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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Timeline of LDS Ordinance Changes

The book "The Development of LDS Temple Worship: A Documentary History" is indispensable. I highly recommend owning it if historic modifications to temple worship interest you. Most of this information was found with the help of that book, but it's not the only resource.

"A man may act as proxy for his own relatives; the ordinances of the Gospel which were laid out before the foundations of the world have thus been fulfilled by them, and we may be baptized for those whom we have much friendship for; but it must first be revealed to the man of God, lest we should run too far." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:366)

"Now the purpose in Himself in the winding up scene of the last dispensation is that all things pertaining to that dispensation should be conducted precisely in accordance with the preceding dispensations.... He set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:208)

"Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles." (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, pp412-422)

1841, Jan 19: "And I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house..." (D&C 124:42)

Before 1855: "The earliest accounts of the Nauvoo temple endowment indicate that initiatory washings followed a literal Old Testament model of actual bathing. Large tubs of water are specified in the separate men's and women's rooms. The anointing was performed by liberally pouring consecrated oil from a horn over the head and allowing it to run over the whole body." (The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship, p 81)

Before 1855:  Initiates were given an unmarked garment during the initiatory. The officiator would cut the markings in the garment, and the recipient would then go and hem the marks later at home. These garments were one piece (needed to be steped into via the neck) and full body (to the wrist and to the ankle) and could only be makde of white cotton, flax, or wool. Those who shortened or modified their garments were not allowed into the temple. (See "LDS Temple Worship" by Anderson)

1855, May: Endowment house opens. Only living ordinances are allowed unti 1876 and patrons can only come once.

1856: Baptisms for dead resumed after 20 year pause.

1867, Jan: Second Annointings performed for the first time after Nauvoo.

1876: St George temple is dedicated. Elder Wilford Woodruff begins proxy endowments.

1877: Brigham Young gives instruction that patrons who have already received their living ordinances can return to the temple but only "passing through as visitors" and "not wearing Temple clothing."

1877, Jan 15: Wilford Woodruff, Brigham Young, Jr., John D.T. McAllister, and L. John Nuttall write down the endowment script for the first time. It takes two months for them to agree on the text.

1877, Feb 1: Wilford Woodruff begins the practice of wearing white while officiating. Just one month prior, President Young had reiterated the previous practice of wearing normal clothing while officiating in the temple, which had been the practice since Joseph's time.

1884: Pres. John Taylor declares that a woman married to a man of another faith should not wear garments and should not officiate in the temple.

1887, June 8: Wilford Woodruff writes "we ought to follow out, as far as we can, the pattern laid down by our leaders. I condiser that if there ever was any man who throoughly understtod the principle of the Endowments it was Brigham Young. He had been with Joseph Smith from the beginning of the Endowments to the end; and he understood it if any man did. And before his death he required me to write in a book every Ordinance in the Church and Kingdom of God, from the first to the last...and President Young corrected it all until he got through. Then he said to me, 'Now, there you have a pattern of all the Ordinances and Endowments for every Temple we shall build, until the coming of the Son of Man.' Now if I ever have anything to do, or to say, in any Temple on the earth, concerning Endowments, I would say: follow the pattern that President Young has set us; and not deviate from it on iota....While on the other hand, if every man...introduces his own form and ceremonies, our Temple work would be as diverse as the sectarian world and God would not appro[ve] it."

1894: "It has been the practice to mark the shirt, but we think this unnecessary as it is not strictly a part of the Temple clothing. The marking of the garment should be done in the washing room and not at the veil;" (Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith to Lorenzo Snow, Aug 31 1894) Since the beginning the garment symbols were cut into the garment when the garment was placed upon the patron for the first time. Brigham Young also instructed to cut the shirt over the garment.

1905: President Joseph F. Smith instructs that sealings for the dead cannot be performed except for those who were married in life. Also, ordinances for the dead are not to be performed for those who committed murder, suicide, or were excommunicates except by permission of the temple president.

1904-1907: "...the endowments have never changed and can never change; as I understand it; it has been so testified, and that Joseph Smith Jr., himself was the founder of the endowments." (Elder Reed Smoot, Reed Smoot Case, vol. 3, p. 185)

1912: President Joseph F. Smith says "The Saints should know that the pattern of endowment garments was revealed from heaven, and that the blessings promised in connection with wearing them will not be realized if any unauthorized change is made in their form, or in the manner of wearing them."

1915, Mar 10: "The pattern of the temple garment was given by revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith." (Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, and Charles W. Penrose to Arthur C. Smith)

1916: A woman who marries a non-member is not allowed to be endowed. In LDS couples, women are not allowed to be endowed before their husbands.

1922, May 31-June 3: Apostle George F. Richards makes the first significant changes to ceremony since 1877. Among them "the robes should be placed on the left shoulder first and then changed to the right shoulder once only before entering the Terrestrial room; also that Aaronic and Melchizedek be used instead of lower order of the Melchizedek and higher order of the Aaronic...This on my own suggestion." (George F. Richards diary, June 3, 1922) "I presented the suggestions of a change in the order of robing and in the wording of the ordinances and lecture which were by vote approved. This order is to place the robe on the left shoulder at that point in the Telestial room when formerly it was placed on the right shoulder, and change onto the right shoulder at that point in the ceremony in the Telestial room where at present it is changed onto the left shoulder---there will be no other changing of the robes [previously there was an additional switch back to the right shoulder]. The ceremonies and Lecture will be changed to conform..." (George F. Richards diary, June 7, 1922). "I represented having discussed with associates in the temple the advisability of instituting a change in the procedure of placing the Endowment Robes on the individuals receiving endowments the present method being to first pace the robe on the right shoulder, subsequently change it to the left shoulder, and later again back to the right shoulder. The proposed change would be to place the robe first on the Left shoulder, ...then to change it to the Right shoulder,...thus obviating one of the changes heretofore made, and more effectively indicating transition from the lower to the higer orders of the Priesthood. After considering carefully the proposed change, the [1st] Presidency decided unanimously that from that time on the Robe should first be placed on the Left shoulder, and then be changed to the Right shoulder..." (George F. Richards memorandum, June 7 1922) His changes are announced to all temple workers on Aug 14.
1922, Sept: Apostle George F. Richards "spent the day at the Temple where I read carefully all the ordinances used in the temples as changed and corrected and noted 18 times which I think need changing." (Ibid, Oct 5 1922) He reports his changes were accepted and adopted. Until this time, the covenants and the instructions regarding the prayer circle and veil were unscripted. Richards' work included writing a script for these portions.

1923, April: Garment is modified: Collar flap removed. Tie-strings are replaced with buttons, and women's garments are shortened to the elbows and knees.

1923, June 4: Salt Lake Tribune reports, "Encasing the lower limbs the old-style garment reaches to the ankles and is looked upon by young members as baggy, uncomfortable and ungainly. The young of the gentler sex complained that to wear the old style with the new and finer hoisery gave the limbs a knotty appearance. It was embarrassing in the view of the generally accepte sanitary shorter skirt. Permission is therefore granted by the first presidency to shorten the lower garment. Also buttons are permitted to take the place of the tie-strings.....Instead of the old-style coarse, unbleached, irritating material of which temple garments were once made, the finer knitted goods, and even sliks, are now used. These materials and modified styles are officially approved, but such alterations are optional with each individual, and by no means compulsory, church officials desire it understood."

1923, June "For some time past the First Presidency and Council of Twelve have had under consideration the propriety of permitting certain modification in the temple garment, with the following result: After careful and prayerful consideration it was unanimously decided that the following modifications may be permitted, and a garment of the following style be worn by those Church members who wish to adopt it, namely: 1) Sleeve to elbow. 2) Leg just below knee. 3) Buttons instead of strings. 4) Collar eliminated. 5) Crotch closed. It may be observed that no fixed pattern of Temple garment has ever been given, and that the present style of garment differs very materially from that in use in the early history of the Church, at which time a garment without collar and with buttons was frequently used."14: (First Presidency letter to bishops)

1923: "When Joseph Smith received the endowments and revelation from the Lord to be given to his peope by authority, he also received instructions as to how to make this garment. None had ever seen anything like it and the sisters who made it were under his direction and when it was submitted to him, he said that it was right and the way it had looked to him [in his mind] and he accepted it. This garment had a collar and it had strings to tie it and sleeves that came to the wrist, not to the hand, but about an inch above, and the leg came down to the ankle joint. This was the pattern given and it is right for Aunt Eliza Snow was the governess and seamstrees [sic] in his house at the time the first garments were made and heard the instructions to the sisters. Thus the Kingdom of God rolls on and the living authorit[ies] are the ones who can make changes in the revealed work of the Lord to answer the purposes of the day in which they live. Today there is a change in the garments that can be made outside of this Holy House in the garments we wear on our bodies. This garment is called the modified or permitted garment and the pattern of this garment I will point out to you....In days past there was a great variety in the way they made the garments as then they were always made from cloth. President Taylor prayed to the Lord that they might be permitted to use the knitted garment and they could all be of the same pattern. They might vary a little, but the garments were all similar and when they made these garments, many people questioned the change from the cloth garment to the knitted garment. It was because the living authority said we might....The [new] garment is not too low in the neck, just a nice, modest neck, but wieth collar omitted. Instead of being to the wrist, they come to the elbow, and the leg instead of coming to the ankle, comes below the knee, always covering the knee so that the mark placed by the holy Piresthood can come over the knee, for that is where i[t] should be worn....When you wear anything besides these two approved patterns you are wearing only a piece of underwear which is not a garment and you are placing upon your body something with the marks of the Holy Priesthood where these marks should not be placed for it is not approved of nor accepted by the authority of God. These are vital questions and thousands of people are being deceived and are wearing something that exposes their bodies and des[e]crates the marks of the Holy Priesthood." (Zina Y. Card, "Garments", Temple Instructions)

1924, June 19: St. George temple president David H. Cannon says that he responded to Elder Richards' request to implement the temple changes by saying, "Pres. Young had 20 men revise the ceremonies of the ordinances. Pres Young said 'we are going to give endowments for the dead for the first time and we want to give you the ceremonies as they were given by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Nauvoo Temple.' These endowments were received from the Lord by the Prophet Jos Smith in the Nauvoo Temple..." Prest Cannon referred to the President's book which contained all the ceremonies of the Temple ordinances...which we have been using since this Temple opened 47 years ago, and when we came to talk to President Richards, he said that was wrong....President Cannon stated that President Richards...said 'you must either conform to our method or we to yours.' Said Prest Richards told him that the Presidency of the Church and the twelve Apostles were the presiding authorities of in [sic] the Church at present, and they must stand at the head and be responsible for the direction of the affairs of the Church, and the parts in the ordinances of the Temples must be rendered as they have directed. Said Prest Richards instructed him to gather up all the old rulings and instructions and burn them up..." (St George Temple Presidency Meeting Minutes)

1927, Feb 15: "At request of President Grant we have already adopted some of the changes decided upon, and it will be in order for you to do the same. In sealing for the dead, whether one or both be dead, omit the kissing. Omit from the prayer in the circle all references to avenging the blood of the Prophets. Omit from the ordinance and lecture all reference to retribution....This letter is written with the approval of the Presidency." (George F. Richards to the President of the St. George Temple.)

1930: Garment is modified: Men's garments are shortened to knees and elbows, but full length (ankle and wrist) garments are required in the temple.

1934: Women married to non-LDS men are allowed to obtain a temple recommend if they receive permission from their husbands.

1934: "The temple ordinances were revealed as many other things have been revealed to the Prophet....There have been no changes in the garment. Fundamentally it is like it was in the beginning. Lenthening or shortening of the sleeve is not a change really. It is just a minor thing, in line with our needs, especially in the summer time; but that does not make any difference to the garment itself. It is a covering for my body, representing covenenats I have made. We make entirely too much of the so-called changes. There have been no changes to the ideas." (John A. Widstoe, "Answers to Seminary Teachers' Questions," 1934 pp 32, 33)

1936, Apr 22: "We recommend that we authorize the wearing of garments without sleeves which conform in all other respects to the pattern at present agreed- upon, provided, however, that this modification, if adopted, shall not be construed to permit the wearing of mere shoulder straps....We make this recommendation somewhat reluctantly and with deference only because we have convinced ourselves that it will tend to bring about more respect for instructions given for the wearing of the garment on the part of many members of the Church....We fell sure that such a modification will greatly please many good women throughout the Church, and we have not been able to see that we are yielding any vital thing in this slight change. Very short sleeves are now permitted, but such short sleeves are just enough to carry an undesirable display of the garment with modern styles of clothing....We recommend that a definition be given in the temple of the symbolism and significance of the various marks in the garment. We believe that an understanding on the part of those entitled to wear the garment of these sacred markings will tend greatly to bring about more reverence for the garment itself. The best interpretation which has come to us up to this time has been supplied by President McKay. It is as follows: A. The square: Honor, integrity, loyalty, trustworthiness. B. The compass: An undeviating course in relation to truth. Desires should be kept within proper bounds. C. The navel: That spiritual life needs constant sustenance. D. The kness: Revernce [sic] for God, the source of divine guidance and inspiration." (George F. Richards, Joseph Fielding Smith, Stephen L. Richards, and Melvin J. Ballard, Committee Report to the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles, Apr 22 1936)

1937: 1st Presidency decides to disallow live baptisms in temples, which to this time were allowed.

1938, Jul 20: "....The so-called should strap [garments] are not allowable." (First Presidency Letter)

1939, Mar 13: "As you are aware, a few years ago the Temple Covenant of chastity was modified so as to permit faithful, worthy women of the Church whose husbands have not received the Endowment to go to the Temple for their own endowments and not be violating their covenant by living with their husbands thereafter, to whom they have not been given of the Lord in the authority of the Holy Priesthood. Young unmarried women are also affected by the foregoing named action, so, if they marry outside the Temple after receiving their endowment they will not be violating their covenants." (George F. Richards letter to Heber J. Grant)

1940: Ring ceremony removed from sealing ordinance

1940: Rooms with altars at which individuals could pray privately repurposed.

1955-1989: Filmed version of the endowment, a creation of then temple dept. member Gordon B. Hinckley, includes 3 minutes of Disney's film Fantasia.

1955, Nov 4: "SPECIFICATION OF APPROVED GARMENTS: 1. The material used shall be white and of such texture as to constitute a "covering" of the body. (Transparent nets and similar materials not permitted.) 2. The pattern shall in general conform to that of the ceremonial garment used in the temple with the following express modifications thereof permitted; but none others: The legs of the garment may be shortened from ankle length to a length extending merely below the knee. The sleeves may be shortened from wrist length to [short-sleeved]. Collars, as provided for the ceremonial garment, may be eliminated. Buttons and other acceptable fasteners may be substituted for strings. The crotch may be closed. Side-leg or shoulder openings may be provided instead of front and back openings or any combination of these openings is permissible. 3. The so-called sleeveless and shoulder strap patterns are now allowable. 4. It is permissible to use a wide leg, provided it conforms in all other particulars to specifications, and provided it is not designated as a sleeping garment." (First presidency letter to European mission presidents)

1955, Dec 15: First Presidency sends letter requesting more brethren to perform ordinances, as many more female vicarious work is being done precluding sealings. Emphasis is made on sending "unemployed or retired brethren" who could be paid by the temple president 90 cents for each endowment session.

1957, Oct 6: "[The endowment] is seldom, if ever, really comprehended by our young folks when they first go through the Temple. I think the ceremony can be presented more effectively, but before any changes are made they will be presented to the members of the Temple Committee." (David O McKay diary)

1959, Mar 16: "Realizing the burden that is placed upon the stake president in the matter of signing recommends to the temple for worthy members of the Church residing in his stake, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, in recently considering the matter, decided to authorize counselors in stake presidencies to share this responsibility with the stake president, with the understanding that the brethren of the stake presidency shall make careful interrogation of and investigation regarding each one who seeks a recommend to the temple, in an effort to avoid permitting unworthy people to enter the House of the Lord. It should be understood that this permission does not extend to bishops' counselors, except in cases where the bishop is away from the ward or otherwise unavailable." (First presidency letter to stake presidents)

1959, July 15: "We enclose herewith a copy of the adoption ceremony which has been prepared for use in the various temples in lieu of the form you have heretofore used for this ordinance. You will note that there are some changes in the copy of the ceremony as herewith enclosed, which changes we feel are vital and of such a nature as to make the form more comprehensive and to give greater significance to the ordinance. We shall be pleased to have you replace the form that you now have in your books with this copy we are sending herewith." (First presidency to temple presidents)
Late 1950s: Gary Carlson: "What happened in these early days really when we started working with Brother [Hugh B.] Brown, is that they asked us to look at some basic concepts. We worked with the people in the Genealogical Society and did what [we] thought were some very simple calculations such as estimating how many people have been born on the earth. Some estimates were around seventy billion. At the time we were doing about one million endowments per year in the temples. One million goes into seventy billion an awful lot of times. We made some charts and some fancy overheads and so on to try to explain to the Brethren and help them understand that the numbers get very large, if you assume we need to do the genealogical work for everybody...The figures showed that if the Church kept on growing the way it was, then every adult member of the Church could spend eight hours a day in the temple seven days a week all of his life and we would never come up to the rate of new births in the world. Even if we were all in the temple all day, we'd still be falling behind. We must have made a half dozen presentations to various groups trying to just get that idea across...some of the Brethren thought we were tampering with doctrine. They were very nervous about our inferences. (Q: You mean doctrine in the sense of who is responsible for geneology research, or other doctrine?) The family responsibility was the initial one that came up; I remember one time we made a presentation to the Quorum of the Twelve and I don't remember who it was, but one of the Brethren said, 'Now Brother Carlson, you mean to tell me that you think that I am not responsible for my direct ancestors?' I said, 'Now, brother, I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying that there are seventy billion names to be done, and if you have to do them all, we're not going to make it. Something has to change.'...One of the earlier questions...was whether we could separate the physical processing in the temples as we could separate it in the computer. That is, could you do initiatory work separate from endowments and separate from sealings, et.c?...some of the Brethren thought we were a bunch of heretics....Brother [Harold B.] Lee was very disturbed by the idea [of performing vicarious ordinances out of order]. At a meeting when he first clearly understood what we were suggesting, I remember him saying, 'Now you mean to tell me, brethren, that you can give someone his endowments before he's had the washing and anointing?'...he was very unhappy with that. (Q: In effect that's what happens now, isn't it?) That's correct. In the temple now we don't care if you seal them first and baptize them next, endow them next, and wash and anoint them next. The sequence doesn't matter." (Gary Carlson oral history Jan 15 1980 pp 8, 10, 25 from Buerger Papers)

1960, Feb 1: "One letter I dictated was to a woman in answer to her question about the wearing of the garments while sun bathing. I said to her: 'The wearing of the garment is a personal responsibility, and conditions that justify temporary removal should be determined by each person.'" (David O McKay diary)

1961: About this same time, in 1961, we were down to a point where we were so short of names that literally we were running backwards and forwards to the Salt Lake Temple almost on a daily basis taking the names for the next day. The alternatives were that we would have to do something drastic in providing names or we would have to close the temples or decrease the number of sessions they had. When that was placed before the Brethren, Presiden McKay said that the temples must not close. Therefore the Geneological Society would be responsible for keeping those temples open and supplynig names....So then really what we were doing is performing ordinances and these were being held until a person proved himself worthy to accept them. Now if that was a true concept, then why couldn't we go ahead and perform ordinances not necessarily in the same sequence as we had been doing for the living? This concept would enable us to take a christening record and not only perform the baptism and endowment, but also seal the child to his parents from that one record. In doing that we would be sure that the child would be sealed to his correct parents. We wouldn't have to worry about grouping them. In other words, if we sealed every child to his parents and assumed we had all the records of the whole world, in the end we would have sealed everyone in the world. Well, I took that concept to the Brethren....they decided that is was a correct concept and that we should pursue it. (Q: What percentage of the names for the ordinances in the temples does the Genealogical Dept now prepare?) Seventy-six. (Q: You mentioned that in May of 1972 a committee had been appointed to investigate endowment procedures in the temple. I was wondering what this comittee did.) Well, I think that this was a committee probably headed by Brother Howard W. Hunter to look at some of the procedures which were being followed in the temple with some recommendations to be made to the First Presidency as to how maybe those procedures could be streamlines. That kind of a report would have gone directly to the First Presidency and I wouldn't really know what was proposed." (George Fudge oral history, Jan 29-30 1976, pp 15, 17, 19, Buerger Papers).

1962, Apr: "Effective since March 7, 1962, the daily schedule of the endowment sessions in the Salt Lake Temple has been reduced to five each day Monday through Friday....Furthermore, sisters will be permitted to perform not more than one endowment each day." ("Special Salt Lake Temple Notice," Messenger)

1964, 21 Feb: "I asked President [Joseph Fielding] Smith, 'Is it wrong to wear the string tie garments outside the temple?' President Smith looked at me for several moments and then unbuttoning the third button in his shirt, brought out one of the ties on a pair of old style temple garments and said, 'This is what we should be wearing---the Lord gave them to us, and so this is what I wear.' I said, 'I have worn the old style garments for two years now and some of the ignorant brethren have accused me, so now I wear a tee shirt over them.' President Smith then said, 'When the Lord gave the garments to us they had strings. I have never worn a button pair; however, I don't say those with buttons are not garments.'" (W. Cleon Anderson, notarized statement, in Buerger Papers)
1965, Jan 1: New names are standardized: any patron of a given gender receiving a new name in any temple on a given day will receive the same name as all other members of that gender. Prior to this the new name was individual. This is done to facilitate record keeping. (Development of LDS Temple Worship, p 389)

1965, May 4: President McKay addresses an inconsistency in the temple veil ceremony; some workers in some temples embrace the patron as historically practiced. Others found it was "offensive and humiliating to some of the sister patrons" and modified it for their sake. (David O McKay diary)

1965, May 14: 1st presidency replaces string garment used in temples; adds crotch, buttons instead of strings, and a collar (which was present on earlier garments but subsequently removed). (David O McKay diary)

1965, Jun 5: President David O. McKay writes: "...God is unchangeable, the same yesterday, today and forever... The great mistake made down through the ages by teachers of Christianity, is that they have supposed they could place their own private interpretation upon scriptures, allow their own personal convenience to become a controlling factor, and change the basis of Christian law and practice to suit themselves. This is apostacy." (The Prophet's Message, Church News, June 5, 1965)

1966, July 6: 1st presidency letter states that although civilly married couples normally have to wait one year for a sealing, this is usually waved for those whose parents are non-members so that parents can see the wedding. (1st Presidency letter)

1966, Aug 30: Policy of only doing work for those who have not murdered, committed suicide, or been excommunicated is recinded. All names are cleared for vicarious work "except those of known Negro blood." (1st Presidency Letter)

1966, Aug 30: 1st Presidency announces to stake presidents and missions that those who work at casinos are not to have administrative callings or temple recommends.


1968: "No jot, iota, or tittle of the temple rites is otherwise than uplifting and sanctifying. In every detail the endowment ceremony contributes to covenants of morality of life, consecration of person to high ideals, devotion to truth, patriotism to nation, and allegiance to God." (Elder James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord, 1968, p. 84)


1969, Feb 19: President [N. Eldon] Tanner said the suggestion has been made that the temple ceremonies for the dead be shortened to do away with repetition. This would not pertain to the living but only the dead. The brethren who have considered the matter say that it would not in any way detract from the importance of the covenants, promises and ceremonies. President Tanner said that if I felt that the suggestion is worthy of consideration there could be arranged a condensed version of these ceremonies for presentation to me for my approval. President Tanner said that Elders Howard W. Hunter, Gordon B. Hinckley and Theodore M. Burton think it could be done very well and he believed that Brother Richard L. Evans felt the same way. President [Hugh B.] Brown suggested that these brethren be asked to bring a copy of the present ceremony and also a copy of the proposed ceremony so that comparisons could be made. I said this might be done." (David O McKay diary)

1969, Mar 18: "President Tanner referred to approval given by the First Presidency for the wearing of the new style garment in the temple. He mentioned that the question had been raised in connection therewith as to the use of the new style garment in place of the so-called ceremonial garment in the washing and anointing rooms. The question was raised as to whether the procedure which has been followed over the years as to the manner in which the garment should be placed on the individual, one leg at a time, etc., is a part of the ceremony. The brethren did not feel that this is a part of the ritual. It was agreed to announce this new policy regarding the garments to the General Authorities in their meeting on Thursday, March 27th." (David O McKay diary)

1969: Brethren debate the cognative dissonance of "place[ing] on the individual...the so-called ceremonial garment telling him that he must wear it the rest of his ife and then giving permission for him to immediately replace this garment with the modified garment normally worn by members of the Church" (David O. McKay's diary, Apr 8, 1969)

1969, Oct 23: "President [N. Eldon] Tanner mentioned proposed changes in the dialogue in the temple rituals, some of which he said had been implemented and some will be implemented on the tape and film that are being prepared. He said that some of these are intended to save repetition and others to clarify the statements made. He said the changes proposed were minor, and mentioned one or two changes as an illustration of what it is proposed to do. President Tanner said that a few of these suggested changes had been presented to President McKay some time ago by Elder ElRay L. Christiansen and had received his approval. Elder [Harold B.] Lee said that we must assume that all that has been done is under the inspiration of the Almighty to the Presidency and the Twelve, which is the legislative body of the Church. He said, 'If you will tell us that you have that inspiration and you now bring that for our approval, I will have no question, but when you sit down to make changes in some things that we have had for a whole century, I have some reservations.' The brethren discussed at some length the various parts of the ceremony and proposed changes, but there was some opposition expressed to the proposal to make changes at this time, especially without reading carefully and discussing the proposed changes. Elder Romney said he had confidence in the President, and that everything he says he would sustain. He also had great confidence in President Tanner and the other brethren, and was willing to rest on their judgment, but he did not want to pass on anything without knowing what it is. He said he was willing to leave it to the committee if it is thought that is what should be done, but if they wanted his opinion on it he had to know what it is, and wouldn't want to vote to pass this as long as there was one person in the Council who questioned it." (David O McKay diary)

1975: Old garment no longer required in the temple.

1978, May 3: First presidency letter ends the practice of private prayer circles. Until this time, local leaders were authorized to invite groups to prayer circles in chapels and the temple where regular members would be the voice of the prayers, not temple workers (until I date I am not sure of, normal members were always the voice in the prayer during the endowment as well---not sure when that changed). Individual members could also hold prayer circles in their homes.

1978, Jun 8: Worthy members of all races are allowed full participation in the temple. Previously blacks were only allowed to be proxies for baptisms for the dead.

1979, Jun 1: "Many of the garments (with the exception of the cotton garments) are being marked electronically. As a result, the material is not cut, nor is there a need for backing. This procedure has been approved by the First Presidency, and members, when inquiring, should be assured that the marking is proper and that they have no need to communicate with the Relief Society Distribution Center." (Washington, D.C. Temple Presidency to All Stake and District Presidents in the DC Temple District)

1979, Dec 15: "After due consideration the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve have approved and authorized the Beehive Clothing Mills to manufacture two-piece garments for both men and women. These garments will be in addition to one-piece garments. Distribution will be handled by the Relief Society through normal channels..." (First presidency letter)

1981, Dec: "The First Presidency has approved a crew-neck top for the two piece temple garment for men serving in the military forces. This top meets military requirements to wear crew-neck T-shirts..." (Bulletin [monthly publication to bishops, stake presidents, and mission presidents])

1982, Jan 5: "Married persons should understand that if in their marital relations they are guilty of unnatural, impure, or unholy practices, they should not enter the temple unless and until they repent and discontinue any such practices....The First Presidency has interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice." (First Presidency letter)


1982, Jan 16: "As temple work progresses, some members wonder if the ordinances can be changed or adjusted. These ordinances have been provided by revelation, and are in the hands of the First Presidency. Thus, the temple is protected from tampering." (W. Grant Bangerter, executive director of the Temple Department and a member of the First Quorum of Seventy, Deseret News, Church Section)


1982, Oct 15: "Under date of January 5, 1982, we addressed a letter to you which outlined procedures to be followed in conducting worthiness interviews. Since then, we have received a number of letters from members of the Church which indicate clearly that some local leaders have been delving into private, sensitive matters beyond the scope of what is appropriate. In conducting worthiness interviews, you...should never inquire into personal, intimate matters involving marital relations between a man and his wife. You should never deviate from or go beyond the specific questions contained in the temple recommend book..." (First presidency letter)

1985: "No special arrangements are made for members to pray privately in the temples. However, members may remain briefly in the celestial room and meditate in silent prayer." (General Handbook of Instructions)

1987: With more and more complaints about temple content, church issues survey to over 3,000 members to ascertain their opinion on the endowment ceremony.

1989, Sept 20: "There is pressing need for less complex temple procedures and reduced personnel requirements. Accordingly, we have prayerfully determined that it is no longer necessary to permanently record the names of proxies, witnesses, or officiators for any temple ordinances for the deceased....The implementation of this decision will substantially reduce the complexity of temple operation and simplify record storage. However, temples will no longer be able to provide stakes and wards with patron attendance information." (First presidency letter)

1990: As a result of the 1987 survey, changes are made to the endowment ordinance. These include:
 the removal of a Protestant minister who is paid by Lucifer to preach false doctrine, originally in the dramatic portion of the presentation; the removal of all penalties associated with revealing the things patrons promise to reveal; a softening of the promise made by women to their husbands; the modification of the position at the veil with the worker on the other side, which used to be foot to foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, hand on shoulder and mouth to ear, to what it is today; and, finally, the words Adam says, which also play a role in another part of the endowment, were changed.

2005, Jan: Washing and anointing modified; temple workers place hands on head instead of touching parts of body that are washed and anointed.