Response to CARM: temple veil

25 Aug

I have recently been pointed to a website called Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry as an excellent location to learn LDS doctrine. On this website they have many pages dedicated to what they call exposing the truth of Mormonism. Most of what they present is well thought out, and they use many quotes and documents to support it. When they are simply giving a list of quotes they don’t do too bad. When they try to interpret those quotes and explain doctrine they fail almost completely. So I am starting a new series in which I will address a selection of pages from that website.

The page I address here is titled “The Temple Veil was destroyed by God, yet Mormonism puts it back.” It speaks to the temples and the veil that is used. I am not going to quote it in its entirety here, but you can use the link to read the full article. Also, it speaks of many things concerning the temple that I will not openly discuss. They are sacred and are not for those who have not entered the covenants of the temple. I will discuss the basic premise and make as many comments as my conscious will allow.

 

The author starts out with a brief summary of some LDS doctrines. We do believe we are the “true Christian church with the fullness of the gospel.” We also believe the temples “are holy places” and are the house of God.

The author does make one minor error when he claims we believe “the same sacred ordinances of the Biblical pattern are performed” in the temples. It would be more accurate to say that we believe the ordinances are from Biblical times, but not necessarily described in the Bible itself.

The author gives some quotes for this, which is fine, though I am not sure what the second one has to do with the topic at hand. I am not going to make direct comments on these however, as they are incidental to the basic premise.

The author then tries to summarize much of the Endowment Ceremony. Honestly, I found it a little offensive and blasphemous, so I will say only that there is a veil in the temple that is part of the ceremony. More than this is not needed for the discussion.

The author than quotes Luke 23: 44-46. I am not sure what translation of the Bible the author uses, but as the LDS use the KJV, I will here give that translation.

“And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: And having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

I am not sure why the author feels the need to them state that “God dwelt in the Temple–not the devil.” Maybe it was to put emphasis on their next statement; that it was God that tore the veil in the temple. Why the need for such an emphasis I do not understand, but that is not important.

According to the author this tearing, or destroying of the veil, was to symbolize that the separation between God and man was done away through the atonement. The claim is that “God destroyed the veil.”

The author than asks the following questions.

Why does the LDS church put into their temples the veil that God destroyed by tearing it in two?

Think about it. God destroyed the veil. He “got rid of it.” Yet, the LDS church put it back. If the LDS church is true, why would it put back into their temples the very thing that God destroyed?

The answer is simple: We build the temples according to the commands of God. It may have been God that tore the veil in the temple of Jerusalem, but it was also God that commanded us to build temples with veils.

I will also give the following from the church’s New Testament Institute study manual.

The Holy of Holies was the most sacred room in the ancient temple; it symbolized the presence of God. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest passed through the veil of the temple and entered into the Holy of Holies, where he sprinkled the blood of a sin offering to atone for the sins of all the congregation of Israel (see Leviticus 16). When the veil of the temple was “rent in twain” (torn in two) at the death of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:51), it was a dramatic symbol that the Savior, the Great High Priest, had passed through the veil of death and would shortly enter into the presence of God.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote that in addition to the Savior entering the presence of the Father, “the Holy of Holies is now open to all, and all, through the atoning blood of the Lamb, can now enter into the highest and holiest of all places, that kingdom where eternal life is found. Paul, in expressive language (Heb. 9 and 10), shows how the ordinances performed through the veil of the ancient temple were in similitude of what Christ was to do, which he now having done, all men become eligible to pass through the veil into the presence of the Lord to inherit full exaltation” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:830). The Apostle Paul taught that just as the torn veil of the temple allowed symbolic entrance into the Holy of Holies, it is the torn flesh of Jesus Christ that opens the way for us into the presence of the Father (see Hebrews 10:12, 19–20).

 

 

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