Mormon Temple Oaths
People universally hate anyone with a secret club they can’t join. That’s why Born-Again-types really hate Mormon temple worship. Lefties just hate anyone who thinks they’re so holy that they or anyone else off the street wouldn’t be just as holy as they are, and so again, are naturally appalled by exclusive orders with requirements and standards and boards of approval. Like country clubs, or executive washrooms, or hospitality suites at professional sports stadiums. So Lefties hate the temple as well. Really really hate it. Intellectuals hate religious orders with funny hats and quaint rituals because they’re too sophisticated for all that childish play-acting and secret-decoder-rings-sort-of-nonsense. So they hate the Mormon temple too. Perhaps many do not hate it so much as just scoff at the temple rites as a particularly silly Mormon endeavor. It’s a central focus of their mockery and paranoia for many reasons whatever the Mormon detractor’s motivation.
The fact remains that you can get essentially verbatim transcripts of everything that goes on in a Mormon temple off the web, or from numerous anti-Mormon travelling minstrel shows run by the Christian ministries that specialize in dressing up in silly costumes and trying to scare you into their fold, and frighten your money into their collection plate. You will not generally get it in-context, nor will you have any cultural or doctrinal basis through which to understand it in the same sense that a Mormon understands it all. More to the point, you will almost invariably receive whatever you scrounge up on your own or are made privy to even in the many formal anti-Mormon productions, either live or in the media of the trade, entirely out-of-context and deliberately so. Buzz words and code words and sound-bites and cheap shots will be neatly wrapped together in hysterical Christian bigotry and paranoia, and served up as a neat and deliciously frightening dish of Born Again bullshite. You will feel just all that much more special for being “Saved” and just all that much more thrilled to have uncovered yet another sinister conspiracy to lure mankind down to hell–that you’ve safely avoided by continuing to support whatever delusional bastard is giving you the show of your life instead of talking to any actual Mormons or trying to understand what they’re really all about.
One might be compelled to concede that Mormons are not “orthodox” Christians because they reject the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, reject the “Trinity” concept of God (as did John Calvin initially, because he found no particular evidence of it in the the Bible–until they beat Trinitariatism into his personal sack of dogma on pain of heresy charges, torture, and excommunication) or that the canon is not closed and God still talks to man directly through living prophets. One might conclude that even if it is conceded that their faith was well-meant, Joseph Smith and his legacy are self-deluded and far less inspired than they claim. But the “Christian” reaction to Mormonism has been one of extermination and continual aggression in this goal. So, yes the facts remain that it is extremely difficult to demonstrate that the Mormon movement was anything else but sincere, and it also remains that where there has been a Mormon tendency to “avenge” themselves, it has nearly always been openly in battles with actual mobs and rogue militias who actually were trying to kill them and steal their stuff. To be very clear, there are no “secret” Mormon death squads sneaking around in the dark, ready to kill you for recording and publishing, or otherwise exposing all the temple “secrets.” There never have been. No historical cases or other evidence would lead you to conclude so apart from dime-novels and partisan, Christian anti-Mormonist efforts of the day. No so-called “Danite Bands” are going to ride up and slit your throat for browsing through all the Mormon temple rituals we find “exposed” on the web. Nevertheless, those who attempt to make their living at “exposing” these dark secrets, would have you believe that you and they both are risking life and limb to peruse all the deep, Satanic Mormon temple rituals.
So go ahead. Read up. Surf your arses off. See if anyone gets killed.
The temple is where the Mormon initiate receives and dons his so-called “magic underwear.” It’s part of the initiatory symbolic washing and anointing ceremony. Of course, in the ritual itself, no “magic” is actually ascribed to this “temple garment” apart from being a reminder of man’s dependence upon God and a spiritual protection from the Adversary. It’s the garment God clothed Adam and Eve with in the Garden of Eden.
As rituals go, there isn’t anything going on in a Mormon temple any weirder than you’d see at an Order of the Arrow or Eagle ceremony with the local Boy Scout Troop. Or take a look at a good Roman Catholic High Mass for that matter. The costumes aren’t any more silly than the Pope wears daily and in public—only the Pope has better slippers. The Mormon temple ceremony is called an “Endowment,” and consists of a sort-of lengthy skit during which actors, officiators, and in most cases now, video presentations tell the story of Creation, and point out the Mormon version of man’s relationship to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In the course of this presentation, the temple patron is “endowed” with further light, truth and knowledge. Certain signs and tokens are given as a symbolic exchange of trust between Deity and humanity. You can think of these as “magic words,” and “secret handshakes,” if you want, but that really misses the point. There is no power or magic in any of these signs or tokens and nothing is lost at all if they are exposed to the public. The possession of these words and signs merely represents a sacred trust, a covenant made by the temple goer, to keep God’s gifts safe and use this enlightenment to build His Kingdom on earth and serve mankind.
There have been several versions of the oath the Mormon temple patron swears to through the years. This is a promise to keep the signs and tokens he or she is given in the temple ceremony private. The most alarming of these originally used language essentially professing that the covenanter agreed to suffer death through unpleasant means if they betray God’s trust. Mormon detractors have always made great theatre of these oaths, but of course have always twisted the actual language to claim that the Mormon temple patron is even today, consenting to have his guts ripped open and his throat slit if he ever exposes the secret Mormon goings-on inside that shrine. Like the Masons, these anti-Mormonists who work in the field of Mormon temple mockery, are almost gleeful when they explain how packs of LDS Avengers are stalking them down. Oddly enough, they and their ancestors have been exposing and exposing again, all these oathbound Mormon secrets for generations, and all of them seem to remain in fine health. For all the exposed secrecy, there is no string of gutted and throat-slit Mormon whistle-blowers littering the Holy Roller anti-Mormon Revival Highway. No, these religious quacks keep slithering from tent show to tent show, church basement and fellowship hall, dressing up in their magic Mormon underpants and temple robes, with complete impunity.
But of course, that’s because the Danites wouldn’t dare take them out—not with God on their side and such a public profile! It would give the Secret Mormon Death Squads away!!!!!!
Now, in the case of the these anti-“cult” evangelicals like to make against the Freemasons, these Christian Conspiracy Nuts will all tell you at some point in the Masonic rituals the candidate is told that Lucifer is the God of this earth, and of course specifically then, the God of the Masons. This you should know, is utter nonsense. The name “Lucifer,” or “Son of the Morning,” or “Star of the Morning,” or “Light Bearer,” actually refers to the planet Venus in those Masonic texts. Those traditions pre-date Christianity and really have nothing to do with the God v Devil scenario. But Christians have been burning witches for far less since day-one. So it doesn’t matter much what either Masons or Mormons actually make of their own rituals, traditions, and understanding of same. This is particularly true of the symbolic oath-taking in either a Mormon or Masonic, or any other ceremony. All that matters to the “anti-cultists,” is that a superficial word or symbol or sentence can be woven into their preconceived, universal, inter-leaved galactic conspiracy of Satan, the invisible matrix that runs every human institution and population on the planet—except theirs of course. Like the Mormon temple, every word of every ritual ever performed in every level of Masonry has been “exposed” and transcribed and is commonly available on the internet. The same evangelical clucks travelling around pissing on Mormons, are doing the same routine on the Masons, and a host of other likely-looking World Conspirators. Like the Jews–who also wear funny hats and goofy outfits, have a temple closed to outsiders and who at least at one time indeed performed bloody rituals in their temple.
And the whole truth is that anyone capable of going without the Big Three for a year or so (hot drinks, tobacco and booze) and sitting through the missionary discussions, can get themselves baptized, and will then find that the Mormons practically herd them into the temple at the earliest possible convenience whether they ask to go or not. Mormons are more than happy to show you all their “secrets” first hand whether you make any effort to worm your way inside or not. Now, if you freak out after your first time and just have to warn the world, or even if you just con your way in to take secret recordings so you can make the circuit with the many other traitors, turncoats, and spies that have populated the Born-Again vaudeville stages set up in church basements and fellowship halls throughout orthodox Christendom since before they killed Joseph Smith, the only consequences you are going to suffer are between you and God.
Danite Vengeance Oaths
As I write this in the heart of the presidential campaigns of 2012, on top of all the other Mitt Romney-related anti-Mormon attention in the liberal medial, the evangelical versions of these anti-Mormonist paranoids have furthered the notion that Romney may have sworn oaths of vengeance against the United States of America. No such oaths have ever existed however. The most “damaging” alleged oath was supposed to bind the Mormon to murdering and avenging the assassination of Joseph Smith by slaughtering American civil and military agents for generation after generation. But, those who “expose” and quote these oaths, are apparently too stupid and illiterate to realize that they are their own worst enemies in the matter:
“You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray to Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.”
The final question of these various oaths was resolved in 1990 when the temple ceremony was adjusted to entirely remove any and all of them. The anti-Mormonists are so eager to prove the current nature of their information, and prove that these Mormon secrets are fluid and not fixed in stone by God Himself, that in their urgency to remain current and deeply inside the temple secrets, ultimately, they confess that there are no Mormons taking any “blood” oaths of any sort and haven’t been in over two decades. They betray the fact that no Mormons have taken even the symbolic blood oaths against mobbers or their political cohorts that killed Joseph Smith since shortly after WWI—roughly one hundred years ago to date. There is no way, for instance, that Mitt Romney would have taken any oaths worded in such a way to require him to kill Americans to avenge Joseph Smith, or even offer himself up for slaughter for the slip of the tongue or for inadvertently giving away a secret handshake.
If however, you go back far enough, to the days when mobs of Christians were burning, raping and pillaging their way through Mormon settlements in Missouri and Illinois, or a decade or two later when the US Army was sent out with the express purpose of destroying Mormonism once-and-for-all, yes, the wording of these oaths, or certainly the interpretation of these oaths, would have been far more direct. When your “good Christian” neighbors are bashing your brains out in the rain and burning you out of house and home, you tend to develop some serious convictions about stopping that behavior.
At the time these several oaths were initiated, Christian America was killing and abusing Mormon friends and family and yes, Mormon leadership took loyalty very seriously, because Mormon turncoats were fueling the anti-Mormon national and regional mood and providing the mobs, militias, and the clergy that authorized them, with all the excuse they needed to justify treating Mormons like vermin. America was indeed trying to exterminate them repeatedly till they were driven permanently into the wilderness to escape with some level of liberty at least for a few years. Even so, apart from the highly disputable “Mountain Meadows Massacre” there really hasn’t been a single credible example of Mormon “vengeance” that could reliably be traced to any of these oaths or any specific desire to murder the mob members, politicians or religious leaders directly responsible for Joseph Smith’s assassination. Even in the early days, you have to remember, the desire to avenge the blood of Joseph Smith by wreaking havoc upon the members of the mob that Christian America and her political servants heaped upon him, would hardly have needed an oath to enforce it. It was after all, the Wild Wild West. And nobody has ever confused the Mormons with the Quakers or Amish—or at least not for long in terms of the Mormon willingness to fight back. Most Mormon “vengeance” was executed in open warfare with mobs who made the first attack and were openly swearing to destroy Mormonism to the last man, woman, and child. And those mobs were authorized and often led by noted Christian clergy and civil officers in direct violation of Constitutional and statutory law for the expressed purpose of killing all the Mormons and taking all their stuff.
For all the alleged unsuitability of Mitt Romney or any other Mormon for public office because of his alleged “oaths,” there seems to be no particular enthusiasm for rejecting George Washington, who was both our first president and master of his local Masonic lodge. The Masons make Mormons look like pikers when it comes to incendiary oaths and secret ceremonies. And George was only the first of a string of Masons to take the office of the US president:
Funny, but we don’t hear a lot in the media about how unsuitable FDR or Harry Truman were for the presidency because of their secret, oathbound fraternal memberships.
Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel on Tuesday called on Mitt Romney to tell the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to stop doing proxy baptisms in the names of dead Jews, including Holocaust victims such as Wiesel’s parents.
UPDATED POST: 5:10 P.M.
LDS officials have reached The Anti-Defamation league to say, according to an ADL press release that:
…an individual member inappropriately submitted the names, an action the LDS said was “clearly against the policy of the church.” The church has indefinitely suspended the individual’s ability to access their genealogy records.
Abraham Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor, said in the statement that he accepted this as a good faith promise from the church. It’s critical to halt the practice because, Foxman writes:
Holocaust victims died precisely because they were Jewish. Listing Jews as ‘Christian” on one of the most researched genealogical sites in the world inadvertently aids and abets denial of the Holocaust.
Perhaps the ultimate solution would be for the church to revisit its theological position on posthumously baptizing Jews and believers outside the Mormon Church, just as other religions have reconsidered centuries-old beliefs.
The long and short of this is, Mormons don’t steal anyone’s soul after death. Mormon baptism for the dead may be deemed silly or heretical to either the orthodox Christian or Jew, but the concept and the ceremony itself, while carried out once again in the mysterious Mormon temple, is anything but sinister. Christ our Lord demands that everyone be baptized as a symbol of our discipleship and adoption or re-birth into His family and His promise of salvation. Most of Christianity writes you off as damned if you miss out on that “Born Again” opportunity in this lifetime. You could go to hell through chance or happenstance or some big a-hole minister who just turned you off to religion, and you formed your entire opinion of Christianity based upon that one twisted dickweed who had it all wrong. But still, you go to hell and burn forever in a lake of fire that never consumes but continuously burns. In “historical” Christian circles, this means very clearly that Anne Frank is burning in hell for instance. This notion is understandably offensive to Jews. And even more offensive would be praying or baptizing poor Anne’s way out of hell. But that’s not what Mormon proxy baptism for the dead does or even intends to do.
The ritual has reportedly been performed in the name of Hollywood celebrities,Mahatma Gandhi, Anne Frank, and the still-living Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. When Wiesel learned his name was entered as “ready” for posthumous baptism, the famed Holocaust survivor told HuffPost that Romney “should speak to his own church and say they should stop” performing such rituals on Jews.
But church spokesman Lyman Kirkland said Wednesday in an email that the “ready” classification is misleading. “This characterization is inaccurate,” he said. “’Ready’ [next to a name in the database] in no way means a baptism is imminent; it only means that a name in the genealogical database has been determined to be an actual person. The term ‘ready’ as shown in the database is probably causing confusion and will likely be changed to something that describes the process more clearly.”
Radkey disputed that claim, saying, “If a name is on New FamilySearch lists, this will not be for genealogical purposes only. It usually means posthumous rites.”
The LDS church has issued apology after apology for members targeting Holocaust victims despite promising to put an end to the rituals. This week, a delegation from the American Jewish Committee met with senior church leaders in Salt Lake City to discuss “advances in mitigating Jewish concerns regarding the issue of posthumous baptism of Holocaust victims.”
What Mormons are contending is you do not go to hell by happenstance or accident, and indeed, hell as Christianity has sold it to the world, is hardly literal and almost nobody goes there. Those who do go to “hell” have deliberately earned it by willful rejection of the Holy Spirit and the Blood of Christ. Mormons call it “Outer Darkness, and only those who ultimately end up there of their own deliberate doing, will ever know how miserable this “Outer Darkness,” really is. All others have a chance at re-education in spirit prison or “paradise” depending upon how they lived their lives, and the legal requirement of physical baptism can be met by mortal proxies performing this ordinance on behalf of the deceased. It is an ordinance symbolizing a covenant that has to be made in a prescribed manner in physical existence, not a spiritual afterlife. Oh, yes, it sounds very legalistic but an ultimate commandment is an ultimate commandment and the point is, Mormons believe God allowed a system of proxy ordinances to satisfy these legal demands so little Johnny Johnson who died in Uppsala Sweden in 1823 at birth and never got baptized, never confessed faith in Christ, and thus is “unsaved,” doesn’t burn in hell forever just because his mother had a bad case of the flu at the time and had a complicated delivery.
OK, Mormons actually think that the innocent unborn and mentally unaccountable go directly to the “Celestial Kingdom,” the highest level of Heaven and enter the presence of God directly, upon death due their inherent innocence. Yeah, I know, it’s the opposite of what they taught you at Bible camp. But we’re talking Mormonism, not “Christianity.” Mormons believe there has already been a weeding out of the “evil” among us for the most part in a pre-mortal existence, and all those who are born of this earth have already proven their basic goodness. Man is stupid, not evil. Man is flawed and imperfect, not damned at birth. All men are born pure and innocent and unstained by some asinine political invention the Church has called “Original Sin.” Original Sin is a recruitment and control device invented by a professional clergy, not an eternal truth. Mormons believe “Christianity” has got it all wrong on many of these points. And likewise, the Jews got it all wrong before that, but unlike orthodox “Christianity” through the ages, Mormons believe the “Jews” are still God’s covenant people, that all God’s promises made to the House of Israel will be honored in the end. Mormons have never had any part in condemning the entire Jewish race as the “Christ-Killing” bastards Martin Luther, various popes and Calvinists have made them out to be for fun and profit over the years.
Now, of course, in “orthodox” Christian theology, God knowingly and willfully created little Johnny Johnson and shot him out his mommy’s birth canal up in icy Sweden, deliberately to die at birth and burn in hell because that was his “Predestination.” Johnny was not one of the “Elect.” And though the Calvinists, the Papists, the Lutherans, the Arminians and all the others, have different ways of rationalizing it, they all agree that dead fetuses and dead babies, heathens born and raised out in the bush, and all those not raised “Christian,” burn in hell because without baptism, or a “come to Jesus” moment, without knowledge of the Bible and a confession of faith, they by default return to Satan, their true father and fleshly creator, where they suffer eternal torment in a lake of fire as damnable children of hell.
Mormons are not “historical” or “orthodox” Christians. They do not believe that they are snatching dead Jews or heathens from the jaws of the Destroyer. In Mormonism, post-mortal life is essentially pretty pleasant for everyone, Mormon or not, with the exception that those guilty of overt evil and criminal acts go to a sort of prison or holding area. Those already covenanted with Christ and not guilty of overt, willful and unrepentant sin and evil, go on to “paradise,” or the “bosom of Abraham” in Old Testament Speak. I’m simplifying this a bit but the point is, that once Mormonism’s token post-mortem baptismal ordinances are performed by mortal proxies in a Mormon temple, it is believed to be entirely up to the deceased on the other side of the veil to accept or reject them. Think of it as some well-meaning Mormon leaving you a ticket at the box office for the greatest show on earth. (As he understands it.) If you’re not interested, just ignore the invitation. Continue to hang out on the corner outside the theatre, or find a comfy bar or pub somewhere and keep to yourself and your current friends and family. If that’s what you know, if that’s where you are most comfortable, fine. If you decide you are interested in going places in higher social circles, all you have to do is show up, collect the ticket, and enter the gala, elite playhouse and enjoy. Even then, if you don’t like the show, you can always get up and walk out.
Mormon proxy ordinances are just that, proxy ordinances. They are not actual, immediate, effective ordinances. Just because you (as is usually the custom) have brought all your great-granddad’s records in to do the work for your kin, doesn’t mean you’ve “saved” them from Southern Baptistism or Judaism, or Islam or whatever religious orientation they may have followed at death.
A lot of wailing and concern has arisen particularly from Jewish Holocaust survivors who, in the course of genealogical research found that Mormons have in the past routinely done ordinance work for Holocaust victims and Jews in general. This is seen as some sort of insult to the Jews who died, but quite the contrary is true. Mormons do not believe they are changing Jews into Mormons. Mormons actually think they’re as Jewy and the Jews in any case, and call themselves an adopted branch of the House of Israel. And I mean that in a nice way. The respect and personal identification Mormons have with the Jews is unique in all the history of Christendom. Not even in Mormon theology is it believed that dead Jews are being transformed into dead Mormons in these ceremonies. They are not listed as “converts” or “members” or “Christians,” after the ordinance work has been performed. It is merely noted that the proxy work has been done for them. Mormons do however believe that they are granting their ancestors the opportunity to move upward and onward in the hereafter along Mormon theological beliefs in rising degrees of glory—as opposed to the one-size-fits-all “total salvation” or “total damnation” scenario found in the post-death fate orthodox Christianity preaches or the nebulous, maybe-not-existence-at-all that a lot of Judaism teaches.
In short: Mormons do not believe Jews are going to hell in any theological scenario in or out of the temple, in or out of the baptismal font, in this life or the next. No forced conversion or offense is intended or even possible in Mormon theology via proxy baptism for the dead.
From a Jewish standpoint, the gut-objection is fairly obvious, but the theology, or theological objection made by Holocaust survivors and relatives of Holocaust victims to Mormon proxy baptism, is born out of their understanding of a conventional Christian perspective. All Christians, in an almost unique exception to Christian orthodoxy, believe in life after death. Where you go and why, is not nearly as universal, but almost to the sect, to the denomination, dead people go to Heaven, or some sort of hell. Jews who die proudly Jewish resent the suggestion that even after death they need to convert to Christianity to be “saved.” It is debatable however, whether or not most or all of Judaism as practiced today even professes a belief in a life after death and if not, nothing Mormons or anyone else do in the way of post-mortem conversion would have any effect or significance at all in most Jewish theology. The Bible clearly teaches us that even at the time of Christ the “Jews” were seriously split on the notion of resurrection and Eternal Life.
Calling proxy baptism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “eccentric, not offensive,” Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote recently that “Mormons undergoing peaceful rituals in their own temples aren’t on the list” of the “very real, very dangerous enemies” to Judaism.
“In Judaism, conversion after death is a concept without meaning,” wrote Jacoby, who is Jewish. “No after-the-fact rites in this world can possibly change the Jewishness of the men, women, children and babies whom the Nazis, in their obsessive hatred, singled out for extermination.
“By my lights, (Mormon) efforts to make salvation available to millions of deceased strangers were ineffectual,” he continued. “But plainly they were sincere, and intended as a kindness.”
OK, so Mormons are legalistic a bit and the whole prospect may sound silly to many, but baptism for the dead is a lot less perverted than believing stillborn babies and anyone outside of your local minister’s influence are literal sons and daughters of the devil and rightfully worthy of hell and damnation unless they have the luck and good birth position to meet up with the CHURCH and its ministers. This latter proposition concludes that some 90% of all the billions and billions of human beings ever to walk the face of the earth are filthy creatures of the Adversary and through no fault of their own will be spending eternity being tortured and abused by Satan.
Don’t argue with me. It’s not my doctrine. It’s a mystery…