Tom Phillips provides a contemporary account of the second anointing.

Jan 21, 2008
Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips, "My Second Anointing Experience,", 21 January 2008, accessed July 6, 2021

Tom Phillips
Spencer W. Kimball, Harold G. Hillam, Brigham Young, David O. McKay, Harold B. Lee, Vilate Kimball, M. Russell Ballard, Tom Phillips, Bruce R. McConkie, Joseph Fielding Smith, Heber C. Kimball
Reading Public

There already exist sources of details of the second anointing and I probably will not add to that body of knowledge. However, I am posting this account to confirm the ordinance does actually take place currently, as I have received the ordinance, and how it is currently performed.

I state the names of the Apostle and Seventy involved as well as the date and actual temple so that the credibility cannot be questioned.



The day itself - what happened

Feelings afterwards

Asked to nominate others



In April 2002 Elder Harold G. Hillam of the First Quorum of Seventy, as President of the Europe West Area, called me into his office. He said he was extending to me and my wife (she was not present), on behalf of President Hinckley, an invitation to receive a 'special blessing' in the Preston England Temple. He asked whether I had heard of the 'second endowment' to which I replied no. I later told him that I had heard of it, but was so stunned by his invitation my mind went blank regarding the matter.

He told me very few people receive this blessing and it must be kept secret. He said if the general membership knew about it there would be problems. More would want to receive the ordinance than the apostles have time to accommodate and members would wonder why so and so had received it but they had not. I must not even tell my children. He said I should just tell them that their mother and I were going away for the day or weekend. He recommended I read all that Elder Bruce R. McConkie had written on the subject of making your calling and election sure.

Elder Hillam promised me it would be a 'life changing' experience. He said the ordinance was performed in Joseph Smith's time but had been discontinued during President David O. McKay's time. This resulted in only 2 of the then apostles, Harold B. Lee and Spencer W. Kimball, having had this ordinance on the death of President Joseph Fielding Smith. It was therefore re-introduced and is still practiced today. (I have seen no source that quotes this suspension of the ordinance, only Elder Hillam's word).

We were to be at the Preston England Temple on Sunday 19th May 2002 where Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, would perform the ordinance. We should have our temple recommends and our temple robes etc. with us.


I went home and told my wife. She accepted it quite calmly. I reflected on my own life and personal worthiness. I read all that Elder McConkie had written on the subject and looked forward to the day with excitement. Basically, Elder McConkie wrote that , during the first endowment you are given certain blessings to become a king and a priest (queen and priestess) to the most high God, and these blessings are conditional on you remaining worthy of them. With the second endowment, the conditions are removed as you have already proven your faithfulness and entitlement to the blessings. Therefore, you are sealed up to the highest degree of the celestial kingdom unconditionally. Any sins committed afterward may render you liable to the buffetings in the flesh but they will not prevent you from attaining your exaltation. The only sin that is unpardonable is denying the Holy Ghost (or in some passages the shedding of innocent blood).

I had never expected this to happen to me. I assumed I would be judged in the next life, not have that judgment made in this life. It meant I and my wife would be guaranteed a celestial glory unless we committed the 'unpardonable sin' which seemed to be unthinkable at the time. We had made it, the Lord, through his prophet, had informed us we were worthy of this high exaltation. I never thought it would be done in this way. I had assumed that, if anyone did deserve to have their calling and election made sure, the Lord would appear to them Himself. Like most members of the church I assumed all the apostles had made sure their calling and election and many of the other General Authorities of the church.

I felt a power helping me be a better person and more dedicated to the church.

I telephoned the temple to book accommodation for my wife and myself on Saturday 18th May so that we could make the most of the experience. I did not like lying to my family and friends as to our whereabouts that weekend. I did not feel comfortable as it was dishonest but I was instructed not to disclose what was happening. To tell people you will be at the temple on a Sunday, when supposedly all temples are closed, would raise further questions. I therefore told my children we were going to the temple for the weekend and would be attending a special meeting with Elder Ballard and the Area President on Sunday. This was not too unusual for my children to accept as I regularly attended Area Presidency meetings and had been assisting these same brethren the day before at a training session for stake presidents. Also, it was as truthful as I considered I could be while still keeping the second anointing secret.

On Saturday 18th May 2002, after Priesthood Leadership Training by Elder Ballard in Birmingham England, my wife and I drove to the Preston England Temple. We were surprised and delighted to discover that we had been given a 'bridal suite' as our accommodation. It added to the special occasion. While walking in the temple grounds in the early evening we unexpectedly met a member of our ward who had attended a family wedding that day. She asked us what we were doing at the temple on a Saturday evening. I quickly mentioned something about Area Presidency meetings (she knew of my calling at the time, that I worked closely with the Area Presidency) and changed the subject. Again, I did not feel comfortable lying for the Lord.

Anyway, my wife and I had a very pleasant evening preparing ourselves spiritually for our life changing experience.

At the Temple

Upon entering the temple we changed into our temple robes, met the other couples who were to receive the ordinance that day, and were led to an upper room that had been set apart for this purpose. I knew 3 of the other 4 couples. 2 of the husbands were former stake presidents and 1 was a mission president who had just completed his mission.

We were all seated in the room with Elder Ballard officiating, Elder Harold G. Hillam assisting, with Sister Carol Hillam, Elder Wayne S. Peterson and Sister Peterson as observers. A counselor in the temple presidency was also present. The temple president was absent because his wife was seriously ill in hospital.

Elder Ballard explained what would be happening. We were to have our feet washed and be anointed by him. He was acting under the direction of the Prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley. We would then be allocated a sealing room for each couple to be alone and perform the second part of the ordinance. We would then all meet again with Elder Ballard in the celestial room.

The following is my best recollection of what happened in performing this ordinance. It has been nearly 6 years since it happened so I may well have omitted some things. I have briefly reviewed published accounts of the second anointing to jog my memory.


I was beckoned to sit on a particular chair. Elder Ballard knelt and washed my feet, then dried them. This ordinance cleansed me from the blood and sins of this generation.


Anointed & Ordained a King/Priest, Queen/Priestess

I was anointed with oil, on the top of my head, and then hands were laid upon my head, and I was ordained a king and a priest unto the Most High God, to rule and reign in the House of Israel forever. My head, brow, eyes, ears nose, lips etc. were anointed with oil and specific blessings were given related to knowing, understanding and speaking the truth. This ordinance gave me the fullness of the priesthood and a blessing was given which included the following :-

Sealing power to bind & loose, curse & bless.

Blessings of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob.

The Holy Spirit of Promise bestowed.

Blessed to live as long as life is desirable.

Blessed to attain unto the Godhood.

Power to be a member of a Godhead bestowed.

Sealed up to eternal life

Power to have the heavens opened.

We were charged not to reveal to other individuals that we had received this ordinance. My wife was also anointed and ordained a queen and priestess.


'The Washing of The Feet', Wife to Husband

The second part of the second anointing was explained to us. We (my wife and I) were to go to another sealing room where we would be alone as a couple. There would be a bowl of water and a towel. My wife was to wash my feet (as Mary did to Jesus) and dry them. She would then place her hands upon my head and pronounce a blessing upon me as the spirit dictated.

This was a very moving and personal experience for us as a couple and we both ended in tears of great joy.

Following this we met in the celestial room with Elder Ballard and the others. Elder Ballard summarized what had happened and asked if there were any questions as they could only be answered at this time, in this place as we were charged to tell nobody that we had received this ordinance.

I have stated earlier some of the things mentioned in the blessing given to me. I cannot recall everything and I did not record it at the time. As illustration, however, the following is apparently the blessing given to Heber C. Kimball by President Brigham Young and it is similar to the one I received :

Brigham Young proceeded to anoint Br. Heber C. Kimble and Vilate his wife --- and pronounced the following blessing namely Bro Heber C. Kimble in the name of Jesus Christ we pour upon thy head this Holy oil & we anoint thee a King and Priest unto the most High God & in & over the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints and also Israel in this the Holy Temple of the Lord, at Nauvoo the City of Joseph State of Ills. & I seal upon you power to bind on Earth & it Shall be bound in Heaven & whomso-ever thou Shalt loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven, & whomsoever thou shalt curse Shalt be cursed, & whomsoever thou shalt bless, shall be blessed & I anoint thy head that it may be sound & thy brains shall be quick to think & to regulate thy whole body. & thine ears to hear the cries of the Poor & needy of thy Brethren, who shall come to thee for council & thine eyes that thou mayest see and understand the things of God--& that thou mayest behold Angels & thy mouth that [p. 4] thou mayest speak forth the great things of God & Seal upon you all the blessings of thy Progenitors Even Abraham Isaac & Jacob & even as Far back as the Priesthood: & I say that thou shalt live to a good old age Even to three score & ten & longer if thou desire it -- & thou shalt have Power to redeem thy progenitors & thou shalt have power over thy Posterity & shall Save all of them & bring them into thy Kingdom we also seal upon thee all the power & blessing of the Holy Reserection Even to the Eternal God head & no blessing that thy heart can conceive will be withheld from you & in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit Amen

He then anointed Sister Vilate Kimble a queen and Priestess unto her Husband [H. C. Kimball] in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints & in Iseral. & pronounced all the blessings upon her head in common with her husband.

/s/ John D. Lee

2. Taken from the Nauvoo Temple 'Book of Anointings'; Historian's Office Library; January 8 - February 7, 1846; Book end title: 'W. Richards' in gold leaf; C.H.D., CR/342/3/box 4.

Feelings Afterwards

There is no doubt this had been a 'life changing experience' as promised by Elder Hillam. I felt the spirit even stronger.

Nominating Others for the Ordinance

A little time after this 'life changing' experience Elder Hillam asked me to nominate 2 couples I knew to receive this ordinance. I took this charge very seriously and asked Elder Hillam what qualities I should consider. He answered find another you, mature people who have been tried and tested yet remained absolutely committed and dedicated to the church. This was a flattering response. I knew the final decision would not be mine but, nevertheless, I considered it a very grave responsibility to make such nominations. I therefore went about it in the same manner I had done all my church life. I prayed for guidance to know Heavenly Father's will in this respect, made a list of all the people I knew who could be considered, worked it out in my own mind and fasted and prayed.

Previously I had assumed, if anyone made sure their calling and election, it was received at a personal visit from Jesus Christ. He knows us and is the perfect judge. Now I was in a position of nominating others for something so sacred, more onerous than nominating bishops, patriarchs, stake presidency counselors etc. I still assumed all nominations from all sources would be whittled down by an Area President and Apostle and the final decisions would be made by President Hinckley as he personally consulted with the Lord. (Years later I saw that these, like everything else in the church, were purely the decisions of mortal men. What arrogance for a church leader to assume he has the right to decide who will go to the 'highest heaven'.)


Seventeen months later, in October 2003, I was studying in preparation for serving a full-time mission with my wife. Since June 2001 I had been told by General Authorities of the Church that, when I was ready to submit my mission papers, they would recommend me as a mission president.

I decided there was one question regarding the Book of Mormon I had answered many times before but I doubted anyone with a good scientific background would accept such an answer. As I considered God would not prevent someone joining his one true church simply because they had a better scientific education and understanding ('the glory of God is intelligence'), I studied to find an acceptable answer which I assumed would be to demonstrate the flaws in the scientific hypothesis. I wanted this answer for myself to teach others and for my missionaries if I were called as a mission president. NOT FOR ONE MINUTE, at that time, did I think the church was false. I KNEW, beyond any shadow of doubt, it was true. I just needed to know what was wrong with the currently held scientific views. After studying the specific scientific methodology, to my amazement, it stood up. These were not simply hypotheses and theories of scientists but demonstrable FACTS. I believed God to be the 'Master Scientist' how else can He be the creator of all things. Therefore, true science cannot be in conflict with His revealed word.

This led me to consider in more depth other truth claims of the church and discuss them with 2 general authorities and consult 2 Brigham Young University professors. CONCLUSION - THE CHURCH WAS NOT TRUE, I HAD ALLOWED MYSELF TO BE DECEIVED.

If anyone is interested, I will give an account of that journey of discovery and the ramifications for my family and myself another time.

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