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?
Tribune has a great article today about this issue.
The purpose of this thread as I understand it is not to determine if the temple ordinances are founded in scripture or to argue their origins. Rather it is to discuss the appropriateness of taking something that is sacred to one religion and publically smearing it for entertainment purposes. And if you don’t think the intention of the makers of Big Love is to smear LDS, consider Tom Hanks’ (one of the producers) recent statement that Mormons are un-American for opposing gay marriage. Do you really think there is no connection? Maybe you think it is possible for a person with such an opinion of us to objectively portray something like the endowment in a fair manner. If you believe this, I have a bridge somewhere to sell.
By the way- arguing that the LDS temple is nothing like Solomon’s Temple is pointless. We would in large measure agree with that argument. The similarities are that it is God’s Holy House and that sacred ordinances are performed there. You are free to go into great detail about the Law of Moses and the temple, but such is a mute point.
We believe the Temple is the House of God and is sacred. You are free to believe otherwise. But those who seek to “expose” those sacred things, and those who cheer these crusaders on have absolutely no class. The godless who mock us today will openly ridicule your faith tomorrow.
For those hoping this little controversy will hinder the work of the Lord or His kingdom, I wouldn’t hold your breath. It will likely have NO effect on the church. These things have been happening for 180 years. The church will continue to grow and preach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ despite all the predictable attempts by the father of lies to prevent it.
“Maybe you think it is possible for a person with such an opinion of us to objectively portray something like the endowment in a fair manner. If you believe this, I have a bridge somewhere to sell.”
Why don’t we hold judgment on how “objectively” the temple experience is portrayed until the episode is actually seen. To claim that it is not done accurately and in proper respect or context before watching it makes for ill-informed and shallow objections.
You could say it would be like a non-mormon not reading the Book of Mormon but objecting to its content. Now where have I heard that before? 🙂
But FoF, I think the real question is, do we NEED a temple to perform holy ordinances, such as the ones that link a Mormon to their salvation? I think this is such an important question. If people do not need a special temple, ceremonies, and ordinances to secure their salvation (from a biblical perspective), aren’t the LDS temples pointless? I don’t think it would be christlike to laugh at or mock the rituals/ordinances that Mormons hold dear. But questioning whether these ceremonies accomplish what they purport to accomplish (making one right with God, making it possible to go to heaven, ie the CK), and questioning whether they have a biblical precedent is worthwhile. These are deadly serious questions, and are so important in the grand scheme of things. Do we really need such temples/ordinances to be right with God? Do they really make one’s admittance to heaven more likely?
FoF; you wrote
Rather it is to discuss the appropriateness of taking something that is sacred to one religion and publically smearing it for entertainment purposes.
really more to the point, and I think AARON asked a question quite a bit like this already, IS THERE ANY PUBLIC PORTAYAL OF YOUR CEREMONIES THAT YOU’D SIGN OFF ON ?? I’m thinking probably “NO”…..and that is as much of an issue as “HBO this” or “HBO that”. I’m not trying to make HBO out to be the good guys, I’m stupid, but not that naive, but the elephant waking through the room, LOUDLY, is that there is no category of something that we as ev.’s would say “don’t show that……it’s much too holy……”
this is a categorical difference between us, and it matters because you guys claim to be “the real deal christianity”…..so excuse me , Amanda, but your exclusive truth claims about christianity make your secret thing-a-ma-jig GERMIT’s business. I’m not too interested in a secret Shaolin service, but something that presents itself as the restored gospel of JESUS CHRIST has my attention, whether you welcome it or not. And yes, I’ll use the differences on our respective views of what constitutes “holiness” or “sacredness” to my aplogetic advantage: not just to make LDS look bad, but so that the world would know what holiness really is….and isn’t. I think that’s pretty important.
sorry if that seems all up in your grill, but that’s how we roll
if it helps any, I’ll be watching to see HOW HBO handles the portrayal, because yes, that matters as well.
Thank GOD , the KEEPER of our souls
SoYO: very nice post, your last one
Sorry, the posts on this thread all seemed to be saying about the same thing, so I have not read them all. For this reason if I repeat anything I appologyze.
I would like to ask all non-members what their reaction would be if a person snuck into their home and filmed them making love and then aired it on national television so they could exploit the twisted desires of the public?
I can tell you that if I found any person trying to do such a thing to me they would be in serious danger of physical harm while my wife called the police.
This is the same feeling that the LDS have towards the temple ceremony. It is private, it is sacred, and it should onley be shared by those who are worthy to share it. The temple is the house of God, and to sneak in with hidden camera’s amounts to the rape of his privacey.
Just so you know, I have not been through these ceremonies as of yet, as I have made mistakes in the past. However, I hope with all my heart that I will participate in them very soon. I have never seen this show, and though my mind is curious I will avoid it for the rest of my life. If I did happen to see this particular episode, or the picture mentioned, it would have no effect on how I perceive the church our its leaders. They are prophets called of God, just like Moses or Peter or Paul or Abraham. They have the keys of his priesthood and I will follow them to hell if they ask.
It is not the secret of these ceremonies that carries the power, but the knowledge of what they are and what they are for.
Claiming something as sacred does not make it so. The Bible is replete with references to false gods and temples and how they are to be handled. Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal. The Chroniclers praise the Kings of Judah who rid the land of idolatry.
You warn us that, “The godless who mock us today will openly ridicule your faith tomorrow.” Get in line, Christianity has been openly ridiculed long before Joseph Smith and your temples. In fact some of the very “scholarly research” posted by the Mormons on this site comes from secular writers bent on ridicule of the faithful.
I use the M’Cheyne bible calendar every year as a devotional. In this plan you read from 4 separate parts of the Bible each day, covering the Old Testament once and the Psalms and New Testament twice. The wonderful thing about this plan is that you are never far from either having read or getting close to reading any part of the Bible. It keeps you grounded in the Word.
I say this because the reading for yesterday was John 2 where Jesus cleanses the Temple. Jesus tells his questioners in John 2:19 to destroy this temple and in three days he will raise it up. John admits in John 2:22 that Jesus’ disciples did not fully comprehend what Jesus meant until after he was raised on the third day. Only then did they remember his reference to the temple, made so much earlier in his ministry and they believed the Scripture and the words he had spoken.
Tomorrow the reading will include John 4 where Jesus will tell the Samaritan woman that the day is coming when there will be no worship in the Temple at Jerusalem much less the Samaritan center of worship (John 4:21-24). All true worship of God will be done in spirit and truth.
A couple of weeks ago I read Paul tell the Corinthians ” Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Cor 3:16, 17) It seems that Paul thinks the members of the Church are the temple and sacred. He makes this same point again in Ephesians 2:19-22. In fact in Ephesians 2:22, contrary to your position, Paul makes the bold claim that the Church is the dwelling place for God by the Spirit, not a man made temple. Despite claims to the contrary the temple is important in Christian theology and for any man or group of men to claim that they can build God’s house is not at all sacred.
What is CK?
Shematwater, I don’t always read the posts either but I wish you had read all the ones for this thread. I think the comparison between temple rituals and husband/wife relations has been discussed (not that more couldn’t be said by commenters), as well as the purpose of discussing the topic of this thread.
I guess what stands out to me in your comment is that you had to get yourself worthy/ready for the temple because of mistakes in your past. I know this is common practice for Mormons going to the temple, ie, if one commits sins they have a period where they do not go to the temple untl they have spent time proving their worthiness. It makes me sad that you have to prove your worthiness for the temple. Contrast that with the thief on the cross realizing his sin, and immediately asking Jesus’ forgiveness. At that moment he was covered in Christs’ cleansing blood and was right with God. If I have sin in my life, God is right here in my life for me to ask forgiveness. The forgiveness is instantaneous. I don’t have to spend time getting ready to become right with God. I ask God for help, and HE makes me right with Him, NEVER me. That’s one of the things that bothers me about the LDS premise that we need a temple. We can be right with God without one, the Bible tells us so, especially in Hebrews.
Linda, CK stands for “Celestial Kingdom”. Mormons believe that Christs’ sacrifice saved the whole world from hell (universal salvation), and it is not necessary for people to choose Jesus in this life to avoid it. In LDS teaching there are three levels in eternity: Telestial, Terrestrial, Celestial. Only Mormons who wear their garments, follow all Mormon teachings, go to the temple, are married in the temple, will go to the Celestial Kingdom to be with God (what we think of as heaven). Even doing all of these things does not guarantee a Mormon’s entrance to the Celestial Kingdom, but it does make it much more likely.
To All: well, if there is a benefit to a secular , thrill seeking enterprise like HBO meddling in Mormon affairs, then it’s the variety of discussions , some peripheral, that it will engender. This might seem just a bother, but I can see some good come out of it. Granted, the LDS will not be thrilled by anyone’s portrayal of what goes on in there except there own (and I’m not sure how MUCH of a portrayal that could be and not offend them……I’m thinking Ralph’s stance is a staunchly minority view).
Still, if a wider cross section of America becomes aware of LDS endowment, what it is and isn’t, I can see that as a positive. some of the “discussion” might not be of a quality and tone that GERMIT would prefer, but that’s how these passionate topics go.
Gundek: very nice intro line:
Claiming something as sacred does not make it so
blessings on all whose KING is the LORD
With such an emotionally charged topic it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really going on. HBO is not sneaking into a Mormon temple with a hidden camera and then airing the footage on television, as has been alluded to here by one of our LDS friends. Big Love is telling a story about fictional people. It is recreating an LDS temple scene as part of the story, much as Hollywood might recreate any other scene involving a character living out his or her fictional life. It is a false dichotomy to equate what HBO is doing with someone secretly filming and airing something from a married couple’s bedroom. Television regularly recreates bedroom scenes between husbands and wives, for which different people have varying levels of tolerance. These scenes may sometimes be in bad taste or morally questionable, but they are not “rape” of someone’s privacy.
Do you see the difference?
“I would like to ask all non-members what their reaction would be if a person snuck into their home and filmed them making love and then aired it on national television so they could exploit the twisted desires of the public?”
Your appeal would not fall on deaf ears were not for the fact that your prophet showed secret handshakes to non-masons. Now, when non-Mormons are in the know about your private rituals you cry foul. You would not even have your (some) rituals if your prophet had not shared secrets he should not have shared to those non-mason Mormons who were “unworthy”.
“The temple is the house of God, and to sneak in with hidden camera’s amounts to the rape of his privacey.”
I cannot vouch for every instance but I think the primary way non-Mormons found out about your temple rituals is by members/ex-members revealing those rituals, much the same way Mormons did with Masonic rituals.
“They have the keys of his priesthood and I will follow them to hell if they ask.”
I am glad I am a Monergist that is why I can honestly state that God can change your mind and I hope that He does. If not, you may follow them to hell.
Thanks for filling me in. I too think that it is sad that LDS have to work to be worthy of the temple. What is even more bothersome to me about that is they’re not waiting for God’s approval put the approval of other men, their leaders.
You mention false god and temples, and the remainder of your comments assume that the LDS temple is just such a false temple.
Look at the purpose and goal of our temples. The whole purpose for these structures and everything that takes place in them is to help individuals draw closer to God and His only Begotten Son. We make promises and covenants with God to keep His commandments, accept His Son and serve our fellow man. Pretty controversial! And certainly worthy of mockery and attack.
One weakness common to many is the inability or refusal to judge righteously. If one chooses to spend their life criticizing and attacking people for following a life of discipline and dedication to Christ as is asked of temple-attending mormons, it is more a reflection of that critic than it is of those mormons.
“By their fruits ye shall know them.” Mormons who worship in their temples are by no means perfect, but as a group of people, look at their lives and ask yourself what fruits you see.
When I am in the temple, I feel overwhelming love for Heavenly Father and His perfect Son, Jesus Christ. I truly feel closer to my fellowman and desire to serve and help them. Each time I leave I am more motivated to do what is right and to love God. The temple makes me a better human being.
I think the idea that someone took a hidden camera into the temple came from a mass email that was sent out the other day. My wife received it and it has the following quote.
“However, as if the polygamy weren’t bad enough, HBO has taken their unscrupulousness to new heights.
On Sunday, March 15, 2009, HBO will be airing a segment of their Big Love series titled Goin’ to the Chapel. In this segment, they will be showing individuals dressed in full temple clothing (you can see the picture right in the TV guideitself), and they are planning on sending secret cameras in to the temple to show the inside of the temple itself.”
More then likely, this has made the rounds but it does not seem to be consistent with what I have read from the Big Love producers.
Thanks, Soy Yo. I was not aware of the rumor floating around. Thanks for the info.
“Let us make something clear. It is not up to Mormon Coffee to suggest what OUGHT to be sacred or ’secret’ to another religious group. What OUGHT to be- is an environment where religious people are not scorned for what they hold sacred–even if it advances your ‘theological’ or ‘entertainment’ purposes- this post breaks ranks with ethical considerations–forget HBO…you can expect that from Hollywood–you aren’t suppose to get that from ‘Christians’.”
Maybe someone should have told these guys:
“…join none of them for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt;” Joseph Smith
“We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense… Myself and hundreds of the Elders around me have seen its pomp, parade, and glory; and what is it? It is a sounding brass and a tinkling symbol[sic]; it is as corrupt as hell; and the Devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century.” John Taylor
Until recently the Mormon temple endowment ceremony included a portrayal on film of the “typical” Christian clergyman. This man is in the pay of Satan and receives his instructions from him. He preaches for material gain, bartering with Satan for his wages. His message, “orthodox religion”, is ridiculous and incomprehensible, “the philosophies of men mingled with scripture”.
The Mormon Church trades on the modern creed that every religion is of equal value, everyone’s right “in their own way” and we should all respect that. However, Christians know that there is right and wrong, truth and falsehood, righteousness and sin and a way that seems right to a man but that leads to destruction. Mormonism is founded on the claim that the ways of Christendom lead to destruction. Christians, in turn, warn others that there is no salvation in Mormonism. They teach that we are apostate, and we teach that they are a cult and in serious error. It’s a messy old place sometimes but welcome to the real world.
By all means let’s talk to and listen to each other but I wish Mormons would stop pretending that they “don’t tear down other people’s religion to build up theirs”. Their religion is founded on the denunciation and destruction of other people’s religions.
You say: “The whole purpose for these structures and everything that takes place in them is to help individuals draw closer to God and His only Begotten Son.” Why do you need a temple to do that? And you not only need the temple, you need to work for your temple recommend. And to get that, you have to prove your faith to others and your leaders. You are ultimately only pleasing your leaders, not God.
Someone said that Tom Hanks is a producer of the show. I am just wondering how ‘impartial’ he is about the LDS church. He made that comment about the Prop8 thing a few weeks ago and then there is this show. He has a past with the LDS church – his mother married a member and joined the church when he was young (very early teens). He didn’t join himself at that time (in fact he never joined anyway). But maybe his experience with this has left him a little jaundiced against the LDS church.
But that aside, germit said that my stance is probably in the minority. Maybe, maybe not. The LDS in Utah and some places in America are crammed in closely and thus have little experience with the outside world. Here where I live, I was the only LDS in my grade. At school there were my sisters and 3 other members, something like 7 members in a school of between 850 and 900. I was beat up and tormented/teased almost everyday from 2nd grade (6 yrs old) to year 12 (18 yrs old) because I was different to the others. There were a couple of differences – I was smarter (not trying to boast here, just explain a difference) and I had my beliefs/religion. So I am used to a little sniping. As far as this episode goes, I do not like the idea of it being aired, but what can I really do about it? It is already on the internet, many people know about it, so why complain? Get out there and start answering questions is the best way to deal with it now – its no use closing the gate once the whole herd has left the paddock. But, if anyone has read the article that Aaron pointed to the writer states –
I like the part where he says that if you tell someone its not their business they will find a way to prove it is. That happens a lot. So we need to just deal with it.
I congratulate Ralph on his healthy nd robust attitude, i.e. its out there so stop bleating, grapple with the issues and give some answers. That said I was disappointed to read this:
“Someone said that Tom Hanks is a producer of the show. I am just wondering how ‘impartial’ he is about the LDS church. He made that comment about the Prop8 thing a few weeks ago and then there is this show. He has a past with the LDS church – his mother married a member and joined the church when he was young (very early teens). He didn’t join himself at that time (in fact he never joined anyway). But maybe his experience with this has left him a little jaundiced against the LDS church.”
Maybe, just maybe HBO are making this series because its a good story and will make a few dollars for them. Why do Mormons always want to ascribe the basest, most sinister of motives to those they don’t like? Why do they think they are the centre of the world, imagine that anyone who has ever had anything to do with them holds a grudge and that this explains everything? They want people to look at their religion and then complain when people find it interesting.
I know that I am unable to judge righteously (Proverbs 12:15; 14:12; 16:25; 30:12; Gal 6:3; Eph 5:6; ). This is why I rely on the Word of God for that, “which is necessary unto salvation.” I must trust the Scriptures, if they are wrong there is no salvation. Paul tells us “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures; And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve.” (1 Cor 15:3-5)
There is a fatal flaw in your argument. You ignore Scripture. Paul told the Greeks at the Areopagus, “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands…” (Acts 17:24) These Greeks had religion. The Greeks were convinced of their righteousness. They were convinced that their temples brought them closer to their God. They were wrong. I am convinced Paul was correct. I cannot find any reference in the New Testament requireing temple cerimonies for salvation. Am I missing something?
I have, in my last 2 posts, shown why I do not find Mormon temples or anything that goes on in them to be of God or to be prescribed in in the Bible. Your answer is to boast that Mormons are righteous so temples must be good? Christ’s true apostles have something to say about that too (Romans 3:27; 4:2; 1 Cor 1:29; 5:6; James 4:16). What is the difference between your position and people “following a life of discipline and dedication” to Allah or Buddha?
Aaron’s son’s Nadab and Abihu chose a path similar to yours and tried to worship in a manner they found pleasing (Lev 10:1-3). God did not accept it and told Moses, “Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.” Nadab and Abihu, unlike Mormons, were worshiping the true God and still had fire reigned down on them. We were discussing James 1:5 and praying for wisdom. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
Megan wrote “Just as background on the book of Hebrews, the temple was almost certainly still standing when it was written, and new, Jewish Christians felt insecure that they did not have a temple to go through.”
I believe it goes further than that. The Book of Hebrews explores the subject at length. My reading is that its not just offering an alternative to “dis-entempled” Jewish Christians, the core of its message is that Christ is what the Temple was pointing to. In fact, “… you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.” (Heb 12:22).
What was so revolutionary in first century Israel was that the early Christians were substituting Jesus Christ for the physical temple in Jerusalem. For example, to be clean before God you no longer went to the temple, you went to Christ. This message was vindicated by the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in AD70, and the early Christians, I believe, understood this to be God saying “the old system has done its purpose, and now begins the reign of God and His Christ”. The new order has been inaugurated by Christ, his death and resurrection “…for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:4).
Now, if Christianity has put Christ where the temple was, what, in heaven’s name, is Mormonism doing by putting a temple where Christ should be? I’ve posted it before, and I’ll post it again; Mormonism undoes the work of Christ.
I never said yea or nay to being endowed. Yet your entire comment towards me was based on the assumption that I haven’t…I do not cast pears before swine…It is inappropriate for me to divulge personal commitments with God so you can twist it in your holy war against Him. Won’t go there–and won’t allow you the opportunity to pervert what I hold sacred. Good luck in life–though I believe you will need more than luck.
I apologize that I cannot get to the entirety of your responses to me- I am vastly outnumbered. I did read most of them…and they are all easily summed up. You all basically ignore my original contention. I certainly believe HBO is using temple ceremonies held sacred by LDS for ratings…that is a no-brainer–and expected from Hollywood. My issue is with those on here who claim to be ‘Christian’ why they would employ the same exploitative tactics to garner support for their ideology of rejection. Do you not see that this cheap tactic is so deeply offensive to those you claim to minister to? I find this post objectionable on the basis of who you all claim to be- not my fears of the program airing–or something being ‘exposed’! God will take care of them–I just thought I could expect more from all of you who claim God in your lives. Why align yourselves with an industry that readily attacks the God you claim to love so much? Why distance yourselves with a community of believers who stood with you on prop 8?
The idea that any of you are entitled to satiate your curiosity at the behest of defiling the religion of millions–I implore you to reconsider your selfish position. It doesn’t harm me any–but a lack of character on your part will certainly harm your alleged ministry to the LDS. It has certainly questioned my perception of you.
This show is really a smorgasbord of gossip for those who wish ill-will on the restored gospel. Quit pretending to have the moral high-ground on ‘transparency’. You all know the temple ordinances are for EVERYONE who sincerely desires them–they are not designed to be thrust upon the unbeliever for the sake of ridicule.
1 Ne. 19: 7
7 For the things which some men esteem to be of great worth, both to the body and soul, others set at naught and trample under their feet. Yea, even the very God of Israel do men trample under their feet; I say, trample under their feet but I would speak in other words—they set him at naught, and hearken not to the voice of his counsels.
Ezek. 34: 19.
But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them.
I really resent the censoring tool you use which suggests that I was using profanity or slurs….you believe it is a slur because you characterize your propaganda as ministry–your prerogative–but at least don’t brand me a profane individual–that is defamatory.
Gundeck wrote “I cannot find any reference in the New Testament requiring temple cerimonies for salvation. Am I missing something?”
I’m also struggling to think of anything in the OT that requires ceremonies for salvation. Maybe someone else can post something.
There’s plenty of “calling on the Lord”(Psalm 120:1, 2 Chron 7:14), or “calling on the Name of the Lord”. This last quote, from Joel 2:32 gets repeated in Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13, and I like it a lot because it requires no pre-qualifications on the part of the person doing the calling.
The Biblical emphasis is always on the power of God to save, not the power of the ceremony or rite to save. For example, the first of the ten commandments opens with “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Ex 20:2. You’ll notice that there’s nothing along the lines of “you’ve done the right ceremonies, so I responded by saving you from Egypt”
By contrast, there is plenty of Biblical precedent for censure when faith is placed in the ceremony or rite or sign. For example, the Bronze Serpent was used as a reminder that the people had sinned against God, and if they looked to it, it would heal the poison from the snakes that had been unleashed on them as a judgement (Numbers 21:4-9). However, by the time of Hezekiah, the people had begun to reverence the sign and they forgot the God to which the sign pointed. So Hezekiah “brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made” (2 Kings 18:4).
We could also say the same thing about the reliance the Jews placed on circumcision, and much of the NT addresses this issue.
There’s a very strong Biblical meme that these tangible signs are just that; signs that point to God. Putting faith in, or relying on (or worshipping) the ceremony or token or sign is actually a form of idolatry.
…why they would employ the same exploitative tactics to garner support for their ideology of rejection. Do you not see that this cheap tactic is so deeply offensive to those you claim to minister to?
Oh my, can’t you see LDS does the same thing? You are supposedly the only right religion. You’re the ones who have to revere your leader and view outsiders as evil.
Our self-righteousness is based on the Bible. Yours is based on what a man wrote, who gave himself supposed authority from God to start a new religion.
Amanda, I think you’re missing the point of this thread. You’re right, if the purpose of this thread would be to mock something that Mormons hold sacred, that would be absolutely wrong. No wonder you sound so shocked and disillusioned if that’s what you think we’re doing here. I have read all the comments and I’m happy to say that I have not seen any mocking or laughing going on (at least as far as I can tell).
I think the real point of this discussion is to question why Mormons believe that temple ceremonies (ie, endowments) are going to cement their eternal destiny. The question we need to answer is, can this be supported biblically? Another important discussion is, does the Bible say that we NEED temples/ceremonies to make us right with God? If you can find any place in the Bible that tells us we all need to head on down to the temple and perform rites to save us, I would really be interested in hearing it (not being sarcastic).
FOF said, “For those hoping this little controversy will hinder the work of the Lord or His kingdom, I wouldn’t hold your breath. It will likely have NO effect on the church.”
The presupposition that Mormonism is true Christianity doing the work of God’s Kingdom is self-imposed and not congruent with God’s Holy Word. In Mormonism the temple is “the place” for humans to learn what they need to know in order to continue eternal progression and become gods. This is the place where they not only perform the necessary functions for godhood, but have to have already earned a measure of worthiness based on their behavior in order to get there in the first place. Once again, the weight in gaining salvation is placed on human effort: if I don’t go through the temple process and all that the process entails, then I won’t gain entrance into God’s presence. That’s the nuts and bolts of this issue as I see it. The truth of what the Word of God reveals to me is that I am His Holy Temple, and that the work that happens in me (the temple) is the work of the Holy Spirit. My involvement in the synergistic equation is to acknowledge my sinfulness and sins, realize I am utterly helpless to save myself, see my need for repentance, and look to Jesus Christ for salvation. Then, I give consent for God to make me holy as He is holy, and He is faithful to complete it. This is how humans enter into God’s presence. This is the temple work of which the New Testament speaks. What JS brought into the world is not from God, but from his own thinking.
FOF also said, “The purpose of this thread as I understand it is not to determine if the temple ordinances are founded in scripture or to argue their origins. Rather it is to discuss the appropriateness of taking something that is sacred to one religion and publically smearing it for entertainment purposes.”
Naturally, the conversation will address the origins of LDS temple ritual in an effort by Christians to debunk the fallacies of JS teachings, which is what the temple ritual is: the product of JS teachings. And, this is what Christians are called to do. Fighting against heresies have been the work of the Church since the first century. Can Christians become overzealous and make errors in how they do this work of fighting against heresies? Absolutely. But, the focus should be on the heart of the Christian? Why do Christians even give any thought to heretical teachings, let alone try to debunk them? Because they are perfect in love. Yes, we love people. We hate lies and heresies. Now, sometimes the Christian comes off as being a Mormon-hater, and that is sad. And we do need to assess how we go about doing the work God has called us to do. Now, in all fairness, what I have just said about Christians can be said about Mormons. I believe we all have the motive of teaching what we believe to be Truth that saves souls. As I have said before, therein lies our dilemma. I understand this thread is not about exploring this comment any further, so I won’t. And, I have rambled too much, anyway. As for respecting others: absolutely, and I hope I have shown respect to Mormons and to their faith.
Peace and Blessings!
I’m a little disturbed that you give credit to the temple for making you a better person. This seems to me to be on the verge of idolatry. God makes us better people, not a place. I don’t think you quite realized how this comment might sound. I think I get what you’re trying to say, but it really came off as “temple worship” as opposed to “God worship.” Please believe I’m not attacking you, but merely trying to bring something to your attention that you might not have thought about. Also, I would like for you to try to understand that the feelings you described about loving God and having a desire to serve your fellowmen are not unique to a “temple experience,” as you seem to portray it. I feel all of that just by simply praising and worshiping God in my apartment. Just something for you to think about.
Peace and Grace!
This is my third post making this point about irony. Much of what goes on in your temple goes on because Joseph Smith and possibly other Mormons divulged masonic secrets to non-masons. Then Mormons/ex-Mormons turn around and tell/depict to others what they have learned about your religion. Mormons cry foul but in doing so they are drawing more attention to their secret/sacred ceremonies and the origins of those ceremonies.
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?
JackG and David. Your posts are amazing!!! Thank you for articulating the point so well without being negative.
I guess I fail to see how simply saying, “Yes, I’ve been through the temple endowment.” or “No, I have not been through the temple endowment.” is casting pearls before swine.
You are right, I need more then luck in life. I need God’s grace and Spirit to be poured over me each and every day. He is my portion and He gives me my daily bread. Withouth Him in my life, I would have no life.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ – 1Cor. 1:3
What do you think of these scriptures?
Luke 24: 49 (‘endued’, lds use the word endowed)
James 3: 13
Gen. 3: 21(lds hint that this is a type of priesthood garment)
1 Kgs. 7: 25, 44(the lds scripture guide states that this is a baptismal font)
Be careful, the media has had films and other critical review of christian belief which caused no small stir. Films which really distort the belief are pretty easy to ignore, but its my observation that when the criticism is right on it makes a lot of people upset.
Temples around the world have a revered object, a symbol, scripture, or images or imagery associated with them. It seems to some degree that christians are in a state of cognitive dissonance that they have don’t have temples. The use of crosses, cruxifixes, satutues, paintings, obelisks and the bible itself indicates that christians have temples. Its not necessarily for ‘secret’ rituals, but it does appear to be a temple. The anciet jews had the arc of the covenant which was a revered object. Something to think about if you believe that christians don’t have temples.
No, no, no. You misunderstand me. There is NOTHING wrong with religious symbolism,. rite, and ceremony. You are right, the Bible is rich with religious ceremony, etc. Before we moved to our current state (my husband is in the military), we attended a non-denominational church with a Baptist history. Most baptist churches are pretty plain inside, maybe some banners, stained glass windows. The one ceremonial object (or objects) it had was for communion (similar to LDS sacrament), silvery platters for communion crackers and silvery drink holders for the little plastic cups of grape juice that the ushers passed around once a month. In the state we live in now, we attend an Episcopal church. My favorite thing about attending a more liturgical, or “high” church, is all the ceremonies and ceremonial objects we use. I love the fact that we have a certain liturgy we say every Sunday according to the church calendar. Soon it will be Easter week, and for the past year I have been looking forward to the special service (actually, there are special services all week long) the night before Easter Sunday. We begin the service in complete darkness (symbolizing Christ’s death), and then mid-way through the service, the lights come on, we ring bells, and shout, “He is risen!” Then we all go to the altar for communion. This service never fails to move me. God has given we humans the gifts of expression and creativity, and I think He loves the different ways we worship Him. The problem with religious rites and ceremonies is when they are tied to our salvation, or promise unbiblical, blasphemous things, such as Mormons believing that certain rites will help them become gods in eternity. I disagree with you that Christian churches and cathedrals are really temples. The temple in the OT was to purify God’s people from their sins. Now that the old has passed away, as described in Hebrews, God does His purifying work in us, His temples, through the cleansing blood of Christ. 1 Cor. 3:16, 1 Cor.6:19, 2 Cor. 6:16..
I don’t feel like I adequately explained how we are now God’s temple, so if anyone else wants to add on, feel free!
I am curious to know why you think it is so extremely offensive and unchristian for the Mormon temple endowment to be discussed and portrayed while it is fine for Mormon leaders to denegrate, revile and slander Christian churches, as I have illustrated. Why, as has already been pointed out, is it alright for Mormons to reveal secret Masonic rites while it is somehow damningly offensive for others to reveal secret Mormon rites? Why is it wrong to challenge and discuss Mormon temple rites but just fine for those same temple rites to include the portrayal of a Christian minister in the pay of Satan? Why the hysteria when it is clear to anyone who cares to know it that the Mormon Church does not extend to others the respect it demands for itself?
Finally, perhaps someone could explain this to me. Temple worthiness is the goal of every good Mormon but the requirements are strict. You have to have been a church member for at least a year. In two interviews, one with the bishop and one with the Stake President, you have to show yourself to be morally clean, unquestioningly loyal to the church, a full and honest tithe payer, and to be keeping the Mormon health law, the Word of Wisdom; to have dedicated your life to the building up of the church.
In contrast, the whole purpose of the temple in ancient Israel was to make those attending aware of their unworthiness before God. It was not their worthiness that qualified them to go, but rather their unworthiness that necessitated their attending and making the required sacrifices:
“When anyone is guilty in any of these ways, he must confess in what way he has sinned and, as a penalty for the sin he has committed, he must bring to the Lord a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.” (Lev.5: 5).
Did you get that? “When ayone is guilty”!
The same thing applies in the New Testament and we come to Christ because of our sin and not because we are worthy, i.e. “Christ died for our sins”. Every Christian can say, with confidence, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; no merit of my own I claim, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.”
Every Christian stands before God in a righteousness not his own, every Mormon stands before God clothed in a righteousness that is gained by strenuous keeping of the Mormon laws. The level of righteousness required is unattainable; the Bible says so and every Mormon who has lived a little knows it. Every Mormon faces his inquisitors, the bishop and the Stake President, knowing that his own performance alone will determine whether he will be allowed to enter this next level of Mormon progression.
Comparing these two approaches reminds us of Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the publican who went to pray in the temple (Luke 18). The Pharisee was proud of his worthiness and was condemned by Jesus. The man who went away justified was the publican who bowed his head and said, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”
I hope they show pre-1990 version. You know with the death oaths if you reveiled temple happening to anyone. Or maybe the pre 2005 version where you are bare naked (in the washing and anointing)with nothing covering you but a poncho with the sides open, and the temple worker reaching inside to bless parts. I found the temple cold and creepy. Let’s get real people, if you do not want to be called a cult, stop acting like one.
I hope you do not mind me answering your questions about the verses you brought up.
Luke 24:49 you say that the Mormons see the word “endued” as endowed. The Greek word is ἐνδύω enduō (Strong’s 1746). The DBL shows its uses; clothe, dress (another), (Lk 15:22); dress oneself, wear clothes (Matt 6:25; Mark 1:6; Luke 8:27; 24:49; Acts 12:21; Rom 13:12; 1 Cor 15:53; Gal 3:27; Eph 4:24; Col 3:10; 1Thes 5:8; Rev 1:13; 2 Co 5:3).
In its context this verse is referring to the promise of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; Acts 1:4; [Acts 2:33; Eph. 1:13]; See Acts 2:16, 17) that was fulfilled in Acts 2:1-4. The term “endued” or “clothed”, used in more modern translations, has direct OT connotations (Job 29:14; Psalm. 132:9). I did a quick word search of the AV and didn’t find endowment; I did find endow in Exodus 22:16.
Gen 3:21 It seems odd that God would give temple garments to Adam an Eve after they had committed the first sin causing the fall of man. Other commentators have pointed out that Gen 3:21 may have been the institution of animal sacrifice and pointing to Leviticus 17:11 and Hebrews 9:22.
1 Kings 7:25, 44 While LDS scripture may claim that this was a baptismal font, the Chronicler in 2 Chronicles 4:6 tells us that this “was for the priests to wash in.”
You are so right. Having something in this world that inspires you and makes you want to do better at keeping the commandments and love God is certainly on the “verge of idolatry.” How dare I. You are certainly helping me open my eyes to what a wretched person I am.
Honestly- I think I am done with this site. The smallness is sometimes beyond belief. I know you all think LDS are “pharisees” because we believe in doing good works, but I suggest a little look in the mirror and a review of why pharisees are rebuked by Christ in the New Testament.
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.
Every thread here is the same.
I’m glad you commented again. I think we have chased away all LDS at this point. I want to ask a personal question but I genuinely don’t want to come across as judging. I hope I can phrase this clearly.
You are blessed, obviously, by your temple experience. You feel closer to God and are fed spiritually by being there. For you personally, how do you distinguish between feeling close to God and also the sense of accomplishment (success) you must feel? Both are joyful experiences. Is there a difference in the two?
Maybe what I’m really asking or hoping is that you feel close to God in bad times too. Because when things go our way, don’t we thank God for giving us the ability to be successful? And when things are very sad, for me personally I just hang onto God’s hand with all my might to help me through.
From my understanding, it takes a lot of dedication and commitment to get to the endowment ceremony. So if you make it there, who gets the credit? and if you don’t make it, who is to blame? I’m just really concerned that bishops and stake presidents play too large a role in that success or failure.
The best way to describe the feeling in the temple (for me) is that it is the same feeling I get when I read of the last supper, the garden of Gethsemane, the arrest, the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ in the four Gospels. I read these chapters every week when I partake of the Sacrament. It is a feeling of awe, overwhelming gratitude, and love for God and His perfect Son. I feel reverent and peaceful. I feel close to God. I also feel desire to do all that I can to please Him. This is what I feel in the temple.
The idea of feeling “accomplishment” is simply out of place in the temple. I wouldn’t describe the temple experience as one of “success.” This suggests to me that many may not understand what the experience is about. Maybe this is a result of having so many voices saying so many things about the temple- I don’t know.
I do feel close to God in life’s low points. In fact, these have been some of the most refining times in my life- times of feeling God’s hand and support, and being reminded upon whom I depend.
As far as the dedication and commitment required to go to the temple, I think this may not be represented all that accurately in places like this. Yes, the bishop and Stake President conduct interviews with each member every 2 years to renew the temple recommend. But if people are living the basic standards of the church, it is a housekeeping matter. When I think about going to the temple, never do I also think of my bishop or Stake President. The stereotype promoted by critics is one of stern, condescending, and authoritative bishops judging members and making them feel guilty. The Lord gets all the credit for every person who goes to the temple. There are simply 2 different worlds- that of the LDS and that imaginary one in the creative mind of the critic.
And this is the frustration I feel along with other LDS- there are simply two different worlds respresented here. I have learned that I do not have the ability to convey my experience to non-LDS here. No matter how beautiful and inspiring something may be to me, be it the temple or Book of Mormon, others will find a reason to desecrate and criticize. They simply feel they have more authoritative sources of information on the matter. And that is fine. I am truly not offended by anything. We all must travel our own roads in life. I have no interest in employing force to get people to see anything. People will see what they want to.
Thanks for the questions and dialogue.
I was just commenting on the last 2 times I have heard Tom Hanks’ name. The first time was when he criticised the LDS church about their stance on the Prop8 issue – he singled out the LDS church, none other that also supported the Prop8 thing. The second time was when someone mentioned him being producer of ‘Big Love’, which has become somewhat controversial about the LDS church and one of its splinter groups. From these 2 things, to me it seems that he may have something against the LDS church, which then if he does, needs to be taken into consideration as well. I do understand that he is thhe producer, not the director or writer and that there are other people involved in the making of this show.
I would like to further FoF’s comments about temple worthiness. The temple recommend interview is almost exactly the same as the baptismal interview with 2 extra questions. One is about keeping the covenants that you have previously made in the temple nd wearing of the garments – this question cannot be asked of a person about to be baptised because they have not been through the temple. The second is about affiliating with or supporting any group that teaches against our church. So why do most non-LDS here try and make it seem as if its a major thing to keep temple worthy? As FoF said – its just housekeeping. They commit to it before baptism, and they are usually committed to it for a period after baptism. But one thing that Mike tea forgot to mention that is in the temple recommend interview and is the first and foremost question which if answered in the negative would stop the interview right there ahd then – that is – Do you believe in Heavenly Father? and do you believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him as your Saviour? This is the most inportant question in the interview, the second most important is the last which inquires – Do you feel worthy to enter the temple? Its putting the judgment on you, yourself. If you lie with this question you are lying to God, not just your priesthood leader.
It sounds like rituals and ceremonies do something important and uplifting for you. You did say the following, “The problem with religious rites and ceremonies is when they are tied to our salvation…” Of course there is a question related to what is an ‘expectation’ or promise relating to any ceremony. So, that could be a problem if you feel its not a correct understanding.
However, what is the correct view from the Non-LDS christian for the importance of these rituals? (given a correct promise relating to them)Such as baptism, confirmation, the lords supper, feet washing, there could be more. For the christian they don’t directly ‘save’ only god can do that, I think LDS church members would probably agree with that, applying that to rituals in common, and rituals specific to the LDS faith.
About the word ‘temple’. Yes there may be a specific use of the word in various contexts, and a change in the understanding of temple from the O.T. to N.T. With people being the temple. However, its not incorrect to view a church or other dedicated facility as a temple.
Here are some definitions:
“place of worship consisting of an edifice for the worship of a deity ”
“an edifice devoted to special or exalted purposes”
“synagogue: (Judaism) the place of worship for a Jewish congregation”
I know of examples of non-LDS christians dedicating buildings for worship, and they do use the word ‘temple’, knowing that its not the same temple used in the O.T. Properly speaking LDS people can use the word temple, fully understanding that its not the same temple as the O.T. And its not, as far as I know the LDS church does not conduct animal sacrifices, make burnt offerings, wave offerings etc…
One scripture you quote is 2 Cor. 6:16.. “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? ” What I was trying to point out is that some christian churches do have things which suspiciously look like idols. The cross, crucifix, statues of saints, icons, paintings, and perhaps other objects or imagery. The ancient hebrew people condemned the use of idols, while posessing a venerated object, they didn’t call this an idol, but the arc of the covenant. I don’t think this is directly worshiped, as its only metal, the hebrew god was worshiped. But if you ask a hindu about hindu idols, they know its only wood or metal, or some other physical medium. There is also some visible manifestation associated with hebrew worship, the Shekhinah. I don’t fully understand that, but is stated in wikipedia,
“word that means the dwelling or settling, and is used to denote the dwelling or settling presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem.”
Some commentary about idols from a hindu webpage, “A Hindu Primer
by Shukavak N. Dasa”
“Hindus do worship idols, but so do Christians, Jews and even Muslims. In fact, it is impossible to conceive of God without some form of idol, for idol worship is the way of religion.
In Hinduism there are many words to describe the nature of God, and we will refer to them as the need arises, but in this regard, the most relevant word is acintya, which means “inconceivable,” “beyond thought.” The true nature of God is, therefore, beyond the ability of human beings to understand, yet we have a need to reach out in our mind and try to conceive of God. So we create an image of God in our minds. This mental image of God is an idol. Most people, including Hindus, think of an idol solely as a graven or carved image and, while this is true–an idol is a carved image–it is also a form that begins in the mind. It is a mental form. Consequently, mental forms are also idols.”
I don’t mind at all that you commented on a post to megan. This is an open forum for discussion of multiple people, I feel that everyone can bring light and wisdom to each other using this medium.
Thats an interesting commentary about endowment.
“ἐνδύω enduō (Strong’s 1746). The DBL shows its uses; clothe, dress (another), (Lk 15:22); dress oneself, wear clothes ”
That doesn’t necessarily contradict the LDS understanding, as the ‘garment of the priesthood’ is associated with the endowment ceremony. But from you what stated this isn’t to be understood as literal clothing, but spiritually clothed in the holy spirit?
Yes, it does indeed seem odd to reference gen. 3:21 as support for a type of the temple garment. Especially given that LDS temple garments aren’t animal in origin, but probably cotton or a blend of some type, at least that is what it looks like. The clothing could reference the sacrifice made on their behalf, and they were clothed in a literal portion of that sacrifice. Its not too big of a leap for a mormon to feel that their garments reference the sacrifice of Jesus christ on their behalf.
Thats an interesting comment about the basin for priests to wash in. I never thought of that, but it makes sense. I can only imagine that conducting burnt offerings and animal sacrifices could make you covered head to toe in blood and ashes.
It seems to me that the LDS support of prop. 8 has really paid off! It seems like it was a means to advertise the faith, and get people to talk about it. Mormons however seem to dislike negative attention, but I think deep down mormons really like criticism as a way to start dialog.Tom Hanks connection to ‘Big love’ could possibly be a secondary effect of supporting prop. 8. I see it as purely a political and advertizing maneuver with many objectives, not all of which might be apparent yet.
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, but many people don’t want to call same sex partners ‘married’. Most religious legal battles over ‘conscience’ have to do with what an individual views as wrong, and people defending their right. Not defining what is right or wrong for someone else.
“Conscience is an ability or a faculty that distinguishes whether one’s actions are right or wrong. It leads to feelings of remorse when one does things that go against his/her moral values, and to feelings of rectitude or integrity when one’s actions conform to our moral values. It is also the attitude which informs one’s moral judgment before performing any action. ” (wikipedia, Conscience)
A few good examples might come from Jehovah’s Witnesses rejecting blood transfusions, and their children not participating in the pledge of allegence, and also their refusal to be enrolled in a draft. Jehovahs witnesses generally don’t vote.
“Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses vote?Because of John 17:14 and other passages in the Bible. In that verse, Jesus says of his followers: “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” Jehovah’s Witnesses have interpreted that statement as a call to remain neutral in all political matters. (In some of the sect’s literature, members are described as “representatives of God’s heavenly kingdom”; they are thus obligated to stay out of local political affairs in keeping with the behavior of ambassadors.) Witnesses also refrain from serving in the military, running for public office, and pledging allegiance to the flag.” from
“Why Don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses Vote?Because they’re representatives of God’s heavenly kingdom.By Jacob Leibenluft”
The interview process for temple attendance by mormons is a method of control, and it does turn over a significant amount of power to human domain. It reminds me quite a bit of the catholic sacrament of confession, which could lend itself to abuse. There are spiritual paths which are not linked to organized religion, interviews, confession. You can view this as a limitation or a power of reorganized religion. On another level this whole phemona is related to your understanding of the world and level of ethical development.
“There are simply 2 different worlds- that of the LDS and that imaginary one in the creative mind of the critic.”
Its entirely possible that everyone has their own individual religion. An active imagination is not limited to critics of the LDS faith. Does every LDS member have the same experience of god or their faith? Any LDS person can totally have a different take on any aspect of the faith.
There are plenty of misunderstandings everywhere you look. One culture may distain aspects of another culture, but its not always on purpose. Even when trying to remain objective one can have prejudice and misunderstanding, if you don’t your not human and not truthful.
“And this is the frustration I feel along with other LDS- there are simply two different worlds respresented here. I have learned that I do not have the ability to convey my experience to non-LDS here. No matter how beautiful and inspiring something may be to me, be it the temple or Book of Mormon, others will find a reason to desecrate and criticize. ”
I am not sure that people here want to desecrate. Perhaps they do want to criticize, but in their mind they aren’t motivated how you might think. Its also not personal. They may equally be judgemental of any other religion in the world. They may also have judgements about other sects of the christian faith. I think they are saying something like “This isn’t our understanding of the christian faith” or “that doesn’t fit with my understanding”.
I however am finding the discussion very enlightening, and I am starting to have more emphathy for LDS members than I had when I started this discussion. I am sure the HBO show is very painful, and at times this board can be very painful and frustrating. But at all times mormons are called upon to be patient and longsuffering. D&C 121: 41. I think you have demonstrated your willingness to do this the best you can. But I am more than willing to forgive any LDS person who doesn’t fulfill this at all times, its not humanly possible.
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Thank you for your beautiful response. We do seem to have that in common, a great faith in God. To me, that’s God’s grace. I wish Joseph Smith hadn’t messed with it. I’m glad you have your faith, I just still don’t think you need Joseph Smith or any of his writings to enjoy it. I would hope that if neither of us had ever learned to read or never had access to the Bible or the Book of Mormon, we would still have that same faith in a higher power. (But that leads to a whole new discussion!) ha ha
But thank you too for the great dialogue.
You wrote: I know of examples of non-LDS christians dedicating buildings for worship, and they do use the word ‘temple’, knowing that its not the same temple used in the O.T. Properly speaking LDS people can use the word temple, fully understanding that its not the same temple as the O.T. And its not, as far as I know the LDS church does not conduct animal sacrifices, make burnt offerings, wave offerings etc…
But isn’t it the claim of LDS? That their restored gospel gives a model for current temples to represent OT temples? Maybe someone from LDS can clarify this.
Enki, one thing about your posts is they do help me view things from an angle I hadn’t thought of before. I’ll have to get back to you on the temple thing. As far as the God-ordained rituals (for lack of a better word) one finds in the NT, they serve different purposes and functions. The Lord’s Supper is a way to commune in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice, baptism is a way to publicly acknowledge how one has been inwardly cleansed by Jesus, and is a visual symbol of one’s sins being washed away, etc. I think those are the textbook answers. But it all comes down to the whole grace vs. works thing: do these ceremonies save us? No. Of course Mormons believe that it would be impossible to be saved without Christ, but they also believe in grace (Christ’s sacrifice) plus works (our own effort). If a Mormon didn’t go to the temple and do certain ceremonies, could they really go to the CK? No, right? I don’t think I’m expressing myself very well…..pregnancy hormones are in full swing and I can barely string two sentences together. Sorry.
I do hope you will decide to stick around. I learn so much from you and Ralph, and your posts are always thoughtful and respectful. I’m sorry this is so emotionally charged, and feels so personal. I guess it’s impossible not to have it be that way. Sometimes I think it would be so relaxing and less tense if we were all the “many roads lead to heaven” kind of people, but we know it will never be like that. I could never believe that and I know you can’t either.
I do apologize to those who may have said this already. Right now I have little time as I am preparing for my families return from a long vacation so I cannot read everything in these posts. However, I will address a few things, and especially those directed at me.
I never have to prove my worthiness to the leaders of my church, and i have never been asked to, nor has anyone else if teh regulations are followed. We are asked a serious of questions, to which we give answer. If we answer falsely we will be able to gain a recommend and enter the temple (unless someone who knows of our actions reports it to the High Counsel – and just so you know Joseph Smith himself was taken up on charges in the manner). However, to enter the temple unworthily is damn your own soul. I understand this. I also understand that certain acts cannot simply be forgiven by a simple prayer. I need to set myself right before God, and he has laid out a process that I must follow in order to do so. It is my own honesty that has prevented me from entering the temple, and I have no doubt that I will be blessed for it.
As to the theif on the cross, if you understand the doctrine of my faith you must know that I do not believe he gained a forgiveness while on the cross with Christ. Christ told him he would be in paradise, which is part of the spirit world where those who have died await the resurrection. Thus he did not gain a complete salvation, but was given a promise that he would be there to receive what was necessary when the time came.
I don’t want a God who does everything for me. Just as a parent destroys a child by spoiling them, preventing them from learning and growing, so a God who does everything for me would be destructive to my progression. I thank God that he requires me to work and earn my reward, for even though I could not do it without Christ I can still say that I did my best.
One problem is that no non-member can ever truly show what the ceremony is or isn’t. Especially in a TV drama. They will have maybe 50 minutes for their entire episode. So unless they are going to fill it entirely with the ceremony they will not be able to show it all. Also it is almost garunteed that they will put their own personal spin on it. They cannot show the truth about the ceremony so they should show none of it.
And even if they could show the entire ceremony they cannot explain the meaning of it.
When you speak of showing secret handshakes I assume you are refering to the often used theory that Joseph Smith took the endowment ceremony from Mason rights. I will admit that certain quotes from him make it believable, but still does not prove it.
Also, the way people get their information doesn’t matter. My first post was because I was told they were trying to actually film the ceremony, and I know it has been done before. But it doesn’t really matter. Taking the word of those who have broken their covenants doesn’t seem a very reliable way to do research.
And on a final note, I am glad that I can say with perfect honesty and confidence that God does not have the power to change my mind, nor would he if he could. I am thankful that I am a free agent and will except the consequences of my actions while praising the Lord for his Justice and Mercy.
Finally I close with this. I agree with Ralph that there is nothing that can be done now. While it pains me to see that so many hold the faith of others in such disregard and contempt I will always work to build peace between us. I pray that the Lord comes soon, but I know it we have a few years left to endure, and hope we will all endure them together in peace.
Just wanted you all to know, that your efforts (whatever your intentions) in this post inspired me to do temple work on Saturday–and it was an AWESOME day!
Here is a video I thought many of you would enjoy:
You have answered my criticisms of tone and disrespect by changing the subject to legitimate concerns…what you don’t seem to understand is that having these legitimate questions don’t depend on HBO prostituting the sacred beliefs of others for ratings.
“I think the real point of this discussion is to question why Mormons believe that temple ceremonies (ie, endowments) are going to cement their eternal destiny. The question we need to answer is, can this be supported biblically?”
I agree that discussing temples is of serious import, and ought to be discussed. How can you have honest dialogue on the cusp of legitimizing disrespect to the group of people you wish to have this dialogue with? Simply put, this post does nothing to further what you and I believe to be an important endeavor. It’s like starting a marriage out in serious debt–it is a disadvantage to the truth to begin on a foundation of bias.
It would have been appropriate for the authors to condemn this display by HBO…then ask legitimate questions about the biblical foundation of temples.
If you are interested in a serious discussion, watch the video I posted above- it answers in part some of your questions.