Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Mormon Myths and truths #2



It's not a secret. It is sacred--and there is a difference.  If something were secret then it implies that we don't want other people to know about it.   This is simply not true, Mormons would love everyone to gain the knowledge and blessings available in the temple..  But because what happens and is taught in Temples is sacred, then we are careful not to discuss it with those who might not understand or appreciate its significance.
Jesus himself often told His followers not to publicly discuss certain sacred experiences such as what happened with Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration, charging them to "tell no man" (Mark 9:9 also Mathew 8:4; 16 and 20)  Most everyone has had a special or personal experiences that they wouldnt share or discuss with just anyone, fearing that sharing something near and dear to their heart with someone who is unappreciative wouldn't be understood or would be taken lightly.  Aslo, LDS people are instructed to discuss certain aspects of the temple only within the safety of the sacred setting of the temple.

 The Temple is to Mormons what Mecca is to Muslims and the Bodh Gaya is to Buddists.  The Temple is literally the house of the Lord and figuratively the place where heaven meets the earth.  Entering the Temple and receiving its ordinances is the pinnacle of Mormon activity.  Therefore, although I am speaking openly about this and this is open to the general public to read, these things are sacred and highly reverent and I hope that they are received in the same way.  To Mormons, when we enter the temple, like Moses at the burning bush, we feel that we are walking on holy ground (Exodus 3:5)

From the   beginning of Old Testament times, God told His people to build temples--sacred places where the Lord could meet with, teach, bless, and make known His will to HIs people.  We believe that temples and temple worship have always been vital to Gods plan for His children.

There is a difference between normal Mormon meeting houses, like the chapels where Mormons meet each Sunday for public worship.  Mormon chapels are open to all visitors-those who are members of the church and those who are not. On Sundays we we sing, pray, teach each other, and partake of the sacrament, and conduct church business for our local leaders.  We baptize new members of the church in our church buildings. But Temples are reserved for our most holy ordinances, such as performing sealings for eternal marriages, and only practicing Mormon members who are prepared and been found worthy can attend.  Many people wonder why there is certain qualifications that must be met before someone can ender the Temple.  To make this easier to understand, Remember when you were in school? Addition was always learned before division and multiplication, then comes algebra before trig.

There are certain ordinances that are necessary to learn and partake of before entering the temples.
1. a person must be a member of the LDS church (baptism is our first important ordinance)
2. a person must be a member of the LDS church for at least one year, be at least twelve years old, and be found worthy to hold a temple recommend.

To determine ones worthiness our LDS leaders, such as a bishop (like ministers) conduct a PRIVATE INTERVIEW and ask certain questions about the persons faithfulness.  If we have complied with those requirements, then we are granted a recommend to enter the temple and participate in its ordinances.  Anyone who is prepared and found worthy is welcome  and encouraged to attend the temple.

LDS Apostle Boyd K Packer wrote--"Here in the interview with their local LDS minister the member is asked searching questions about his or her personal conduct, worthiness and loyalty to the Church and its leaders.  He or she must be morally clean and is keeping the word of wisdom, paying a full tithe, living in harmony with the teachings of Christ and not maintaining any affiliation or sympathy with any apostate groups.

In the temple we learn about God's plan for His children and make covenants with God to be obedient and to dedicate our life to Him.  Much of the work that goes on inside aLDS temples is related to families.  We believe that the ordinances performed in the temple help us to fulfill the fundamental purposes of life, which are centered on forming an eternal family.

An "endowment" is a gift, when Mormons go to the temple, we receive many gifts, gifts of knowledge, understanding, covenants, ordinances and blessings. These combined make up the "endowment" The endowment helps us focus on the Savior, His role in our Heavenly Father's plan and our commitment to follow Him.

The eternal marriage is actually a sealing of families to be together forever.  When a couple kneel across the alter and are married in the temple by the proper priesthood authority, we believe they are "sealed" together for time and all eternity, unlike many religions who perform marriages outside of the temple will say "till death do you part"

One of the ordinances performed in the temple is called baptisms for the dead, but not to worry we don't actually baptize dead people.  We believe it is a labor of love, to baptize in proxy for and in behalf of our deceased family and friends who died without the opportunity to be baptized.  Some people have often asked me "why would you do that?"  I simply reply that LDS people believe that baptism is necessary for our salvation (Mark 16:16 or John 3:5)  Many people without any fault of their own have lived and died without the opportunity to be baptized by those holding the proper authority.  With that being said, we believe in a just and merciful God who has provided a way for EVERYONE to accept the ordinance of baptism.   The deceased person then has the opportunity to voluntarily accept or reject the temple baptism that was performed in their behalf.  This way, all mankind can receive baptism if they want it, and if they choose not too they can say "no thank you"

Like many religions that have special clothing as part of their worship, such as Orthodox Jews wearing a hat, Muslim women covering their heads or body, or a Catholic priest who wears symbolic robes, LDS people have symbolic temple clothing that is very meaningful and sacred, and is a part of our temple ceremonies.

Some people wonder why they cannot go inside the temples. Before temples are dedicated for official Church use, they are opened for several weeks so the general public can go in and see what these beautiful temples look like inside.   We have a temple opening in the fall of this year right here in Gilbert, the LDS people in this area feel extremely blessed and I myself invite anyone to enter the temple and see it before it is closed for dedication.  After the temple is dedicated, a person must be a worthy LDS member to enter and participate in the ordinances.  For some it is hard to understand why they cannot enter and see their child be sealed (married) if they are not members, hopefully what I have just posted will help you to understand and respect the sacredness of our Temples.

When we enter the temple, we make promises to God to obey His commandments, live pure and virtuous lives, and serve our fellow man.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Monya.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your time-consuming research of this issue and the posting of your thoughtful, clear explanation.

Anonymous said...

It is wonderful to see faithful LDS women telling the world in their own words about something so sacred as the temple. Thank you!

Patty said...

Well said, Monya! A great explanation!

Debbie Gisle said...

Side tidbit -- Salt Lake's Temple Square currently has a large scale model of the temple available for any and all to see, with walls removed so you can see exactly what the inside is like.

Just found your blog via Doubting Mark. Love.