The Holy Temple

I am well aware of the fact that what I'm about to do might get me into a great deal of trouble with my Mormon family, and probably most of my Mormon friends too.  I have thought about this carefully and I have decided that I think I really am doing the right thing by sharing this.  I do have the comfort of knowing that my family pretty much doesn't read my blog anymore anyway, so if they do find out about this it will be from someone who tells them that I made this post.

Anyway, I came across a video the other day of someone who went to the temple and actually recorded the temple ceremony.  That is available here.  If you don't want to watch it, don't watch it.  It's actual footage of the instructions on how to go through the veil of the temple at the very end of the ceremony. I still have the whole of this dialog memorized, since I did it myself well over 100 times in the 9 years that I was a temple-going member.  This is the part of the ceremony that was taken from the freemasons.  Joseph Smith became a freemason prior to designing his temple ceremonies.  The temple ceremony has undergone several changes over the years, but the masonic symbolism remains--even down to the square and compass being stitched into the temple garment that all temple-going members are required to wear.

Anyway, the reason that I want to share this is so that people can know what happens inside the Mormon temples.  If someone is investigating the church, I think it is only fair that they are made aware of as much information about the church as possible prior to joining it so that they can make an informed decision on whether they want to join.  Also, for members of the church who are getting ready to go to the temple, I think it is important for them to know what they are getting themselves into.

I do not post this to mock Mormons or Mormonism.  I'm simply sharing the absolute truth about the matter and I'll let you draw your own conclusions about it.  But, since I do not want to have this be a mockery of the church, please refrain from being inconsiderate in your comments. I do want people to always feel welcome to leave any comments that they wish to leave.  But I also want any of my Mormon friends who read this to know that I really do mean well and that this isn't just about ridicule.  It's only about exposure.  I understand the strong feelings that Mormons have for the temple and what happens inside, since I once had those exact same feelings and while I did, I know I would be hurt if someone were to make fun of me for it.

Before I went to the temple for the first time, it was a very mysterious place, full of wonder.  I knew people went there to do baptisms as proxy for people who had died without becoming Mormon, and I knew people got married there, but that's all I knew.  They don't talk about the temple very much at all and the reason given for that is "it's sacred".  All the time in Sunday School classes when they talk about the temple they'll say "it's sacred, not secret".  Well, that is precisely one of the reasons why I am sharing this.  Because, even according to Mormons, it's not secret.  I will, however, point out the obvious doublethink that's going on here because I know that any of my devout Mormon family who find out that I've shared this will be angry, hurt, or disappointed that I have done so.  If it's not a secret, they shouldn't have any problem with me sharing it.  Also, in the temple when you learn about this stuff, they make you promise that you will never reveal it.  If that's not a secret, I don't know what is.

Even knowing that this will cause discomfort to Mormon readers of my blog, I have decided to share it because I think that it should be public information.  In fact, I think that the discomfort caused is actually one of the reasons why I feel it is a good idea to share it.  I think it will be good for any Mormons who read this to rethink the phrase "sacred, not secret" when they see something like this and get uncomfortable from the exposure.

What I'm going to share right here really isn't betraying any secrets that Mormons are trying to keep, since you can read about it even in books that they themselves publish, and learn about it in a temple prep class.  In the temple, there are 5 covenants (promises) that you make with god as part of the ceremony.  Each has a name and is explained at the time that you promise to make it.
1. The Law of Obedience - Probably the simplest and also the most general.  The women in the room covenant to obey their husbands, inasmuch as their husband hearkens to the law of God.  The men in the room covenant to obey God.
2. The Law of Sacrifice - You promise to sacrifice all that you have--even your own life, if necessary--for defending the kingdom of God.
3. The Law of the Gospel - This is more of a (seemingly) random list of specific things that you should not do (to avoid all lightmindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord's anointed, the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice), as well as a general statement that says you should do what the scriptures say.
4. The Law of Chastity - You promise to live the law of chastity, which is that you should not have any sexual relations except with your husband or wife to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded.
5. The Law of Consecration - You promise to consecrate all your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which He may bless you, to the LDS church for the building up of the kingdom of God on the Earth and the establishment of Zion.  I've often wondered how this differs from the law of sacrifice, since they seem to be very similar to each other.

The video I am embedding here is not actual footage from the temple, but a veil worker who has left the church and is simply describing what goes on at the veil.  I figured some people might find this slightly less offensive, since it's not actually showing the temple itself, but at the same time it still explains what happens at the veil and how it is quite masonic in nature.  Again, if you don't want to watch it, then don't.  Also, he does get some things wrong--you have to give him a break, it's been a long time since he's been to the temple--but they're all minor things, like he can't remember if you hold hands with the person on your left or right in the prayer circle (that's understandable--the men hold hands with the woman on their left, so for the women it's the person on their right).  And they've changed the ceremony a couple times since he last went, too.  He talks about the Pe-le-el chant.  That was removed sometime before 2002 when I first went to the temple--I'm not sure exactly when.  Now they just chant "Oh God, hear the words of my mouth." which is what Pe-le-el is supposed to mean in English.