Tag Archives: Temple

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.

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What Was Witnessed

28 Nov

This is a video that I put together just for the fun of it. It is compiled from a number of videos at LDS.org, and is intended to be a kind of music video for the Hymn “What Was Witnessed In The Heavens,” the eleventh hymn in the LDS hymn book. I Hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

False Prophecies: Temple In Missouri

26 Oct

This is the first in a series of prophecies given by Joseph Smith. Each is listed on various websites as false prophecies. My purpose is to show how those claims are wrong, and that each of these prophecies is, in fact, true and from God.

 See also False Prophecies

Doctrine and Covenants 84: 2-3, 31

This is probably the most frequently cited prophecy by those bringing accusations against Joseph Smith. It is the second one listed at CARM, and I don’t know a list that doesn’t contain this reference.

They claim the prophecy is that a temple would be built in Jackson County, Missouri during the generation then alive. As this revelation was given in 1832 and there is still not a temple in Jackson County, Missouri the prophecy is obvious a false prophecy. With only a superficial look at the text their claim seems to be right; but let’s look at the text more closely.

Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem. Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased… Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses—for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed (Verse 2-3, 31)

In the above quotation the underlined portion is what is used to make the claims against Joseph Smith. But what are these verses really saying. Notice what is being stated in the beginning. The Lord is speaking to the church, and he lists the reasons why the church was established. He gives two reasons; the restoration of his people, and the gathering of the saints at the city of New Jerusalem.

Now, to make sure there is no confusing as to his meaning the Lord also tells us of New Jerusalem. It will be built centered at the temple lot, located in western Missouri and revealed to Joseph Smith and others.

After describing New Jerusalem the Lord then gives the following command.

Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. (Verse 4)

So, God commanded the saints to build the city of New Jerusalem, starting at the place of the temple. After giving this command God then gives the following prophecy.

For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house. (Verse 5)

As we see, everything that came before this verse had nothing to do with the prophecy. The prophecy states only that a temple would be built; it does not specify where it would be built. It also states that a cloud should rest upon it and fill the house, which would be the glory of God.

Of course, the revelation doesn’t end with this. You will notice that those who criticize also reference verse 31. In this verse it states that “the house of the Lord…shall be built unto the Lord in this generation.” The claim is that this reinforces the prophecy that the temple would be built in Missouri. However, as we saw that the references to Missouri were commands, not prophecies, this verse reinforces those commands, not the prophecy.

 

So, when we separate the command from the prophecy we can deal with each in turn.

Speaking of the command God excuse the saints from it. He said

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my 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… Therefore, for this cause have I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and a house unto my name, in Jackson county, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God. (D&C 124: 49, 51)

So, because of the persecutions that arose from the enemies of the church, God no longer required that generation to build the temple in Missouri.

 

Speaking of the prophecy, the Kirtland Temple was dedicated in 1836, four years after the prophecy was given. On that occasion many witnessed the glory of God as angels filled the temple. It is recorded in the History of the Church, volume 2, near the end of chapter 29, that

Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple), and were astonished at what was taking place. This continued until the meeting closed at eleven p. m.

It was soon after that that many ancient prophets appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and restored priesthood keys. So, as the prophecy stated, Joseph Smith’s generation did build a house unto the Lord, and the glory of God filled it. The prophecy was thus fulfilled.

Family Talks – Chryshal

19 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 nine year old daughter. She spoke on Temples.

I was asked to speak to you today about temples. Temples are where you get sealed to your family. Also if you die before you hear the gospel then you can have someone be baptized for you. I went one time to be sealed to my family in the temple and while I was there I got to watch a video on temples. The video said that temples are sacred places and we should care for them like Jesus cared for the people. There are 144 temples in the world that we must care for; the closest temple to us here is in St. Louis. When you go to the temple you can feel the Holy Ghost better than when you are at home, and I can read my scriptures better there. When you are at the temple you need to dress in white to be sealed as a family. When I was sealed to my family I felt like I was being joined as a part of each of my family members. I can’t wait to go to the temple again to be married to my future husband. When I do I will be making the circle of my eternal family even bigger. Temples are really beautiful places to be with your family.

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: 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).