Artikkelit > Temppelisivu

Temple Ritual Altered 7

From The Salt Lake City Messenger No. 75, July 1990
Jerald and Sandra Tanner

A Bad Experience?

Many people who have been through the Mormon temple endowment later admit that they were shocked by the ceremony because it was so different from anything they had previously encountered in Mormonism. A prominent Mormon educator who served at Brigham Young University told us that when his wife first went to the temple to receive her endowments, she became so upset with the ritual that she refused to go any further and the entire session was delayed while temple workers tried to convince her to go on.

Over the years a surprising number of people have told us that they had a very bad experience when they went through the temple ritual. Many of them said that their first serious doubts concerning the authenticity of Mormonism arose when they went through the endowment ceremony. Couples have told us that they both had very negative feelings during the ceremony but at the time did not dare confide these doubts with each other. We recently received a letter in which the following appears:

"We converted to Mormonism 16 years ago when two delightful young missionaries knocked on our door.... I had been raised in a Christian household... We subsequently married in the Temple in New Zealand; an experience we found to be very confusing and frightening and we both wanted to leave, but did not mention this to each other... I became a Christian in October last year and my husband followed shortly after.... We feel so full of the spirit of God and we love Jesus with all our hearts." (Letter from Australia, dated Jan. 11, 1990)

Many people who enter the temple are puzzled as to why they should have to wear specially marked garments for the rest of their lives and learn secret passwords, signs and handshakes to enter into the presence of God. They feel that this is rather childish. As we have shown, David John Buerger has pointed out that these types of things are found in secret lodges and also in "college organizations, with their attendant associations of youthfulness and possibly immaturity."

The endowment ceremony actually gives the impression that God is like a youngster who only allows those who know the secret passwords and signs into his heavenly clubhouse. This is entirely different from anything we find in the New Testament. In John 10:14, 27-28, the following appears: "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.... My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."

Those who really know Christ do not have to worry about remembering any secret words or handshakes. As the Apostle Paul expresses it, those who are alive at his coming will be "caught up together with them [i.e., those who are raised from the dead] in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (I Thessalonians 4:17) This hardly allows any time for questions and answers and a ceremony of passing through the veil. In I Corinthians 15:51-52, Paul wrote that "we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump..." Apostle John added this comforting thought: "...when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (I John 3:2)

While the temple ritual leads Mormons to believe that God is going to put them through the type of test a Mason has to go through to get into the lodge, Christians believe that at death they will be received immediately into God's presence. We find great encouragement in this promise. We feel that God is like the father of the prodigal son; he did not make his son pass through some type of test upon his return home. Instead, he "ran" out to meet him, and "fell on his neck, and kissed him." (Luke 15:20)

As we have already stated, Mormonism teaches that only Mormons who receive their endowments and are married for eternity can obtain the highest exaltation in the hereafter. While the Bible clearly proclaims that "whosoever believeth in him [Jesus] should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:15), Mormon leaders have taught that "eternal life" only comes through temple marriage.

For example, President Spencer W. Kimball, the 12th prophet of the church, emphasized:

"Only through celestial marriage can one find the strait way, the narrow path. Eternal life cannot be had in any other way. The Lord was very specific and very definite in the matter of marriage." (Deseret News, Church Section, Nov.12, 1977)

On another occasion, Spencer W. Kimball bluntly stated that "the ordinance of sealing is an absolute, and that without it there can be no salvation in the eternal world, no eternal life." ("The Ordinances of the Gospel," as cited in Achieving a Celestial Marriage, page 204) As we have noted earlier, Mormon theology teaches that those who have been married in the temple can become Gods, whereas those who refuse to go through the endowment ritual become servants for all eternity. These teachings are, of course, very objectionable to orthodox Christians.

The fact that so many changes have been made in the temple ceremony over the years provides powerful evidence against the claim that it came to Joseph Smith by divine revelation. While it is true that these changes have made the endowment more palatable to the Mormon people, they do not bring the ceremony into conformity to Christian beliefs. In Mark 2:21, Jesus said that "No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse." The endowment ritual not only has many patches in it, but it also has patches on top of patches. Even though there have been improvements in the temple ceremony, it is still filled with material taken from the Masonic ritual and concepts that are not Biblical. Sewing new patches on the many rents in this old garment will not really solve the problem. The entire ceremony and the idea of men becoming Gods needs to be abandoned.

While we do not know what the future holds for Mormonism, we are very encouraged by recent developments. More and more Mormons are beginning to reject the concept that "when the leaders speak, the thinking has been done," and many of them are turning to the Lord for help. We feel that the recent changes in the endowment ritual will serve as a catalyst in bringing LDS people to the truth. While the discussion of the temple ceremony used to be almost completely taboo, active Mormons are now coming into our bookstore and discussing the matter with us.

A number of them, who have recently gone through the temple, have provided important details concerning the changes. We have also received word that they are discussing these matters among themselves. Those of us who have labored for years to bring the truth to the Mormons are excited about the future. We have been ridiculed in the past by those who did not believe our work could have any affect on the leadership of the church. It is our belief that a large number of Mormons are growing tired of blindly following their leaders and that we will see tens of thousands of them turning to the Lord.

For those who are interested in learning more about the endowment ceremony, we recommend our new book, Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony, 1842-1990.


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