[1]With permission of Kirk Richards, www.jkirkrichards.com.

[2]J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 4 May 1842, p. 237.

[3]B. Young, 6 April 1853 – B, p. 31; B. Young, Discourses, p. 416.

[4] Here is a sampling of places where this definition is cited, based on a cursory search of Church-published sources: Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part B; Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3; Young Women Manual 3; Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple; Ensign, January 1972; December 1986; October 1994, February 1995, October 2007; Liahona, June 1992, October 1997, October 2007; New Era, June 1971, September 1973, June 1975.

[5] In Webster’s 1828 Dictionary (N. Webster, Dictionary), the definition of “key” includes the ideas of “An instrument for shutting or opening a lock,” and also “That which serves to explain anything difficult to be understood.”

“Sign” is explained in Webster as “A token; something by which another thing is shown or represented; any visible thing, any motion, appearance or event which indicates the existence or approach of something else” (cf., e.g., Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hymns (1985), Redeemer of Israel, #6: “The tokens already appear”), and also, citing Luke 1:62 (“And they made signs to his father”), “a motion, action, nod, or gesture indicating a wish or command” (cf. J. A. Simpson et al., OED, 1764:449: “A gesture of the hand, head, etc., serving to convey an intimation or to communicate some idea”).

“Token” is defined in Webster as “A sign; something intended to represent or indicate another thing or an event,” and also “A mark. In pestilential diseases, tokens are livid spots upon the body, which indicate the approach of death” (Cf. W. Shakespeare, Love’s Labor’s Lost, 5:2:423, p. 206: “The Lord’s tokens on you do I see”). Also, in the Oxford English Dictionary, “a word or material object given to authenticate a person, message, or communication” and “Something given as the symbol and evidence of a right or privilege, upon the presentation of which the right or privilege may be exercised” (J. A. Simpson et al., OED, 2074:196).

“Signs” and “tokens” were also used in Freemasonry-see, e.g., Benjamin Franklin’s famous tribute to the value of its signs and tokens (cited in H. L. Haywood, Symbolical, p. 131):

These signs and tokens are of no small value; they speak a universal language, and act as a password to the attention and support of the initiated in all parts of the world. They cannot be lost so long as memory retains its power. Let the possessor of them be expatriated, shipwrecked or imprisoned; let him be stripped of everything he has in the world; still these credentials remain and are available for use as circumstances require.

For a debunking of the idea that LDS temple ordinances are a simple derivation from Freemasonry, see M. B. Brown, Exploring. Brown’s more in-depth manuscript dealing with this topic still awaits publication.

[6]D. H. Oaks, To Become, p. 32. See also J. E. Faulconer, Self-Image.

[7]H. W. Nibley, Meaning of Temple, p. 26.

[8] See Alma 42:15-26.

[9]S. Mowinckel, Psalms, 1:181 n. 191.

[10]J. H. Eaton, Psalms Commentary, 118:19-22, p. 405. See also Psalm 24:3-4.

[11]H. W. Nibley, Message 2005, p. 451.

[12] D&C 20:77.

[13]D&C 109:22, 26, 79. See also D. A. Bednar, Name, p. 98; D. H. Oaks, Taking Upon Us.

[14] D&C 130:11; cf. Revelation 2:17.

[15] D&C 130:10.

[16] D&C 130:9.

[17] See John 17:3.

[18] James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). Reconstruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of Herod Seen from the East, 1886-1894. Image: 8 7/8 x 16 3/8 in. (22.5 x 41.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.7. In J. F. Dolkart, James Tissot, p. 204. With permission.

[19]T. G. Madsen, Putting, p. 459.

[20] Cf. Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:7-9.

[21] Psalm 118:20.

[22]S. Mowinckel, Psalms, 1:180.

[23] Psalm 24:6. Parry sees an allusion to a prayer circle in this verse (D. W. Parry, Psalm 24).

[24]W. J. Hamblin et al., Temple, p. 27, cf. p. 182. See also 1 Kings 8:27-30; D&C 110:7.

[25] “With” = “in'” in Hebrew (M. Barker, Hidden, p. 44; cf. Matthew 21:9).

The meaning of being “willing to take upon [us] the name of Jesus Christ” in the sacrament is clear in light of temple ordinances (D. A. Bednar, Name, p. 98; D. H. Oaks, Taking Upon Us; D&C 20:77; 109:22, 26, 79). Truman G. Madsen writes: “You are required as disciples of Christ to come once in seven days and covenant anew to take upon you the name of Jesus Christ. In the house of the Lord you come to take upon you His name in the fullest sense” (T. G. Madsen, Temple and Mysteries, p. 33).

[26] Cf., e.g., Revelation 7:3, 14:1, 22:3-4, D&C 133:18. Referring to the hundred and forty-four thousand in Revelation 14:1, Barker further explains (M. Barker, Revelation, p. 229):

… the servants of God-and-the-Lamb (a unity) worship Him in the place where the Lord God is their Light, and they have His Name on their foreheads. In other words, they have been admitted to the Holy of Holies/Day One, and they bear on their foreheads the mark of high priesthood, the Name…

The Prophet Joseph Smith similarly taught that the sealing in the forehead (J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 13 August 1843, p. 321):

… signifies sealing the blessing upon their heads, meaning the everlasting covenant, thereby making their calling and election sure.

[27] Matthew 10:25.

[28]Courtesy of Matthew B. Brown. See https://bereanwatchman.files. wordpress.com/2007/12/tzitz.jpg.

[29] 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.

[30]J. J. Tissot, Old Testament, 1:229. In the public domain.

[31] See, e.g., J. M. Bradshaw, Ezekiel Mural; L. M. Hilton, Hand.

[32]D. R. Seely, Raised Hand; D. Calabro, Stretch Forth; D. Calabro, Body Symbolism; D. Calabro, When You Spread.

[33]H. W. Attridge et al., Hebrews, p. 236. Cf. Exodus 25:16; Hebrews 9:4. For more about the symbolism of these and other ancient temple objects as they related to the higher priesthood, see J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image, pp. 658-660, 679-681.

[34]J. F. Smith, Jr., Doctrines, 2:344.

[35] For more on the Eleusinian Mysteries, see J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image, pp. 675-679.

[36]T. M. Compton, Token. For a shorter version of this study, see T. M. Compton, Handclasp.

[37]In the public domain. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mandean.jpg. From the frontispiece of E. S. Drower, Water.For more about this photograph and the Mandaean practice of kushta, see J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image, pp. 308 n. 4-32, 317-318 n. 4-66, 436 n. 5-23, 686, 777 n. E-278, 871-873.

[38] See D. Calabro, When You Spread, pp. 23-27.

[39]H. W. Nibley, Sacred, p. 557. Cf. J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image, pp. 884-885:

The symbolism of heavenly ascent was incorporated into Manichaean scripture and ritual. The “descent of the First Man from the land of light,” his redemption, and his return to the kingdom was a “favorite theme,” and was “in a very real sense the story of each soul” (I. Gardner, Kephalaia, p. 42). The Kephalaia (ibid., pp. 43-46) speaks of “five lessons” (38:5) that were successively bestowed upon the First Man as he took his leave from the gods, the angels, and the Mother of Life. Later, “when he ascended from the war, he came in to the kingdom of the household of his people by these [same] five mysteries,” performing each of them anew as he was “brought upward out from the struggle” (39:7-11; 39:21). Likewise each disciple will perform these five things in the church, and “the last of these things shall be bequeathed upon them from the right hand of charity” (41:5). In recapitulating the experiences of Adam, these ritual acts also prefigure the actions that Manichaean disciples will perform after death when, “[a]t the time of their coming forth… the angel who holds the victory prize extends to him the right hand. And it draws him out of the abyss of his body, and accepts him in with the kiss and love. That soul shall make obeisance to its redeemer” (41:11; 41:17-21). He “shall be perfected and increased… in the household of the living ones, with the gods and the angels and all the apostles and the chosen. And he receives the crown […] glory in the life for ever” (41:22-25).

[40]E. S. Drower, Water, p. 106.

[41]M. Lidzbarski, Ginza, LG 1:1, p. 429.

[42]Nibley comments: “That is the code for the signs that Adam had to receive-his instructions. The one who holds the nails of glory, and the signs in the hands, and the key to the initiation rites is the master of the Treasure House” (H. W. Nibley, Apocryphal, p. 300). Cf. Isaiah 49:16; Zechariah 13:6; Cyril of Jerusalem, Five, 2:5, p. 148.

[43]J. O. Ryen, Mandaean Vine, pp. 203-204. A close association between the symbolism of the “true vine” and that of the “true olive tree” can be found in 1 Nephi 15:15-16.

[44]J. A. Widtsoe, Work, p. 33.

[45]W. Shakespeare, Henry V, 4:Prologue:53, p. 955. In other words, “representing to yourself the truth of what we imitate so badly” (ibid., p. 955 n. 53). Nibley often used this line from Shakespeare in reference to temple drama (e.g., H. W. Nibley, Drama, p. 11).

[46]D. Calabro, Stretch Forth, p. 21. See also pp. 21-24 and, e.g., Alma 46:21, Helaman 2:7, D&C 88:133.

[47]H. W. Nibley, Temples Everywhere, p. 14. Cf. H. W. Nibley, Sacred, pp. 557-562.

[48] See D. Calabro, When You Spread, pp. 30-31.

[49] As an example, see the following excerpt from verse seven of Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hymns (1985), A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, #29:

The stranger started from disguise.

The tokens in his hands I knew;

The Savior stood before mine eyes.

[50] 2 Nephi 9:41.

[51] Secular examples of the uses of the terms “sign” and “token” consistent with this perspective can be found, for example, in Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew. First, note Biondello’s statement to Lucentio which illustrates the idea that signs and tokens are the kinds of things that want explanation (W. Shakespeare, Taming, 4:3:75, 78-80, p. 134):

[M]y master… left me here behind to expound the meaning or moral of his signs and tokens.

Observe that in Shakespeare’s day, the term “signs and tokens” not only referred to communicative words and gestures, as in the example above, but also to specific tangible identifiers (e.g., clothing, badges) that were sometimes used to indicate membership in a given group, such as servants belonging to a given noble household (D. Kay, Shakespeare, p. 88).

Second, note a pair of examples that illustrate the distinction between the distal demonstration of the sign and the intimate proximal communication of the token (cf. D. Calabro, When You Spread, p. 18). In the closing scene of the play, Petruchio tests Kate to see whether she will show “sign of her obedience” by leaving the table to persuade the “froward wives” of Lucentio and Hortensio to return to their husbands (W.

Shakespeare, Taming, 5:2:116-118, p. 139):

Nay, I will win my wager better yet,

and show more sign of her obedience,

Her new-built virtue and obedience.

Finally, after triumphantly seating herself beside her husband and making a speech that even the feminist Germaine Greer was obliged to call “the greatest defense of Christian monogamy ever written” (cited in A. D. Nuttall, Shakespeare, p. 72), Kate puts her hand lovingly upon the hand of her husband and says to the other wives-though principally for the hearing of Petruchio (W. Shakespeare, Taming, 5:2:176-179, p. 139):

Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,

And place your hands below your husband’s foot;

In token of which duty, if he please,

My hand is ready, may it do him ease.