Jump to content

Culture vs Cult, tradition vs tragedy, Revelation vs ritual.


Recommended Posts

Very often many members are resistant to any change from past traditions and rituals. For decades of my membership, facial hair was frowned upon, with some members thinking out loud about how someone with a beard, was bordering on apostasy. I remember many years ago,I had to have facial surgery, due to an injury , which left me with nerve damage. As a result I grew a goatee, because shaving my entire face could and would lead to being cut while shaving. A number of times I was asked if I would serve in the Temple, even by friends who knew of my problem. They truly dislike me have a goatee, and would go to great lengths to have me shave it off. When I would point out that I have at times cut myself, twice leading to infection. This was when I was told I could not serve in the Temple, so friends would tell me, “just pay a barber the days that you serve”. When I pointed out that I could not afford it such a luxury, I  would then be told, “just have Pam shave you”, something we tried only once, where I got cut, which lead to a serious infection.. Now, about 10-25% of every Ward I attend, men have beards.

Another thing that used to be almost unheard of, is men wearing colorful shirts. While not wearing only white shirts was also frowned upon. Today, 25-50% of my Ward or Stake, wear colorful shirts. Blue, green, yellow, and so on. Of course, the older the brothers, almost all only wear white shirts. Again, many believe that “culture is doctrine”, while the younger men think it is no big deal, and are more inclined to break with tradition. 
 

As General Conference is just a few week away, just imagine if one of the Twelve Apostles, or the First Presidency decided to wear a blue shirt. By Tuesday evening (Two days later) every blue shirt in Utah would be sold out. Members would buy out every clothing store on the internet. This because without a word from a Church Leader, most would believe that “blue shirts are now a commandment”. Despite what ever happened, it would just be a change in tradition, policy, or just personal preference. 
 
It is a fine line we walk, when we see and hear our General Authorities speaking, or even just seated on the stand. In all large mega Churches, or very large centralized Churches, must walk a fine line between tradition, policies, or traditions. For all it is a fine line between culture and cult. 
 

Anyway, other thoughts or analogies, if you wish to share. I believe that one day, the goal of steeples on our Ward and Stake buildings, are a precursor to mounting Crosses upon. Something I think is just  fine, as we move closer and closer to move toward the culture of Churches, and their culture. President Nelson, has been moving the needle more and more, seeking out more and more Christian groups. At his age, he may not complete the slight moves, but he is indeed teaching and training his counselors, and the twelve, more and more. The Rome Temple has Crosses everywhere, soon they will be everywhere. Slowly, but still movement, in preparation for the Saints, when the time does come, they will be ready. 
 

Often many are easily confused about what is culture or tradition, believing it to be strict commandments, thus finding themselves easily leaning toward being “cult-like”. 

 

Link to comment
4 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

By the way, we are going to set our quorum/ward on fire!  :tribal:

I sure hope you mean that figuratively.  In early 2020, we started out the new year fast and testimony meeting with a smoke filled cultural hall (the ward member that was bearing their testimony at the time had to be interrupted mid sentence so that the bishop could tell everyone to evacuate).  My twin grandsons (they were three years old at the time) were also attending that meeting, and they said it was the best sacrament meeting they had ever been to (to this very day).  They got to see multiple fire trucks and emergency vehicles in the parking lot.  It was awesome.  Fortunately the cause of the smoke was something simple (like oil on some heating coils, or something like that), and there was no damage to the building.  But we did go home early that day.

So don't get carried away :) 

Link to comment
9 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

I sure hope you mean that figuratively.

I like both figurative and literal fire. When I was Young Men president (more than a decade ago), my prize for any priest who read from the Book of Mormon every day for six straight months was a Swedish FireSteel. Several qualified, and we therefore lit a good many fires.

One of those boys is now my first counsellor. I love it!

Link to comment
1 hour ago, blackstrap said:

Pendulum swings like a pendulum do.

What percentage of men in a general conference in Brigham Young's day wore beards? 

 

only-two-types-of-people-dont-have-beard

Link to comment
6 hours ago, Peacefully said:

My husband is 65, has a beard, and regularly wears colored shirts to church. He is the Temple and Family History Leader and teaches primary with me. I would wear pants to church but I prefer skirts. We gave up worrying about what other members think a long time ago:) 

Don’t get me wrong, I am very old fashioned when it comes to the way I dress, or how my wife does. But sisters have been wearing colors forever. I still own and wear a couple of white shirts, but not that often. I keep this always cleaned and pressed if I am asked to speak, or going to the Temple.

Link to comment
53 minutes ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Where do you live, in Scotland? Or upon some of the isles of the sea, such as Hawaiian culture? 

Our ward is a melting pot of local and migrant cultures (and around 20 languages). Both of my housemates and I are migrants, representing three different 'races' and speaking three different mother tongues.

The Church makes us a single family. It's quite remarkable.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
Link to comment
1 hour ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Don’t get me wrong, I am very old fashioned when it comes to the way I dress, or how my wife does. But sisters have been wearing colors forever. I still own and wear a couple of white shirts, but not that often. I keep this always cleaned and pressed if I am asked to speak, or going to the Temple.

Come to Utah, you'll see a sea of white shirts at church on Sunday, and maybe a couple of blue or black "black" sheeps, lol. And only two times have I seen a woman wear pants and it was shocking at first, wouldn't be now. But I think, why not, why do women have to wear dresses/skirts? Wouldn't pants be more modest? As long as the attire is respectful and people understand that they should dress up better than they would out weeding the garden or mowing the lawn.

Fitting a lot in one post, also, do you think the beard thing is a political thing? Seems I see them everywhere. Like to go a long with gun rights and ?

Edited by Tacenda
Link to comment
12 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Anyway, other thoughts or analogies, if you wish to share. I believe that one day, the goal of steeples on our Ward and Stake buildings, are a precursor to mounting Crosses upon. Something I think is just  fine, as we move closer and closer to move toward the culture of Churches, and their culture. President Nelson, has been moving the needle more and more, seeking out more and more Christian groups. At his age, he may not complete the slight moves, but he is indeed teaching and training his counselors, and the twelve, more and more. The Rome Temple has Crosses everywhere, soon they will be everywhere. Slowly, but still movement, in preparation for the Saints, when the time does come, they will be ready. 

 

Often many are easily confused about what is culture or tradition, believing it to be strict commandments, thus finding themselves easily leaning toward being “cult-like”. 

 

At least some of the LDS community have a serious, semi-conscious thing going on with a Book of Mormon passage and  the crucifixion. I know, Latter-day Saints do sometimes have fairly restrained paintings of the crucifixion, but if you all can just bust through the cultural constraints:

See the source image

 

 

 

See the source image

Link to comment
14 minutes ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

At least some of the LDS community have a serious, semi-conscious thing going on with a Book of Mormon passage and  the crucifixion. I know, Latter-day Saints do sometimes have fairly restrained paintings of the crucifixion, but if you all can just bust through the cultural constraints:

See the source image

 

 

 

See the source image

This is Nephi being tied to the mast? on a ship. If the artist meant it to look like a cross I would be surprised as I've never heard of Nephi being described as a type of Christ like Isaac.  It does have some similar elements though so maybe. The big difference would be that with Christ on the cross (and in Gethsemane) we are saved, but with Nephi on the mast the family is lost - which makes me think it is not a type.

Edited by Rain
Link to comment
13 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

For decades of my membership, facial hair was frowned upon, with some members thinking out loud about how someone with a beard, was bordering on apostasy. [...] Now, about 10-25% of every Ward I attend, men have beards.

I had a wonderful Bishop on my mission in Seattle during the late 90s who was bearded; he also wore Birkenstocks to church every Sunday along with a brown suit. Absolutely loved that guy!

Our current Bishop wears a beard as well (and has for as long as we've known him). But yes, this is certainly something that is much more common now.

 

13 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Another thing that used to be almost unheard of, is men wearing colorful shirts. While not wearing only white shirts was also frowned upon. Today, 25-50% of my Ward or Stake, wear colorful shirts. Blue, green, yellow, and so on. Of course, the older the brothers, almost all only wear white shirts. Again, many believe that “culture is doctrine”, while the younger men think it is no big deal, and are more inclined to break with tradition. 

As General Conference is just a few week away, just imagine if one of the Twelve Apostles, or the First Presidency decided to wear a blue shirt. By Tuesday evening (Two days later) every blue shirt in Utah would be sold out. Members would buy out every clothing store on the internet. This because without a word from a Church Leader, most would believe that “blue shirts are now a commandment”. Despite what ever happened, it would just be a change in tradition, policy, or just personal preference. 

I think adherence to the white shirt only rule is more of an "unwritten order of things" kind of thing. If an Apostle were to wear a blue shirt during Conference I don't think people would take that as a commandment to wear blue shirts, but I believe many would see it as signaling approval and indicating that doing so is an acceptable choice.

 

13 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Anyway, other thoughts or analogies, if you wish to share.

Well, on the subject of men's dress, I think another one would be what to wrap around your neck. It seems as though neckties are the approved selection, with bow ties only being seen only on very rare occasions (and, even then, usually not publicly visible ones). And I've never in my life seen a GA wear a bolo tie. Maybe we need to get a few more rural Saints into church leadership. ;)

Another practice that I see as being more of a cultural / tradition would be having only priesthood holders pass the Sacrament. While I believe there is some doctrinal support for expecting Aaronic priesthood holders to participate in distributing the sacrament to the congregation (as this is a temporal endeavor), there's no reason why similarly aged young women - or adult women, for that matter - could not perform the exact same function. It's really more of just a tradition that we have 'the priesthood' take care of this duty.

 

Link to comment
3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Come to Utah, you'll see a sea of white shirts at church on Sunday, and maybe a couple of blue or black "black" sheeps, lol. And only two times have I seen a woman wear pants and it was shocking at first, wouldn't be now. But I think, why not, why do women have to wear dresses/skirts? Wouldn't pants be more modest? As long as the attire is respectful and people understand that they should dress up better than they would out weeding the garden or mowing the lawn.

Fitting a lot in one post, also, do you think the beard thing is a political thing? Seems I see them everywhere. Like to go a long with gun rights and ?

To be more in tune with gun rights, beards would seem more appropriate. You know, the pioneer heritage.

The culture in the US was formerly more bearded. As I understood it (and this may be wrong), when military service became important during WW1, clean-shaven became the way to go because the military (at least the Army and Marine Corps) required it. The Navy was OK with beards -- maybe less so today. LDS beards seemed to follow along with that. Same with white shirts. At one time, the IBM business "uniform" was white shirt with pin-striped suit. More stringently required than LDS church.

Link to comment
15 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Very often many members are resistant to any change from past traditions and rituals.

I think we are getting better.  Pres. Nelson has been pushing us quite a bit.

15 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

For decades of my membership, facial hair was frowned upon, with some members thinking out loud about how someone with a beard, was bordering on apostasy.

This seems to be waning quite a bit.

15 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

I remember many years ago,I had to have facial surgery, due to an injury , which left me with nerve damage. As a result I grew a goatee, because shaving my entire face could and would lead to being cut while shaving. A number of times I was asked if I would serve in the Temple, even by friends who knew of my problem. They truly dislike me have a goatee, and would go to great lengths to have me shave it off. When I would point out that I have at times cut myself, twice leading to infection. This was when I was told I could not serve in the Temple, so friends would tell me, “just pay a barber the days that you serve”. When I pointed out that I could not afford it such a luxury, I  would then be told, “just have Pam shave you”, something we tried only once, where I got cut, which lead to a serious infection.. Now, about 10-25% of every Ward I attend, men have beards.

Yep.  Both of the counselors in our ward regularly have beards, mustaches, etc.

15 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Another thing that used to be almost unheard of, is men wearing colorful shirts. While not wearing only white shirts was also frowned upon. Today, 25-50% of my Ward or Stake, wear colorful shirts. Blue, green, yellow, and so on. Of course, the older the brothers, almost all only wear white shirts.

I think there is some value in simplicity and symbolism.  That said, we ought not conflate "culture" with doctrine.  I agree with you there.

15 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Again, many believe that “culture is doctrine”, while the younger men think it is no big deal, and are more inclined to break with tradition. 

There is something to be said for "traditions," particularly innocuous ones.  They ought not be elevated to being equivalent to "doctrine," but there are elements of comfort, unity, and generational ties that can be served by maintaining traditions.  

We can, of course, break with tradition when doing so makes sense.  And traditions can go overboard (some of the trappings of weddings, funerals, holiday observances, etc. fall into this category).

15 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Anyway, other thoughts or analogies, if you wish to share. I believe that one day, the goal of steeples on our Ward and Stake buildings, are a precursor to mounting Crosses upon.  Something I think is just  fine, as we move closer and closer to move toward the culture of Churches, and their culture.

I don't see a movement toward incorporation of the cross into the Church's (already very limited) iconography, but I would not be opposed to it.  I think our emphasis on the living Christ has more appeal.  

15 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

The Rome Temple has Crosses everywhere, soon they will be everywhere.

Here is a screencap from an October 2010 video published by the Church which has an architectural rendering of what the Rome Temple would be looking like.  The cross on the front door is pretty clear:

Rome-Temple.jpg

Compare to this 2019 video of the door as it actually ended up (from this 2019 video) :

Rome-Temple2.jpg

See also this 2019 article from the Church discussing the apostle statues in the Visitor Center at the temple (replicas from statues in a church in Denmark) :

Quote

A Closer Look at Symbolism of Christus and Ancient Apostles Statues in Rome

Keys. A bag of money. An eagle. And numerous instruments representing a martyr’s death.

Those are some of the symbols found on the 12 ancient Apostles statues by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, which have been featured in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, for nearly 200 years and now at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Rome Italy Temple Visitors’ Center.

Each base bearing an Apostle statue has inscribed a Greek equivalent of that Apostle’s name. The larger Christus statue has a shorter base with “Venite a Me” and “Matteo 11:28”—Italian for “Come unto Me” and Matthew 11:28, which reads, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

...

Philip (Philippus)

The statue in Copenhagen is holding a small cross, since tradition has Philip often preaching of Christ’s crucifixion as well as being crucified upside down.

350-bertel-thorvaldsens-statue-of-philip
Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Philip, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a small cross at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

620-christus-and-apostles-statues-27.jpg
A close replica in Rome of Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Philip, one of the Twelve Apostles, does not hold a small cross like the original, at the visitors’ center for the Rome Temple in Rome, Italy, on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

So here the Church appears to have made the conscious decision to alter the statute of Philip to exclude him holding a cross.  But then look at this:

Quote

350-christus-and-apostles-statues-9.jpg
Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Andrew, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a scroll and a large X-shaped cross at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

620-christus-and-apostles-statues-21.jpg
Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Andrew, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a scroll at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

As you can see, the "X-shaped cross" appears in the second photo above (in the background), which appears to be of the replica in Rome.  See also this screencap from a 2017 video published by the Church which shows the statue of Andrew in the background (second from the left) :

Rome-Temple3.jpg

So it appears that

  • A) the cross that appeared in the negative space of the temple's main doors in early architectural renderings of the temple was apparently not carried through to the actual doors,
  • B) the Church appears to have deliberately altered the "replica" of the statue of Philip to omit the small cross he holds in the original statue, and 
  • C) the Church appears to have retained the "X-shaped cross" feature of the statue of Andrew.

To me, it looks like the statue of Philip was situated as to allow the removal of the small cross without adversely affecting the overall impression, but the "X-shaped cross" in the statue of Andrew appears to be too integral/prominent to remove.

The Visitor Center has a stained glass exhibit that includes images of the cross (three crosses, actually) :

Quote

There are other symbols of the Savior’s atoning blood in the window. For instance, three crosses on a distant hill, and the grapes in the upper right-hand corner which are crushed to become the wine depicted in the bottom left-hand corner.

50838.jpg

This was apparently done to accommodate expectations of visitors to the temple.  See here:

Quote

Nordgren: Did other faculty members participate?

Sweat: Yes. Many people helped along the way. For instance, Lincoln Blumell and his research assistant Chiara Aliberti (coincidentally from Italy) provided the Greek translation for “come unto me” on the building behind the Savior. They also emphasized the need to include the three crosses somewhere in the window since Italians coming to the visitors’ center in Rome would expect to see the Crucifixion portrayed. Similarly, they proposed that the keys in Peter’s hands be larger since that is an important symbol for Italians as well as for members of the Church. As you can see in the window, artists incorporated both these suggestions.

I'm not sure how much we should read into these things.

Are there other instances of the cross at the Rome Temple besides those above?

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
Link to comment
48 minutes ago, Amulek said:

Our current Bishop wears a beard as well (and has for as long as we've known him). But yes, this is certainly something that is much more common now.

When the Düsseldorf stake in West Germany was first organized in 1972ish, the bishop of the Mülheim ward had a beard. The GA organizing the stake commented to him that it was non-standard, but nevermind.

Link to comment
15 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

I believe that one day, the goal of steeples on our Ward and Stake buildings, are a precursor to mounting Crosses upon.

Two thoughts:

1) My ward building doesn't have a steeple.  I hope we won't be left behind.

2) If the goal is to one day put up crosses, then they must be playing the long game.  Steeples have been on church building for as long as I've been alive (I'm over 50) and so far no crosses have appeared.

Link to comment
15 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

As General Conference is just a few week away, just imagine if one of the Twelve Apostles, or the First Presidency decided to wear a blue shirt. By Tuesday evening (Two days later) every blue shirt in Utah would be sold out. Members would buy out every clothing store on the internet. This because without a word from a Church Leader, most would believe that “blue shirts are now a commandment”.

Hyperbole much?

Link to comment
2 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

Hyperbole much?

It might not be that hyperbolic. And some people would change to white, it no longer being seen as rebellious to wear colored.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

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