1. Great post.

    I am not sure why this angers people so, but over the years when I have shared this story, I find many are angered, especially BYU graduates. Like they thought the graduation ceremony was a pristine rite that was part of the restoration.

    I like Nibley’s explanation that the Temple is a model of the universe, and that the university attempts the same imagery. That the university is an unauthorized (apostate) attempt to imitate the temple.


  2. Thanks Chad and David.

    Yes, Nibley was not too fond of what the university has become today (see his Day of the Amateur). Instead of a symbol of education, it has become a symbol of worldly power and authority, of titles and degrees, which mean relatively little.

  3. I love the speech that followed the “robes of an apostate priesthood” and love Nibley’s courage to denounce worldliness.

    And interesting to compare how the world views the rites of graduation and of the temple. What a fascinating contrast…

  4. Nibley’s observations were neither casual nor mistaken. The cap and gown traditionally worn at commencement exercises is no less than a variation of the temple garment, appropriated by the secular, educational wing of the ‘science church’ in order to secure more gravitas. This is the same church that Nephi saw in vision. That we Saints fail to see this amazed and dismayed the good doctor, who clearly understood this truth. This led him to reveal this astounding irony by pleading for God’s forgiveness. That earnest plea was not said with tongue in cheek, but with the utmost sincerity born of a profound knowledge and understanding of the past and the present. It was far more than a mere denunciation of simple worldliness; it was a condemnation of our profound ignorance.

  5. […] That earnest plea was not said with tongue in cheek, but with the utmost sincerity born of a profound knowledge and understanding of the past and the present. It was far more than a mere denunciation of simple worldliness; it was a condemnation of our profound ignorance.” Anthony Larson […]

  6. Rebekah

    I just found this blog and was drawn to this particular article. Very interesting. I am quite fond of my education and my degree but something about this article reminded something my father told me around the same time I graduated from my university. He basically scorned the education system of today and mentioned that when he was in school, education was something for knowledge sake to learn and grow from. That was the purpose of school and education, but now the degree means nothing more than a commodity and a means to an end. Education is used to gain wealth, power and advancement of a career and not just for a love of knowledge for knowledge sake.

  7. Marcelo Moreira

    This article is so comforting and eye-opening…

    I never really made it to college, though I made it through one of the most difficult admission exams in Brazil (Campinas State University – if any of you know anything about Brazil, will probably have heard about this renowned university). I had just begun my sophomore year at Unicamp when my wife got pregnant… she was 31 and I was 35, age where most of those pursuing an academic carreer will have attained their doctorate degree. But not me.

    That has never kept me from entering the Holy Temple, though – in Campinas, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, or even SLC, Ogden, Logan or Bountiful, where I finished my treasured mission to Utah, back in the late 90’s.

    The counterfeit version of the Holy Temple in Campinas could not provide the peace, understanding and personal development of one single endowment session at the TRUE University in Campinas, which I, like the majority of us, have attended so many times. I am now a 37 year old father of a beautiful, healthy, born under the covenant 5 month old boy. My name may not be written in fancy letters on expesive paper hanging on a wall, but it is my prayer that my name will be deeply and eternally engraved on my son’s heart.

    The temple really is the true place of learning on Earth these days. Bro. Nibley understood that so clearly that he alarmed on the excessive importance Church members may give to their college degree… but his comments were made out of love.

    I surely understanding the importance and relevance of a college degree in enriching our lives and making us more effective tools in God’s hands, to help our fellow men. But the the incomparably clean, neat and sparkling white robes we wear at the Temple remind me of who I really am – a child of God!

  8. Dave

    I just found this article, and I am blown away! I’m 34 years old, and not once has the similarities between the temple endowment and the worldly counterfeit occurred to me. How the heck did I miss that?? It’s so obvious!

    Thanks for the article, this is seriously eye-opening stuff!

  9. Miguel David Gedo

    I being one of the first homeschooled children in the state of Utah back in the ’60s my mother took me to BYU with her. I went with her until 1978 was she graduated with seven Master degrees, I tell everyone because I went with her to BYU that I also have seven Master degrees. Cleon skelson Don black and Dr Hugh nibley where my favorite classes. Dr nibley took me under his wing probably because we were members of the same ward in Provo. I had the privilege to talk to him for the last time one week before his death, we were working together on the book of Abraham. Brother nibley said my last name “Gedo” means the “grandfather of Egypt”. (Now you know Joseph’s last name) And that I was a direct descendant from bithia, the daughter of pharaoh and also the adopted mother of Moses. His last words to me was that he had a vision with Abraham and that I was in the vision with Abraham but I’m not at liberty to disclose any information for my protection.

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