Masonry and Metaphor

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Re: Masonry and Metaphor

Post by dande48 » 18 Oct 2018, 06:23

felixfabulous wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 14:16
GBSmith, you bring up many of the issues that I have encountered with the ritual after adopting a non-literal view. Is the ritual focused on aiding personal spiritual progression or in entrenching loyalty and obedience to the institution?
The loyalty of the membership to the Church is more important to the Church, than the membership's well-being, because the memberships' well-being only effect's the Church's continued survival and growth so far as they remain loyal. Better to have a member who remains loyal, despite being spiritually malnourished, than a spiritually nourished member who doesn't have loyalty to the Church.

I'm not saying there isn't goodness or personal value to the endowment. But the survival and growth of any church is dependent on traits which lead to it's growth and survival. Those can be, but aren't necessarily, "good".
Last edited by dande48 on 18 Oct 2018, 06:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Masonry and Metaphor

Post by AmyJ » 18 Oct 2018, 06:26

DoubtingTom wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 16:27
There was a time as a non-literal believer when I tried to separate the “presentation of the endowment” from the endowment itself. I saw the presentation as the adoption and borrowing of certain masonic elements that are actually non-essential to the actual endowment itself, which I saw as the covenants made. Joseph could have borrowed a different means of presentation or made up his own. Masonry was convenient because it was known to many and familiar and because there was a lore attached to Solomon’s temple. It was an easy way to present the endowment, had covenants of secrecy which was especially important at the time polygamy was being secretly introduced, but perhaps not the only way the endowment could have been given.

I say I tried to see it this way because it was still difficult. Even when I focused just on the endowment itself, I became uncomfortable with the gender discrepancies and the oaths of loyalty, even my life, to the Church, rather than to God or Christ. That began to feel culty and a little creepy to me. But for a time it did help me to separate the two and try to focus on the essentials.

I still appreciate the temple can be a quiet meditative place where people feel they have access to special insights for their lives. I just feel I can access my own quiet insights through more accessible locations that don’t require me to participate in elements I now feel uncomfortable with.

What it boils down to for me is that in my current season of life, for a variety of reasons, I don't go or plan to go anytime in the next 3 years. This is not set in stone, but I am not betting the farm on my decisions in this area changing any time soon.

When my daughter turns 12, I may wind up going to assist - assuming that she wants to go and I can't gracefully dodge out of it. If in 11 years, she wants to go through for herself (an unknown variable on it's own and unlikely) as part of missionary preparation, I will figure it out. But being here has shown me it is possible to navigate the temple waters and family in various stages of belief successfully.

The rituals and symbolism don't do much for me spiritually at this point in my life. The gender discrepancies and loyalty oaths were uncomfortable sometimes in the past, but now as I wrestle with them (and defining how authority works in my life) so it no longer works for me. I have young children and little money - bluntly, it is not worth it to me to invest the financial resources in gas and babysitting, or the emotional resources in free babysitting from specific loving members of my branch. My husband cannot sit through enclosed areas with lots of perfume without a migraine being triggered, or the up-and-downness of sealings for very long, so it does not work to unite us as a couple. I respectfully recognize that I am an outlier in this regard. I am comfortable in embracing the heretical-ness of my current stance.

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Re: Masonry and Metaphor

Post by Roy » 18 Oct 2018, 09:51

felixfabulous wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 09:03
The million-dollar question is how do you change the system to accommodate literal believers (which are preferred) and non-literal believers (who may be less committed)? We seem to be in the beginning stages of exploring this as a possibility. I also am curious if there are people who have been able to appreciate the temple ritual as non-literal believers.
There are churches that welcome people to join with them for the benefits of community and environment even if they don't buy 100% into the message. The theory goes that perhaps over time the message will start to grow on them.
I believe that our church depends primarily on the membership's convictions of the message to motivate them to endure sacrifice and unpleasant things in the environment. You start out with the conversion/testimony, you make certain promises/covenants, then you endure to the end.
I believe that this system makes it difficult to welcome non-literal and less committed believers because they seem 1) like a threat and/or 2) like a free loading drain on the system. You have a squishy and infirm testimony! You do not take your covenants as literal and binding!?!?! You want to continue in the church as long as you feel like it!?!?!?!?! What kind of a patty cake, taffy pull experience is that?!?!?!!? :twisted: Because we live a demanding religion that can be hard work there is natural resentment for people that seem to be shirking their fair share of the weight.
As a side note I believe that this model really hurts our convert retention. The LDS lifestyle can be a long hard slog. We expect people to "stay the course" based on pleasant feelings that they had in the beginning. I do not think we would find this to be a reasonable expectation in any other context.
AmyJ wrote:
18 Oct 2018, 06:26
The gender discrepancies and loyalty oaths were uncomfortable
I feel that it is worth mentioning (in the context of this thread about masonry) that the gender discrepancies were not borrowed from Masonry. Masonic lodges were fraternal organizations and did not allow women. It is somewhat progressive that JS brought Women into his order. OTOH, the way that it was tied up with polygamy makes me feel that it was a "one step forward, two steps back" situation. The gender disparity language of the endowment borrows from concepts in the bible - particularly 1 Corinthians 11:3. The "source material" for most of the inspiration and innovation of JS seems to be the bible.
AmyJ wrote:
18 Oct 2018, 06:26
being here has shown me it is possible to navigate the temple waters and family in various stages of belief successfully.
I LOVE this sentence. Sometimes we hear a message that says you need to be all in or all out. We even hear that God might prefer us to be openly antagonistic towards the church than to be a less committed, "middle-way", cafateria style Mormon. I reject that as a false dichotomy.
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Re: Masonry and Metaphor

Post by SamBee » 18 Oct 2018, 14:12

Throwing this out there, but at times Joseph Smith could be like modern musicians. They often take samples from various other artists and turn them into a new song. Sometimes these remixes end up better than the original. In the best case scenarios (let's forget about the worst.)

Maybe we can think of it in that way. I don't see the temple as masonic in a strict sense. Interrelated, but not the same. Masonry has quasi-religious rituals, but never becomes as outwardly Christian as our temple ritual.

We are criticized for being stupid, pseudo-Christian, anti-Christian and even devilish for temple worship, yet in the endowment, Jesus is referred to positively in every section of it, by name, by symbol and in the prayers given.
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 is...authorized to administer the Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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