Justin, a reader of Temple Study, brought to my attention that there may be more temple imagery in Matthew 25 than just the parable of the ten virgins. Indeed, the parable of the talents has some striking shadows and allusions to the temple too. In the same spirit Elder Robbins likened the parable of the ten virgins to our modern temple, let’s take a look at the parable of the talents “with the temple in mind” ((Lynn G. Robbins, “Oil in Our Lamps,” Ensign, Jun 2007, 44-48)). There may be many interpretations of these parables. The parable of the talents has often been attributed to how we use the talents, skills and blessings we’ve been given of God on the earth. But when we think specifically of the temple, these are some of the things that come to my mind: [Read more…]
On my tour through Ukraine a couple years ago I became familiar with what is known as the iconostasis (plural iconostases) that is found in almost every Eastern Orthodox Church. This is a thin wall or partition that separates the nave, where the lay worshipers reside, from the sanctuary in the church, where the priests prepare the sacraments at the altar. As one enters a church, the iconostasis is the most visual object, and center of focus, at the end of the nave. The iconostasis most likely evolved from the early chancel screen or templon, another form of the partition still used in Western churches, templon being from the Greek word meaning “temple,” deriving “from the Christian idea of the shrine where God was worshipped” ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templon)).
Some of the most distinguishing features of the iconostasis are [Read more…]
There was an article published yesterday on Beehive Standard Weekly by Emerson Chase on the subject of “The Sacred Garment of Mormon Theology.” I think that the author is generally sincere in his object of attempting to combat the barrage of criticism and ridicule that the members of the LDS Church receive for what the world has nicknamed “Mormon underwear.” Chase gives an overview of the process by which a member of the Church becomes converted to the gospel, a process by which one continues to receive higher ordinances of the gospel until they come to the temple where they partake of the most solemn and binding covenants that man can make with God. These highest and most sacred covenants are symbolized by the wearing of the garment. As Chase says:
In essence, the garment reflects the promise to each other [husband and wife] and to God to obey God’s laws for their own benefit, for the benefit of their marriage and ultimately for their families. . . .
The Mormon Garment is not worn in such a manner as to display the covenants made by the individual to the world. Where a pastor or preacher might wear a white collar or robe to indicate authority and covenants to God, Mormons are very personal with their commitments and wear the garment under their clothing. In short, it is a statement that the covenants established are between that person and God and the opinions of others don’t count. There is no show-and-tell because the covenants are sacred, and because of their personal nature, secret. It is somewhat like medical records or financial information. It is not something that is considered appropriate for public discourse or disclosure.
However, referring to his own counsel, where much direct discussion of the garment is not considered appropriate, and where the object of the address was to combat the criticism members receive because of it, I believe Chase may have been somewhat overzealous in explaining and describing the culture and idiosyncrasies which surround this sacred symbol of our worship.
We are told to “Trifle not with sacred things” (D&C 6:12). While it is entirely appropriate to talk generally about what the garment is for and what it means as a symbol of our promises to God, we must always maintain the utmost respect in our dialogue of such sacred subjects and not bring it to the level of humor, dating games, and how to spot a Mormon. Indeed, such talk can unknowingly fuel the fire of scoff from our detractors, instead of helping to extinguish it.
As Chase points out, the garment is used by Latter-day Saints similarly to the way other religious traditions have clergy that wear special robes or other unique identification as symbols of their solemn obligations to God. As these things are not treated lightly by other faiths, so should we be very careful and considerate in our discussions about the garment.
Dr. Andrew C. Skinner, currently executive director of The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at BYU, gives a good and succinct definition and description of what an LDS temple is over at the MormonChurch.com blog. Such an answer would be good for those who question us what the temple is all about.
Here is an excerpt:
Latter-day Saint or Mormon temples are holy edifices or buildings wherein the most sacred ordinances, rites, and ceremonies are performed that pertain to full and complete salvation in the Kingdom of God, usually referred to as exaltation. Because Latter-day Saints believe that life continues after this mortal existence, and that all men and women deserve and need to participate in these saving ordinances instituted by God, members of the Church who have participated in these ordinances for their own salvation are encouraged to return to the temple often to act as proxies for ancestors who have passed on. . . .
Read the rest here.
Since today is Presidents Day, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at the inauguration of the President of the United States into office. It is rightly called an oath of office or presidential oath. Wikipedia defines such an oath:
An oath of office is an oath or affirmation a person takes before undertaking the duties of an office, usually a position in government or within a religious body, although such oaths are sometimes required of officers of other organizations. Such oaths are often required by the laws of the state, religious body, or other organization before the person may actually exercise the powers of the office or any religious body. It may be administered at an inauguration, coronation, enthronement, or other ceremony connected with the taking up of office itself, or it may be administered privately. In some cases may be administered privately and then repeated during a public ceremony.
Some oaths of office are a statement of loyalty to a constitution or other legal text or to a person or other office-holder (e.g., an oath to support the constitution of the state, or of loyalty to the king). Under the laws of a state it may be considered treason or a high crime to betray a sworn oath of office. ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_office))
The actual formal act of taking this oath consists of the President raising their right arm to the square, following the lead of the officiator or Chief Justice of the United States who wears the formal ceremonial regalia, the President also usually extends and places their left hand on the Bible or other sacred object, and repeats the oath after the officiator as follows:
I, [insert the name of the one taking the oath], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States so help me God. ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_office_of_the_President_of_the_United_States))
This mandatory oath is specifically delineated in the Constitution of the United States, Article II, Section 1, Clause 8. The words “so help me God” and the act of putting the hand on the Bible indicate a sacred witness of the action, thus sealing or making the nature of the oath binding under the witness of God Himself. Often the Bible is opened to a specific verse. Indeed, after taking this oath President Abraham Lincoln noted that his act was “registered in heaven.” The breaking of such an oath is considered an act of treason or high crime, the penalty of which is determined by a high court.
Here is a link to photos of several Presidents taking this oath. Here is a link to photos of other government leaders around the world taking similar oaths. Below is a video of the last 13 Presidents of the United States taking this singular oath of office, noting that each time it is considered a highly solemn, sacred and respected moment: