Friday, November 25, 2016

Chronology of Temple Endowment Versions & Films

This post is intended to be an informative repository regarding casts used in the Endowment drama, and changes made to the ceremony.  Please feel free to submit any corrections and additional information, and I will incorporate them into the body of this article.

3-4 May 1842 - Joseph Smith, First Nauvoo Endowments

According to Wikipedia:
On May 3, 1842, Joseph Smith prepared the second floor of his Red Brick Store, in Nauvoo, Illinois, to represent “the interior of a temple as circumstances would permit.” The next day, May 4, he introduced the Nauvoo endowment ceremony to nine associates: Associate President and Patriarch to the Church Hyrum Smith (Smith's brother); first counselor in the First Presidency, William Law; three of the Twelve Apostles, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards; Nauvoo stake president, William Marks; two bishops, Newel K. Whitney and George Miller; and a close friend, Judge James Adams of Springfield, Illinois. 
Throughout 1843 and 1844, Smith continued to initiate other men, as well as women, into the endowment ceremony. By the time of his death on June 27, 1844, more than 50 persons had been admitted into the Anointed Quorum, the name by which this group called themselves.
This version of the Endowment was able to be conferred by a single officiator (in this case, Joseph Smith, Jr.), although Joseph stated: “Brother Brigham, this is not arranged perfectly; however we have done the best we could under the circumstances in which we are placed. I wish you to take this matter in hand: organize and systematize all these ceremonies.”

1845-1846 - Brigham Young, Dramatized Nauvoo Endowment

Dec 11, 1845 - The following persons officiating: Orson Hyde as Eloheem, Orson Spencer as Jehovah, George A. Smith as Michael and Wm. W. Phelps as the Serpent.

1877 - Brigham Young, L. John Nuttall, First Written Endowment

Used in the St. George Temple and in the Salt Lake City Endowment House.  Since this was performed live, there wasn't a fixed cast, but here is one recorded example of the cast list:
  • Elohim: Brigham Young
  • Jehovah: Heber C. Kimball
  • Jesus: Daniel H. Wells
(Note, Jesus does not appear as an active character in any of the more recent forms of the drama, only being mentioned in passing.  After a popular book was published in 1914, some Latter-day Saints began to conflate the identity of Jehovah with that of his grandson, Jesus.  David O. McKay, as President of the church, commented on his confusion and surprise in this theological matter.  Later, a hand gesture added to the film in 1990 attempts to enforce this theological recasting of Jehovah into Jesus, and finally, on January 1, 2000, this theological perversion became official doctrine as it was signed by all fifteen apostles, turning Jesus into Michael's Father as well as his Son.)
  • Michael or Adam: W. C. Staines
  • Eve: Miss Eliza R. Snow
  • Lucifer/Satan: W. W. Phelps
  • Apostle Peter: Orson Pratt
  • Apostle James: John Taylor
  • Apostle John: Erastus Snow
  • Washer: Dr. Sprague
  • Clerk: David O. Calder
  • Note that the following five characters were, in subsequent versions of the drama, combined into a single Minister character, until 1990 when they were removed entirely:
  • Timothy Broadbrim, a Quaker: Wilfred Woodruff
  • Deacon Smith, a Methodist: Orson Hyde
  • Parson Peabody, a Presbyterian: Franklin D. Richards
  • Elder Smooth-Tongue, a Baptist: Phineas H. Young
  • Father Boniface, a Catholic: George A. Smith

1893 - Minor Changes Made for Uniformity

In 1904 the Endowment came under scrutiny during the Reed Smoot Hearing and Senate Investigation.

1921-1927 - George F. Richards Revisions under Heber J. Grant

  • Elimination of the Law of Vengeance.
  • Graphical language of penalties was replaced with “rather than do so, I would suffer - my life - to be taken.”

1953: First Film Version - Gordon B. Hinckley under David O. McKay

  • For use in the Swiss Temple with only a single ordinance room.
  • Directed by Harold I. Hansen.
  • Used different casts consisting of various Temple workers for each language.
  • First Year: English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish.
  • Next Year: Samoan, Tahitian, Tongan, and Moari.
  • Filmed upstairs in the Salt Lake Temple.  No sets, no musical score, no special costumes.  This was simply a recorded version of the standard ritual performance.

1966: Second Film Version - Project #100

  • A studio was dedicated by Gordon B. Hinckley for the purpose of this film on 24 April 1966.
  • Director: Unknown
  • Narrator: Glen Shaw
  • Elohim: Unknown (Voice of Elohim: Dan Keeler)
  • Jehovah: Unknown (Voice of Jehovah: Carl Pope)
  • Michael or Adam: Max Mason Brown
  • Eve: Marielen Wadley Christensen
  • Lucifer/Satan: Lael Woodbury
  • Minister: Morris Clinger
  • Apostle Peter: Harold I. Hansen
  • Apostle James: Douglas Clawson
  • Apostle John: Max Golightly

1969: Third Film Version - Project #134

  • This was an effort to condense the presentation to about 90 minutes.
  • The audio from this version of the film is preserved online in a secret tape recording made in 1984.
  • Directed by Wetzel O. Whitaker
  • Narrator: Glen Shaw
  • Elohim: Jesse Stay (Voice of Elohim: Lael Woodbury)
  • Jehovah: Bryce Chamberlain (Voice of Jehovah: Robert Peterson)
  • Michael or Adam: Hank Kester
  • Eve: Luna Tulaunen Rogers
  • Lucifer/Satan: Ron Frederickson
  • Minister: Spencer Palmer
  • Apostle Peter: Gordon Jump
  • Apostle James: Charles Metten
  • Apostle John: R. LeRoi Nelson

197x: Fourth Film Version - Project #198

  • Directed by Wetzel O. Whitaker
  • Narrator: Glen Shaw
  • Elohim: Jesse Stay (Voice of Elohim: Lael Woodbury)
  • Jehovah: Bryce Chamberlain (Voice of Jehovah: unknown)
  • Michael or Adam: James Adamson
  • Eve: Laurel Pugmire
  • Lucifer/Satan: Sterling Van Wagenan
  • Minister: Keith M. Engar
  • Apostle Peter: Craig Costello??
  • Apostle James: Ivan Crosland??
  • Apostle John: Bruce Moffit??

1988/1990: Fifth Film Version - Film A

  • Directed by Peter Johnson
  • This version of the film is preserved online in the form of a secret camera recording.
  • Filmed at LDS Motion Picture Studio in 1988.
  • Released in April 1990.
  • Entirely Eliminated the Penalties associated with the Tokens of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods.
  • Altered the sign of the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the sign of the Second Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood to forms no longer matching what Joseph Smith had instituted.
  • Removed the Five Points of Fellowship at the vail.
  • Eliminated the Minister/Preacher character from the dramatic presentation.
  • Changed the term “popes and priests” to “false priests who oppress and tyrants who destroy.”
  • Various improvements to make the script more inclusive of Eve.  Such as including her name in the phrase “the posterity of Adam and Eve...”
  • Softening of the Law of Obedience for sisters.
  • Narrator: Unknown
  • Elohim: Unknown (Voice of Elohim: Lloyd Newell)
  • Jehovah: Unknown (Voice of Jehovah: Unknown)
  • Michael or Adam: John Moe
  • Eve: Marilee Moe
  • Lucifer/Satan: Michael Ballam
  • Apostle Peter: Craig Costello??
  • Apostle James: Bruce Newbold
  • Apostle John: Bruce Moffit??

1991: Sixth Film Version - Film B

  • Filmed on location in 1990.
  • No recording of this version of the film is currently known to exist.
  • Only difference in previous script is  “fruit this tree” and “fruit of that tree” being swapped due to Lucifer's position on the set in relation to the tree.
  • This film was used in rotation with the Fifth Film Version in order to create variety.
  • This film was temporarily removed from usage, then later re-instituted with some digital changes to replace the face of the actor who portrayed the Apostle John, probably due to complaints from the actor or public attention surrounding the actor which arose over the issue of gay marriage rights.
  • Narrator: Unknown
  • Elohim: Unknown (Voice of Elohim: Unknown)
  • Jehovah: Unknown (Voice of Jehovah: Unknown)
  • Michael or Adam: Unknown
  • Eve: Unknown
  • Lucifer/Satan: Derryl Yeager
  • Apostle Peter: Joseph Paur
  • Apostle James: Ivan Crosland??
  • Apostle John: Fred Hunting (in the original version of this film)
  • Digitally Replaced Face of Apostle John: Unknown

There were changes made to the Initiatory in 2005 but they did not affect the presentation of the Endowment itself.

July 30, 2013: Seventh Film Version - First New Film

  • Length increased by approximately 15 minutes to accomodate eventual translation into several African languages.
  • Script is unchanged from that of the previous two films.
  • Director: Unknown
  • This film replaced the Sixth Film Version, probably due to the attention regarding the actor who originally portrayed the Apostle John in that version.  This film was used together in rotation with the older Fifth Film Version.
  • Narrator: Unknown
  • Elohim: David Nibley
  • Jehovah: Dallyn Vail Bayles
  • Michael or Adam: Jeff Dickamore
  • Eve: Aurora Dickamore
  • Lucifer/Satan: Corbin Allred
  • Apostle Peter: Unknown
  • Apostle James: Unknown
  • Apostle John: Unknown

January 2014: Eighth Film Version - Second New Film

  • Apostle Peter: David Nibley
  • Remainder of Cast Currently Unknown
  • This film remained in rotation for some time with the Seventh Film Version, as well as the much older Fifth Film Version (particularly for foreign languages, since translations of the two new films had not yet been completed.)

July 2014: Ninth Film Version - Third New Film

  • Cast Currently Unknown