No Love Lost Between Mormons and HBO’s “Big Love”

Have you heard about the next episode of HBO’s Big Love, set to air on Sunday (March 15, 2009)? It’s being widely reported that the television show will be depicting the LDS temple endowment ceremony as one of the main characters faces losing her LDS Church membership. Read more about it from The Associated Press.

As would be expected by anyone familiar with Mormon culture, the LDS community is up in arms over the proposition of a public viewing of the restricted temple ceremony. The Mormon Church has issued a formal statement encouraging members not to worry and to “conduct themselves with dignity and thoughtfulness” in the face of this new affront. Yet LDS members are quite upset, calling for boycotts and subscription cancellations of services associated with HBO and Time Warner. Joel Campbell at Mormon Times wrote some characteristically strong words about the issue:

“For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Time Warner’s Home Box Office network will cross a very bright ethical line when it airs an episode of ‘Big Love’ Sunday…

“What [Big Love producers] Olsen and Scheffer have created amounts to religious pornography. It takes something that is sacred and meant for personal reflection and commitment and throws it before the masses…

“Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe there should be any effort by government to censor HBO, but I do believe those who care about respect for religious ideals should enter the marketplace of ideas and make calm and reasoned arguments about why this show is offensive. The public should demand HBO observe higher ethical standards. HBO ought to make the ethical decision to pull the show based on its offense to members of the nation’s fourth largest religious denomination.”

The Mormon Curtain wrote that, in reporting the controversy, the Salt Lake Tribune originally published a story with an accompanying photo from the Big Love episode which portrayed the series’ character, Barb, wearing temple clothing complete with veil and fig leaf apron. The newspaper later replaced the photo with a more benign image of the Big Love cast and changed its headline from “‘Big Love’ Trampling the Sacred?” to “LDS Temple secrets? ‘Big Love’ TV episode angers Mormons.”

Mormons have long suggested that temple ceremonies should not be exposed to the public because the ceremonies are sacred. It could be that this phraseology has taken root as a natural response to the accusation from non-Mormons that temple ceremonies are secret. The typical Mormon answer to such an accusation is, “Temples are sacred, not secret.” But non-Mormons don’t understand that as a useful expression of the issue at hand.

We reason, the Book of Mormon is sacred, yet the LDS Church publishes and distributes it throughout the world without compunction. The so-called Sacred Grove, where Joseph Smith allegedly met and spoke with Heavenly Father and His Son in 1830, is today considered sacred ground; yet it is promoted by the LDS Church as a tourist attraction. Many people tramp through the spot each and every day. Both of these things (and others) are revered within the LDS community as “sacred and meant for personal reflection and commitment,” as Joel Campbell put it. Therefore, appealing to the sacred nature of the ceremony isn’t really an adequate explanation for why it is so important that the ceremony be kept hidden from the eyes of the public.

Is it unethical for HBO to portray the LDS temple ceremony on television? Is doing so “religious pornography”? Should HBO pull the show because it is offensive to some number of the nearly six million Mormons who live in the United States? What do you think?

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About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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133 Responses to No Love Lost Between Mormons and HBO’s “Big Love”

  1. amanda says:

    David,

    “Does anyone see the irony and the double standard here? Does anyone see the double standard in the attitude Mormons here have regarding the request of some rabbis to desist in by proxy baptisms for holocaust victims? ”

    Uh…like when the church respected the request of the Jewish community by immediately halting those baptisms? The only work being done for ‘Jews’ is by their ancestors–the church does not allow them otherwise. So if HBO had honored its’ previous commitment to the church to avoid fictional commentary on its’ practices–then your comparison would be sound.

    The irony lies in your willingness to defend Jews (by fictionalizing an issue that has been LONG ago settled) while simultaneously refusing to defend the church who is being blatantly disrespected by unapologetic HBO! In light of actual facts, what is so horrendous about how the LDS treat the Jewish community–and so appropriate about how HBO treats the LDS people? Your bias exposes your bigotry.

  2. amanda says:

    Enki,

    I hope you don’t mind me responding to a comment you directed at Ralph, but something caught my eye. I have grown to respect your point of view and appreciate the perspective you added regarding ceremonies (it seems ev’s are more willing to listen to non-LDS on this matter, just so long as they listen is all that really matters).

    you said, “I am not buying that its the people voting their conscience. Its over the word ‘marriage’, most people support domestic partner laws which are legal…”

    It is important to point out that supporting marriage is not only a matter of eternal principle for LDS (I cannot speak for ev’s here), but practical in terms of cultural fallout and infringement upon the religious majority. For instance, we don’t want our children to live in a society that redefines an institution we BELIEVE (operative phrase) is ordained of God and meant for the well-being of His children (which is the whole of society). We actually believe that protecting marriage helps not only you, but everyone- most importantly children. It is not a rejection of gay people, it is a stand for principle. While I accept your right to reject this belief and do so at the ballot box…I want to point out that it is my right to support my belief at the ballot box…so voting my conscience is not bigotry based on what my belief is to me.

    This is actually relevant to this post because a person with any belief ought to hold precedent in how that belief is perceived.

  3. Ralph says:

    Enki,

    Your comment “Its over the word ‘marriage’, most people support domestic partner laws which are legal, but many people don’t want to call same sex partners ‘married’.” I do not understand exactly what you mean by ‘domestic partner’. If you mean what I think you mean – de facto partner, or same sex couple (ie both homo and hetero relationships without marriage) – then you need to look at what our church has published in its proclamation about families, and all the articles in the Ensign and New Era about sex, marriage, families, etc. We do not support anything as a family other than marriage between man and woman. Cohabitation and de facto situations are taught against and not tolerated within the church. Do we put up with it when its in society? Of course we do, its not against the law these days. But that does not mean that we accept or support it, in fact we actively teach against such things in church. If given a vote today (or tomorrow if today is too short for you) to outlaw defacto and cohabitation rights I would say that the LDS leaders would urge the members to support it, because if we didn’t that would be going against our God’s will.

    It is not against free agency to vote against someone else’s view (eg Prop8) for laws in society. The laws are made by society and everyone should have a say in what the majority deems acceptable. Yes, its majority rules, but that’s better than minority – because murderers, rapists, etc are in the minority and I don’t think anyone would want them to have control. When it comes to ‘marriage’ the same thing applies, because government ‘privelages’ can be based around marriage related matters and that needs to be determined by the people because the government should be run and selected by the people. I hope I am explaining myself OK, I just have a lot on my plate right now and I am finding it very hard to concentrate and think.

    But if we want to look at things using your logic (at least my uinderstanding of your logic), any decision we make in our life is limiting/removing someone’s free agency. Because every decision we make has some impact on another person’s life for good or for bad. We just have to make sure we make our decisions according to our faith in God and what we believe are His ways.

  4. David says:

    Amanda,

    The baptisms have not stopped and that is the point. While your church has told its members not to perform them they still go on. We here can all go to the archives and look at the comments that were made by Mormons to see how sensitive their comments were.

    “The irony lies in your willingness to defend Jews (by fictionalizing an issue that has been LONG ago settled) while simultaneously refusing to defend the church who is being blatantly disrespected by unapologetic HBO”

    Perhaps you have not read my other posts. I refuse to defend rituals that have elements that were stolen from another group (here the Masons). Nothing is horrendous on either side. But what does it matter what outsiders do with a ceremony that is not even entirely yours? That seems to be similar to the argument given to why it is not so bad if Mormons baptize holocaust victims by proxy (again check the archives).

    I watched your youtube video (I thought youtube was a bad source of info concerning your church). I find it “interesting” that Mormons would air the words of raging liberal profs. Why would your church want to air the words of men who have a low view of scripture?

    Restore means to bring back something that was lost. – Boyd K. Packard

    Are you and your apostle asserting that Masonic handshakes were part of early Christian or ancient Hebrew religious practices?

  5. amanda says:

    David,

    First of all, how do you know members are performing baptisms for Jewish people that are NOT their ancestors? Please, give me your source!! Regardless, even if a few of those non-ancestor Jewish baptisms have occurred–they would be against the will of the brethren (which is the important distinction that makes your observation lacking in the irony department)–and probably was done ignorant to that admonition.

    In contrast, HBO did make a commitment to church leaders to stay away from the very thing they are doing as I type–so commitment, THEN a betrayal of that commitment….With baptisms…we performed them, then stopped when the Jewish community asked us to. Betrayal vs. Concession…they aren’t the same.

    you said,
    “Perhaps you have not read my other posts. I refuse to defend rituals that have elements that were stolen from another group (here the Masons).”

    Straw man. If it is the restored gospel, then if anything was stolen, it was the Mason’s who stole from ancient temple ceremonies! What if masonic rituals are heretical versions of temple ceremonies? You can’t base the validity of temple ceremonies on the heresy of masonic rituals. Besides, Masonic temples are not ‘religious’..they are like an early European union of mason’s. I don’t know exactly where they came from–but there are striking similarities…so are there striking similarities between heretical Christianity and the restored gospel.

    I’m glad you watched the video. YouTube is also a forum for material that originates from accurate sources…YouTube did not sponsor or create that video, the CHURCH DID!

    “I find it “interesting” that Mormons would air the words of raging liberal profs. Why would your church want to air the words of men who have a low view of scripture?”

    So it is okay for evangelicals to reference and promote the material of HOLLYWOOD?? They’re not only liberal..but preach absolute wickedness and perverted ideologies. These are the same people who awarded Kate Winslet for effectively legitimizing pedophilia –and you’re preaching philosophical alignment?

    First of all, those men were scholars–I thought ev’s touted the scholarly process? Just not when it doesn’t fit into your ideology? Haven’t you and others on here claimed LDS guilty of this? Instead of calling their personal philosophy into question, what of the scripture they cite? Is it not biblical in nature? So whose interpretation of the bible is relevant, according to you? Based on a scholarly approach, why is their perspective more ‘lowly’ than yours?

  6. Martin_from_Brisbane says:

    Enki,

    You commented earlier that Christians seem to be in a state of dissonance because they don’t have temples (or something like it?).

    There’s a very good reason for this, which I tried to explain in some even earlier posts; Christ fulfils in himself all the purposes and intents of the Temple (Rev 21:22). It follows that re-instituting temple systems (as they operated in Biblical times) undoes the work of Christ.

    Regarding your observations on religious paraphernalia, I’d fully agree that we have a natural tendency to generate tangible “things” or “rites” to express an intangible experience or truth. The trouble starts when the sign of religious faith becomes the object of religious faith. Much of the controversy of the reformation revolved around the use and abuse of these signs, the Mass/ Eucahrist/ Communion, in particular.

    My understanding of the Biblical pattern is that ceremonies and rites are instituted with a strong element of remembrance. For example, the Passover (on which the Lord’s Supper is modelled) is an act of remembering God’s redemption of his people from Egypt. The rite has an element of bringing to mind this past and completed act, and an element of entering into a covenant to live in the reality that this act has brought about.

    I also believe that Baptism has a strong element of remembrance (though this forum might not give me much support in this). My reading is that it remembers the crossing of the Red Sea, or even the Jordan and, as such, its a re-enactment of a border crossing. By being baptised, I am saying that I bring to mind the redemptive act of God and I covenant to live my life in accordance with the rules and laws of my new place of residence – in this case, the Kingdom of God.

    The magic world view, by contrast uses rites and paraphernalia to manipulate the unseen realm. Unless someone can point out some Bible verses to the contrary, I think that there is no Biblical precedent to use rites and religious paraphernalia in this way.

  7. Martin_from_Brisbane says:

    Linda previously asked “What is CK? ”

    Its a high level dungeon in the game “World of Warcraft”. You need to be level 70 to get in, with all the right gear and attunements.

    …ooops. Soz, wrong forum…

    …or is it? (Cue theme music from “The Twilight Zone”)…

    (I couldn’t help myself)

  8. amanda says:

    oceanwoman,

    Adultery is a betrayal of covenants. So basically, you can be an adulterer without it specifically referring to covenants in a marriage relationship–but covenants with God. Clearly, oceanwoman, you made covenants with God–why else would you make them unless you knew their origins? You make them of your own free will–and now you are blatantly breaking them.

    The rejection of temple ordinances by heretical Christianity will not offset the reality of your adultery. The fate of those who ignorantly shun these practices is far better than the fate of one who knowingly betrays God. Isn’t that what Satan did? Yeah, that doesn’t bode well for you!

  9. Enki says:

    Megan,
    Yes, I think your expressing yourself very well. I think you do have a correct understanding of LDS doctrines.
    “If a Mormon didn’t go to the temple and do certain ceremonies, could they really go to the CK? No, right?”
    I believe that is correct. They teach that if someone didn’t have the chance to accept the LDS faith, it would be taught to them in the afterlife, and they could be baptized by proxy. If they thought it was not essential, why bother? Every day they get more and more behind on temple work for the dead. I have heard some LDS elder state some stats on how many more non-lds people die everyday over the amount of people baptized by proxy, its a large amount. In theory if humanity continues and the LDS faith continues into the coming centuries, non-lds people dying today will eventually be baptized. This is at least a goal for LDS people.

    There are also endowments for the dead, and marriage for the dead. Logically if these two are essential they must be made available for the dead as well. From what I understand these take significantly longer than baptism, so I can just imagine that the backlog for these ceremonies is that much greater. I don’t know what to think about marriage for the dead. A person may have had a partner in life which is undocumented, and without that a marriage ceremony by proxy could not be performed. Providing proof of marriage of dead people probably takes more work than proving that a person existed and was over the age of 8. (if someone died under the age of 8 baptism would not be necessary) So, there is a bit more of a problem for LDS people in reguards to their status in the afterlife. Do they have a right to claim the highest degree of the celestial kingdom without having the ceremony performed?

    These are potential problems with the teaching that rituals are required for salvation. LDS people also have the problem of apologetics that christians have. Giving people the chance to hear the word and accept it. All christians have their work cut out for them. During the course of lifespan of the world, billions of people will die without ever hearing the word. In our current age, its quite a bit easier with film, media, internet, radio, t.v., etc… The main work and problem for christians is to keep it appealing and competitive with other philosophies.

  10. LindaB. says:

    Martin,
    Thanks. That was great. I needed that.

    Amanda,
    You’re so angry in your posts. We get it already. We’re all going to hell in a hand basket.

  11. Amanda says:

    === MODERATED ===

    The moderator issued a level 2 yellow card on this comment.

    === MODERATED ===

  12. LindaB. says:

    Amanda,
    “So, I’m dying to know..IS ignorance bliss? I’ve heard all kinds of things about it but just wanted a firsthand opinion. ”

    There’s a difference between discussing an issue and attacking commenters.

  13. Martin_from_Brisbane says:

    Amanda, wrote “The rejection of temple ordinances by heretical Christianity will not offset the reality of your adultery.”

    Exactly which temple ordinances has heretical Christianity rejected?

    I mean, which distinctive ordinances were around in First Century Jerusalem that got rejected by the heretical church?

    Presumably, you mean circumcision.

  14. Martin_from_Brisbane says:

    P.S.

    I nearly wrote “…which distinctive ordinances were around in First Century Jerusalem that got axed by the heretical church?”, but the pun was just a little too far over the line.

  15. Megan says:

    Enki: Glad to know I’m making some sense! Hopefully at least a small part of my brain will return in a few weeks. I’ll take anything at this point.

    Amanda: How is that a straw man argument? Are the LDS temple ceremonies related to Masonic rituals or not? Did the first century Christians really have special handshakes, etc? Do you only believe this because of revelation, or is there any actual proof? I hope that doesn’t sound snide. I have to confess, when I first started coming on here over a year ago, there were times where I actually wanted to sound snide, but I really try not to now. Not saying you are, just describing my metamorphosis. (Stay on topic, Megan, stay on topic).

  16. David says:

    Amanda,

    “In contrast, HBO did make a commitment to church leaders to stay away from the very thing they are doing as I type–so commitment, THEN a betrayal of that commitment”

    When did HBO ever make the commitment to not show your temple ceremonies? Yes, your church has told its members to stop baptisms for holocaust victims – that is commendable – but there are those in your camp that go against that admonition, and then there are Mormons here who defended those who did that (again check the archives).

    “Straw man. If it is the restored gospel, then if anything was stolen, it was the Mason’s who stole from ancient temple ceremonies! What if masonic rituals are heretical versions of temple ceremonies?”

    Are you kidding me? All but the most die hard masons will tell you that their ceremonies originated from the stone mason guilds of the 14th to 16th centuries. Yes, there are Masonic legends that say their ceremonies are derived from Solomon’s Temple but they just that – legends. High ranking Mormons became Masons then incorporated (stole) elements from Masonic rituals into LDS Temple practices. It really is as simple as that.

    “So it is okay for evangelicals to reference and promote the material of HOLLYWOOD??”

    When have I or anyone else here done that? Besides not all things Hollywood are the same just as not all scholarship is the same.

    “They’re not only liberal..but preach absolute wickedness and perverted ideologies.”

    Are we talking about Hollywood here or Ivy League profs.?

    “First of all, those men were scholars–I thought ev’s touted the scholarly process? Just not when it doesn’t fit into your ideology? Haven’t you and others on here claimed LDS guilty of this?”

    Here is the thing – those scholars don’t fit your ideology either. I would say that LDS are guilty of this as well as Muslims and a whole host of other groups. Why would you borrow the words of men who have a low view of scripture in general? Why don’ t you ask those scholars where they stand on the deity of Christ or the resurrection?

    “Instead of calling their personal philosophy into question, what of the scripture they cite? Is it not biblical in nature? So whose interpretation of the bible is relevant, according to you? Based on a scholarly approach, why is their perspective more ‘lowly’ than yours?”

    Did you watch your own video? The only scripture referenced was I Cor 15. It was video about 3 minutes in length so there was not much theologically to go on. Based on a historic (which you might call “scholarly”) their interpretations are post-enlightenment novelties, and if you pressed them hard enough some might admit to that. Their “faith” differs greatly from that of the primitive Christians (and your church claims to be a restoration of the primitive church). Also, if your church wants to be consistent (which one might call “scholarly”) then it should not give a platform to men who deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

  17. jackg says:

    FOF,

    I’m sorry you have become so offended. However, it does seem that temple worship is exactly that, and that the idea that a place can make you a better person as opposed to God through the Holy Spirit is something you want to defend. You seem to think that Mormons corner the market on doing good. In a sense, the attitude of superiority by Mormons because of their self-declared “better” behavior than others is coming out loud and clear from you. I know I’m getting into “ad hominem” here, but this has been a constant theme with you, especially when you discuss how “immoral” former LDS members must be, and that the standards of the Church are too high for them. I pray for you, FOF. Again, I didn’t mean to offend you. Perhaps it’s the work of the Spirit convicting you? Ah, but then you would have to respond. Grace and blessings to you, FOF, and I really mean that.

    Amanda,

    I have read your posts without commenting for quite a while. Even though you really tempt me to respond in the flesh, I won’t. I just want to comment on one thing you said about “marraige” and what Evangelicals believe about it. Yes, we believe in eternal marriage. However, the eternal marriage we believe in is between Jesus Christ and the Church, which is to be His bride. As a member of the Church, I look forward to this blissful event with eager anticipation. As for human marriage being eternal and all that the Mormon Church teaches about it (again, via JS teachings), it’s not biblical. Mormonism labels the covenant of marriage as “the new and everlasting covenant.” I have always found this to be curious. How could there be another “new” covenant in addition to the “new” covenant God made in Jesus Christ? The sign of the old covenant was circumcision of the flesh; the sign of the new covenant is circumcision of the heart. This new “new” covenant of marriage is the brainchild of JS. Anyway, that’s all I think I need to say about this. I hope this answers your question. Remember, YOU are the temple of God that He wants to indwell and make holy–not some building.

    Grace and Peace!

  18. jackg says:

    FOF said: “To those who have nothing better to do with their time than mock and criticize the religious faith of others, I would say- get a life! I am more than a little embarrassed for you.”

    I have read most of the comments on this thread, and it seems that this comment is not really fair. The use of “mock” and “criticize” seem to me to be nothing more than hyperbole, a fallacy in reasoning to cast the focus onto someone or something other than the topic at hand. When I think about Mormonism, after having been a member of the Church until about 12 years ago, I think of what the “temple” really means to them. It’s a medal of honor. “I’m a temple recommend holder,” and with it comes a sense of superiority in spirituality. It’s the same thing with being an “RM.” If you want to argue this point, let me tell you about how many parents encourage their daughters to marry only “RMs” because “they can take you to the temple.” All this is idolatrous. I say that with an understanding of what idolatry is: idolatry is merely focusing on someone or something other than the Triune God for salvation and living a life of holiness. When a person has to do x, y, and z in addition to believing in Jesus Christ in order to live eternally with God, then that is nothing more than man adding things to the equation in an attempt to champion the works of the individual. When this happens, the message is that the Work of Jesus Christ was not enough to save anyone on His merit alone. Now, we must understand that salvation is the same thing as living in God’s presence. So, when Mormons become upset when we say they believe in a different Jesus, it would be a lie to say otherwise. My Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, is sufficient to save me. I don’t need to perform any ritual in order to be saved. For example, baptism is not a ritual that in and of itself saves me–it’s not regenerative; it’s an outward sign of inward grace. When I understand this, I can see that there is no need for the work of baptism for the dead. To be taught that I need to do the saving work of baptism for the dead or my ancestors won’t be saved is putting me in the position of being their savior, which I could never be. Don’t depend on me for your salvation, because I’m a mere mortal. Depend on Jesus Christ. But, what about those who never heard the gospel? Sounds like a question for God. We can’t “make up” answers in a human effort to show God as loving. He is loving, and I’m sure He has everything worked out regarding those who have never heard the gospel. Eisegeting Malachi 4:5-6 does not support a doctrine that really doesn’t make sense in light of the fact we are saved by faith and not by works.

    Another thing regarding “eternal families.” Oh, it’s a beautiful thought, but it’s not biblical. We become the Family of God when we believe in Jesus Christ. It’s not about individual families. Our relationship with each other will be that of brothers and sisters–all of us in one beautiful family. The whole purpose of God is to unify us as a people, not as many peoples–but as a people. “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:10). Does this mean that families are not important? Absolutely not. But, we need to see things from the truth of God’s word, and not from what we think sounds good. Ultimately, we don’t belong to each other, which is what the Mormon doctrine of eternal families teaches, but we belong to Jesus Christ.

    It’s my prayer that the Mormons will be saved from the false teachings of JS, and come to the light and truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sure, Mormons will try to dismiss my words by saying it’s my interpretation of the Bible. That’s the standard MO, and I expect it. But, I know the power of my words because I am merely preaching God’s Word. I have done my part in God’s work of redemption, and I know the Spirit is doing His part. Ultimately, it’s up to the hearer (reader) to respond to the grace of God in his or her life. I have a blessed assurance of knowing that I am saved in the Kingdom of God because of faith in Jesus Christ, and that brings the Peace that only He can give.

    Peace and Grace!

  19. shematwater says:

    Hello Again

    About the Mason rites related to the Temple Ceremonies: I do not have the quote in front of me, but I do know that Joseph Smith did say that they were a corrupted form of the Temple ceremonies. Thus, they did exist in Early Christiandom, and I beleive they began with Adam after he left the Garden. Elijah was the last Old Testiment prophet to have the authority to perform these ceremonies, so he appeared to Christ and Peter, James and John on the mount of Transfiguration to restore them to these three Apostles. It was also prophecied by Malachi that he would again return in the last days to restore them (Malachi chapter 4) which I believe he had.
    Megan asks for proof of this. Can she show proof of the Resurrection? I know we agree on this so it is not necessary, but can anyone? What about the Rapture? Can anyone on these threads show proof of their belief beyond the revelations of the scriptures and the words of the prophets? You take the words of your prophets, and I will take the words of mine, and the faith we come to is our own business and should not mocked by the other.
    Now, the last comment I wish to make on this point is concerning the reference made to Revelation 21: 22. I think people misunderstand this verse. This chapter is descibing the last days, after the destruction and the seven plagues when this city will be brought back to Earth (I think this is the city of Enoch but lets not get into that). In this city Christ and his Father will live. When this happens the Earth itself will be resurrected and receive a celetial glory and all those found worthy to be called the sons of God will be in heaven. Because of this there will be no need for a Temple, as all things will have come to the end and we will sit with God in glory. However, until that great day, while God is not living among us, we still need the Temples.

    To ENKI about the work for the dead.
    All that you say is true, but the church is not worried about the amount of work that needs to be done for those who have gone before us. In a few years the Lord will return and will reign personally on the Earth. Under his wisdom and power all things will be made known and the work will progress faster than it ever could have. We will have 1,000 years while Satan is bound to complete the work, which will be plenty of time.

  20. Amanda says:

    Linda,

    You reap what you sow, I guess. You haven’t extended an olive branch to me with your comments–why are you so surprised to get that response?

    JackG,

    You know, in person, I’m really not so scary. I’m not sure why you are so tempted to physically harm me–maybe you should discuss that with a professional.

    “Yes, we believe in eternal marriage. However, the eternal marriage we believe in is between Jesus Christ and the Church, which is to be His bride.”

    Yeah…and that is what temple sealings symbolize as well- The sealing is a covenant you enter into WITH GOD-first and foremost…but I don’t blame you for not understanding temple ordinances because you simply lack that knowledge–and that is nothing against you. The Lord invites you to learn, though.

    “As for human marriage being eternal and all that the Mormon Church teaches about it (again, via JS teachings), it’s not biblical”

    Again, another example of how Ev’s place the bible before God. The bible cannot limit God and His purposes. The bible is not omnipotent, God is. So whether it is biblical or not (which is an entirely different matter), does not limit the veracity of the teaching! When one accepts that God can and does speak to a modern prophet–revelation adds context to anything that has been written–when you accept that the gift of the Holy Ghost is given through baptism on HIS name (His authority)– you understand personal revelation and discernment of these teachings.

    You rely on the flesh to interpret scripture –without a willingness to hear His gospel. I’m reading the bible with the entire picture in mind–using ALL of His tools–and you are limiting your understanding of the bible by rejecting further revelation and teaching. It’s the same mistake the Jews made by rejecting Christ. He came to fulfill laws, and they rejected him based on laws taught in the OT. Line upon line, remember?

    Megan,

    It is a straw man because it assumes that masonic rituals came before temple rituals–which is easily rejected given the knowledge of temples we have in OT and NT times. The case is EASILY made that masonic rituals are a perversion of restored temple rituals. You’re condemning truth by pointing to the perversion of that truth…doesn’t make much sense, with all due respect.

  21. mrgermit says:

    Amanda: I’d like some sources to back up your claim; this doesn’t have to become an involved dialogue, but I’d like you to cite something in support of the big fat statement

    It is a straw man because it assumes that masonic rituals came before temple rituals–which is easily rejected given the knowledge of temples we have in OT and NT times. The case is EASILY made that masonic rituals are a perversion of restored temple rituals.

    since the case is EASILY made, this shouldn’t be hard for you at all

    thanks
    GERMIT
    PS: one part of your post above was kind of puzzling: you DO see a difference between the marriage of Jesus to HIS church and temple marriages as two separate events ??? It almost seemed as if you were blurring the two together… do you care to explain that a little ??

  22. Amanda says:

    David,

    I’m glad you are being more reasonable, just a few more kinks: You say there are people in ‘my camp’…ok, who? People in your camp sexually abuse children–and? Give me more than 10 names with first-hand sources. Archive comments don’t count as a first-hand source of baptisms ACTUALLY being done for Jews by those who are not their progeny.

    “When did HBO ever make the commitment to not show your temple ceremonies?”

    Read the statement put out by the church.

    “… All but the most die hard masons will tell you that their ceremonies originated from the stone mason guilds of the 14th to 16th centuries.”

    David, this isn’t proof. What die-hard masons are you speaking of? Besides, I actually stated that they originated before the Restoration- And? Temples are ancient…you even agree on this point…

    “Yes, there are Masonic legends that say their ceremonies are derived from Solomon’s Temple but they just that – legends.”

    And ‘die-hard’ masons alleging the originality of their rituals is ‘die-hard’ evidence, or legend?

    “High ranking Mormons became Masons then incorporated (stole) elements from Masonic rituals into LDS Temple practices. It really is as simple as that. “

    Where is your proof? The fact that they resemble each other can support my position as well. My belief of the veracity of the temple and everything else encompassing the restored gospel is not based on my limited secular knowledge…it is based on the witness of the Holy Ghost, which is far superior to the knowledge of men–and certainly your threshold of ‘proof’.

    “Are we talking about Hollywood here or Ivy League profs.?”

    Are you disagreeing with the premise that Hollywood is largely a perverted industry, HBO specifically? For the record, do you mind answering that question?

    I was pointing out the hypocrisy of readily accepting HBO’s rendition of temple ceremonies but rejecting Ivy League professors with scholarly opinion- My position was not one of accepting ALL of their scholarly views–only the double standard you refuse to acknowledge.

    Big Love isn’t a scholarly work– it represents the greed of the industry willing to pervert something sacred for ratings, and the adultery of an ex-mormon who broke covenants with God for the approval of men. And this compares with scholarly opinion? Agree or no? I’m trying to pin down your opinion here but I’m still wondering what it is about HBO that is more relevant than these scholars…?

    “Why would you borrow the words of men who have a low view of scripture in general?”

    *Insert Red Herring here* That video wasn’t about their ‘general’ views.

    ” Why don’ t you ask those scholars where they stand on the deity of Christ or the resurrection?”

    Sure! And we can make a separate video about that and discuss the merits of their position on that subject. An individual being wrong on one thing, does not make them wrong on ALL things. Joseph Smith taught that we accept truth wherever the source. It doesn’t much matter who produces it. It’s about truth, not a resume.

    “Also, if your church wants to be consistent (which one might call “scholarly”) then it should not give a platform to men who deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus. “

    If scholarly opinion advances the will of God–it should be accepted, no matter the source- if it works against God, it should be rejected…’It really is as simple as that’.

  23. Ralph says:

    JackG,

    You said “When a person has to do x, y, and z in addition to believing in Jesus Christ in order to live eternally with God, then that is nothing more than man adding things to the equation in an attempt to champion the works of the individual. When this happens, the message is that the Work of Jesus Christ was not enough to save anyone on His merit alone. Now, we must understand that salvation is the same thing as living in God’s presence.”

    If you are an ex-member then you must have misunderstood what the church actually teaches and you have not been paying attention to what we have been saying. So I’ll try again – We believe first and foremost that it is through faith Jesus ONLY that we are saved. But we believe that this faith has to be a ‘doing’ thing to be alive – ie faith without works is dead. What are these things we need to do? They are what Jesus has told us to do. The question is, if Jesus told you to do something and you didn’t do it, would you still be saved because you are knowingly going against your God’s will? To me I would think you were not saved, but that is my opinion – if you think differently then you will need to prove your point strongly. Now what has Jesus asked us to do? We LDS believe, as you know, that He has asked us to be baptised, enter the temple, etc. But we should only do these things out of faith in Jesus, otherwise they are of no benefit at all to our salvation. So you are misrepresenting our faith when you say we have added x, y, z onto Jesus Christ and His work for us. We have not, we are only doing what we believe He has asked us to do because we have faith in Him.

  24. Enki says:

    Amanda,
    A few additional comments about prop 8. I heard someone say on national news that marriage has always been between one man and one woman, in all cultures and all religions, throughout history. He said it like every culture in the world has the same understanding and customs.

    Someone of the LDS faith should know immediately that this isn’t true. The LDS people have done their own redefintions of marriage as stated in D&C 132. The revisions being the understanding of the potential for eternal marriage, and that under certain circumstances and periods of time plural marriage is acceptible to god. From an LDS point of view these were not redefinitions, but a restoration. However, it was news to alot of people. In like manner, John Boswell wrote a book which documented historical facts about same-sex marriage. Suggesting that current legal recognition would reconstruct an institution that once existed, not create anything new.

    “Boswell was the author of the ground-breaking and controversial book Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality (1980), which, according to Chauncey et al (1989), “offered a revolutionary interpretation of the Western tradition, arguing that the Roman Catholic Church had not condemned gay people throughout its history, but rather, at least until the twelfth century, had alternately evinced no special concern about homosexuality or actually celebrated love between men.” Wikipedia, John Boswell

    Media coverage of the FLDS church highlighted its current involvement with plural marriage. Although its not the same church body as the Salt Lake church, the coverage was quite clear that plural marriage by its nature is abusive to women and CHILDREN. That it also increases the amount of chromosomal disorders, especially where there are strong founder effects, and bottle necking within a population. These were especially strong characteristics of the FLDS church. To a lesser degree the Salt Lake church population experienced these effects.

    The discovery channel show “A Haunting” had an episode about a house haunted by ghosts of its former inhabitants, polygamous mormons. The show was clear in its message that plural marriage is dangerous and abusive to women and CHILDREN, and that mormonism is a source for very negative spiritual energy. The show was definately biased, thats for sure.

    The endowment cermony is quite central to many aspects of the LDS faith. Its something which must be done before or in conjunction to marriage. It is also done prior to serving a mission. Its my observation that the temple garment is a physical device to assist in keeping certain vows. Its specifically created to deminish many temptations, especially sexual ones. As one poster mentioned earlier it also takes much of the sensual edge off of sex within marriage. He found this interfered with his sense of intimacy. This does not conflict with the O.T. idea that sex is an unclean act. Leviticus 15:18, Levicitus 15:32,33.

    In all fairness, there are some indications that the Jewish people have suffered some genetic consequences from their ancient involvement with plural marriage, and their restrictions against marriage outside of the faith. Even the practice of monogamy potentially has some effect on genetics, as that is a directed method of generation. Strict monogamy is not natural, there is some commentary about that on the “Wai says” diet webpage. ( I have not included a link here, as part of link title might be offensive, even though its quite objective and clinical)The BOM agrees in the sense that the ‘natural man’ is an enemy of god.
    Mosiah 3: 19

  25. jackg says:

    Amanda,

    It seems you don’t understand what it means when someone refers to the “flesh.” To interpret it as a threat of physical harm reveals you are not accustomed to the term.

    As for the rest of your response: I will not take the bait and respond to you from a human condition that is not Spirit-led (“in the flesh”; it’s a Christian term, Amanda). I hope you understand the meaning of the phrase, now. Have a blessed week. And, remember, the temple work being done today is in us. We are the temples of God, not a building, and He wants to send the Spirit into your life in such a way that you will be in such awe of His holiness and grace that you will truly hunger and thirst for the biblical Jesus Christ, not the JS version.

    Grace and Blessings!

  26. Enki says:

    Ralph,
    Thirty years ago Mormons were fighting for their ‘right’ to descriminate against gays and lesbians in employment and housing. Hindus have untouchables, Mormons have gays. LDS leaders appear to not be completely truthful about public dialog.

    from http://www.affirmation.org “Gay Advocates Urge Americans To Stop the Hate ”

    “And a 1996 editorial in the LDS Church-owned Deseret News identified “homosexual practices” as an “abomination,” but then warned against “vile language and physical violence often directed at homosexuals.”

    Yet if Mormon leaders really love all the church’s sons and daughters, ask some of the faith’s homosexual members, why not issue a strong statement against anti-gay violence?

    “So long as the church teaches its followers to ‘hate the sin,’ it bears a special responsibility to ensure that its followers do not end up hating the sinner along with the presumed sin,” wrote Scott MacKay, director of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, in a letter to Hinckley. “Is not [Shepard’s murder] at least as immoral as homosexual activity . . . Does not this behavior make light of the sacred truth, that all humans are created in God’s image and of equal value and worth, regardless of beliefs or actions?”

    Church spokesman Don Rascon said that is what Mormon leaders already have done. The First Presidency issued a statement this week condemning the attack on Shepard, and leaders abhor violence against anyone — gay or straight.

    [Editorial note: In fact the First Presidency did not and has not made any public statements about the attack on Matthew Shepard. One Affirmation member spoke with Dan Rascon of LDS Public Affairs and reported that he said the death was “horrible and atrocious” but that there would be no statement because it “really doesn’t involve us.” In a call to the Office of the First Presidency, the telephone answerer said that she did not know if a statement might be forthcoming.]
    “President Hinckley has made it clear that we are to love homosexuals as sons and daughters of God,” Rascon said. “Our teachings in no way create an atmosphere of hate. In no way do we promote violence or hate.”

    Gay and lesbian activists, and others, say many of society’s institutions — churches, schools and the entertainment and news media — implicitly sanction violence against homosexuals through stereotyped portrayals.

    And the effect is chilling. ”

    Do you know if Church spokesman Don Rascon has told the truth or not? Has the first presidency ever produced any statement about the first presidency condemning the attack on Shepard?

  27. jackg says:

    Ralph,

    Baptism is an outward sign of inward grace, Ralph. It does not save anyone. It is not regenerative. It is the sign of the new covenant, which is Jesus Christ. As for Jesus commanding us to enter the temple, you are introducing circular reasoning. Your conclusion is wrapped up in your presupposition that Jesus commanded that. Such a command would be incongruent with biblical teaching. Jesus gave us the ultimate commandments: love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus Christ doesn’t burden us with legalism, which is how you present going to the temple to be. It’s legalistic because if you don’t do it, then you’re not saved. Again, that is incongruent with biblical teaching. And, I have to disagree with you when you accuse me of misrepresenting your faith. Salvation for the Mormon equals Jesus Christ plus temple endowment. The problem is we do not agree on the definition of terms. Christians see salvation as entering God’s presence forever. Mormons see salvation as universal: everyone will be saved in a kingdom, but only those who did x,y, and z will enter the CK, live with God, and become gods, which Mormonism calls exaltation. That simply is not biblical, Ralph. But, therein lies the problem for Mormons: believing in nonbiblical teachings, because belief in JS as prophet trumps the Bible, relegating it to the bottom of the list of the LDS canon. So, Ralph, here’s a question for you: can you enter God’s presence simply because you believe in Jesus Christ, or do you need to go to the temple, take out your endowment, remember the signs and tokens of the “covenant,” and remember what you need to say at the veil in order to gain entrance into God’s presence? (Your wife is dependent on you to remember her new name so you can call her through the veil…unbiblical). If you say you only need to believe in Jesus Christ, then I would challenge your understanding of Mormonism. If you say that you need to do all the other stuff, then Mormonism has indeed added x,y, and z to the equation of salvation.

    Here’s another question, Ralph: why is it so hard to accept the idea that we are justified by faith, saved by grace, and made holy through the Work of the Holy Spirit? Why do you have such a need to throw in “works”? What James is referring to is the evidence of our faith. I might say I’m a follower of Jesus Christ, but the evidence will be in how I live. This is my response to God’s grace in my life after I have responded to His saving grace. It has nothing to do with me earning anything through my works. Paul even teaches us: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10). Here, Paul is speaking about “saved Christians,” and their response to being new creations in Jesus Christ. These good works are not a prerequisite to salvation, but a result of being saved. Even the beatitudes teach this concept, but that’s for another day.

    I’m praying for you, Ralph. The gospel has been presented to you, and it looks different from what JS taught. It’s burden-free and filled with God’s grace. I pray you won’t be afraid of God’s grace, Ralph. It is sweeter than you can ever imagine!

    Grace and Peace!

  28. Shematwater wrote”About the Mason rites related to the Temple Ceremonies: I do not have the quote in front of me, but I do know that Joseph Smith did say that they were a corrupted form of the Temple ceremonies. Thus, they did exist in Early Christiandom,”

    …what? Because Joseph Smith said so? Judging from the mess he made of the Book of Abraham, he had less knowledge of ancient history than I have of American Major League basketball (its a corrupted form of Cricket, I understand).

    “Elijah was the last Old Testiment prophet to have the authority to perform these ceremonies, so he appeared to Christ and Peter, James and John on the mount of Transfiguration to restore them to these three Apostles.”

    …what a baffling interpretation! Why did Christ need Elijah to “restore” this “anointing” (I hope I’m using the right term). Does Elijah need to be present at any other restorations? Why doesn’t Matthew or Mark talk about this in their accounts (Matt 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-12)? Getting to the text itself, why does Jesus identify John the Baptist as Elijah? Couldn’t John have done the job before the trip up the mountain?

    Surely a less forced interpretation is that in appearing with the major OT prophets, Jesus is identifying himself as a prophet. Also Jesus’ identifies John the Baptist as a type of Elijah. Getting back to Malachi, the story is that Elijah will appear to herald the Lord coming to his Temple. So, according to the story John heralds Jesus who comes to his Temple….

    “Megan asks for proof of this. Can she show proof of the Resurrection?”

    …well, Jesus rose from the dead. The logic is that if we are “in Christ”, we shall be raised too…

    “You take the words of your prophets, and I will take the words of mine, and the faith we come to is our own business and should not mocked by the other.”

    …weren’t we talking about the same prophets? Perhaps I was mistaken…

    “Now, the last comment I wish to make on this point is concerning the reference made to Revelation 21: 22. I think people misunderstand this verse. This chapter is descibing the last days, after the destruction and the seven plagues when this city will be brought back to Earth (I think this is the city of Enoch but lets not get into that). In this city Christ and his Father will live. When this happens the Earth itself will be resurrected and receive a celetial glory and all those found worthy to be called the sons of God will be in heaven. Because of this there will be no need for a Temple, as all things will have come to the end and we will sit with God in glory. However, until that great day, while God is not living among us, we still need the Temples.”

    …No, we don’t. “for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple”. This goes for the future temple after the resurrection and the present temple in this age. Christ has already fulfilled all the functions of the temple in himself.

    …wait a sec, if “all things will have come to the end and we will sit with God in glory”, as you say, what happened to eternal progression?

    Here’s a question for you. If God is bringing his kingdom, which will be perfectly expressed in the age to come, why would he do it by instituting a completely different system in this age? Why not bring in the future new order by bringing in the new order now? Why the discontinuity?

    It occurs to me that much LDS rhetoric accuses orthodox scholarship of “over-complicating” theology, or making it too clever to be useful. LDS theology, by contrast is supposed to be clear and simple. The kinds of convolutions and distortions that Shem had to go through to join some very widely separated dots should answer that myth.

  29. David says:

    Amanda,

    “I’m glad you are being more reasonable, just a few more kinks: You say there are people in ‘my camp’…ok, who? People in your camp sexually abuse children–and? Give me more than 10 names with first-hand sources. Archive comments don’t count as a first-hand source of baptisms ACTUALLY being done for Jews by those who are not their progeny. ”

    If you remember the thread ,there were Mormons who frequent this blog that were defending the actions of Mormons who are still doing baptisms for holocaust victims. That is my point. If there are Christians who sexual abuse their children then they are going against Christian teaching. If Mormons go against your church byt performing these baptists, they are going against your churches admonition – However, they could simply be trying to advance themselves and their family inspiste of church teaching. They could be trying to “fall up” like Adama and Eve did. See the thread above this one for more on that.

    “Read the statement put out by the church.”

    I have and in it there is no promise to refrain from depicting temple ceremonies.

    “David, this isn’t proof. What die-hard masons are you speaking of? Besides, I actually stated that they originated before the Restoration- And? Temples are ancient…you even agree on this point…”

    Amanda, there are Masonic legends that predate your church that give Solomon’s temple as the source for their rituals. But they are legends, by and large masons do not believe them. Masons have stated publicaly (history channel) that their origins go back to somewhere around the 15th century. The point is early Mormon Masons divulged Masonic secrets to non-Masons. These secrets became part of your temple practices. These Masonic rituals are not ancient.

    “Where is your proof?”

    I could easily ask “Where is your proof”. Here is my “proof”. Masons pre-existed your church, and so did their (non-ancient) practices. High ranking members of your church became Masons. Shortly there after these practices started showing up in your temple rituals. I will leave it to the readers to decide if the above “proof” hurts or helps your church.

    “it is based on the witness of the Holy Ghost”

    And the Holy Ghost is telling me you are wrong.

    “Are you disagreeing with the premise that Hollywood is largely a perverted industry, HBO specifically? For the record, do you mind answering that question?”

    That was my attempt at humor. Hollywood is largely a perverted industry but that does not mean all of it is. In the same way, Ivy League universities are theologically perverted, but not everything in them is so.

    “I was pointing out the hypocrisy of readily accepting HBO’s rendition of temple ceremonies but rejecting Ivy League professors with scholarly opinion- My position was not one of accepting ALL of their scholarly views–only the double standard you refuse to acknowledge.”

    What double-standard? HBO showed your temple ceremony. I have not commented either way on the accuracy of the ceremony.

    “I’m trying to pin down your opinion here but I’m still wondering what it is about HBO that is more relevant than these scholars…?”

    For the record, I am not saying HBO is a great source for information. It is meant for entertainment. However, I am pointing out that if it is wrong for Mormons/ex-Mormons to leak this info, and for HBO to show it, it was even more wrong for Joseph Smith and company to divulge Masonic secrets/sacred to non-Masons.

    ” *Insert Red Herring here* That video wasn’t about their ‘general’ views.”

    The video is a bit of a red herring as there was hardly anything in it. It was about 3 minutes long.

    “An individual being wrong on one thing, does not make them wrong on ALL things. Joseph Smith taught that we accept truth wherever the source. It doesn’t much matter who produces it. It’s about truth, not a resume.”

    Are you really asserting that underlying pre-suppostions do not matter in theological discussions? Are you asserting that the source does not matter at all?

    “If scholarly opinion advances the will of God–it should be accepted, no matter the source- if it works against God, it should be rejected…’It really is as simple as that’.”

    I got to disagree with you on this one. Honestly, I have been real tempted at times to do just what you advocate here. In debating Muslims, there have been instances where I could bring in liberal scholars (which Muslims do readily) to attack the Koran, Hadith, etc. I am not saying I have never done it, but I have not knowingly done it. The one exception I give myself is when I cite authorities from a person’s own religious group. I try to stay consistant in my apologetic. I do not try to bring in scholars who do not share my world view, in order to advance my position.

  30. mrgermit says:

    Amanda: I know you have been one popular lady here at MC, what IS that you’re wearing ???? But I’ll tag along David’s EXCELLENT post with (his ) quote and a repeat of my question

    Amanda, there are Masonic legends that predate your church that give Solomon’s temple as the source for their rituals. But they are legends, by and large masons do not believe them. Masons have stated publicaly (history channel) that their origins go back to somewhere around the 15th century. The point is early Mormon Masons divulged Masonic secrets to non-Masons. These secrets became part of your temple practices.

    THESE MASONIC RITUALS ARE NOT ANCIENT. emph. Germit’s

    again: tag, you’re it…..you said the case is EASILY made that they are ancient, and have adequate (or better) OT and NT support. This does NOT have to become a 12post back-and-forth. Just cough up the sources…..please.

    thanks, to the beleaguered Mormon Mom

    GERmIT

  31. shematwater says:

    This is in Response to Martin.

    “Because Joseph Smith said so? ”
    – Because a prophet of God has said so. I need no other reason. I will not get into a discussion of the Book of Abraham, because I know you would not listen, but just so you know, I have heard no argument that can stand up to simple logic.

    “Why did Christ need Elijah to “restore” this “anointing” (I hope I’m using the right term). Does Elijah need to be present at any other restorations? Why doesn’t Matthew or Mark talk about this in their accounts (Matt 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-12)? Getting to the text itself, why does Jesus identify John the Baptist as Elijah? Couldn’t John have done the job before the trip up the mountain?”
    – Elijah was called to restore these keys. It was his particular job. That is why he appeared. I do not know the reason it is not discussed in the Gospels, but I can see no other reason for it. As to John the Baptist being Elijah, Jesus never said this. He said that John the Baptist was Elias. While this is the Greek form of Elijah, it is not the same figure as the ancient prophet. Elias was to come a prepare the way for Christ, as Esaias prophecied (Matt 3: 3) which references Isaiah 40: 3, not the prophet Elijah.
    Also, if you really understand the gospel you would know that Elijah did come to fulfill the prophecy of Malachi when the Kirtland Temple was dedicated, again restoring these keys to the Earth.

    “Surely a less forced interpretation is that in appearing with the major OT prophets, Jesus is identifying himself as a prophet.”
    – Using only the Bible I would agree. However, you asked me about what I believe. Using other resources what I have said is clearly true.
    “Also Jesus’ identifies John the Baptist as a type of Elijah.”
    – He identifies him as Elias who should come and prepare the way, not Elijah the prophet.
    “Getting back to Malachi, the story is that Elijah will appear to herald the Lord coming to his Temple. So, according to the story John heralds Jesus who comes to his Temple….”
    – When does it say that Elijah was to herald the Lord coming to his temple? It state in Malachi 4: 5-6 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” This makes no mention of a temple or of heralding the Lord. This is a change in heart that Elijah is to cause, turning the children to their fathers.

    “…well, Jesus rose from the dead. The logic is that if we are “in Christ”, we shall be raised too…”
    – But this proves nothing, and that is my point.

    “…weren’t we talking about the same prophets? Perhaps I was mistaken…”
    – Many of the prophets are the same between our faiths, but I also take the words of modern prophets, which is the major difference.

    “…No, we don’t. “for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple”. This goes for the future temple after the resurrection and the present temple in this age. Christ has already fulfilled all the functions of the temple in himself.”
    – Never does it say that Christ fulfilled all the functions of the Temple. Again, this verse is speaking of after the World is renewed when God reigns personally, in the flesh on it. You are extending the meaning of this scripture beyond that of what it says.

    “…wait a sec, if “all things will have come to the end and we will sit with God in glory”, as you say, what happened to eternal progression?”
    – You have no understanding if you can seriously ask that question. When I say that all things will have come to an end I am speaking of the plan of salvation, the redemption of the human family, and culmination of all the plans of God respecting this Earth. When all this has been accomplished, and we lie in Glory with God the plan will have been finished, and then we can progress as gods.

    “Here’s a question for you. If God is bringing his kingdom, which will be perfectly expressed in the age to come, why would he do it by instituting a completely different system in this age? Why not bring in the future new order by bringing in the new order now? Why the discontinuity?”
    – Again you do not understand. When Christ reigns personally he will still have the organization that the church currently has. His kingdom is established on the Earth right now. When all things come together and he reigns there are things that will no longer be necessary (just as the sacrifice became unnecessary after the atonement) but the Kingdom will remain with all the authority.

    “It occurs to me that much LDS rhetoric accuses orthodox scholarship of “over-complicating” theology, or making it too clever to be useful. LDS theology, by contrast is supposed to be clear and simple.”
    – Let me say that complexities can actually make something simpler. The mainstream Christians are simpler on the surface. Believe and be saved can’t get much simpler. However, they do leave many questions unanswered. On the other hand, the LDS give a much longer and more detailed gospel. On the surface it seems much more complicated, but it leaves no question unanswered for those who desire to know and seek for them. So, the one is too simple, making it complex, while the other, through its complexities, makes it simple.

  32. Martin_from_Brisbane says:

    Shem,

    Thanks for your reply. To respond briefly;

    If you think that Joseph Smith is a reliable source of information on ancient near east history and culture, then you don’t really know him at all.

    You commented that “When Christ reigns personally he will still have the organization that the church currently has.” I understand that the LDS position equates the Kingdom of God with the LDS Church, which is a kind of “rule through organisation”. This, I believe runs contrary to Luke 22:25-30. It also poses profound problems with Mark 1:15; how can Jesus call people to join a Kingdom when the organisation had not yet been set up? It also misses a large number of passages that talk about rule by the Holy Spirit.

    In short, I believe that the Bible teaches that the Kingdom of God becomes a reality when people believe in Christ and behave in a way that aligns with the Holy Spirit (which are two sides of the same coin). They may or may not belong to a particular organisation, but such membership is not necessary to enter the Kingdom of God.

    If I can put it another way, the Kingdom of God becomes visible when the character of God becomes visible in the lives of his children.. It does not become visible because there is a structured hierarchical organisation in operation on earth.

    The continuity thing really is a big deal to me. I’m thinking of Hebrews 13:8 in particular. I think we can reasonably expand it, in context, to “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever; the way he relates to people is the same; his mode of operation is the same; he’s not going to turn around and invent new ways of relating to us” It seems reasonable to extend this to the age to come, hence my objection to the idea that we need things like temples now that we won’t need in future.

    Regarding simplicity and clarity, I’d agree that the perception that something is simple really depends on the comprehension of the listener. To me, it appears abundantly simple that the Bible places Jesus in the same place as God, and it appears bafflingly complex to try to force the Bible to treat Jesus as a created being.

    You characatured the Christian Gospel as an “easy-believe-ism”. I’d agree that such a summary is too small for our times, but it aligns closely with “simple” statements as Joel 2:32. My response is that the LDS “gospel” boils down to “subscribe to the LDS program”. It appears simple to start with, but requires an incredible number of contortions to get some internal consistency, let alone make it fit with the Bible.

    Finally, judging from Shem’s remarks, it seems that LDS want to re-write scripture. For example, instead of Revelation 21:22 saying “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple “, LDS seem to want it to say “there will be a number of cities in the age to come, and in one of them will be a house where the Father and Son will live”. I hope I can afford to live in that neighbourhood!

  33. shematwater says:

    MARTIN

    “If you think that Joseph Smith is a reliable source of information on ancient near east history and culture, then you don’t really know him at all.”
    -You really are missing the concept of a Prophet. Also, Joseph Smith was a seer, meaning he had the power to see past, present, and future events. How much knowledge did Daniel have of the last day before his visions? Or John before his? Yet you except their words because they speak in the name of God. I have the same faith in Joseph Smith as you do in the ancient prophets.

    “How can Jesus call people to join a Kingdom when the organisation had not yet been set up? It also misses a large number of passages that talk about rule by the Holy Spirit.”
    -How can you organize the kingdom when there is no one in it? you must bring in the people before you can set them in order. Also, I find it fits perfectly with Luke and the rule by the Holy Ghost. Those who are called to the position of leader in anyway aare not called to privilage, but to service, just as Luke said. The higher the position the greater the service that is required. As to the Holy Ghost, we are all counselled to follow his guidance. We have him with us at all times to tell us what we should do in our daily lives. We also recognize the Christ is the head of the church. The president is his spokesman on Earth, but Christ rules over it. I really see no problem.

    In 1 Cor. 14: 40 we are told “Let all things be done decently and in order.” How can there be order without organization? How can their be order without clear authority? How can there be order when people are divided by denominations? We are to all things in order. We must must all come into the same organization, with the same authority. If we disagree on even one doctrine there is no longer order. This is why we need the prophets, and a heirarchy of authority; to settle such disputes. Just as the dispute over circumsision was settled by taking the matter to Peter and the Apostles, who were the highest Authority in the church at that time.

    “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever; the way he relates to people is the same; his mode of operation is the same; he’s not going to turn around and invent new ways of relating to us” It seems reasonable to extend this to the age to come, hence my objection to the idea that we need things like temples now that we won’t need in future.”
    -So why do you not believe in modern Prophets? Can you show me a time in the Bible when there weren’t any prophets? Also, Temples existed throughout the Bible. If he doesn’t change why would he not use them now? You say you have a problem with him giving us things that we won’t need in the future, but you have agreed that he did just that. He gave the law of sacrifice to Adam, but that stopped being necessary after the Atonement. He commanded men to make a temples (alters) and Isreal to make a permanent temple in Jeruselem. Yet you say this is no longer necessary. You have basicly said that you follow a faith that you do not believe in.

    “To me, it appears abundantly simple that the Bible places Jesus in the same place as God, and it appears bafflingly complex to try to force the Bible to treat Jesus as a created being.”
    -The Bible does put Christ in the same place as God. This does not mean he started there, however. Aslo, if you actually learn the doctrine of the church you would know that nobody is created. The spirit cannot be created (let alone the intelligence). God formed the physical body but the being who is Christ was not created.

    “the LDS “gospel” boils down to “subscribe to the LDS program”. It appears simple to start with, but requires an incredible number of contortions to get some internal consistency, let alone make it fit with the Bible.”
    -It is God’s program as far as I’m concerned, and your faith is the program that you believe is God’s. I have seen no contortions, as this would hint at twists and misleads, which I have never seen. As far as the Bible is concerned, it would all depend on how you interpret the Bible. I can see every doctrine that is taught by the LDS church in the Bible, so I do not find it hard to reconsile the two.

    “Finally, judging from Shem’s remarks, it seems that LDS want to re-write scripture. For example, instead of Revelation 21:22 saying “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple “, LDS seem to want it to say “there will be a number of cities in the age to come, and in one of them will be a house where the Father and Son will live”
    -The verse actually states “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” This seems pretty clear that it is only this city that is being discussed. There was no temple inside the city, but he makes no mention of outside the city. God and Christ are the Temple, but as it says, they are the Temple of this city. It does not include any other area. It is not rewritten, simply interpreted differently.

    Now, I will agree that you could say that we have rewritten scripture, as Joseph Smith did correct many mistranslated passages in the Bible, but this is not one of them.

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