1. I would say Church members who aren’t yet Temple-goers would be “children”.

    As in, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” –Matthew 18:3–4

    Or, “…men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children…For the natural man is an enemy to God…unless he …becometh as a child…” –Mosiah 3:18–19

    Concerning members of the Church who are still working on being Temple-goers, Christ has said,
    “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

    I agree…they are clearly not dogs and swine.

  2. Hmmm… Interesting viewpoint. I’m not sure that non-temple-goers are more “children” than those who are temple-goers, not that you necessarily meant that. For, as you’ve said so well, only those who become as little children will inherit and enter into the kingdom of God, and become greatest. Perhaps we begin our journey to become as a child when we become members of the Church, and we more fully become such when we go to the temple. Thank you for your insight.

  3. IMHO, the distinction between “us” and the “dogs and pigs” is not necessarily meant as an insult, but as a distinction is between the “holy” and the “unholy.”

    Things that are holy are set-apart to God. They are above the world of the not saved, and the non atoned for. Dog and swine don’t care about holy things and they degrad them, not on purpose, but by nature. I love my dog, but he does not belong in the temple. He is not holy, and he can not understand holy things.

    Many non-members have read the text of the temple, even scholars, but they can’t understand it. It is holy and only those seeking holiness can understand it, and it is only understood through revelation.


  4. I would go so far as to say that the demarcation of unholy, the saved, the holy, and the holy of holies, is a main function of the temple. So we should not be surprised that the non-holy are not invited. Egalitarianism should not be our goal, but holiness.


  5. Ferreira

    Well said, David.

    Nibly addresses this subject in “Return to the Temple”

    “When the Lord speaks of giving precious things to the dogs and pearls to the swine, it is not with contempt for those creatures, but with the futility of such a thing for all concerned–the dogs would find no value in precious things, which would be thrown away into dirt and trodden under foot.” p65

    “The constant concern is to keep Israel out of contact with the profane things of the world; the reason given is not absolute secrecy, but to keep these sacred things from becoming halal, that is vulgar, popular, the subject of everyday discussion, in a word, trivia. This is what is meant by blasphemy, which signifies not some awful and horrible commitment to evil but simply taking holy things lightly.” p65

    The page references are from “Temple and Cosmos” CWHN: 12. The section of Return to the Temple titled “Secrecy” offers a good investigation on the subject.

  6. Pete

    The passage said, “For the world cannot receive that which ye, yourselves, are
    not able to bear.”

    What mysteries of the kingdom are the saints not able to bear?


  7. The temple ordinances that we currently have are so rich and deeply symbolic that many members of the Church cannot “bear” them in terms of understanding them fully. I don’t claim to have even scratched the surface of their worth. Even the prophets have admitted to only barely grasping the significance of them. Elder Packer tells of an experience with President David O. McKay:

    Not long before he died, when on infrequent occasions he would come to our meetings, he stood one day in the meeting and began to discuss the temple ceremony, the endowment. I will never forget! He stood there in that tall majesty that was typical of him. He had his big, bony hands on his chest and looked at the ceiling as he began to quote the endowment. (We were assembled there in the upper room [of the temple] and it was not inappropriate to discuss that there.) He quoted it at some great length. We were enthralled and inspired and knew we were witnessing a great moment. Then he stopped and looked again at the ceiling for a moment or two. Then he said, “I think I’m finally beginning to understand.” That was very comforting to me. After nearly sixty-four years as an Apostle, he still had things that he was learning. Then we knew we were in the presence of not only the teacher who was teaching, but of a student who was learning. (Packer, Charge to the David O. McKay School of Education, December 1996)

    If even the prophet thinks that he is only beginning to understand the temple, then how far do members of the Church have to go before we will be able to “bear” the things that God has given us?

  8. Pete

    In New Testament times and in what is recorded in the Book of Mormon, what
    temple ordinances were the early disciples involved in in that Jesus told them
    not to mention to “the world?”

    What in the New Testament indicates that the context of what Jesus was talking
    about referred to anything about the temple?


  9. Since the temple is a holy and sacred place, where holy ordinances are performed, Christ’s words directly apply – “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matt. 7:6). Christ himself referred to the temple as his Father’s house, making it a holy place indeed (John 2:16; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46). As is taught throughout the scriptures, temples are sacred places, set apart and consecrated, and only certain people have been allowed into them since the the foundation of the world.

    As far as what ordinances were the early disciples involved in, Christ restored all the high ordinances of the Melchizedek priesthood in the meridian of time which are also had in the temple today. And today, as at that time, they are only given to certain individuals who prepare themselves and who the judges in Israel find worthy to receive them.

  10. Heather

    I don’t think it’s fair to link these comments of those working toward salvation as *only* pertaining to LDS church members; nor is it fair to link “dogs” and “swine” solely with non-members. I don’t think that’s what was meant, but just felt I needed to clarify.

    First, there are plenty of individuals that are working toward a greater understanding of truth that have not had a chance to hear or understand the restored gospel. Indeed, I have many non-LDS friends that understand and emulate Jesus Christ better than some uncaring LDS members. Even remarks of the two churches in Nephi’s visions don’t support the idea that only those in the one true church (with priesthood authority) are in the church of the Lamb of God. The scriptures make it very clear that we are either influenced by good or by evil. We choose which “church” we belong to with our desires, intents, and actions.

    You can’t judge someone’s spiritual depth and understanding by their religious affiliation, or by the ordinances they’ve received. How many endowed members of the LDS church have sought less understanding than, lets say, Martin Luther, for example? Even those affiliated with the restored gospel may not understand new or profound doctrine taught therein. In lacking this, aren’t they also acting as the “swine” mentioned above? I know astute youths that follow temple covenants more closely than some older endowed members, and probably understand the concepts better – whether or not they’ve been taught them in exactly the same way and place.

  11. Good point Heather. I think there are many outside the Church who are doing everything they can to be righteous, obey God, seek truth, and follow Christ with all their hearts. These are not to be regarded as dogs or swine either. But they are also not in a state to receive the holy things of the temple. As I said in the original post, I think Christ was referring to those in the world that utterly reject the teachings of the restored gospel. Those that don’t have them, and yet are following the light of Christ as it has been given to them, are in the right. And if they continue in the right, I believe eventually they will receive the ordinances of the House of the Lord, and become one with Christ.

    And there are many in the Church who do reject these things, by not seeking understanding, not keeping their covenants, not attending the temple, etc. With these the Lord is not well pleased, for “of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation” (D&C 82:3).

  12. Pete


    You said, “These are not to be regarded as dogs or swine either. As I said in
    the original post, I think Christ was referring to those in the world that utterly
    reject the teachings of the restored gospel.”

    That’s a fair statement. I would consider these individuals as swine and dogs.
    But I would consider partially rejecting the teachings of the restored gospel
    the same as utterly (or wholly) rejecting them.

    A context issue arises when it comes to how people define “utterly” rejecting
    the teachings of the restored gospel. Does “utterly” mean 100%, 50%, or
    20%, or some other value?

    If it is a matter of “utterly” (or 100%) rejecting the teachings of the restored
    gospel, then O (zero) people would be considered as swine and dogs because
    no one on the planet knows what all the teachings of the restored gospel are.
    So then who in “the world” was Jesus referring to?

    There are people in the church who are really in the “world” (so to speak) so
    we can’t totally separate them from the unholy members who are both ” in the
    world” and not members of a church.

    Then you said, “And there are many in the Church who do reject these things,
    by not seeking understanding, not keeping their covenants, not attending the
    temple, etc. ”

    By the same token, I would consider these as swine and dogs too. You have
    unholy members both in the church and without. As with the Law, breaking
    one commandment is like breaking them all.

    I believe members in the church are either pursing holiness or unholiness and
    this is why I can consider some of the church members as dogs and swine.
    Being “in the world” is not always synonymous with “not being a church-tithing

    Thank you,


  13. Yes, there are unholy people both in the Church and without, and if they continue in unholiness and in rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they are not fit to receive the holy mysteries of God – i.e. swine and dogs – wholly unprepared and unworthy to have that which is holy.

  14. Jeff


    I’m an evangelical christian and I have heard and seen a lot about temple ordinances from former Mormons who have posted stuff on the Internet. While I don’t agree with the temple ordinances, I respect the beliefs of its patrons … freedom of religion you know. I also don’t accept the LDS teachings about a Heavenly Mother and the restored gospel. I do believe in a great apostasy before Jesus defeats the man of sin at His Second Coming however (2 Thessalonians 2).

    Since I do not trample LDS temple ordinances, can these “pearls” be cast before people like me?


  15. Hi Jeff,

    First off, thank you for respecting our beliefs. I would hope that we would always be able to respect each other, and learn from each other, even if we do not agree on certain points of theology. Having Krister Stendahl’s “holy envy” is good counsel.

    As for the temple ordinances, we are fully aware that some former members of the LDS Church have posted them on the internet, much to their discredit and violation of covenants made with God. Yet, even as they are available in this form, we believe they are far from being understood in that setting, as well as being completely inefficacious in any sense to those who view them. There is no Spirit there to testify and witness and teach of the symbolism, and there is no priesthood authority administering. When these things leave their sacred environment, they become unrecognizable and meaningless. Those former members who so defame and profane the holy things of God have not really received them in the first place, for if they had they would have kept them sacred. Hence, their exposés are in vain.

    But even if individuals respect our temple worship practices, they are still not meant to be revealed to those that are not members of the LDS Church and who have not prepared themselves to receive such. Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said:

    Our reluctance to speak of the sacred temple ordinances is not in any way an attempt to make them seem more mysterious or to encourage an improper curiosity about them. The ordinances and ceremonies of the temple are simple. They are beautiful. They are sacred. They are kept confidential lest they be given to those who are unprepared. Curiosity is not a preparation. Deep interest itself is not a preparation. Preparation for the ordinances includes preliminary steps: faith, repentance, baptism, confirmation, worthiness, a maturity and dignity worthy of one who comes invited as a guest into the house of the Lord. (The Holy Temple)

    I would certainly not consider people such as yourself, and those who respect our worship beliefs, as swine or dogs, but that still does not mean that they are fit to receive those holy things which have been prepared by God to be given only to certain individuals in a certain time and place.

  16. I am all for being good neighbors with other faiths or of no faith. All people are our brothers and sisters where ever they are in the world, they have rights from God, and we should respect each other, and not call each other names. Yes there are bad people in the LDS church. Let’s get past this pedestrian stumbling block and understand what is being taught.

    It was Jesus who used the words dogs and swine, and I am not going to apologize for His words.

    I would ask Heather; do you think there is salvation outside of the church? Do you believe people can reject any of the principle of the gospel/church (Christ, atonement, baptism, the temple) and still inherit the Celestial Kingdom?

    Thanks Jeff for your friendly style of engaging LDS people.

    By Jeff’s own admission he rejects the temple. Clearly there were doctrines that existed in the “original church” that were not available to everyone. Some call this the “mysteries” or the hidden things of God (biblical terms, not mine). Jesus was in effect saying that if people do not sanctify themselves to a certain level (through the atonement of course), and make themselves holy, they should not have these hidden things. If Jeff rejects certain principles and ordinances of the gospel, (atonement, baptism, priesthood, and restoration), it is precisely him that is excluded from further knowledge.

    Those former member internet betrayers of their temple covenants are the ones Jesus said would turn back around and trample us. IMHO


  17. Heather


    Here are some of my thoughts… The ordinances of the temple are sacred. Oftentimes when these ordinances and teachings are presented elsewhere, it is with a biased and incomplete view; sometimes not intended as such.

    Because of their sacred nature, they are not as openly discussed. The things mentioned in the temple have their base in the scriptures. Individual ordinances, teachings of the atonement, and specific commandments of God found in the temple are replete in the Bible, and other LDS scriptures. These scriptures can and should be studied extensively. The temple ordinances are left to individuals largely to ponder with aid of prayer and scripture. It is a time that the Holy Ghost can teach each person individually. These ordinances and teachings should NOT be studied and discussed out of the temple. Even intelligent, well-meaning people like yourself should not be handed information on what happens in the temple, because of this need to prepare.

    You mentioned yourself that based on the comments of prior LDS members and other resources, you disagree with the temple teachings. This is interesting to me because you probably don’t have a complete picture of the matters at hand, as mentioned in the first paragraph. You also find yourself outside the sphere of both step-by-step preparation to enter the temple, and the holy atmosphere in which those teachings should be received: ie, the temple is a place designated by God for these teachings to be shown. The Holy Ghost can testify there, and it is not fit that the teachings are shown elsewhere – especially without preparation!

    So to sum up, although the temple ordinances and teachings are found in the scriptures, they are sacred. The atonement of Jesus Christ enables us to make covenants and repent. As we covenant to become more like Him, and work toward that with active faith, his divine grace aids us. The temple ordinances are just this serious and sacred. They may seem simple, but have profound and far-reaching significance. They must be prepared for, step by step.

    You are NOT a ‘swine’ or a ‘dog’, any individual that is seeking for a righteous life in harmony with God’s teachings is exemplary. I have faith that His love for each son and daughter of His will guide them. It is those that do not seek to do His will that are compared to dogs and swine, and only because they make themselves as such. This is not to say they cannot change. God, sadly, cannot help if they don’t have faith in Christ, repentance, and an attitude of both faithful works and gratitude for enabling grace that we will never earn or deserve. These actions lead us to try to become more like Christ, hence leading to covenants. Hence, the need for the temple and priesthood authority from God that administers these saving and changing ordinances.

  18. To comment on something David said, I think we need to be clear about salvation inside/outside the Church. We believe that there are an innumerable company of people who lived their entire lives outside of the Church on earth, perhaps in a variety of different faiths, who will still have the opportunity to accept the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and receive salvation and exaltation in the Celestial kingdom of God. That is the whole purpose of the work for the redemption of the dead which we do in the temple. It gives those who have not had a chance to hear the fulness of the gospel, to hear it, accept it or reject it, and if accepted to receive its accompanying ordinances. They may have lived their entire mortal lives as a Buddhist, or Muslim, or Baptist, but they will have the opportunity either here or in the spirit world to accept or reject the gospel as it is presented to them. That is the justice of God. Everyone has equal opportunity to return to the presence of God.

    Heather also said something that I want to clarify. She said, “These ordinances and teachings should NOT be studied and discussed out of the temple.” We must be clear what we are talking about. If this statement were to be taken in the most literal sense, this blog wouldn’t exist. We can certainly study and discuss what the temple is about outside of the temple, but it must be done in the appropriate manner, with strict restraint in talking about certain specifics and language, in the right Spirit, with the right people, and in the right context.

  19. Jeff

    According to the May 1998 edition of the Ensign magazine, there are at least six different definitions for the word “salvation”.

    The two main ones are: (1) The free gift of resurrection that Christ’s atonement provides to everyone (whether atheist, Christian, or Muslim, etc) so that they may have their spirits and bodies reunited to appear before God for judgment. (2) One’s exaltation to godhood (eternal life). This is the context of 2 Nephi 25:23 – For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.


  20. Yes, we believe salvation and exaltation are two different things. We believe that most of mankind will be saved into one of three degrees (also called kingdoms or mansions) of glory in heaven, except the Sons of Perdition who are cast into outer darkness (see 1 Cor. 15: 39–41, 2 Cor. 12: 2, John 14: 2). Those that receive exaltation are those who become like Heavenly Father, and live the kind of life that He lives, which is eternal life. Only those who reach the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom will receive of exaltation.

  21. I agree with Bryce’s clarification of my comments.

    On Jeff’s comment, when I use the word “salvation” I most often mean anyone who inherits one of the degrees of glory. I think this is the most common usage of “salvation” in LDS parlance.


  22. Pete

    About Christ’s words to “give not that which is holy unto the dogs,” at what
    point does an explanation of a temple ordinance (by a temple-participant to
    a non-temple-going LDS member or to a non-LDS person) become a case of
    giving something holy unto the dogs?

    Would it be a case of if they trample you, then you gave something holy
    to a dog and if they don’t trample you, then the recipient was not a dog at
    all or what you told him was not holy?


  23. There is not a clear-cut guideline of what is appropriate and what is not appropriate to discuss outside the temple. There are certain things that members explicitly covenant not to reveal. In addition to that, we don’t reveal the language of the ordinances. We don’t reveal details of the sacred clothing worn. We don’t describe the proceedings of the ordinances in detail. Besides these, a good measuring stick is to read and learn what the prophets, apostles, other general authorities, and trusted scholars have said about the temple in public spaces, how they have said it, and emulate their example. We are to always proceed by the guidance of the Spirit. We are to always respect the temple and everything that happens there. Many times it is determined by who one is speaking to, what is the setting, what is the context, what is the subject, etc.

  24. Ferreira

    The terms swine, dogs, pearls are for comparison and to illustrate relationships rather than for derision and must be connected with the terms cast/give and the object of the gospel mysteries. The Lord is not embarrassed to be compared with animals such as a lamb or serpent (Numbers 21:5–9, Exodus 7:10–13).

    In the relationship, the swine and dogs do not seek, knock, or ask for the pearls; they don’t value the pearls, or don’t even know they exist or should be valued. They are not thankful, nor would they appropriately use/treat the gift.

    The mysteries are not to be cast (without restraint) toward or given haphazardly to one without action by the bestowed upon person.Those who do not seek, knock, or ask for gospel truths are therefore swine to those truths. One must truly receive and give heed and diligence to the gospel teachings. The mysteries are closely held; though all are invited to partake; “Come unto me all ye. . . and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28).

    D&C 88:33 “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.”

    A sow does not rejoice in the casted gift of pearls.

    Alma 12:9–11 Alma mentions the mysteries:
    “9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
    10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
    11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.”

    Nephi spoke of the Lord’s baptism and that we must be baptized in like manner. He then spoke of the Holy Ghost and next stated, “Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.” (2Nephi 32:4). I include these people in the swine catagory.

    Nephi continued “For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive [note the word receive as in D&C88:33] the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.” (v. 5).

    -swine in too many ways, Ferriera

  25. Eunice Robertson

    I have always found that the clearest yardstick on how much is appropriate to share about the temple with those who haven’t yet been, is to allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. He has often “stopped my mouth” when in my ignorance I have been tempted to share something with someone who wouldn’t understand. I have also been counseled by leaders that when we share something of the temple with someone who might not understand, we can actually harm them, by letting them make light of something sacred. We then carry that burden. So, listen to that still small voice and he will tell you what is appropriate to share about the temple, and to whom.

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