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The Mormon Temple Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
July 27, 2021 9:04 pm

The Mormon Temple Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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July 27, 2021 9:04 pm

This week Bill and Eric discuss the Mormon temple, discussing the reasons why Mormons consider this to be most important and any relationship today’s LDS temples have with the temple in Jerusalem.


In their own words, a collection of Mormon quotations compiled by Mormonism Research Ministries Bill McKeever is a valuable resource when wanting to know what Mormon leaders have said on a given topic.

Pick up your copy at the Utah Lighthouse Bookstore or In 1879, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism. This week we are looking at the temple and the ceremonies that it includes. Now, of course, these are unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because temple worship is not really a part of the Christian belief system.

It never really has been, not to say that Christians did not go to the temple during the first century, but certainly it is not something that is a part of our worship today. But it is a big part when it comes to the lives of a Latter-day Saint. Well, what are these temple ordinances? I'm looking at a book titled The Encyclopedia of Mormonism. And first of all, you might be wondering, well, is that title even appropriate in light of what Russell M. Nelson said in 2018 in using the word Mormonism?

Well, it was okay back then, and this book was published in 1992. But in this book, on page 1,444, and I'm looking at volume 4, which covers topics from T through Z, there's a section on temple ordinances, and I just want to read the subheadings as they are found in this book. There are washing and anointings, the temple endowment, sealing of families, and then this author also has another category called sealing of adopted children.

I don't know if that second category is absolutely essential because you would think that adopted children are part of a family. And then you have what's known as proxy ordinances, proxy ordinances, and this would include baptism for the dead, which is a rite performed in temples, is probably the most often rite performed in temples owned by the LDS Church. Well, what are washings and anointings?

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, volume 4, same page, 1,444, explains what they are. Washings and anointings are preparatory or initiatory ordinances in the temple. They signify the cleansing and sanctifying power of Jesus Christ applied to the attributes of the person and to the hallowing of all life.

Women are set apart to administer the ordinances to women, and men are set apart to administer the ordinances to men. A commemorative garment is given with these ordinances and is worn thereafter by the participant. So we have a ceremonial washing and anointing, and there are certain words that the person going through the temple are to hear by a temple worker. They will wash them with water, ceremoniously, it's not like they're sitting in a bathtub or anything like that, or a shower, it's not like that at all, it's ceremonial. And then they go through another process where they are anointed with oil. The question we have to ask is, the words that are used in both the washing and anointing ceremony, are they even close to what we could imagine would have been done in the first century? Because remember, Mormons are told that what they are doing in their temple ceremony is a restoration of what was done in biblical times, and I would argue, no, we do not see this at all.

So how can it be a restoration? Now, it mentions here that a commemorative garment is given with these ordinances and worn thereafter by the participant. Well, this is referring to the garment of the holy priesthood. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism on that same page explains what the garment of the holy priesthood is. The white undergarment worn by those members who have received the ordinances of the temple endowment is a ceremonial one. All adults who enter the temple are required to wear it. In LDS temples, men and women who receive priesthood ordinances wear this undergarment and other priestly robes. The garment is worn at all times, but the robes are worn only in the temple. Having made covenants of righteousness, the members wear the garment under their regular clothing for the rest of their lives, day and night, partially to remind them of the sacred covenants they have made with God. Eric, let me ask you, do you think the Apostle Paul wore a garment of the holy priesthood?

I can't imagine that, Bill. You know, you just don't have any explanation of anyone that would have had any kind of special garment except for the tribe of Aaron. The Levites were the ones who were working in the temple, but we don't see normal people wearing anything signifying their participation in temple activities. And that's why I asked the question, because again, the main theme that we're finding here is that the LDS Church insists that what they are doing is a restoration of what was done anciently. Well, if those going through an LDS temple are given this garment of the holy priesthood, and after making covenants of righteousness, these members are to wear the garment under their regular clothing for the rest of their lives, day and night, to remind them of the sacred covenants they made with God in the temple, then wouldn't you have to assume that Christians during the first century who had gone to the temple as Latter-day Saints are led to believe, would they not also have had to wear this particular type of garment day in and day out for the rest of their lives?

Of course, the answer to this question, and I know to some it might seem silly, but I mean this most sincerely. If you're going to insist that what Mormons are doing is something that has always been done, in other words, it's a restoration, then we should find the same pattern. If we don't see the pattern, it cannot be a restoration.

We can classify it as being unique to the worship and practice of the Latter-day Saints, but it is not a restoration of the way things were done in ancient Christianity. Bill, do you remember years ago when Mike Wallace interviewed Gordon B. Hinckley? That was an issue that came up as far as Mr. Marriott, who supposedly was part of a boat fire, and he claimed on the 60 Minutes broadcast that the garments actually saved him from harm. How many times have we heard that these garments are protective to them?

It almost becomes like a good luck charm. I do remember that interview by Mike Wallace, and of course we might ask, why didn't Steve Young, who years ago was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, and at the time I think he was one of the most eligible bachelors in the LDS church, he would not wear his garments while he was playing football. You would think if the garments really protect you, that should have been something that Steve Young should have been wearing when he was out on the field, since from what I understand, he had several injuries during his career. Well, he said he didn't want to desecrate the garments, and that was part of that same broadcast, because they talked to him about that.

It's almost as if you make up the rules yourself as you go along. Well, in the temple endowment ceremony that we're going to be talking about, there is a voice that the participants hear, and it's coming from a person who is known as the second lecturer, and this is what they hear when they are going through the temple by this lecturer. You have had a garment placed upon you, which you were informed represents the garment given to Adam and Eve when they were found naked in the Garden of Eden, and which is called the garment of the holy priesthood. This you were instructed to wear throughout your life. You were informed that it will be a shield and a protection to you inasmuch as you do not defile it, and if you are true and faithful to your covenants.

Now let's dissect what has just been said. You have had a garment placed upon you, which you were informed represents the garment given to Adam and Eve when they were found naked in the Garden of Eden. Are we to take that statement seriously? Do we really believe that the garment that was given to Adam and Eve had any similarity to what the garment of the holy priesthood is in the LDS church? Of course not!

Of course not! But yet this is what these people are being told. And it went on to say, this you were instructed to wear throughout your life. You were informed that it will be a shield and protection to you inasmuch as you do not defile it, and if you are true and faithful to your covenants.

Again, these covenants are promises that the patron going through the temple is making that they will keep all of the commandments that they have been given by their church. Now, do they really believe it's going to be a shield and a protection from physical harm? Well, what did Spencer W. Kimball, the 12th president of the church say in the book The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, page 539? All garments afford protection. I am sure one could go to extreme in worshiping the cloth of which the garment is made, but one could also go to the other extreme. Though generally I think our protection is a mental, spiritual, moral one, yet I am convinced that there could be and undoubtedly have been many cases where there has been, through faith, an actual physical protection, so we must not minimize that possibility.

Well, certainly Marriott believed it, and so if Marriott believed it in that interview that you mentioned earlier, then why wouldn't other Latter-day Saints believe it as well? I have personally heard from Latter-day Saints give me stories of how they felt the garment protected them in certain situations. Now, I think Kimball is offering himself an out when he says that you can take it to an extreme, but I don't get the impression that these people who really feel that the garment did protect them from some kind of physical harm were worshipping the cloth.

Now, you see how Kimball couched that? You could take it to the extreme and worship the cloth. I wouldn't say that that's what these people were doing, they just felt that this garment that they were given in the temple has this special type of significance. Now, Mormons get upset when outsiders irreverently refer to them as magic underwear, but you can see why that conclusion can be made by those who do not feel the same respect for these garments as, of course, Latter-day Saints would. I don't personally recommend using that kind of an expression when talking to a Latter-day Saint.

In fact, I don't even bring up the subject. I've often kidded around with Christians saying, look, we don't want to talk about our underwear any more than Mormons want to talk about theirs, so this is not a subject that I would recommend bringing up in a conversation. You're bringing up a good point, because if you're a Christian listening to this, and you can see the undergarments under somebody's clothes oftentimes, like men will wear white shirts, and under that you'll see the undergarment.

It's one of those things we just don't want to mock, and we don't want to belittle. It's just something that we're talking about here to explain why Latter-day Saints believe that they need to wear these special garments. What we are trying to do in this series, as we often do on this show, is to demonstrate the difference between the two belief systems. Again, it goes back to that argument that Latter-day Saints often raise. They feel that they are believing and practicing like first century Christians believed and practiced. The temple is one of those examples. The garment is one of those examples. But yet we do not find anywhere in history where that can be supported. That's the point we're trying to make. We hope you will join us again as we look at another Viewpoint on Mormonism.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-19 13:07:57 / 2023-09-19 13:13:00 / 5

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