Review by - Earl Erskine
There is no problem with the LDS having temples. Temples or similar worship-filled
locations have been part of the human culture seemingly from the beginning. Sacred
caves, mounds, groves, towers, Stonehenge, Mayan structures, are just a few examples of
man’s relationship with ‘temples’. The LDS declare proudly that the Church of Jesus
Christ is a restoration of Christ’s church in these latter days. Unfortunately, the temple
activity of Mormons is unlike anything discussed in the Old or New Testament. So, for
Pres. Nelson to infer that this “antiquity is thrilling and another evidence of their
authenticity” is incorrect.
Pres. Nelson’s footnotes refer to Exodus 28,29 and Leviticus 8. A careful reading of
these chapters will show clearly they don’t reflect current Mormon temple activity.
Did you know that Peter, Paul and even Jesus were not allowed in the temple? Only the
priests from the tribe of Levi, descendants of Aaron, were allowed in the temple. Jesus
and Paul could go only into the courtyard of the temple. So, when one reads that Jesus or
Peter went up to the temple…it wasn’t ‘in’ the temple. And, only the high priest, once a
year, could go into the holy of holies.
Two other little-considered tidbits: 1) women were never allowed in the temple, and 2)
why didn’t the Kirtland temple have the Masonic-influenced rituals?
In fact, the entire use of the three Jewish temples (all in the same location) was for the
sacrificing of animals and the shedding and sprinkling of blood as an atonement for the
sins of Israel, once each year. Consider Hebrews 9:24-26: “For Christ is not entered into
the holy places made with hands…but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of
God for us. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth in the
holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put
away sin by the sacrifice of himself” Read Hebrews 8-10 for what Jesus accomplished.
Hebrews 8:7, 11,12: “But into the second (holy of holies) went the high priest alone once
every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the
people. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and
more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building. Neither
by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once in the holy
place, having obtained eternal redemption for us”.
There were no marriages in Jewish temples, no baptisms for the dead, no families are
forever, and no personal garments. The handshakes, tokens, signs, etc. are of current
origin. Mormon temples were influenced by Joseph Smith’s acceptance of Masonry.
Conclusion: Mormon temple activity is not ancient. Mormons are free to enjoy the
benefits of their temple activity, but these ‘temples’ are not a restoration.