If only more members knew ... People wouldn't have as big of a shock/problem maybe. We also would have far more people understanding the symbolic nature and metaphors presented in the ceremonies. Our modern day culture has drifted far far away from appreciation of symbolic ceremony. We are too technician-oriented, too literal, and too materialistic (meaning steeped in the tangible, mechanical world, I don’t mean just greedy).jcl wrote: However, based on other research I've done here's a few things to think about in context of this:
There's quite a lot of evidence (read Temple and Cosmos by Hugh Nibley) that the symbols, framework, ceremonial clothing and such are quite universal having been used in various forms of worship around the world and throughout various time periods.
We are presented with one of the oldest spiritual puzzles known to human kind, in both the ceremony itself and what we carry around with us. The process known as "squaring the circle" is over 4,000 years old, and is one of the most valuable symbolic exercises admired by the greatest philosophical/religious minds ever born (I admire them at least, hehe).
The basic puzzle is this: Using only a square, a compass and a straight edge with a writing stick [pay attention to the symbols!], create a square with the same circumference or area as a given circle. You can not measure it numerically (with a ruler). It all has to be done with the 4 unmarked tools listed above.
It's a geometry puzzle with meanings, here are some basic interpretations:
Right-Angled Square - represents logic and law.
Compass - represents feeling and intuition.
Straight Edge - represents precision, exactness, a division between opposites (good/evil, dark/light, etc.).
Writing Stick - represents our desire, our appetites, what we hunger for, that which makes action (like drawing)
A square shape is symbolic of many things - the earth, physical world, the tangible, the rational, our body, our intellect.
A circle shape is symbolic of many things - the heavens, spiritual world, the intangible, the irrational (which is a very real part of our reality), our spirit, our heart and emotions.
The puzzle asks the initiate to reconcile the circle with the square, and through that process grow and attain enlightenment. Can you reconcile the mind and the heart? Can you reconcile heaven and earth? Can you reconcile perfectly your intellect with your emotions? your spirit and your body? Can you bring all these into perfect balance? That is the ultimate goal of a human seeking after the divine.
It is said that all truth (a square) can be circumscribed (a circle) into one great whole.
If you are familiar with this material, how has it affected your relationship to our Church? If you are not aware of this type of material, does it help? Does it make any sense?
I think a real problem comes up when the only version new people are given is the stuff in the temple will get you past the guards at the pearly gates, in only a very literal sense. It's almost like all the symbolism is ignored as fluff. I think it is the actual meat.
This is only the tip on the iceberg of what is out there that ties in things from all ages and cultures into what we focus on today. It gave me a strong strong sense of connection to great seekers of meaning in humanity throughout our planet's history.