In the endowment, Church members receive instructions and make covenants. They receive instructions about our first parents, Adam and Eve; their fall; and the great plan of redemption that allowed them to repent and progress. The endowment teaches about the great Apostasy, the restoration of the gospel with all its powers and privileges, and the necessity of keeping all the commandments of God. (Temple endowment) (1990)
In the endowment, members covenant to “observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth and the uplifting of the race; to maintain devotion to the cause of truth; and to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King,—the Lord Jesus Christ. With the taking of each covenant and the assuming of each obligation a promised blessing is pronounced, contingent upon the faithful observance of the conditions” (James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1968], p. 84).
To endow is to enrich, to give to another something long lasting and of much worth. The temple endowment ordinances enrich in three ways: (a) The one receiving the ordinance is given power from God. “Recipients are endowed with power from on high.” (b) A recipient is also endowed with information and knowledge. “They receive an education relative to the Lord’s purposes and plans.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], page 227.) (c) When sealed at the altar a person is the recipient of glorious blessings, powers, and honors as part of his or her endowment.
There are two published definitions or descriptions of the endowment, the first by President Brigham Young:
Let me give you a definition in brief. Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being able to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell. (Discourses of Brigham Young, comp. John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1971], page 416.)
Elder James E. Talmage described the endowment thus:
The Temple Endowment, as administered in modern temples, comprises instruction relating to the significance and sequence of past dispensations, and the importance of the present as the greatest and grandest era in human history. This course of instruction includes a recital of the most prominent events of the creative period, the condition of our first parents in the Garden of Eden, their disobedience and consequent expulsion from that blissful abode, their condition in the lone and dreary world when doomed to live by labor and sweat, the plan of redemption by which the great transgression may be atoned, the period of the great apostasy, the restoration of the Gospel with all its ancient powers and privileges, the absolute and indispensable condition of personal purity and devotion to the right in present life, and a strict compliance with Gospel requirements. (James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1962], pages 99–100; hereafter cited as The House of the Lord.)
This statement from Elder Talmage makes it clear that when you receive your endowments you will receive instruction relative to the purpose and plans of the Lord in creating and peopling the earth. You will be taught what must be done for you to gain exaltation.
The blessing of the endowment is required for full exaltation. (Preparing to enter the Temple)