Chapter Nine – Temple Ordinances, a Roadblock to God

21 March

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split…

 - Matthew 27:50-51

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

- Hebrews 10:19-22

 

 

Perhaps one of the worst feelings in the world is being unable to approach someone you need or love. To be cut off from them is like being held hostage to loneliness with no ability to hear from them or feel their love. This is exactly what it is like to be apart from God. Placing a temple veil in between God and us perpetuates this feeling by keeping us apart from Him. We were created to be in constant relationship with God. Unfortunately, sin has separated us. But would a loving God let sin permanently separate us?

Is the temple the answer to gaining a relationship with God or is there another way? I have great news, it is for this very purpose that God sent His son to bridge the gap and reconcile us to Him! God’s own Son, the sinless, spotless Lamb became sin for us so that we could have full access to God (2 Corinthians 5:21). This was God’s ultimate act of love to reconcile us to Him. God hated the veil and the separation from His people. He provided a way so that we would no longer have anything between Him and us.  After Jesus Christ came and died on the cross the veil was split! There would no longer be a need for a temple. This is a profound truth that should make every Christian shout for joy! What an opportunity we now have! There is nothing to stop our prayers from reaching God’s ears except our decision not to pray. There is nothing stopping us from claiming God’s grace except our own desire to ask for it. Nothing can prevent us from walking and interacting with God except our own negligence. Christ’s death ripped the veil in the temple! It gave us full access to Him anytime, anywhere!

And yet, among many different religious groups there seems to be an effort to bring back the veil and create a barrier between man and God. This is a tragedy and divides more than just man from a loving God, but also creates division in nearly every other aspect of the many lives it affects. While I was a Mormon I saw the effects of the temple not only on my family and myself, but also in other families in many different ways. Mormonism, unfortunately, creates a barrier between God and man that divides us from Him. Religion has made it so that only through another human man ordained in a place they profess to be holy (the Mormon Temple) can we finally have access to God.

The Mormon Temple is central to the Mormon culture. It is steeped in mysticism and secrecy. It is a dominating influence and, according to their doctrine, a necessary part of salvation.

Not knowing authentic Christianity I was deceived into believing I needed the temple to get to God. This would have many adverse affects on my life. Having now gained an understanding of the Bible and God’s will for my life, my family and I have been completely restored, enjoying a fruitful relationship with God. Much of what goes on in the Mormon Temples are wrong and anti-biblical. I would have liked for a Christian to have at least tried to open my eyes on the temple while I was a Mormon—even if I wouldn’t have listened. I wish someone had cared enough to say, “Hey! That is not Biblical! Christ isn’t like that!” Because I wished someone had done it for me, I am doing it for you.

This is my way of saying, “I care,” because I really do.

 

The Mormon Temple and Endowments

 

Mormons believe that their Temple is a key component to getting to Heaven. The Mormon Eternal Progression believes that eventually all good Mormon males will get their own planet, and will need to choose their own Jesus to be the savior of that world. They get to be a god. This belief is predicated, however, on a Mormon’s participation in their Temple Ordinances. These Ordinances are necessary for salvation according to the Mormon faith.

Elder Boyd K. Packer said, “Ordinances and covenants become our credentials for admission into His presence. To worthily receive them is the quest of a lifetime; to keep them thereafter is the challenge of mortality. Once we have received them for ourselves and for our families, we are obligated to provide these ordinances vicariously for our kindred dead, indeed for the whole human family.”[1]

President Howard W. Hunter explained his opinion of the importance of temple ordinances, “All of our efforts in proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead lead to the holy temple. This is because the temple ordinances are absolutely crucial; we cannot return to God’s presence without them. I encourage everyone to worthily attend the temple or to work toward the day when you can enter that holy house to receive your ordinances and covenants.”[2]

Notice the emphasis on the word ‘worthy.’ Not every Mormon is introduced to the Temple Ordinances until they are deemed worthy and only after they have been faithful to the church for at least a year. Because the entire matter is held secret, those about to go through their ‘endowment ceremony’ have no idea what it means or what it entails until they actually go through it. Again, we see the concept of worthiness in President Gordon B. Hinckley’s remarks, “These ordinances become the most profound expressions of our theology. I urge our people everywhere, with all of the persuasiveness of which I am capable, to live worthy to hold a temple recommend, to secure one and regard it as a precious asset, and to make a greater effort to go to the house of the Lord and partake of the spirit and the blessings to be had therein.”[3]

Why not regard Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as our most precious asset? It would seem logical to just rely on Christ unless you had an eternal progressive view of your own godhood. With that being the case, Jesus is merely a small stepping-stone to something larger. For the Christian, there is nothing more. Jesus is the Beginning and the End. He is everything. He is the Truth. He is the Way. He is the Life (John 14:6).

Being found worthy is the first step to being admitted into the Temple. Once there you are ‘endowed’ which, according to Brigham Young, is a series of covenants that you make with God to live a good life. He said, “Let me give you a definition in brief. Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels.”[4]

The endowment is supposedly how the Mormon receives power to resist Satan here on earth. It leaves me to wonder why only worthy saints need the power to resist the evils of this earth, and why you must be worthy to receive this power? Are not those who are ‘unworthy’ in more need of this power of resistance? And, if you are worthy, have you not already resisted the evils? Why then do you need this endowment?

These questions aside, the Mormon view is that the Temple Endowment is a very, very special ceremony given only to the worthy. Here is a short list of worthy requirements:

 

  1. Being morally clean
  2. Sustaining the Prophet as the only one on earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys
  3. Living according to the standards of the Church
  4. Having no unresolved sins
  5. Being honest
  6. Being an active member in good standing for at least one year
  7. Paying a full tithe
  8. Having a righteous relationship within the family
  9. Sustaining local and general Church leaders
  10. Keeping the Word of Wisdom
  11. Having no apostate affiliations

 

Despite the improbability of many of these requirements, the list is more about binding you to Mormon ideology than about righteous living which only further separates you from a relationship with God. It removes your faith and trust in Him as you must get worthy before you can even come to God.

Holding this recommend interview causes your worthiness to be determined by the local Church leaders. Your fate is now in their power as you rely on them to receive your temple recommend. This ‘recommend’ must be presented at the temple in order to gain entrance. Notice the following quote by Spencer Kimball:

“It is true that many Latter-day Saints, having been baptized and confirmed members of the Church, and some even having received their endowments and having been married and sealed in the holy temple, have felt that they were thus guaranteed the blessings of exaltation and eternal life. But this is not so. There are two basic requirements every soul must fulfill or he cannot attain to the great blessings offered. He must receive the ordinances and he must be faithful, overcoming his weaknesses. Hence, not all who claim to be Latter-day Saints will be exalted. But for those Latter-day Saints who are valiant, who fulfill the requirements faithfully and fully, the promises are glorious beyond description: “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them (D&C 132:20).’”[5]

Many things are involved in the Endowments. My own experience is not unique. As a Mormon, trying to do the right thing, I wanted to go—felt I had to go to the Temple. At the time, my husband who grew up a Mormon was not deemed ‘worthy’ by his Church and honestly didn’t really want me to go anyway. He was afraid of the changes the temple would have on the family and me. He had seen division, judgment and other self-righteous attitudes in other families, so he naturally feared it. But I felt I had to go to secure my salvation and help my family. My husband, who decided it was easier to say nothing to me, lest he get me and the rest of his family upset, waited outside in the car while I went into the temple alone since he was not allowed to go in without a temple recommend.

There are many, many rituals, secret handshakes, oaths (that even once carried the death penalty prior to 1990), and words that must be memorized and recited. You are not informed prior to going what will happen. But here are some things that I had to go through:

 

  1. I was asked to strip naked and to put nothing on except a sheet or poncho for the washings and anointing. I felt uncomfortable and questioned why this was necessary in order to be washed clean by God.  My clothing was placed in a locker with a lock on it. I questioned this because I thought I was in a holy place with honest people being guarded by angels.
  2. Then I was required to put on the garments, something I would do 24/7 for the rest of my life. I then dressed in identical white clothing as everyone else participating in the ceremony. It was hard for me, because it seemed as if my identity didn’t matter.
  3. For the ceremony, I wasn’t given any real information as to what to expect. After I was seated with the doors shut, I was given the option to leave, however doing so would have been a huge interruption and very embarrassing to me, not to mention the end of my progression to live in Heaven with Jesus. So I continued. When it was finished I would make oaths never to speak of what happens in the temple. These oaths went way beyond a simple promise (see the section on Temple Mysticism below).
  4. There was a lot of pressure from family and friends—not my husband, but certainly his family—who would be very disappointed in my “unfaithfulness,” “rebellion,” and “unworthiness” if I didn’t attend the temple. My husband’s family had been greatly concerned about us because we had not yet been through the process and been ‘sealed’ to each other and to them.
  5. During the ceremony, I was told to repeat the words that force you to swear before god, angels, and witnesses under the threat of eternal punishment not to reveal what I learned during the ceremonies. I took many secret oaths and vows that day, each one a surprise to me since I was not led to know what these vows would be until I was asked to speak them. We raised our hands and swore never to reveal the oaths and covenants made in the temple. For a long time I was afraid. God does not operate in fear or threaten people! Yet I feared. Ironically, the Church’s own recorded history is now the ‘enemy’ that members are warned against studying or looking into. Searching out Mormon history is considered apostasy.
  6. I received a new name, Naomi. I was required to perform many secret handshakes, and quote ritualistic phrases. This included wearing a strange temple robe and a faux fig leaf apron and a strange hat for the men and veil for the women. Forgetting any of it was looked down upon. These key phrases would allow me to enter into God’s Kingdom. It was like a secret society with passwords and everything.
  7. I was surprised by the fact that my family and friends in attendance had participated in these bizarre ceremonies repeatedly in the past and had been pressuring my own participation. While trying to do the right thing, I felt a sense of unrealism—like “you must be kidding”—during the entire proceedings.
  8. I was separated from the men, which would eventually bother me when my husband began attending the temple. I wanted to be near him and share the experience together, but this is something we were not given a choice in.
  9. Going through the Temple is required in order to participate in things such as a wedding or a mission’s trip. This is very important as it pertains to not only your own marriage and mission trips, but also those of your children and other family members. Many would suffer through the ceremonies just to receive their prospective “blessings.”

 

Some of the other Temple practices include Baptisms for the Dead, Temple weddings, and being sealed to your family. Many of these rites have similar aspects and components from the secret handshakes to the division of men and women.

Temple goers act like the only way to receive a gift of endowment is to go to the temple. How ridiculous! God’s gifts are freely given to each Christian. They are not dispensed through the church or a person. It is between you and God! You do not need a Temple worker, a new name, robes, handshakes to remember, or special words to say to enter God’s kingdom. Just ask! God says He prepares a place for you (John 14:2). He never says in the Bible that you need to go to the Temple to receive your new name and all the other rituals to enter His Kingdom. Just ask! He will give you a new name; you shall no longer be called wounded, outcast, broken, lonely or afraid. Instead, your new name shall be confident, joyfulness, overcoming one, faithfulness, friend of mine, one who seeks My face.

 

Temple Marriages

 

Being married within the Temple is essential in the Mormon faith. Marriage and being sealed within the Temple are necessary, they believe, to attaining the highest level of Heaven. To be married outside the Temple is not to have a marriage that is bound eternally in Heaven. If a spouse should die and a man remarries, his new wife may also be sealed to him in the temple furthering the polygamy practice in Heaven. So much of the power is given to the husband, as he is the one that knows the wife’s new name and must call it to resurrect her at the appointed time.

Worse, the actual ceremony is more about Mormon control than it is about the marriage. It is done in secret, of course, and only those with a Temple Recommend are actually allowed to attend the ceremony. Everyone else must wait outside. This is incredibly hurtful and divisive to families. Yet the Mormon Church insists that this is the way it must be done. Only in this manner, through them, can a marriage be sealed for all eternity!

This is a different gospel than the one Jesus preached. He said in Matthew 22:30, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are they given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” And again, we find the same thing in Mark 12:25, “For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels which are in heaven.”  In case that isn’t clear enough, you’ll find it repeated again in Luke 20:35.

Some get around this by doing a two-step process of marrying first in the temple and then holding a public, civil ceremony. Even still it is hurtful to those that cannot see their family member being married and enjoying the looks on their faces, as they are married for the first time. The civil service feels more like an appeasement to them as the bride and groom have already experienced the “true wedding.”

For most young Mormon girls, they have no, absolutely no clue what to expect. Since their families are forbidden to tell them and they are discouraged from reading anything negative about the Mormon Church, they go with eagerness and youthful ignorance to the greatest day of their life, not comprehending how this will adversely affect their life.

 

  1. As a young couple they are not offered or given premarital counseling so they are not prepared for marriage itself. Every marriage whether viewed earthly or eternally requires preparation for success. Meaning not just success of staying together, but staying passionately in love together.
  2. They will both be required to wear Garments—holy underwear that strips mostly the young woman of the ability to be sexy for her husband. The playfulness of youth now gone, teasing each other with a hint of skin will be over. The garment itself will change the choice of their outerwear as new rules have begun.
  3. Some or many of their own family will be unable to attend the wedding causing years of bitterness to follow, simply because they were deemed “unworthy.”
  4. The ceremony itself will not be individualized and personal, but will be geared to marry many on that day.
  5. The division between the two will begin that day as they sit on opposite sides of the room, not sharing their experience or their thoughts about what is happening. This will proceed for years as they have taken secret oaths not to discuss it.
  6. During the ceremony, they will hear threats, warnings, and dire secrets never to be repeated outside the Temple, this being an example will set them up for future secrets between the two. She will be told that she is bound to her husband for all eternity and that only by his grace and ability to call her name can she attain to the highest Kingdom. This sets the wife up to feel very much under his control.

 

Imagine marriage as God intended it to be, with the husband and wife sharing in every experience along their journey in life. Imagine it where they are free to share with the world their beautiful ceremony and where there are no secrets or threats. Think of a marriage where the only symbol they wear is the cross to help them remember all that Christ has done for them so they can do the same for each other. Wouldn’t it be great to have a marriage where, as helpmates, they practice the true ordinances of Christ’ Gospel of praying for one another, forgiving and loving one another? Imagine a union where the only temple they attend is the temple of their bodies, which God gave them, and where they are free to come together openly with one another without the need to hide anything. That is the beauty of a true marriage.

 

Satan or God’s Priesthood?

 

The Temple Ordinances are filled with symbols of the occult and borrowed rites and symbols from masonry. Joseph Smith was a Mason and brought many of the rituals, secret handshakes, and mystery with him when he started the Mormon religion. Mormon teaching explains the secrecy away by claiming that it is sacred. But that is not what the word ‘sacred’ means! Sacred means ‘special,’ not secret! It is like a marriage covenant, everyone knows about it and it is a special covenant, but certainly not a secret one.

The secret oaths, vows and covenants are part of Satan’s plan; remember He is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4 ). One should pay special attention to whose priesthood robe they are placing on themselves. When you place the fig leaf apron on, ask yourself whom is it that is asking you to do so. You will be surprised to find out you are actually doing as Satan commanded. He says in the temple “See, you are naked. Take some fig leaves and make you aprons. Father will see your nakedness. Quick! Hide!” It is Satan that encourages the separation between you and God. As a believer in Christ, you have a new God, the true life giving God, and are no longer bound to do as Satan commands. Because Jesus is the new and everlasting Melchizedek Priesthood, the source of eternal salvation, we are to go to Him, and Him only (Romans 5:6-10). There is no longer a separation requiring anyone to intervene as a priest! He alone is our High Priest (Hebrews 9:11)!

Take notice of the prominent symbols in temple, they will also give you a clue as to whose priesthood the Mormons are patterned after. The Sunstone symbol of Baal (a Biblical false god or demon), the moonstone of the witch goddess Dana (Artemis), and the satanic pentagram symbol are all very evident. Nowhere is there a single cross or even a picture of the cross, a symbol of our High Priest Jesus Christ.

 

“And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which [was] in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.” - 2 Kings 23:5, 11

 

I know it is very scary, but the Mormon Temple has little to do with Jesus Christ. It has more to do with pagan rituals and idolatrous traditions than anything else. To me, the greatest tragedy in all of this is how deceptive they have been about it all. This takes away from a person’s ability to search these things out before they begin to walk into the power of Satan’s priesthood. This is one of the reasons it is very difficult to get a Mormon to see; Satan has a very strong hold on them. I remember going through the temple ordinances wondering about it all, being very confused. I asked many questions, but every time I did, the question would be passed off to someone else. This was very time consuming as I continued to be directed in circles, never really getting a clear answer. I felt that I possibly needed to study more. Not finding my clarity, and being further consumed in this unknown demonic power, I finally embraced the teachings—until I was set free by Jesus Christ!! I have found my True Priest, my clarity, and received my answers. Now it is important for me to share them with you!

Jesus is so open and clear about everything! Learning the truth through His word brings clarity.  He never organized a secret society, secret handshakes, or even used a symbol at all to differentiate His followers from others. In fact, the followers of Christ were first called Christians—by nonbelievers (Acts 11:26). The Christians were so open and clearly practiced their belief in Jesus that even those who did not believe could see the relationship between the Christians in Antioch and Jesus Christ.

Jesus never practiced vows of secrecy or held a secret society where others could not go. There were no threats of death for revealing what they knew. Instead, the disciples were encouraged to share what they knew!

Jesus warned about this sort of thing to the Pharisees:

 

“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves.  And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,”

- Matthew 21:12-15  (KJV)

 

It is interesting that as soon as Jesus ran out of the Temple those that were using it for their own gain, those that normally would not be deemed as ‘worthy’ came to Jesus in the Temple. The Pharisees were very angry over the fact that their Temple, the structure that set them above the rest of the people…that proclaimed them as better than the rest of the people, was being taken over by the blind and defective along with a bunch of children singing praises to Jesus. These religious elite didn’t want these people in the Temple. They wanted it to be only for a select group of people. This is a form of idolatry when the person is set up to be greater than someone else. The Bible tells us in Romans 12:16, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

What is more, Mormon doctrine teaches that you will eventually become a god yourself; if you do everything that you are supposed to. The Bible teaches that there is only one God and that there are no others—ever! So going to the Mormon Temple is more than just exposing yourself to pagan symbols and demonic rituals. It is declaring your candidacy for godhood—the ultimate in idolatry.

There is no greater act of idolatry than to claim that you are a god. Jesus was being attacked for claiming He was the Son of God—that He was equal to God. Jesus used a passage in Psalms 82 to illustrate their ridiculous charge of blasphemy. He never claimed that the prophets and judges of old (whom where called gods) were deity, were able to become deity, or could ever lay claim to such a thing. He was showing them that if the word of God came to these men (the judges) whom they revered, why were they charging Jesus with blasphemy?

No, when you think you can become a god, equal to God, this is idolatry. Satan tried it in Isaiah 14 and was cast down as a result. What result do you think you will have?

 

The Temple—The Great Divider

 

In 2 Corinthians 10:2 Paul writes that it is not wise to compare and measure ourselves against each other. He knew the effects that such comparisons can produce in the lives of both the one doing the comparing and the one being compared to. It is an exceptionally dangerous thing to do. Notice the following verses:

 

“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I get. But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be thou merciful to me a sinner. I say unto you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

 Luke 18:10-14 (KJV)

 

Here we have one man comparing himself to another man and feeling justified because he wasn’t as bad as the other guy. This is divisive in so many ways. Consider this: comparing yourself to those who are ‘worse’ than you makes you feel that you don’t have to grow, don’t have to improve, don’t have to get better yourself. You justify your own wrongs by saying, “Well, I’m not as bad as so and so!” Comparing yourself to those who are ‘better’ than you can be discouraging and ultimately depressing. It may prevent you from moving forward like the Children of Israel did when comparing their military might to that of the inhabitants of the Promised Land. They thought themselves so inferior that they turned back and defied the Lord out of fear (Numbers 13:31-33).

Ultimately, this is what the Mormon Temple is doing. It places physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual divisions among people, families, friends, and neighbors. It is not a means to connect with God, as much as it is a means of division. But this is not what God wants. God does not want division among the brethren. God wants unity!

 

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” – Psalms 133:1 (KJV)

 

Nevertheless, the Mormon Temple is a place of division. For example:

 

  1. When entering the Temple, families are divided. Men and women are required to sit on opposite sides from each other even if both are deemed to be ‘worthy.’ There is no unity as a family as children are not allowed to attend the endowment session.
  2. For family members that are not deemed ‘worthy,’ they must wait outside the Temple completely. They aren’t even allowed in! As already mentioned, the first time I went to the Temple, my husband wasn’t allowed to attend. He sat out in the car and waited. The vows I took even forbade me to tell him what happened…my own husband!
  3. It divides your faith from God. In effect, the Temple encourages you to work out your own salvation and ignore what Jesus did on the cross. You are suddenly, even if you don’t realize it, in competition with Jesus over who saves your soul. The Temple determines who is saved, who will be married, what Kingdom you will go to and who your wife or husband will be in the Kingdom.
  4. If you hold a Temple Recommend (a certificate stating that you are worthy), you are being told that you are better than someone else who does not. This has become an object of pride and arrogance.

 

Jesus ran into similar problems with the Temple in His day. Upon entering the Temple He saw the money changers (venders) that sold animal sacrifices to those without. Jesus became so enraged (yes, angry) at what they were doing to people that He drove them all out of the Temple! These venders had made a deal with the priests. The priests would find some flaw in the sacrifice that a poor person would bring to offer at the Temple, thereby invalidating it. The poor person would have no choice but to buy a new sacrifice from the venders. The vender and the priest would split the profits.

But more than just the money making scheme, these venders and priests were selling grace and forgiveness. Suddenly, a beggar was not worthy enough until they (the priests) said they were worthy. Suddenly, this person had to go through the vender and the priest in order to make an offering to God. This is so contrary to what God wants!

Salvation and God’s grace is His free gift! It is freely given to all!

 

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

- Romans 5:18 (KJV)

 

God is not looking for more division. He is looking for reconciliation. Satan is the great accuser. Satan is the one who seeks to divide us from God. How can something create so much division and bring union? It can’t.

 

The Temple—Chained to the Dead

 

The Mormon belief of Baptism for the Dead (see last chapter) creates an environment that suggests to their faithful that the dead are more important than the living. The emphasis is placed on genealogies in order to find as many ancestors as possible so they can be baptized by proxy creates two issues of note:

 

  1. It binds people more firmly to the Temple since only at the Temple can they get baptized for dead ancestors and thereby give these people, wherever they may be at, a chance to accept the Mormon gospel. Which means, unless you are found worthy enough, your dead ancestors cannot get a second chance at salvation.
  2. It trivializes the living by placing the focus on those that are gone from this life. You can see this in the tremendous effort Mormons have placed on determining their genealogies. It keeps you busy doing work for the dead.

 

Notice what Christ said:

 

“But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

 Matthew 22:31-14 (KJV)

 

There is an important teaching here that Jesus makes. First of all, those that have passed on are not truly dead. God does not rule over the dead, but of the living. The implication here is that those that have passed on have made their decision already. They are now either enjoying the benefits of their decision to trust Christ or are suffering the consequences of rejecting Christ. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, does the Bible even hint that we that are left here on this earth can do something that they cannot not do for themselves. The Mormon fascination with this is distressing.

I remember a time when I drove an hour one way just to get to the Temple. I went there, of course, because it was expected of me. I would watch the same video, do the same handshakes, say the same secret words and leave the same as I arrived. But when I got there, the Temple was closed for cleaning. Frustrated, I turned around and began the drive home. On the way, I saw a woman on the side of the road that was obviously homeless and in need. Feeling like I needed to do something since I was robbed of the opportunity to attend a Temple Ceremony, I pulled over and helped this woman. I gave her some money and told her about Christ’s love. I left there different than when I stopped to help. That homeless woman touched my life in a way the Temple never had. I had made a difference for someone!

I was reminded of the following verses:

 

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” - James 1:27 (KJV)

 

This is what true religion busies itself doing! The Sadducees in Matthew 22 were asking questions about what happens to dead people in Heaven. Jesus rebuked them that it was, first of all, none of their concern, and secondly that they really didn’t understand what happens to people after they die. Good point. Perhaps we should spend more time on making a difference to those that are living.

 

“And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.”

 - Luke 9:59-60 (KJV)

 

Here Jesus emphasized this truth even more powerfully. Here He warns a young man to let the dead care for itself, but instead to preach the Gospel to the living. This is what I did for that poor lady. This is how I made a difference, and in making a difference, a difference was made in my own life.

Many people walk around carrying a ‘Temple Recommend’ who are cheating on their wives, practicing idolatry, do not honor their parents, steal, lie, and cheat. Because man can only see the outward, and not the inward, many people are still being baptized for their dead ancestors who technically should not be worthy to even be in the Temple. Yet they are. So here is the dilemma presented with this situation:

 

  1. Since God knows their heart, does He then invalidate the baptism for the dead or temple sealing, even if a “priesthood holder” did it in the Temple according to all correct rituals?
  2. If so, then why does the Church worry about anyone’s worthiness since God will take care of that anyway? Just let people get baptized and sealed for their ancestors and let God sort it out.
  3. If the ordinance is legitimate because it is done in the Temple, then why worry about any one’s worthiness? Just baptize for as many dead people as you can! Isn’t it important to get the gospel to all these people who have passed on?
  4. And if it is merely about a person’s worthiness, which man cannot accurately judge, then what is the point of the actual physical baptism for dead people? Is not their worthiness in God’s eyes enough to give their ancestor’s a second chance? What happens if someone does not have access to a Temple? And is it not possible that Mormon Bishops have made mistakes and yet denied a Temple Recommend to someone who is truly worthy? What about them?

 

No matter how you look at it, it seems a rather irrelevant practice. Let’s just focus on the living and let the dead care for the dead!

 

Where is God’s True Temple?

 

To begin with, it is important to know what the Temple of God really is. It is not a physical building…not anymore. Now that Jesus has died on the cross and paid for our sins, the Temple of God is within every Christian. The Christians are the Temple of God!

 

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple God will destroy him, for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” – 1 Corinthians 3:17

 

God’s spirit lives inside of us! We don’t need to go to the Temple to find God. We already have God with us. For the Christian, this is truly a wonderful thing! We have constant access to God, anytime, anywhere. Our Great God loves you! He is your provider, your comforter, protector and so much more! Most importantly He is always available!

This reminds me so much of the woman at the well in John 4. Once she realized that the man she was talking to was much more than a man, she became curious. Clearly Jesus was a Jew and Jews never thought of the Samaritans as ‘worthy.’ In fact, most Jews would go out of their way to avoid Samaria altogether if they could help it, and they considered the half Jew, half Gentile Samaritan as no better than dogs. But here Jesus was, a Jew, talking to her. So she bluntly said in verse 20, “Ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” She was referencing the Temple. For centuries, when a Jew wanted to worship God, he had to go to the Temple, and this worried her because she was not only a Samaritan (a dog to the Jews) but she was a rather notorious sinner as well. There was no way she would be deemed ‘worthy’ in anyone’s eyes!

Yet she wasn’t talking to just anyone. She was talking to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Let’s find out His reaction to having to go to the Temple to find God. He said:

 

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”John 4:23-24 (KJV)

 

Just before making this statement, Jesus directly told her that she would not have to go to Jerusalem (the Temple) in order to worship God! If this were true for this ‘unworthy’ woman, then why would it not be true for each and every one of us? Do you see the freedom here? Do you see how worshiping God is now an act of the spirit instead an act of the flesh? Don’t let someone dictate to you how to worship God! Don’t believe for an instant that you must go through ordinances set up by man, run by man, and invented by man just to get to God.

God does not need to hide behind man. He does not need secrecy to be found. In fact, Jesus wants it to be easy to get to Him!

 

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

 - Matthew 19:14 (KJV)

 

Some children wanted to see Jesus, but because they were noisy, immature, or a bit irreverent, the disciples didn’t want to let them get too near Jesus. In other words, the children were not yet worthy of approaching Jesus according to the disciples. Jesus, however, had a completely different opinion. He wanted the children to have full access to Him at any time! Jesus even pronounced one of his harshest warnings to the disciples regarding this issue. In another passage, Luke 9, he took a child and set him in his lap. Then he warned that if anyone caused a child to sin that believes on Him, it would be better if a milestone were hung around his neck and cast in the sea! Refusing a child to come to Jesus, causing a child to feel that he can’t come to Jesus, can’t get his sins forgiven, can’t walk with the Savior is something that Jesus did not tolerate (Mark 10:14)!

Finding Jesus is simple. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior by faith, you have full access to Him at any time and any place. If you have not trusted Jesus as your Savior, you can do that any time and any place. There is nothing, nothing that can prevent you! There is no secret formula for salvation, no place that God hides from you, no ritual or ordinance that can prevent you from entering into His presence any time or anyplace you choose. I would not dare to say otherwise! And neither should any other man or woman.

 

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)

 

A Prayer of Healing

 

“Thank You, Lord Jesus that You are our High Priest, and that it is only through You that salvation comes. I thank You that nothing can separate us from Your love! I thank You Lord that You love all people the same, and You call them unto You, anytime, anywhere. I thank You that You are a God of unity, and that You desire to walk with us constantly in our marriages and our families. That it is by trusting You and placing You in our marriage that we become a triple cord that cannot be broken. Thank You for your grace, for splitting the veil and giving us full access to the one and only God of the Universe. I love You, Lord. Amen.”

 

 

 



[1] Conference Report, (April 1987, 27; or Ensign, May 1987, 24), www.lds.org

[2] Conference Report, (Oct. 1994, 118; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 88), www.lds.org

[3] Conference Report, (Oct. 1995, 72; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 53), www.lds.org

[4] Discourses of Brigham Young, selected by John A. Widtsoe, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941), page 416

[5] Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 9.

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