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Sacred medicine and the LDS Temple


Bernard Gui

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Native Americans have rituals and accoutrements that are sacred to them. Learning about the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) medicine mask,

I came across this statement by the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy Grand Council of Chiefs:

The public exhibition of all medicine masks is forbidden. Medicine masks are not intended for everyone to see and such exhibition does not recognize the sacred duties and special functions of the masks.

The exhibition of masks by museums does not serve to enlighten the public regarding the culture of the Haudenosaunee as such an exhibition violates the intended purpose of the mask and contributes to the desecration of the sacred image. In addition, information regarding medicine societies is not meant for general distribution.

The non-Indian public does not have the right to examine, interpret, or present the beliefs, functions, and duties of the secret medicine societies of the Haudenosaunee. The sovereign responsibility of the Haudenosaunee over their spiritual duties must be respected by the removal of all medicine masks from exhibition and from access to non-Indians.

Reproductions, castings, photographs, or illustrations of medicine masks should not he used in exhibitions, as the image of the medicine masks should not be used in these fashions. To subject the image of the medicine masks to ridicule or misrepresentation is a violation of the sacred functions of the masks.

The Council of Chiefs find that there is no proper way to explain, interpret, or present the significance of the medicine masks and therefore, ask that no attempt be made by museums to do so other than to explain the wishes of the Haudenosaunee in this matter.

Question for those who feel it necessary to reveal the sacred objects and rituals of the LDS:

Would you respect the wishes of the Iroquois as presented in the above declaration by the Council of Chiefs?

Why?

Why not?

Bernard

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Native Americans have rituals and accoutrements that are sacred to them. Learning about the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) medicine mask,

I came across this statement by the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy Grand Council of Chiefs:

Question for those who feel it necessary to reveal the sacred objects and rituals of the LDS:

Would you respect the wishes of the Iroquois as presented in the above declaration by the Council of Chiefs?

Why?

Why not?

Bernard

I wouldn't care if they worshiped Vishnu while wearing a mask made out of cocaine whilst puffing on shrooms.

I'm sure I could come up with some ridiculous/improbable scenario's where I would object, but in general I'm cool if they're cool.

Big UP!

Lamanite

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I wouldn't care if they worshiped Vishnu while wearing a mask made out of cocaine whilst puffing on shrooms.

I'm sure I could come up with some ridiculous/improbable scenario's where I would object, but in general I'm cool if they're cool.

Big UP!

Lamanite

I think I met you once at a FAIR conference, but I'm not sure. Are you indeed a Native American?

Bernard

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I think I met you once at a FAIR conference, but I'm not sure. Are you indeed a Native American?

Bernard

I'm glad my cocaine comment sparked your memory, LOL. No I'm Tongan. But yes we did meet. I can't for the life of me remember what you look like or what we talked about. Check my family blog in my sig for a picture of me to see if your recollection is accurate.

Big UP!

Lamanite

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I'm glad my cocaine comment sparked your memory, LOL. No I'm Tongan. But yes we did meet. I can't for the life of me remember what you look like or what we talked about. Check my family blog in my sig for a picture of me to see if your recollection is accurate.

Yep. If you were at the conference where Richard Abanes showed up, then we did in fact meet.

That's me in my avatar, but I'm in disguise. Basically, the generic old, fat, bald white guy. Frodo is my

youngest son.

So, do Tongans have sacred rituals or dress?

Bernard

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Yep. If you were at the conference where Richard Abanes showed up, then we did in fact meet.

That's me in my avatar, but I'm in disguise. Basically, the generic old, fat, bald white guy. Frodo is my

youngest son.

So, do Tongans have sacred rituals or dress?

Bernard

Absolutely. If I were a tad bit smarter I could write a decent paper on the Atonement/Hierocentric value of the kava ceremony with an emphasis on Eve's/Women's role in creation. I could do that...if I were smarter. I should also add that were I to write such a paper it would be founded upon the rich Mormon tradition of presentism and proof texting. LMAO

Tongan ritual dress is a little less appealing to me as a Mormon. It has more to do with war than with the creation drama or the divine in general. There is a sipi tau that was created recently called 'Iosepa/Joseph which was very moving.

For your enjoyment.

The sound "heee" is similar to the Hawaiian "ha" which has certain divine implications. I think it was once covered in sacrament meeting.

Big UP!

Lamanite

edit: To insert Hallstrom's talk

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Most people who reveal our rituals have an ax to grind. They're not usually into comparative religions or the church as a bonafide world religion. But you'll find anti-Masons who reveal the rituals of the Masons and former members of the mob who reveal things they've taken oaths not to reveal. There are even former government military and intelligence personnel who later reveal things they think will hurt their former employers.

With anti-Mormons, it's all about causing damage. You'd have to be crazy to join a church that does that. Even if it's not in context.

Animal sacrifice would be far more scandalous today if it weren't for the age of the practice and the fact it was done in many ancient cultures. It has a symbolism with Christians, but to every other culture, including the Jews, there's really no good reason for it. What possible joy could any god derive from the killing of an animal and burning it? The ancient Mayans killed members of opposing armies and then called it a "sacrifice." (Well the only fellow actually sacrificing anything is the one being ritually murdered.) True, they also sacrificed their own people, but it was intended to make the gods happy.

Very few rituals make a lot of sense out of context, and that's one problem Christianity faces when trying to convert foreign cultures. Why would a God who can do anything require the violent murder of His only begotten Son as a means of atonement? And how can a monotheistic God have a Son after making strong declarations that have been traditionally interpreted as meaning there is no other besides Him? Any religion can be rendered ridiculous when explained by the religion's enemies.

The arguments used against the early Christians are virtually the same in form and substance as those used against the Mormons. A high school teacher who was also a college professor destroyed the faith of a number of Christians in my senior year by granting them extra credit for reading anti-Christian books very cleverly written so as to destroy faith. Being young and inexperienced, and having no access to opposing views, they folded quite easily. Having just been converted to the LDS faith, I saw the similarity of tactics and substance with anti-Mormon books my pastor had recommended.

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With anti-Mormons, it's all about causing damage. You'd have to be crazy to join a church that does that. Even if it's not in context.

I suppose you do not "join" a Native American tribe unless you verify your ancestry, but I cannot imagine a Native

American revealing sacred tribal information or misusing sacred objects because of a grudge. I do realize there

are some intense inter- and intra-tribal politics. The fact that the Council had to produce

the above policy statement would indicate someone wants to use sacred materials. In this case it appears that some would sell out for money.

But how about scholars? Suppose an anthropologist wants to study the tribe. Should he be excused on the basis

of scholarly inquiry? The Iroquois seem to reject that. What rights do the "studied" group have?

Bernard

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I think it is not clear, even among faithful Mormons, what can and cannot be discussed outside the temple and what is not to be "revealed". The temple itself is very narrow on what it explicitly forbids, and most Mormons are more restrictive than instructed in the temple. So, I think it is not always fair to light up people outside for "revealing" things that no one is really sure should be revealed or not.

It would be helpful if the Church were to take an official or semi-official stance on what is too sacred to talk about and what is not.

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I think it is not clear, even among faithful Mormons, what can and cannot be discussed outside the temple and what is not to be "revealed". The temple itself is very narrow on what it explicitly forbids, and most Mormons are more restrictive than instructed in the temple. So, I think it is not always fair to light up people outside for "revealing" things that no one is really sure should be revealed or not.

It would be helpful if the Church were to take an official or semi-official stance on what is too sacred to talk about and what is not.

As an avid paint-baller, I'm willing to light up people who reveal sacred temple things (figuratively, of course). My question is about things

that are sacred to Native Americans. Do others have a right or duty to ferret them out and make them public? If not, why is it OK to do it to the Mormons?

Bernard

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It's a fine line. I wouldn't write an expose, but I also wouldn't refrain from using the masks/ceremonies to make a historical point if it was applicable.

Even if the owners explicitly asked you not to?

Bernard

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As an avid paint-baller, I'm willing to light up people who reveal sacred temple things (figuratively, of course). My question is about things

that are sacred to Native Americans. Do others have a right or duty to ferret them out and make them public? If not, why is it OK to do it to the Mormons?

Bernard

Sure they have the right to do it. But should they do it? I would say no.

Big UP!

Lamanite

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As an avid paint-baller, I'm willing to light up people who reveal sacred things (figuratively, of course). My question is about things

that are sacred to Native Americans. Do others have a right or duty to ferret them out and make them public?Bernard

No. I say no because if they are sacred they are meant for the believers only and all others would not have the proper revernce for them.

For Chris Smiths post. With all due respect but how can you, who doesn't have the proper understand and repect, present a valid historical or any other point you can't fully understand or accept.

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For Chris Smiths post. With all due respect but how can you, who doesn't have the proper understand and repect, present a valid historical or any other point you can't fully understand or accept.

Presumably I would not make such a point unless I had acquired sufficient understanding to make a valid one.

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Even if the owners explicitly asked you not to?

I would do so as tastefully as possible without compromising my devilishly iconoclastic nature.

Actually, it really depends on how important the point is, and how offended they're going to be.

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I would do so as tastefully as possible without compromising my devilishly iconoclastic nature.

Actually, it really depends on how important the point is, and how offended they're going to be.

Risking it all for the sake of scholarship, eh?

Well, let's see where would you stop?

A. If they said "Please Don't".

B. If they frowned at you.

C. If they frowned and muttered, but you couldn't understand what they were muttering.

D. If they raised their voices and you heard some vague threats.

E. If they raised their voices and their fists.

F. If they threatened a friend or relative.

G. If they threatened you.

H. If they brandished sharp pointy things.

I. If the sharp pointy things came up close and personal.

Bernard

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No. I say no because if they are sacred they are meant for the believers only and all others would not have the proper revernce for them.

If you were out of sorts with the tribal council, would it be OK to reveal the sacred information?

I'm thinking of a Pueblo Indian leader where I used to live in New Mexico who was a member of the Church

and a friend of our famly.

Even though he had left his native religion, he would not speak about the sacred kiva.

Bernard

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This is a side effect of a free society. Majority of Americans feel it is their right to look into everything and anything that may affect them in some manner. It is a need to expose the so called "evils'" to our righteous society. Therefore it is their right. You can go on youtube and see much speculation as closed doors only bring more curiosity. It is the nature of men to be suspicious and curious. It is almost an obsession in some cases.

Those that practice secret combinations ceremonies should expect negative feedback even though it is more than likely misplaced. I'm sure the Iroquois chief that doesn't get the attention; is basically the same as Hawaiian Kahunas don't get much attention from media as well. It is far to localized, and no one really cares until someone wants to make a big deal out of it. Had not Bernard brought this up I would have not known, and really don't give a hoot about the masks. My opinion is they are depriving those who wish to understand the culture , but it is their loss IMO. I respect their right.

We have a right to keep our rituals away from the public, but we, and I'm sure the GA's, must recognize that we will always be under the microscope. Whether it is a right or not. I believe one of the problems is the association of "secret", and it's confusion with the nature of "sacred". We hold our temples sacred. It is not secret. You can go on the web already, and find what you want to know about the temple ceremonies even if the majority are incorrect, but there is a few correctly exhibited. It is just a shame that those who offer it to the public do not understand the sacredness of holding a treasure between themselves and the Lord. It's like the spouse betrayal by sleeping with someone else. I often found members who become disillusioned about the church and the temple rituals. They had never really understood the symbolic reasoning, and what they were given, and have no gratitude for such. They seem to think it silly and childish and don't understand the act of betrayal. Too bad so sad for them.

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If you were out of sorts with the tribal council, would it be OK to reveal the sacred information?

I'm thinking of a Pueblo Indian leader where I used to live in New Mexico who was a member of the Church

and a friend of our famly.

Even though he had left his native religion, he would not speak about the sacred kiva.

Bernard

I honor him for that. If he could not honor a sacred oath of silence he had made how could he be trusted with the sacred covenants of the temple. An oath is an oath.

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I was hoping some of the posters who get off on the temple would respond...

Bernard

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I suppose you do not "join" a Native American tribe unless you verify your ancestry, but I cannot imagine a Native

American revealing sacred tribal information or misusing sacred objects because of a grudge. I do realize there

are some intense inter- and intra-tribal politics. The fact that the Council had to produce

the above policy statement would indicate someone wants to use sacred materials. In this case it appears that some would sell out for money.

But how about scholars? Suppose an anthropologist wants to study the tribe. Should he be excused on the basis

of scholarly inquiry? The Iroquois seem to reject that. What rights do the "studied" group have?

My branch president in college (a long time ago) was an anthropology professor and did a lot of research of a local group (issues lifestyle and diabetes if I recall). After several years, he was invited (as the first white man ever, at least at that time) to be initiated into the tribe, the details about the ceremony of which he very reverently declined to discuss. It was a tribe closely associated with the Iroquois. As LDS I would agree that studied groups have the right to limit access to the details of their sacred rituals which I think morally transcend any scientific or academic interest.

My agreement does not allow for rituals that subject children or adults to abuse and permanent harm against their will or consent, and I think that if any such ritual ran contrary to a member of that society's conscience, that person has the right to expose it, and that any interacting community that is affected by such has the right to decide what to do about it consistent with prevailing laws and regulations.

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My branch president in college (a long time ago) was an anthropology professor and did a lot of research of a local group (issues lifestyle and diabetes if I recall). After several years, he was invited (as the first white man ever, at least at that time) to be initiated into the tribe, the details about the ceremony of which he very reverently declined to discuss. It was a tribe closely associated with the Iroquois. As LDS I would agree that studied groups have the right to limit access to the details of their sacred rituals which I think morally transcend any scientific or academic interest.

My agreement does not allow for rituals that subject children or adults to abuse and permanent harm against their will or consent, and I think that if any such ritual ran contrary to a member of that society's conscience, that person has the right to expose it, and that any interacting community that is affected by such has the right to decide what to do about it consistent with prevailing laws and regulations.

That's a great honor for the branch president. He has great integrity not to discuss the ceremony. I imagine for an anthropologist, that would be hard to do.

There have been people who pose as Native Americans or friends of Native Americans to gain access to tribal lore, or pretend to have received it from some shaman someplace,

and then set up shop to initiate novices into the whatever it is they claim to have learned.

Vine deLoria wrote, "Into each life, it is said, some rain must fall. Some people have bad horoscopes, others take tips on the stock market...But Indians have

been cursed above all other people in history. Indians have anthropologists...They are the most prominent members of the scholarly community that

infests the land of the free, and in the summer time, the homes of the braves."

Bernard

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