On Tuesday USA Todayposted an article by journalist Jill Lawrence: “Will Mormon faith hurt bid for White House?” There are some unexpected revelations in the article related to the doctrines and history of the LDS Church. They are grouped under the headings of “Theology,” “Polygamy,” “Racial History,” “Secrecy,” “Discipline,” and “Proselytizing.” This makes the USA Today article unique in that Ms. Lawrence discusses some of the real concerns Christians have with Mormonism rather than dismissing all critics as “bigots,” “ignorant,” or “misinformed.”
Another section of the USA Today article I like is this:
The ex-governor [Mormon Mitt Romney] says questions about his faith are fair to ask. Some queries he answers directly. “I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink coffee or tea. I also do a tithe,” he says, meaning he donates 10% of his income to the church. All are church requirements.Romney responds more generally when asked if he has participated in an endowment ceremony, in which men and women take vows of secrecy about temple rites and of obedience to the Lord, and begin the daily practice of wearing a sacred “temple garment” resembling abbreviated long underwear.
“I do attend the temple of my church…and people can learn about that by contacting the church,” he says, adding: “I’m sure on the Internet you can find every single aspect of what’s entailed.”
An inquirer will not learn much about the LDS endowment ceremony from the Mormon Church. In the sections about temples on two official LDS web sites (lds.org newsroom, the “official resource for news media, opinion leaders, and the public” and mormon.org, an informational site for non-members) the endowment ceremony is not even mentioned.
But Mr. Romney is correct that those who really want to know “can find every single aspect of what’s entailed” on the internet. All one need do is Google “LDS Endowment Ceremony.” There are almost 66,000 results from which to choose.
To make it a bit easier for those of you who want to learn about the endowment ceremony performed in LDS temples, here are some links to sites I believe are trustworthy.
For overviews and commentary:
- The LDS Temple Ceremony by Bill McKeever
- Temple Ritual Changed…Again by Sandra Tanner
- Mormon Temples: “The Gates of Heaven” by Sharon Lindbloom
For transcripts of the entire endowment ceremony (including past and current versions):
- The Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony, Revised in 1990 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the Mormons In Transition web site
- The Endowment Ceremony at the Concerned Christians web site
For related topics:
- Masonic Influence in the Endowment Ceremony by Bill McKeever
- LDS Endowment and Masonic Initiation by James David
- The LDS Temple Ceremony – Sacred or Secret? by Bill McKeever
- The Garments of the Holy Priesthood by Bill McKeever
- Temple “Worthiness” and the Bible by Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson
For everything you always wanted to know about LDS temples but were afraid to ask: