Not only do the graduation ceremonies of universities have interesting ritual qualities, but the matriculation ceremonies do also. The commentor Jonovitch on the Times and Seasons blog also made a reference to one of the opening scenes from the movie Mona Lisa Smile. This scene is from a 1953 matriculation ceremony, or a type of induction or initiation, of Wellesley College, a conservative women’s private liberal arts college in Massachusetts.[Read more…]
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…]