Temple sacredness as secrecy: Am I swine?

The Manhattan temple opens imminently and has brought many things to mind. I have yet to be endowed. Not because of worthiness issues, but lack of desire. I’m not married and did not serve a mission, so I was never in a position to ‘have to’ get endowed. Because of this post on Kim Siever’s blog, Our Thoughts, about the recent online publication of the Temple preparation manual and the ensuing comments, I have the following questions. Please do not misinterpret my questions as criticisms or doubts. I accept that the temple is a divine institution that is central to my religion, which religion I hold very dear. I seek more understanding on its importance and wonder why this isn’t made more explicit in church education.

1. Most mormons get endowed because they are getting married or going on a mission. This seems such a common practice that it’s assumed all active adult church members will go through the temple. So, teaching temple motivation is not a priority if it’s even taught at all. (I may be wrong, I spend every Sunday in primary and not adult Sunday school so please correct me if I am.)

2. Temple ordinances and covenants are considered too sacred to discuss outside of the temple, because we don’t want to “cast pearls before swine”. So people usually explain things with broad expressions like, “make sacred covenants to receive greater blessings” and “learn more about the plan of salvation”. Don’t the scriptures contain all the knowledge we need? What motivation then does one have for taking endowments?

3. Getting endowed is a commandment required for exaltation. Marriage is also a commandment required for exaltation. Since I’m not married, I won’t be exalted even if I get endowed. So does it make a difference in the end if I do?

This is the point where more knowledge would be helpful. I read the temple prep manual on-line. It quoted James E. Talmadge:“The ordinances of the endowment embody certain obligations on the part of the individual, such as covenant and promise to observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth and the uplifting of the race; to maintain devotion to the cause of truth; and to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King,—the Lord Jesus Christ. With the taking of each covenant and the assuming of each obligation a promised blessing is pronounced, contingent upon the faithful observance of the conditions” (The House of the Lord, rev. ed. [1976], 84).

Which leads me to ponder, how are these promises different from baptismal covenants? Don’t we do the same thing when we take the name of Jesus Christ and promise to obey his laws? I take my baptismal covenants very seriously and all of the above fall under them even if not explicitly stated.

4. In the comments on Siever’s blog, dp from Doctrinal:net posted this quote from Armaund L. Mauss’ “Reflections on Mormon Temple Worship”:
“there is no real reason that even devout Church members could not talk more about the temple ceremonies than they do, with appropriate discretion about time and place, since the oaths of secrecy attach only to the new names, signs, tokens, and penalties. Indeed, more open talk about the temple would not only facilitate understanding among both Mormons and non-Mormons in certain historical and scholarly respects, but would also infinitely improve the preparedness of initiates, almost all of whom now enter the temple with only the vaguest idea of what to expect or of the obligations they will be asked to assume.”

However, the temple prep manual had this to say about the matter (I couldn’t find a reference to the speaker):
“We do not discuss the temple ordinances outside the temples. It was never intended that knowledge of these temple ceremonies would be limited to a select few who would be obliged to ensure that others never learn of them. It is quite the opposite, in fact. With great effort we urge every soul to qualify and prepare for the temple experience. …
“The ordinances and ceremonies of the temple are simple. They are beautiful. They are sacred. They are kept confidential lest they be given to those who are unprepared”(Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple, 2).

If Mauss is correct, then why are we so silent about the temple ordinances?
What does being unprepared mean? I’m temple worthy and once had a recommend to take out endowments, but I didn’t get around to it. What lacks in me as far as preparedness goes is the burning desire to be endowed and an understanding of the need for it. But that doesn’t mean I’ll defame them or trod them into the mud. Maybe I am a spiritually insensitive boar who has hardened my heart to the call of the temple, but how many people got endowed purely from desire or felt fully prepared? (If you did I’d like to hear how it happened for you.)

Do church members take the sacredness too far, turning it into uneccessary secrecy as Mauss suggests? And who is going to “great effort to urge every soul to qualify and prepare for the temple experience?” Is more effort and education needed to give people a greater understanding?

Jennifer J

Comments

  1. “Getting endowed is a commandment required for exaltation. Marriage is also a commandment required for exaltation.”

    That depends on what you mean by “exaltation”. If you mean dwelling in the Celestial Kingdom, which is how I define it, then marriage is not required.

    If you mean dwelling in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom, then marriage is required.

  2. “Given the effectiveness of the Internet at breaking down informational barriers, I think the traditional LDS approach to the temple vow of silence is becoming unworkable.”

    This is an interesting claim, but I am unclear exactly what it means. Are you claiming that the vow of silence is not superfulous since everyone knows what is going on anyway? The problem with this is that the substance of the temple endowment was published in the newspapers before the Saints even left Nauvoo, so it has been out there for a very long time. Obviously, it is easier to get access to the text of the endowment now than it was in the past, but lets not kid ourselves. It wasn’t all that difficult to get the text before the Internet came on the scene.

  3. Along with John H., I really don’t think that there are any direct instructions never to talk about anything that goes on in the temple. We do covenant not to reveal a few very specific things. As for the rest of the ceremony, we should be reverent and careful about the times we discuss it, but I think that there are appropriate times to discuss nearly everything that goes on there in some detail — particularly when someone is preparing to go for the first time.

    I think John is also right that the temple can really freak people out. Even a little walk-through of what will happen can go along way to minimize that.

  4. Apparently my message was too long – maybe it was a way for God to protect me so I didn’t go too far in that last paragraph :) I suppose I’ll keep it to myself after all.

  5. Jennifer J says:

    Chad,
    But what about people who are preparing to go to the temple? They certainly already agree to the doctrine. So, why is it even in that context that there is so much silence?

  6. Julie in Austin says:

    Dang! This is the third time I’ve tried to post and it keeps eating my comments. (Is this a sign?)

    Anyway, Wendy wrote about sexism. My response to the Temple was exactly the opposite. I had major ‘feminist issues’ before I went to the Temple, but I felt that they were resolved beyond my expectations. The only things that I think I can say with propriety are:

    (1) what you might be characterizing as sexist occurs after the Fall, and is therefore not part of the eternal order but the fallen world

    (2) Do people listen to the narrator? I mean really listen?

    Also, the one reason for secrecy that hasn’t been mentioned and is most important to me: do you really want someone getting up in sac mtg and saying “In the Temple, when we do X, that symbolizes Y, therefore . . .” No thank you. I think one of the best things about the temple is that no one interprets it for you.

  7. Following up on my previous comment and subsequent comments by others: I think even if there were some kind of more public discourse about the temple ceremony, I’d still keep to myself about it, as I value the exclusively personal hermeneutic it entails. Say, for example, some artist decided to riff on themes extracted from the temple (hardly a remote possibility–a few little-known ex-mormon artists have already done so; characters in Angels in America wore garmets in plain sight on HBO). I would hope that the church would still refrain from providing any kind of explanations that would suggest a “right” way of interpreting the endowment narrative; as the scholar John Briggs has suggested, if a metaphor traverses the space between X and Y, it’s the traversal that’s the telling part, not the arrival.

  8. I agree with Julie about having someone interpret the temple for you. It’s a great symbolic event, and it’s a mistake IMHO to let other people try and unveil everything for you — I really feel like the thing that makes the temple worthwhile, which keeps me coming back (every so often) is the capacity for personal interpretation and meaning.

  9. I have to agree with (Julie I think it was) about feeling more “feminist” going to the templ. It was several months before I got married and the reference to a “husband” didn’t seem irrelevent to me at ALL and I don’t see anything in the temple being sexist at all. I actually understand my role as a woman and a daughter of God more then I ever had before. And I felt more “feminist” afterwards, more defined as a woman when I first went.

    Jennifer,

    The covenants made are, as has been mentioned, what you would find anywhere, and like I said, you would want to make them because you want to be obedient to the Lord and because you want greater blessings which are promised becuase of making these covenants. It is different, what you experience in the temple is different then you experience anywhere else in life, and it is the most beautiful experience as well.

    There is nothing wrong with waiting. If you aren’t ready now, that is perfectly fine. The time will come when you are ready.

    Cheers

  10. I lament the fact that we associate going to the temple for the first time with other, ostensibly more important events (marriage, mission), when in fact its stand-alone importance supercedes them. In fact, I think it was Pres. Hunter that expressed the desire that members would make a bigger deal out of going to the temple than going on a mission, and treat the latter as subsidiary to the former, rather than vice-versa. The way we treat going to the temple for the first time now, its almost like an admission that it’s just a “cultural ritual” rather than a saving ordinance–a necessary milestone on our way somewhere else.

    I personally value the fact that we don’t discuss the temple ordinances much outside the temple–and I also value the fact that we really don’t discuss them much inside the temple either (you can supposedly corner a member of the temple presidency in the celestial room, but I’ve never done this, nor had the opportunity to, nor felt the need to). Contrary to what some might say, what goes on in the temple IS wierd–but not in the way you might expect or anti-mormons might allege. The ordinances themselves are rather straightforward (and closely related to covenants, like baptism, that we make outside of the temple), though they have a certain ritual and gestural aspect that contrasts somewhat with the low-key nature of, say, sacrament meeting. But what fascinates me is the narrative aspect of the endowment: in addition to makeing covenents, we hear, watch, observe, and at certain points, participate in a cosmologically sweeping, theologically complex, chronologically non-linear story that, were it encountered outside the temple, would probably be described as nothing short of postmodern. Not only do I love the narrative itself, but I also love the fact that the only forum in which this narrative is subjected to interpretation is inside my mind. The highest ordinance in our religion, short of marriage, and there is absolutely no official or institutional apparatus to explain its meanings to me. I go, I listen, I _think_. That is why, I think, the temple ordinances are kept secret/sacred: we are ultimately thinking beings (remember, the Book of Abraham calls us “intelligences”), and agency is our ultimate gift.

  11. I tend to go along with Mauss on this, but I am incredibly uncomfortable discussing things Mauss and I would consider fine if I’m addressing those who might not agree with us. If there is a reference to the temple ceremony I wish to make, I’ll almost always try to find a scripture that says the same thing and quote the scripture (thank you PofGP!).

  12. I was endowed 2 months before I met my husband and 7 months before we were married. I was 23 years old at the time. When I went to the temple I went as prepared as I could be, mostly through reading the scriptures and praying (more then I ever had before) and my SP had briefly explained the “routine” not in detail, but just so I wouldn’t be totally surprised. However, I had made my appointment to be endowed and I had my recommend.

    It is very important to have the desire to go. And if you don’t have the desire, it is a good chance you aren’t ready. However, planning to be married doesn’t automatically make you ready to attend the temple or even planning to serve a mission.

    The reason we are silent about what goes on in the temple is because it is very sacred. I am quite sure that no one believes you would treat the endowment casually or in a rude manner. That really isn’t the point. The reason the temple ceremony isn’t bandied about the world is that it is too sacred and important to divluge to those who are not ready. When you are ready you will understand what this means. The covenants are not strange or abnormal. They are nothing to be afraid of. But we have been asked, and this isn’t by men, it is by the Lord, to not talk about them outside the temple, or to discuss what goes on, outside the temple.

    I have now been going to the temple for almost 10 years and each time I go I gain further spiritual knoweldge and increase my faith and testimony.

    Jennifer, there is a LOT of opportunity for preparation. You don’t need to know the details of the temple ceremony to prepare to attend the temple. You need to continue praying, studying your scriptures, increasing your faith and testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and of the Saviour Himself.

    It seems to me that right now you aren’t ready to go to the temple and so it is good that you are waiting. From what you say, it sounds like you are very disgruntled about not knowing more and take it somewhat personally. Maybe not, maybe I am reading more into what you are writing, but if you do want to gain further spiritual knowledge (which is one of the reasons we attend the temple) you do need to prepare yourself and like I said, the best way to do this is to read your scriptures, pray diligently and humbly and practice humble obedience. Temple worthy is answering all the questions right. Temple ready is being spiritually prepared. No one can do that for you, you have to do it yourself.

  13. I’d agree that we don’t talk enough about the temple, though I think there’s a fine line. See my extended comments under “Sensitivity to the Sacred” at http://www.fairlds.org/Reviews/Rvw200301.html (I’m reworking the whole thing- it’s much longer and may appear again elsewhere.)

    “Is more effort and education needed to give people a greater understanding? ” Yes. Goergoe Q. Cannon was quite blunt when he said, “Young people go [to the temple] stupid…without realizing the character of the obligations that they take upon themselves or the covenants that they make and the promises involved in the taking of these covenants. The result is, hundreds among us go to the house of the Lord and receive these blessings and come away without having any particular impression made upon them.” (Gospel Truth, 179).
    We don’t do a good job of prepping, in my opinion. In terms of readings, I think there is lots of good stuff. I’ve tried to index most of it here- http://home.uchicago.edu/~spackman/temple

    As for the covenants, there’s nothing to them beyond what the temple interview asks. I think those interviews serve two purposes- One is to protect the sanctity of the temple. The other is to safeguard the person from making covenants they’re not prepared to keep.

  14. Interestingly, one of the only pieces of concrete counsel that President Hunter gave during his brief time as President of the Church was that members feel more comfortable about discussing those things that they can appropriately discuss outside of the temple.

    John H.: On DC and sacred space, I remember a very odd de je vu experience when I was working in DC. I went to the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments and as I went through the atrium, curtains, etc. into the courtroom I was powerfully struck by the fact that the whole thing was designed as a temple. I was being admitted through the veil to the holy of holies where the robed oracles will tell me the will of God. (At the time my wife and I were spening our Saturdays in the DC temple as ordinance workers, so everything started looking like a temple.)

  15. J, here are brief comments on your enumerated issues, hopefully being general enough that no one takes pious offense at my remarks.

    1. Most mormons get endowed because they are getting married or going on a mission. Yes; I don’t see why someone who isn’t in one of those two categories would be in any hurry to do the temple, although plainly many are and they either have their own reasons or are getting encouragement.

    2. Don’t the scriptures contain all the knowledge [in the gospel sense] we need? Yes, I think they do. While emphasis and the mode of presentation are somewhat different in the temple, IMHO there is really nothing new taught there.

    3. Why, under LDS theology, do the endowment without marriage? I don’t know if there’s a doctrinal reply as much as a practical one, which would be: Do important things as soon as one can. I suppose this would be somewhat at odds with my response to no. 1 above.

    4. Why the vow of temple silence? The orthodox explanation, no pearls before swine, satisfies some people. On the other hand, it seems like the comments you quoted make some relevant points. Alternative explanations for why the vow of silence gets so much emphasis might be that it allows official spokespersons to avoid any direct questions about the temple, it allows average LDS members to avoid having to answer any direct questions about the temple, and it reinforces the emotional impact of the temple as “sacred space.”

    Given the effectiveness of the Internet at breaking down informational barriers, I think the traditional LDS approach to the temple vow of silence is becoming unworkable.

  16. Jennifer,

    Some good reasons to go:

    (1) Gospel knowledge. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

    (2) You learn about the uniquely Mormon spin on a couple of key gospel topics/events. While this spin comes across in lessons taught by endowed members, you get the condensed version in the temple.

    (3) You become a member of the club. You hear people say certain phrases or words in lessons, or you see a certain word or phrase turn up in a Hugh Nibley essay, and you know that it comes from the temple. Without having gone before, that stuff flies by you, you donÂ’t know the code.

    (4) Practice. Is this important? I donÂ’t know, depends on how literally you take some things that happen in the temple.

    (5) Maybe you will die tomorrow before getting married, and your relatives/ancestors will take their sweet time going through the temple on your behalf, and you will be in heaven for a super long time anxiously waiting for it to get done.

    (6) Many people find the temple to be peaceful, spiritual place, worth hanging out in.

    Some good reasons not to go:

    (1) What happens in the temple is strange, unlike the day-to-day experience of being a church member. Parts of it are sexist, and silly. If you have doubts about the church, especially your role as a woman in the Mormon universe, going to the temple will not chase those doubts away, it will aggravate them. That is why the previous posters emphasized that you need to be “ready”. I.e., going in with skepticism will lead to disaster. I’m not saying their motives are sinister. If you really believe that the covenants that you make in the temple are really important, then you want to protect people from themselves, from making those covenants and then breaking them.

    (2) Many of the covenants, especially for women, refer to your spouse. If you’re not married, the words sort of have no meaning, unless in your mind you insert “my future husband”.

    Why donÂ’t people talk about what goes on inside the temple? I wondered that a lot. There is no covenant made in the temple to keep every aspect of the temple endowment ceremony secret. There is a lot that people could be talking about, but donÂ’t. I think it is because if people start talking, they will find out people have the same doubts and questions that they do.

    Here’s a related question that drove me crazy – why don’t people talk about what goes on inside the temple inside the temple? You get to the celestial room after the ceremony – the one place on earth you are “allowed” to talk about it all – and it is the quietest place on earth!

  17. Jennifer, a part of the reason it isn’t discussed is that we are instructed not to discuss them. They are sacred and confidential. It’s not a matter of ‘pearls before swine’ — but there are promises to keep things sacred, and people are probably playing it safe with regards to those commitments.

    But we while we don’t discuss the precise nature of the ordinances, we can (and do) discuss the nature of the covenants we undertake: covenants of obedience and sacrifice, purity and consecration, and others. I don’t think there are any secrets in that respect.

    Temple covenants aren’t dramatically different from baptismal covenants, in terms of what is asked of us. There is a difference of degree, not of nature. Ideally, a member that takes their baptismal covenants seriously would be unsurprised by what is asked in the temple.

    As for the circumstances surrounding receiving one’s endowment, you’re right that in the typical LDS context we either go through the temple before missions or before marriage. I think that’s more an indicator of necessity rather than preparation — you need to receive your own endowment before going out into the world to preach the gospel, and before being sealed to a spouse. Barring an imminent necessity, it’s probably appropriate for people to wait until they feel ready.

  18. Jennifer, I have a bit of a different take on the temple – I hope I don’t come across as heretical or insensitive.

    I believe groups, cultures, and peoples need sacred spaces. The temple is the sacred space of Mormons, and it’s a particularly powerful one. That’s what I see as the importance of the temple. The covenants, as others have mentioned aren’t all that different. The degree of seriousness with which they are made is different – and the seriousness pressed upon you is different. What you learn there is already found in the books of Moses, Genesis, and Abraham for the most part.

    I couldn’t agree more with Mauss. The reason the temple is considered such a secret (as much as we just say it’s “sacred”) is because that’s the way our culture has made it. There is no divine decree, IMO, or anything else that restricts us from sharing most of the ceremony while avoiding specific details about the signs, tokens, and penalties. But I’ve been chastised for even using those three words (signs, tokens, and penalties) before. Yet Brigham Young used them often in his sermons, as did other early leaders. We have definitely changed in how we view the temple. Orson Pratt published the entire wedding ceremony in the Seer in Washington, DC – to a non-Mormon audience.

    Getting back to the idea of “sacred spaces” – when I’m in (ironically) Washington, DC, I’m always struck by the reverence surrounding some of the memorials – particularly the Vietnam Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. People are careful to be quiet and respectful. As one who has a deep love of American history, these spaces have a profound impact on me. It hit me one day – the way I feel at these places is almost identical to how I feel in the temple. Again, I don’t say that to be heretical or to minimize the temple. I only want to point out that sacred spaces, Mormon or not, have powerful feelings attached to them by those who associate with them. I suspect if I could manage to get into Mecca and walk three times around the Haram, I wouldn’t feel much spiritually. Likewise, a Muslim sitting through the Mormon temple ceremony probably wouldn’t be all that inspired. We get out of the temple what we take into it. If you’ve been prepared your whole life that it’s the most spiritual place on earth, you probably won’t feel let down when you’re there.

    On the other hand, anyone preparing to go through the temple should be adequately warned: it is nothing like what you’ve experienced before in the Church. It is ceremonial and very specific; you all rise at the same time, you all say “yes” at the same time. Your clothes are very specific and very different. I’ve met more than a few people who left the Church after their first experience in the temple, or stayed in the Church but never went back to the temple. This was prior to the 1990 changes.

    Lastly, (and here’s where I really don’t mean to sound heretical!) those parts of the temple that we are required to keep

  19. Jennifer says:

    Mary,
    Thank you for your thoughts. I am not disgruntled and do not take it personally. I did not mean my post to sound that way. (I’m a bit disgruntled with my life at the moment which may explain the tone. I have no issues with the church or temples.)
    I also know that nothing strange or weird goes on. Nor do I expect to be told the details.

    I want to understand the purpose of endowments other than that’s just what you do because you’re supposed to. And I want to understand what people get from it other than more knowledge and responsibility. Why are temples necessary? What am I missing by not being endowed? That’s what I want to know.

  20. Mircea Eliade’s “The Sacred and the Profane” is really a nice start, as is Nibley’s Book of Abraham which discusses the endowment in terms of related texts.

    The reason most people don’t talk about it much is that they either don’t have much ritualism to discuss (hmm, should those be doors, bridges or boats that connect the rooms, what about when the movement between rooms becomes symbolic?) or they don’t much talk about religion that much or …

    BTW, there is an awful lot of writing out there about how single sisters who are faithful will be taken care of by God after this life, it is only the single brothers who fail to get married who are at risk …

    I used to have a reading list, I’ve got so much stuff that I could easily lay my hands on twenty years ago that is buried in papers now, but quite a bit has been written, it is just harder to find.

  21. Most of the “weirdness” of the temple is because it belongs to a time when ritual was far more important as was the symbolic. It’s hard to get into it today given how we view of the world around us.

    I’ve always thought that reading some Mircea Eliadi’s books such as _The Sacred and the Profane_, _Myth and Reality_ and _The Eternal Round_ help tremendously. Of course that is mainly for the more intellectually inclined so it isn’t for everyone. (I’ve suggested it to some who got next to nothing out of it – but once I kind of summarized it then it made more sense)

    I’ve thought that those elements really ought to be included more in our Temple prep classes.

  22. Nate said “one of the only pieces of concrete counsel that President Hunter gave during his brief time as President of the Church was that members feel more comfortable about discussing those things that they can appropriately discuss outside of the temple.” Do you have a reference for this? I’d be interested in using it.

  23. Oh, and sorry for misinterpreting, I’m glad you aren’t disgruntled :)

  24. One of the insights we can pick up from Eliade is that the silence is a way to set the sacred experience apart from ordinary profane life. This is all the more apropos in our modern world where we blab (blog?) about everything. I also like the insight expressed earlier on this thread that the silence permits each individual to interpret the meaning of the ritual free from the burden of others’ authoritative exegeses.

    JWL

  25. Last_lemming says:

    Perhaps one reason we don’t talk about the temple as much as we could is that it would lessen its unifying power. Everybody shares the same outward experience in the temple, and furthermore, everybody is aware that it is a shared experience. Doing the same things at the same time reinforces that and makes it a unifying experience. Talking about it afterward would weaken that because it would reveal the differences in our inward experience. My wife likes to talk about her latest insight while we are in the celestial room, perhaps hoping that it will draw us closer together. Instead, I frequently find her insight to be unimportant or wrong-headed and wish she hadn’t brought it up. Occasional discussions with others in the temple (and online) reveal that my inward experience in the temple bears little resemblence to anybody else’s.

    To change the subject a little, I disagree with the idea that the temple covenants are just a deepening of our baptismal covenants. (Kind of like, “this time, I really, really mean it”). Many of the covenants are, indeed, included in our baptismal covenants. But I see their role in the temple more as demonstrating to us their relationship to one another rather than “deepening” them. Furthermore, I view the law of consecration as a “new” covenant that is not included in our baptismal covenants.

    Finally, where is it stated that one must be endowed to enter the lower degrees of the celestial kingdom?

  26. Picking up and veering off from clark, I strongly recommend Mircea Eliade’s “The Sacred and the Profane” as temple preparation reading. The Mormon experience outside of the temple is very pragmatic and down-to-earth. Our sacrament meeting liturgy is decidedly ‘low church’ and our teaching is propositional and orderly. The temple brings to Mormonism an entirely different form of religious experience. The temple liturgy is totally ritualistic, perhaps as ‘high church’ as anything in Christendom that isn’t entirely sung or chanted. And in the temple the teaching is by way of repetition of quite elaborate rituals and a very non-linear drama that lends itself to a wide variety of interpretations. You do not learn anything ‘new’ in a propositional sense, but you do have access to a religious experience that is entirely different from what you would otherwise experience in the Church.

    I think the reason many life-long Church members find the temple disconcerting is because it is so different from our regular worship practices. In contrast, it is interesting to me that converts to the Church from Catholicism and other ‘high church’ traditions in general find their first temple experience to be much more amenable than it is for life-long Church members. I was able to accompany a group of Catholic priests on an Open House tour of the Manhattan Temple, and was intrigued by how quickly they grasped the concept of how it worked even with the vague tour guide explanations.

    In sum, my suggestion is to read Eliade’s Sacred and the Profane and if being a true ‘religious man’ (his term) who truly experiences the sacred sounds appealing, then in our modern world you will find no more comprehensive example of what he describes than the rituals of the LDS temple.

    JWL

  27. The law of consecration is not a new covenant in comparison to the baptismal covenants, any more than consecration is really any different from sacrifice. But when I said the difference was one of degree, I didn’t mean it in as trite a sense as Lemming portrays. It’s very serious. But I like the idea of how the temple shows the inter-relatedness of our covenants, it’s something I’d lost track of.

  28. Truncation as a sign from the heavens… I like it.

  29. Kristine says:

    Yikes! God works through HaloScan?!

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