Tag Archives: Ordinances

Little Known Propaganda: 8 – Temple Work For the Dead

8 Sep

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7

 

FACT #8. The majority of the activity in the Mormon Temples is work done in behalf of the DEAD.

Joseph Smith offers this explanation:

“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our DEAD.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 356)

Although many Mormons are attempting to save their dead relatives, the Bible indicates:

“None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Psalms 49:7)

 

First of all, I can’t believe this is little known to the rest of the world. The temples have been in the public view for decades and the church is not shy in stating its doctrine on Salvation for the Dead. In addition there was the controversy of the baptism of Holocaust victims that was finally resolved in 1995. Given the original blog post was in 2008 it is hard to believe that at that time people were not at least acquainted with the fact that the temples are used to do the work for the dead.

 

As to the doctrine itself, it is in the Bible for those who care to actually let the Bible speak for itself. For instance, as support for the doctrine of the resurrection Paul asks “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15: 29) Clearly the early saints were doing baptisms for the dead, and Paul is reasoning that such a practice is not logical unless you also believe in the resurrection.

Then we have the teachings of Peter. He declares that Christ “preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah…” (1 Peter 3: 19-20) Later he explains that “for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4: 6) So, Christ preached to the dead in prison so that they may be judged on the same merits as those who were alive, and thus attain the eternal life that God offers to all men.

This brings us to the prophecy that Christ was anointed to “…to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61: 1) As Peter says that the spirits of the wicked at the time of Noah were in prison, it is not a leap to see that Isaiah was prophesying that Christ would begin this work among the dead.

Other prophesies are also found in the Old Testament. Isaiah 42: 7 says that Christ is called “to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”

Isaiah 49: 9 not only says that Christ will “say to the prisoners, Go forth” but that they will have “their pastures…in all high places.” So, not only can the dead get out of prison, but will be equal to others in salvation.

Zechariah 9: 11 declares that by the covenant of the atonement God declares that he has “sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit…”

Another prophecy that speaks to this is found in Isaiah 24: 22, where it is said that the wicked at the time of the second coming with “be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.”

Now, Luke quotes the prophecy from Isaiah 61: 1 (Luke 4: 18). John also tells us that “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5: 25). Paul tells us that Christ’s atonement made him “Lord both of the dead and living” (Romans 14: 9) and that the Prophets “without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11: 40)

 

All of this establishes a clear understanding that those who have died will be taught the gospel as spirits and will have the opportunity of coming out of the prison they were sent to and gain salvation. This is done through vicarious ordinances, which Paul references in his argument for belief in a literal resurrection.

 

Now, there is the quote from Psalms that is given above, and it seems to contradict this doctrine. However, when it is looked at and truly understood there is no contradiction.

First, let us look at the context of the quote.

“They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.” (Psalms 49: 6-10)

What this is saying is that those who trust in their worldly wealth cannot prevent their brother from dying, for all people die. Secondly, as a kind of aside, it points out that it also can’t save the soul, as it is the wrong power. It has no bearing on those who rely on the power of God to save their brother.

 

Then we look at all the quotes that I gave above. They clearly show that it is not us that saves our dead, but the power of the atonement. God anointed Christ to this power, and while we perform the ordinances, it is the power of his atonement that actually saves. So, no one does have the power to save their brother, but they do have the power to bring them to Christ, who then saves them.

Family Talks – Shem

17 Oct

On the 20th of September my family was asked to speak for Sacrament meeting, as well as perform a special musical number. They didn’t just ask me and my wife, but our three oldest children. This was a little unusual as our oldest is only nine, and the youngest of the three had just barely turned seven. However, my family all did a fantastic job. I am very proud of all my children, and so I am going to post the talks that we all gave, as well as the song we sang. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The second to speak was my eight year old son, Shem. He was just baptized this last summer, and he gave the following talk on the Aaronic Priesthood.

While translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry had questions about baptism. So they went into the woods and prayed to God for understanding. In answer to their prayer John the Baptist appeared to them and gave them the Aaronic Priesthood.

The Aaronic priesthood is responsible for the outward ordinances, and the temporal care of the church. It is through this priesthood that people are baptized into the church, and that the sacrament is blessed and passed each week. It is also the duty of this priesthood to ensure that the church building is kept clean, and that the members of the church are taken care of.

The Bishop is the president of this priesthood. In this calling he is responsible for the care of each member of the ward. But he is to be assisted by all those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood.

When I turn 12, if I am worthy, I will be ordained a deacon in the Aaronic priesthood. As a deacon it will by my job to help keep the building clean, but I will also be able to pass the sacrament.

When I am 14 I will be ordained a teacher and will assist the Bishop in caring for the members of our ward.

When I am 16 I will be ordained a priest. Then I will be able to bless the sacrament and baptize others.

I look forward to the time when I will be able to hold this priesthood and be counted worthy to assist the Bishop in doing God’s work.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Response to CARM: Difficult questions, part 12

5 Sep

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.

This next page is titled “Difficult Questions For Mormons to Answer.” It is a series of questions that are supposed to stump members of the LDS church. There are 32 questions total. Most are followed by a few quotes that try to establish the subject in question. The first part of my response will be a comment on the quotes given, and this will be in green.

 

Q. Why did the Nauvoo House not stand forever and ever? (Doctrine and Covenants 124: 56-60)

A. No quote is given, but I will here give the first verse in the citation given in the question.

And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation.

This is not a prophecy or a promise being made by the Lord. It is a commandment to built the Nauvoo house and to give it to Joseph Smith and his family. Just previous to this the Lord tells us “when [He gives] a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto [His] name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.” (verse 49)

The Nauvoo house did not stand forever because the enemies of the saints hindered the work and prevented the commandment from being fulfilled. As such, the saints were no longer under any obligation to build it.

This command was later fulfilled in the construction of the Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City.

*This question is answered in the response be S.H.I.E.L.D.S. I will address that in a later post, so keep an eye out for it.

Q. How did Nephi with a few men on a new continent build a temple like Solomon’s while Solomon needed 163,300 workmen and seven years to build his temple? (1 Kings 5: 13-18 and 2 Nephi 5:15-17)

A. No quote is given, but I think we need to see 2 Nephi 5: 16.

And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of the contruction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.”

Nephi states clearly that his temple “could not be built like unto Solomon’s” because the material was not available. However, the manner, or style of the construction was patterned off Solomon’s. So, Solomon’s temple was 60 cubits long, and Nephi’s was also 60 cubits; Solomon’s was 20 cubits broad, and so was Nephi’s; Solomon’s was 30 cubit high, and so was Nephi’s.

However, Solomon’s was constructed party using the Cedars of Lebannon, which had to be transported over great distances. This wood was not available to Nephi, so he used indigenous wood that was likely closer to the construction site (cutting down time). Solomon also used olive-wood and cypress. He also overlaid everything in gold, including the walls. These adornments may likely have been lacking when Nephi built his because he could not gain access to sufficient quantities at the time.

Finally, we are given no indication of how long it took Nephi and his people to construct their temple. From the time Lehi’s family arrived in the New World there is a space of 20 years that we are given no information as to the timeline, then another gap of ten years. It may have taken Nephi seven years, or maybe more. We simply don’t know. What we do know is that sometime after they arrived Lehi died, and shortly thereafter Nephi led the faithful members of the family away. It was after this that he built the temple. Since we don’t know how long it took, or how many people were involved, trying to make a comparison like this is impossible.

*This question is answered in the response be S.H.I.E.L.D.S. I will address that in a later post, so keep an eye out for it.

Q. Why was Joseph Smith still preaching against polygamy in October 1843, after he got his revelation in July, 1843, commanding the practice of polygamy? (Doctrine and Covenants 132, and History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 46, or Teachings of the Prophet, p. 324)

A. No quote is given, though I think quoting the section of church history would do us some good.

Gave instructions to try those persons who were preaching, teaching, or practicing the doctrine of plurality of wives: for, according to the law, I hold the keys of this power in the last days; for there is never but one on earth at a time on whom the power and its keys are conferred; and I have constantly said no man shall have but one wife at a time, unless the Lord directs otherwise.

As one can clearly see here, Joseph Smith was not preaching against the practice of Plural Marriage. He was condemning the unauthorized practice of it. As there is only one person at a time who can authorize such marriages (D&C 132: 7), as Joseph Smith rightly states in the above quote, those who are preaching, teaching, or practicing plural marriage without that person’s permission are in violation of the laws of the Lord. Thus those people are to be tried in the courts of the church and dealt with accordingly, just as Joseph Smith says.

*This question is answered in the response be S.H.I.E.L.D.S. I will address that in a later post, so keep an eye out for it.

Response to CARM: Difficult questions, part 10

5 Sep

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.

This next page is titled “Difficult Questions For Mormons to Answer.” It is a series of questions that are supposed to stump members of the LDS church. There are 32 questions total. Most are followed by a few quotes that try to establish the subject in question. The first part of my response will be a comment on the quotes given, and this will be in green.

Now, since there are so many questions and responding to all of them will take a long time, I will be dividing this into many separate posts, each answering 1-3 questions.

 

Q. Why is the French word “adieu” in the book of Mormon in Jacob 7:27?

A. No quotes are given, and it is not needed to quote Jacob. We concede that the word is used.

Adieu carries a special connotation of fondness; it is a fond farewell. In the early to mid 1800’s it also took on the connotation of a final farewell. So, Jacob, who knew he was making his last record on the plates and would likely die soon, was bidding a final and fond farewell to the Nephites and to whomever would later read his record.

Again, this word would have been a logical choice to convey the meaning of Jacob’s words for the time in which Joseph Smith lived. It is simply a good translation.

Q. Why should I become a Mormon if when I die, I go to the middle level of heaven when that is where most Mormons will go anyway?

A. No quotes are given.

That is like asking why you should get a Masters degree when most people will only graduate with a bachelors. Yes, most people will only attain the Terrestrial World, but is that any reason not to strive for the greater rewards of the Celestial?

Q. If the veil is rent by God after Jesus was crucified (Matt. 27:51), why do the Mormons put it back in their temples?

A. No quotes are given, and I do not feel the need to quote the verse in the scripture. The veil in the temple was rent.

When I read the rending of the veil at Jerusalem, I see God’s rejection of the Jews and thus their temple. He would no longer dwell among them, and thus that structure was no longer sacred.

Also, 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.

See my longer reponse to this question here.

Response to CARM: Difficult questions, part 6

2 Sep

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.

This next page is titled “Difficult Questions For Mormons to Answer.” It is a series of questions that are supposed to stump members of the LDS church. There are 32 questions total. Most are followed by a few quotes that try to establish the subject in question. The first part of my response will be a comment on the quotes given, and this will be in green.

Now, since there are so many questions and responding to all of them will take a long time, I will be dividing this into many separate posts, each answering 1-3 questions.

 

Q. If Elohim, which is God the Father in Mormonism, was a man, then he changed from being a man-to-man God. How is this possible when the Bible says in Psalm 90:2, that God is God from everlasting to everlasting?

A. No Quotes are given.

Doctrine and Covenants 132: 20 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 to them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject to them.”

We too will be from everlasting to everlasting if we attain to the state of godhood. Everlasting here is describing a period of time within eternity; that is the period between one physical creation and the next. So, from one period, or one everlasting, to the next God is God. He continues, remaining the same God from one creation to the next, or from one eternal generation to the next.

This was answered by Bruce R. McConkie in his work “Mormon Doctrine.” You will find it on page 175, under the heading of “eternity to eternity”

 

Q. Joseph Smith said that he saw God the Father (and Jesus) in the first vision in 1820. Smith said that he received the priesthood in 1829. In the Doctrine and Covenants 84: 21-22, Smith said that you cannot see the face of God and live without the authority of the priesthood. How did Joseph Smith see God when he didn’t have the priesthood?

A. The author gives the verses in D&C, which I give here also.

And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.”

Notice that it does not say that one has to hold the priesthood to see God, only that the Priesthood must be present. This is explained in clearer detail in D&C 67: 11-12.

For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God. Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.”

Thus we see that the power of the Priesthood, which is the power of God, must be present for the Spirit of God to quicken a person, but that person does not have to hold the priesthood personally. Even in section 84 it states that Moses tried to prepare the Israelites to see God. That would have included the women, who did not hold the priesthood.

Also note that the context of this verse is the knowledge of God (verse 20) and the Mysteries of the Kingdom (verse 19). In verse 21 it says that the power of God is manifest in the priesthood. All this would suggest that what is being spoken of is the full truth and understanding of God and the Celestial word, which can be had only through the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Joseph Smith saw God because God brought the priesthood, as it is the power of God on Earth, and while that power was present the Spirit of God quickened Joseph Smith. However, until he received the priesthood for himself and partook of the ordinances the mysteries of the Kingdom and the Knowledge of God were not available to him.

 

Q. Joseph Smith said that he saw God the Father (and Jesus) in the first vision in 1820. But the Bible says that the Father cannot be seen (1 Timothy 6: 16). So which account is not true?

A. The author quotes the verse in Timothy, as well as John 6: 46. As the author does not use the KJV, I will give that version here.

1 Tim. 6:13-16, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”

John 6:46, “Not that any man hath seen the Father, Save he which is of God; he hath seen the Father.”

The Timothy verse is speaking of the light of Christ. It is cross referenced with D&C 88: 12 that tells us “Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space.” The section continues to describe this light, but this is sufficient. We then read in D&C 130: 7 that angels “…reside in the presence of God…where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord.” So, what Paul is saying no man can see is God in his glory in the Celestial World. This is his full glory, and can be viewed only by others who reside in the Celestial World.

The verse in John, as rendered in the KJV, says that “he which is of God” has seen him. Now, I realize that the translation the author uses says that “the One which is from God” has seen him, but I prefer the KJV. Many men are of God, having been purified by the blood of Christ and cleansed from their sins. So, anyone who is worthy to be called a saint may see God.

 

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).

 

 

50 Questions: General

16 Apr

On another blog Tim has been writing answers to a series of questions asked by a Latter Day Saint named Greg Trimble. The list was titled 51 Questions That Might Lead You To Mormonism. So far Tim has posts 5 parts in his series, and I don’t know how many more it will take to answer all 51. However, in part 4 he mentions another list of questions that was made back in 2001. This was titled 50 Questions to Ask Mormons. So, I have decided to follow Tim’s example and make a short series to answer these 50 questions.

I will answer the questions in the order they are given and in the categories they are sorted into. Each post will be less than 1000 words, so only a few questions will be answered in each.

Read 50 Questions: Prophets, part 1; Prophets, part 2; Mormon Scriptures, part 1; Mormon Scriptures, part 2; Mormon Scripture, part 3; Mormon Scripture, part 4; The Bible, part 1; The Bible, part 2; The Bible, part 3; The Bible, part 4

QUESTIONS 46-50

  1. If having a physical body is necessary to become a god, how did Jesus become a god before he had a body?  

That would depend on the meaning of the word god.

The word is used to describe a being that exists in a state of Celestial perfection. To enter this form of godhood requires a physical body. Jesus was not yet in this state until after the resurrection. In Matthew, while still in mortality, Jesus says “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5: 48) Notice that He does not say that He is perfect at this time, but when He repeats this command to the Nephites, after His resurrection, He says “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Nephi 12: 48) In both these verses the word perfect, in Greek, refers to being “complete, finished, fully developed.” (See footnotes in Matthew 5.) Jesus was not yet complete or fully developed until after the resurrection.

However, the term God can be used as a divine title that is applied to the members of the Godhead, denoting their authority and power in Heaven. In this sense Christ was God long before this world was created, as He has stood at His Father’s side through countless eons as the second member of the Godhead and hold all authority under His Father over all things that His Father has made.

  1. Do you think the LDS Church will reconsider its teachings that the American Indians are descendants of the Jewish race now that DNA evidence has proven that they are actually descendants of the Asian race? 

Doubtful; considering that nothing has been proven, nor can it truly be proven. There has been far too much intermarriage, cataclysmic events, and acts of God for any mortal scientist to be able to prove anything.

In fact, the church has recently published an article on this very topic that very nicely explains how DNA can neither prove nor disprove the Book of Mormon.

  1. If polygamy was officially re-instituted by the Mormon Church, how would your wife feel about you taking another woman? 

You would have to ask my wife, but I doubt she would answer you. That is a personal question of ones own faith and is between them and the Lord.

  1. Since the LDS Church teaches that there was a complete apostasy of the true church on earth, does that mean that the 3 living Nephites and the Apostle John went into apostasy also? 

I have to wonder if those asking this question have actually read the Book of Mormon.

Mormon 8: 10 “And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people; and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth.

When the apostasy had gotten such a strong hold on the people the Three Nephites were removed by God. It is likely the same happened with John.

  1. Why are Mormon Temple ceremonies secret to the public when the Old Testament temple ceremonies were open to public knowledge?

Most of the Old Testament ceremonies were ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood. The ordinances of this lesser priesthood have always been open to the public. Even today the ordinances that are performed by the Aaronic priesthood are open to the public, such as baptism and the sacrament.

It is the ordinances of the higher or Melchizedek priesthood that are held sacred and kept from the public. These are the mysteries of the kingdom, and have always been held reserved for the righteous followers of Christ. This is why they are only eluded to in the scriptures and not openly discussed. They were not meant for the unbelieving.