In The Cavity of a Rock

In The Cavity of a Rock
Father Lehi

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Hopi Wedding Ceremony adds validity to Everlasting Covenant

In July of 1843 the prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation while in Nauvoo in regards to what is now called the “New and Everlasting Covenant”. This can be found in the Doctrine and Covenants section 132. In this revelation the Lord sets straight the laws oaths and covenants associated with the marriage covenant in the Temple of the Lord as being sealed for time and all eternity. When compared to common marriage whose words specifically state “till death do you part” this latter ceremony has an ending upon the death of either covenant maker once they pass away. The new and everlasting covenant continues beyond the grave into the everlasting eternities. When comparing the Hopi wedding ceremony with that of the new and everlasting covenant we may be pleasantly surprised at all they have in common. First we should probably look at a brief description of the steps that a young Hopi woman takes not only in the ceremony itself but also in preparation for marriage.

When a girl starts menstruating, then her mother teaches her the Hopi moral code, which is that she is to keep herself a virgin until she is married – that before marriage it is wrong, but at the time of her marriage it is right and proper. After marriage, be true to your husband as long as you live. It will make a much better marriage if a girl keeps herself morally clean. It might break up your marriage if your man finds out that your past life has been bad. Even so, you would have to spend your life in the hereafter together. (Sekaquaptewa 117, Me and Mine)

These teachings sound awfully familiar when compared to the teachings of young women in the Church. Boyd Peterson (son in law of Hugh Nibley and intended biographer) spoke of learning from his father in law of the many similarities between the Mormons and the Hopi, he also spoke of how long time Nibley family friend Bob Bennion (BYU Professor) had served his mission among the Hopi and Navajo and told about how he had once witnessed the initiation ritual of a young woman in which the Hopi priest touched each of her sense organs with a feather dipped in corn meal and blessed them that they would function properly. And one can find parallels with the language of the Mormon temple ceremony in the Hopi myths or origin which are found in Frank Waters, “Book of the Hopi”.

Hopi marriages mostly take place between autumn and winter, as is customary among the Jews. When the bride-to-be-notifies her mother, the mother takes down the whorls in her hair and ties a knot in the loosened hair on each side of the bride’s head. Previously they would have been tied in what is known as the squash blossom hair dew showing that a young woman is of the age to be married and is currently untaken, although many of the younger girls (children) have this same hair style as well. She is now called a movi, or betrothed. Her mother escorts her to her future mother-in-laws house and presents gifts of meal made from white corn. The movi is kept in this house for four days before the wedding. There, she remains out of sight, prepares meals for the groom’s family, fasts and speaks very little throughout her betrothal. From sun up to sun down she works at grinding large quantities of corn for the wedding feast. A former custom of Jewish weddings was to prepare the marriage feast for each day of the week following the ceremony. It was called the “Seven Days of Feasting” during which the “Seven Benedictions” were repeated at the table. (Gen.29:27; Judg. 14:12, 17)

While the bride is preparing the corn meal, the groom and his clan uncles and male relations weave a knotted wedding sash and two white robes coated with wet kaolin (white clay) and sometimes embroidered with “a border of an hand breadth” (Ex25:25) Like the Egyptians, the men do the weaving. On her wedding day, shortly before sunrise, the bride is wrapped in one white robe while she carries in her arms the other robe, rolled up in a scroll made of reeds. This rolled-up robe is considered a grave bundle. It is to be cared for throughout the life of the bride and is to be wrapped around her upon her death. It is the vehicle that will transport her soul to the land of the afterlife. These robes and bridal belts are worn only on ceremonial occasions. This may sound familiar to the average LDS temple goers. The extra robe is worn by the young mother at the name giving ceremony of her firstborn.

The Hopi marriage is not for this life only but extends into life after death and cannot be put asunder. This is the same teaching as the new and everlasting covenant with the marriage being performed by one in authority in the house of the Lord. As can be seen the parallels between the Hopi and Mormon marriage ceremony and covenants are many. I’d like to end this post with an interesting quote I once heard of Hugh Nibley. In responding to someone who asked about similarities between the Mormon temple endowment and the Masonic ceremony, Nibley wrote that the parallels between the Mormon endowment and the rites of the Hopi “come closest of all as far as I have been able to discover- and where did they get theirs?”


  1. Hello,

    I just want to say thank you for this blog! I stumbled upon it while I was doing a google images search! I am a quarter Hopi, quarter Havasupai, half Norwegian, and fully converted Latter-Day Saint! I am SO excited to start reading your blog! thank you!


    1. Thanks I hope you like it. I've spent a long time studying the Hopi and I have a firm belief that they are ancestors of the Anti Nephi Lehi (People of Ammon)and people as well. I have a lot of posts that I have put up were ancient Hopi traditional stories confirm the teachings, practices and understanding of the Book of Mormon. The Hopi even have ties to the ancient Jaredites as well. I hope you enjoy the blog....much more to come.