Second Anointing

In Mormonism, the Second Anointing, also known historically and in Mormon scripture as the "fulness of the priesthood," is a very sacred and obscure ordinance usually conducted in temples. It is an extension of the Endowment; however, the ceremony is reserved for a relatively small number of married couples selected by the Prophet.

The Second Anointing is most often referenced in scripture as it is in Doctrine and Covenants 124:28 (, a revelation by Joseph Smith, Jr. commanding the building of a temple in Nauvoo, Illinois, in part, because "there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood." (emphasis added). LDS Church leaders often connect this ordinance with a statement by Peter in his second Epistle. In 2 Peter 1:10 (, he talks about making one's "calling and election sure," and further remarks, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy" (2 Peter 1:19 ( Joseph Smith, Jr. referenced this process in saying, "When the Lord has thoroughly proved [a person], and finds that the [person] is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the [person] will find his[/her] calling and election made sure" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 150, paraphrasing by Roy W. Doxey (

The Second Anointing differs from the "first anointing" — part of the Endowment ceremony — in that where the first anointing promises blessings in the afterlife contingent on the patron's faithfulness, the Second Anointing actually bestows those blessings. According to prominent 20th century Latter-day Saint Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, those who receive the Second Anointing "receive the more sure word of prophecy, which means that the Lord seals their exaltation upon them while they are yet in this life. . . . [T]heir exaltation is assured." McConkie at 109-10.

The Second Anointing was given to women as well as men, and some have argued that because women received the Second Anointing, and thus were anointed queens and priestesses, and ordained to the "fulness of the priesthood", there is a good argument that Smith considered them to have, in fact, received the Priesthood power (though not necessarily a specific Priesthood office). See Quinn, Women and Authority: Re-emerging Mormon Feminism.

The Second Anointing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Unlike many other Mormon ordinances such as baptism, some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not consider the Second Anointing to be essential for salvation. However, Joseph Fielding Smith, acting as Church Historian and Apostle, stated, "There is no exaltation in the kingdom of God without the fulness of the priesthood." (In Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith 3:132 (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1956).) In any case, most who believe that the second anointing is essential also believe that, as with all ordinances, it can be performed posthumously (ie: Baptism for the dead).

External references

  1. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966).
  2. Devry S. Anderson, "The Anointed Quorum in Nauvoo, 1842-45", 29 Journal of Mormon History 137-157 (Fall 2003).
  3. David John Buerger, "'Fulness of the Priesthood': The Second Anointing in the Latter-day Saint Theology and Practice," 16(1) Dialogue (Spring 1983).

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