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The Mormon Temple Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
July 29, 2021 9:06 pm

The Mormon Temple Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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July 29, 2021 9:06 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.

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You hear a knock on the door and open it to find two friendly representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon Church.

So what will you say? Will you send them away without a Christian witness, or will you engage them in a meaningful and Christ-honoring conversation? If you desire the latter, may we suggest the book, Answering Mormon's Questions, by Mormonism Research Ministries Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson. Answering Mormon's Questions is available wherever you find quality Christian books. Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry. Since 1979, 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. In the Mormon Temple Endowment, what are key words, signs, and tokens? Welcome to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism.

I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry, and with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. This week we are looking at the Mormon Temple Ceremony. We know that temple involvement is very important to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are told that temple involvement is absolutely essential if they hope to receive exaltation in the next life. In the past few days, we've been going through some of these ordinances that are performed in the temple, and today we're going to discuss in more detail what the endowment is all about, specifically these handshakes and passwords as they've often been described. Now, Brigham Young talks about this, and his comments can be found in Discourses of Brigham Young on page 416. Your endowment is to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs, and tokens pertaining to the holy priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell. Now, since we are constantly bringing up the fact that there is no similarity between what Mormons are doing in their temple ceremony and what Christians believed and practiced in the first century, we need to ask ourselves, does this have any similarity to what Christians believed in the first century?

Again, we have to say no. He talks about this endowment is to receive all those ordinances. Now, these ordinances or these acts that the patrons are performing in the ceremony, again, where do we see this in the Bible? Where do we see it in the New Testament specifically?

Where do we see in history that Christians in the first century or second century were doing anything like this? Notice that Jung says that they are necessary for you after you have departed this life to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, signs, and tokens pertaining to the holy priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell. Let's just break this down for somebody who does not have any prior knowledge to the temple ceremony or what Mormonism teaches, but according to Mormonism, you're going to learn a special new name that when you die as a man, I am the one who is responsible then to call up my wife by her new name. We're going to go to what Brigham Young says, passing the angels who stand as sentinels. We have to be able to give them these key words, signs, and tokens, which are these special handshakes, in order to enter into the celestial kingdom. If this is so important, Eric, why is it we see no mention of this in the New Testament? We see nowhere in history where early Christians were ever doing anything like this. We don't even know if they gave handshakes.

We know they gave holy kisses, but we don't know anything about handshakes. And that's true, but yet these are essential if a Mormon hopes to receive his eternal exaltation, as Brigham Young says. In the temple ceremony, these tokens, these signs, these key words are explained to them as they sit listening to this lecture. We're citing from a book that you can purchase from the Utah Lighthouse Bookstore. It's titled Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony, 1842 to 1990. Eric is going to read a portion from this book when he talks about the tokens and such, but when it gets to the execution of the penalty, I'm going to be citing from a book titled Temple Mormonism, which was published in 1931.

Now why am I going to cite from this book? Because the execution of the penalties were much more graphic in the early years of Mormonism. They were toned down significantly in 1990, even though they still did these hand gestures up until 1990.

Afterwards, it became significantly different. As a Christian, would you feel comfortable doing this in any type of setting? I just want to set that question out before you, before Eric starts reading what it says on page 93 of Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony, 1842 to 1990. And this is quoting from the pre-1990 LDS Endowment Ceremony. We will begin by making the sign of the first token of the Aaronic Priesthood.

This is done by bringing the right arm to the square, the palm of the hand to the front, the fingers close together, and the thumb extended. Now after they do this, they are to give the execution of the penalty. And this is the way it was done in the early days of Mormonism, where the character called Adam would say to the group sitting in front of him, we and each of us covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the first token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, or penalty.

Should we do so, we agree that our throats be cut from ear to ear and our tongues torn out by the roots. Pretty graphic there, but notice what this character named Adam says at the beginning. We and each of us covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this. Earlier, we cited Richard L. Bushman, who admitted that the Mormon temple ceremony is in fact secret, even though most Latter-day Saints, when asked for any type of specifics of their ceremonies, would tell you, well, it's not secret, it's sacred. Well, here in the ceremony itself, it says it's secret. It uses the word secret. If it's secret, then they obviously can't tell you what goes on inside.

Is that Christianity? Is there anything within Christian theology or doctrine that is kept secret? Did Jesus keep anything secret? He himself said he didn't keep any secrets when he was preaching to the people. But why, if Mormonism is Christianity, as Latter-day Saints claim, do they have secrets such as this? Bill, when I say your faith, is it secret or sacred? What would you say about your faith? I would say my faith is sacred, but it's not secret.

And I think that's the point that we're trying to make here, is the idea that, yes, we have a sacred part of who we are as Christians, but we'll tell you everything we can about what the Bible teaches, and I don't think we leave anything on the table. Now, there is also a sign of the second token of the Aaronic priesthood. What does the ceremony say about that? We will now make the sign of the second token of the Aaronic priesthood.

This sign is done by bringing the right hand in front of you with the hand in cupping shape, the right hand forming a square, and the left arm being raised to the square. Again, there's an execution of the penalty for the second token of the Aaronic priesthood. And in the earlier ceremony, remember, this was revised through the years and been toned down significantly, but in the early ceremony, the character playing Peter would say to the group, we and each of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal the secrets of this, the second token of the Aaronic priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, grip, or penalty.

Should we do so, we agree to have our breasts cut open and our hearts and vitals torn from our bodies and given to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field. Notice also, it uses the word secret. We and each of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal the secrets of this, the second token of the Aaronic priesthood. Now, there is still another sign that they make, the first token of the Melchizedek priesthood. We will now make the sign of the first token of the Melchizedek priesthood or sign of the nail. This is done by bringing the left hand in front of you with the hand in cupping shape, the left arm forming a square.

The right hand is also brought forward, the palm down, the fingers close together with the thumb extended and the thumb is placed over the left hip. This is the sign. Now, there's an execution of a penalty for this. And this is what was said in earlier temple endowment ceremonies. The character portraying Peter tells the group sitting in front of him, we and each of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the first token of the Melchizedek priesthood with its accompanying name, sign or penalty. Should we do so, we agree that our bodies be cut asunder in the midst and all our bowels gush out. Then the character portraying Peter says, all bow your heads and say yes. Do we see anywhere in Christian history where words such as this were ever given to a crowd of Christians and that they were supposed to think in their mind that should they ever reveal some of the things that they had just learned that they would die a death such as this?

Of course not. There is no similarity to what early Christians believed and what Mormons are learning in this portion of their endowment ceremony. Going back to our premise, how can you say the Mormon temple endowment ceremony is a restoration of what was done anciently when there's no evidence to support this?

Let me give one more from the pre-1990 LDS endowment ceremony. This is the sign of the second token of the Melchizedek priesthood. It says, we will now make the sign of the second token of the Melchizedek priesthood the patriarchal grip or sure sign of the nail.

This is done by raising both hands high above the head and while lowering the hands repeating aloud three times the words Pele'el, Pele'el, Pele'el signifying, oh God, hear the words of my mouth. Now Bill, a lot of Latter-day Saints listening to this may think that we're making things up. We're going to recommend you get the book, Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony, 1842 to 1990. You can order it at utlm.org, but this really was a part of the LDS temple ceremony.

And certainly it was not a part of early Christianity. Viewpoint on Mormonism. As with most Christian organizations, Mormonism Research Ministry depends on the generous financial support of friends like you. If you like what we do and how we do it, would you consider helping MRM meet its financial obligations? Merely go to our website mrm.org. At the right, you'll see a donate button. Click there and follow the instructions. MRM is a Christian nonprofit 501c3 organization, and your gifts are tax deductible. Not only that, they are greatly appreciated. Thank you for your support of this ministry.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-19 01:30:55 / 2023-09-19 01:35:55 / 5

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