace (unmerited favor) you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
The Heavenly Father of the Bible invites you to make a trade. You give Him your sinful thoughts, your selfish actions, your imperfection, your murder, adultery, and all the other sin that blackens your soul, and in exchange He will give you the perfect righteousness of His Son Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul said it like this:
We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)
It’s a package deal: you get Christ’s perfection credited to you, and with it you get all your sins forgiven (past, present and yes, all the future ones too), adoption as a child of God, total worthiness and acceptance by God, and the promise—yes, the guaranteed promise—of eternal life in His presence. What can this mean for you?
What Ditching the Apron Can Mean for You
It means you get to stop trying to earn mercy. You don’t stop seeking to obey God, but you do stop trying to make yourself good enough to be forgiven. It means you no longer have to pretend you are someone you’re not. You no longer have to measure up to a man-made religious standard that’s not from God. The pressure to gain worthiness is off. God loves you and accepts you with the same love and acceptance He has for His Son Jesus, because Jesus paid for your forgiveness and perfect righteousness. The change happens from the inside out. See, as long as you have to contribute something to your own worthiness, the haunting question is “Have I done enough?” Meanwhile, we pose, pretend, and either envy the people we think are doing better than we are or judge the people we think are doing worse. So now we’ve added envy and judgmentalism to our list of transgressions. The sin just keeps piling up, and, as long as we are still sinning, we are guilty of breaking the whole law – so perfection is the only answer. But, “Nobody’s perfect, right?”
Well, not exactly. Jesus was perfect, and he was perfect so he could give his perfection to us as a gift. Consider the completed action in this Scripture: For by a single offering he [Jesus] has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (Hebrews 10:14).
Will We Listen to Lucifer or Jesus?
Lucifer says, “Make you aprons.” In effect, do some of it yourself—it’s the only way to preserve some semblance of pride, dignity, and self-respect, and to gain for yourself what you need. That is quite consistent with the instructions every Latter-day Saint is given before going through the temple endowment ceremony.
Your Endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you, 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 the tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and thus gain your eternal exaltation. (7:05)
Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). In effect, “I’ve done it for you, all of it. Now are you willing to humble yourself enough to simply take it?”
As long as you are trying to contribute anything of your own to merit God’s provision of eternal life in His presence, you are rejecting the gift of Jesus Christ’s finished work on your behalf.
Maybe the reason your life and relationships are not all you know they should and could be is because you’re still spiritually tied to Lucifer’s apron strings. When you’re ready to be free here’s what you do. Call out in humility to Jesus, tell him you’re sorry for trying to contribute to your own worthiness and that you accept God’s forgiveness, perfection and eternal life as free gifts. When you do Jesus will cut your spiritual ties to Lucifer forever. Then feel free to let us know—we’d love to provide all the help and support we can. You can also read articles that explain more, or contact us directly.
Jesus said: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). (Nowhere in the Scriptures does Jesus say anything about an apron…or grips…or signs and tokens.) You can trust Jesus.
1. Other audio recordings exist, as well as transcripts of the ceremony allowing multiple ways to verify the accuracy of the content.