Richard Packham‘s video is also available on YouTube
Publicly exposing the Mormon temple ceremony takes away the superficial power of secretiveness and mystery and helps people face reality. The power of mystery is largely sapped with a simple YouTube video.
Obeying God’s commandments is a form of Christian worship. God’s word tells us:
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’” (Ephesians 5:11-14)
Even the LDS Articles of Faith say, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” Since many Mormons use this verse to argue that the someone’s form and content of worship (especially their own) should never be criticized, I ask: Are Mormons going to criticize my form and content of worship when I obey God by exposing shameful things?
Trade in your green fig leaf apron for a cross. What God has revealed to the children of man, he has revealed to all the children of man. Find more private satisfaction in the public, personal word of God than in the shameful ceremonies of Joseph Smith.
Tips to Christians For Using (or Not Using) the LDS Temple Ceremony Content When Engaging Mormons
- Be led by the Spirit and be respectful and sensitive to people. The challenge here is immersing yourself in the Bible so that you adopt more biblical concepts of love and respect than worldly concepts. Being loving and sensitive will often require you to engage other issues of the heart and simply point people to the true nature of God and the gospel. But the Spirit may lead you to tear down false pretensions (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5) and idolatry by exposing the ceremony. It is no more disrespectful to expose the shameful LDS temple ceremony than it is to expose pervasive mold to a prospective house buyer.
- Part of the whole question of whether to reveal the temple ceremony concerns strategic and loving engagement, but there is also a power struggle that is real. It cannot be ignored. People who feel like they have secrets often feel like they have a power over other people. Mormons will sometimes refer to the temple as the only appropriate place to discuss certain doctrines. Sometimes it helps to break this superficial facade of power and exclusivity by revealing your knowledge of the temple.
- Bringing up the ceremony will often end a conversation, so be wise about if and when you do it.
- That said, I suggest teaching Mormons who haven’t been through the ceremony, especially teenagers, the three secret hand clasps. Ask them if they think secret handshakes will help get them into Heavenly Father’s presence. Many will vehemently say, “No!” Express your agreement. Ask the same people, “If Satan told you to make a green fig leaf apron, what would you do?” The responses I hear are interesting. “I wouldn’t do it!” “I’d tell him to be quiet.” I like to advise people, “If Satan ever tells you to make a green fig leaf apron, rebuke him!” If they go through the temple ceremony, they will be reminded of these things. This will help them feel creeped out by the ceremony. They should feel that way, and you owe it to them in love to help them be sober about it.
- Break the news to them. The things you have just spoken of are actually in the LDS temple ceremony. If they don’t believe you, tell them to ask their parents. Or Google. The internet has more power to deliver knowledge than the Mormon “priesthood” ever will.
- Don’t over-sensationalize the role of Satan in the temple ceremony. I recommend a good article by Jerald and Sandra called, Obsession With Lucifer?.
- Expect opposition over this. Letting the cat out of the bag will drive some defenders of Mormonism in your community nuts. But keep a sober mind that this isn’t about them. It’s about the true seekers. The inherent shamefulness of the LDS temple ceremony really causes a crisis of conscience in people that causes them to leave the Mormon Church and take Christianity more seriously. Don’t want to see a close relationship severed? That’s OK. You can at least get the word out to people who haven’t been through the temple, who you can tolerate being upset at you. It’s worth it in the long run for their own sake.
- Remind your LDS friends that this isn’t a matter of trivial humor. It’s serious. It is a matter of informed consent. People have a right to know about this all before they join Mormonism.
- Ask, “Is the Book of Mormon is sacred?” “Of course.” “Is it public?” “Yes.” “So, if something is sacred, does it have to be secret and hidden from the public?” This helps when someone explains that simply because the ceremony is “sacred” it cannot be discussed publicly.
- Ask, “Why was the temple veil torn in two when Jesus was crucified?”
- Ask, “Can you think of any examples of people being married in the Old Testament temple?”
- Ask a Mormon if they are aware of the changes in the temple ceremony. Also ask, “Are the parts of the temple ceremony removed in 1990 still sacred?”
- Express your feelings about having your pastor mocked as a hireling of Satan in the pre-1990 LDS temple ceremony. Ask, “If Protestants had a secret ceremony where we called your bishops hirlings of Satan, what would you think if I said it was too ‘sacred’ to talk about?”
- Point them to the sufficiency of Christ. Share Hebrews 7 and tell them you want them to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, our great high priest. Eternal life is all about knowing Jesus, receiving Jesus, and believing Jesus as he freely offers us the forgiveness of sins and fellowship with God forever. Christians now have the indwelling of the Spirit, and our level of intimacy and fellowship with God is not dependent on whether we are in a certain building.
- Be like Jesus: “And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.’” Mark 13:1-2
I’ll close with a letter from an ex-Mormon Christian written to Bill Mckeever:
“Good afternoon Mr. McKeever. This email is an apology to the nasty and derogatory remarks I sent you in the past. I do not know if you remember our conversations but it was obvious that I was so deep into Mormonism, I did not realize how uneducated I sounded for defending a false faith. It is my prayer that every member of the LDS church come to the realization that Joseph Smith is one of the false prophets that the Bible warns us about. I came to my realization shortly after finding out the details of Temple rituals. I was officially removed from the membership records as of May 2005… Realizing that accepting Christ as my personal savior and putting all of my trust in him instead of Gordon B. Hinckley has made a magnanimous impact upon my life as a Christian. I want to personally thank you for distributing websites like these to bring LDS members out of the dark and into the light. Thank you for being a bold servant of Christ and May God Bless you and your co-workers always. Please feel free to post this message on your site as a hopeful inspiration to all LDS who wish to leave.”