Comments about ‘Defending the Faith: Latter-day Saints and the study of the temple’

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Published: Thursday, Oct. 24 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Cletus from Coalville
Coalville, UT

"...an array of 30 professors, graduate students and independent scholars...will address a multitude of themes connected with temples."

I wonder if there are any masonic scholars invited to address the multitude of themes connected with the temple given the temple "Endowment" ceremony including a number of symbolic elements are essentially identical with their analogues within Freemasonry. Mormon temple worship shares an extensive commonality of symbols, signs, vocabulary and clothing with Freemasonry. It would be interesting to see if these issues are examined at the annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

Very powerful and enlightening article Dr. Peterson, as usual. Thank you, again.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Demystifying the temple to enhance public understanding serves a greater purpose than trying to keep the temple an object of mystery.

Oatmeal
Woods Cross, UT

Cletus from Coalville,

Even better, I wonder if any scholars at the conference will note the extraordinary similarities between the symbolism within masonic ritual and that of the religious rituals of the ancient world. Some scholars have already opened the door on that, some exciting research on that front has developed over the last two decades.

Thank you Dr. Peterson. So many in the LDS community need to learn about current scholarship in the Old Testament and along temple themes. There have been some huge developments.

Oatmeal
Woods Cross, UT

Craig Clark,

The best way to demystify the temple is to attend LDS temple sessions and engage in serious study. Nothing of true value comes easy. Temple understanding occurs with actual experience and study.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Oatmeal,

There are more people who are curious about LDS temple traditions than is generally appreciated. They realize that not just anyone can walk in off the street to receive ordinances for which the LDS Church has eligibility standards. People respect that and they deserve to be shown respect in return. Letting in sunlight helps to build trust in the world.

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: Oatmeal,The temple is central to the Jewish faith. No longer valid from a Christian perspective. The Messiah is the focus of our faith, the temple was only a temporary shadow of him, the true substance.
The book of Hebrews is a commentary on Leviticus (among other things) and compares all the things of the law, Christ showed he is superior to what God gave through Moses.
When Jesus Christ died, the veil, through which the high priest entered into the Holy of Holies once a year, was torn from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). Heb. 9:26 “…but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb.7:27; 10:8-11.

Temple support is making Christ’s sacrifice of no effect. It is the very thing book of Hebrews warns not to do.

The Jews, never received the cancellation order.” This is based on the O. T. covenant with Israel but from the N. T. perspective (covenant) it is not correct. The temple, the priesthood, the sacrifices and all the commands attached to it are no longer applicable .

the truth
Holladay, UT

@sharrona

Christ sacrifice was to redeem us from out sins,
and over come the fall of Adam that brought death to the world.

After that, then what?

There is much more to the after life than just living again in a sinless state.

antodav
TAMPA, FL

Temple worship is possibly the single most important part of the Restoration of the Gospel. Without it, Christianity has little to no meaning beyond this life, and the souls of billions who left this Earth without hearing the name of Jesus Christ have no hope of salvation.

Red Headed Stranger
Billy Bobs, TX

Sharrona,

I've read the scriptures you cited in Hebrews, in multiple translations, and I cannot see any justification for the statement "Temple support is making Christ’s sacrifice of no effect." In fact, such a statement shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the function of a temple.

There was much more to the ancient temple than just the ritual killing of animals. The molten sea, the Holy place with the table of shewbread and wine, the menorah, the incense burner, the veil and in the Holy of Holies the ark of the covenant, representing the throne of God. Sacrifice was the "price of admission", but certainly not the whole purpose.

The Hebrews instead refers only to the ritual killing of animals, not to the concept of sacrifice in general. We are to be living sacrifices, (Romans 12:1, Hebrews 13:15-16).

A temple is a place of learning how to return to the presence of God. Read Psalms 24, in particular verse 6. That psalm talks about creation, the holy place, living with clean hands and then receiving blessings. A generation or circle of those that seek the face of the God of Jacob, and the opening gates.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

The type of temple worship practiced by Mormonism has no ancient precedent under the law of Moses that would make it something that needed to be ‘restored’ as Mormons like to put it. The purpose of Solomon’s temple as explained in the Bible was to house the ark of the covenant. In Jesus’ time, the temple was consecrated for Jewish sacrificial ritual. Efforts to link Masonic temple practices with Solomon's temple are given no credence by modern scholarship. Mormon scholars for obvious reasons would like to establish such a link.

The Scientist
Provo, UT

Craig Clark is mostly right. The ancient Jewish Temple was also where what became the "Passover Seder" was carried out to remind Jews of the Exodus and their identity as a nation. LDS apologists try to fabricate embellishments of this history to concoct a connection. Real scholars recognize and dismiss such pseudo-scholarship for what it is.

J.D.
Aurora, CO

I appreciate what Marlin K. Jensen said about the temple when talking during the "rescue Sweden campaign". He said you have to go several times before it eventually makes sense.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

The temple is like the parables. Seemingly simple but with multiple layers of meaning. We "discover" those meanings as we revisit the temple just as we do when we reread the parables.

But I daresay that one of the key reasons folks attend is to gain the peace available there - the less fettered access to the Holy Ghost and the mind of God.

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: Red Headed Stranger, This is what he meant when he said that one greater than the temple has come! Jesus Christ. It is in Christ’s church–as Jesus’ mystical body–that we find the fulfillment of the O. T. prophecies regarding Jerusalem and the Mountain of the Lord.

The promise of a land, will be fulfilled in a new heaven and earth in the consummation (cf. Romans 4:13; Hebrews 11:9-10). The N.T. teaches that Christ is the New Temple . Christ’s body is the true temple .

Paul, “For we are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor 6:16)–what use remains for a future literal temple? That to which the temple had pointed, is now a reality through the work of the Holy Spirit.

RE: Twin Lights, don’t let anyone criticize you for what you eat or drink(TR), or for not celebrating Jewish holidays and feasts or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these were only temporary rules that ended when Christ came. They were only shadows of the real thing—of Christ himself.(Col 2:16-17)

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Sharrona,

When did I mention anything about what we eat or drink or new moon ceremonies?

As to the temple, for something that was of no value once Christ came he himself clearly placed high value on it. Also the 12 even after his death and resurrection. Why?

Michigander
Westland, MI

The Scientist is 100% correct.

The false temples of the LDS with their false ordinances NOT commanded by the Lord are for the deluded and willfully blinded - no matter how benevolent are their motives or actions. "The Most High God dwelleth not in temples made with hands" states the Apostle Paul and the martyr Stephen in the book of Acts. The days of temple building have been over forever since 30 A.D. with the death, burial, and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. The temple of God is the heart of a righteous man or woman cleansed from all sin through faith, repentance, and baptism (by water and then by fire and the Holy Ghost) by one with the priesthood authority.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Michigander,

"....The Most High God dwelleth not in temples made with hands" states the Apostle Paul and the martyr Stephen in the book of Acts. The days of temple building have been over forever since 30 A.D...."
______________________________

After Jesus’ death, the temple continued to be important to Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem. Jesus’ brother James remained closely associated with the temple until his own martyrdom. The temple era came to an abrupt end when the temple itself was destroyed by Rome in 72 CE and the vanquished Jews were in no position to rebuild it.

In consequence, the temple became marginalized in tradition and literature by the rising Gentile Church that was eclipsing its Jewish forerunner and Paul’s doctrine of salvation by grace which was supplanting Jewish law practiced by Jesus and his earliest successors. Mormons may get a lot wrong in what they believe about ancient temple worship but they are right about it playing a significant role in religious life.

Red Headed Stranger
Billy Bobs, TX

Sharrona,

First of all, please make sure that your analysis and conclusions actually follow from the evidence that you cite.

Next, are you implying that there is only one proper use of the word "temple"? That it can mean only what you think that it means, and that all other meanings are wrong? For example is the only acceptable use of the word "temple" means Christ's body? (John 2:21) Or only the believer's body? (1 Cor 3:17) Or the building known as Herod's temple (Matt 21:12) Or Christ's community of believers on earth (Eph 2:21) or the temple which God dwells on high on His throne (Rev 16:17).

As it was used in multiple ways, clearly the writers of the New Testament didn't mean that one meaning was better than another or that it precluded its use in another way. Or, just because that we say that the body is a temple, should make sacred our thinking of the body, rather than destroy our feelings about the physical House of the Lord here on earth.

Red Headed Stranger
Billy Bobs, TX

Maybe, the concept of worship in the temple is so important that it is deeply woven into the language of the New Testament, that it was used symbolically as emphasis, not to preclude.

And funny, if the temple were no longer of any worth why then did Peter, John and Paul go to it so often after Christ's death? (Acts 3:1-2, 5:42, 21:30, 22:17, 24:18)

Just as it was a sin for the Jews to almost worship the temple instead of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is a sin to completely denigrate the temple's purpose. Like Hugh Nibley used to say, (these symbols) "are signs. They aren't the thing itself, instead they point to the thing." As someone who has entered into an LDS temple, I will tell you that the symbols used point to Christ. Virtually all of them. I didn't see that when I was a young man; I see that much more clearly now. Please, do not mock sacred things.

There was still "many things" (more information) that the apostles received after Christ's death and resurrection (John 16:12,25 Acts 1:3) Not everything was intended for public consumption.

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