Temple Time

It was pointed out to me that I might have an incorrect view on how frequently Mormons visit the temple. I understand that distance makes the answer different for everyone, but I wonder if you could tell me; How often do you visit the temple?

Weekly
Bi-Weekly
Monthly
Quarterly
Annually
Other

How often should a Mormon be visiting the temple (given distance is not an issue)?

While I’m asking questions about the temple; does it bother you that nothing like it is found in early Christian practice? That means the first endowment performed for any Christian was done by Joseph Smith. Has that ever been a disconnect for you?

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89 thoughts on “Temple Time

  1. You are mis-informed that no endowment has been performed prior to Joseph Smith.

    All ordinances performed in the LDS Temples have been on performed in temples prior to Joseph Smith. The endowment ceremony is (Culturally Speaking) an induction to the temple rites. There are oaths made in and blessings given, as in almost every group’s induction to sacred rites. There is evidence on everything preformed in temples in history and folklore. It is not new… It is Restored.

    Also people who have been to the temple don’t talk about what happens there in any detail, it is sacred. It has led some people to believe it to be secret, this is not the case. We do not discuss it openly due to the sacred nature of these things .

    God Bless
    -D

  2. That means the first endowment performed for any Christian was done by Joseph Smith.

    Gottcha–You said we’re Christians! Snap. We win. You can close the blog now.

    Also, I think you are taking liberty with the term “early Christian practice.” One obviously defines that term based on his or her religious viewpoint. I would also opine that endowments did take place.

    One must forgive for my newness, but why doesn’t Tim have a Mormon counterpart poster? What happened to C.John? Did Tim cause him to leave the church or something?

  3. Tim’s been looking. You offering?

    Anyway…

    I’d say once a month is about right. Unless you’re old, retired, and really into family history work. Those folks often go several times a month. There’s a few in Provo who show up every day.

    As far as what to talk about and not talk about, the tradition is not to talk about anything in the temple at all. I think this is probably incorrect. The dramatization of the creation, and Adam and Eve story is probably fair game (and has been discussed at length by Hugh Nibley, for instance in his articles). Describing the exact symbols and meanings is probably out (but they’re pretty benign – doubt most people would have much objection to it).

    Tim, there’s actually a Mormon blog devoted to studying the historical roots of the Temple symbolism and ceremonies. Here’s the link if you are interested:

    http://www.templestudy.com/

    Don’t always agree with him, but it tends to be fairly interesting.

    It’s often claimed that Joseph pirated the ceremonies off Freemasonry. Personally, I don’t really care. The Masonic rituals themselves have an ancient history rooted in a lot of collective religious consciousness. So whether there are Masonic parallels bothers me no more than the Jewish parallels, or Catholic parallels, or whatever. I maintain that LDS who participate in the temple ceremonies really are partaking of a long grand tradition of religious thought and symbolism.

    It bothers me not in the slightest whether the temple endowment ceremony was or was not practiced by Peter, James, and John (and Paul).

  4. Tim,

    I attend the temple 6-8x/year. It’s great.
    I think you will find many Mormons who believe the ordinances of the temple, if not the temple proper were had among early Christians. Obviously they did not survive, making them a part of the apostasy from our point of view. Now this is a very difficult thing to prove. You can find tantalizing hints here and there but certainly nothing iron clad. So you will not likely find this persuasive.

    However, this is even harder to disprove, so I don’t think you’ll be convincing many Mormons of your underlying premise with evidences or the lack thereof. Just because ritual is not found spelled out in the gospels does not mean it didn’t happen, and if it is sacred, it certainly would not have been scattered throughout the archaelogical record. Judaism is full of ritual. It doesn’t take much imagination to see some of that ritual perpetuated forward into Christianity. I think it takes more to see it eliminated.

    My own experience is that temple work can be profound and deep, adding a new level to my understanding of the Savior and his atonement, and the plan of salvation. I know it comes from God through the experience, therefore I don’t see the conflict whether it existed anciently or not.

  5. Tim’s been looking. You offering?
    Nope. I haven’t the time or the time. It was not a veiled inquiry.

    We go a few times a year, and live several hours from the nearest temple. Back in UT, we’d try and go monthly. My mom-in-law goes every week.

  6. In college, I went every week or so. The temple was a few blocks away and I had more free time. Now, with four kids (including two babies), a temple 1 hour away, as well as increased responsibility at work, I go a few times each year. I’d go more often if my wife could come with me, but with kids and babies we end up taking turns.

    I think that most of my friends go about as frequently as I do: 3-8 times a year. Most Mormons I know personally think that once a month would be ideal.

    Even though I don’t get to go as often as I’d like, I still contemplate the temple frequently, reviewing in my mind what I learn there, how it is presented, etc. In this way, the temple frequently influences the way I read and think about scripture. So while I’m not in the temple, I’m sort of visiting the temple.

    As for whether the temple existed for early Christians, I assume that elements of it did but that the overall structure was quite different than today.

  7. I go several times a year; I think once a month would be about right, but unfortunately my work schedule makes it very difficult.

    I’m not sure why it would make any difference whether LDS-style temple rituals were practiced in Bible times. I have never assumed that it was (although it’s pretty clear that baptism of the dead was practiced in some fashion). To be honest, it has never crossed my mind that there’d be a reason for a disconnect.

  8. Tim, I think that I just understood your question about the disconnect. (I was thinking from my perspective, not yours; never a good way to answer questions!)

    You were assuming that Mormons would sense a disconnect because we believe that everything about our church today is a restoration of the early church run by Peter, et al. While some (most?) Mormons believe that, I do not. (And I think that most Mormons who do believe that, if pressed will realize that they don’t really believe that.)

    What I do believe is that essential doctrines and authority was restored, but that a lot of other things we LDS do today is completely new. Did Elijah run a Perpetual Education Fund? Did Paul do his hometeaching? Were 1st Century AD boys first ordained deacons, then teachers, then priests? The list goes on, and my answer to all of those is “no.” And if parts of the temple are on that list, it’s no matter to me.

    Now, if I insisted that every element of today’s LDS Church existed in Peter’s day, then I would have a disconnect.

  9. We never went more than a couple times a year.

    I generally did not care for the endowment ceremony. I found it fairly boring. I also thought the clothes were goofy. Keep in mind, I thought these things while I was a very good Mormon, a missionary, a calling-magnifier, a daily-scripture-reader-and-pray-er, etc.

    What I did like about the temple were two things:

    1. It was a kind of liturgy, which was the sort of thing I thought belonged in religious practice, but seemed to be sorely lacking in LDS worship. Now that I have visited a number of other churches and worshipped actively in them, I mist say that as far as liturgical worship goes, the temple has got absolutely nothing on an Episcopal Holy Eucharist Rite. The temple is to liturgy like Bud Light is to a Belgian Abbey Tripel: if you don’t know anything better, you probably think it’s great.

    2. There was an almost tangible sense of reverence and holiness. At the time, I thought this was clearly the presence of the Holy Ghost. Now, having been to, say, a Quaker Meeting for Worship where I sensed pretty much the same thing, I rather think it’s a simple matter of the tail wagging the dog: it feels holy because everyone is being quiet and reverent and acting like it’s holy.

  10. I should add, we never went more than a couple times a year regardless of whether we lived 4-5 hours from the nearest temple (like when we lived in Knoxville or Tallahassee), or a half hour from the temple (like when we lived in Manhattan).

  11. I attend on a monthly basis, some months 2 or 3 times. I would guess 15-20 times/year is about right. Sometimes I don’t do an endowment session, and participate in initiatories instead. My wife generally attends twice a month. We both feel like that’s about right (we live 5 minutes from the nearest temple).

    Re: While I’m asking questions about the temple; does it bother you that nothing like it is found in early Christian practice? That means the first endowment performed for any Christian was done by Joseph Smith. Has that ever been a disconnect for you?

    As mentioned by others, there are certainly similarities to aspects of the temple in early Christian practice, as well as in the practices/traditions of various Christian groups throughout the middle ages, reformation-era churches, and early American churches. Whereas FARMS-minded folks see evidence of restoration of ancient practices in these parallels, historians like John L. Brooke see JS stealing from older traditions and deceitfully claiming revelation. As a historian, I see JS borrowing (sometimes consciously, sometimes not) from elements of his environment as well as creating genuinely new elements of worship, resulting in something quite unique.

    As a Mormon, I have no disconnect with this, and actually find it quite rich and beautiful.

  12. Kullervo,
    Sorry to hear your experience was not more intersting.
    I had an extreamily thoughtful time at the temple and feal it is a holy place. Your experience of other places and cermony being holy does not detract from the atmosphear at the temple. If you want a spiritual experience and you are seeking the devine the first place to start is with prayer. You can communicate with the devine and God can communicate with you. There is no more to the “Fealing the spirit” than to have this devine communion, the temple is reserved for the sacred and respected as the house of God. That is what sets it apart from the world and thus it is holy.

  13. When I was really into it I would go once a week (I lived right down the street from the temple). However, later I just did the recommended once a month visit even though I lived 5 minutes from another temple. Now I don’t go. I would if my wife wanted me to, but I really don’t have any desire to go. It’s kind of like a been there done that feeling.

    I think in LDS theology we believe that the temple ceremony has been around since Adam even though there may not be evidence of it in Christ’s time. I’m not sure but the Jewish temple rituals are probably considered precursors to the one we do now. I mean some of the symbolism present in our temples comes from the Jewish tradition (e.g. Oxen holding up the font).

  14. Yeah, but ask a Jew sometime about how much LDS temple rituals resemble anything that happened in the Jewish temple.

  15. Ideally, I’d go to the temple once a week–that’s my interest in it anyway. Realistically, I go once in a while.

    Nibley would argue that Jesus taught His disciples temple stuff during His forty day ministry after His resurrection. He uses early Christian literature to defend this thesis. I don’t know that it has much weight, but even if there is no connection between the temple of modern Mormonism and anything in early Christianity, I still know how I feel about the temple, and that is the temple is the House of the Lord.

  16. Most Jews in the US tend to be fairly illiterate about their religion to begin with, so I doubt asking a lot of them would be much productive.

  17. Wow, Seth… I think you’re really wrong there (and I think it’s incredibly offensive to say that an entire group of people is illiterate with regards to what they believe).

    How many Orthodox Jews have you met?

  18. Just going off claims made in the book “Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know – And Doesn’t” by Stephen Prothero. Happen to be reading it right now. Here’s one passage:

    “Jews also fret about a lack of basic understanding of Judaism among Jewish youth. ‘At a time when Jewish life in the United States is flourishing, Jewish ignorance is too’ writes one rabbi. ‘Tens if not hundreds of thousands of teenage and adult Jews are seeking Jewish involvements – even Jewish leadership positions – all the while hoping no one will find out their unhappy little secret: They are Jewishly illiterate.’ Convinced that ignorance of Judaism and the problem of out-marriage are inextricably intertwined, groups such as the Jewish Literacy Foundation have dedicated themselves to addressing the problem of ‘uneducated’ and ‘unaffiliated’ Jews.”

    The author claims similar patterns of religious illiteracy among evangelicals and Catholics, by the way. I remember watching Jeopardy growing up and often one of the categories would be “The Bible.” It always amused us kids (in high school and middle school) how we knew most of the answers in that column while these supposedly intelligent adults just frowned and struggled more over this column than any of the others.

    Eventually it dawned on me that, on a whole, Americans don’t know jack-squat about religion and families like mine were becoming the exception rather than the rule.

  19. Thanks for everyone’s input.

    You were assuming that Mormons would sense a disconnect because we believe that everything about our church today is a restoration of the early church run by Peter, et al. While some (most?) Mormons believe that, I do not. (And I think that most Mormons who do believe that, if pressed will realize that they don’t really believe that.)

    There seem to even be Mormons on this blog who think everything about the LDS church is a restoration to the primitive church.

    Here’s the deal. We know quite a bit about early Christian practices. Even outside of the New Testament we have A LOT of writings and instructions to early Christians from other Christians. We know how they behaved and what they did. There is no evidence of any Christian telling any other Christian to go to the temple to complete the endowment ceremony. We also have a ton of archeological evidence from that time period. No Christian temples though.

    If LDS want to say that Joseph Smith introduced the endowment ceremony as God directed, then there’s not much I can say in response. But when you say that Christians were doing this in the 1st and 2nd Centuries. . . that’s just making things up. It’s false. It’s telling a lie.

    Seth I checked out the site. I must admit that when anyone points to Hugh Nibley as a beacon of historical integrity my “skeptic siren” goes way up. I don’t think he’s the best LDS have to offer.

  20. The Jewish temple should be different than the LDS temple, or else the LDS have the whole Melchizedek/Levitical priesthood distinction all messed up.

    (And yes, kullervo, I know that you think we are all messed up anyway!) {smile}

  21. Tim, We know some of what early Christians did, but not all of what they did. And if there was a ceremony that some of the early Christians participated in, but they kept it secret (or “sacred”), how would you know? Yes, I am making an argument of absence, but so are you. Suppose they purposely kept it out of their writings, administering it only in person—and then, only to select persons.

    I can imagine that there were certain important elements of the temple that existed then: passage through a veil, some kind of washing and anointing, etc. And I see no absolute need for those rituals to be written down as opposed to passed from priest to priest. I also see no immediate need for an actual temple building—a house or even a grove of trees could substitute.

    So when I read the NT, certain phrases stand out sometimes in a “hmmm, I wonder if he’s referring to the temple here…” sort of way.

  22. ‘I must admit that when anyone points to Hugh Nibley as a beacon of historical integrity my “skeptic siren” goes way up.’

    You’re probably justified in this reaction. Nibley had his place in LDS scholarship, and mostly serves as a catalyst for sparking interest in others. It is no secret that Nibley’s research and methodology were sloppy at times and his source citing over-the-top. However, I still read Nibley for his social critiques and his homiletics. His historical research certainly has validity, but often takes a lot of work to sort through hyperbole and over-enthusiastic too-quick conclusions.

  23. Well, Seth, I was actually thinking of the Orthodox Jews and Yeshiva students I know, not so much the twice-a-year-to-synagogue variety.

    But come on, like I really meant “ask a Jew who doesn’t really know much about their religion.” That wouldn’t have even made sense in the context.

  24. Well, the orthodox?Yeshiva are going to be a whole different ball of wax. And yes, I was being a twerp with you.

    Tim, I don’t take the site extremely seriously myself. But he draws a lot of interesting historical parallels and arguments that are fun in a minor gee-wiz sort of way. Nibley has a well-deserved eminence of place in Mormon studies. He really was a pioneer in the field. Of course he’s controversial. Most great scholars were.

  25. Yes, I am making an argument of absence, but so are you. Suppose they purposely kept it out of their writings, administering it only in person—and then, only to select persons.

    I would have no problem finding in Mormon writings that Mormon temples exist and that Mormons are supposed to attend. If primitive Christians held the temple in such sacredcy that they wouldn’t mention it in any writing, then why do LDS publish as much about it as they do?

    Does this line of reasoning make sense? Your public mention of the temple does not match theirs. Either you are talking about the temple way too much by even speaking of it and not burying any evidence of it or your talking about something that primitive Christians didn’t practice.

    I actually think that Joseph Smith taught that shoving cheese up your nose is an important part of prayer. But it was so sacred to him that he kept it hidden and didn’t write about it or talk about it publicly. He destroyed any evidence that this was the true order of prayer so that the unrighteous wouldn’t know about it. His close associates held the practice in such reverence that they failed to pass it on and it didn’t survive the pioneer trek to Utah. (And as Nibley would say) This lack of evidence is proof of it happening. Shoving cheese up your nose is so sacred, it’s up to the critics to show WHY we’d find any mention of it.

  26. Kullervo,
    I do not know many people who have gone to a Jewish Temple and an LDS Temple. It would be interesting to see if anything is different and what is simmular. But then again I was originally speaking in general terms. If you want to know for yourself go through what ever you need to to go to both.

  27. Um, since the Jewish temple was utterly destroyed like two thousand years ago, and the site is now occupied by a Mosque, that’s going to be a tall order. Going through “what ever you need to to go to both” would include a time machine.

    But you don’t have to go through both. Jews (at least well-informed Jews) have a pretty good handle on exactly what went on in the temple, so you can just ask them. And if I’m not mistaken, the temple ceremonies for the Jewish temple are given some detail in the Old Testament.

  28. Tim,
    For your parallel too have any validity we have to go 1800 years into the future and then talk about cheese in the nose. BTW, don’t you think comparing something Mormons hold as sacred as the temple to something that ridiculous is a little over the top. Gee, I wonder why we don’t open up about the temple to everyone.

    I think you vastly overestimate the value of archaeology. We don’t know nearly what we think we do when it comes to ancient cultures. I have looked for years for a short story I read in grade school lampooning archaeology. It took some cataclysmic event, referred to an avalanche of third class mail, and used the ascribed religious significance to all kinds of articles laying around, called the television set the holy of holies because everything in the room was facing it, etc. Point being our bias always distorts the picture. Archaeology is only as good as the writings extant and the theories putting things together.

    Why would the endowment have to be referred to as the endowment. Which Christian group is the right one to look to for these things? What exactly was going on in the Mount of Transfiguration? It is too easy to poke holes in either direction. Archaeology is a sandy foundation for any argument relating to God and truth.

  29. There is evidence on everything preformed in temples in history and folklore. It is not new… It is Restored.

    That’s a dubious proposition, for what it’s worth. Like I said in the other thread, if there’s actual evidence, pony up. Let’s see it.

  30. Archaeology is a sandy foundation for any argument relating to God and truth.

    On the other hand, vague, entirely subjective feelings are rock-solid! Evidence be damned!

  31. Kullervo,
    Based on evidence I am not even sure you exist, a fact you may find upsetting, but skepticism can literally take you nowhere. The agnostic approach works much better. When our conclusions are more tentative and less dogmatic, we all end up happier in the end, where we inevitably will learn everything was not exactly as we thought it was.

    Sorry, I don’t mean to turn this into a debate on truth, which I think people are likely set in their positions. Please, carry on with the temple.

  32. My apologies. The cheese analogy was not meant to lampoon the LDS temple, but rather an arbitrary silly example so that people wouldn’t get caught up in the details of it and think it was a real hypothesis.

    For your parallel too have any validity we have to go 1800 years into the future and then talk about cheese in the nose.

    You’re right. We have to go 1800 years in the future and ascribe something to Joseph Smith that no one has any clue about today and then claim the lack of evidence is evidence. But since I don’t have the time to wait that long, let’s assume we’ve already made the time jump. Christians didn’t talk about going to the (non-Jewish) temple 1800 years ago anymore than Joseph Smith talked about using cheese in religious practice 140 years ago.

    Why would the endowment have to be referred to as the endowment.

    It doesn’t. I’m not that nit-picky. I’m just asking for something that indicates primitive Christians went to Christian temples.

  33. On the other hand, vague, entirely subjective feelings are rock-solid! Evidence be damned!

    I wouldn’t be so condescending and quick to belittle the spiritual witnesses of others, especially when relating to temple worship.
    Vague? No
    Subjective? (ie personal) Not always, (ie illusory) No

    The fact is that you can’t say anything about someone else’s spiritual witness. You can assume that it is no more than what you yourself experience/d, but this assumption is not provable.

    We know quite a bit about early Christian practices. Even outside of the New Testament we have A LOT of writings and instructions to early Christians from other Christians.
    To what are you referring?

  34. “I’m just asking for something that indicates primitive Christians went to Christian temples.”

    Primitive Christians already had the temple in Jerusalem and were in a state of transition anyway. I see no reason why the Mormon position even requires that ancient Christians had their own version of the modern “endowment” ceremony. If a primitive Christian went to the temple, they went to the one in Jerusalem. What they did there was probably standard Jewish practice. Peter, James and John – the “Three Pillars” of the Church in Jerusalem were pretty committed Jews and felt that Christianity was merely “Judaism – The sequel.” So I doubt any of them felt much call for a “Christian” temple worship that was in any way different than that already being practiced by the Jews.

    As for Paul with his mission to the Gentiles and controversial position of moving the Church away from Judaism, easy answer is – he never got around to dealing with the temple. He was too busy preaching far and wide – spreading the word, and fighting with the pro-Judaism faction in Jerusalem. It never came up.

    Once the temple was destroyed by the Romans, the Jerusalem Christians probably shared the Jewish view that that was it for the temple. As for the Christians outside Jerusalem, they’d already moved on and never got around to the issue or cared about it much. And anyway, there was a gradual loss of Priesthood authority and revelation going on the entire time.

    What Mormons get wrong here is that “Restored Gospel” does NOT mean restored to the transitional and flawed form of Peter and Paul. Those were crazy times back then. Lots of logistical nightmares to deal with and flawed Apostles carrying it out. We need not point to Peter’s day for our justification. Rather, the “Restoration” means restoration of all principles that God has instituted among mankind during the entire span of history – including ongoing revelation – which is the gateway to entirely new and innovative expressions of true worship.

    In short, I don’t think our modern endowment ceremonies are supported by historical, archaeological, and biblical evidence (and neither are they contradicted or discredited). But I don’t think it matters one jot either.

  35. I’m just asking for something that indicates primitive Christians went to Christian temples.
    Weren’t they sufficiently busy running away from Romans and Jews to build temples?

  36. Tim,

    I don’t live in 60 AD, so I don’t know or immediately care what reasons Peter would have had for not publicizing temple ordinances. But given that the early Christians faced enormous difficulties already with the Jewish authorities, one might guess that Peter had tons of reasons to keep “new-fangled” temple worship secret. Very, very secret. As in, “If the Jews find out what we’re saying about the temple—their most sacred place—they’ll totally freak out!” And that would also be a good reason for not telling every Christian convert about it or even administering it to every convert.

    “Either … or your talking about something that primitive Christians didn’t practice.”

    Or I live in a totally different time period where I can freely talk about temples without getting stoned to death. The LDS Church also builds temples, so it’s sort of an obvious question, “Uh, what you guys doin’ in there?” Peter would never have had to face that question.

    As for your cheesy analogy: yep, you’re right…except that what you suggest about Joseph is so far from the realm of possibilities that it is no comparison. Is it possible that Peter went to the temple more often than our records indicate? Is it possible that he did/said things there that were not recorded? Is it possible that only a few—perhaps the Apostles and the 70—were given those rites? None of those are preposterous suppositions.

    Mark 9:9-10:

    “And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the arising from the dead should mean.”

  37. Yes Brian, except I don’t even think Peter knew anything about the endowment or God’s future plan for temple worship. God reveals things in His own time and who’s to say that temple worship is something He even revealed to Peter or Paul? Do Mormon assertions even demand that Peter and Paul knew about this stuff? I don’t think they do.

    And I don’t think Peter and Paul knew.

  38. Seth. I appreciate your response, but it does call into question the use of the word “restoration”.

    Mark 9:9-10:

    “And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the arising from the dead should mean.”

    Well they obviously saw the Son of Man risen from the dead. And they obviously told us what they had seen afterwards. I don’t know what this has to do with the discussion other than some Nibleyesque attempt to shoe horn a portion of Mark into your own context.

    Somehow it doesn’t seem the fear of death was a primary motivator for early Christians.

  39. We know quite a bit about early Christian practices. Even outside of the New Testament we have A LOT of writings and instructions to early Christians from other Christians.

    To what are you referring?

    Early church history. Post New Testament just to clarify.

  40. Early church history. Post New Testament just to clarify.
    Yes, I got that. But what specific writings? Are you reading post-NT and pre-300AD writ? What exactly are you reading and who is it from?
    The little I know about early church history is that there was a lot of disputation concerning doctrine (Arius vs. Athanasius etc.) until nicene when you could either take it or get exed. So I don’t know how your writings could be guaranteed pristine. But it would be interesting to read nontheless.

  41. Ben hate to burst your bubble but “Primitave” Christians were Jews. In point of fact the Christian following before 320 AD was a Jewish Sect, considered in Rome a Cult and reguarded as such until Constintine thought to quell religious riots and declaire Christianity a Religion.

  42. Seth: Did Peter know about the/an endowment? You seem to be closed to that possibility. I don’t know, but I am open to that possibility. If the answer is “no” then that’s fine with me; as I already indicated, I don’t think that “restoration” means “everything exactly as it was in AD 65.” (A point I know we agree on.) But if the answer is “yes” then certain phrases in the NT may take on an additional level of meaning, and so when I read I keep those ideas in mind. In the end, I don’t care what Peter got out of the temple; I care what I get out of it. (Again, I think we agree there.)

    Tim: You seemed completely closed to the idea that Peter and friends could or would keep something as important as the endowment a secret. The verses in Mark were meant to show that they could and did keep something secret for exactly as long as they were commanded to. So, no, I’m not trying to shoe horn Mark into my context.

    “Somehow it doesn’t seem the fear of death was a primary motivator for early Christians.”

    What does that mean? That the disciples’ decisions were never influenced by the fear of death? I really hope that’s not your point. At any rate, I think that they would have publicized the endowment if God had told them to. I just think that there are plenty of reasons why it would not need to be publicized, combined with more reasons why publicity would be detrimental.

    “…then claim the lack of evidence is evidence.”

    I’m not making such a claim. I’m saying that the lack of evidence to the contrary leaves open the possibility, and that the possibility is reasonable enough (i.e., not absurd like your cheese-in-the-nose), and that the implications are meaningful enough to merit considering it.

  43. Oh my God!
    40 comments and still room for me to say something new!

    If you believe that the temple is the “House of God” and you “love God” more than anything else in life, you will probably want to go to the temple all day, every day, since that is where God dwells and Mormon teachings claim Christ visits in the “resurrected” flesh – often. You’d probably want to be there when that happens.

    Also, you would want to participate more in God’s “work” in God’s “house” more than you would want to visit the new WalMart.

    Most LDS (we’re not suppose to call them “Mormons” anymore) seem to care more about the new WalMart.

    When we had to drive 5 hours (each way) to the Temple, we went once every month and invited anyone in the stake who wanted to go along. Only my mom ever took us up on the offer and she went every month with us.

    The “numbers” for temple attendance during those years were very low. Even today when there is a temple “in town” there is not sufficient interest to keep it open every day or more than 5 hours on the days it is open.

    I also took a few childrens groups on temple baptismal trips.
    Not too many children or adults wanted to participate in those trips either.

    When we lived a block from the SLC temple we went every day to the 5:30 am session so we could be home in time to get our six kids off to school and for me to take an hour long bus ride to work on time.

    We (I speak of my wife and myself) also participated in two full time sealing groups each week and in monthly elder’s quorum temple assignments.

    We found that retired members of our ward would attend the temple anywhere from daily to weekly if they lived in walking distance, while younger members rarely attended unless they (or their spouse) were in some leadership position where it was PC (or essentially “required”) to attend weekly or monthly as a group (bishopric, elders presidency, etc.)

    Most LDS that I have known who are active enough to hold temple recommends (less than 30% of LDS last I heard) attend weddings and sealings and try as much as possible to stay away from the temple as they find it irrelevant and boring though it is not PC to admit such.

    I’m surprized at everyone’s lack of understanding on “early christian” temple services.

    If you accept the LDS version of priesthood, the “Jewish” temples administered only the lesser priesthood ordinances of “sacrifice” and did not even have the endowment.

    Joseph Smith (and those who followed him) taught that when the New Jerusalem was built in Jackson County, MO (USA) that there would be temples where the Levitical Priesthood would again perform animal sacrifice for the same purposes as in Christ’s time.

    The LDS have taught since JS that (in his day) Christ alone held the “higher” priesthood which he passed to his disciples and that the “higher” ordinances of the temple were given to his apostles on “mountain tops” since there were no temple facilities dedicated to these purposes. They likely also did without fancy temple clothing.

    Another point missed is that JS (Joseph Smith) claimed to be restoring “the Church” not from Christ’s time, but from the foundation of the earth, (from Adam’s time) and was restoring all that was lost (or taken away) from all dispensations of time, some teachings and ordinances had in some times under some prophets and some had under others, but not all necessarily had by any one at any time except JS in the “fulness of times” where all things were restored to be had all at one time.

    So to look at any particular time or prophet for hints about LDS teachings or practices is to miss the point.

    It is obvious from a casual look at religious history that many groups had “secret” ceremonies and the information about them is sketchy at best though it is easy to see some similarities if you are looking for them.

    Of course, those similarities really prove nothing.

    Looking for physical proof of something purported to have been “taken” from man by God and then “revealed” by God to JS kind of de-legitimizes the whole idea that God “took” it away in the first place, unless one believes in a sloppy God.

    JS claimed to receive his various teachings and authorities directly from those prophets who last held them and he was (according to his story) visited by a dozen or more such persons, many of whom left no written history themselves and JS usually fails to describe which teaching or power came from which ancient prophet.

    Someone almost correctly mentioned that it is only the “signs and tokens” given in the temple that are considered too sacred to discuss outside the temple proper and part of that prohibition includes the manner of death you suffer if you do disclose them.

    These signs, tokens and penalties have been shortened and watered down over the years to the point where most people today don’t even realize what is being referred to and do not fear the penalties as they did in the “old days”.

    Also, very few people, even Hugh Nibley dwell on the underlying teachings of the endowment drama which clearly reveal elements of early “Mormonism” that no longer find place in the modern LDS church, such as the Adam God Doctrine, Blood Atonement, etc.

    When, in the endowment (still today) Satan includes the audience as his receptive followers and proclaims himself the “god of this earth”, virtually none of those in attendance get the real message.

    My opinion is that LDS are not interested enough in the temple to know what it teaches, and the few who are interested in temple attendance, aside from weddings and family gatherings or giving retired people something to do with their day simply are participating in the LDS “numbers” game more than anything else.

    Once you have done your duty and made sure that all your relatives have received all the “ordinances” what is left for most LDS?

    On the other hand, the point that the temple can sometimes (if people will shut up about the deal they got at Target) be a place for quiet, spiritual contemplation is a good one, but there is little opportunity (though not none) for that.

    Most LDS are in a hurry to get in, get out and get on with “real life”.

    Their real life really has not much room for the demands of worship.

    And since everyone points to Hugh Nibley as the “champion” of the church, I guess I should also say that IMO his mission was to overwhelm the average member with authoritative sounding claims that – specific to Mormonism cannot be substantiated and too often are easily refuted, but only by scholors who rarely find it worthwhile to make the attempt to educate those who have neither eyes to see nor ears to hear.

    I read and re-read nearly everything he wrote and hung on every word at the time, though now I find the words of HN mostly meaningless and subversive of a true effort toward understanding and improving a relationship with God that he worked hard to make more difficult rather than simple as Christ would have done (and in fact did).

    Those who cannot or will not embrace the golden rule have no need for a temple as no temple ceremony will magically change an unbeliever into a believer at death.

    IMO those who do embrace the “royal law” find all the “temple” they need in their own heart and find “service to God” all around them, wherever and with whomever they may be.

    I find LDS Temple service exactly contrary to it’s claims in nearly every respect.

    Having said, I’m sure too much for many, I also believe that ANY path (LDS included) will lead a true seeker to that which they truly seek – though often not as or to where you might have first expected.

    I had many valuable experiences in the LDS Temples and while many aspects of all religions I find troubling and restrictive, I feel my years as a sincere Mormon were a boon to my personal spiritual journey and for me, Mormonism turned out to be a milepost (a 40 year one) rather than a destination.

    All things, even Mormons and Christians, etc. testify of our spiritual source and teach us about our journey, if indeed we truly are on a journey.

    Just my 75 cents worth.
    Believe Jesus.

  44. But what specific writings? Are you reading post-NT and pre-300AD writ?

    Ben, all of early Christian writing fail to mention Christian temples. Do you want me to name all of them?

    The verses in Mark were meant to show that they could and did keep something secret for exactly as long as they were commanded to. So, no, I’m not trying to shoe horn Mark into my context.

    Okay, that explanation helps to understand how your were using the text. I thought you were suggesting that this was an endowment ceremony.

    I’m saying that the lack of evidence to the contrary leaves open the possibility, and that the possibility is reasonable enough (i.e., not absurd like your cheese-in-the-nose), and that the implications are meaningful enough to merit considering it.

    Yeah, I think Seth’s explanation is more reasonable than yours. The mention of Christian temples is so glaringly absent from all Christian text throughout Christian history that to say it’s a restoration of something old appears to be a complete fabrication. I can concede that you might have something with baptisms for the dead (though I disagree) because at least there you have something to point to. But I could just as easily suggest that women did silent praise dances throughout early Christian worship services and it would have as much historical credibility as Christian temples. (Paul did say that he wished women to remain silent, it must have been for a reason).

    Frankly I’m a little amazed (not saying this is you) at some Mormon’s ability and willingness to strain an elephant through a noodle colander to see “evidence” of Mormon practice in either early church history or the American continents. But their equal unwillingness to plainly observe that Joseph Smith joined the Masons before introducing the endowment ceremony or that he died from an effort to hide his polygamous lifestyle. It’s playing by completely different sets of rules to fit their own bias.

  45. Tim, I am really relieved because I think that we are understanding each other now. Thanks for that. And, yes, Seth’s explanation is reasonable enough.

    As for Mormons (although, let’s be honest, Mormons don’t have a monopoly on this) straining some evidence and ignoring other evidence, I think that at the heart of the problem are verses like Hebrews 13:8:

    “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

    If one (mis)interprets that to mean that God always says and does the same thing throughout history, then one must believe that everything ordained by God today existed yesterday, and then one looks for evidence to prove it. (This came up recently in the discussions on this blog—I think it was Seth who made the remark about God changing.) But in reality, sometimes God says “Go to Egypt” and sometimes he says “Get out of Egypt!”

  46. “But I could just as easily suggest that women did silent praise dances throughout early Christian worship services and it would have as much historical credibility as Christian temples.”

    In terms of plausibility, you are correct: silent dances and temple worship are equally plausible. The difference I see is that the temple actually has some significance—to me, not to you. So while you don’t accept my temple worship, I think you can still appreciate why the question of early Christian temple worship would be on my mind as I study.

  47. Dr. Lowry,

    The reason young LDS parents don’t go as often as the old-timers is because we have kids and have to find babysitters. We also aren’t retired.

    I think the idea of “Restoration” is much broader than just First Century Christianity.” It includes the whole span of God’s dealing with His covenant people. Mormonism isn’t so much a restoration of Pauline Christianity as it is a restoration of Old Testament worship patterns and wedding them to the New Testament.

  48. Its important to keep in mind that Joseph Smith explained that God had established a “New” covenant, something that was “hidden from the foundation of the world”. The temple and eternal marriage was part of this.

    Tim-

    As far as playing by different rules to fit a particular bias, that is universal among the religious.

    Most Christians I know don’t believe that Mohammed tore the moon in two and Muslims don’t believe that Jesus was resurrected or that the sun darkened when he was crucified. (There were witnesses to both). Generally evidence that disproves Biblical history is scrutinized far more than evidence supporting it. (The willful ignorance needed to “disprove” evolution and prove “flood” geology borders on absurdity, not to say that present company engage in this)

    You could argue that Mormons are worse than other faiths when they ignore some evidence and focus on other but this is a difference in degree rather than kind.

    I think one reason Mormons look worse in some areas is that have a lot more actual history to explain. We have so little actual history from early Christian times, we have no significant detailed third party observations of early first century christians and no contemporary accounts of Jesus’ life (third party or otherwise). As the Bible says, the world could not hold all the books that could be written, but we have only a tiny window to observe what happened. All sorts of things could have gone on that we have no clue about. Those that carefully reconstruct the historical Jesus often do so in a way that defies orthodoxy (See Crossan for example)

    I would guess that if you wrote down all the things Jesus and Peter said that there would be far more ammunition for anti-christians.

  49. Ben, all of early Christian writing fail to mention Christian temples. Do you want me to name all of them?

    No, I’m just looking for some examples, not debating. I’d like to do some reading on early Christian writing, and I’m asking for recommendations.

    We have so little actual history from early Christian times, we have no significant detailed third party observations of early first century christians and no contemporary accounts of Jesus’ life (third party or otherwise).

    This is what I have always thought as well, and it would be interesting to read early Christian writing.

  50. One more, this guy claims to have found 15 Early Christian references to baptism for the dead:

    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/bookschapter.php?bookid=&chapid=104

    I am not posting these for purposes of stoking polemical debate. But I am sure there is something to learn from all sides.

    What I gather from my perusal is that there are no “smoking guns” showing Mormon style temple worship.

    I think Mormons SHOULD agree that the way the church operates now is very different than how the early church operated back in the day. The 12 Apostle structure the church has now and the priesthood quorum structure is a new institution started by Joseph Smith and changed and adapted over time. The Church doesn’t even run the same way as it did under Joseph, let alone under Peter. Mormon ritual requirements have changed and adapted over time. Mormons have essentially abandoned certain critical rituals (second endowment for example) and they have changed the endowment ceremony and temple garments. I expect more changes in the future.

    That said, there are certainly signs that early christians may not have abandoned the reverence for the Temple that Jesus had and there may have been secret ceremonies and mysteries that were not written about openly or were lost and abandoned over time. But there is a reasonable argument that they may not have happened at all. Mormons would argue that the greatest evidence of early christian temple ceremonies was Joseph Smith’s revelation rather than historical evidence. Ultimately the whole church hangs on that thread anyway.

  51. I hope Seth doesn’t think I’m a meanie, but the babysitter excuse is kind of lame.

    I certainly agree completely with your second point though and as others have alluded the temple ceremonies were “hidden” ritual and of course the temple rituals that we read about in the Bible are not hidden but are spelled out quite clearly and have nothing to do with marriage, etc.

    My understanding always has been that the “hidden” teachings were only “hidden” from the “world”, but that any time there was Melchizedek Priesthood on earth the teachings were available to those who proved worthy – while still hidden from the eyes of the world.

    The basic ceremony should have been (according to LDS) identical in all necessary respects to the rituals of marriage and sealing taught in D&C 132 as performed by ancient MP patriarchs.

    While it is true that there have been many changes in procedure and wording, style, etc. I think the LDS would claim that the basic meaning and intent of their ritual have not changed, only the mode of delivery and (they would say I think) a clearer or more refined understanding of such things as the garment [not] needing to be after a certain exact pattern – though JS seemed to indicate that the pattern, material and color of thread used was fixed – but he allowed members to make garments out of regular long underwear and stressed the symbolism more than the actual physical form and use.

    Regarding babysitters, though, I would think that the young womens and young mens groups and also the older single or married women would make great individual or group babysitters and could be scheduled to allow one or more days per week of regular attendance for those who really wanted to go to the temple.

    The High Priest Quorum is responsible to promote temple work in the ward and should gladly take up the responsibility to put together free or cheap babysitting for temple attendees.

  52. “Regarding babysitters, though, I would think that the young womens and young mens groups and also the older single or married women would make great individual or group babysitters and could be scheduled to allow one or more days per week of regular attendance for those who really wanted to go to the temple.”

    OK. What if your ward isn’t really doing that? And what if you have an infant that can’t be without mom for more than one hour. It’s a two hour drive to the temple from where I live. Factor two hours to get there, two hours at the temple, and then two hours back. Throw in an extra hour just to be conservative. You’re talking about 7 hours.

    Now, lets take the number of young families in my elders quorum and assume we have all of them going to the temple once a month. Let’s say nine fathers with an average of three young children. That’s 27 kids you have to provide babysitting for each month, half of them not toilet trained and that’s assuming no nursing infants. If the families have to arrange their own babysitting, then you are talking about nine separate babysitting appointments. And such appointments cannot be easily filled by just any twelve year old girl. These are young kids with a lot of demands. You don’t just drop them in front of the TV and let them be for a couple hours. The high-school aged youth in our ward are very, very busy and not a lot of babysitting prospects there. The old folks in many wards have kind of forgotten that there is even such a thing as young parenting of young children and you don’t get much sympathy on that front.

    If you have all the kids babysat at once, you have a Lord of the Flies style mass nursery. Sometimes you can arrange to have the kids babysat at the nearby Church. The kids are inevitably cranky and wired from travel and being in a strange place.

    And you want to organize that every month?

    Maybe.

    If you are suggesting doing that twice a month, you’re mad.

    Most wards burn out on trying to organize a monthly temple trip anyway and it places quite the logistical burden on the nearby chapel. The best option for most young families is to work out a quid pro quo with another young family where “we’ll watch yours if you watch ours.”

    Works fine, unless you are a socially isolated family and have no close friends in the ward you can call on (never mind families with special needs kids). And then the kids go through a flu cycle and you can forget about sending them to anyone’s house for a couple months.

    And of course, a lot of nursing mothers just give up on the idea that they’ll get temple time at all for the next half a year.

    No, it’s not lame. These are not insurmountable problems, but they are not trivial and they are not “lame.” If crusty old folks who’ve forgotten that young children even exist want to go to the temple multiple times a month, bully for them. For myself, I’ll set a goal of once a month and not beat myself up too much when I don’t meet it.

  53. Seth,

    How’s this? Sometimes I would just rather play Hungry, Hungry Hippos with my daughters rather than give them to a babysitter while I go to the temple.

    The idea that love for the temple takes precedence over love for everything else in my life just doesn’t jibe with me.

  54. Brianj, I like you. 🙂

    Seth, I definitely understand the difficulty of trying to go to the temple when you have small children. Heck, even just with some jobs it makes it difficult. When we were in NYC, we lived 30 minutes from a temple, and the Manhattan temple is pretty danged cool on the inside.

    But I was working 70 hour weeks while pregnant, and if I had a Saturday off, I wanted to spend it with Kullervo. And I never felt guilty about it, even one iota, because the temple wasn’t my top priority–nor would I have said that it should be. My family is always my top priority, and if that meant that other church activities had to fall by the wayside temporarily (or permanently), that was just the way it was.

  55. Excuse me if I say, wah, wah, wah.

    I didn’t mean to push anyone’s guilt button.

    I raised 6 children and went to the temple often.

    I did not have neighbors or relatives to help.

    We trusted God and planned harder.

    We couldn’t afford any extras and we took our religious commitments seriously.

    Seriously enough that we kept them.

    We also volunteered to care for “special needs” children, sometimes more than one at a time, sometimes for years on end while their parents worked. (well, it was always a single parent – that’s why they needed a volunteer)

    The problem you describe in your ward with “older” people not wanting to help, etc. simply describes a condition where you might as well say that they are just not that into Jesus.

    If they are God’s Priesthood, they should take that responsibility seriously.

    What did James say, “show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works”?

    I’ll bet they all have plenty of time for television, golf, vacations, new cars, hunting or other diversions.

    In the end, it does not really matter what was more important to you than your “religion”, since what you devote yourself to is your religion.

    I would say you go to church with unbelievers who claim to “represent” God when they really don’t care that much about it.

    It is pretty flippant for some to say they love this game or that game more than the temple.

    I’d love to see you face to face with God trying that.

    The fact is, you really don’t care that much about the temple.

    A person can pretend to care about something all they like, but the proof is as they say – in the pudding, as it were.

    I certainly sympathize with you though and I agree, the LDS church is mostly a bunch of pretenders who know little about the religion they pretend to while making a big claim to represent a God they would rather play games than visit.

    You might be “the exception” to the rule, yet there are few exceptions.

    Maybe instead of paying for internet and video games, you could use the money instead to pay a professional nurse to watch your child while you make good on your temple promises to put God ahead of all else.

    Or maybe you could agree that LDS doctrine is often irrational and intentionally unlivable.

    It’s nice that you can joke about your sacred covenants.

    Should we quote from the temple prayer circle now?

  56. Thank you righteous Limbaugh.

    Nice to know that with a little more elbow grease I too could “not suck” just like you.

  57. Wow, Dr. For someone so Christlike, you sure manage to be incredibly offensive and not compassionate at all.

    Good to know that’s how Mormons “should” be.

  58. Really!
    Well, like Jesus said, don’t call me good. None is good but God.

    So if you think I’m Christlike you made an error. But I am trying and I am honest about it.

    I guess I’ve succeeded at least to the degree that like Jesus, I find gross hypocrisy annoying.

    All I’m saying is that for people to claim to hold God’s Priesthood and to be the only ones on earth that legitimately represent God and Jesus – for them to say that the Temple – God’s Earthly Home, where one goes to be instructed by God – is less important than a video game or that they just can’t make it to God’s house cause it’s too hard to find a sitter, is just a bunch of lamness – that’s all.

    I’m not trying to be uncharitable, just honest.

    And I’m suggesting that these people would get a lot further if they requested their “brothers and sisters” lived their religion a little and helped them in their quest to know God, if that is important to them.

    Some have basically said that it is not important to them, yet they continue to pretend that they somehow exclusively represent that same God that they can’t be bothered to visit.

    I just think that if you got an invitation to go see God, you wouldn’t let anything stop you and I know that the prayer at the veil is one where you promise everything you have, time, money, everything to God first.

    So when people who claim to revere the Temple cry about not being able to go, or say that they are God’s Priesthood but prefer a video game to visiting in God’s house – I say they are not honest with themselves and as far as their religion goes, they should find something less demanding to believe in and quit pulling their own leg about Mormonism.

    That’s all.

    I’m not trying to be mean, I think you are being too sensitive and not thinking your own positions very clearly.

    I don’t appreciate your sarcasm however, and I don’t think I can be required by you to be compassionate, though I think I am being so by taking the time to discuss your weak thinking.

    In either case, compassion is a voluntary expression the judgment of the quality of which I think should be ascertained by God, not you.

    Best wishes,
    Dr. Lowrey

  59. Lowry: you’re being uncharitable because you are not actually considering what others are saying. Even in the small things, you are not paying any attention to your audience: e.g., calling kullervo “flippant” without taking the time to realize who is is—namely, an ex-Mormon; raging on about video games without realizing that “Hippos” is a board game.

    You say that you are being compassionate, but you don’t come across that way at all. Yes, I know that you think that is because I am just “too sensitive” and “not thinking.”

  60. raging on about video games without realizing that “Hippos” is a board game

    Indeed! Comedy gold, Doctor Lowry.

  61. I wish they would come out with a 3-D Video version of Hungry Hippos, (of course that may bring temple attendence to a new low.)

  62. Actually, he kind of reminds me of me about 4 years ago when I first discovered the world of Mormon blogging, to tell the truth.

  63. Seth: well then, in a few years I will always look forward to what Lowry has to write.

    P.S. Give your lunch money now, twerp!

    Jared C: The downside is that a video version would lack the teeth-rattling noise of plastic banging on hollow plastic. Call me a purist.

  64. I agree with BrianJ. Plus, the video version wouldn’t break. Breaking the game is half, nay three quarters, of the fun.

  65. Brian and Kullervo,

    Upon deep reflection and contemplation, I have come to the conclusion that you are right. . . Hungry Hungry Hippos just wouldn’t be the same in video form.

  66. Jared, the Holy Spirit is witnessing to me right now that what you are saying is true. And it comes from God.

  67. Why is it considered uncharitable to point out hypocrisy?

    Guilt is not relieved by breaking the mirror. Be grateful that someone was kind enough to point out that you have toilet paper stuck to your shoe, so you can fix it.

    Dr. L isn’t picking on anyone. It is you who is taking him personally. If you are feeling offended than the problem is inside of you.

    Instead of everyone blasting Dr. L they should be admitting that they just aren’t living up to what they spout. AND – So what! No one does…

    Honesty instead of excuses. Do you think that we’ll get to pull out the excuse list at judgement day? Will we get to blame others for our failings?

    Self honesty has it’s rewards. It frees us from our sins.

    And if you aren’t a Mormon and you fail to communicate it in your comment don’t be surprised if you are misunderstood.

    Dr. L played chess with his children.

  68. So I have to say “Disclaimer, I am exMormon” in every comment? On every thread?

    Wait, why is the burden on me to clear up ambiguity? Why is it just fine for Dr. Lowry to make all the asshat assumptions he wants, but unreasonable of me to object? What kind of sense of entitlement is he coasting on here?

  69. What is the big deal about couching your statements with something like “When I was a member…”? or “as an exmo…” Is that such an effort?

    Do we have to go read everybody’s blogs before we comment?

    There are 88 comments and I have to go read all 88 blogs and know where all 88 people are coming from before I can comment?

    That is unreasonable.

    All I am saying is that if you want to be understood you have to communicate more clearly. It is stupid to be angry when you don’t.

    And if a comment doesn’t apply to you, get over it.

  70. Every comment? I have commented on this blog probably 3-4 times a day, over the course of more than a year.

    Those 88 comments are from probably 5 different people. No, you don’t have to read all their blogs. But since this blog is specifically an inter-religious dialogue, it might make sense to check your assumptions about people at the door.

    I’m not the one making assumptions about people and sounding like a stupid asshole when I do it.

  71. I have no clue whether Kita Kazoo is an atheist, a Mormon, an evangelical, or what he is. Perhaps he ought to have prefaced his own remarks.

    In fact, from Lowry’s comments, I can’t even tell if he is an active Mormon or an ex-Mormon.

    For the record, I’m an active and believing Mormon. But I think it’s silly to have to explain that to every newcomer to the blog here.

  72. “Why is it considered uncharitable to point out hypocrisy?”

    It’s not. It’s considered uncharitable to get on your high horse and talk down to all the peons below you. Plus, it’s annoying and condescending. Plus, where’s the hypocrisy in saying that one goes to the temple as often as one feels that they can given their life circumstances? Who is anyone else (but God) to judge whether their reasons are good enough?

    Also, not sure I understand the chess comment… is that chess instead of Hungry Hungry Hippos? And only chess? Sounds boring to me. I like variety with my games. And I play board, card, AND video games. And I certainly would prefer to play any of them than go to the temple… but I wouldn’t be allowed in right now anyway. 😀

  73. I am sorry I didn’t explain myself well enough – The chess comment meant that Dr. L just comes from a different world.

    ExMormon

    Are new commers not welcome?

    Sorry for making anyone uncomfortable.

  74. I’m not uncomfortable in the least. I’ve been the target of real attacks before, and nothing here really meets that threshold. Lowry’s comments were just mildly in-your-face. But he came out swinging and should expect a bit of a rumble, that’s all.

  75. Kita Kazoo,

    I think I speak for all when I say that anyone is welcome here, including you. People disagreeing with you, even forcefully sometimes, should not be interpreted as your not being welcome. And thinking your comments are wrong or incomplete does not mean anyone is uncomfortable with them or the topic at hand. I for one would welcome you back anytime. Though it’s not my blog, so take it for what it’s worth 😀

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