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

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

Post by SilentDawning » 12 Apr 2011, 18:05

Ray Degraw wrote:Let me just say that we are walking a very slippery slope when we ask others to honor our different choices, beliefs and sacrifices (and even, hopefully, value them) if we aren't willing to do the same for their sincere, deeply held choices, beliefs and sacrifices.
Yes, that rings true -- we shouldn't judge others the way we ourselves have felt judged.

However, I think the point is that stories like this man who left his family for four years to get money for the temple, as lore to be perpetuated in GC, and to mold our culture (that's what stories do, says all the major leadership books) isn't healthy for many people.

Have you ever known someone so extreme in their beliefs they hurt others around them? When such sacrifice is not even required for salvation? I know one person, his name is SilentDawning, 28 years of age, who alienated his natural, non-member family over his temple marriage since all the pressure was to get married in the temple first.

The temple president and others who advocated this practice have long forgotten who I am, for sure, but the memory remains with my family. And I still feel the effects of that today. If any GA's read this, please consider a kinder, gentler approach to non-member families that don't force you to alienate your non-member family for the sake of the temple.
"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

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

Post by Roy » 12 Apr 2011, 18:13

Ray Degraw wrote:Some here might not agree with the example of sacrifice cited, but it absolutely might have (and almost surely did) mean a LOT to the people who performed it - and I am willing to bet that it actually did bring the family closer together **because it meant the world to them**.
I served a mission in Chile. I am particularly close to one family that I was able to baptize. I love them and refer to them as my Chilean family.

Sometime after my mission they set a goal to go to the temple. They did bake sales and other fund raisers with the ward. I remember thinking that with exchange rates being what they were, I could just send them the money. But I felt then and I feel now that it would have been the wrong thing to do; that it would have deprived this amazing family of the experience to pull and work together for a common goal.

I don't have all the answers, but I tend to agree with Ray that the meaning and relative value of personal sacrifice is best measured in the heart of the sacrificer.
doug wrote:
Ray Degraw wrote: Some here might not agree with the example of sacrifice cited, but it absolutely might have (and almost surely did) mean a LOT to the people who performed it.
I don't think anyone is arguing that that particular family made a bad choice. At least I haven't, though my personal opinion is that maybe it was and maybe it wasn't. It's a story. I don't know these people. It might not even be a true story for all I know. Speaking for myself, my problem is that since this was presented at GC, this anecdote now sets the standard. No difficulty, up to and including the physical separation of my family for four years, is a good excuse for not getting my butt to the temple. Of course that wasn't stated explicitly, but we all know how this works.
I also see your point Doug. How can we cite the example of exceptional people doing exceptional things in the name of faith without making others feel like lesser contributors, particularly those that are already partly disenfranchised and are just hanging on as it is?
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

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

Post by HiJolly » 12 Apr 2011, 18:26

SilentDawning wrote:The temple president and others who advocated this practice have long forgotten who I am, for sure, but the memory remains with my family. And I still feel the effects of that today. If any GA's read this, please consider a kinder, gentler approach to non-member families that don't force you to alienate your non-member family for the sake of the temple.
Amen.


HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
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DevilsAdvocate
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 12 Apr 2011, 19:02

Ray Degraw wrote:...Some here might not agree with the example of sacrifice cited, but it absolutely might have (and almost surely did) mean a LOT to the people who performed it...If we can't understand that different things work for different people and really do produce wonderful people in that process, we are standing on very, very thin ice when we bemoan others' inability to understand and accept us and what works for us.

Nobody has to love the temple to be Mormon - or even love it to hold an active recommend and attend it periodically. However, I am really uncomfortable blasting the sincere sacrifices of others whose dedication to SOMETHING that was important to them probably exceeds my own dedication to what is important to me
HiJolly wrote: So if someone and their family is willing to sacrifice something that another person is not, is it unreasonable that they each get the varying, even polar results their mindset and level of commitment has produced? I think not. And neither should second-guess or look down on the other.
DevilsAdvocate wrote:However, what if this man in Thomas S. Monson's story that worked for several years away from his family to be able to afford to take them all to the temple mostly did all this simply because he believed all the Church's promises but then it turns out that the afterlife is significantly different than the way the Church says or maybe this life is all there is?

I guarantee that "the afterlife is significantly different" from what the Church teaches. In many ways. And if this life is all there is, then shouldn't we decide to enjoy it and relish it and be happy? How are we doing that when we place our judgements upon others who sacrifice in ways that we feel is foolish? Does that really mean that *they* are foolish, or that *we* are? Don't they have that right, to seek for, to find, happiness?...If they find it in a way that makes no sense whatever to us, is that a problem? Why so?
I'm not trying to look down on anyone and disrespect or criticize their decisions based on their sincere beliefs, I'm sorry if anything I said came across that way. A more accurate description of my point-of-view is that I feel sorry for some of these members that are making extreme sacrifices for the Church. Maybe they don't want any pity, but the reason I can't help feeling this way is mostly because I think many of them are making these choices based on limited information and/or under significant pressure from other members.

It would be easier for me to give the Church and other members the benefit of the doubt that they are doing all this because they really want to and honestly feel good about it if they had actually heard both sides of the story so they could make an informed decision but I doubt that is actually happening in most cases. If the Church would tone it down with some of their claims and expectations or try to make sure people really understand what they are getting into and why then I would gladly stop criticizing their approach. However, as long as they only present whitewashed history then I'm not going to apologize for complaining about their demands for all this sacrifice because as far as I'm concerned this just isn't a very Christian or ethical way to treat people.

For example, what happens when the typical TBM that goes on a mission, gets married in the temple, faithfully pays tithing, doesn't turn down callings, etc. for half their life stumbles on some anti-Mormon propaganda on the internet and loses faith in the Church? Many of them will inevitably feel like victims and will be bitter toward the Church because of all this time, money, and effort they've invested in it. That's why I recommend saying no to the Church if you don't feel good about something to anyone that will listen, not just for their own sake but hopefully to send the message that enough is enough and maybe help the Church gradually move toward some positive changes.
"Truth is what works." - William James

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Fatherof4husbandof1
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by Fatherof4husbandof1 » 12 Apr 2011, 19:38

Glad I skipped the movie, this thread has been much more entertaining. fwiw, before my fall from grace I would have seen the mans sacrifice as an incredible act of faith. Post fall and after reading "The Mysteries of Godliness- a history of Mormon temple worship- I see it as a complete waste of time, and money. This is just my opinion.
to infinity...and beyond!!!!!

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

Post by HiJolly » 12 Apr 2011, 19:53

Fatherof4husbandof1 wrote:... and after reading "The Mysteries of Godliness- a history of Mormon temple worship- I see it as a complete waste of time, and money. This is just my opinion.

I *have* to dig that out of the box it's in and read it. I bought it 6 years ago or so, and still keep finding other things to read before it. Right now I'm reading James' "The Varieties of Religious Experience" (again) and Nibley's "One Eternal Round". On my MP3 player I've got McCullough's "John Adams". I know, TMI...


HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
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HiJolly
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by HiJolly » 12 Apr 2011, 20:15

DevilsAdvocate wrote: I'm not trying to look down on anyone and disrespect or criticize their decisions based on their sincere beliefs, I'm sorry if anything I said came across that way.

I appreciate that.
DevilsAdvocate wrote:A more accurate description of my point-of-view is that I feel sorry for some of these members that are making extreme sacrifices for the Church. Maybe they don't want any pity, but the reason I can't help feeling this way is mostly because I think many of them are making these choices based on limited information and/or under significant pressure from other members.

DA, we're ALL making choices based on limited information. I don't care if you read every book ever written on God, Jesus, Mormonism or whatever, what we know or believe is all based on limited info. You and I are no different than they. Everyone should pity everyone else.
DevilsAdvocate wrote:It would be easier for me to give the Church and other members the benefit of the doubt that they are doing all this because they really want to and honestly feel good about it if they had actually heard both sides of the story so they could make an informed decision but I doubt that is actually happening in most cases.

I could make a really crude comment about "informed decision(s)", but I'll refrain... Why do you suppose the first principle of the Gospel is faith? Should rationality be your guide, or personal experience?
DevilsAdvocate wrote:If the Church would tone it down with some of their claims and expectations or try to make sure people really understand what they are getting into and why then I would gladly stop criticizing their approach. However, as long as they only present whitewashed history then I'm not going to apologize for complaining about their demands for all this sacrifice because as far as I'm concerned this just isn't a very Christian or ethical way to treat people.

I *do* wish we could switch the Sunday meetings from being devotional only to being educational and a few other things, including some devotional time. I even regret that we don't do 'practice hymns' anymore...
DevilsAdvocate wrote:For example, what happens when the typical TBM that goes on a mission, gets married in the temple, faithfully pays tithing, doesn't turn down callings, etc. for half their life stumbles on some anti-Mormon propaganda on the internet and loses faith in the Church? Many of them will inevitably feel like victims and will be bitter toward the Church because of all this time, money, and effort they've invested in it. That's why I recommend saying no to the Church if you don't feel good about something to anyone that will listen, not just for their own sake but hopefully to send the message that enough is enough and maybe help the Church gradually move toward some positive changes.
Preachin' to the choir, chief!


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

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

Post by cwald » 12 Apr 2011, 20:28

Ray Degraw wrote:Let me just say that we are walking a very slippery slope when we ask others to honor our different choices, beliefs and sacrifices (and even, hopefully, value them) if we aren't willing to do the same for their sincere, deeply held choices, beliefs and sacrifices....
I guess I missed this particular reference, because it certainly is not what I've been talking about or saying. These folks did what they were told and taught to do to have an ETERNAL FAMILY. It took great faith ---- but at what cost? And were those costs really necessary and were the worth it. I cannot answer if it was worth it, only that man, his wife, and his kids who will live with consequences of being seperated for four years can answer that question. And they won't know an answer for many many years to come.

My point - the whole thread I think, is "why are we doing this?" Why? The church does not need or have to ask these kind of sacrifices on families, because if the endowment is as essential as we claim it is, why are we not doing more to ensure that EVERYONE who wants it can get it in a reasonable manner?

Yes, we are building temples, but do we really NEED temples to give endowments? We went decades without them because we were poor and didn't have them available. Sounds kind similar to what we are dealing with in many of these third world countries.

As far as the temple story. I don't begrudge the man who sacrificed. Good for him if that is what he wants to do. I guess if anything, I question the church culture that puts so much emphasis on the temple on one hand, and how important family is on the other hand - even saying things like "all programs and policies of the church are here to build up and strengthen the family." ---- and then sits back and "idolizes" families like the one cited in GC that has to chose one over the other, which appears to be conflicting commandments. And I just don't think it is necessary or logical or reasonable.
  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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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 13 Apr 2011, 07:01

Just a side comment. Does anyone actually NOT take TSM's stories with an enormous grain of salt? He is an obvious embellisher. C'mon - the story about digging her children's graves with a spoon a couple years back at conference? These stories strain credulity. In my perception, TSM does not embellish these stories in a careful and deliberate manner - he is a meandering raconteur who gets caught up in his storytelling and doesn't always consider the full application of his stories.

I don't think this story was meant to be taken so to heart, and I strongly doubt its veracity. I think it was meant to inspire the routine sacrifice of driving 20 whole minutes across town once a month.

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

Post by cwald » 13 Apr 2011, 08:38

hawkgrrrl wrote:Just a side comment. Does anyone actually NOT take TSM's stories with an enormous grain of salt?
Yeah - about 13 million Mormons.
The Catholics church teaches that the pope is infallible and always speaks for god, yet none of the member will believe it. The Mormon church teachers that the Prophet is fallible and sometimes speaks as a man, yet none of the members will believe it.
  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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