1. Why is there no mention of temple marriages in the Bible?
2. How can a "Jack Mormon" enter into the Celestial Kingdom?
3. Why have there been changes made in the temple ceremonies?
4. Why are the Mormon Temple Oaths almost identical to the oaths of the Masonic Lodge?
5. Why is so much of Mormonism secret?
6. Baptism for the dead
See also: Daniel and
in Answers to Submitted Questions.
1. If Mormonism is the restored Gospel, why is there no mention of temple marriages in the Bible?
A: I guess someone forgot to mention it. The patriarchal order, established in the days of Adam (see D&C 107:40-42), was and is an order of the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is, in fact, what we know as the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. The patriarchal order continued through Abraham and his righteous descendants until Moses was translated, when the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood were taken from the people (see D&C 84:19-27). With these keys gone there was no longer any authority to perform the eternal marriage ordinance. Following that time the temple was used for other purposes. The keys to perform the ordinance were brought back by Jesus and bestowed on His apostles, but were lost again through apostasy. The ordinance of eternal marriage was restored again through latter-day revelation to the prophet Joseph Smith (D&C 110:12). Although we believe the eternal marriage ordinance was also performed anciently at times when the proper priesthood and keys were present, there are no Biblical scripture that specifically mention it. We have learned this all through latter-day revelation. But there are also no Bible scriptures that say they were not performed.
2. If a "Jack Mormon" is not good enough to enter an earthly temple, how can he qualify to enter the Celestial Kingdom even if he has been sealed to his devout parents?
A: He can't, unless he repents. The sealing only allows him the opportunity to be with his parents in the Celestial kingdom if he lives a life worthy of such a reward.
3. If the gospel and ordinances never change then why have there been changes made in the temple ceremonies?
Joseph Smith said: "Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed." (TPJS, 308)
A: The ordinances and basic gospel of Jesus Christ do not change. But the way they are taught may need to change depending on the time and circumstances. It is important to remember that the temple ceremonies are teaching mechanisms, designed to help us make promises to God. Therefore, they will be changed in accordance with the spiritual growth or regression of the people. As a people grow in spirituality, lesser teaching may be taken out and greater ones added. If a people regress spiritually, teachings may be lost or made less plain (Jacob 4:14; D&C 43:10; Matt. 13:10). The Book of Mormon summarizes this process as follows:
"For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line,
precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken
unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto
him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from
them shall be taken away even that which they have." (2 Nephi 28:30)
Here is the entire quote from Joseph Smith in its context:
"It was the design of the councils of heaven before the world was, that the principles and laws of the priesthood should be predicated upon the gathering of the people in every age of the world. Jesus did everything to gather the people, and they would not be gathered, and He therefore poured out curses upon them. Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles." (TPJS, 308)
We are all saved on the same principles. The principle doctrines and ordinances don't change. But changes in how these principles and ordinances are taught have been made to accomodate the spiritual condition and understanding of the present day members. The promises we make to God in those ordinances have not changed nor will they ever change.
4. If Mormonism came as a revelation from God, why are the Mormon Temple Oaths almost identical to the oaths of the Masonic Lodge? (see Temple Mormonism, by A. J. Montgomery, page 18, 20).
A: They are somewhat similar to a degree but not almost identical. If there is anything "Mason-like" about the LDS temple ordinances, it might be explained by the fact that the Masonic order began among workers on the great Temple of Solomon. If God is "the same yesterday, today and forever", then the same ceremonies were performed by God's righteous believers in the Temple of their day. If God then revealed the ordinances to the prophet Joseph Smith in our day, a corrupted version handed down through the centuries by the Masons might still bear some resemblance to the original. Five years before Joseph Smith was introduced to Masonry, two essentials of the Mormon endowment were practiced at Kirtland: the ceremonial washing (not just of feet) "from head to foot in soap and water . . . next in perfumed spirits," and the anointing with consecrated oil. This and the more complete LDS temple ceremony of baptism, washing, anointing, endowment (including symbolic remembrances of Christ's sacrament), and sealing in marriage, bear striking resemblances to the format of salvation ordinances described in the Gospel of Philip which was discovered at Nag Hammadi, Egypt in recent decades.
Joseph Smith's initiation as a Master Mason in 1842 may indeed have acted as a catalyst for him to seek further revelation about the ceremonies that Masons claimed came from the Temple of Solomon. The temple endownment came by revelation from God, but it is possible that Masonic phraseology influenced the development of the wording used to teach the sacred elements of the LDS endowment.
5. Jesus said, "In secret have I said nothing." Why is so much of Mormonism secret? (John 18:20).
A: There is nothing secret about the church. There are things however that are sacred. Jesus Himself told His disciples to be carefull about who they share things of a holy nature to.
"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.."(Mat. 7:6)
For this same reason Christ in the Bible also gave instructions to maintain secrecy about healings (Matthew 8:4; Mark 7:35-36; Luke 5:13-14, 8:55-56), about the fact that he was the Christ (Matthew 16:20; Mark 7:36; Luke 9:21), and about the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:9; Mark 9:9).
Only those who have been taught and have lived the restored Gospel can understand the sacred and holy nature of all the doctrines of God and ordinances of the temple.
6. If baptism for the dead was a Christian ceremony, why did Paul use the pronoun "they" rather than "we" or "ye?" Why did he exclude himself and other Christians when referring to it? (1 Corinthians 15:29).
A: Paul's letters show a firm understanding of the principles of logical argumentation. He would not have committed the logical fallacy of referring to a practice that he and his readers rejected in order to demonstrate the truthfulness of an important doctrinal tenet. The reality of the resurrection was the very truth the rite of proxy baptism was supposed to illustrate. If the practice itself was heretical, why on earth would Paul have cited it in the first place? Why would he have used it as an illustration to promote faith in any doctrine, much less a key principle like the resurrection? You assume that Paul did not approve of baptism for the dead even though he cited the practice to strengthen faith in the resurrection. Beyond this, it should be kept in mind that Paul was, at least in part, addressing members of the church who were doubting the resurrection.
It is significant that most of the modern translations change "baptized for the dead" to "baptized on behalf of the dead." Here is how this verse reads in the Revised Standard Version: "Otherwise, what do people mean being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?