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

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

Post by HiJolly » 30 Sep 2009, 11:15

MisterCurie wrote:
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.

It's in a pile of 'to read' books in my bedroom... been there for probably 3 years... <sigh>
MisterCurie wrote: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.
Yes, on all of that. For me the clearest example is the "5 points of fellowship". I leaves no doubt whatever that we have 'borrowed' from Freemasonry. And I think it's really OK that Joseph did that. I think he did a great job.

HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
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HiJolly
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by HiJolly » 30 Sep 2009, 11:20

...speaking on the influence of kabbalah on temple worship...

Image

Nobody panic, ok?


HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by Curt Sunshine » 30 Sep 2009, 11:45

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?

Just curious: Do you have a problem with that if the answers are, "Correct?"

I'm not asking about correctness, but rather just your perspective IF those statements are correct. Frankly, I see those concepts as central to the ability to adapt symbols and ceremonies over time and culture and not lose the core meaning and power.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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

Post by hawkgrrrl » 30 Sep 2009, 12:02

I heartily second the recommendation of Mysteries of Godliness. A great read.
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?
There's a lot here to discuss. A few points:
1 - "salvation" is a concept. We aren't even that sure what it means. About the most clarity we have is D&C 76, which is clearer than most religions, BTW, but still . . . So, the idea that some members have that there is a literal procedure to get IN to some place called "exaltation" in which these signs & tokens are literally used in the way they are in the temple - that seems like taking something that is symbolic literally.
2 - In fact, in doing so, many members lose the more valuable symbolic meaning - that these are steps toward enlightenment, toward god and godhood. That covenants and behaviors and intentions are progressive. That one progresses toward inheriting one's own potential and communing literally with God and gods.
3 - If JS had not been into Masonry (and most Masons in his day believed that Masonry had ancient origins which now almost no one believes), he might have used another method to illustrate this process and these covenants. What if he had been into line dancing? Or fantasy football? We could have a very different endowment today . . .
4 - It being symbolic doesn't mean that it's not necessary - what it symbolizes could very well be necessary.

Anyway, lots to discuss here.

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

Post by HiJolly » 30 Sep 2009, 12:04

MisterCurie wrote: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?
I'm waiting for Valoel to explain, since he brought this on. But I would like to say that the temple endowment is a powerful, authentic, effective way to propel us into a real *knowing* of God and Godliness. Nothing is 'fake'. Everything is there for our benefit. Even the last covenant, does more for us than it does for the Church and Kingdom.

Joseph said :“ ‘A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary [to lead] unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life.’”
(from Sept 2009 Ensign)


HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
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MisterCurie
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Re: "The Endowment" vs "the presentation of the Endowment"

Post by MisterCurie » 30 Sep 2009, 12:35

Ray Degraw wrote:Just curious: Do you have a problem with that if the answers are, "Correct?"
No, I don't have a problem if the answers are correct.

Perhaps I need to clarify where I am coming from. 6 weeks ago I was a typical TBM and my wife announced her disaffection with the church to me. It was very difficult and heart-wrenching to me to have her "deny the faith", so to speak. However, I love my wife very much and I very much value her judgement and insight. I decided that I should do some research into the history of the church. DW had been researching this for nearly a year and I often responded to her criticisms with bad apologetics. Delving into the history, I was convinced I would be able to reconcile everything and that historical facts can be interpreted several possible ways so history would be unable to provide any conclusive arguements on the truthfulness of the restored gospel. Now, 6 weeks later, I have discovered many things that absolutely destroy my old testimony and that make it so I can never go back to being a typical TBM. I am still in "data collection" mode and I am coming to see everything about my old faith in a very different light. However, some days I am more Stage 3 than Stage 4. Listening to the Mormon Stories podcast on Masonry and Mormonism made me think that perhaps there was someway to reconcile all the new information I've obtained about Mormonism and Masonry with my old faith in the temple, a very stage 3 type approach (possibly because the podcast was with someone from FAIR and was filled with apologetics). On the other hand, this insight from Valoel is much more in a Stage 5 sort of acceptance, so I am trying to understand what exactly are the implications of these insights on my current Stage 3/Stage 4 understanding.
hawkgrrrl wrote:What if he had been into line dancing? Or fantasy football? We could have a very different endowment today . . .
4 - It being symbolic doesn't mean that it's not necessary - what it symbolizes could very well be necessary.


Wow, this is deep, but consistent with what I think Valoel was saying.

It seems that on StayLDS, people come to find meaning in the LDS doctrines that may not have been originally intended or that are contrary to the current teachings of the doctrines. However, most people stay because it is their tribe. From a Stage 5 approach, is there anything wrong with finding stage 5 faith in a different faith tradition than your original tribe?

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

Post by Orson » 30 Sep 2009, 12:44

HiJolly, I just wanted to say I enjoy your perspectives and insight.

I'm very glad you're with us!
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I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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

Post by hawkgrrrl » 30 Sep 2009, 13:08

It seems that on StayLDS, people come to find meaning in the LDS doctrines that may not have been originally intended or that are contrary to the current teachings of the doctrines.
Well, when it comes to the temple, I beg to differ. There is no current teaching that contradicts this idea. Basically, no ones talks about the temple, and what they do say is consistent with what I said: that it's symbolic and that we make progressive covenants. Also, how do you know what the original intent was? Again, it's not taught. Personally, I believe the original intent was to increase the commitment of members and bring them closer to god and godhood. This is done through a symbolic ordinance.
From a Stage 5 approach, is there anything wrong with finding stage 5 faith in a different faith tradition than your original tribe?
Not necessarily, although most organized religions are predominantly full of Stage 3 individuals. Stage 5 often "transcends" religion - meaning it doesn't attach to or limit spirituality to the context of a religion's view. Some religions are better at enabling individual personal spirituality than others, although all do allow for it to some extent.

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

Post by MisterCurie » 30 Sep 2009, 13:23

hawkgrrrl wrote:
It seems that on StayLDS, people come to find meaning in the LDS doctrines that may not have been originally intended or that are contrary to the current teachings of the doctrines.
Well, when it comes to the temple, I beg to differ. There is no current teaching that contradicts this idea. Basically, no ones talks about the temple, and what they do say is consistent with what I said: that it's symbolic and that we make progressive covenants. Also, how do you know what the original intent was? Again, it's not taught. Personally, I believe the original intent was to increase the commitment of members and bring them closer to god and godhood. This is done through a symbolic ordinance.
You are right. I guess I'm just basing my perception of the temple on the quote by BY about the endowment and what we receive there, which is what I've always been taught. Stage 3 faith takes the temple very literally.
hawkgrrrl wrote:
From a Stage 5 approach, is there anything wrong with finding stage 5 faith in a different faith tradition than your original tribe?
Not necessarily, although most organized religions are predominantly full of Stage 3 individuals. Stage 5 often "transcends" religion - meaning it doesn't attach to or limit spirituality to the context of a religion's view. Some religions are better at enabling individual personal spirituality than others, although all do allow for it to some extent.
The goal of StayLDS is to enable people to effectively continue in the LDS faith, despite the cognitive dissonance and challenge to their faith. I recognize this forum's goal, but is it always God's goal for an individual to continue in the LDS faith? What if trying to stay hurts a person's spirituality more than going somewhere else for spirituality? (I am thinking here of converts to the church who may have a different "tribe", or homosexuals where the church may actually be a toxic environment for some).

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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, 14:06

From studying and observing Joseph Smith (the best I can from today's perspective), and studying how he developed the temple ceremony, I think that JS desperately wanted people to experience the epiphany he had -- of seeing God and communing with gods and angels. He wanted to share this. So how was he going to do that exactly? He couldn't repeat his experience, so I see him trying to find ways of getting people into that spiritual state where they would experience their own enlightening endowment (theophany).

The Kirtland era washings and annointings took great amounts of time and effort. It was fine for a small group of people, but it was not practical in a lot of ways. It was not systematic or very repeatable either. In Nauvoo, shortly before JS's martyrdom, he took a radical shift in direction. That was the point where he borrowed a lot of different ideas, some from masonry, and put together the basic framework of what we experience today in the temple (although it still changed more after his death).

I believe in the concepts of the temple. I think the symbols and transcendent ideas that are presented have power, and they are divinely inspired. I feel like I have experienced that power towards something we call exaltation. I just am no longer so sure exactly what that is, except that it seems to be more or less what JS intended -- that we commune with God, and become one with this being or level of existence.

I think the temple contains a wonderful presentation of ideas and advanced spiritual concepts that have been around for as long as human history. Does it save us literally? I am not so convinced of that. I don't think we learn secrets to get past guards. If that were true, then anyone who googled the temple ceremony is getting into the celestial kingdom, right?

I accept HiJolly's correction. The ceremonies do something by starting a process, call them a seed. But they don't do anything for someone just because they did the motions, wore the clothes and bothered to show up.

I kind of also feel like the temple can't be the only path to this enlightenment. If it is, than so few humans have benefited from it that is is totally irrelevant. That was the plan designed by an all-knowing God? I do think the temple is a very effective and compact tool to get moving along the road to exaltation.
"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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