Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

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cwald
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Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by cwald » 10 Apr 2011, 22:39

My BP asked me today about my temple goals.

During our branch council, several folks talked about the need for members to get to the temple.

We are constantly being told we need to attend the temple regularly.

During the missionary meeting, the branch mission leader focused on getting less-active members to go to the temple.

I'm not even suppose to have my current calling because I don't have a TR, and the church is making "temple worthy" a requirement for more and more ordinances and callings.

Temples worship seems to be the cure all, end all in the LDS church right now.

WHY? Really, why do we need the temple, and what is the deal? Even if one gives the church the benefit of the doubt that the church is "true" and one must get their endowment to go to heaven. But still, why have "we" made it a temple requirement? The saints spent years without a temple. Many many people got their endowment and CK marriage without the temple. And yes, I know that it's the policy now, but really, does it need to be so? Do we really believe that god cares that folks get married in an elaborate building? Maybe we could save a gazillion dollars and help the poor and needy rather than build these lucrative buildings, and just do the temple ordinances in the basement of the stake center.

I really question how the LDS version of temple worship fits into gospel concept.

I get how it fits into the masonic and cultural and traditional concept of Mormonism, and why it would be valueble to some---- but not the gospel or necessary for salvation. I really just don't think that god would set those kind of limitations and rules on himself and mankind.

Also - we hear stories about folks who live too far away from a temple, and have to sacrifice everything they have to go to the temple. Like the GC talk where the guy who left his home and family for four years to save up money to take his family to the temple. Why? That really is not what we want fathers doing today - we want them home taking care of his kids. If we really wanted them to get the blessings of the temple, then lets bring the idea of the temple to them, and give them the ordinances wherever they are.

I guess what I am saying, it really bothers me and makes me question that our church has the attitude that we have to "go to the temple" to really commune with god and be in his presence." I don't believe that. I think god's temple is inside each one of us, and that we can commune and walk with god at anytime and any place we and he/her so chooses.

I don't know, maybe I'm just feeling a little grouchy tonight.

And even if we do need to go to a temple - why are spending so much resources on them? Have we become vain and gaudy in our attempt to "please god?" I really have a difficult time with our concept of temple worship.

The Dalia Llama says it so well and elegantly,
This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

The purpose of all the major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts.
From the depths of my soul, I really wish the LDS church would put more focus and emphasis on constructing temples on the inside, and perhaps not so much emphasis on constructing big temples on the outside.

Thank you for letting me vent.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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SilentDawning
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by SilentDawning » 10 Apr 2011, 22:58

I'm actually with you on some of these points. I have never felt close to God in the temple. All my spiritual experiences have happened alone, or in teaching situations. Never in the temple.

A few thoughts triggered by your comments:

1. The fact that we build temples is one of the FEW counterthoughts to my belief that the Church is more corporate than divine. These investments are huge, and the buildings are not really general purpose in my view. The layout, the baptismal fonts, the laundry chutes, etcetera -- these buildings were not built to be used and then sold for a profit some day. The land isn't used efficiently either for many of the temples I've visisted. To me, they are one of the few testimonies that the Corporation/Church actually believes these temples are important for eternally significant work. A business bent on profitability and self-perpetuation wouldn't invest in these kinds of structures, in my view.

2. I hitherto vow never to bother anyone about going to the temple ever again. The success rate is low, first off -- the spiritual return on investment per calorie of effort invested is not there. Our BP had me running around chasing members and asking them why they didn't have a TR and encouraging them to get one. After ruffling a few feathers and raising eyebrows, I finally told them it was not my responsibility. They dropped it eventually. Never again. That's people's own choice, and we haven't created a culture conducive to concern-sharing. No wonder no one wants to tell us why they don't want to go.

3. I think the emphasis on the temple is that some leaders honestly think that's what's best for the members. I hate to say it, but I partly believe it's partly a tithing stimulator. If you go to the temple then you have to pay your tithing.

4. I suppose if you don't buy into the one true Church concept, and the whole purpose of temples, and plan of salvation, it's hard to believe they have much of a purpose. If all that stuff is false, I can see how many would feel temple attendance, and all the requirements to be worthy for it are perhaps not worth it!
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Brown
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by Brown » 10 Apr 2011, 23:31

The skeptic in me thinks that the heavy investment in temples is so the church can have an exclusive club that helps with retention.

That said, I always have very spiritual moments with my wife in the Celestial room.

GBSmith
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by GBSmith » 11 Apr 2011, 07:58

It's a way to make members feel special and set apart. It helps with retention and keeps members focused on living a certain kind of life. It's always been my opinion the JS added temple worship for this reason. I think it felt a need to add charisma to his inner circle with the focus on celestial marriage/polygamy in order to reward them for taking themselves out of the "world" . About 15 years ago I heard Jan Shipps at a Northwest Sunstone symposium talk about the church focusing in the future on being a temple building and attending people. It's another way to try and prevent too much assimilation with the rest of Christianity.

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SamBee
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by SamBee » 11 Apr 2011, 08:11

I enjoy going to the temple, but for many people, it's a major journey/vacation etc, not to mention an expensive proposition.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Apr 2011, 08:32

Because the leadership and the vast majority of the membership really, truly, deeply believe in the concept and principle of the temple. Period.

There can be other sub-motivations, good and bad, but I don't think it's any more complicated in the end than that they really believe in it.
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

GBSmith
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by GBSmith » 11 Apr 2011, 10:26

retracted
Last edited by GBSmith on 11 Apr 2011, 11:40, edited 1 time in total.

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DevilsAdvocate
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 11 Apr 2011, 10:30

cwald wrote:My BP asked me today about my temple goals. During our branch council, several folks talked about the need for members to get to the temple. We are constantly being told we need to attend the temple regularly. During the missionary meeting, the branch mission leader focused on getting less-active members to go to the temple...Temples worship seems to be the cure all, end all in the LDS church right now. WHY? Really, why do we need the temple, and what is the deal?...And yes, I know that it's the policy now, but really, does it need to be so? Do we really believe that god cares that folks get married in an elaborate building? Maybe we could save a gazillion dollars and help the poor and needy rather than build these lucrative buildings, and just do the temple ordinances in the basement of the stake center...I really question how the LDS version of temple worship fits into gospel concept.

Also - we hear stories about folks who live too far away from a temple, and have to sacrifice everything they have to go to the temple. Like the GC talk where the guy who left his home and family for four years to save up money to take his family to the temple. Why? That really is not what we want fathers doing today - we want them home taking care of his kids. If we really wanted them to get the blessings of the temple, then lets bring the idea of the temple to them, and give them the ordinances wherever they are.
It looks like the gospel according to the LDS Church has mostly become "eternal families", temple worthiness, and testimony of the restoration and God-given authority of LDS prophets and apostles. Like Ray said I think they really believe in this so that's why they want to push this temple idea so much as the answer for everyone. However, I think they also need to realize that an increasing number of members are just not going to be motivated by this anymore the way they dangle it like a carrot to try to entice members to conform to their definition of what exactly a good Mormon is supposed to be.

When I heard Thomas S. Monson's story in conference I felt like he was trying to say that if it was supposedly worth it for this man to work so hard away from his family for years to take them all to the temple then slackers like me have no good excuse whatsoever to not go to the temple with so many of them just a short drive away. Instead, my first thought was that it was rather unfortunate that this man wasted so much time away from his family just to be able to afford this expensive trip to a temple.

I guess it's all relative to your perspective, but to me all this glorification of temples borders on idolatry. Seriously, Thomas S. Monson was talking about how it's a good idea to have pictures of the temple around to try to encourage children to understand how important it is. Regardless of how holy members think it is and what it is meant to symbolize it is basically just a building that more than 99% of all the people in the world will never be allowed inside so I don't understand how any kind of God that is worth paying attention to could possibly make this an absolute requirement for salvation.
"Truth is what works." - William James

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Apr 2011, 10:48

Might as well close the thread.
I love you, GB - really, but the snark is not appreciated. If we can't be honest about our views and opinions without being mocked for it . . .
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

GBSmith
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Joined: 24 Apr 2010, 08:51

Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by GBSmith » 11 Apr 2011, 11:39

Ray Degraw wrote:
Might as well close the thread.
I love you, GB - really, but the snark is not appreciated. If we can't be honest about our views and opinions without being mocked for it . . .
Not mocking, seriously. It just seemed with the "period" you were shutting things off. I didn't mean to offend.

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