Doctrine and Covenants 124 includes instructions to the prophet Joseph Smith to “show” selected others “the keys whereby [they] may ask and receive” blessings (D&C 124: 95, 97). This seems to be an allusion to “the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood” that are taught in the endowment (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe , 416).
As recently reaffirmed by President Russell M. Nelson, although temple procedures and presentations are adjusted from time to time to clarify meaning, the “temple ordinances and covenants are ancient” (The Temple and Your Spiritual Foundation). This statement raises the question: Is there any evidence of such ancient ordinances and covenants?
What follows is a very brief overview of some of the historical evidence.