Jump to content

How Did Change In Temple Ceremony Come About?


hokuman

Recommended Posts

Did it start with the desire of the First Presidency then prayer. Or...was there a revelation out of the blue.

SNIP, I hope it won't get edited.

Play nice

Your hope was in vein. Temple content, past or present, is not allowed on this board. And although you apparently knew this before you posted temple content (hence your comment "I hope it won't get edited"), we won't ding you this time. But don't do it again. =Mods.

Link to comment

Did it start with the desire of the First Presidency then prayer. Or...was there a revelation out of the blue.

SNIP, I hope it won't get edited.

Play nice

Parts of past ceremonies that aren't part of today's ceremony still shouldn't be talked about.

Here is a good place to start with: Can Temple Ceremonies Change?

A brief snippet:

Many people fail to understand that there are absolute truths and relative truths.1 Absolute truths (such as: God lives, Jesus is the Christ, and the reality of the Atonement) do not change. Relative truths (such as: circumcision, plural marriage, age of priesthood ordination) do change. Many relative truths deal with procedural issues, and how absolute truths are presented, rather than the absolute truths themselves. As new truths are revealed, previous revelations are modified to accommodate additional light. â??But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little....â? (Isaiah 28:13; D&C 98:12.) â??That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.â? (D&C 50:23â??24.)

That the temple ceremony has undergone changes, improvements, and refinements, should come as no surprise to Latter-day Saints. The temple presentation has gone from live performances, to movie; from large temples to smaller temples; from ankle-length garments to shorter garments. Modifications in various aspects of the temple have evolved with the living Church. Temple ordinances have evolved as well. Joseph Fielding Smith has noted that the â??work of salvation for the dead came to the Prophet like every other doctrineâ??piecemeal. It was not revealed all at once.â?2

1 See Spencer W. Kimball, â??Absolute Truth,â? Ensign (September 1978), 3â??8.

2 Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1955), 2:168.

Link to comment

Thank you for the link, but I already realized that things change and I accept that. I really do not want to talk details of the ceremony itself. I still am curious as how it started. To me, it was just as big a deal as the revelation of the blacks receiving the priesthood. A very big event (in my mind). Sure would have liked to been in on the evolution of that one. I was not part of the crowd--and never heard any murmering about the issue at the time, but, I bet it was a problem for some especially non LDS.

If this thread dies here because of the subject I am good with that too. :P

Link to comment

Did it start with the desire of the First Presidency then prayer. Or...was there a revelation out of the blue.

Remove the cut under the throat and bowels. Since this is not part of the ceremony, I hope it won't get edited.

Play nice

One Element that I always failed to understand is why "secrecy" was associated with God's only true ceremony.

I mean, you do not spread "the Gospel" with secrecy. You'd want everybody "know" and

"partake" the blessings.

I haven't received a single convincing answer so far.

In a way it is like asking to a Born again to explain "Trinity".

Link to comment

One Element that I always failed to understand is why "secrecy" was associated with God's only true ceremony.

I mean, you do not spread "the Gospel" with secrecy. You'd want everybody "know" and

"partake" the blessings.

I haven't received a single convincing answer so far.

In a way it is like asking to a Born again to explain "Trinity".

HEY don't hijack my thread <_<

Anyway, I wish I could help you, but if you asked this question on this board already, I am sure there is nothing I can add (it's sacred not secret etc...) to help you along with this :P

Link to comment

One Element that I always failed to understand is why "secrecy" was associated with God's only true ceremony.

So did you study this issue at all?

I mean, you do not spread "the Gospel" with secrecy.

And yet Christ himself taught things the publication of which he forbade.

He forbade publication of some of his miracles, too.

I guess you didn't study these things.

You seem to be imputing your own notions of what ought to be done on to what Christ actually did (and does).

You'd want everybody "know" and "partake" the blessings.

And yet Paul spoke of milk before meat in 1 Cor. 3:2.

I guess you didn't study that, either.

I haven't received a single convincing answer so far.

I suspect that's your fault. You clearly haven't given this issue much thought. Or else you harbor unreasonable expectations.

In a way it is like asking to a Born again to explain "Trinity".

No, it's not.

Here's an excerpt from Peterson's and Ricks' Offenders for a Word (which is online!):

Claim 10. Mormons practice baptism for the dead. But "the whole idea of a vicarious work for our ancestors is totally foreign to the Christian faith."364 Clearly, then, Mormons cannot be Christians. But it is not only the Latter-day Saint practice of vicarious baptism that enrages their critics. Mormon temple ritual in general is a point of contention. Secrecy itself, say Ed Decker and Dave Hunt, is un-Christian.365 "No genuine Christian church has any secret rituals; nor are there any secret rituals in the New Testament. Such things are much more appropriate to the pagan mystery religions of antiquity."366

Response. The argument that baptizing for the dead is un-Christian presumes that the problem of 1 Corinthians 15:29 has already been solved, and that it has been solved in a way that contradicts the faith and practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, this is far from the case. Try as they might, commentators have been unable to talk their way out of the clear meaning of the text, which is that living Corinthians were allowing themselves to be baptized on behalf of those who have died. "None of the attempts to escape the theory of a vicarious baptism in primitive Christianity seems to be wholly successful," observes Harald Riesenfeld. 367 Thus, reluctant though they might be, the majority of scholars has now come around to a position very much like that of the Latter-day Saints. As the eminent Lutheran New Testament scholar Krister Stendahl has recently noted, "the text seems to speak plainly enough about a practice within the Church of vicarious baptism for the dead. This is the view of most contemporary critical exegetes."368 The anti-Mormon claim that those who baptize for the dead cannot be Christian also ignores the fact that such groups as the Montanistsâ??whom we have already seen to be universally recognized as Christiansâ??practiced a similar rite.369 It would further seem to questionâ??yet againâ??the Christianity of Roman Catholics: "The faithful on earth," Rome teaches, "through the communion of saints, can relieve the suffering of the souls in purgatory by prayer, fasting, and other good works, by indulgences, and by having Masses offered for them."370 It questions, too, the Christianity of one of the largest and oldest Protestant churches, the Church of England, and its related communions, who also teach prayer for the dead.371 Can any definition of Christianity which excludes both the Roman Catholic CChurch and the Church of England possibly be taken seriously?

And what of the rule that secrecy is un-Christian?372 It is significant to note that both of the major categories of the sacredâ??"sacred word" and "sacred act/ritual"373â??were, under certain circumstances and for varying periods of time, maintained in secrecy in early Christianity. The eminent New Testament scholars Joachim Jeremias and Morton Smith have demonstrated that such esotericismâ??secrecyâ??was present throughout early Christianity and the religious milieu from which it grew.374 What has been referred to as the "Messianic secret," the contraint placed (at least temporarily) by Jesus on his disciples, and others as well, against revealing his Messiahship is found throughout the Gospel accounts, but particularly in the gospel of Mark.375 Jeremias and Smith also specifically include the apostle Paul in their judgment about secrecy in early Christianity. Paul describes himself and his coworkers as "stewards of the mystery of God" in 1 Corinthians 4:1. As Smith demonstrates at length, the word "mystery" was regularly used by the early Christians to refer to secret rites or ordinances.376 He also states that "this [the rite of baptism] was the mystery of the kingdomâ??the mystery rite by which the kingdom was entered."377 Secrecy is a feacture found not only in the early Christian community but also in ancient Judaism, among the Essenes, and very widely in the ancient world generally.378 According to the historian of religions Kees Bolle, "Not only is there no religion without secrecy, but there is not human existence without it."379

Critics of the early Church were not slow in noticing this penchant for secrecy. And, like today's anti-Mormons, they were quick to exploit it in their attacks. "The cult [!] of Christ," declared a second-century anti-Christian named Celsus, "is a secret society whose members huddle together in corners for fear of being brought to trial and punishment."380 "Why," demanded Caecilius Natalis in the early third century, "do they endeavor with such pains to conceal and to cloak whatever they worship, since honourable things always rejoice in publicity, while crimes are kept secret? . . . Why do they never speak openly, never congregate freely, unless for the reason that what they adore and conceal is either worthy of punishment, or something to be ashamed of?" "Assuredly this confederacy ought to be rooted out and execrated," Caecilius declared. "They know one another by secret marks and insignia. . . . Certainly suspicion is applicable to secret and nocturnal rites."381 The Christians defended themselves against such charges much the way today's Latter-day Saints do: They affirmed the high morality of their faith and the behavior it asked of them, but they did not deny that secrecy was a part of their religious belief. And, furthermore, they did not fall into the trap of revealing the secrets that had been entrusted to their careâ??even when revealing those secrets might have strengthened their defense. "God orders us in quietness and silence to hide His secret," wrote Lactantius in the fourth century, "and to keep it within our own conscience. . . . For a mystery ought to be most faithfully concealed and covered, especially by us, who bear the name of faith. But they accuse this silence of ours, as though it were the result of an evil conscience; whence also they invent some detestable things respecting those who are holy and blameless."382

For such secret doctrines and practices lay at the very heart of the doctrine that the early Christians had received, and that they were trying against great odds to preserve. We have seen already that Ignatius of Antioch held secret doctrines early in the second century. He himself explained one of the reasons for this. "For," he wrote to the Trallian saints, "might not I write unto you of things more full of mystery? But I fear to do so, lest I should inflict injury on you who are but babes [in Christ]. Pardon me in this respect, lest as not being able to receive their weighty import, ye should be strangled by them."383 At the end of the second century, Clement of Alexandria advised keeping certain teachings from "the multitude" because, while "those of noble nature" find them "admirable" and "inspiring," the masses, unable to understand such doctrine, would regard them as "ludicrous."384 Early in the third century, the Latin church father Tertullian could write that the apostles "did not reveal all to all men, for . . . they proclaimed some openly and to all the world, whilst they disclosed others [only] in secret and to a few."385 At the same time, Hippolytus was writing about secrets to be conveyed by the bishop to the faithful aloneâ??secrets that Hippolytus linked with the white stone of John's Revelation.386 Secret Christian teachings are also a major theme of the Clementine Recognitions and the Clementine Homilies, which seem likewise to have originated at some point in the third century.387

The central doctrines of Christianity were doubtlessly well known in antiquity among Christians and non-Christians alike. Thus Origen, in responding to the ancient Christian-baiter Celsus (who has himself written a manual for ex-Christians), states: "Moreover, since he frequently calls the Christian doctrine a secret system (of belief), we must confute him on this point also, since almost the entire world is better acquainted with what Christians preach than with the favorite opinions of philosophers. For who is ignorant of the statement that Jesus was born of a virgin, and that He was crucified, and that His resurrection is an article of faith among many, and that a general judgment is announced to come, in which the wicked are to be punished according to their deserts, and the righteous to be duly rewarded? And yet the mystery of the resurrection, not being understood, is made a subject of ridicule among unbelievers. In these circumstances, to speak of the Christian doctrine as a secret system, is altogether absurd."

But, to forfend the charge that he is disingenuously claiming that the Christians had no doctrines not made generally known, Origen continues: "But that there should be certain doctrines, not made known to the multitude, which are (revealed) after the exoteric ones have been taught, is not a peculiarity of Christianity alone, but also of philosophic systems, in which certain truths are exoteric and others esoteric. Some of the hearers of Pythagoras were content with his ipse dixit; while others were taught in secret those doctrines which were not deemed fit to be communicated to profane and insufficiently prepared ears. Moreover, all the mysteries that are celebrated everywhere throughout Greece and barbarous countries, although held in secret, have no discredit thrown upon them, so that it is in vain that he endeavors to calumniate the secret doctrines of Christianity, seeing he does not correctly understand its nature."388

This latter quotation is also interesting since its argument is essentially tu quoque: we may do it, but so do you. It cites, apparently without embarrassment, the Greco-Roman mysteries whose secrecy provides parallels to the secrecy with which some Christian doctrines were maintained.

As we have noted above, rites were also maintained in secrecy in the early Church. The ancient Christian arcani disciplina (secret discipline) was the "practice of . . . keeping certain religious rites secret from non-Christian and catechumens."389 The very word from which "mass" may be derived, missa (in the phrase missa est), appears to have been the point in the Christian worship service when those who were not yet members in full standing were "invited . . . to leave the church building. Then the doors were closed, and the ushers assumed their placed in order to inquire of anyone who still desired to entire if he was baptized."390 The practice of the arcani disciplinaâ??including exclusion from participating in the Eucharist, from the baptismal service, and form other rites as wellâ??persisted through several centuries, probably from the end of the second century until the end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth century. According to Mulder, the early Church may have had certain secret practices that were not to be made known under any circumstances, whose secrecy were sometimes maintained by an oath.391

As late as the fourth century, efforts were being made within the church to return to the earlier, lost, Christian tradition of esotericism.392 The motivation was "a concern to keep the most sacred things from profanation"â??a concern shared by the Latter-day Saints, and shown by such anti-Mormon efforts as the film The God Makers to be wholly justified.393 Athanasius, for example, angrily notes that the people he views as apostates "are not ashamed to parade the sacred mysteries . . . even before the heathens: whereas, they ought to attend to what is written, 'It is good to keep close the secret of the king;' and as the Lord has charged us, 'Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine.' We ought not then to parade the holy mysteries before the uninitiated, lest the heathen in their ignorance deride them, and the catechumens [i.e., investigators] being over-curious be offended."394 Likewise, Basil of Caesarea reminds his readers of the "unpublished and secret teaching which our fathers guarded in silence out of the reach of curious meddling and inquisitive investigation." The apostles and fathers of the church, Basil continues, "laid down laws for the Church from the beginning [and] thus guarded the awful dignity of the mysteries in secrecy and silence, for what is bruited abroad at random among the common folk is no mystery at all. This is the reason for our tradition of unwritten precepts and practices."395 Jeremias argues that this concern with preserving sacred things from mockery was the very motive that led the writer of the Gospel of John consciously to omit an account of the Lord's Supper, "because he did not want to reveal the sacred formula to the general public."396

We have seen that esoteric or secret teachings were an important component of Christianity in its early centuries. The fact that such teachings are clearly absent from mainstream Christianity today may explain, to a large degree, why some anti-Mormons are so irritated by Latter-day Saint claims to possess them. If we don't have those secret teachings, the reasoning seems to run, then they must not be important. Certainly they aren't essential; perhaps they are even evil. (One is reminded of Aesop's fable about the fox and the "sour grapes.") This is manifestly not the way in which early Christians thought of their own esoteric doctrines, however. They treasured them.

But fundamentalist anti-Mormons have announced that claims of secret doctrine bar us from being Christians. Do such claims also excommunicate the early saints? Was John a Christian? Was Paul? Was Jesus? If a definition of Christianity that excludes Roman Catholicism seems rather absurd, what of a definition that excludes Jesus himself?

This book was published in 1998. I think that even a modest effort at researching the issue of secret rituals in Mormonism would have led you to it.

-Smac

Link to comment

HEY don't hijack my thread <_<

Anyway, I wish I could help you, but if you asked this question on this board already, I am sure there is nothing I can add (it's sacred not secret etc...) to help you along with this :P

Dude,

My so sincere apologies, didn't mean to hijack your thread.

I am bowing outta here, I am sure there's lot to be discussed.

smac97

You seem to be imputing your own notions of what ought to be done on to what Christ actually did (and does).

You probably right smac, I do put entirely my own notions only, since this is the only brain I have, I demand accountability. Perhaps this is too much to ask for.

My apologies again

Link to comment

You probably right smac, I do put entirely my own notions only,

So you are faulting us for conduct that conforms with scripture and early Christian history.

And you are clearly ignorant of the materials I provided, which means you haven't given this matter much thought.

So your off-the-cuff, shallow notions of the way things ought to be trump the scriptures and early Christian history...why, exactly?

since this is the only brain I have, I demand accountability.

But you make your demands in ignorance. You claim that you haven't received any "convincing answers," but you lack the information that would enable you to discern such a thing.

And somehow this is all our fault.

Perhaps this is too much to ask for.

Is giving the matter some thought and study also too much to ask for?

-Smac

Link to comment

One Element that I always failed to understand is why "secrecy" was associated with God's only true ceremony.

I mean, you do not spread "the Gospel" with secrecy. You'd want everybody "know" and

"partake" the blessings.

I haven't received a single convincing answer so far.

In a way it is like asking to a Born again to explain "Trinity".

Solo, it is much easier to understand if you treat the temple ceremony as ritual. There is a subset of study called ritual studies and I would suggest looking into that instead of treating the temple ritual as an isolated incident. Further, there has to be an element of secrecy to instill sacredness in anything. Without that we enter the profane.

Link to comment

Solo, it is much easier to understand if you treat the temple ceremony as ritual. There is a subset of study called ritual studies and I would suggest looking into that instead of treating the temple ritual as an isolated incident. Further, there has to be an element of secrecy to instill sacredness in anything. Without that we enter the profane.

As I think G.K. Chesterton pointed out, one of the most striking features of the Western Latin rite is that its most sacred ritual acts are entirely open and public. And yet congregations attending mass have been in no doubt that what they were participating in was an act that is as sacred as any act can get. Where is the 'element of secrecy' here? It would seem that, contrary to Juliann's asertion, the sacred can manage to be acknowledged as such without any secrecy at all.

In fact, I am trying to think of any major modern religion practiced in developed countries apart from the CoJCoLDS in which believers are invited to participate in acts which are held in secrecy to the extent that even initiates into those acts may not discuss them with other initiates outside the sacred space in which alone they may be performed.

Can anyone give another fully parallel example of that?

Link to comment

Did it start with the desire of the First Presidency then prayer. Or...was there a revelation out of the blue.

SNIP, I hope it won't get edited.

Play nice

Your hope was in vein. Temple content, past or present, is not allowed on this board. And although you apparently knew this before you posted temple content (hence your comment "I hope it won't get edited"), we won't ding you this time. But don't do it again. =Mods.

Understand this:

There was once a fulness, then:

3 Ne. 16: 10

10 And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and cmurders, and dpriestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

The law of consecration or united order was taken away because it was rejected by the saints. D&C 119.

My MIL caused a change of the temple ceremony along with a lot of other old bats because somethings bothered them and complained insessantly.

When the people cease to appreciate the spiritual truths taught in the temple, and start to murmur, they can be lost.

Link to comment

My two cents:

I suspect that the temple ceremonies are changed from time to time to reflect the needs of the current generation. What works for one generation may not work for another. The ceremony and the ritual are tools for teaching, and if those tools become ineffective and meaningless, then it makes sense to change them.

Sargon

Link to comment

My two cents:

I suspect that the temple ceremonies are changed from time to time to reflect the needs of the current generation. What works for one generation may not work for another. The ceremony and the ritual are tools for teaching, and if those tools become ineffective and meaningless, then it makes sense to change them.

Sargon

Good point. But why did it cease to 'mean' something to this generation?

Link to comment

So you are faulting us for conduct that conforms with scripture and early Christian history.

And you are clearly ignorant of the materials I provided, which means you haven't given this matter much thought.

So your off-the-cuff, shallow notions of the way things ought to be trump the scriptures and early Christian history...why, exactly?

But you make your demands in ignorance. You claim that you haven't received any "convincing answers," but you lack the information that would enable you to discern such a thing.

And somehow this is all our fault.

Is giving the matter some thought and study also too much to ask for?

-Smac

Perfectly stated, and Smac, thank you for the wonderful info you posted!

~Kate

Link to comment

As I think G.K. Chesterton pointed out, one of the most striking features of the Western Latin rite is that its most sacred ritual acts are entirely open and public. And yet congregations attending mass have been in no doubt that what they were participating in was an act that is as sacred as any act can get. Where is the 'element of secrecy' here?

You are entirely missing the point and this is what always happens when you come at things in an attempt to destroy rather than understand. Do you really not think there is an "element of secrecy" in a mass? Hint: It would be the part that you make fun of. Do you know the history of the mass? Further, one example does not negate the principle. You are trying to nitpick over how secret something is...not the element of secrecy.

It would seem that, contrary to Juliann's asertion, the sacred can manage to be acknowledged as such without any secrecy at all.

The sacred is experienced not "acknowledged". Your doublespeak aside, when the secret experience is turned into a "public and open" acknowledgement it is profane. You might as well go to a bank.

In fact, I am trying to think of any major modern religion practiced in developed countries apart from the CoJCoLDS in which believers are invited to participate in acts which are held in secrecy to the extent that even initiates into those acts may not discuss them with other initiates outside the sacred space in which alone they may be performed.

I notice that even you know you have to stick modern and developed countries in there to keep this up. Nothing else matters...especially those primitive heathens in those other places, eh?

Link to comment

Did it start with the desire of the First Presidency then prayer. Or...was there a revelation out of the blue.

SNIP, I hope it won't get edited.

Play nice

Your hope was in vein. Temple content, past or present, is not allowed on this board. And although you apparently knew this before you posted temple content (hence your comment "I hope it won't get edited"), we won't ding you this time. But don't do it again. =Mods.

How was law of common consent bypassed in the changing on the temple ceremony anti's make this point. What is the apologetic response, MADB please educate me.

Link to comment

Where did it say that the temple ceremony was EVER given by common consent?

I suppose one could follow that question with when was the priesthood ban instituted by common consent, but yet it was lifted by common consent, meaning the revelation was presented to the membership for a vote.

Link to comment

I suppose one could follow that question with when was the priesthood ban instituted by common consent, but yet it was lifted by common consent, meaning the revelation was presented to the membership for a vote.

Again when did the temple ceremony come before the membership for a vote?

Link to comment

Thank you for the link, but I already realized that things change and I accept that. I really do not want to talk details of the ceremony itself. I still am curious as how it started. To me, it was just as big a deal as the revelation of the blacks receiving the priesthood. A very big event (in my mind). Sure would have liked to been in on the evolution of that one. I was not part of the crowd--and never heard any murmering about the issue at the time, but, I bet it was a problem for some especially non LDS.

If this thread dies here because of the subject I am good with that too. :P

If you are interested in changes in a variety of areas of LDS life, I'd suggest Alexander's Mormonism in Transition. It addresses the need to have consistency among the temple rituals and other aspects. IIRC, it includes quite a bit of the motivation behind it and places the development in context. It's well worth the cost ($8 from FAIR compared to $20 from amazon) for the amount of interesting information about a huge number of topics.

http://store.fairlds.org/prod/p0252065786.html

Link to comment

God doesn't change. Imperfect men and their understanding constantly changes due to traditions of the fathers, sin and disobedience. There have been times when the leaders say they are being led, when in fact they are trying to keep one foot in the world and one in the eternities. The judgement will be filled with false prophecies and meddling of man.

Anytime we try to fit God into our systems instead of fitting into His system we will see hypocrisy, error, and coverup.

Trying to pin God to every foible and inconsistency is causing the Re-born to remain still born.

Link to comment

God doesn't change. Imperfect men and their understanding constantly changes due to traditions of the fathers, sin and disobedience. There have been times when the leaders say they are being led, when in fact they are trying to keep one foot in the world and one in the eternities. The judgement will be filled with false prophecies and meddling of man.

Anytime we try to fit God into our systems instead of fitting into His system we will see hypocrisy, error, and coverup.

Trying to pin God to every foible and inconsistency is causing the Re-born to remain still born.

I believe you have judge rashly. Hopefully you will see the error of your ways.

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...