On August 8th ABC’s Nightline posted a story about the Hill Cumorah Pageant, a Mormon drama enacted each year by LDS Church members for audiences in Palmyra, New York. The sub-title to the Nightline article reads, “In Upstate New York, Mormons Re-enact Their History and Answer Questions About the Scrutinized Faith.”
Journalists Dan Harris and Mary Marsh interviewed several people for their report. One was Latter-day Saint Boyd Tuttle, a cast member. When asked about the current media spotlight trained on the LDS Church due to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign Mr. Tuttle said,
“‘Personally, I think it’s a good thing because I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the church. And just with people, there’s a lot of misinformation … disseminated out there and a lot of people have, I think, very legitimate questions about the church.'”
The Nightline article noted that one of the most common questions people have is about “the Mormon secret temple rituals, which still exist today.” To this Mr. Tuttle replied,
“‘The temple is a very sacred place, and we hold it in special reverence. But we also tell everybody “anyone is welcome to come to the temple if they meet the requirements. …” So it’s not closed to Mormons, or closed to non-Mormons, but it’s closed to just people who are not prepared to enter therein.'”
Here a Mormon was given an opportunity to respond to a legitimate question about the LDS Church; the answer had the stunning potential to reach thousands. Mr. Tuttle bemoaned widespread misunderstandings and misinformation often disseminated about his church, yet his comments about the secret/sacred nature of LDS temples was thoroughly misleading to an uninformed public. He made LDS temple requirements sound similar to admission prerequisites for an institution of higher education — for those with sufficient GPAs (those “prepared” to attend), there will be no discrimination based on age, disability, national origin, race, religion, gender or sexual identity. This was a spurious impression to impart.
Mr. Tuttle said straight-up that the temple is not “closed to non-Mormons.” In truth, the first requirement that must be met for entrance into a dedicated LDS temple is membership in the LDS Church. I’m certain Mr. Tuttle knows this; evidently he didn’t want the general public to know this. In an apparent effort to make the reality of restricted LDS temples more palatable to non-Mormons, he’s resorted to disseminating his own misleading information about Mormonism.
One of the early comments posted to the ABC website by a reader of this story said this:
“Thank you DAN HARRIS, MARY MARSH, and ABC. It’s refreshing to have someone ask us about our religion instead of getting the often misperseption (sic) of others.”
You see what happened here when a Latter-day Saint was asked a sincere and legitimate question about his church. This is why Mormonism Research Ministry encourages people to learn about Mormonism from many sources: members, ex-members, and non-members alike.
All too often, I to have received answers from Mormons regarding their religion that was at best a half truth. I rarely ask a Mormon any longer about thier church because I know either they honestly do not know what the church teaches or they deliberately spin the facts. Mormon’s always say “ask your Mormon friends about Mormonism”, well I have, and sadly discovered I was misled and on purpose, on different occasions. I find this to be confusing and hurtful. If you can not talk about your religion and be honest about it, how can it be good news and why would I want to be a member?
Down here in Texas, there is a word for that. LIAR!
Sadly, this is the norm rather than the exception.
The Mormons who comment on this board feign ignorance on this point but having talked to MANY Mormons and being pretty well versed in Mormon theology, I can say that at best…it’s a moving target…frequently they hold back info and then look like a dear in the headlights when confronted with their doctrines.
To make it even more frustrating, the words they use have different meanings than Orthodox Christianity so you have to plod along and stop them every couple of words and get them to define what they are saying.
Now before anyone flames me…I’m a former Mormon and NO, I’m not an “embittered former Mormon who couldn’t hack it.”
I just think that if you have a doctrine…then say it and let the chips fall where they may…be proud of what you believe! If it’s different than Orthodox Christianity…then say it!
I could understand him saying “non-mormons” are welcome, but only in the front room (or whatever you call it).. Is that correct? Aren’t they welcome into the very front of the temple (the temple recommend place)? However, he said before he mentioned “non-mormons” that it is welcome to anyone who has met the requirements.. That would lead one to believe that you have to meet requirements just to get into that front room which isn’t the case, right? There are no requirements to get into that first room?
Also, and I’m not sure how the interviewer posed the question but it seemed to have something to do with “the Mormon secret temple rituals, which still exist today.” Obviously a non-mormon can’t participate in ANY of the rituals performed there in the temple.
So do I think he gave out false information? Yeah, it would appear so. Being that he is only a member and not the prophet, I don’t hold him at the higher standard, but for a bold-faced lie to be broadcasted to thousands/millions of people that makes some people unaware of truth/reality, can be quite damaging. It feels like the same stuff spewed out about the history of Joseph Smith.. Giving people Joseph Smith’s milk history and no meat history…
I’m sure I can make Hitler sound wonderful to people that never knew what he has done, but so many people actually know of his history that he was labeled a “bad man”. Not that I’m comparing the evil done by the hands of Hitler with Joseph Smith, but it would be nice to hear the whole story, especially the Prophet of God!
Generally one does have to be a member of the church to enter the temple fully. However, there have been some circumstances where non-members have been allowed into the temples. To be able to build a temple in East Germany, one of the requirements was that government officials would be allowed to enter on occassion to make sure nothing ‘anti-government’ was happening within the temple. I am not sure about other countries, whether they have a similar clause or not. But in these circumstances, the church has agreed to the conditions – meaning that in East Germany at least, government officials, whether member or not, were allowed into the temple. I don’t know if any did or not but the ‘option’ was there.
Because of this, maybe there are other circumstances where non-members are allowed into a dedicated temple (ie not just for open-house). I don’t know if there are – all I know is that, as I stated before, in general only members are allowed into the temple.
In the Topic we read
Show me this in the Bible please.
Ralph, that is only a select few people who enter, and they enter with a spefic purpose in mind, and this wont happen here in the U.S.A with just anyone. Rick b
Again, in the topic we read
Here is what we MUST DO to enter the temple, Honestly how can A NON-LDS member enter when he/she does not do this that is required?
Prophet Spencer Kimball Achieving a Celestial Marriage manual pg 30 makes it very clear we must do certain things to enter the temple to be saved. he gives a list of 6 things called (TEMPLE RECOMMEND INTERVIEW). it says When you are interviewed for a temple recommend you will be asked about,
1. Church attendance
2. Payment of tithes and offerings
3. Loyalty to Church leaders.
4. Moral cleanliness.
5. overall faithfulness and worthiness.
6. Obedience to the Word of Wisdom.
Oh, he wasn’t lying. The simple fact is that most Mormons have only the vaguest understanding of Mormon theology. This is exacerbated by the fact that church leaders–all lay at the local level–are chosen for their management skills. And because most general authorities come from this same talent pool–except for the few that rise up through the Church Education System–what they know about theology they picked up along the way.
Hence the profound influence of groups like FARMS on the official theological stances taken by the church. (Hey, at least somebody is thinking seriously about the subject.)
On the other hand, this means that, as a Mormon, you can pretty much believe anything you want. Seriously. The temple recommend interview itself is only a reaffirmation of allegiance. It doesn’t require substantive comprehension of any of the actual principles involved. Asking some random lay member for insights about church doctrine is akin to interrogating a Magic Eight Ball.
Lancaster, with the caveat that I don’t think there are many permanent, official theological stances from the Mormon hierarchy at all (which is ironic given that the Mormon church is supposed to be the institutional beacon of doctrinal and theological clarity), I heartily affirm the main substance of your comment.
How then can we trust the avrage LDS we talk with to know if what he says is true or not? I mean, the LDS posters here seem to feel it is us Christians who do not know the Bible. I dont claim to be perfect and have all the answers, but I use the Scripture and let them speak for themselves. You seem to be saying the LDS dont know as much as they should, if that is true, how can we be sure they even have the correct Church?
Maybe the RLDS or FLDS is Correct. Rick b
I’m just wondering if this is a purposeful “keep em stupid” stratedgy or an outgrowth of the “revelation” system approach to theology, doctrine and practice. I worked for a guy once who didn’t like to have policies, then he couldn’t be pinned down on anything. I think the book “Under the Banner of Heaven” does a good job of looking at this “revelation” tradition within the Mormon church and what it can lead to in an extreme situation.
If I were an LDS member I sure would want to know as much about what I believe as possible, and what My Prophet and Church teaches, simply because I know that the Scripture says
It seems in a round about way Lancaster said
Mormons are ignorant:
So are you saved and assured of salvation? Rick b
Yes Rick B, Its only a select number of non-members that can enter the temple. And I am sure that if the government of the USA, or Australia, or any other country mandate that they need access into the temple any time at all they would receive it. The temple is a sacred, not secret, thing, so we reverence it, which is why we do not discuss it very openly. As it says in the Bible – do not throw pearls before swine or they will walk all over it. In this blog today, and many other Mormon critic website, the temple and its ceremony is being ridiculed. Yes you may not agree with our practice of it, but you are ridiculing it and not showing reverence for it. I will admit that LDS members have done similar things for that which you hold sacred, but no one, whether they agree with the practice or not, has the right to ridicule or debase another’s sacred beliefs. That is why we do not openly discuss what goes on in the temple.
Personally, I would discuss and answer most questions about the temple with someone if its an honest, one-to-one discussion (ie not over the internet or phone, etc) and I knew the person would not ridicule the answers and that they were really trying to understand what the sacredness of the temple is for.
Fianlly, I know you are showing what Pres. Kimball had written in a handbook but one thing is missing, which is the most important thing – the very first question in a temple recommend interview is – Do you believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost? and do you accept Jesus as your saviour? I guess the reason he omitted those questions is because he is already talking to the converted and is teaching them at their level of understanding.
Ralph, You can say I disrespect your Temple, but can you show me Chapter and verse from the Bible where the temple is only “open” to a select few, and show me where we must meet certain requirments to enter. If you cannot show me this, can you tell me why it is not in the Bible.
Plus, the listing I showed of requirments to enter tell us we must enter to be saved. Aaron removed this list from another topic saying it did not fit. I pointed out to him my thoughts and he disagreed, saying the LDS view of “saved” is different than ours, I know this, but what I did not tell Aaron, as I felt their was no point arguing with him over it, is Bruce Mc said, Anything less than exaltaion is danmnation.
So my point was, your “forgiven” but still damned unless you enter the temple because your never going to be exalted. And we leave it to man to judge us and tell us if we can enter the templeand be saved, the Bible never teaches this. This is not loving or a good show of Gods grace, as some LDS feel the EV God is neither Loving or Grace filled. it seems the LDS god is neither loving or filled with grace Rick b
Please correct me if I’m wrong about this (and I am not being facetious), if I remember correctly the Israelite temple had restrictions on who was allowed to enter and when. It was only the Levites who were allowed to enter the temple proper the rest of the Israelites were only allowed to enter a foyer of sorts. And the requirement for entering this foyer was one had to be an Israelite – not a gentile.
But that’s besides the point. As I said in the post about repentance (last post) you are asking me to justify my belief using your belief parameters – it just won’t work because no matter how I say it you will not believe it and you won’t accept that that is the reason I can believe it. Basically, our interpretation of the Bible allows for a modern day prophet who can recieve revelation for how the church is run today. That prophet has specified that God wants certain requirements met for someone to enter the temple. These requirements are also the exact same requirements needed before someone gets baptised (the questions in the baptismal interview are almost exactly the same as the temple recommend). So these requirements are not found verbatim in the Bible – but the Bible (from our interpretation) allows a prophet who has given these requierments. So these temple requirements can be founded Biblically (according to our interpretation).
Can those requirements change or are they fixed…..according to the Bible or the revelations to the prophet? Bible=fixed. Prophet=change.
As far as I know, the requirements for baptism and to enter the temple have always been the same since the beginning of the church, except for the Word of Wisdom, as it came later.
As for Bible = fixed, read it again. There was one very big change, and that was from the Mosaic Law/Levitical priesthood found in the Old Testament to the New Law/Melchizedec priesthood found in the New Testament. Yes I know most of you will come down on me for saying there was a change and try to show how there was none, but it states clearly in Hebrews 7:11-13 that there was a change in both the priesthood and law, hence “New Testament”. I know it says in the Bible that God does not change, this to me means that His overall picture does not change, but He can tweak things to get it to where He wants it to go, including telling one person one thing and another person something else. There are other examples in the Bible, but this blog is about ‘misleading information about church requirements/doctrine’ not changes in prophetic utterances.
This is the funny/frustrating part about this blog – I am in Australia and you are in the USA. Most of you are asleep now and cannot respond to my comments, and when most of you are online, I am asleep and I miss out on some of the conversation. But the world’s getting smaller, if this conversation was by ‘snailmail’ think of how much more frustrating it would be!
We have the Old Testement or promise and the New Testement or promise. One is the fullfillment of the other. Is that a change? I hope so! As Christians we aren’t depending on The Law for our salvation but on God’s grace through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. It goes back to the unilateral covenant that God made with Abraham back in Genesis 15. Strickly speaking, ceremonies are man made and therefore probably can be changed. God’s promise, through Jesus, can’t change. Completion of or participation in ceremonies won’t improve our status in God’s eyes. Basic bedrock doctrine, shouldn’t change through revelation.
“Here a Mormon was given an opportunity to respond to a legitimate question about the LDS Church; the answer had the stunning potential to reach thousands… yet his comments about the secret/sacred nature of LDS temples was thoroughly misleading to an uninformed public.”
I have the same take on asking mormons for information. Either they don’t know (likely) or they refuse to answer alltogether, telling me to pray for my answer.
To be fair, most Christians don’t have a deep and abiding interest in theology, just as most Americans don’t have a deep and abiding interest in constitutional law. But somebody does, federal judges, to start with. That doesn’t mean I must agree with them, but they are at least able to address the issues at hand with a consistent set of rhetorical tools, and from an ideologically consistent point of view.
To get back to the subject, I think the secrecy surrounding Mormon temple practice is a leftover from its Masonic roots, and severely checks the church’s catholic (small “c”) ambitions. All other temple-centered religions use the rites and rituals of the temple to reach beyond their own cultural boundaries, the marriage ceremony serving the ritualistic cornerstone. But Mormons ring their borders with barbed wire.
Frankly, if only from an anthropological standpoint, I think the Mormon temple marriage/sealing ceremony is pretty cool. I can think of no reason for keeping it hidden, especially from non-Mormon members of the wedding party. As a consequence, what non-Mormons do see of Mormon weddings looks, well, awfully Catholic (capital “C”). And so the “mother church” remains in Rome.
This is true, But here is the Problem, the LDS church teaches that you MUST enter to be saved in the highest heaven. The Bible does not teach this, that was my point. Then you said the same questions they ask you in order to enter, they ask you before you get baptized. Remember those questions are never mentioned in the Bible.
So you mean these 3,000 people were asked the 6 questions before getting baptized?
Then we read
The primary purpose for the Israelite temple was for the blood sacrifices for repentance of sin, thanks giving, cleansing, etc. Without which the Israelites could not be saved (ie go to heaven). So anyone, whether Israelite or Gentile, who did not visit the temple on a regular basis (I’m not sure if it was a weekly or monthly thing for repentance but the cleansings were as needed and for women it was monthly) was not saved and could not go to heaven after death. Since the Gentiles were not allowed entrance to the temple, they were basically cut off from going to heaven, just like you are saying is happening to all the non-LDS because they cannot enter the temple.
As for the baptismal and temple recommend interviews – as I said the first and foremost question is do you believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost. If one answers ‘no’ to this question then the interview is all over. That is the question that Philip asked the people. In their days, God may have reasoned that that was all necessary to ask. These days, however there are more ‘pressures/inticements/temptations’ and because not so many people are ‘added’ in the same day, a further reiteration of what is necessary as a believer in the form of an interview is in order. However, the rest of the questions/requirements are found in the Bible in the epistles of Peter and Paul (except of course tithing and Word of Wisdom). It says that murderers, adulterers, fornicators, liars, etc (I think gluttons are in there too somewhere) will not go to heaven. The interviews question people about their commitment to keeping away from these things. A reference to tithing as you probably know is found in Malachi, where it asks is it OK to rob God, then explains that if one does not pay tithing then that is exactly what they are doing. Again, the Word of Wisdom is from modern revelation, which the LDS see as Biblical.
You really need to read your bible better, How were people saved before the Law and temples were built? What about all the Jews in the NT who do no have temples any longer? How are they saved?
We are saved by the death of Christ and his shed blood, not by the temples. They as to the gentiles in the OT, At one time it was simply the human race, there were no Jews and gentiles. Then after God made the nation of Isreal the gentiles could be saved by converting to Judisam. Look at the passover, some Jews were killed and some of the egytiptions were saved, it was all a matter of, were they in the room with the Blood on the doors in the form of a cross or not.
They were not saved by being in a temple. So go back and re-read your Bible. Rick b
The temple was made for all nations to come and meet the Lord, whoever wanted to come. Isreal was created to be a beacon of light, leading all people to Him. The outer court was reserved for the Gentiles.
Mar 11:17 “And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
Isa 42:6 “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;”
Isa 49:6 “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”
Act 13:47 “For so hath the Lord commanded us, [saying], I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.”
This is speaking about the Jews. At this time they had the temple, yet they were not loving the Lord and following Him, and they were not saved.
Isa 29:13 “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”
They were only paying lip service. Many gentiles came to the Lord by Him revealing Himself. The Queen of Sheba came to the Lord because of Solomon’s wisdom. The Ethiopian eunuch came to the Lord by reading the book of Isaiah. Many Egyptians left Egypt with the Isrealites to follow the Lord. These are a few examples.
A lot of disservice has been made supposedly by ignorant or deceptive Mormons… I would say that I have experienced this with every Mormon Missionary that I have conversed with, and that is not an exaggeration.
But my primary disdain is not necessarily the MMs, they are only doing what they are taught or taught to do…which in essence is my heart’s cry. Why? Because after being an evangelical Christian youth leader, leadership teacher, missionary, having served in an orphanage in Mexico, and after having gone to Bible College there is something that I have seen and still see: a high level of ignorance and arrogance in the Christian Community of today’s ‘Christian’ congregations. Whenever I have heard or taught a message on a more “profound” level there is always someone who complains with a whimper that it was ‘too hard’.
How many Christians really understand the doctrines that we claim are so essential to our salvation? Such as of the Trinity, the Vicarious Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation/Deity of Christ, the doctrine of Grace, Salvation, and a thorough explanation on the reconciliation of Absolute Sovereignty and Free Will? This grieves me dearly that Christians are not living up to the divine mandate of God to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
mr tuttle was attempting to make a very simple point that apparently was wasted on all of you.
he was saying all are welcome to accept the gospel. the temple is for those who wish to enter..and yes, that means they don’t allow just any anti-mormon or curious member of the human race to inspect or scrutinize the sacred purpose of His holy house..it means those who desire to enter for the purposes of the temple. it’s not like you all aren’t invited and it’s this secret party…why do you think the prophet asks and the gospel gives members the directive of missionary work..so that we can invite as many willing parties to receive the blessings of the temple…
i think it interesting that many of you have many opinions on what goes on inside the temple…yet i assume none of you have experienced it first hand. so take it from me, i’ve experienced it time and time again–but i don’t cast pearls before swine.
it’s amazing how all of you labor diligently to find any possible negative spin on an otherwise harmless comment from a mormon…
I FIRST HAND HAVE WORKED WITH A HIGH RANKING MORMON AND THEIR FRUITS LOOK GOOD FROM THE OUTSIDE.BUT AFTER YEARS OF BEING ABLE TO WITNESS THE HEAVY GLUED-ON MASK TO SLIP OFF IN TIMES OF STRESS,I REALIZED THAT THIS RELIGION CANNOT BE TRULY INSPIRED BY A HOLY GOD.WHEN YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ALL IN BUSINESS INCLUDING PEOPLE FROM YOUR OWN WARD.WHAT ELSE CAN I SAY,IS MONEY THAT IMPORTANT TO THEM.DIDN’T MEAN TO DIGRESS,BUT I COMES AROUND TO THE FACT THAT I HAVE ASKED THE SAME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TEMPLE AND HAVING PLURAL WIVES AND I HAVE HAD THE ANSWERS SPUN IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS.SO THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT WE CAN ALL GO TO THE PLACE WHERE THEY TIED A ROPE AROUND THE PRIEDT WHO WENT BEHIND THE VAIL IN THE HOLY OF HOLIES IN THE TEMPLE TO DRAG HIM OUT WHEN AND IF HE WAS STRUCK DEAD.I GUESS BACK THEN NOT EVERYBODY WAS WELCOMED EITHER?IT DOESN’T CHANGE ANYTHING FOR ME WHEN I HAVE WITNESSED THE DECEPTION FIRST HAND FROM MULTI-MILLIONAIRE HIG -RANKING MEMBERS.