Would a secret ceremony that depicted Mormon bishops as hirelings of Satan be sacred too?

A Mormon left this comment on the Secrets of the Mormon Temples video a few days ago,

It saddens me that some have so little respect for what is sacred to others. Watching movies like this one literally destroy the sanctity that is in the temple and poison the minds of all who watch it, just as pornography defiles the minds of it’s viewers and destroys the sanctity of those who produce it. And those who made this video have violated a promise to God and will be subject to the consequences of such when they are judged.

Some thoughts come to mind.

  • Inasmuch as the Old Testament publicized the going-ons of the temple, was it destroying sanctity and poisoning minds? 
  • How is keeping this ceremony secret respectful of those who would appreciate making a more informed decision as to whether or not to join or stay in the Mormon Church? People are more sacred than rituals. Out of respect for the sacred nature of human beings created by God, I feel compelled as a Christian to help publicly expose the LDS ceremony so that people can make better informed choices. Instisting that I comply to the demand of Mormons to keep the ceremony secret is essentially insisting that I treat the ceremony as more sacred than the people who would be positively affected by open exposure to the ceremony.
  • What is more sacred and meaningful: rituals, or the beliefs and teachings that give meaning to rituals? If teachings and beliefs are more sacred and meaningful than rituals, then how am I not to—according to Mormon standards—be utterly disgusted and repulsed in my living room when Mormon missionaries essentially tell me (either directly or indirectly) that nearly every single fundamental, distinctive doctrine I believe in traditional Christianity, especially on the nature of God, is either entirely wrong or has been fatally corrupted? Do you see the disconnect here? Non-Mormons are expected to have the maturity and patience to listen to explicit and implicit attacks on the very foundations of our sacred beliefs, especially when couched in a presentation that aims at introducing a more compelling alternative belief system. Shouldn’t non-Mormons be able to expect the same from Mormons? We’re all adults here, aren’t we?
  • Is the pre-1990 part of the Mormon temple ceremony where Trinitarian ministers were mocked as hirelings of Satan is still “sacred”? If Trinitarians had a secret ceremony where we depicted Mormon bishops hirelings of Satan, what would they think if we said it was too “sacred” to talk about? If this PC culture, I have no doubt that the tolerance-police would use words like “defamation” and “disrepectful” and “hate speech” and “bigotry” to describe such a ceremony.
  • Are the other parts of the ceremony which were removed in 1990, especially the tokens and penalties (that symbolized disembowlement and throat-slitting), still sacred? Did they cease to become sacred when the Mormon institution cleansed the larger ceremony of them? Do such tokens and penalties remain secretive forever? As generations pass, will Mormons deem discussion on the symbolic penalties of disembowlement and throat-slitting more acceptable, much like Mormon apologists today have apparently deemed discussion over Brigham’s inclusion of Adam-God into the temple ceremony at St. George as acceptable?

This movie requires Flash Player 9

From the early 1900’s:

Lucifer — “I hear you. What is it you want?”

Adam — “Who are you?”

Lucifer — “The god of this world.”

Adam — “Who made you the god of this world?”

Lucifer — “I made myself. What is it that you want?”

Adam — “I was calling on Father.”

Lucifer — “Oh, I see, you want religion. I’ll have some preachers

along presently.”

(Enter Preacher)

Preacher — “You have a very fine congregation here.”

Lucifer — “Oh, are you a Preacher?”

Preacher — “Yes.”

Lucifer — “Ever been to college and studied the dead languages?”

Preacher — “Why, certainly; no one can preach the gospel acceptably

unless he has been to college and studied the dead languages.”

Lucifer — “Well, if you’ll preach your gospel to this congregation and

convert them, mind you, I’ll give you –let me see –four thousand a

year.”

Preacher — “That is very little, but I’ll do the best I can.”

Preacher — (To Adam) — “Good morning, sir.”

Adam — “Good morning.”

Preacher — “I understand you are looking for religion?”

Adam — “I was calling upon Father.”

Preacher — (Producing a hymn-book) –We’ll sing two verses of the grand

old hymn.

“Hail Father, Son and Holy Ghost,

One Lord, in persons three;

To Thee we make our joyful boast,

Our songs we raise to Thee.

“Fountain of every joy and grace,

Our God, we Thee adore:

“Beyond the bounds of time and space

Thou dwellest evermore.”

The preacher leads in singing the hymn, Lucifer keeping time with his

feet and viewing the audience with smug complacency. After singing the

hymn and making his appeal to the audience, he turns to Adam to test his

faith.

Preacher — (To Adam) — “Do you believe in that great Spirit, without body,

parts or passions, who sits on the top of a topless throne, ‘beyond the

bounds of time and space’, whose center is everywhere and circumference

nowhere; who fills immensity with His presence and yet is so small He

can dwell in your heart. Do you believe this?”

Adam — “No. I don’t believe a word of it.”

Preacher — “Then I am very sorry for you. But perhaps you believe in

hell –that great and bottomless pit which is full of fire and Brimstone,

into which the wicked are cast and where they are ever burning and yet

never burn.”

Adam — “No, I do not, and I am sorry for you.” 

Transcript from a 1984 audible recording of the ceremony (you’ll see that some things had changed before then too):

ADAM: Who are you?

LUCIFER: I am the God of this world.

ADAM: You, the God of this world?

LUCIFER: Yes, what do you want?

ADAM: I am looking for messengers.

LUCIFER: Oh, you want someone to preach to you. You want religion, do
you? I will have preachers here presently.

(Lucifer turns his head as a sectarian minister approaches.)

LUCIFER: Good Morning sir!

SECTARIAN MINISTER: Good morning!

(The preacher turns and looks into the camera.)

SECTARIAN MINISTER: A fine congregation!

LUCIFER: Yes, they are a very good people. They are concerned about
religion. Are you a preacher?

SECTARIAN MINISTER: I am.

LUCIFER: Have you been to college and received training for the
ministry?

SECTARIAN MINISTER: Certainly! A man cannot preach unless has been
trained for the ministry.

LUCIFER: Do you preach the orthodox religion?

SECTARIAN MINISTER: Yes, that is what I preach.

LUCIFER: If you will preach your orthodox religion to these people, and
convert them, I will pay you well.

SECTARIAN MINISTER: I will do my best.

(Lucifer guides the preacher to Adam and Eve, who stand nearby.)

LUCIFER: Here is a man who desires religion. He is very much exercised,
and seems to be sincere.

(As Lucifer presents the preacher to Adam and Eve he steps back and
observes the ensuing conversation. The preacher is made to sound
sincere, although misguided and credulous. Adam appears humble, faithful
and immovable in his determination to serve God. He is not swayed by the
preacher, and is astounded by the doctrines espoused by the preacher.)

SECTARIAN MINISTER: I understand that you are inquiring after religion.

ADAM: I was calling upon Father.

SECTARIAN MINISTER: I am glad to know that you were calling upon Father.
Do you believe in a God who is without body, parts, or passions; who
sits on the top of a topless throne; whose center is everywhere and
whose circumference is nowhere; who fills the universe, and yet is so
small that he can dwell in your heart; who is surrounded by myriads of
beings who have been saved by grace, not for any act of theirs, but by
His good pleasure. Do you believe in such a great Being?

ADAM: I do not. I cannot comprehend such a being.

SECTARIAN MINISTER: That is the beauty of it. Perhaps you do not believe
in a devil, and in that great hell, the bottomless pit, where there is a
lake of fire and brimstone into which the wicked are cast, and where
they are continually burning, but none never consumed?

ADAM: I do not believe in any such place.

SECTARIAN MINISTER: My dear friend, I am sorry for you. 

Further reading

Because of the lack of emotional restraint some people have over this topic, I’m not opening this thread up for comments. Please send your comments to [email protected] or contact me over Skype, where I am aaronshaf.

Let’s go ahead and give comments a shot.

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11 Responses to Would a secret ceremony that depicted Mormon bishops as hirelings of Satan be sacred too?

  1. Ralph says:

    To answer your points will take more than 2000 characters so I will do it over a few posts.

    No one is forcing anyone to join the LDS church, and once joined, no one is forcing them to go to the temple. Once someone has been through the temple, no one is forcing them to stay in the church. In saying this – if one joins the LDS church without knowledge of the happenings in the temple, they are free to go after they have been through the temple if they decide that it’s not what they want. Thus they do not need to know ‘everything’ in order to make an ‘informed’ decision to join the LDS church. They just need to know about our belief in God, Jesus and on-going revelation. If they can accept that, then they can accept the revelation about the temple and its purpose.

    In your first main statement you said “People are more sacred than rituals”. In this case you are making a false assumption that the temple is just rituals and that it’s not about people. This is not true. The temple teaches us more about God and His plan and how the time on this earth links together throughout all of time. It is about God, Himself and it allows us, His people, to grow closer to Him. The scriptures say it is better to offend man than to offend God. They also say not to cast your pearls before swine because the swine will not esteem them at their true value. This is what has been done with the temple ceremony. Someone (inactive/ex-LDS member) has cast the pearls before swine and now everyone who ridicules it is offending God.

    Now I know you do not believe all this but let me ask you a question – What if we LDS are correct? How much will you have to answer for to God then?

    You make the statement about how you should feel “…utterly disgusted and repulsed in my living room when Mormon missionaries essentially tell me (either directly or indirectly) that nearly every single fundamental, distinctive doctrine I believe in traditional Christianity, especially on the nature of God, is either entirely wrong or has been fatally corrupted…” This is another hollow statement. You deride, mock and tell us that our doctrine of God is false as well. It is an open topic and easily discussed- as are all of our basic doctrines, which you and other websites do quite liberally. There are at least 5 different Biblical theologies about God that I know of – so if you feel offended by someone sharing their beliefs and telling you that you are wrong – get over it because only one of these 5 is correct.

  2. Ralph says:

    Now just think of you and your beliefs. If you had a belief that was so sacred, pure and undefiled that you did not want it to be made public because you knew that if it were it would be ridiculed and lose it’s purity and sacredness a little because of that. We have an article of faith that says we allow all to worship who, where or what they may. In saying this, I would stand up and fight (if I had to) for your right to keep that belief out of the public so you could keep its sanctity. That is the only support that you would receive from me, the right to believe however you want to. Would you appreciate me doing something like that? Now lets flip the coin a little – would you now fight for my right to take that belief of yours and make it public and ridicule it so it does lose some of its purity and sacredness? I think you wouldn’t because you would want that belief to remain sacred.

    That is what we have – the right to keep this belief pure, sacred and undefiled as much as possible becasue it is not harming anyone physically or psychologically, etc. I know from your point of view its harming them eternally/spiritually, but as I have said earlier nothing and no one is forcing them to stay in the church after they have been through the temple if they disagree with what they have seen within there.

    As far as the minister of another church being portrayed as an hireling of Satan, I see no bother with that. You all know that we believe that you are in the wrong church and that there are only 2 churches in this world – God’s and the Devil’s. But you also believe the same. If you had a pageant or something about your religion and you portrayed an LDS missionary (and I have seen this done many times) or bishop. etc as a representative of Satan, yes I would not/do not like it much but it’s not my problem as it is your belief not mine. It is nothing personal, just an expression of belief. I am not jumping up and down calling for it to be stopped. I know who I am, Who I believe in and what I stand for , and I know I am correct so I will just leave it all up to God to sort out in the end.

    The last few questions about the parts removed from the Endowment presentation – yes they are still sacred, the new presentation makes references to them and how they are still sacred and inforce.

  3. Ralph wrote “If you had a belief that was so sacred, pure and undefiled that you did not want it to be made public because you knew that if it were it would be ridiculed and lose it’s purity and sacredness a little because of that. ”

    I can appreciate how you’re getting prickly over what you may consider to be a “private” matter, but you’re going in the exact opposite direction of Biblical teaching.

    Everything that Jesus and the early church did was done in full public view . In fact, the public nature of their teachings and behaviours figured in their first line of defence.

    For example Jesus’ defence in Matt 26:55 or Mark 14:49

    For example, Paul’s defence in Acts 26:26

    The public nature of the Kingdom is one of the most profound cornerstones of Biblical theology, for example Col 2:16 “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” or 1 Tim 4:13 “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture”. Why build a city on a hill and then try to hide it under a bucket (Matt 5:14)?

    If Jesus had your attitude, do you think he would have got himself dragged through the streets and spreadeagled naked on a cross? Was he concerned that his personal “purity” and “sacredness” might be publicly ridiculed?

    Show me one place in the Bible where we are commanded to observe secret ceremonies. On the contrary “For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.” Mark 4:22.

  4. Ralph, that someone isn’t forced into joining the Mormon religion or participating in the ceremony doesn’t necessarily have any bearing on whether such a person was given the kind of disclosure they deserve. I simply disagree that the contents of the ceremony are unimportant for this. In fact, I know ex-Mormon Christians who left Mormonism shortly after going through the ceremony.

    That people are more sacred than rituals does not imply that temple rituals cannot be focused on people. That is irrelevant to my point. My point is that people are sacred enough to warrant full disclosure of the ceremony’s contents, whatever that content is.

    Do you realize you have implied that non-Mormons are at least generally “swine”, and thus shouldn’t be exposed to the “pearls” of the ceremony? I’ve written and discussed this issue here.

    If Mormonism is correct then I have to ask, which vein of Mormonism is correct? The old-school one that speaks of critics like me suffering eternity in outer darkness, or the more comtemporary Mormonism that puts me in a lawnchair enjoying a martini on the beaches of the Telestial kingdom?

    You make the statement about how you should feel…

    From this point on in your comments you miss something important: I was appealing to Mormonism’s system of ethics and value system, not my own. The point was to make an appeal for consistency. In my own system of ethics and value system, I see nothing wrong with publicly criticizing false religious systems and exposing their secretive ceremonies. Nor do I see anything wrong per se with Mormons criticizing non-Mormon religions. What I have a problem with is Mormons criticizing other religions (implicitly and explicitly, forthrightly and passive-aggressively) yet at the same time appealing to a sort of ethic that says religious criticism and demeaning that which is sacred is wrong. It’s inconsistent.

    If you had a belief that was so sacred, pure and undefiled that you did not want it to be made public because you knew that if it were it would be ridiculed and lose it’s purity and sacredness a little because of that

    I know you’re using a hypothetical, but when you talk like this I can’t help but think you have embarrassing, secretive beliefs about hugely important things that you’re not willing to disclose to us. I refuse to believe that a religious belief is worth having if it is so embarrassing and so brittle that public disclosure would render it impure and unsacred. Sacred truth withstands public scrutiny.

    would you now fight for my right to take that belief of yours and make it public and ridicule it so it does lose some of its purity and sacredness?

    I would die for your right to publicly expose, criticize, and ridicule anything and everything I believe (seriously). But that’s easier for me to say, because none of my beliefs require secrecy to remain sacred.

    the new presentation makes references to them and how they are still sacred and inforce.

    I’ll have to ask around about this. I wasn’t aware the current ceremony still referenced the pre-1990 ceremony.

    Thanks for your comments, grace and peace,

    Aaron

  5. Ralph says:

    Martin,

    Sorry it took a while to get back to you about your post but you are wrong when you said that Jesus did everything out in the open. If we go to the story about the Mount of Transfiguration we see in both Matthew and Mark a comment made by Jesus – ”And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.”

    Jesus was with Peter, James and John only at the time. They appear to have been there for a while as Jesus spoke with Moses and Elias. Note that Jesus told them to tell no one about the experience until He was risen from the dead. So Jesus had that part of His work kept in secret from all but 3 of His disciples until he was resurrected. Now the question is – can you tell me what happened in its entirety on the Mount? We know Jesus spoke with Moses and Elias, but what about? Why did Jesus want it all kept secret? If we know that the event occurred but we do not know what exactly transpired, is this still not a secret even now? The 3 disciples may have told people about the occurrence (ie it happened) as recorded in Matthew and Mark, but nothing about the specifics, meaning that yes it still is a secret.

    Then again, maybe it’s written somewhere in the Bible, but where we do not know. So it still is a secret until we know exactly what happened.

  6. Ralph wrote “If we go to the story about the Mount of Transfiguration we see in both Matthew and Mark a comment made by Jesus – ”And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.”

    Good pick up, Ralph. Matt 17:9 and Mark 9:9. Jesus’ attitude here reflects his attitude to some healings, where he instructs the people healed not to blab about it.

    It seems counter-intuitive as to why Jesus didn’t want to broadcast the proofs of his messiahship in these miracles. My reading is that he wanted his people to believe in him because of who he was, not because of what he could do for them.

    However, you’re drawing a long bow to use these instances to justify the incorporation of secret Masonic rituals in your religion. Firstly, the healings could hardly be described as rituals with funny handshakes and strange underwear. Secondly, and more importantly, the facts were broadcast to all and sundry through the evangelism of the church a couple of years later.

    The origins of the secret Temple ceremonies are not found in the Bible. Its more likely that Joseph saw a rich vein of converts in the Freemasons, so he rebadged their rituals with his own religion.

    In any case, don’t your own scriptures consider secret oaths, to be an abomination, or at least one of the many sins of the Lamanites? For example 4 Nephi 1:42 “And it came to pass that the wicked part of the people began again to build up the secret oaths and combinations of Gadianton”.

    If this were the case you’d be in a right pickle. On the one hand you’ll try to be faithful to BoM by refraining from secret oaths, on the other your endowment is all about secret oaths. This kind of spiritual schizophrenia has nothing to do with the teaching of the Bible or the Christ that it tells us about. If you really want to understand the Christ of the Bible, you have no choice but to jack the LDS movement altogether.

  7. faithoffathers says:

    Martin,

    You may be interested to know that there have been some intriguing finds in Egypt. Researchers found in a burial ground of early Christians ceremonial clothing that appears almost identical to the garments and robes of the modern temple. Several investigators have corroborated this find. (Wilfred Griggs et al., “Evidences of a Christian Population in the Egyptian Fayum and Genetic and Textile Studies of the Akhmim Noble Mummies.” BYU Studies 33:2 (1993): 215-243)

    You don’t have to believe anything you don’t want to, but there is evidence that the modern temple ceremonies parallel ancient practices.

    As far as secret oaths, the evil oaths in the BOM are intended to protect those who murder, steal, and combine to gain power. It doesn’t take a genius to see the difference between those oaths and the covenants entered into by LDS to follow Christ, to take upon us His name, and be witnesses for Him at all times.

    fof

  8. faithoffathers says:

    Martin,

    Despite your claims, the temple and its ordinances were not created by Joseph Smith.

    There is evidence in addition to the finds in Egypt that suggest a significant parallel between the ancient church and modern temple worship.

    Here is a link to a very interesting paper about the teachings of Christ taught during His 40 day visit after His resurrection. LDS here will find this interesting.

    To summarize, legend was that Christ taught His disciples and selected others important, sacred truths during His 40 day visit. Thereafter, many groups claimed they had “the truths” and secrets that He taught. Recently translated gnostic writings from that time period have shed some light on those legends. Interestingly, the details of those legends contained in these writings have striking similarities to the modern temple and its ceremonies and purpose.

    While this will not likely convince you of anything, believers may find this interesting!

    http://davidwiley.org/papers/40_days.html

  9. FoF, please continue to appeal to gnostic sources to support secretive teachings. It is quite revealing. and confirming of the accusation that Mormonism shares important things in common with gnosticism.

    As for parallelomania,

    “There has been an exegetical trend during the last several decades to draw endless parallels to text from the ancient Near East and beyond in an attempt to validate the writings in the Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price. The pioneer and leader in this effort has been the great LDS scholar Hugh Nibley. In recent years the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) has continued this legacy. The number of parallels that Nibley has been able to uncover from amazingly disparate and arcane sources is truly staggering. Unfortunately, there seems to be a neglect of any methodological reflection or articulation in this endeavor.” (>>)

    Take care,

    Aaron

  10. faithoffathers says:

    Aaron,

    When a person claims that Joseph Smith created elaborate ceremonies with what in our day is considered bizarre elements and details, and ancient artifacts suggest striking similarities in ceremony and dress and purpose to ancient practices, I do not think it is unreasonable to point out this parallel.

    You can dismiss such finds all you want. But how many times have people on this site asked for such evidence and parallels? Too many to count.

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