Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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The Development of the Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony
The Development of the Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony David John Buerger Introduction Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell. — Brigham Young (JD 2:31) For faithful Latter-day Saints, the temple endowment ceremony is one of the most sacred and powerful ordinances received in mortality. One authoritative source called it the temporal stepping stone which all people must pass to achieve exaltation with God the Father and Jesus Christ (Gospel Essentials 1979,247). Since those who enter the temple agree, as part of the endowment experience, not to reveal certain key words or symbols that are part of the ceremony and since any discussion of the endowment takes place upon sacred ground, this essay will not discuss the theological significance, spiritual meanings, or symbolic dimensions of the endowment, important though they are in the lives of Latter-day Saints. Each Latter-day Saint who participates in the endowment has a uniquely personal experience which, because of the sacred nature of the temple, is seldom discussed or shared with another in any detail. Sometimes this experience is a positive, peaceful, and healing experience. Others, from time to time, may experience the temple less positively. Such personal responses lie outside the DAVID JOHN BUERGER is director of the personal computer center, Santa Clara University, in California. He is preparing a book on Mormonism and Freemasonry. A version of this paper and the response which follows were originally delivered at the Sunstone Theological Symposium, 21 August 1986, Salt Lake City, Utah.