Defending the Faith: Latter-day Saints and the study of the temple

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  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 30, 2013 6:07 a.m.


    You are getting closer. Keep studying...

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 8:14 a.m.

    "The Scientist" continues to be mistaken.

    The roots of the Passover seder or meal clearly stretch back to Exodus 12, which is pre-temple, and plainly involve private dwellings from the start. And the so-called "Last Supper," celebrated by Jesus and his apostles in a private dwelling while the temple still stood in Jerusalem was, as most scholars recognize, very likely a Passover seder.

    Under ideal conditions, according to the Bible, when the temple was functioning a lamb was to be sacrificed there and then consumed (almost certainly at home) that evening. But that was the theoretical ideal, as it was held by the temple priesthood who are probably responsible for the relevant biblical materials. It's extremely doubtful (as the eminent non-LDS archaeologist William Dever pointed out in Logan just last week) that the entire population of Israel came together in Jerusalem from the Galilee and the Negev, from the coast and from the mountain villages, for the three annual great festivals. There's certainly no archaeological evidence for it.

  • Semi-Strong Louisville, KY
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:20 p.m.


    Twin Lights here.

    My bad on the Origen thing. I assume that RHT picked up on your "mystical body" statement and thereby referenced Origen. And, you have brought Origen up in other posts so I just went with RHT's comment. Mea culpa.

    Now, are you going to address my temple questions or not?

  • DocHolliday reno, NV
    Oct. 28, 2013 3:17 p.m.


    "When the Lord returns all temples will be active 24 hours a day. "

    How do you know that? I will bet everything I own that it won't happen in our lifetimes. I would bet it won't happen longer then that, but I won't be around to see it.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 28, 2013 11:01 a.m.


    Reference Red Headed Stranger. You brought up Origen as authoritative. Was he or wasn't he? If he was, then you have to respond to the issue raised by RHT. If he was not, then why did you mention him and does this mean you will not be citing Origen in any future posts?

    Reference Christ and the temple. Yes, Christ certainly taught that if they destroyed his body (per John "But he spake of the temple of his body") that he would resurrect it.

    The simply question I have asked you is, if Christ replaced the temple and it no longer filled any role, why did he go there? Why did he cleanse it? Why did his disciples go there even after his resurrection? All these actions indicate the temple still had an important role in early Christianity.

    Please just answer the questions without citations that are not on point.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Oct. 28, 2013 10:17 a.m.


    Wow. You scathe somebody else that doesn't believe in your temples? I think you may need to look yourself in the mirror and rethink things. It is people like you that confirm to others that have left the church that they made the right decision. Why would anybody want to be a part of an organization that belittles those who don't believe in their stories?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 27, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    @Red Headed Stranger, Origen? believed in the Platonic pre-existence and transmigration of souls. The Council of Constantinople .. in 453 CE posthumously excommunicated him.

    Mormon Priesthood authority, (D&C 110: 1-16) Elias and Elijah appear to Joseph Smith, but in the Bible they are the same person. The KJV translators transliterated Elijah to Elias because there isn’t a Greek character for the English letter J.

    To avoid confusion, modern translations: NIV, NJKV, and NASB have Elijah instead of Elias in(Mt 11:14; Luke 1:17)JS relied on the poor KJV.

    RE: Twin Lights, why did Jesus cleanse it? “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” John revealed that the Lord responded by pointing to His future Resurrection:
    “Destroy this temple=(Jesus), and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19; 2:22), #1 reason.

    The Shekinah glory, Left Solomon’s Temple due to Israel’s sin (Eze. 8:4-6; 9:3; 10:4, 18-19). Future…. the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb ‘are the temple’… ,“(Rev. 21:22-23); 22:5+)“

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    Oct. 27, 2013 7:28 a.m.


    Check your timeline. .John 18:20 doesn't negate “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. . . the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, “ (John 16:12,25)

    He did speak to them in secret AFTER the resurrection.

    Thank you for referencing Origen, he allows me to close this discussion without anymore debate. The anti-Christian Celsus charged Christians with "secret teachings", Origen wrote, " . . .to speak of the Christian doctrine as a secret system, is altogether absurd. But that there should be certain doctrines, not made known to the multitude, which are (revealed) after the exoteric ones have been taught, is not a peculiarity of Christianity alone, but also of philosophic systems, in which certain truths are exoteric and others esoteric." ANF4:399
    You can find the reference by copying and pasting the reference in a search engine. Origen also wrote:

    ". . .whoever is pure not only from all defilement, but from what are regarded as lesser transgressions, let him be boldly initiated in the mysteries of Jesus, which properly are made known only to the holy and the pure."ANF4:488

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 26, 2013 8:39 p.m.


    I have neither time nor space to answer your entire statement other than there are evidences of LDS doctrine in the first century.

    But back to the point of the temple (because you keep veering away from this). If the temple was no longer important with the coming of Christ, why did he cleanse it? Why was it important to him? Why did his disciples continue to go to the temple even after his death and resurrection?

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    Oct. 26, 2013 6:36 p.m.

    When the Lord returns all temples will be active 24 hours a day. The work of the Lord will progress until all of God's children have received the blessings of the temple.

    We must remember that when Joseph Smith restored the Temple Ordinances that he did so with the complete authorization of the Lord Jesus Christ. The temple is the Lord's House and all temples from Solomon's temple to all the Temples today are dedicated to The Lord. As mentioned Joseph Smith Restored the temple ordinances. There were stone masons who were commissioned to build the temple. Each possibly received the ordinances of the temple. Even then the temple ordinances were sacred and not mentioned in their entirety in the scriptures. However, just as the washing and anointings were done in the tabernacle and temple, so they are done today. Just as not everyone was allowed in the temple in ancient times, only those in good standing today are authorized within the walls of the temple. So again we see the work of the Lord for all of his children are done within the walls of the temple. Thank you Mr. Peterson for the enlightening article.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 26, 2013 2:04 p.m.

    Verdad wrote:

    "Notwithstanding Michigander's assurance, above, that The Scientist is "100% correct," Passover seders were and are conducted in Jewish homes, not in the temple. They're ritualized meals, not temple liturgy."

    Notwithstanding some people's tendency to make their lack of knowledge explicit, the Passover Seder and it's associated ritualized meal were moved to Jewish homes only AFTER the destruction of the Temple.

    Please read my "100% correct" statement more carefully, and take time to educate yourselves.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 26, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    RE: Red Headed Stranger. Jesus "Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have ’Not Spoken in Secret’.
    (John 18:20)
    It’s clear from chapters 8-10 of Hebrews, that in his death, Jesus fulfilled the priesthood typology of the O. T. in his own blood, he puts an end to the sacrificial system.
    … those things which existed prior to Moses' day, namely, Sacrifice, will be continued(HofC v.4 p. 211-12).

    RE: Twin Lights , It can be demonstrated easily that early Church writers, such as Ignatius of Antioch, Eusebius, Clement of Rome, and Polycarp, had no conception of Mormon doctrine, and they knew nothing of a "great apostasy."

    Nowhere in their writings can one find references to Christians embracing any of the peculiarly Mormon doctrines, such as polytheism, polygamy, celestial marriage, and temple ceremonies. If the Church of the apostolic age was the prototype of today’s Mormon church, it must have had all these beliefs and practices. But why is there no evidence of them in the early centuries, before the alleged apostasy began?

    Oct. 26, 2013 12:39 p.m.

    2 Timothy 3:7 fits the majority of the LDS critics' comments: "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Critics, please be careful not to reject something because your mind-set has not let you experience it for yourself. The Lord himself does not share all his intentions openly until an individual is ready to receive it. Much precedent exists for this concept: Christ's telling of parables, his frequent counsel to "tell no man", his limited appearances to only the most devout after his resurrection, and so forth. 1 Corinthians 2:9 is also relevant: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
    Until an individual makes the extremely difficult commitment to search out and follow the Lord's will, they will never know all the truth. It's just that simple.

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    Oct. 26, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    Notwithstanding Michigander's assurance, above, that The Scientist is "100% correct," Passover seders were and are conducted in Jewish homes, not in the temple. They're ritualized meals, not temple liturgy.

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    Oct. 26, 2013 10:59 a.m.

    Red Headed Stranger said:

    " ... 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)."

    Because that is where large numbers of the Jewish people were gathered and the Apostles Peter, John, and Paul needed to preach in power the gospel of Jesus Christ to them to try and turn them from the errors of their ways. He certainly was not there to do false ceremonies for his dead ancestors.

  • elliottpj Two Rivers, WI
    Oct. 26, 2013 8:05 a.m.

    Christ's eternal sacrifice has parted the veil for us, and the Savior has fulfilled the law. There is no need to restore the Mosaic laws of sacrifice, and yet Latter-day Saints have deconstructed that fulfillment of the law and imposed the same type of Old Testament burdens that the Pharisees were guilty of. There is also no salvation from forbidden "secret combinations" which have their roots in the occult and freemasonry, no matter how beautiful the temple's appearance. Salvation comes only by partaking of Christ's flesh and blood. There is NO other way. He is the true temple which we worship, and he calls us to become holy temples as well. Mormons are like the early disciples who did not comprehend the meaning of Jesus' Bread of Life sermon and "walked no more with him;" but instead, have introduced the idea there's some secret knowledge that God kept from us after he gave us His Son and established His church. It is not rational, reasonable, nor scriptural.

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    Oct. 25, 2013 11:20 p.m.

    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.

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    Oct. 25, 2013 11:19 p.m.


    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.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Oct. 25, 2013 4:11 p.m.


    "....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.

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    Oct. 25, 2013 2:53 p.m.

    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.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 25, 2013 2:44 p.m.


    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?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 2:06 p.m.

    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
    Oct. 25, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    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.

  • J.D. Aurora, CO
    Oct. 25, 2013 9:04 a.m.

    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.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 8:57 a.m.

    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.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Oct. 25, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    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.

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    Oct. 25, 2013 7:44 a.m.


    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.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Oct. 24, 2013 7:44 p.m.

    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.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 5:48 p.m.


    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.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 4:19 p.m.

    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 .

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Oct. 24, 2013 11:20 a.m.


    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.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 10:08 a.m.

    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.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 9:47 a.m.

    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.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Oct. 24, 2013 9:38 a.m.

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

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Oct. 24, 2013 8:37 a.m.

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

  • Cletus from Coalville Coalville, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 7:14 a.m.

    " 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.