Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

My Queen, an electronic edition

by Sandette [Walsh, Marie A.]

date: 1878
source publisher: G. W. Carleton & Co., Publishers; S. Low, Son & Co.
collection: Genre Fiction

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CHAPTER XXI.
THE INITIATION OF THE DANITES.

THE sun shone brilliantly, the air vibrated with sounds of life, the streets were full of busy people, when a number of influential Zionites directed their steps towards the Temple block. They laughed and talked among themselves and with the friends they met as if nothing unusual occupied their minds.

They entered the building called the Endowment House, the entrance of which resembled an ordinary bathing establishment more than a sacred temple. Those admitted spoke of making their toilette; and they disappeared behind the curtained partitions.

There was a noise of splashing water; then in a few minutes they emerged looking very much as if an earthquake had surprised them in the middle of the night.

A white, tunic-shaped garment covered the body and descended a little below the knee, white trousers, à la Turque (but these evidently were considered a luxury, as several were without them), and a white head-dress--a something between a night-cap and a baker's cap.

Such were the Endowment robes, made according to millennial fashions.

They entered a dimly-lighted, long room, its farthest side screened by a crimson curtain. Before this curtain sat the chief and the "twelve."

The white-robed ranged themselves in a semi-circle.

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One of the twelve arose, and stretching forth his hands, said: "Welcome, brethren. Are ye ready to receive a new covenant from the Lord?"

"We are."

"Will you take the oath commanded by the Lord?"

"We will."

"Then bow your heads in reverence; hearken to the oath commanded by God."

They bowed their heads, and a voice strange to their ears uttered the awful command:

"Thus saith the Lord: 'Even as I made a covenant of everlasting priesthood with Phineas because he slew his brother Israelite, who had transgressed the law, even so will I make a covenant with you, my servants, if ye will swear to do my will."

The white-robed answered: "We swear."

"Those that I command you to destroy, ye shall destroy; even as Nephi killed Laban, even so shall ye destroy them."

"We swear to destroy them."

"Even though they be of thine own blood or kindred, yet must ye destroy them, that their souls may be purified in their blood."

"We swear."

"The transgressors of the law shalt thou destroy; even as Phineas slew Zimri, even so shall ye slay them."

"We will slay them."

"The children of Baal who putteth to death my saints, them shall ye exterminate, men, women, and children, even as the Israelites exterminated the Amalekites and the Canaanites; so shall they perish by your hands, and their riches ye shall divide among you. But they shall perish."

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"They shall perish."

"And this shall be no murder. The shedding of innocent blood only maketh murder; but the slaying of the ungodly is as incense in my sight.

"And the word murder shall not be named among ye as servants of the Lord; neither shall ye reveal secrets of this my covenant, or your place will be no more upon earth nor in my kingdom.

"And in the night shall ye do this thing; your faces hidden, that the wicked may not lay snares for ye. And if, according to this my law, you shed blood without command, and that blood be not innocent blood, ye shall make an offering of thy goods to my church, and I will accept the offering, and ye shall be clean; no sin will be found with you.

"And now let each one of the servants that I have chosen, take an oath that he will observe these, my commands. Let my servant whom I have placed over my people, record the oath, and I will receive it. Woe be unto him who shall break this my covenant: upon him will I visit my vengeance: upon him, and upon his children: but to them who observe my law and do my will, will I give the fruits of the earth, and wives; and his children shall be numerous as the sands of the sea, and his throne shall be exalted above the sons of men."

A few minutes' silence followed, then the chief spoke. His voice trembled as with emotion.

"This is a great and mighty covenant the Lord makes with us. Let each one think over these words, and these commands. The work must be done, and we will do it; and the proud nations of the earth shall tremble. Our knives shall avenge our dead." "Amen," | | 105 responded the white-robed. "And now, brethren, you shall witness my oath: then I will witness yours."

The oaths were taken. Then officers were chosen; the Man of the Mountain being elected grand chief.

This business done, they consulted upon the best means of preserving the secrecy enjoined by the covenant.

It was not such a difficult matter. Two phrases were sufficient to express their designs: "To assure one's salvation." "The Indians." "Over the rim of the basin."

"'Tis well, brethren: we will pray to our Master and then depart to our duties." The initiated knelt in prayer. Suddenly a rolling noise was heard like distant thunder. It came nearer. Currents of air rushed through the room, then the curtain was rent, and in the midst of flashing light stood a transfigured form, a flaming sword in its hand.

"Lo, it is the angel of the Lord!"

"It is our prophet, Joseph Smith!"

The form waved the sword, as if to command silence,--then a voice like a silvery echo cried out:

"Destroying Angels ye shall be, scattering the wicked before my face.

"Ye shall be called Danites; for the tribe of Dan was a lion's whelp.

"And your watch-word shall be, 'Our swords are ready, our arms are strong.'

"The ungodly shall perish."

The vision vanished. The Danites were ready for work.

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