Morton Smith argued that secret Mark suggested an initiation ritual that was an ascent to heaven and that Jesus had undergone the same process. Knowing exactly what secret things Jesus might have done is highly speculative, but there is evidence for some kind of secret teaching or ritual in early Christianity. Smith argued that the context for the ascent were the Enochian apocalypses particularly 1 and 2 Enoch in which Enoch ascends to heaven and in 2 Enoch he becomes an angel. 1 and 2 Enoch also described Enoch undergoing a heavenly temple liturgy. Says 2 Enoch,
And the Lord said to Michael: Go and take Enoch from out of his earthly garments, and anoint him with my sweet ointment, and put him into the garments of My glory. And Michael did thus, as the Lord told him. He anointed me, and dressed me, and the appearance of that ointment is more than the great light, and his ointment is like sweet dew, and its smell mild, shining like the sun’s ray, and I looked at myself, and I was like one of his glorious ones.
After this transformation, God then tells Enoch, “Hear, Enoch, and take in these my words, for not to My angels have I told my secret, and I have not told them their rise, nor my endless realm, nor have they understood my creating, which I tell you today.” God then proceeds to show Enoch the creation.
Descriptions of such rituals were common in apocalyptic literature like The Ascent of Isaiah, The Apocalypse of Abraham, and The Testament of Levi in the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs. In The Testament of Levi, Levi says, “I saw the holy temple and the highest sitting on the throne of glory.” Levi is given the priesthood, anointed, washed, “clothed me with a glorious robe down to the ground,” given “a silken garment like to an ephod,” and finally has “the mitre of priesthood [placed] upon my head.” The text also mentions a new name. Another common theme in the apocalypses was the visionary seeing the creation.
Those who wrote the apocalypses, argues Martha Himmelfarb, believed that the earthly temple was corrupt and that they needed to perform the rites of the heavenly temple. Those at Qumran many have undergone such rites on earth. John Turner argues that the apocalypses came from communities that performed such rites. A number of the apocalypses had Christian elements (especially the Ascension of Isaiah), suggesting that Christians appropriated this genre. Jean Danielou and Bogdan Bucur argue that Clement of Alexandria was heavily influenced by these apocalypses, and Danielou argues that there was a rite of ascent associated with the secret tradition. John Turner and Dylan Michael Burns argue that Gnostic rituals of ascent were based on these apocalyptic temple rituals.
Thus when Scott Brown describes what he thinks Clement of Alexandria’s mystical ascent associated with the secret gospel of Mark may have been, and when his descriptions are fundamentally based on the notion of ascending through a heavenly temple, such may have been based on rites performed on earth. Brown even argues that “the mysteries of the origin of the universe (cosmogony)” were an important part of this higher teaching. Again, the Clement’s letter to Theodore, he said that secret Mark was read to those “who are being initiated into the great mysteries.”
At the same time, mysteries had referred to initiation rituals performed in Greek cults. More on that in my next post.
 Smith argued that Jesus believed that he became Christ during one of these ascents, perhaps his baptism. Morton Smith, Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973), 245-46. DC 93 says something similar.
 2 Enoch chpt. 22, 24
 The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Sons of Jacob (Manchester, Ralph J. Bradshaw, 1843).
 Martha Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (New York: Oxford, 1993), 4, 65.
 Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven, 13.
 John D. Turner, “To See the Light: A Gnostic Appropriation of Jewish Priestly Practice and Sapiential and Apocalyptic Visionary Lore,” in Mediators of the Divine: Horizons of Prophecy, Divination, Dreams, and Theurgy in Mediterranean Antiquity (Atlanta: Scholars, 1998), 104-5; Smith, Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark, 239.
 Turner, “To See the Light,” 65-66, 109.
 Jean Danielou, Gospel Message and Hellenistic Culture, trans. John Austin Baker (London: Darton, Logman and Todd, 1973), 445-63; Bogdan G. Bucur, “The Other Clement of Alexandria: Cosmic Hierarchy and Interiorized Apocalypticism,” Vigiliae Christianae 60 (2006): 251-68.
 Turner, “To See the Light,” 109; Dylan Michael Burns, “Out of Heaven: Myth, Eschatology, and Theurgy in the Sethian Gnostic Apocalypses of Nag Hammadi” (PhD. Diss. Yale University, 2011), 18, 360-62, 386.
 Scott G. Brown, Mark’s Other Gospel: Rethinking Morton Smith’s Controversial Discovery (Waterloo, Can.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2005), 129.