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I was recently interviewed by Saints Unscripted to address doubts that some Latter-day Saints may have regarding Freemasonry and the influence that it has historically had on the Church, as well as a description of what Masonry is. I thought that I would share it here.
Not in the Interview
One reason for joining Freemasonry that was not mentioned in the interview is that I had heard rumors concerning Joseph Smith stealing Masonic ceremonies and passing them off as revelation; with doubts growing, I decided to become a Mason for myself to see if those rumors were true. My doubts on this matter were resolved and my faith strengthened due to the information presented in this interview. In essence, I have come to the conclusion that Joseph Smith adopted the Masonic teaching model (concepts of theatrical presentation, of physical gestures for tokens, of illustrative symbols, etc.) and adapted it to teach the Church's already-existing, unique doctrine and to make covenants with God.
My wife and I have been reading in Ezekiel and have come to the part about the temple that is to be build in Jerusalem at the second coming. Ezekiel gives great detail about the dimensions and layout of the temple, which is very unlike what current temples are, and much like the temples of old. He also describes what will be done in tis temple - and much of it is animal sacrifice and offerings etc.
My question is - how does this square with the idea that the temple is to be built by Jews who have accepted Jesus (and presumably joined the church) at his second coming? Why would animal sacrifice be practiced there at all? I have looked a bit online, and can't seem to find anything talking about this.
I've been hearing rumors since the last conference that there will be some significant changes to the ways we experience and worship in the temple. Most significantly I'm hearing that there is an effort afoot to shorten the endowment to help reduce the logjam of names. As we know, a person (or group) can go to the temple and be baptized for 150 people within the same time it takes a person to do 1 endowment. I've long wondered about this discrepancy and how it could easily cause an imbalance in temple work. I've seen temples limit the number of baptisms one person could do. For a while on youth trips each youth was limited to just 5 names even though we had time to do more. So it would make sense to me to somehow shorten the endowment. Changes have been made before so I don't see any reason why it couldn't be done.
With that general background, I'm also hearing that Pres. Nelson wants temple worship to be his legacy. For that to be the case I would suspect some significant changes would be needed, else why would it be "his" legacy. He is definitely a mover and a shaker, making things happen quickly so I think it fits his personality to move with changes he may have been considering for many years. In general I enjoy his ambition and determination to make things happen.
I'm also hearing about mandatory meetings in early January for all temple workers where supposedly they will be informed of these changes so they can be prepared. Perhaps January meetings for all temple workers is a totally normal thing (I don't know as I've only ever served as a veil worker).
So, it makes sense to me that changes could come, as early as the next few weeks. So I've got a couple of questions.
1- Would you welcome changes to the length of time it takes to perform temple ordinances? (I call these efficiency changes)
2- Is the family history/temple approval system adequate for temple work to move forward in a faster way? IOW- will there be enough names (without duplication) to keep up a faster pace?
3- Are there other changes (besides efficiency) that you might expect to see?
*Please keep the discussion respectful, both to each other and also to the temple rituals. There are a couple of specific items/topics regarding temple worship that shouldn't be discussed.
With all the new Temples being announced and my excitement builds at attending the dedications of said Temples, can the experts on this forum and the Journal of Discourse experts comment as to a future Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple on Mount Horeb (Moses and the Burning Bush site)? Perhaps during the Millennium?
The First Endowment was administered in the Upper Room of the Red Brick Store in Nauvoo. The room is not very big and Joseph said that he spent the day giving all the different "..washings, anointings, endowments and the communication of keys pertaining to the Aaronic Priesthood, and so on to the highest order of the Melchizedek Priesthood, setting forth the order pertaining to the Ancient of Days, and all those plans and principles by which any one is enabled to secure the fullness of those blessings.."
My question was how they would have been able to arrange the room to match the temple layout? What else do you think Joseph included that Brigham Young eventually cut/rearranged in the Nauvoo temple and in later arrangements of the endowment?
I can't find Josephs original plans for the layout of the Nauvoo floors. However from the ones I can find it doesn't seem to include the rooms that were built in later temples like St. George and Salt Lake. When the Nauvoo temple was finished they hung curtains to section off the different portions of the endowment but I feel like Joseph would have specific rooms built for that purpose? Or no?
Just curious on your thoughts!!