A look at The Mormon Endowment Ceremonyby Don Lacey on May. 17, 2012, under AZ Politics, Campaign 2012, Critical Thinking, Faith, Fundamentalism, Government, History, Logic, Mormonism, Question of the Day!, Reason, Religion, Responsible Government, Separation of Church & State
Jim Wilson’s opinion on the Mormon Endowment Ceremony:
I was talking with my ex-Mormon friend about Mitt Romney’s presidential nomination. He shared with me a copy of the Endowment Ceremony which members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), including Romney, take part in once they are deemed worthy to enter the temple. Here is the current version:
Here is the pre-1990 version:
A few things caught my attention. First, I like that it features dialogue between the ceremony’s conductors and biblical figures like Lucifer, Adam, Eve Michael, etc. This gives it a nice surreal quality. There is the pledge of secrecy, “As with the other aspects of the Endowment, you are under solemn obligation not to discuss these sacred matters outside of the temple.” Apparently, the ceremony was changed in 1990, and the word “secrecy” was removed. Prior to the 1920s, the ceremony included “graphic descriptions of the particular ways one’s life would be taken in punishment for violating the covenants of non-disclosure.” These included promises to have one’s throat/bowels cut open for revealing temple secrets. The version presented above includes the line, “Rather than do so, I would suffer my life to be taken”. I am suspicious of religion especially overly secretive ones. If you had teachings that would benefit the world, you should be open about them. Cults and for profit religions rely on secret ceremonies for members. Some Mormons I know seem to be unfamiliar with some of the church’s teachings, including the teaching that their male members will have multiple wives in the afterlife. The church does not talk about this often.
There is a chastity pledge which is a great idea but not very realistic. Most people, including Mormons, will have sex prior to being married. Religion always likes to get caught up in people’s sex lives and demonize people who fall short of church ideals. If I don’t find someone to marry until I’m 37, should I really refrain from sex, sexual thoughts and masturbation, until that time? The Mormon Church answers with a resounding yes! This is an attitude that is incomparable with good mental health and encourages people to get married before they are ready.
Another important part is, “The Law of Consecration.” It is a pledge to “consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.” This is quite relevant to the Romney candidacy. It includes a pledge do focus all one’s talents to the advancement of the Mormon Church. Mormons hold the church’s prophet to be the highest authority on Earth. Mitt Romney needs to make clear the extent he is willing to use the presidency to advance the goals of the Church’s hierarchy, which is already known to dabble in politics.
Interestingly, Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney, was a contender for the Republican nomination in 1968 but apparently lost to Richard Nixon. More on that here:
The Endowment Ceremony is interesting and concerning to me as a citizen. The more I learn about Mormonism the more strangely fascinating it is and the crazier it sounds.