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

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

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Apr 2011, 22:21

Temples are highly symbolic of what makes our theology so radically different than the rest of Christianity - frankly, the parts of our theology that are the most compelling and mind-blowing to me.

One of my favorite quotes is from a farmer I knew as a youth. It has stuck with me for decades because of its poetry and imagery. He said, to the best of my recollection:
The wonder of Mormonism is that a common farmer like me can spend the morning with my legs knee-deep in mud and muck and manure worried about crops and cows and crap then spend the evening with my head in the clouds contemplating the cosmos and communing with God.


I'm sure he heard that from someone else, since he didn't talk like that normally and since I heard Richard Bushman say something very similar in a meeting once, but that idea of sacred space where we are able to get away from the crap in our lives and open our minds to the mysteries of the eternities really resonated with me at the time - and I still love that overall perspective, regardless of any other issues.

Jan Shipps said in a lecture I attended last month that the day the LDS Church quits building temples is the day it ceases to be unique and fascinating to her as an outsider - and I think there is a profoundness to that view coming from someone who has spent 50 years studying Mormonism as a devout Methodist.
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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SamBee
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by SamBee » 17 Apr 2011, 13:35

Brown wrote:
SamBee wrote:I have mixed feelings about temples, but I think they do make us what we are. Without the Temples, and modern scriptures, we wouldn't really be Mormon.
We could be Mormons, we just wouldn't have anything to hold over other religions to make ourselves feel like we have all the answers.
I don't see it that way personally. They're part of Mormondom, much as synagogues, kosher and circumcision are all part of being Jewish. Remove them and you're not Jewish at all.
Jan Shipps said in a lecture I attended last month that the day the LDS Church quits building temples is the day it ceases to be unique and fascinating to her as an outsider - and I think there is a profoundness to that view coming from someone who has spent 50 years studying Mormonism as a devout Methodist.
That point is going to come. The problem just now is that there are two main parts of the world closed to us, aka the Middle East, and Bamboo Curtain. The Iron Curtain's come down, but the quasi-Communist states in the east (not to mention Cuba too) are still there.

At some point in the near future we may reach our ceiling. There's only so many places you can have temples.
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 » 17 Apr 2011, 14:05

I agee, Sam.

The message I got from Jan probably would be more accurately stated by saying the day the LDS Church stops focusing on the beliefs that are emphasized in the temples, rather than stops building them. She said "building temples", but I think she really meant "emphasizing a temple theology".
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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SamBee
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by SamBee » 17 Apr 2011, 14:42

I'd agree with that. But I still expect that in the future, GBH's tenure shall be seen as the peak of the temple building graph. We could still do with one in this country, but that's another matter.

Paradoxes, paradoxes... the exclusivity of the temple helps make it what it is, but at the same time, it also increases folks' paranoia, by separating families, and also encouraging some weird ideas. I know some of our ceremonies and beliefs are unusual, but they're not quite as they're painted in some places.
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."

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

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 17 Apr 2011, 21:25

SamBee wrote:I would definitely put temples in there... ahead of prophets even (don't quote me!). Temples are VERY Mormon. Other churches have revealed scriptures and prophets... very few, other than Mormon sects have temples.
Ray Degraw wrote:Temples are highly symbolic of what makes our theology so radically different than the rest of Christianity - frankly, the parts of our theology that are the most compelling and mind-blowing to me...Jan Shipps said in a lecture I attended last month that the day the LDS Church quits building temples is the day it ceases to be unique and fascinating to her as an outsider - and I think there is a profoundness to that view coming from someone who has spent 50 years studying Mormonism as a devout Methodist.
I don't mind the idea of the temple and eternal families in general but what really makes me cynical about them is some of the interview requirements such as the WoW, tithing, sustaining Church leaders as prophets, seers, and revelators, and testimony of the "restoration" as if that's what being a practicing Mormon is supposed to be all about, that you need to believe and do all this and if not then that's not acceptable. What's worse is that it seems like you could be abusive and treat people terribly and still honestly answer yes to most of these questions. It gives the impression that to Church leaders loyalty to the Church and outward acceptance of its exclusive claims comes first and being Christian comes second (if at all) almost like it's an afterthought.

Personally, I think they should simplify these interview questions and leave more room for interpretation because it seems like salvation should ultimately be between you and God and pretending to know that all this is necessary in so much detail will hurt their credibility over the long run. Another problem I have with these requirements is that they make your supposed worthiness or lack thereof other peoples' business in a public way. For example, if someone you know is getting married then it is awkward to just not go because you don't have a temple recommend when everyone expects you to. That's why it wouldn't surprise me if a significant number of members lie about some of these questions anyway especially chastity and I can't say I blame them because it's embarrassing to talk about and if you are supposed to wait an arbitrary amount of time to properly "repent" then what good does that do if you want to attend a wedding next week?
Last edited by DevilsAdvocate on 18 Apr 2011, 08:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Andrew
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Re: Really, why do we put so much emphasis on temples?

Post by Andrew » 18 Apr 2011, 07:22

DevilsAdvocate wrote:It gives the impression that to Church leaders loyalty to the Church and outward acceptance of its exclusive claims comes first and being Christian comes second (if at all) almost like it's an afterthought.
Yes. This.

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

Post by Roy » 18 Apr 2011, 10:29

In priesthood meeting there was some discussion of giving tithing grudgingly results in TR but misses spiritual blessings. Matthew 6:1-4 "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. Was interesting because TR is sometimes used synonymously with spiritual blessings and I enjoyed the distinction. As in so many other gospel topics, it appears to be the intent of the heart rather than the actual act that matters to God.

Unfortunately, even if the Bishop is very aware and in tune to realize that your "part tithe" is the proverbial widow's mite- the form only allows for "Tithing - full, part, or none." I see this as a necessary evil for the purposes of administration. I can't say that I would prefer "trying or not trying," as I wouldn't want the Bishop to assign a number to my effort or my heart.
"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

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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