Monday, March 30, 2009

Sacred vs Secret

A couple weeks ago, the HBO series Big Love apparently showed portions of an endowment ceremony, part of the Mormon Temple ceremonies. When I was reading articles about this, many LDS member seemed upset, and one of the most common defenses I heard was that the ceremony "is not secret, but rather sacred". Thus meaning that because it is sacred, that it shouldn't be talked about. Well that just didn't make sense to me. Why does something being sacred mean you shouldnt discuss it. This is a very inconsistent rule to live by. I have heard many talks in church where people say that the sacrament is the most sacred of all ordinances, but we have no fear of talking about that, or recreating it in church movies, we even allow visitors to witness it.

It seems the less an ordinance is talked about, is more directly correlated to how unfamiliar the public is with the ordinance, or in other words, how weird or strange it is to them. The more wierd or strange, the less we talk about it. Whether or not the ordinance is sacred has little to do with talking about it. Baptism and the Sacrament are not strange to most people, they have seen similar ordiances in other religions, so it seems okay to openly discuss these, we even taught them early on in the missionary discussions. Baptisms for the Dead and Temple Marriage, a little more wierd, the average person is familiar with baptism and marriage, just not these "versions" of them, so we can talk somewhat about these ordinances openly, but not in too much detail. But the endowment and washings and annointings, now those are strange to the vast majority of people, they are not familiar with these at all, so they are not discussed. I think most LDS people are afraid to talk about them because they do seem odd. It is not as if the endowment is more sacred than temple marriage, or the sacrament, or baptism. The only difference is that it seems a bit more strange to an outsider, so LDS people don't want to seem strange, so you don't find out about those until after you are a member.

So I don't see how the "Sacred not secret" argument flies. People hold them sacred for sure, but there are many things that LDS people hold sacred that they are willing to openly discuss, like the Atonement or the First Vision. Now many will say that the reason they don't talk about these are because they are directed not to, but that is not what the temple cermony says. IT directs not to reveal certain specific things you do in the temple, not what the ceremony entails, and that is just in the endowment. From what I can recall, the washing and annointings has no direction for secretness, but nobody will openly discuss that. These ordianances are very sacred but, depending on how strange they seem, they are also very secretive.

And for the record, I did not see the episode of Big Love mentioned above.


At 12:20 AM, Blogger AgnosticMormon said...

Rob, thanks for doing this. Life is hard leaving the church, especially if you are single. I am 26 years old. I am now starting my life over in California. I had to leave Utah due to the fact that I feel like I don't belong there. I am not a drug addict, porn addict, or some type of sinner. I don't have sex or drink beer or break any of the commandments that I'm aware of; however, trying to tell fellow "saints"/"family" that the reason for your "de-conversion" is due to you simple not believing isn't an answer that they can actually swallow. My parents tells me that they place my name in the temple each week. My sister is getting married in December and is willing to put her marriage on hold for an entire year until I can go through the temple with her.

The reason I am sharing my frustrations with you, is that I agree perfectly well with the title of your blog. That is actually how I found this blog. I am an agnostic-mormon. I am very proud of what the faith has taught me; however, I can not nor will I ever believe again. By choosing this path, I have left a girlfriend of 3 years, I have left my friends and family and am struggling to set my life on a "strong" foundation: build upon principles that I have found to be sound: charity, kindness, honesty, respect, and forgiveness.

Thanks, again. I'm glad you have done this blog. It will make me feel less... alone, I guess. Knowing that there are people who are my "true" brothers. People that do understand me. People who I do connect with. People that make this life promising. Thanks

At 4:22 AM, Blogger Rob said...

Thanks for commenting. It gets better, trust me....I have been out for almost 3 years now and I can honestly say my life is great. I am more at peace and happier than I have ever been. Stay true to what you believe and find the happiness that is around you.

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, I really have enjoyed reading your posts. They are very honest and make sense. I am an LDS male in the exact same situation you were in a few years ago. I find your posts to be reassuring to me and my mindset. The way I found your blog is that I wanted to start my own blog and use AgnosticMormon as the name, but alas, it was taken. Please keep posting.

At 7:10 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Thanks, that was the reason for this blog was to share my experiences in hopes that somebody might see some similarities in what they were experiencing. I really should post more but it has been a busy year.

At 12:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that discussions should be more open, about "sacred" topics. However, a show on HBO that is clearly trying to play up the extremism of the thing is not showing respect, or demonstrating an honest search for understanding or truth. It only spreads more ignorance. You and I know that the people who do hold the beliefs sacred and true, do benefit from them. The truth of the matter is what should be under question. Thanks for this wonderful blog.

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous twooldladys said...

After leaving the Morg the Temple rituals no longer were sacred or secret to me. Just plain SILLY!!! It's like Masons in KKK sheets.


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