"The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

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MisterCurie
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"The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by MisterCurie » 29 Sep 2009, 18:34

I previously mentioned that I had been bothered by a Dialogue article on Masonry and Mormonism (http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm4/docume ... 7325&REC=5). I also read a bunch of stuff about this connection between Masonry and Mormonism on http://www.mormonthink.com/templeweb.htm. The issue has been bothering me a lot, so I thought that John Dehlin might have some insight on his podcasts, so I listed to his interview with Greg Kearney.

Greg Kearney's point seems to ultimately be that much of the presentation of the Endowment was taken from Masonry, but that the actual Endowment was revealed by God. I, however, am having a hard time separating the Endowment from the presentation of the endowment. Can anyone help me to separate these two? What exactly is it that we get in the temple that is the endowment that did not come from Masonry?

Brigham Young described the endowment as:
Brigham Young wrote: 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 keywords, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.
It seems that the Adam/Eve presentation cannot be the Endowment because that is already found in our scriptures so it isn't unique to the temple. "The keywords, the signs and tokens" spoken of by BY can't be the endowment because many of them come from Masonry. Perhaps the other covenants, but how does the presentation of the endowment expand or explain these covenants (particularly "the keywords, the signs and tokens" of Masonry)?

I love the temple and was an ordinance worker for several years, but I clearly did not come out of the temple properly endowed, even after such extensive temple service, because I cannot figure out what the endowment really is. It seems that everything is focused on "the keywords, the signs and tokens", but they can't be the endowment (despite what BY said) because they come from Masonry. Additionally, it seems to negate the need for an atonement of Christ if we just need knowledge of these things to get back to heaven.

Any thoughts? :?:

LaLaLove
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by LaLaLove » 29 Sep 2009, 23:17

I have no answers, but thank you for this post. I have been to the temple once (sealing) and I hadn't the faintest idea about importance or for that matter any understanding about anything I said or did that day-Except I know I was sealed to my DH! Sometimes I feel like it was all a big polygamy "Show" BUT I would rather not think that way - I want it to be important and I want my sealing to be real - Maybe it isn't perfect, maybe thats why it makes no sense to me-lol and maybe I'm not to perfect myself .. Then again I don't really know the "Claims" pertaining to the Temple. :?: Yeah about The Masons .. I've always assummed JS stole it all b/c he needed to have something sacred and secret(this is when I was "All" believing) - And I was fine thinking that, but now I'm like .. Hey wait a minute that is kind of strange!..I thought it was all about presentation! Well my minds doing flips right along with yours now.

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HiJolly
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by HiJolly » 29 Sep 2009, 23:28

MisterCurie wrote:I previously mentioned that I had been bothered by a Dialogue article on Masonry and Mormonism (http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm4/docume ... 7325&REC=5). I also read a bunch of stuff about this connection between Masonry and Mormonism on http://www.mormonthink.com/templeweb.htm. The issue has been bothering me a lot, so I thought that John Dehlin might have some insight on his podcasts, so I listed to his interview with Greg Kearney.

Greg Kearney's point seems to ultimately be that much of the presentation of the Endowment was taken from Masonry, but that the actual Endowment was revealed by God. I, however, am having a hard time separating the Endowment from the presentation of the endowment. Can anyone help me to separate these two? What exactly is it that we get in the temple that is the endowment that did not come from Masonry?

Brigham Young described the endowment as:
Brigham Young wrote: 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 keywords, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.
It seems that the Adam/Eve presentation cannot be the Endowment because that is already found in our scriptures so it isn't unique to the temple. "The keywords, the signs and tokens" spoken of by BY can't be the endowment because many of them come from Masonry. Perhaps the other covenants, but how does the presentation of the endowment expand or explain these covenants (particularly "the keywords, the signs and tokens" of Masonry)?

I love the temple and was an ordinance worker for several years, but I clearly did not come out of the temple properly endowed, even after such extensive temple service, because I cannot figure out what the endowment really is. It seems that everything is focused on "the keywords, the signs and tokens", but they can't be the endowment (despite what BY said) because they come from Masonry. Additionally, it seems to negate the need for an atonement of Christ if we just need knowledge of these things to get back to heaven.

Any thoughts? :?:

I have lots of thoughts on this topic. I am not a Freemason, but I used to be a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society (SRRS), and I have a few friends that are (or, were) LDS and Freemason, Rosicrucian, etc. They are my mystic buddies. One of these is Nick Literski, if any of you know him. He is the author of Method Infinite: Freemasonry and the Mormon Restoration, forthcoming from Greg Kofford Books.

So I'd like to make a few comments and then drop in a conversation I've been having with someone online that might be of interest to you. At the least it'll provide many discussion points, I'm sure. I'm cutting the personal or identifying portions.

In a nutshell, your comments on what can or cannot be the endowment is a bit odd, to my way of thinking. Perhaps it would be helpful to consider the view that no ordination or 'ritual' (baptism, marriage, endowment, Melchizedek Priesthood) is in itself the actually reality of the thing. It is only the outer or exoteric form. The real or inner or esoteric fulfillment is entirely different, and comes not at the beck and call of some church administrator or legalistic functionary, but rather from God Himself, when He decides the time is right. We often refer to this process as the confirmation of the Holy Spirit of Promise, in the Church.

Anyway, here's part of a private message I was involved in.

=============================

_me_
Do you believe in Eternal families?
__Mystery Person__
I believe we will recognize each other as families and be with the people we love
----
Ok. If we choose to be with someone we love who can't accept Christ, then we may have to choose one or the other. Have you read CS Lewis' book "The Great Divorce"? It is wonderful!

_me_
Do you believe our social/familial structure is modeled after life in the Heavens? (Occultists refer to this as "As above, so Below" -- See http://www.sacred-texts.com/alc/emerald.htm)
_mp_
not sure but sounds rational
----
Rational is only half of the complete equation, just as Adam or Eve alone are only half. The temple deals with this very nicely.

_me_
Do you believe we live in mortality only once, or multiple times?
_mp_
the gospel teaches once and once is enough for me.
----
Mormonism has believed both ways in the past, with 'we live but once' winning out in the end. This makes a difference in terms of how literal we take the vicarious nature of the temple work. It astounded me that in the last month or two a General Authority actually has stated (I think in the ensign?) that we may get more out of regular attendance in the temple, than the dead do.

I *thought* that was heresy, and nevertheless have been convinced it is true for a long time.

_me_
What do you think the Endowment actually endows upon the Saints?
_mp_
blessings to become gods.
----
Ok. But I think it is important to look to the endowment being useful to us in this life, perhaps more now than it is in the next life.

_me_
Are you familiar with European royalty enthronement or coronation rituals?
_mp_
a little bit from what I have seen in the movies; like when someone is knighted or made a king or queen.
----
The similarities are amazing and plentiful.

_me_
Are you familiar with Freemasonry rituals and the search for the name that was lost?
_mp_
I saw a history channel special on the freemasonary; we have a masonic bible that my husbands dad left him when he died. He was a 33 degree mason and I know the lds temple ceremony is almost word for word as the lds one. Lds temple ceremony is supposed to be restored from masonary of king solomons temple.
----
Well, somewhat but not really on the word-for-word thing(overall) IMO, and not so much for the King Solomon temple thing either. The Freemasons follow the story of Hiram Abiff, not Adam & Eve, and that's why they don't have women in their rituals. In Joseph's day all Freemasons did generally [believe] their rituals came from Solomon's temple, but now most of them recognize that this is not accurate. That elements of the endowment/Freemasonry do come from antiquity is undeniable; but the evidence linking things together is quite spotty and in some cases, simply not there.

_me_
Are you familiar with any Christian ritualistic worship, such as the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Mass?
_mp_
Some of it like rosary prayers and what I have seen on tv. I get bored easy and am not the most patient person in the word so ritual things are hard for me to enjoy. ... I bought a book called "Gospel Symbolism" by Joseph Fielding McConkie which is good in explaining the purpose of symbolism. I taught gospel doctrine for 4 years and read all of Skousens first through 4th thousand years sieres and found them wonderful in helping me teach the old Testament.
----
I haven't read it, sounds interesting. And Cleon is a cousin of mine. I grit my teeth on some of his stuff, but he was a brilliant and faithful man, no doubt. Yes, patience is important, but I'm kinda adult-ADD myself so I know how it is. I'm getting old enough that age is slowing me down to about normal. Finally. My brain still flits about, though...

_mp_
Perhaps understanding the purposes of temples rituals better may help me, but the commitments and penalities actually scared me.
----
The more I study the temples and the doctrines of salvation, the more it begins to look Universal. But that doesn't lend itself well to the obligatory sense of immediacy that the Gospel seems to require, so it is not directly spoken of.

I love the scripture D&C 19:
5 Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand.
6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.
7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.
8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.
9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.
10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—
11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.

In verse 7 He pretty well lets the cat out of the bag. "that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men". Many scriptures fall into this category, for the purpose of bringing about the redemption and salvation of the faithful. They are more a pointer or signpost on the path, and not so much eternal verity itself.

That's the [effect] of immediacy.

As for the penalties, there is a direct and profound connection to D&c 19:7 --
---------
The following passage might be of interest to those traveling the
Masonic path, and also possibly of interest to those who have
experienced the LDS Temple Endowment prior to 1990. --->

"In the past, the candidate was required to agree to his obligation
under the constraint of a severe penalty. The penalties in the Craft
appear, at first glance, to be quite horrific and quite out of place
in an otherwise benign organization; and in Lodges chartered under
the English Constitution they are no longer required of the candidate
for that reason.

His attention is still drawn to them, however, and
that is a measure of their importance. A little quiet reflection on
the penalties will reveal that they were never intended to be imposed
as a punishment. They are, rather, a serious warning to the
candidate, and they are carefully devised, singularly appropriate,
and absolutely necessary. The need for the penalties derives from
the fact that as one learns more and more about one's self, one
develops greater capabilities, assumes greater responsibilities, and
incurs greater risk. The Working Tools of each degree make reference
to the capabilities, which are also called `inestimable privileges'.

The obligations outline the responsibilities. The penalties define
the risks. The key to understanding the penalties correctly is to
remember two things. First, that the Craft is a type of psychology
and the penalties, while set in physical terms, in fact, describe
psychological phenomena. Second, that the penalties are not
something which might be done to the individual by the Craft, should
he violate his obligation. Rather, they are the inevitable result of
the normal operation of psychological processes initiated by a
certain type of behavior - that sort of behavior which is prohibited
by the obligation. In this context, the penalties serve as good and
timely warnings.

The nature of each penalty is representative of the
particular psychological difficulty which departure from the
obligation is likely to cause. In the case of the Entered
Apprentice, indiscriminate discussion of his newly found interior
life will result in his severing his internal connection with his
source as well as being stuck in a sterile environment - a salty
place between the `earthy' physical world and the `watery'
psychological world - in which no growth is possible."

- W. Kirk Macnulty

"The Way of the Craftsman" pg. 59
----------

Frater Macnulty is exactly correct. The penalties were NEVER intended to be a threat of any kind -- rather, it is compelling that we should be willing to make such a promise. We covenant & promise that we are *willing*. Only willing.

Keep in mind that we are humans. Our psychology is undeniable and using it to obtain joy and happiness is not (or, should not be) a problem.

The Holy Ghost not only teaches us truth, but also helps us realize our beliefs that are NOT true, and discard them. That can be awfully difficult, yet with His help it is done. It takes an advanced faith to be able to do it.

I sometimes shudder to think how many LDS people will damn themselves in heaven, holding to what they think is all the truth they need, and not accepting, as Elder Oaks (?) said in General Conference a few years ago, the futher light (or, "scripture") God offers them.

Hope some of this is helpful. I don't claim to be 100% correct in my views. As far as I know, though, they are correct. And I don't blame anyone for discarding whatever doesn't serve.
==========================

HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

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MisterCurie
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by MisterCurie » 29 Sep 2009, 23:51

Thanks for sharing the conversation. There are some interesting points to ponder and I may comment on them after I have thought about them for a while.
HiJolly wrote:The real or inner or esoteric fulfillment is entirely different, and comes not at the beck and call of some church administrator or legalistic functionary, but rather from God Himself, when He decides the time is right. We often refer to this process as the confirmation of the Holy Spirit of Promise, in the Church.
Actually, it could be argued that what we currently refer to as the confirmation of the Holy Spirit of Promise, is actually the ordinance of the 2nd annointing, as JS originally intended it (at least referring to D&C 132).

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HiJolly
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by HiJolly » 29 Sep 2009, 23:56

MisterCurie wrote:Thanks for sharing the conversation. There are some interesting points to ponder and I may comment on them after I have thought about them for a while.
HiJolly wrote:The real or inner or esoteric fulfillment is entirely different, and comes not at the beck and call of some church administrator or legalistic functionary, but rather from God Himself, when He decides the time is right. We often refer to this process as the confirmation of the Holy Spirit of Promise, in the Church.
Actually, it could be argued that what we currently refer to as the confirmation of the Holy Spirit of Promise, is actually the ordinance of the 2nd annointing, as JS originally intended it (at least referring to D&C 132).
If you have a reference that the two (HSP & 2nd A) are directly linked one to one, I'd love to see it. That would be interesting.

The principle remains the same, though. Baptism doesn't save unless the baptized individual is sincere and honest with God. The Gift of the Holy Ghost doesn't come until one is ready for it. etc.

I welcome your thoughts on the rest, Mr. C. Thanks.

HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

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Brian Johnston
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by Brian Johnston » 30 Sep 2009, 08:04

MisterCurie wrote:Actually, it could be argued that what we currently refer to as the confirmation of the Holy Spirit of Promise, is actually the ordinance of the 2nd annointing, as JS originally intended it (at least referring to D&C 132).
People in the Church have used that term in conjunction with the 2nd annointing ceremony, but I follow along the lines of HiJolly. He is talking about a much different aspect. The 2nd annointing ceremony (no longer openly practiced even in the Church), is just another exoteric ritual. No ritual or ceremony does anything, nothing at all. It only creates an event that someone can "realize" or make real within themselves at some point (could be at the time of the ceremony or later). The part that has any power at all is the internal spiritual transformation, and that is purely between that person and God.

I highly recommend the book "Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship"
http://www.amazon.com/Mysteries-Godline ... 1560851767

It reviews the development of our temple practices from early prototypes to the present day. It is tastefully done and mostly contains the views of people from the actual time periods (quoting journal entries and letters).

I know that some things were taken from Masonry, but I don't really see the two as very similar. Beyond the signs, tokens and some of the clothing, the ceremonies and rituals are vastly different, both in purpose and content. To me at least, saying it is "just" a copy is really far to over-simplifying. I don't see the temple as literal as most members though. To me, it is a 19th century creation by an inspired religious genius. I still LOVE the symbols and metaphors, and find the whole thing enlightening and divinely inspired. The connections to past esoteric wisdom (and study of that) actually increased my appreciation for the temple.

I also feel like I experienced "endowment" or enlightenment (to some extent or another) over the course of my life based on the ceremonies in the temple. I am very different now, decades later, than I was as a young man heading out for a mission. But that has been an internal process. Nothing magic happened on the day of my endowment.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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HiJolly
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by HiJolly » 30 Sep 2009, 08:11

Valoel wrote: People in the Church have used that term in conjunction with the 2nd annointing ceremony, but I follow along the lines of HiJolly. He is talking about a much different aspect. The 2nd annointing ceremony (no longer openly practiced even in the Church), is just another exoteric ritual. No ritual or ceremony does anything, nothing at all. It only creates an event that someone can "realize" or make real within themselves at some point (could be at the time of the ceremony or later). The part that has any power at all is the internal spiritual transformation, and that is purely between that person and God.
Actually, I disagree just a bit on this point. I think the ritual sets expectations, both consciously and subconsciously. This allows the concept to percolate and work within the psyche. That helps the whole thing bear fruit at some point down the line.

A nit, but I think it is real and effective, if we do not doubt.


HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

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Bruce in Montana
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by Bruce in Montana » 30 Sep 2009, 08:36

Do we know the history of how the Masons recieved their tokens, etc? I mean, could it have not simply been revealed to them as well? Just curious as I've never really researched it.

Anyway, since no one else brought it up....the most significant change, IMHO, to the endowment came when the lecture at the veil was dropped. We couldn't have Adam-God doctrine without plural marriage so it had to be dropped. Here's a link if anyone is interested:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/52839/Lecture-Before-the-Veil

I haven't been through an endowment ceremony since 1989 but I'm aware of the changes. I agree that even pre-1990 things were pretty watered-down.

I submit that if the original endowment were being presented that it wouldn't feel so anti-climatic.

Just my opinion of course....
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
-William S.

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HiJolly
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by HiJolly » 30 Sep 2009, 08:50

Bruce in Montana wrote:Do we know the history of how the Masons recieved their tokens, etc? I mean, could it have not simply been revealed to them as well? Just curious as I've never really researched it.

SRRS digs into just such questions. How does revelation typically appear on the scene? How could you distinguish it from a random 'good idea'? Joseph's type of revelation is not typical, not at all. So even if you have all the pertinent historical data, you still must interpret it. No easy answers here.
Bruce in Montana wrote:Anyway, since no one else brought it up....the most significant change, IMHO, to the endowment came when the lecture at the veil was dropped. We couldn't have Adam-God doctrine without plural marriage so it had to be dropped. Here's a link if anyone is interested:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/52839/Lecture-Before-the-Veil

link protected, security error found. It worked on my second attempt.

HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

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MisterCurie
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by MisterCurie » 30 Sep 2009, 10:39

Valoel wrote:I highly recommend the book "Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship"
http://www.amazon.com/Mysteries-Godline ... 1560851767
Just ordered it. I am looking forward to reading it.
Valoel wrote:No ritual or ceremony does anything, nothing at all. It only creates an event that someone can "realize" or make real within themselves at some point (could be at the time of the ceremony or later).
So you would argue that there is no need to separate the Endowment from the presentation of the Endowment because there is no specific thing we are actually given that changes anything? Rather the ceremony itself (presentation and all) serves as simply an experience that can obtain personal meaning for the individual as they attach such personal meaning to it? Am I understanding your perspective?

This is certainly not what we are taught in church, but I am beginning to realize there are a great many things we are not taught church or are even mistaught in church. This argument would suggest that the ordinances of the temple are not in actually saving ordinances or in any way required for our salvation. Correct? And, in fact, could simply have been made up by JS without affecting their ability to become attached to an individual's personal meaning. Correct?
Bruce in Montana wrote:Do we know the history of how the Masons recieved their tokens, etc? I mean, could it have not simply been revealed to them as well? Just curious as I've never really researched it.


From what I've read, there appears to have been some influence from the Kabbalah on the development of the Mason organization, including its symbols, etc. Within Masonry there are actually many different types of lodges and each lodge actually has control over its own ceremonies etc. History suggests that the tokens have actually changed significantly within Masonry itself. However, the similarities between Masonry and Mormonism actually are specifically found in 19th century Masonry in the Illinois area. I highly recommend the link I posted in the OP. It appears that if you actually research the specific types of Masonry practiced in Illinois, the similarities between Mormonism and Masonry are actually even more pronounced than comparing Mormonism to modern Masonry.

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