These temples are costly to build and maintain and demand of Mormons a level of commitment that is exceptional, both in proving worthy to attend and in the sacrifices involved in attending; travel, financial sacrifice, time commitment and physical effort. It is not called temple "work" for nothing. This illustrates a point often overlooked by those who comment only casually on religious issues. Faith is a commitment unlike anything else in life. Of course, there are always those nominal members whose involvement is marginal, but for a great many believers of any persuasion it is a life-defining, heart-felt commitment.
It is worth asking whether our loyalty is wisely placed, our commitment wisely invested. The apostle Paul urged Christians to, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves" (2 Cor.13:5) Wise advice when your faith will shape profoundly your life and determine your eternity. For that is what Mormon temples are about, time and eternity. Presenting the familiar Mormon view of temples, the official Mormon web site report on this latest temple said:
"The Old and New Testaments include many references to temples. The children of Israel used a portable temple, the tabernacle of Moses, during their journey in the wilderness; later Solomon's temple was built in Jerusalem, and Jesus Himself was found teaching in Herod's temple at a young age..."
Referring to the sacred nature of temples, Elder David Bednar, an apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says:
"There were particular special ceremonies, rites and sacraments that were administered only in this sacred, set-apart place. That was the purpose of the temples. It provided that supernal special place to be able to perform those sacred rites."
Mormons believe their faith is a restoration of Christ's New Testament Church and therefore build temples just as Christians did in ancient times.
Elder Bednar adds that Mormon temples are primarily places of learning and instruction and likens them to the Lord's university: 'We learn about our relationship with God. We learn about the purposes of our life here upon the earth. Questions such as where did we come from? Why are we here? What happens to us after we die? Those questions are addressed and answered in the instruction that's presented in the temple. We also make promises to live honest, upright and virtuous lives.'" (Emphasis added)
If this is true then Christians should be building temples. Indeed we should put down whatever we are doing and make every effort to become a worthy temple Mormon - no mean feat I assure you. The temple is at the centre of the Mormon faith and the impression is given that temples have always been at the centre of worship for God's people. But did ancient temples fill the role attributed to them by Mormons and did Christians in ancient times build temples?
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Friday, 12 September 2008
Mormons Restore Temples - But Which Ones?
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