The Temptation of Adam and Eve, bas relief, Notre Dame
This week as I attended the temple, I realized I failed to include in my Faithful Joseph series any description about the introduction of the temple ceremonies.
Members of the LDS Church don’t talk much about what happens in the temple. As is often said, we regard these things as sacred. I submit at the time the endowment was introduced there was also a need for secrecy, since it was not known who was true and who was traitor.
The ceremonies of the temple involve preparation to become servants of God. The instructions given and covenants made in the temple are towards this end of preparing individuals for eternal life.
As discussed in the Bible and argued by Jesus in John 10: 34-38, the Jewish law taught that mortals could become gods. The purpose of the temple would be to allow individuals to enter into those covenants and perform those ordinances that would prepare them to becomes the gods the Bible speaks of, holy beings who serve God, the Father of all. These individuals would, if faithful, reign and minister in God’s heaven.
The instructions form a basis for understanding God’s work and salvation: our existence before mortality, the fall of Adam and Eve, the purpose of our mortal lives, the reality of resurrection after this life, and the possibility of returning to live with God in his kingdom.
My favorite interactions have been with those who had recently entered the waters of baptism for membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The conversations have been pure and unsullied by the life-long membership discussion of questionable doctrinal speculation. Not only that, but the faith they exhibit is often superior to many members- including my own. It is true that strong faith can also be easily shattered by things they might not have the experience dealing with. But, when they have become solid in what they believe, it is a joy to watch and listen to them in their lives. They are, after all, the backbone of the Church regardless of what life-long members might bring to the table.
It is with great sadness that I hear so often the lack of success in retaining them. There have been many reasons and excuses for this. Probably the one reason I find to be the most disturbing is the lack of fellowship – nay, lack of attention – given to those fine seedlings ready to bloom. There is no excuse for that, but too many converts (later in life) I have spoken with each have expressed disappointment at how they have been treated. It often is summed up as “second class citizens” looked on with suspicion. When asked suspicion of what, they often say it has to do with trusting their spiritual and theological capabilities. About this time my blood starts boiling! Sure they are just starting out. There is no question about that. But, that is the perfect time to learn from them, teach them in areas they need strengthening, and generally expressing appreciation for what they bring to the fellowship of Saints.
There are some quotes I would like to share to increase a convert’s faith and change long-active member’s attitudes: Continue reading
The Church Handbook of Instructions 2 has been updated to reflect new guidelines for using social media. It includes information on how wards and stakes can use social media.
Read it here: https://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/selected-church-policies?lang=eng#21.1.22
In the gift shop at the Acadia National Forest, some students were talking about a group of people who would drink blood and slit the throats of babies. And then the student said, “they can’t even drink tea or coffeee or drink soup. It says so in their Book of Mormon…”
So I walked up to them and told the the part about soup was simply not true.
The New York Times recently declared that the Mormon Moment is officially over, but I think there are still a lot of people who are curious about Mormons. We lived in Tuxedo Park in New York state. When we pulled in in our U-Haul with lots of kids, we were a curiosity, kind of like the Elephant Man. When they learned we were from Utah, they would immediately ask, “Are you Mormons?” In downtown Salt Lake, this is a question you would never ask, much less as the first thing. It would be like asking “How much money do you make?” or “How’s your sex life?” So I got used to saying “Why, yes! I am a Mormon, thank you very much,” and I had to convince people that we weren’t Amish. Continue reading