One of the more interesting rites that has been practiced throughout time is one where a high priest knocks on a holy door or gate three times with a hammer, mallet, or mace before opening and entering.
Some critics of the Church claim that the LDS temple practices are hidden from those investigating the Church until they are already baptized and confirmed members of the Church, and only then are they introduced to the ordinances, doctrines, and practices that are found in the temple, as if the Church springs something upon new converts that they have never heard of previously. While there are sacred aspects of the temple that are only to be experienced by attending the temple, this claim largely has no basis whatsoever. Missionaries of the Church introduce investigators to the doctrines, principles, and ordinances of the temple before their baptism. The following is from the “Preach My Gospel” instruction book, lesson 5 on “Laws and Ordinances,” which missionaries are to teach investigators before their baptism: [Read more…]
What the inside of an LDS (Mormon) temple looks like is not a secret. Before the dedication of each new temple, they are opened up to the public in a several week-long open house. Many thousands of people are freely allowed inside to see the different rooms and feel the Spirit of the Lord that resides there. Pictures of the outside and inside are published by the Church. Then the building is closed to the public and is dedicated to the Lord and set apart for the work of performing gospel ordinances for the salvation of the living and the dead, the Atonement of Jesus Christ making it all possible.
See a short video inside the newest temple of the Church in Rexburg, Idaho, compiled from published photographs from the LDS Church.
A recent post from the Summa Theologica blog highlights a note in the latest FARMS review article “The Study of Mormonism: A Growing Interest in Academia” by M. Gerald Bradford, Associate Executive Director of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University. Bradford recognizes that there is a general lack of conversation about the ritual aspect of Mormonism in academia:
The experiential, ritual, ethical and legal, and material dimensions of Mormonism all have one thing in common: relatively little attention has been paid to them. These elements need to be integrated with other dimensions of the faith and compared with like characteristics in other religions before the tradition’s structural makeup is fully portrayed. What it means to be a Latter-day Saint is reflected in the experiential and ritual dimensions of the faith every bit as much as in what adherents believe or in the sacred writings they hold dear . . . the study of the ritual or ceremonial dimension of Mormonism, in everyday life and worship, is of vital importance in gaining a better appreciation of the tradition as a whole. This aspect also needs to be studied in comparison with patterned celebrations and formalities manifested in other traditions.
I received this LDS Daily Gem yesterday:
The temple is a place to know the Father and the Son. It is a place where we experience the divine presence. The Prophet Joseph Smith made this plea: ‘I advise all to . . . search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Godliness‘ (History of the Church, 6:363). And where shall we search? In the house of God. (Richard H. Winkel, “The Temple Is About Families,” Ensign, Nov. 2006, 11)
One of the things that I have learned is that when the word mystery was used anciently, it had a very different meaning than it does today. As Hugh Nibley has explained: [Read more…]