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Sensitive topics in the 'nacle

I have two questions today. One regards methodology and the other a doctrinal issue. As it happens, I have to address the methodological question in order to address the doctrinal one. Please be patient.

1) How does one talk about issues regarding temple ordinances outside of the temple? I surmise from Nibley that it is not inherently blasphemous if you do it through innuendo and sleight of hand and, most importantly, with respect for the ordinances themselves. I have heard differing interpretations regarding what can and cannot be discussed. I tend to aim conservative on this notion, just to be safe, but I feel it leads to vague arguments. Obviously, for the uninitiated, it leads to pointless discussions too, as they can't be full participants.

Why do I bring this up? In the response to my last post, two commentors brought up issued related to temple practice. I tried to answer in a way that indicated that I acknowledged the source of their response while, at the same time, not acknowledging what the source specifically was (although I may be doing that now). There is a bit of obfuscation involved in all this. I'm not uncomfortable with that per se, just wondering if there is a faithful way around it, so that I can be clearer.

2) Why do I bring all of the above up? Because the comments indirectly reminded me of something I once heard a BYU professor imply. Some of the promises made early on in the endowment ceremony seem to make differing demands of different genders. My BYU professor said that paying close attention to this portion of the ceremony would reveal why, he believes, the church treats men and women differently. I think I know what portion he is talking about, but, due to the vagueness of the instruction, I cannot be sure. For the same reason, in mentioning it here, I can only hope that this is sufficiently clear to let you know what I am talking about, so that we can discuss it in a kind of allusory way. Unless I am being too conservative with the ceremony and I can make clear which portion I am discussing without offending or being blasphemous.

Does any of this make sense? I would like to ponder this question, because, if I am right about the professor's implication, I think that he is probably wrong. But, short of inviting you all to come to the temple with me, how do I find a way to discuss this? Any suggestions?

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Anonymous J. Stapley said ... (March 14, 2005 5:28 PM) 

Perhaps we should lobby for an intranet inside the Temple on which can blog.


Blogger Don said ... (March 14, 2005 8:15 PM) 

I would consider myself a conservative Mormon. However, I am probably too liberal when it comes to talking about some of the things that go on in the temple.

I made covenants not to reveal the signs and tokens given in the temple. I don't remember making covenants to not reveal any of the rest of it.

The dialoge of the creation, Adam and Eve's encounter with Satan, their offering sacrifice, even that we have a true order of prayer in the temple.

I think the things should be talked about carefully, but I see nothing wrong with talking about the law of obedience, the law of sacrifice, the law of consecration, the law of chastity, and other things that are revealed to us there.

Am I wrong?


Blogger HP said ... (March 14, 2005 8:27 PM) 

I don't know. Is it okay to talk about the verbal content of those covenants even if you don't specifically mention the signs, tokens, etc.?
The promises to which my BYU instructor referred are made prior to the creation drama. Did I just say too much?


Anonymous J. Stapley said ... (March 14, 2005 10:22 PM) 

No, you did not say to much. Moreover Talmage says just about everything Don says in his book.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (March 16, 2005 7:43 PM) 

I usually keep it to things I have heard the brethren say about it... If they aren;t struck dumb.. I figure it is safe..

B.Y. said something to the effect, that the purpose of the temple was to receive those signs and tokens that would allow us to pass the angels that stand as sentinels as we go back to the presence of the father.

I suppose it depends on the audience.



Blogger AlexG said ... (March 17, 2005 9:33 AM) 

What should we talk outside the temple? Early on the history of the Church, the brethren were counselled not to "trifle not with sacred things." (Doctrine and Covenants 6:12 for example). This is the personal policy I follow. I also remit to quotes of the Brethren about temples and ordinances thereon. It is important to be conscious of the audience that you might reach and, generally speaking, I do not give too much detail in any case. The way I see it is that we are given specific instruction for our progression, we are shown that God has prepared a plan to save us individually, not as a collective group. I consider this to be quite sacred, as I consider the things of my marriage. I consider the temple to be the instruction of my personal relation with God and as such, I consider it to be special and sacred.
The endowment part of the session that your professor, John, mentions has more reference to the scriptures. I am reminded of the writtings of Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:21-25). Are women submitted to their husbands? Depends on what do you mean by it. Someone might feel that Paul had a so called 'mysoginistic' view about women, something that I personally do not agree. I view it more in the order, that the husband would preside, i.e., take the responsability, but not to 'unrighteously dominate.' The promises spoken refer to the potential of mankind and their relation to God, but as Paul writes, "neither is man without the women neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11). I think that you can search the references made in the temple and discuss those openly without stating the specifics of the temple. It all comes to what do you consider to be sacred. By consulting what the Brethren have spoken about the temple and draw the line.


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