175 years ago today - Feb 18, 1846
An article appears in the WARSAW SIGNAL concerning the endowment ceremony introduced in the Nauvoo Temple two months previously and says that participants in the endowment are "in a state of nudity throughout the ceremony, . . ." Two months later, in the Apr 15, 1846, issue, a woman who signs her name "Emeline" writes a response. Although "Emeline" admits that she is breaking oaths and covenants she has made in the temple by revealing the contents of the ritual, she feels justified because church authorities were "the most debased wretches" and the that endowment was "nothing less than fearful blasphemy." Nevertheless, she denies that the ceremony takes place in a state of nudity, except for an initial robing ceremony during which only women were present and states that no indecency took place between men and women since they are admitted separately. Although she admits that she did not remember many of the details of the ceremony, she describes the rooms, some of the characters, as well as the fact that there were oaths, obligations, and penalties. February 18, 1850. While her husband, William Clayton plays with the band for a dancing party, his youngest wife Diantha, at her husband's suggestion, dances with a certain Mr. Grist, a gentile. The band, however, plays a waltz, and the sensibilities of some good Saints are shocked to see the wife of William Clayton waltzing with a gentile. News of this reaches top authorities and two days later, after Clayton has gone to work, an apostle and another elder arrive at his home and confront Diantha. They accuse her of three serious errors unbefitting a Latter-day Saint: (1) waltzing with a gentile, (2) "harboring and encouraging" gentiles in her home during the past winter," and (3) "slandering the authorities of the church to the Gentiles." That evening Clayton writes to Brigham Young: "The peace of my family is in a great degree destroyed," for the priesthood leaders had given his young wife a "very severe chastisement."