HBO’s Big Love To Show Mormon Temple Ceremony

Ex-Mormon Michael Amini can set this one up:

The Mormon temples are considered the most sacred of spaces on Earth. Within the temples, several “saving ordinances” are performed, which are required to enter the highest levels of the Celestial Kingdom, including the Endowment and marriage sealings. It is a significant breach of Mormon law to discuss details of the temple ceremonies outside of the “Celestial Room” within the temple, and the church defends the secrecy of these details passionately, claiming that they need to be confined within the temple due to their highly sacred nature.

Which is why it should make for interesting television when HBO’s Big Love shows these ceremonies in next Sunday’s episode. You can read about it in TV Guide (PDF):

… “We researched it out the wazoo,” says [executive producer Mark] Olsen, who along with executive producer Will Scheffer hired an ex-Mormon consultant to help the set and wardrobe designers re-create even the tiniest details. “We go into the endowment room and the celestial room [areas of the temple], and we present what happens in those ceremonies. That’s never been shown on television before,” says Olsen. Adds Scheffer, “But it’s not for shock value. It’s really a very important part of the story.” The decision won’t be without controversy: According to a church insider, “If they are in fact trying to emulate those rooms in any way, that would be extremely offensive. The general public is not allowed in our temples yet. Not even all Mormons are. We consider them very, very sacred.” Heaven help us.

The promo picture is definitely intriguing. I’m never seen the show before but I think I should start…:

biglove

So I haven’t been keeping up with this show… but I imagine a lot of Mormons don’t like it because it portrays an aspect of Mormonism (polygamy) that many of them don’t subscribe to. But it seems like they still do take part in these ceremonies.

I have lots of questions about this whole thing:

Will there be an uproar over these ceremonies being broadcast (even when it’s just part of a fictional show and not some actual documentary)?

Is anyone ashamed of something that is actually happening in the lives of Mormons? Is that a good reason for these ceremonies not to be broadcast?

What the hell actually goes on in these ceremonies that I’m not allowed to see? Wouldn’t it be better if these ceremonies were out in the open? It could clear up misunderstandings and allow us to critique what really happens instead of some false caricature.

Should showing the truth of what actually happens in a Mormon temple be considered offensive?

Are there any other equivalents to that outside religion? That is, things that actually go on that people are offended to see? Should their wishes be heeded?

***Update***: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has responded to the publicity about the show:

… Certainly such a boycott by hundreds of thousands of computer-savvy Latter-day Saints could have an economic impact on the company. Individual Latter-day Saints have the right to take such actions if they choose.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an institution does not call for boycotts. Such a step would simply generate the kind of controversy that the media loves and in the end would increase audiences for the series…


  • Vincent

    Reminds me of the stories of early persecution of Christians.
    I’d heard they were persecuted as cannibals because nobody non-christian was allowed into their ceremonies but rumor was they ate the body and drank the blood of someone.

    Seriously, secret religious ceremonies in today’s age only leads to mistrust, just as it did then. I’m guessing it’s really very boring, but it’s THEIR boring ceremony and they don’t want to share.

  • Todd

    The first thing that pops into my head outside of religion is freemasonry. I don’t believe masons actually would get too bent out of shape if outsiders learn about their secret rituals, but the whole point of the rituals is that they are a secret.

    If you strip away the religious element, there’s a social dynamic that occurs with secret rituals. It’s a way of both belonging to a self selected group and a way of setting your self apart from others. Sometimes its just cool to know how things things work, no matter how inconsequential, that others don’t know. When the secrecy is blown, doing them is pointless.

  • Cherie M

    I was raised mormon but never attended the temple. The mormons claim it’s not to keep things secret, but sacred. There are many things in mormonism kept secret until you’re already involved and doing them. The temple is the biggest example. The mormon church provides “temple preparedness” classes, but they don’t actually teach what goes on in the temple and the promises made – that is not found out until the member is going through initiatory ceremony, often with the pressure of family expectations.

    Even weddings in the temple are only open to those who have gone through their initial run. I was excluded from my only sibling’s wedding despite being old enough. Women are supposed to wait until their marriage so their husband can guide them through the process.

    Todd: Apparently Joseph Smith had a LOT of connections to freemasonry, so I’m not surprised about the connection!

  • Chris

    Big Love is a great show that deserves a lot more viewers than it has. I think the show would appeal to atheists (as one myself) and others who might have a somewhat detached or academic interest in religious beliefs. Just about all the characters on the show have very intense, sincere and relatively wacky religious beliefs but are drawn in an interesting, layered and non-caricatured way. The show is in its third season, and has really exploded over the past six or seven episodes. This is definitely a show atheists should be watching, although there are only two episodes left this season, so those just tuning in may have a hard time following. (The first two seasons are on iTunes though.)

    As far as the temple-ceremony controversy, it sounds interesting and definitely in-character for the show. I think the show has been a little bit under the Mormon radar since a) it hasn’t been very popular and b) it centers on polygamists who are at odds with, and outside of, the LDS church and exist on fringe of Mormon society. But in this season, there has been more conflict brewing between the different groups and so more mainstream LDS members have been showing up in the plot. In any case, I’d love to hear what other atheists think about this show.

  • Zar

    It’s not til you get to temple that they teach you about Galactic Overlord Xenu.

  • http://jettboy.blogspot.com Jettboy

    “Will there be an uproar over these ceremonies being broadcast (even when it’s just part of a fictional show and not some actual documentary)?”

    If this anger would happen it should have already started. Instead what has happened is silence. There will be individual Mormons who are upset, but this is HBO and I can’t think of very many Mormons who subscribe to that cable network. I hear outsiders really ready to hear some kind of primal scream from Mormons. What you will most likely hear is a discouraged sigh.

    “What the hell actually goes on in these ceremonies that I’m not allowed to see?”

    To be honest, you don’t need to watch it on HBO to see what happens. There have been representations of the LDS Temple ceremony, from accurate to non-accurate since almost the start. It is the very nature of the ceremony that is at issue. The event is considered sacred regardless of what it actually contains. My guess is that seeing it theologically without context is only going to create more confusion to the non-Mormon. Not a lot of Mormons understand it the first time – and sometimes ever – who participate.

    I agree completely with what Todd said. That is exactly how Mormons view the Temple ceremonies. The only disagreement I have is “When the secrecy is blown, doing them is pointless.,” because there is a lot more meaning behind them than mere secrecy.

  • Dave Thomas

    Zar, that’s the scientologists, and that’s no big secret to anyone.

  • Siamang

    I wasn’t allowed to attend the funeral of an uncle because it took part in some room.

    All the non-Mormon family members waited outside in a hallway, including his sister.

    Religion can be such complete bullshit. The utter nerve, really.

  • Alexis R

    What it comes down to is respect. No, Mormons are not ashamed of what happens in the temples. They value the ceremonies and promises too highly to offer them to the world to critique. Any member of the church can go to the temple as long as they are worthy and willing to live the precepts taught by the church. They prepare for the temple in order to show respect to God. They ask that respect be shown for their beliefs.

    Frankly, I don’t believe that satisfying the curiosity of the mob is sufficient cause to disrespect something thousands of people hold sacred. If it’s important enough to you to find out what happens in the temples, take the steps necessary to go there.

  • PrimeNumbers

    What about the magic underpants?

  • Aaron

    Big Love is an example of crude social fun. They take what one religious group holds sacred and publish it to the world outside of its intended context. There is no respect or honor by taking what one religion treats as sacred and showing it on a drama television show. I am truly disgusted by this show. I find this show has so many errors of the truth that it will have a huge negative effect on the LDS culture. Another big problem is nobody knows the difference between F-LDS, LDS, and Mormon. Anything with Mormon is part of the LDS church, which do Not practice polygamy. F-LDS is the Fundamental Latter Day Saints which still practice polygamy. The makers of Big Love have said that these characters are NOT LDS (Mormon).

    “The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other … churches that resulted from the split after (Joseph) Smith’s death.” In other words, polygamous communities should never be referred to as “Mormon” polygamists or “Mormon” fundamentalists.” – From: LDS Response To Big Love
    For information go to F-LDS or LDS (Mormons)

  • Annoyed

    Xenu is false. Wherever you’re getting that information is very inaccurate.

    I have been through the Temple as a worthy member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and it is very disheartening to me that people feel a need to know about these sacred ceremonies. I’ve belonged to the church all my life and I didn’t need to know. Once I felt that it was the proper time for me to enter into these covenants created in the Temple, I worked for it.

    It is unfair that idle curiosity is taking precedence over who actually has a right to know.

  • Dana

    I think that the whole thing is disgustingly sad. I am not Mormon, however, these people do hold their temple ceremonies to be sacred. I think that it’s terrible that someone would try to exploit a process like this for T.V. ratings. Is there no respect for anything anymore? These people are generally the first to help out in disasters, they helped me through Katrina without asking anything in return. They are well organized, helpful, and kind. But there are too few out there who respect their faith and that’s a shame. Just because you or I don’t understand it or why they do it does not mean that we should be putting it all over television.

  • Chuck

    I am an ex-Mormon who left the church just over a year ago. I’ve been on a mission and attended the temple regularly and participated in all of the available ordinances (ceremonies). Now, looking back as an agnostic atheist, there really is nothing deviant or bizarre about what goes on inside the temple. Criticism of the ceremony usually stems from a lack of understanding as to the origin and meaning of the rites, which are heavily borrowed from Masonry and other supposed ancient Christian signs and symbols. I remember being a little put off by the strangeness of the temple attire during the endowment ceremony, but that wore off once I realized that everything had symbolic reference. Really, nothing too strange here unless you’re looking for something to criticize. No stranger than believing in transubstantiation, the atonement, or reincarnation, really… It’s cool to see a show take on such controversy though. Can’t wait to see their take on it.

  • http://www.taolung.com Jon

    The ceremony is much like a play with a few pauses for participants to don the robe, apron, etc. as symbols and to also perform symbolic hand gestures. Much of it is lifted straight from Masonry. It’s extremely dull, other than the clothing and gestures, which make it kind of creepy in a “cult” sort of way. (I’m an exmo and attended the temple for several years.)

    You can read a transcript of the ceremony here:

    http://www.lds-mormon.com/compare.shtml

    Note that the ceremony has been edited several times over the years. This link shows the changes that occurred in 1990.

  • AnonyMouse

    I expect that everyone involved will be wearing temple (under)garments, though I highly doubt that anyone will strip down to their skivvies, so we probably won’t see any magic underpants.

  • LittleWoodenBoy

    I’m a practicing member of the Church. Naturally, I can’t answer for everyone, but I find it somewhat of a bother. I suppose the main thing that bothers me is that it feels like someone is abusing something important to me, ultimately, for profit. I have other concerns as well (such as the harm that can be done by expressing these things to people, particularly younger members of the Church who have not been through the temple, outside of the proper context), but they’re going ahead with it, so that’s that.

    It’s not as if this would be the first time. In any situation involving this many people, nothing will be kept secret (which is why I don’t think “secret” was ever really considered the intention)

    I expect some members of the Church will loudly and angrily protest and whine about it, because people handle disappointment in different ways.

    However, I also expect that there will be no bombs, and no HBO executives knifed in the street, which, I think, shows a certain degree of maturity.

  • me

    I’m an active spiritualist, and not particularly religious. I do however have a great respect for all religions. I tend to think that publicly broadcasting something that a religion holds sacred and dear is not in the spirit of love. Whether we agree with their religion or not, is it really kind of us to encroach on something so important to them? We are looking at this from the eyes of curiosity and cheap entertainment – not respect of a religion. I think this show is inappropriate – it will be upsetting to many good people and making light of something millions hold sacred. Is that kind of us? In a karmic sense, is that what you would like done about something important in your own life? I would defend any religion in something like this. Let them and their ceremonies alone – if they want it sacred and secret, I think we should respect that.

  • Sarah TX.

    The temple ceremony isn’t really that secret anymore – ex-Mormons have published several versions of it on the Web. It’s almost like doing the nativity play or Stations of the Cross, except interactive. So content-wise, really not a lot to be secretive about, but the social and performative aspects of a “secret ritual” are obviously appealing.

  • Anonymous

    We live in a world where people mock what they don’t understand. The temple ceremonies are considered sacred, not secret. They are not protected because of their content, but because they are reserved for those who have spiritually prepared to participate and sincerely seek to understand them. Anyone who participates in an LDS temple ceremony promises before it begins not to speak about it outside of the temple and if they do not want to make that promise, are invited to leave. So, anyone who would share this information is, by default, without honor. I feel truly concerned to live in a world where the general population cannot show at least that much respect for things that they may not agree with or understand.

  • CatBallou

    Secret ceremonies have been part of “in group” behavior for millennia, so Mormon ceremonies aren’t something new and disturbing.
    However, I’m ambivalent about this being shown. Regardless of your opinions about the Mormon church (I’m an atheist and I have nothing but scorn for their doctrines), people should be able to say “this is sacred to me, and it’s not for everyone else’s entertainment.”
    We as outsiders are not entitled to barge into the private spaces of people in any culture.

  • kel-c

    If you have any questions about what the Mormon church believes check out this link. It should be able to answer any of your questions.

    http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/

  • LDS Member

    Funerals, as far as I know, are not held in the temple. I’ve never heard of one and have never been to one. “Sealings” or marriage ceremonies are, but many friends have also had a civil ceremony to accomodate family and friends who could not go to the temple.

  • Siamang

    I think that’s an interesting question CatBallou.

    I’m not sure that I agree, but can you help me understand what reasoning you use?

    Let’s say that I have a club. Let’s say that in that club, we devise a secret handshake. Are members of the club allowed to say “This handshake is sacred, and it would be offensive for anyone else to portray this handshake?”

    Does that change if my club becomes nationwide? Does it change if my club becomes part of the broad cultural and political landscape?

    Is this “getting to claim sacredness” available to all groups, or merely religious groups?

    How far does this “getting to claim sacredness” extend? Does it only extend to ceremony, or can it extend to other areas of human endeavor, action or doctrine?

    What I’m getting at is “does the ability to claim sacredness” amount to a ban on criticism? And why wouldn’t everyone claim this level of sacred offendedness for everything they do?

    “I claim that my throwing all my garbage over my fence into my neighbor’s yard is sacred. And I’m HIGHLY OFFENDED that he complains!”

    Again, I’m not specifically attacking your view here, I just want to understand how this should properly function, in your view.

    For example, my story above where family members of my uncle were kept out of portions of his funeral rites. Would I, for example, be able to write about that incident and criticize it, as I did above, without “barging into their private spaces”?

    Now, of course, in my case, and in the case of this tv show, nobody LITERALLY barged in to any literal space. All they did was create a new space that is their interpretation of what goes on in the secret ceremony.

    What if, instead of writing what I wrote above about my uncle, I instead wrote it in a script for HBO, and filmed it?

  • Peter Paulsen

    HBO should reconsider airing this episode. They obviously do not understand the repercussions this will have on their subscribers.

    Is it right to make fun of the Pope for dressing differently? Or does it make it right to make fun of Hindus for holding the bovine as sacred since you may not hold the same belief?

    What is it that is so threatening about a group that holds sacred ceremonies? And particularly the Mormons – is it because it is seen as exclusive or secretive so it is justifiable in spreading what they hold as between them and God? Is it so shocking that Catholic Nuns and Priests wear garb and make very similar promises/vows of chastity and poverty?

    As a member of the LDS faith, I attend LDS temples regularly. I consider it a privilege. The intent is not to exclude anyone. The LDS faith actively proselytizes and temple worship is reserved for those who are disciplined within the faith. All are welcome, but all will not understand why it is sacred. Airing these details will make private matters public. It is a direct and purposeful defilement and should be regarded as such by anyone who watches it or supports that the ceremony be aired.

    If you are really interested and investigate what has already been spread, you’ll find that you come up short on the shock value. 90% of it is taken from the Bible. So what makes it worse is that if and when you see portions of the ceremony, they will likely not be accurately portrayed because it’s just not as exciting as what it’s advertised to be. It’s not exciting; it’s intended to be deep in meaning.

    HBO should reconsider airing this episode.

    There’s nothing we’re hiding. It’s just right up there with why do not readily share experiences with others that have deep meaning. To us it’s as basic as why we all wear clothes everyday – there’s just somethings that we can keep to ourselves that shouldn’t be threatening and should be respected.

  • K

    I grew up mormon and attended the temple a handful of times before leaving it all behind.

    I am interested in seeing this episdoe, though I’m going to have to wait til it comes out on DVD.

    Todd is right in that from what I understand, much of the ceremony is lifted from the masons.

    And it is very boring, though it’s supposed to be very spiritual. Whenever Mormons live in close proximity to a temple, they are encouraged to attend at least monthly. You basically sit there and watch a movie with a few rituals interspirsed as Jon mentioned.

    There will be an uproar, but it will probably be confined to the mormon community. Most mormons will find even the very idea of the temple ceremony being shown highly offensive. They don’t even like that there is a transcript of it on line. The thing they don’t want you to see are the ritualistic handshakes and phrases that you will supposedly need to know to help you in the afterlife.

    I haven’t read this whole site, but it appears to be a good reference. http://www.mormonthink.com/templeweb.htm

  • becky

    i completely agree, CatBallou. i think things that are sacred to people should be respected. people’s beliefs/practices are exploited on t.v. all the time, and i don’t really like it. i get what it means to be curious about something. but that doesn’t mean i automatically have the right to know all about people’s personal biz.
    also this: “Women are supposed to wait until their marriage so their husband can guide them through the process” isn’t true. i have a lot of mormon friends. a lot of the single girls have gone through the temple. women can go whenever they feel like they are ready to.

  • Ty

    I’ve always thought they kept this stuff secret because it is so absolutely ridiculous that it would scare potential converts away.

    I mean, the temple rights are really pretty actively stupid.

  • theShaggy

    I’m in a Fraternity, and I sure as heck would rather outside people not know the different secrets and rituals that my brothers and I share. Not the handshake (though it can be easy to catch), not initiation rites, none of it. Most of it is boring and rather unimpressive, but that’s not the point.

    Part of what makes a fraternity unique is that you and a body of other men share something that only you know because you have all gone through it. Even if other people do similar things, that doesn’t detract from the fact that you and you brothers have all shared something which nobody else experiences to your knowledge.

    The Mormons take it to extremes, it seems, but I don’t think you can necessarily hold them to blame for wanting to keep something exclusive. I never understood that until I joined up with my Fraternity.

    Now, if they were going to attack them on a legal level, that’s a different story.

  • llewelly

    I hope HBO follows through with this, and I hope their depiction of the ceremonies is as accurate as possible.

    Widespread understanding of religious ceremonies will, I think, help people understand the reliance of religion on theatre, sophistry, and charlatanry. I hope other, more mainstream religions are treated in the same fashion in the future.

    Although it’s also possible that HBO may awaken a sleeping giant (and we may see that before the show is ever aired), it’s also possible that after the initial furor dies down, average mainstream Mormons will conclude the display had little effect on their lives. The mainstream church mostly tries to convince its members to not watch the show, to ignore people who refer to it.

    Most of the effect will be on the LDS religion’s alliances with other religions, especially the evangelicals. The mainstream Mormon church has long relied on the fact that polygamous Mormons differ from the mainstream LDS church, in many large and small ways. They will use that to argue that the depiction of the ceremony is both unfair and inaccurate. They will also leverage any difference, however trivial, such as a blue apron instead of a green. The show may have decided to portray a ceremony that matches that of a particular polygamous sect, rather than the mainstream ceremony (there are differences in some cases), or to depict an older version of the mainstream ceremony (which has changed a few times). Differences of that sort will also be used to discredit the depiction. This sort of discrediting process will be highly effective on LDS members, but not effective on outsiders, especially suspicious outsiders.

    Lastly, I wonder if the LDS church will try to counter with a documentary depicting temple ceremonies (with parts elided) in their own fashion.

  • KR

    Mormons actually would love for all people to attend to temple. That is why we have approximately 60,000 missionaries throughout the world to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Most churches have rituals that involve covenants with God, such as baptism and marriage. However, once you have made those covenants you are accountable for your actions according to those covenants. For example, once you have covenanted to be baptised and take upon you the name of Jesus Christ, you are responsible to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. The reason that not just anyone can attend the temple is because we want them to be ready to live according to the covenants they make. If someone is not willing to follow Christ in simple matters, such as Sabath observance, then they will not be ready to make other covenants. That is why it is sacred and why there are prerequisits for attending the temple.

    We believe that all people, regardles of wether they accepted the gospel in this life or after, will be given a fair and equal opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and either perform the saving ordinances or have them performed in proxy on their behalf. We want everyone to come to the temple. We do not want anything to be secret. We do, however, believe that covenants with God are sacred and need to be treated as such.

  • Taylor

    As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the temple ceremonies are something that are very dear and sacred to me. I can imagine what it may seem like from the outside and the idea that it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. I mean if we as members of the LDS faith aren’t hiding or ashamed of anything, then what is the big deal right? Well believe me when I say that it is a big deal for us. I am sure that everyone in life has moments that are deeply personal and significant for them. You probably aren’t ashamed of them but they are personal and private. Now if someone were to take unwarranted privileged into your life, take those moments, rip them out of context and sensationalize them at your expense, then I am sure it would be equally devastating. The LDS temple ceremony is important to me. It is sacred to my faith and my way of life. I don’t expect everyone to understand that, but do wish that people would respect it. It is not a matter of being on the inside of things either– I would love for everyone to be able to experience it if they wanted to (and they can). But not not like this.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    From what I’ve been told, the endowment ceremony is pretty bizarre. There’s a point in the ceremony where you wear nothing but a poncho while a priest gives you a full body annointment. And then they teach you one of the secret handshakes which you need to get into the right church in heaven. Apparently, Mormons swear to stop anyone from revealing this secret ceremony. I don’t know if it’s all true, but my source is an ex-mormon guy.

    Has anyone here read Freakonomics? I recall a chapter about how the KKK ultimately came to be ridiculed, because someone went undercover and revealed all their secret handshakes and stuff. I thought that was pretty funny.

  • Katie

    Seriously, people. Just leave us alone. So what if we participate in sacred ordinances that we feel bring us closer to our Father in Heaven. BIG DEAL! Does it involve you? No. Does it infringe on your rights? No. Does is make us bad people? No. So just let us worship as we see fit.

  • Brian

    I just don’t feel that this is something that should be aired to satiate the curiosity of the average joe. Shaggy is right – I felt very differently until I pledged with my Frat.

    Perhaps this is just the beginning though. Maybe next they can look into what really happens behind closed doors when they are choosing the next Pope.

    Whatever does go on in the Mormon temples may be boring and bothersome… it may be lifted from free masonry – but it is special to those people and I don’t think that it should be depicted on television. I know that I wouldn’t want my Frat stuff depicted on Television…

    (still a chance to edit) for Miller – it’s Highly doubtful that you get nekked and wear a poncho – I mean – half the people in the mormon church are old biddies – do you really think that they are all getting nekked??) That’s just not right -

  • Matt

    I feel that it’s time that someone who is still an active member of the LDS faith say something.

    I would like to clarify that we don’t try to keep aspects of the Temple sacred so that members of the church can feel like elitists, or so that we can feel like we have more knowledge about something than other people. We do it because we feel that these things are of the most sacred nature.

    Attending the temple is a very personal experience that is between me and my God. Of course I am offended that someone would try to take an experience that I would consider to be holy and degrade it to mere entertainment for the masses. It’s the same as if somebody were to record my personal prayers and play them back to an audience just for kicks and giggles.

    I’m not condemning curiosity. It’s our curious nature that helps us to grow and to learn. However, there is a line and feel that this crosses it. I would never ask someone who they voted for in an election, ask someone about what they confessed to their priest, or request to hear the dialog of a heartfelt conversation between a parent and their child. I understand that these experiences are unique and different for each individual, but I would put these experiences on them same level of sacredness as those that I’ve had in the temple.

    With that said, I would kindly ask that the most holy aspects of my religion please not be put on display in an effort to simply entertain.

  • Siamang

    The Mormons take it to extremes, it seems, but I don’t think you can necessarily hold them to blame for wanting to keep something exclusive.

    I don’t blame them for wanting to keep this exclusive.

    What I’m doing is wondering what makes their desire to keep it exclusive rule that non-members need to abide by.

    For example, I’m pretty dang sure that Scientology doesn’t like their secrets publicized either. I’m wondering if declaring your secrets sacred means that they are allowed to stay secret when your members leave you.

  • HappyMormonLady

    Thanks to CatBallou (“people should be able to say ‘this is sacred to me, and it’s not for everyone else’s entertainment’”) and theShaggy (“I don’t think you can necessarily hold them to blame for wanting to keep something exclusive”). Frankly, if Baptists would want to keep their baptisms sacred and not open to the public, I would respect their right to do that. If grieving parents would want to avoid being interviewed and photographed after the tragic death of their son, I would respect their right to do that. The whole things boils down to a matter of respect–basic common courtesy–which unfortunately is rarely demonstrated by the media anymore in their quest for those all-important RATINGS.

  • Dakulis

    I am LDS, active and a former bishop.

    CatBallou makes a fair statement that applies to many religions besides mine. I was not raised LDS but have been a member for many years.

    I do not believe that Jews would appreciate people coming in and filming everything that goes on in their religion or Catholics having all their conferences for bishops and church leaders filmed. Of interest, television never threatens to do so but Mormons are easy targets because they’re not “mainstream”, whatever that means.

    Siamang, I have presided over and attended 50 plus funerals for members and a LDS leader does not exclude any family member from participating in any aspect of the funeral unless other family members request that it occur, e.g., a family prayer and last viewing of the body immediately before the casket is moved into the chapel. So, if some family members were excluded, it was at the request of the family, how exactly is that the Church’s fault?

    So, I am really not sure what you are referring to in this regard. The only other situation where church members are involved is dressing the body of a person and that has to do with the same sacredness issues that started this whole bruhaha.

    As for your example of throwing trash into your neighbor’s yard as being “sacred”, is that the best analogy you can come up with, it’s not logical or analogous. First, what goes on in a temple involves only people that choose to be there, it is sacred, it causes no harm to anyone, it affects no one else’s personal or property rights and it breaks no laws.

    Your analogy is the equivalent of if I say it’s sacred to pull out a gun and shoot my neighbor, no one should be able to look sideways at that, COME ON, that is a ridicuous analogy and doesn’t really help you to understand CatBallou’s reasoning. It simply takes his or her pretty neutral stance and twists it very badly.

    Also, Llewelly, I am really curious about how: “Widespread understanding of religious ceremonies will, I think, help people understand the reliance of religion on theatre, sophistry, and charlatanry”? There is no way that a TV show depicting part of what goes on in an LDS temple is going to give people a “widespread understanding” and that certainly isn’t HBO’s intent, is it?

    HBO hopes to stir up “interest” by creating a controversy, which seems to be working given the number of emails I’ve received from LDS friends. But, I can guarantee you that HBO will not have a serious discussion of the rituals of the temple and even if they did, their opinions about what happened would not coincide with my opinions. In fact, I doubt that you could get 10 members who have attended the temple to agree on what happened because it is dependent upon the person’s understanding of symbolism and how that person is affected by the spirit that occurs during the temple ceremony. But, of course, we can expect that the directors, actors and producer will fully depict all of that in their 2-3 minute snippet, right?

    Miller, either your friend has never been in a LDS temple or he’s a moron. What he states is completely untrue and a pure fabrication. So, please do not use a completely unreliable source to pass off fiction as fact.

    It’s really unfortunate that HBO feels that they need to poke my religion for ratings. I’m sure not many people will get too upset but wait until they poke your religion, your fraternity, sorority or something else that’s important to you; then it will be terrible and the worst thing in the world.

    I prefer that sacred things of any religion or culture be treated that way. HBO should be ashamed of themselves for airing something like this but ask me if I’m surprised. I grew up in So. Cal., my wife’s father was involved in the entertainment industry and nothing surprises me that comes from this group. They’ll do anything for a buck, and yes, I do mean anything. So, why would we expect that they would understand the “sacredness” of something like this?

    I’ll pass on this HBO and anything else you have to offer. Aftr all, I can only vote with my remote, right?

  • CatBallou

    Siamang, I think you’re using discredited types of argumentation. The garbage scenario, for example, is reductio ad absurdum. No one has argued, as with your garbage analogy, that these rituals cause harm to non-participants. And to what extent should anyone’s private, non-harmful activities be subject to public criticism? (Perhaps private is an easier term for this discussion.)

    We don’t need to decide every edge case now to agree that the wishes of people who are engaging in private activities are entitled to a degree of respect. Then we can say that the extent of our respect depends on the amount of privacy the people themselves maintain, and also on whether other people outside the group are adversely affected by the activities or the maintenance of privacy.
    Also, the degree to which we are entitled to disregard their privacy may depend on our motives. Are we exposing criminal activity? Or are we just curious?
    As I said, I’m ambivalent. I dislike secret societies, such as the fraternity mentioned by theShaggy. And I didn’t say anything when PZ Myers (of Pharyngula) crucified a communion wafer to mock the notion of transubstantiation. But something bothers me about barging into the private activities of others. I abhore the doctrines and politics of the Mormon church, but I don’t feel entitled to delve into the details of their rituals.

  • Grimalkin

    It’s a fairly common feature of cults that they withhold information until the initiate’s investment is large enough.

    There’s a couple reasons for this. The first is the mystery. Everyone wants to get to the centre and find out what’s there, so people will often make investments they wouldn’t otherwise just so that they can be “in” on the secret (how many stupid things did you do when you were a kid so that you could join some silly club that turned out dead-boring?).

    Another reason is the power of imagination. In the horror movie industry, it’s common knowledge that a shown monster is never as scary as a monster kept in the shadows. This is because reality rarely lives up to our imagination. By keeping ceremonies hidden, you allow people to imagine that many wonderful things take place (such as being able to see God, as in some cults).

    As for investment, this can come in all sorts of forms. The biggies are emotional investment (you’ve spent so much time and gone through so many trials) and financial investment (you’ve spent so much money). The human mind has the amazing capacity of trying to convince us that we’ve made the right choices by making us perceive things that we had to work really hard for as being much better than things we didn’t. This is why fraternities have hazing. At the end of it, individual loyalty to the group is all that much stronger because the process of getting in was difficult. People have devoted so much of themselves to the group that they have to convince themselves that the outfit poor Barb is wearing is actually dignified, or risk feeling like an idiot.

    It’s pathetic that they would try to defend their cultishness by claiming “offence.” Isn’t it typical, though? The whole UN resolution fiasco we had recently is part of the exact same thing. It’s also sad that, in an age where the strategies of cults are so splayed out in the public eye and documented in hundreds of books, blogs, and television programs, that people seem no more prepared to resist them!

  • Champion of Truth

    If you really want to get down to the nitty gritty about what the Mormon’s believe, check out this site.

  • Alisa

    I’m LDS, aka Mormon. This probably sounds ridiculous to most people, but I am shocked that Big Love would disrespect any religion, LDS or other, to this degree. Mormons hold the temple and the ceremonies involved therein very sacred. It is not some weird secret thing that we have to be hush-hush about so that everyone doesn’t think we’re big weirdos. Rather, it’s held sacred because it is a beautiful place where the calming spirit can be felt. I say this as someone who has experienced the temple endowments and so on. I hold high respect for other’s religions and would not want to exploit things that they hold sacred. Therefore, it hurts to see others exploiting what we hold sacred by treating it as, basically, a joke.

    “The ordinances and ceremonies of the temple are simple. They are beautiful. They are sacred. They are kept confidential lest they be given to those who are unprepared. Preparation for the ordinances includes preliminary steps: faith, repentance, baptism, confirmation, worthiness, a maturity and dignity worthy of one who comes invited as a guest into the house of the Lord.” – Boyd K. Packer

    I love the temple. I’m not some weird cult member, I don’t have horns, I don’t think all religions are false, and I wouldn’t get involved in something that I didn’t feel was right and good. Let’s respect eachother’s religious beliefs a little more, shall we? :)

  • Mangmang

    I think it is rather sad when something that a person or group holds sacred and dear are turned into a comedic moment. I find it to be a poor reflection on our society. I thought we would be a little more socially advanced by now. It seems I was wrong to think that. It won’t change anyone’s life directly to show the Mormon temple ceremony on TV, but it shows me that there is a definite societal shift occurring more and more often with frightening results. When one person’s/group’s beliefs are held up for open ridicule and a heaping helping of disrespect without a second thought, who’s to say yours won’t be next?

    PS, Grimalkin, you might want to research your definitions of cult when you get a chance.

  • cathy

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints has come under much scrutiny of late!
    I don’t have a long intellectual argument to share…I would like to believe that those things that others find private, meaningful, and “sacred”, should be allowed to remain private. In a world full of filth and vulgarity why can’t a group of people quietly go about doing good be left to do just that.

  • Grimalkin

    CatBallou – you said “We don’t need to decide every edge case now to agree that the wishes of people who are engaging in private activities are entitled to a degree of respect.”

    The thing is, we aren’t talking about people. We’re talking about organizations. PEOPLE have a right to privacy. If I tell my friend, in confidence, that I harbour secret sexual fantasies about Bill O’Reilly, I agree with you that she has no ethical right to go out and publish that on the internet, tell my boss, tell my spouse, or otherwise make that information public.

    An ORGANIZATION, on the other hand, must always be public. To give you an example, can you imagine if a private company claimed that the IRS had no right to force them to hand over their financial statements because they are private and the company has a right to privacy? When we allow organizations to sit in the shadows, we enable abuse. For all we know, the Mormon church sacrifices babies during their ceremonies. The only way to be certain that they don’t is to make their ceremonies public. It is the only way to prevent corruption and exploitation.

    I would argue (perhaps not very well, I own) that full disclosure from all organizations is of supreme importance. If they aren’t willing to do it themselves, we have to do it for them.

  • College Guy

    It is sacred. A lot of people don’t know what that means because they could care less about religion or God. The things that happen inside the temple are affecting anyone on the outside.

    I’m not a perfect member and haven’t been to the temple in more than 2 years, but I still hold it sacred and important. These are promises that we make between ourselves and God. How would you like private promises you make with your self or someone who was very close to you made public and screamed out at every street corner? How would you like it if people laughed at what you held to be important and sacred? It isn’t right.

  • Christian

    Those who know the meaning of these ceremonies are under solemn oath before god not to share them. Those who are ignorant of their meaning are not going to be held responsible before god, but those who by making this television series are treating lightly the sacred things of god are under terrible threat of being damned. “I the lord shall not be mocked” “fools mock but they shall mourn”. Just as the ancient israelites were not allowed to enter the holy of holies in solomon’s temple, vile and profane sinners such as the kind that are commonly associated with acting have no business making a mockerey of mormon temples.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Having been through the temple at one point in my life, I think the LDS faithful will be sure to create a stir about this.

    The story of the temple endownment is pretty basic: the 6 days of creation and then some promises you must keep in life.

    I’m curious to see how current they make this. Since I’ve did the temple, there’s been some changes (they don’t make you do the pseudo hand moving across your throat anymore).

    Personally, if I was of the Mormon faithful, I would not draw any attention to this. It will only make people more curious. But you know that’s going to happen and this will be one of the most watched and anticipated “Big Love” episodes.

  • erm

    I’m LDS and I actively go. I really don’t like the idea of this show because it exploits things that I do in fact hold to be sacred and special. I don’t expect others to understand or believe them, but would hope that others would respect my feelings. Instead, it sounds like HBO will be parading them around anyway.

    I have lots of friends that aren’t LDS and that’s fine. In fact, I live in SLC and most of my friends aren’t. They drink, I don’t, and its fine. We get along great and respect each other.

    So, I am not thrilled by this idea. Its going to be in the wrong tone and context. It will be edited and broadcast to be entertainment, not informative.

    I don’t actively persue others private matters of belief and wish others would offer the same respect.

  • LittleWoodenBoy

    @Grimalkin:

    You do realize that simply identifying similarities between a mainstream religion and cults does not make the religion a cult (or even “cultish”), right? I could probably point out many things you have in common with a child rapist–you have arms, legs, reproductive organs and a sex drive–but I’m not going to come to the conclusion that you are one.

    So while the definition of “cult” is loose enough to describe pretty much any group of people, if you’re attempting to claim that “because the LDS Church appears to employ methods a, b and c, they must be extreme and outside the mainstream, then you are incorrect. As always, correlation does not indicate causation. And, as we may observe, Mormon doctrines by and large just teach people to (with wildly varying degrees of success) cherish their friends and families, live clean lives, be honest and hard working, and occasionally engage in social causes you don’t agree with. The remainder of the teachings are metaphysical afterlife stuff that shouldn’t matter to you one way or another.

    @Miller:
    I can tell you from recent experience that your friend was either mistaken or didn’t communicate the point very well. In the temple, Mormons only promise to keep the things taught to themselves. There is absolutely no commitment to constrain any other person in any way. In fact, the commitments made in the temple, besides the “no revealing this” stuff, can be found in the New Testament, i.e. law of chastity, law of consecration, being prayerful, that sort of thing. Except any weirdness a person might like to assign to it, it’s all completely harmless.

  • Kevin

    You might disagree with all that we as Mormon’s believe in. Fine. But do we not also have the right to our understanding of the sacred, and be allowed the privilege of worshiping God as we deem appropriate for us? Why the need to poke fun and amuse yourself at our personal expense? If the sacred is sacred for even one, then who are any of us to treat it otherwise?

  • Joan Koplin

    I am hugely opposed to the Temple ceremonies being splattered all over the television. The word sacred or private no longer exist in our society and that makes me sad.

  • erm

    Grimalkin,

    Churches and practices of worship are pretty different than the IRS. I call a bad comparison and award you no points.

  • Adam B

    The “lifted from Masonry” comments are quite naive. In Nauvoo, Illinois, there were more than 1500 members of the church that were masons in the early church. Yes, there are some similarities with masonry and the temple ceremony, but the temple ceremony didn’t *come* from masonry. If Joseph Smith had simply copied from masonry, do you think that these thousands of masons would have just ignorantly continued to follow mormonism? You have many very intelligent mormons in the church when it first started, and they were searching for truth. To simply “lift” from masonry would have been a HUGE clue to them. And the fact is, these early mormons didn’t view it that way at all, and didn’t leave the church when the temple ceremony started.

    Where did Masonry get their ceremonies? This is actually the more relevant and enlightening question.

    Jesus said “don’t cast your pearls before swine”, and, although that is a harsh statement, it contains the essence of the issue here. Some things are sacred.

  • amanda

    So opinionated for a group of people whose lives aren’t effected by this disrespectful display by HBO. I wonder if any of you have asked a fellow LDS coworker, or friend how THEY feel? Or is that not relevant?

    Many of you don’t see the harm–it is such a selfish point of view, really. Of COURSE you don’t see the harm–it isn’t sacred to you. It comes down to respect. It is absolutely disrespectful to the LDS community and ought to be shamed. What makes any of you feel your ‘curiosity’ is the more important consideration than respect towards a global religion? Disgusting, the whole thing is disgusting.

    I wonder if these same producers would be willing to tell a more accurate picture of this global religion by sharing stories of sacrifice, welfare and faith that are inspired by this religion? That wouldn’t satiate their viewers’ ‘curiosity’ I guess. Where are your VALUES????

  • Steve

    As a member of the LDS church I often hear the complaints and criticism of others about temple ceremonies. I won’t attempt to explain why they are so sacred or why they are not shared with the outside world but I will attempt to ask fellow citizens to let the LDS faithful worship in accordance to the dictates of their own consciences. I assure you that nothing like abuse or weird sacrifices is taught in the LDS religion. We simply seek to worship and serve Our Savior Jesus Christ. I understand that many people have false presumptions about the church, the only way to find out the true background and teachings is to speak with actual representatives of the church.

    The producers of Big Love hired people who left the church and possibly harbor negative feelings towards it and wish to harm it. HBO does not have the right to even attempt to display sacred ceremonies without the permission of the church.

  • anon

    Well to an atheist, and for that matter to a television audience, I’m sure the temple would seem very dull and boring. However if you believe in the doctrines, and believe that God established the principles behind all the things you do in the temple it becomes a very deep and spiritually impacting experience, one that would be “cheapened” by people around the world seeing and “critiquing” it as some of you have suggested.

    I don’t like the garbage example from siamang above because it impacts your neighbors right to property and privacy, so no you can’t claim dumping your trash in someone else’s yard as sacred. Let me put it another way, sexual intimacy is very private, special, and can be deeply impacting, one could (and I do) even say it is sacred. No one has the right to display you and your partner engaged in sex in a public forum, nor should people be allowed to “recreate” exactly how you made love last for the sole purpose of entertaining others. The very thought is “highly offensive” am I wrong?

    Please don’t take my words out of context, no one is making love in the temple, but Mormons hold the ceremonies that take place there just as sacred and private as you would your intimate acts. The fact that the sexual experience has been “cheapened,” critiqued, mocked, and degraded by being broadcast over so many media outlets proves my point. Mormons (myself included) simply don’t want our sacred experiences subjected to the whims of people who don’t hold the experience as sacred as we do.

    Are you suggesting that we shouldn’t have the right to withhold something from the world that we feel is so important, special, and personal that we don’t want to share it with just anyone?

  • britt

    I’m a Mormon. Any person can go into a temple during an open house, before a temple is dedicated-into every room. There is nothing to be ashamed of. I am concerned about accuracy and respect.

    Big Love knows this is sacred to us and something we don’t share freely, yet here they are on tv for ratings sharing it. Automatically that indicates a lack of respect.

    I would feel disrespected if a documentary portrayed a full temple ceremony merely for the sake of full disclosure; but at least there would hopefully be an attempt at accuracy. Big Love already portrays polygamy as a current Mormon practice, so we know accuracy is not their strong point. How much timne would I spend feeling disrespected…not long. Why bother? Aren’t we all too busy for that?

    People who have left the church or those from different churches who practice polygamy would not be allowed into a Mormon temple.

    There is actually very little we cannot talk about from the temple.

    I’m a mom, so humor the analogy. It is easy for me to explain to my single friends how often my baby wakes up, how many diapers I change, how tired I am…but very difficult to explain the feelings I feel when I hold her and look into her beautiful face. That context is difficult to grasp. Any experience we value is difficult to really explain. That could be anything from a religious point of view, to skiing on fresh powder, climbing a mountain, creating something new… Words don’t always do an event justice.

    The church doesn’t claim offense, though individual members may. If you want to see what the church thinks about it check out lds.org

  • Erin

    How is this different than showing a picture of the prophet Mohammed? Muslims find this to be highly offensive and sacriligious. I am sure that a television show would not dare make such a heinous mistake.

    Centuries after our founding fathers came to this country seeking religious freedom, it is time we finally give ALL religions and beliefs the respect they deserve.

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  • Grimalkin

    College Guy – you said “How would you like it if people laughed at what you held to be important and sacred? It isn’t right.”

    Why do you think that people will laugh at it? The episode hasn’t been aired yet and you already assume that it will be treated with condescension. I happen to watch Big Love and, honestly, I’ve seen nothing but a careful and serious consideration for what they portray.

    I do find it interesting that you assume “outsiders” will laugh at what you consider sacred. Is it because they are inherently silly?

    In either case, being able to learn about and to criticise ideas, beliefs, and what people (others and myself) consider sacred is fundamental to having a healthy perspective. I have every right to judge your sacred ideas. You have every right to judge mine. It is right.

    LittleWoodenBoy – You said that religions are not the same as cults. I would like to hear your explanation of the differences. How are religions (particularly smaller/localised religions like Mormonism) not cults/like cults?

    erm – you said “Churches and practices of worship are pretty different than the IRS. I call a bad comparison and award you no points.”

    I compared churches to private companies, not to the IRS.

    Also, it wasn’t a comparison. Organizations, regardless of whether they are companies or churches, become dangerous when they cease being subjects of scrutiny and criticism. When you* say “it is forbidden to question anything religions hold sacred,” you open the doors to having corrupt leaders making horrible things (like female genital mutilation, terrorism, oppression of women, infanticide, human sacrifice, etc.) sacred. And then what? It can’t be stopped, regulated, or even so much as condemned because it’s “sacred.”

    When you claim special privileges for the things you hold sacred, YOU open them up for corruption and destruction. Your greatest threats come from within, from people who think that they can get away with using your own beliefs to exploit you because YOU asked that sacred things be beyond criticism.

    *I use “you” in the general sense. I have no idea if you, personally, have any of these opinions at all.

  • Skeptimal

    While I understand the valid concerns of Mormons that their religion will be belittled unfairly, I hope that HBO does not back down. Here’s why.

    Every religion, cult, or sect is going to have some “sacred” thing that they feel should not be tread upon. If we allow the religions to decide what everyone knows about them, all religions will be more free to abuse. The Mormon church is probably not doing many nefarious things, but if they are allowed to veto this TV show, then the Muslims will be encouraged to riot in the streets every time someone draws a doodle of Mohammed.

    Most groups who keep doctrines and practices highly secret are hiding criminal or abusive practices. Someone else mentioned the church of Scientology, which claimed sacred privelige as an excuse not to tell new converts that they are a space alien cult. They wait until people have invested themselves in the organization before revealing the weird stuff.

    Again, the Mormon church is probably much more benign.

    If someone were saying that all religious ceremonies had to be opened to the public, I would agree that that should not be allowed to happen. This is merely a recreation of the temple, however, and there is a greater good to be had by not muzzling those who make such recreations.

  • Dakulis

    CatBallou,

    You said it better than I did. We can choose to disagree on many things, my appreciation for my religion versus your lack of appreciation for it. I came to it after many years exploring my spirituality so I can’t expect anyone else to agree with my personal journey or it’s result.

    But, if we’re going to have a reasonable discussion, reason must be at the center of it. Consequently, using scare tactics, false premises, or flat out lies simply doesn’t carry the conversation forward. So, we can certainly disagree without being disagreeable.

    Grimalkin, I have no idea if you’re calling the LDS Church a cult, religion in general cultish or exactly what you’re trying to say. I was a psychology major with philosophy major and you pose a number of hypotheses, none of which are supported by anything that I could accept as authoritative.

    Or, is this your personal opinion? If so, it should be expressed as such and not hidden behind sweeping generalizations without substance.

    But, ok, I’ll bite. When I joined the LDS Church, what was my “investment” that was so large? I looked into the Church for about 3 months after having spent approximately 10 years on a spiritual journey. I hadn’t given the Church any money, nor had they asked for any. I did some reading, sort of like studying in college. It’s necessary to figure out what the doctrine is all about and if it fits with what I believe but hardly any different than the time I spent looking at various forms of Protestanism, Catholicism, Buddhism or a number of other religions, or are these cults, too?

    Then, let me get this right. I joined the Church because I wanted to be in on the “secret”? Exactly, which secret are we talking about, the one about God, Jesus, the Holy Ghost, aaaahhhh, you’re going to have to help me out here. By the way, I didn’t join any stupid clubs when I was a kid, I wasn’t that interested in belonging just for the sake of belonging. I was more of the type that figured that any club that would have me I probably didn’t want to join.

    Now, the imagination part completely lost me, sure I get it in the movies and, in fact, I agree the scariest movies aren’t the ones with the crazy guy slashing everyone, it’s the thing you see out of the corner of your eye but you never really get to see clearly on focus upon.

    Now, that next sentence sounds an awful lot like cognitive dissonance but you don’t have the theory just right. I don’t have sufficient time or space to deal with the concept so let’s use Wikipedia: “A powerful cause of dissonance is when an idea conflicts with a fundamental element of the self-concept, such as “I am a good person” or “I made the right decision.” The anxiety that comes with the possibility of having made a bad decision can lead to rationalization, the tendency to create additional reasons or justifications to support one’s choices. A person who just spent too much money on a new car might decide that the new vehicle is much less likely to break down than his or her old car. This belief may or may not be true, but it would likely reduce dissonance and make the person feel better. Dissonance can also lead to confirmation bias, the denial of disconfirming evidence, and other ego defense mechanisms.”

    So, the theory is that once I choose something that appears to be consistent with “who I am”, I will try to remove any aspect of dissonance that suggests my decision could be wrong. I won’t dispute that someone could do this but I’m not going to continue paying 10% of my income every year just to keep my psyche in line if I don’t believe in it with every fabric of my being.

    So, frankly, that doesn’t make a very convincing argument.

    The last paragraph appears to be you venting. Vent away by all means.

  • Molly

    Grimalkn,

    You need to do some more research. The LDS church is not a “smaller/localised religion”. There are currently over 13 million members, worldwide.

  • LittleWoodenBoy

    @Grimalkin:

    You said that religions are not the same as cults. I would like to hear your explanation of the differences. How are religions (particularly smaller/localised religions like Mormonism) not cults/like cults?

    I did not say religions are not the same as cults. I said that identifying similarities they share is not the same as proving they are the same as cults.

    I then allowed that depending on your definition of cults (which is a word so broadly defined as to have almost no meaning) it could be a cult.

    Then I chose a definition of “cult” that you might agree with, and illustrated how Mormonism is not the same as that.

    So, my original post had everything you need except the power to grant you better reading comprehension abilities.

  • LDS Member

    Grimalkin, I find the reference to the LDS church as “small and localised” indicative of someone who is ill informed. The LDS church has over 13 million members, a good majority of which are outside of the U.S. and only a very small portion reside in Utah, although the church is much more populous in the west than elsewhere in the United States.

  • Dakulis

    Skeptimal,

    I don’t disagree with most of your last point. However, there are certain aspects of every religion that are “sacred” or private. Would it be okay if we start putting television cameras in a Catholic church’s confessional? I’m sure that would seriously decrease the number of Catholics showing up, right?

    Or, how about if we film every Protestant minister’s marriage counseling for couples? That work for you, it doesn’t for me.

    What happens in a LDS temple is one of the most sacred things that occurs in my religion. For those who enter unprepared, it is strange and, potentially, off-putting. For someone prepared and in need of the spirit, it can be a godsend.

    I don’t find it amusing at all that HBO gets to decide what part of my religion is not sacred enough or private enough to be aired on TV, please see my prior post on their motivaion – $$$. I’m just odd that way, like most religious people that I know.

  • Cold

    Most of the world has a skewed view of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It’s a lot like deal with muslims and terrorists. They think that because there is a small group of radicalists, the whole group are radicalists. Why don’t you do some real research of how the church works and operates before making uneducated posts on your opinions. lds.org go there

  • Siamang

    Dakulis Says:

    I am LDS, active and a former bishop.

    I do not believe that Jews would appreciate people coming in and filming everything that goes on in their religion or Catholics having all their conferences for bishops and church leaders filmed.

    Hi Dakulis…

    I am curious, and need to get this really, really clear… did the producers of Big Love actually intrude in an LDS church and film them?

    If so, then I wholeheartedly concur, that would be truely offensive.

    But I don’t have a problem with having actors portray them, even in their conferences or their sacred rites.

    Of interest, television never threatens to do so but Mormons are easy targets because they’re not “mainstream”, whatever that means.

    Catholic confession is also private. But that doesn’t mean that fictional tv shows aren’t allowed to portray their fictional characters confessing. And tv shows, movies and plays deal with the catholic priest sex-abuse scandal, so I don’t really buy the notion that your religion is the only one Hollywood would dare attack.

    So, if some family members were excluded, it was at the request of the family, how exactly is that the Church’s fault?

    Dakulis, thanks for addressing my specific instance. The fault, as I see it, is then it becomes the churchmember part of the family using the church to distance the non-church part of the family. T’wasn’t the first nor the last time in history that a family was kept apart by religious differences. I don’t have to approve of that, do I? Does that make me intolerant?

    First, what goes on in a temple involves only people that choose to be there, it is sacred, it causes no harm to anyone, it affects no one else’s personal or property rights and it breaks no laws.

    I guess I respect that individuals have a certain right to expect privacy.

    Do institutions? And is that privacy to be maintained for the rest of their lives, even if they leave the organization?

    I mean, at some level some ex-mormons have decided to tell their story. If one writes an autobiography, who “owns” those moments in their life, them or the Church?

    I notice I got jumped on right away for my poor analogy, even when I tried to specifically state that I wasn’t specifically attacking catballou’s view here, I just want to understand how this should properly function, in his view.

    I’m also not blind to the number of LDS members posting here specifically asking nicely for their privacy to be supported.

    What I’m looking for is a well-reasoned dividing line as to what exact things about which religious rules should be followed by people who aren’t members of that religion. And if this falls into a completely secular analogy, can I be pointed to it.

    If there is some kind of “you can forever expect privacy for this secular thing” and even MORMONS would stand up for that privacy, because this is a totally shared societal value… I can’t think of it. Anyone got a “good for the gander” thing on the secular side of the fence that they can point me to?

  • Siamang

    Would it be okay if we start putting television cameras in a Catholic church’s confessional?

    Pointing it out again, because you say it often:

    Did HBO put cameras in your church?

  • Indigo

    I’m somewhat surprised by how many people are claiming that if Big Love replicates the temple ceremonies, it’s automatically for shock value or for people to laugh at. There are lots of films and programs that depict the rites of various different religions, and it’s not automatically assumed that the depiction is disrespectful.
    I’m also wondering how having outsiders know what goes on in the temple makes it less sacred. I understand that people have experiences they might not necessarily want to share because they’re private. But someone else creating a fictional presentation of what your experiences are based on doesn’t seem to me to actually invade your privacy. I have had transcendent experiences while sitting alone on a beach at night. Does that mean that if a filmmaker comes up with a character who has similar experiences under similar circumstances, I can get mad that they trampled on something I value?
    I believe it’s important to be respectful, to try to understand, to get your facts right, to not demean the people involved, to follow their rules when on their turf – but respect doesn’t mean complete deference. I think it’s one thing for individuals to say “We don’t want to tell you about this,” and quite another for them to say “You have no right to know this; we own not only our own experiences but those of everyone associated with this subject.” I’m fine if someone refuses to participate in something because it goes against their beliefs; not fine with them claiming that their beliefs have some kind of binding claim over others who haven’t agreed to them.

  • Lindsey F

    It is most certainly an issue of respect. To Latter-day Saints, the temple, and what occurs inside, are sacred things. I believe that even former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should show respect to current members by not sharing with the rest of the world things that are regarded as sacred.

  • Dakulis

    Siamang,

    Ok, so we can agree, then, if it was actually a camera crew going into the temple and filming, that would offend you? But, an inaccurate representation by a comedy show making light of a temple ceremony, something that is sacred to me and millions of others, that doesn’t offend you? That makes perfect sense.

    I believe your second point is a fair one, the producers are not going into a LDS temple and filming, I thought that was pretty well understood. Moreover, I haven’t seen the show, and won’t, so I am merely assuming that they intend to show these scenes merely for “sensationalism” not to attempt to portray the very spiritual and important part that the temple plays in my religion.

    However, you miss the point of my examples. This isn’t someone portraying someone doing a funny confession, which I agree has been done in TV and movies, many times. This is a show doing something solely to rub a religion’s nose in it with no purpose but to offend and hold something up to ridicule, something that I hold to be very sacred. Consequently, my analogy was to use an actual confession because it is more similar to what HBO is doing here, I’m sorry if you don’t understand the distinction, maybe I wasn’t clear enough.

    As for your particular family situation, I was simply pointing out how something like that occurs. I was fortunate enough to have several funerals where non-member family members were fully included, participated, prayed and had a wonderful experience. I am truly sorry that you didn’t get to enjoy such an experience at your uncle’s funeral. Unfortunately, one of the most important principles of any religion involves the fact that people are imperfect and, hopefully, we learn from our mistakes. I hope that whatever pain you experienced that you have had a chance to talk with your family members and work through that. If not, please give it a shot, those can be precious moments of reconciliation.

    As for what ex-Mormons do with their experiences, I cannot control that and the Church cannot either. I can’t tell you for certain what I would do if I left the Church but I don’t believe that I would feel comfortable with a “tell all” about my temple experiences, even then they would be sacred and private to me. To each his own, I guess.

    But, what we’re talking about here, isn’t news, it isn’t a report about facts involving the Church, similar to your analogy of reports about priest abuse in the Catholic church, this is a TV comedy wandering into extremely sacred material for laughs, for $$$ and at the expense of many people who hold these experiences sacred.

    If a Church member does something wrong, it will be reported and held up to scrutiny but that is not what we’re talking about here.
    I’m not sure how else I can make the distinction for you.

    I’m sorry if I was too strong in my initial comments, they were not intended to be offensive.

  • Alisha

    I just want to say thank you to the people who are not of the LDS faith who defend it here and respect our beliefs.

  • http://MormonsAreChristian.blogspot.com Mormons Are Christian

    Of course Temple ceremonies are sacred, private ordinances. Jesus Christ commanded that they be such. Note the similiaities in “Big Love” to First Century temple ceremonies: (Do you still want to mock and disparage them?)

    Baptism:
    Early Christian churches, practiced baptism of youth (not infants) by immersion by the father of the family. Afterwards, the youth was dressed in a white robe, and anointed with oil and given a new name. This ritual was sacred and not open to non-family members to view. The local congregation had a lay ministry. An early Christian Church has been re-constructed at the Israel Museum, and the above can be verified. http://www.imj.org.il/eng/exhibitions/2000/christianity/ancientchurch/structure/index.html

    Baptism for Deceased Ancestors is referenced in 1 Corinthians 15:29 “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” Baptism for deceased ancestors was practiced by Marcionites, an early Christian group, Orthodox Christian groups; Coptics (who even practice it today on occasion); Ethiopian Christians, called Abyssinians; and early Roman Catholics, as reported by Augustine and others.
    The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) continues baptism and a lay ministry as taught by Jesus’ Apostles.

    • Sacred Ordinances
    Early Christians were persecuted for keeping their esoteric practices sacred and prohibiting non-Christians from witnessing them.

    Hippolytus (ca. A.D. 200) made a statement “But if there is any other matter which ought to be told, let the bishop impart it secretly to those who are communicated. He shall not tell this to any but the faithful and only after they have first been communicated. This is the white stone of which John said that there is a new name written upon it which no man knows except him who receives. ”

    Clement of Alexandria claimed to possess a secret tradition of knowledge (Greek gnosis) handed down from the Savior to the Apostles and on to Clement himself by way of certain of his teachers. “Clement represents this secret discipline to which he gives the title of gnosis, or gift of knowledge, as having been conferred by our Lord, after his resurrection, on James the Just, John, and Peter, by whom it was communicated to the other Apostles; and that by these the treasure was committed to the seventy disciples, of whom Barnabas was one. . . the secret discipline thus instituted by Christ was familiar to those who had been his masters and preceptors,”

    “The multitude professing Christianity were therefore divided by them into the “profane,” or those who were not yet admitted to the mysteries, and the “initiated,” or faithful and perfect. . . and as none were permitted to be present at these “mysteries,” as they were termed, save those whose admission into the fellowship of the church was perfect and complete, so likewise was it expected that, as a matter of duty, the most sacred silence should be observed in regard to everything connected with the celebration of them, and nothing whatever relating thereto to be committed to the ears of the profane.”

    • 40 Days Between Christ’s Crucifixion and Ascension

    In Sophia Jesu Christi: “After He had risen from the dead, when they came, the twelve disciples and seven women who had followed him as disciples, into Galilee. .. where they were now at a loss in regard to the true nature of the universe, the Plan of Salvation, the Holy Providence, the excellency of the Powers, about all that the Redeemer did with them, the secrets of the Holy Plan of Salvation, then there appeared to them the Redeemer. “

    • Instruction to Adam

    In the Apocalypse of Adam, it is related that mystical instruction was given by three heavenly messengers to Adam. Jesuit scholar George MacRae summarizes:’ Father Adam explains how in the Fall he and Eve lost their glory and knowledge. Through the revelation imparted to Adam by three heavenly visitors, however, this knowledge is passed on to Seth and his seed.”

    An Egyptian Christian book, the First Book of Adam and Eve describes their posture in prayer: “Then Adam and Eve raised their hands unto God, praying and entreating Him to drive Satan away from them”

    • Preliminary Ordinances
    Cyril of Jerusalem gave the most complete description of Preliminary Ordinances (Initiatory Rites) (translated into English in 1951 ). [Even though Cyril was a Bishop in the Roman Church about 350 A.D., his views on the Trinity and original sin are similar to LDS’ today.] He wrote five catechetical (kat-i-ket-i-kuhl) lectures for the newly baptized. “As soon, then, as ye entered, ye put off your tunic; and this was an image of putting off the old man with his deeds. . . ye were naked; in this also imitating Christ, who was naked on the Cross, and by His nakedness put off from Himself the principalities and powers, and openly triumphed over them on the tree. . . truly ye bore the likeness of the first-formed Adam, in the garden, and was not ashamed. Then, , ye were anointed with exorcised oil, from the very hairs of your head to your feet, and were made partakers of the good olive-tree, Jesus Christ. ”

    “The ointment is symbolically applied to thy forehead and thy other senses, and while thy body is anointed with the visible ointment, thy soul is sanctified by the Holy and life-giving Spirit. And ye were first anointed on the forehead . . . Then on your ears: that ye might receive the ears which are quick to hear the Divine Mysteries. . . Then on the nostrils. . Afterwards on your breast,; that having put on the breast-plate of righteousness, ye may stand against the wiles of the devil. . . (see http://sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/207/2070037.htm )

    “The initiate received a new name after the clothing.

    • The Endowment

    Male initiates wore mitre or priestly cap “much as though a sphere were to be divided through the centre, and one half thereof to be put upon the head… It has no peak at the top, nor does it cover the whole head as far as the hair extends, but leaves about a third of the front part of the head uncovered. It is attached by a band,.”

    “Sacred vestments include a girdle or sash and a robe worn over the shoulders. The robe is worn on different shoulders, depending on the degree within the priesthood.”

    “All those who were admitted to the inner sights of the mysteries had a formula or pass-word. .
    “Come not with thy wrists extended, or thy fingers spread; but make thy left hand a throne for the right, as for that which is to receive a King. And having hollowed thy palm, receive the Body of Christ” (Eucharist and baptism were part of esoteric ordinances in 2nd & 3rd Century Christianity.)
    • The Prayer Circle
    “A prayer is offered by the [officiator] in behalf of those in the circle and the others attending which included the giving of thanks, petition for blessing to be pronounced upon the Eucharist, and petition ‘for the common peace of the Churches, for the welfare of the world, for kings, for soldiers and allies; for the sick, for the afflicted, and in a word, for all who stand in need of succor ”
    “The names of those to be prayed for were written on parchments, which from being folded twice, were called diptychs”
    In the Stromata, Clement of Alexandria, in describing the prayer circle, says “So also we raise the head and lift the hands to heaven. ” The First Century Odes of Solomon explains that this posture was adopted in imitation of the Savior on Calvary: “I stretched forth my hands and sanctified my Lord: For the extension of my hands in His sign; And my expansion is the upright tree.”
    3rd Nephi Ch 19 Jesus appeared to his 12 disciples and the multitude in the form of a prayer circle. – -
    • The Veil

    In the Gospel of Philip, the Savior gave various “seals” and passwords necessary to ascend to the highest heaven: “Here at the veil are imparted the secret “seals” and “pass-words”, which allow free passage through each of their spheres”
    “In one narrative, the Primeval Man is drawn up to heaven by celestial messengers: .. The Living Spirit extended his right hand to Primeval Man. The latter seized it and thus was drawn up out of the depths of the world of darkness. . . He was returned to the paradise of light, his Celestial home, where his kin awaited him.”
    • Celestial Marriage
    Egyptian Christians considered Celestial marriage to be their most holy mystery. The Gospel of Philip states that “those who have united in the bridal chamber will no longer be separated” “One receives them [the male and female powers] from the mirrored bridal chamber.” “if anyone becomes a son of the bridal chamber, he will receive the light.” “The heavenly man has many more sons than the earthly man. If the sons of Adam are many, although they die, how much more the sons of the perfect man, they who do not die but are always begotten.”

    “Clement (of Alexandria) believed that marriage and procreation are an intrinsic and positive part of God’s plan for the human race. In this way, the human being becomes the image of God, by cooperating in the creation of another human being. The married man who must devote himself to the administration of a household is a more faithful reflection of God’s own providential care.”
    Clement felt that marriage “was good practice for life as a god”

    The Gospel of Philip taught that the existence of the world depends on the mystery of marriage: “Great is the mystery of marriage! For without it the world would not have existed. How the existence of the world depends on man, and the existence of man on marriage.

    • Rejection of Esoteric Ordinances (part of the Apostasy) xxv
    Various reasons for the rejection of Esoteric Ordinances during the Fourth Century:
    - Nicene Creed became antithetical to Theosis and Divinization
    - Emperor Constantine couldn’t condone secrecy which might organize against state’s authority.
    -2nd Century fragmentation of Christian authority
    -Hellenism – Greek thought based on Socrates’ rationalism
    -Roman (intellectual) fight against Gnosticism (esoteric) resulted in the Roman Church’s burning of the Apocrypha
    -Rejection of Jewish esoteric traditions xxv

    • Conclusion

    Writings from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Codices show that for two centuries after Jesus Christ, certain religious groups practiced rituals that included anointing patrons and the receiving of celestial robes. Teaching about the use of secret names and tokens took place along with passing through the temple veil into the presence of God. Revelations of the secrets of creation and the exaltation and deification of individuals were presented. Ascension into various levels of heaven representing different degrees of glory was a part of the ceremony. The need for moral purity was taught, and Eternal Marriages were performed.

    If Joseph Smith taught a number of esoteric doctrines that were unknown to have existed in the early church during his time, but which research and uncovered documents (during the 1950 to 1970 period) now show were part of early Christianity, one has to conclude that he was inspired of God. Yale literary scholar Harold Bloom, wrote a book called The American Religion, in which he writes of Joseph Smith: “I can only attribute to his genius or heavenly intervention his uncanny recovery of many elements in ancient Jewish theurgy that had ceased to be available either to Judaism or to Christianity, and that had survived only in esoteric traditions unlikely to have touched Smith directly.” The Church which Joseph Smith restored is the original Church of Christ, as revealed in the many documents of the first three centuries after Christ .

  • bmoney

    Mormons don’t practice polygamy. It’s been over 100 years since the Church officially anounced that.

  • Skeptimal

    Dakulis said: “This is a show doing something solely to rub a religion’s nose in it with no purpose but to offend and hold something up to ridicule, something that I hold to be very sacred. Consequently, my analogy was to use an actual confession because it is more similar to what HBO is doing here…”

    I disagree with you here on a couple of points. I don’t think that the privacy of an individual confession is the same thing as the institutional privacy of an organization.

    I also don’t think the sole purpose of HBO is to belittle the LDS Church. Even if that were the case, however, I think that should be protected free speech. We have seen in Islam what happens when a group begins to feel that their religion is above criticism.

    And the Mormon Church has a long way to go before it faces the kind of ridicule and hostility that non-theists face on a regular basis.

  • Alexandria

    For me, this is about respect. There is too little respect for religion in this country. Too little respect for those that choose to believe in something higher and greater. People have lost their sense of respect. The majority of people have some sort of faith or belief, and they would like to have the respect they deserve since those are their beliefs. They do not want to be mocked or ridiculed for what they choose to believe in.

    For Mormons, it is no different than Baptists, Lutherans, Protestants, Pentecostals, Catholics, Non-Denominationals, Scientologists, and so forth. They hold something very dear and precious and it’s being exploited for entertainment purposes.

    Big love is about Polygamy – not the LDS Faith. The LDS People do not practice polygamy, and polygamists are not allowed into LDS Temples. So, to depict a scene where someone has to go through a Temple ceremony, and they are in a polygamist relationship, is totally false. So, why does HBO need to show a “temple” scene? Why did they hire ex-mormons to give them every detail in a ceremony, including clothing, that a polygamist would not be going through?

    The producers of Big love should not have even touched on a temple ceremony with their show as it wouldn’t even be relevant. So, basically – for ratings – someone higher up just wanted to take something sacred and throw it out there for all to see –

    Truly, this is a lack of respect. It’s sad what our country is turning in to… I am ashamed that some of you even call yourselves Americans.

  • http://www.mormon.org Landon

    I was taught that if you want to know about welding, ask a welder. If you want to know about diamonds, ask a jewler or diamond cutter. The same goes for any religious group, LDS (I am), Protestant, Catholic, Baptist, Aethiest, or any other. For those who are really wanting to know the truth and not just looking to poke holes in the boat, go to http://www.mormon.org or http://www.lds.org. These are the official websites of the Church and if you are brave enough, request a copy of the Book of Mormon and read it, or ask for missionaries to come to your home. You can also chat live with an official representative of the Church on http://www.mormon.org and make the requests there.

  • http://www.Jer3miah.com MormonFiction

    I don’t think that whether they have a right to do it or not is really an issue. People have a right to make films or television shows about whatever they want but that doesn’t mean that everything that gets made is ethical or in good taste. I think we can all agree to that. I am fairly sure that there will be no lawsuits, that isn’t the issue. It is whether such a depiction is respectful or not. And clearly since the temple is such an important and sacred part about the LDS faith and Big Brother has already made an agreement with the Church that they would not depict these rituals as they plan to do that it is not respectful. Do they have a right to do it? Sure. But there are a lot of things we as people in a free country have a “right” to do but don’t because it is irresponsible and in bad taste.

    This is fiction we are talking about, which gives you the right to create whatever situation or world you want to. I don’t think it is a terrible threat to the LDS church but I hope people understand that, while maybe using snippets of real concepts and religous practices, Big Love really is just a fictional world with fictional characters who have fictionalized belifs and practices. I am a big fan of a lot of doctor shows (ER, Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, House) and doctors are depicted in many ways but I don’t expect my real doctor or hospital to be like that in real life. I hope the same is true for whatever people see in Big Love.

    Another interesting thing is that even mormons fictionalize their stories, history and experience for entertainment value. A great example of this I stumbled upon is an internet series called “The Book Of Jeremiah” at http://www.jer3miah.com. It is produced by members of the Mormon church and is an interesting mystery where spiritual events are depicted in a sort of sci-fi way along the lines of Heroes or Lost. Check it out and see for yourself. The Book of Jer3miah

  • XiaoJun

    As a practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and as one who regularly participates in temple ceremonies, I am pretty bothered about this.

    First, as people have said before, there really isn’t anything horrifying about the ceremony. It’s just that it is considered very sacred for millions of people around the world. There really is very little about our religion that isn’t disclosed to the public. The public is even allowed to have a guided tour through newly built temples, before the have been dedicated to God. So it’s really just a matter of respect and common decency. To me, it’s fairly disgusting that anyone would exploit a group of people and call it “entertainment.”

    Second, many members of the LDS faith continually battle stereotypes, misunderstandings, lies, and prejudices about their faith. Growing up and still to this day, I’ve had my church buildings picketed and vandalized on a regular basis. I would also get “uninvited” to parties when I was in high school because I was “one of those Mormons.” And if you’re thinking I grew up in some small town- I grew up in Southern California. To have an entire show dedicated to polygamy, which only furthers those misunderstandings and lies, is very frustrating for people who have been battling those prejudices for much too long. I just don’t see how showing this does anything but hurt people.

    Also- there was someone that mentioned about not being able to attend a part of their uncle’s funeral- I wanted to say that there are no funerals held in the temple, which is the only place that you wouldn’t have been able to go as someone who wasn’t LDS. So there was no reason that anyone should have been discluded from any portion of the funeral, especially if it was held in the church. Church buildings are open to everyone. It probably wasn’t what you thought it was, or someone amongst that group of members of the church did something they shouldn’t have. I’ve never attended a funeral where something like that happened and have never heard of that happening, so I doubt it’s a common thing.

  • A-o-

    Just the fact that a person albeit group feels the words and actions are sacred and should be kept private they should. In this “politically correct” world, HBO is only trying to stir the pot for their own gain. It’s truly sad to take something held so sacred by someone and toss it to the masses.

    Did Texas authorities film the inside of the FLDS temple and display it for news when the YFZ ranch was raided? Why didn’t they?

    As an independant producer I don’t see an issue with a depiction, but it seems to me they (HBO) are taking it further- to communicate the elements of the plot doesn’t need to go to the extreme of offense- regaurdless. I’m going to toss out that arugument on basis of “confession” is the character moving towards righting a wrong, to describe the seriousness of “covenants, rites of passage, ordinaces” would be sufficient for the plot.

    HBO and overall society, you’ve all lost respect points from me.

    Oh and just for thought 1st amendment rights allow religious freedom, let the LDS keep their sacred things sacred-

  • XiaoJun

    “And the Mormon Church has a long way to go before it faces the kind of ridicule and hostility that non-theists face on a regular basis.”

    The LDS Church has faced persecution since day one. It still stands, to this day, the only religious group in the history of the United States to have an extermination order out against it by the American government. Our early members were murdered (in once instance raped and massacred), tarred and feathered, and driven from their homes more than once. And though violence against members has dropped, vandalism, picketing, and threats happen all the time. So we don’t have as long of a way to go as you might think.

  • Dakulis

    Skeptimal,

    Ok, you got me, I started venting a little bit there, too true. However, my point is a valid one, confession in the Catholic church is institutional. In order to obtain forgiveness, it is mandatory, you don’t get to bypass the confessional and go directly to God, like some Protestant and evangelical Christian churches. So, my point is valid even if I did vent a little too much.

    However, in my defense of venting, there is information out there that suggests that this isn’t merely coincidental that HBO is taking on the LDS Church or the timing of the attack.

    As you are probably aware, Hollywood blames the LDS Church for passing Prop. 8 in California, never mind that 70% of all blacks voted in favor of it, 52% of all Hispanics and a slight majority of Asians and never mind that fact that if no LDS folks had voted, it would have still passed.

    So, let me see, Tom Hanks is the executive producer of Big Love. A month or so ago, Tom Hanks comes out on a rampage and blasts the Church and its members as “Un-American” for giving money to the Prop. 8 campaign and voting for it.

    A month later, the show is broadcasting the temple ceremony. Geez, it could be a coincidence or it could be Tom’s way of taking another shot at the LDS Church, notwithstanding the fact that his publicist suggested a public retraction was in order. After all, you don’t want all those Mormons boycotting all your future movies, do you Tom?

    The timing of this is just too interesting to ignore when the California Supreme Court heard arguments on Prop. 8 just last week, then again, I think the free publicity and “buzz”, just look at how worked up I am, couldn’t hurt the show either, huh? LOL

  • Old Beezle

    I would be much more willing to let Mormons act as they please in their ‘sacred’ ceremonies had not those same ceremonies been foisted upon me by the pressure of the church and family members. It is both expected and encouraged for male members to attend the temple at around 18/19 before they leave to serve on a mission. The social stigma from church members levied at those who decline to do so is staggering. This is something that only former members truly understand, current members downplay, and the rest of the world passes by without noticing for the most part.

    Prior to entering the temple for the first time, a member is told next to nothing about what will actually and physically take place there all the while being told again and again that it will be THE MOST special and THE MOST sacred experience of their lives. What you get instead is a violation of your privacy, your individuality, and your intelligence in the form of a movie and odd rituals that culminate in group chanting around an altar before passing through “the veil” (death) into heaven…but only if you provide the proper handshakes and passwords.

    If you swallow the ceremony, then you prove yourself a loyal follower. If you try to talk about it afterwards, then you’re encouraged not to because it’s too ‘sacred.’ If you don’t buy into the pseudo-mysticism, then you’re branded an “oath breaker” by the loyal followers. This last always baffled me because the ‘oaths’ that are supposedly broken are only given to you when you are already there, with your family present–everyone watching–and then they spring it on you in all its strange and sacred glory.

    I understand that active Mormons/LDS will defend what they hold sacred, but they need to realize that not everyone does–including a large portion of their own declining membership. The day the temples are opened up to ALL of their god’s children and are no longer shrouded in secrecy and deception will be a step in the right direction for the Mormon church.

    feel free to condemn me or question me at oldbeezle@gmail.com or check out exmormon.org for more candid descriptions of life as a mormon. Don’t just listen to the salesmen to research the product.

  • http://MormonsAreChristian.blogspot.com Mormons Are Christian

    Footnotes (which can’t be replicated):
    Hippolytus, The Apostolic Tradition 23:14, in R.P.C. Hanson, Tradition in the Early Church (London: SCM Press, 1962, 32 http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4226045/k.32E/Scripture_and_Tradition_in_the_Early_Church.htm
    Johann L. Mosheim, Historical Commentaries on the State of Christianity, 2 vols, (New York; S. Converse, 1854), `:375-376 http://www.archive.org/details/historicalcommen185302mosh
    Mosheim, Historical Commentaries on the State of Christianity, vol 1, 390-391 http://www.archive.org/details/historicalcommen185302mosh
    The Sophia Jesu Christi, in NTA 1:246 In one other Gnostic document, the Apocalypse of Adam, it is related that originally such mystical instruction was given by three heavenly messengers to Adam. Jesuit scholar George MacRae summarizes:’ Father Adam explains how in the Fall he and Eve lost their glory and knowledge. Through the revelation imparted to Adam by three heavenly visitors, however, this knowledge is passed on to Seth and his seed.” MacRae, G.W., Introduction to the Apocalypse of Adam, in Robinson, ed., the Nag Hammadi Library in English, 256
    Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Theologian http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/03/18.html
    Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 20, in NPNF Series 2, 7:146-148 (translated into English in 1951)
    Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 21, in NPNF Series 2, 7:148-151 (see http://sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/207/2070037.htm )
    Arthur McCormack, d (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1969(, 65
    Jerome, Letter to Fabiola, quoted in Marriott, Vestiarum Christianum, 13-14
    Wellnitz, “The Catholic Liturgy and the Mormon Temple,” 20
    Hatch, The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages Upon the Christian Church, 298
    Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 23:21, in NPNF Series 2, 7:156 (see http://sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/207/2070037.htm)
    Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 23:4-8, in NPNF Series 2 7:153-154 (see http://sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/207/2070037.htm)
    Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 23:9-10, in NPNF Seies 2, 7:154-155 (see http://sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/207/2070037.htm)
    Book of Mormon, 3rd, Nephi Chapter 19 http://scriptures.lds.org/en/3_ne/19
    Gospel of Philip, http://wesley.nnu.edu/Biblical_Studies/noncanon/gospels/gosphil.htm
    Widergren, Mani and Manichaeism, 52. Cf. Compton T.M., “The Handclasp and Embrace as Tokens of Recognition”
    The Gospel of Philip, in Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library in English 142 (translated into English in 1977)
    Ibid, p 139 http://wesley.nnu.edu/Biblical_Studies/noncanon/gospels/gosphil.htm
    Ibid p.151 http://wesley.nnu.edu/Biblical_Studies/noncanon/gospels/gosphil.htm
    Ibid p. 135 http://wesley.nnu.edu/Biblical_Studies/noncanon/gospels/gosphil.htm
    David G. Hunter, Marriage in the Early Church (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992 ), 15
    Wagner, After the Apostles, 180
    The Gospel of Philip, p 139 http://wesley.nnu.edu/Biblical_Studies/noncanon/gospels/gosphil.htm
    Constantine’s reign as Roman emperor (A.D. 306-337) dramatically changed the direction of Christianity, though in ways far different from those portrayed in The Da Vinci Code. This grew out of his strategy for unifying his empire by creating a “catholic”—meaning universal —church that would blend elements from many religions into one.
    While Constantine supposedly converted to Christianity in 312, he wasn’t baptized until on his deathbed 25 years later. In the intervening years he had his wife and eldest son murdered, and from all appearances he continued as a worshipper of the sun god. Long after his supposed conversion he had coins minted with a portrait of himself on one side and a depiction of his “companion, the unconquered Sol [sun]” on the other.
    The “Christianity” Constantine endorsed was already considerably different from that practiced by Jesus Christ and the apostles. The emperor accelerated the change by his own hatred of Jews and religious practices he considered Jewish.
    For example, at the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325), church authorities essentially replaced the biblical Passover with Easter, a popular holiday rooted in ancient springtime fertility celebrations. Endorsing this change, Constantine announced: “It appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast [Easter] we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul . . . Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd” (Eusebius, Life of Constantine 3, 18-19, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1979, second series, Vol. 1, pp. 524-525).
    Constantine’s affection for sun worship had earlier led him to endorse Sunday, the first day of the week and a day dedicated to honoring the sun, as a weekly day of rest in the Roman empire . This created considerable hardship on those Jews and true Christians who continued to keep the biblical Sabbath on the seventh day of the week. (A century later the Council of Laodicea would essentially outlaw Sabbath-keeping and Christian observance of the Old Testament Holy Days.)
    Constantine’s merging religious practices produced a corrupted Christianity that meshed paganism with biblical elements; for example the followers of Isis adored a Madonna nursing her holy child. Many Christians did not make a clear distinction between this sun-cult [Mithraism] and their own. They held their services on Sunday, knelt towards the East and had their nativity-feast on 25 December, the birthday of the sun at the winter solstice.
    ” Did the empire surrender to Christianity, or did Christianity prostitute itself to the empire? When we consider the vast differences between the mainstream Christianity of today and the original Christianity of Jesus Christ and the apostles, we can trace much of that change to Constantine and the religious system he put in power. http://www.gnmagazine.org/issues/gn64/code_impact.htm
    “The working of divine agency in human affairs”

  • Kristin

    I am an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I attend the temple every week. It is my place of refuge, my place to pray, a place where spiritual ordinances take place. I crave the peace that is found there. It renews my spirit every time I attend. The world is so hard and full of wickedness. I love the privilege of living a life as close as I can to Godliness that I can attend the temple. It is a privilege members of the church strive for. Those who go are not perfect, but they love the Savior so much that they live their lives in a way that provides them this privilege. This is not something that we take lightly. In the world we live in this type of life takes diligence and absolute conviction! We strive to be wholesome in body and spirit, we strive to be giving to our fellow men, and we strive to dedicate everything in our lives to God.

    I understand that there are those who would want to understand what takes place within what we call a “sacred place”, and the temples are so beautiful, I can only imagine the intrigue. I wanted to understand as well before I was of age to go, but again, this was a privilege I needed to be spiritually ready for. By filming productions like this it belittles everything that we believe as sacred, everything that we strive for. There are those in the world who simply do not care what it belittles. I am disappointed that Tom Hanks is one of them. Nonetheless, I ask HBO to reconsider their course. I realize this kind of stuff sells. What a sad place we live in when we will sell our souls so ignorantly. Whether you believe in the church or not, can you not see that this act is wrong? Whether you hate Mormons because of there beliefs or accept them because you have no reason to hate them, even if you don’t know anyone that is Mormon, please stand up for what is right!

  • K

    Big Love is not a comedy show. It’s a drama. I’ve seen the first 2 seasons and they don’t portray polygamy as mainstream mormonism. In fact they make it fairly clear that there is a difference. I’m a former mormon and their depictions of mormonism have been fairly accurate and fair. They’ve never poked fun at it that I recall. I don’t expect otherwise from this episode.

    People are already complaining that it will be an unfair or inaccurate depiction and it hasn’t even aired yet. Can’t you withold judgment until you see it? Oh. Right. You won’t watch it because you’re already offended by it.

  • http://micketymoc.mchronicles.net/ micketymoc

    For me, this is about respect. There is too little respect for religion in this country. Too little respect for those that choose to believe in something higher and greater. People have lost their sense of respect.

    Why should religion be respected in the first place? If there’s a good reason for this, I’ve yet to hear it. Maybe the Mormons on this thread ought to answer that first before decrying our lack of “respect”.

  • Grimalkin

    britt - Have you ever watched Big Love? The fact that you say ” Big Love already portrays polygamy as a current Mormon practice, so we know accuracy is not their strong point [...] People who have left the church or those from different churches who practice polygamy would not be allowed into a Mormon temple” suggests to me that you have no idea what you are talking about.

    The show acknowledges that SOME current Mormons practice polygamy (which is completely true). Almost all the polygamist Mormons in the show live in a very small rural compound, completely segregated from the outside world. Much of the show’s drama stems from the family’s attempts to keep their polygamy secret from their Mormon neighbours – who DISAPPROVE of polygamy and frequently speak out against it. The family is not LDS (although the husband and the first wife used to be members, but they broke away when they decided to become polygamists). In fact, the family has no affiliations to any branch of the Mormon church. It’s really just silly for you to say that the show claims that Mormons are polygamists.

    Honestly, try to know what you are talking about before you start trying to tell others what’s what. If you don’t want to watch the show, fine. Just don’t try to claim that you know what it’s about or what it portrays.

    And by the way, I suspect that the scene in the temple will take place BEFORE the main character becomes a polygamist, as a flash-back. It is known in the show that he married his first wife while they were both LDS and that they were monogamous for about 15 years.

    Dakulis - As a psychology major, I’d expect you to have a much better grasp of the idea that a general rule does not necessarily apply to every single case. When I say that sacred things are kept secret for this and that reason, I am not saying that EVERY SINGLE CONVERT converted just for those reasons. I thought that would be obvious.

    That aside, I admit that investments are more reasons why you are unlikely to leave a group rather than why you are likely to join it.

    I know what Cognitive Dissonance is, by the way. The Investment Theory is related, but it isn’t the same thing. Are you sure you were a psych major?

    Molly - Worldwide, and yet almost entirely localised in North America (and, more specifically, around Utah). I think I’ve met maybe one or two Mormons since moving to Canada. I never met any in the U.S., and I hadn’t even heard of it before I moved to North America.

    Compared to the likes of Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, etc., Mormonism is a “smaller/localized” religion.

    Dakulis – “Ok, so we can agree, then, if it was actually a camera crew going into the temple and filming, that would offend you? But, an inaccurate representation by a comedy show making light of a temple ceremony, something that is sacred to me and millions of others, that doesn’t offend you? That makes perfect sense.”

    Big Love is a drama, not a comedy. You are also assuming that it’s inaccurate when you haven’t see it. How can you possibly know that it will be inaccurate? Finally, how do you know that they will be making light of it? Having actually watched Big Love (something you obviously haven’t done), I can tell you that they treat most of what they touch with a fair bit of respect. I haven’t ever seen them just poke fun of any aspect of Mormonism.

    “Moreover, I haven’t seen the show, and won’t, so I am merely assuming that they intend to show these scenes merely for “sensationalism” not to attempt to portray the very spiritual and important part that the temple plays in my religion.”

    Do you know what happens when you assume things? Let’s just say, it ain’t good. For all you know, they chose to show the ceremony because they want to show how spiritual and important it is for the characters. For all you know, it could be integral to the story.

    “This is a show doing something solely to rub a religion’s nose in it with no purpose but to offend and hold something up to ridicule, something that I hold to be very sacred.”

    There you go again, assuming things you can’t possibly know. The episode hasn’t been aired yet, so how can you possibly claim to know the purpose of the scene? How can you claim to know what the producers’ goal was?

    “Ok, you got me, I started venting a little bit there, too true. However, my point is a valid one, confession in the Catholic church is institutional. In order to obtain forgiveness, it is mandatory, you don’t get to bypass the confessional and go directly to God, like some Protestant and evangelical Christian churches. So, my point is valid even if I did vent a little too much.”

    No, not even close. Confessions are institutional, yes. But by their very nature, they involve one person telling very private, damning, embarrassing, and potentially reputation-destroying things with the understanding that it will be kept completely secret. Priests are never EVER allowed to tell anyone what they hear in confession. Making a private confession public could mean completely destroying someone’s life – causing her family to leave, lose her job, maybe even go to jail.

    Confession is an intimate thing. It would be like secretly filming a couple having sex and then posting it on the internet. It’s an invasion of privacy. A temple ceremony isn’t even close to being in the same category.

    By the way, the show was on long before Proposition 8. Your conspiracy theory doesn’t fly.

  • Brooke

    How do they justify the polygamists being in the temple anyway? That’s the first thing that comes to my mind- Polygs would NEVER be allowed in a temple if their religious leaders knew they were polygamists. They’d be excommunicated. Polygamy = NO NO in the Mormon church. Do they cover that in the storyline of the show- how this family must keep their secret from the church? Did they just lie their asses off during the interviews needed to get a temple recommend?

    I’m sure polygamists in reality HAVE attended the temple (and lied about their lifestyle to do it), but that can’t be at all common.

  • Grimalkin

    Brooke – I’ve only watched to the end of Season 2 because my country is a little behind what’s on US TV, so I can’t tell you exactly why they would be at the temple.

    However, I can tell you that the main character (I forget his name) and his first wife, Barb, were LDS and monogamous for about 15 years before they took in a second wife. They’ve also kept it a secret from pretty much everyone (except for a few characters who are also polygamists, but members of a breakaway cult and not LDS). A lot of the drama in the show revolves around trying to keep their lifestyle a secret.

    My guess is that the episode will include a flashback to the main character and Barb getting married. In other words, they would have been LDS and monogamous at that point.

    I’d also guess that the scene will probably be incredibly short, have nothing sensational or offensive, and will be a complete disappointment to all Mormons who decide to watch in the hopes that they will have something to feel angry about.

  • Russ

    I am LDS (Mormon) and I have been through the temple. I want to explain that I don’t find what is being depicted embarrassing or upsetting. What is taught by the ceremony and ordinances only brings me a greater understanding of my savior Jesus Christ. What I find offensive is that something that I hold sacred is being demeaned by a public display of something that is not secret (you can see most of the temple ceremony on the internet now days — also offensive); but sacred. There is a difference. When Moses went up to Mount Sinai to commune with God he was instructed to remove his shoes in an act of respect and dignity for the presence of the Lord. That is why we do not speak of it outside the temple. It is due to respect for what we feel is God’s. Why should you respect religion? For the same reason I respect your beliefs. You have the right to believe what you feel is right. I also have that right. I do not have the right to ridicule or disrespect you for your beliefs. You also do not have that right to ridicule or disrespect my beliefs. Belief in a god or belief in no god is still belief.

  • mirele

    The current members of the LDS Church who are complaining on this blog (I never knew so many Mormons to read an atheist blog, I’m surprised) fail to understand that the Temple and its interpretation does not exclusively belong to the Church. It also belongs to those of us who used to be members as well. And, presumably, that would also be the case for the (fictional) former Mormons now practicing polygamy Bill and Barb Henrickson.

    I can state from personal experience that the Temple endowment and associated experiences are as much a part of my psyche as they were when I was a member. (I resigned last November after Prop 8 and the Chad Hardy travesty.) I have dreams about the Temple, I occasionally think about it.

    And for you members to say to me, a non-member (I am not going with this “former member” jazz, as I told the Church in my resignation letter, I want to go back to the status quo ante) that I cannot talk about my experience because it might offend you, well, see my first sentence. You don’t own the Temple and its interpretation and you cannot keep people from talking about it.

    The Church has two choices in this matter: it can raise a stink (which is what PR is doing right now) or it can lay low. My suggestion is the latter. Why? Let me give you one very clear, salient example: the story of Xenu.

    Fifteen years ago, Xenu was the closely-held secret of the Church of Scientology and part of its Operating Thetan III (OTIII) “scriptures.” To read about Xenu, not only did you have to reach a certain point in your Scientology processing, but you also had to pay a significant wad of cash (around $100,000 in 1994 dollars) to find out (one of) the secrets of the universe according to L. Ron Hubbard. The Scientologists went so far as to raid and sue people who made the story of Xenu public.

    Fast forward fifteen years and Stephen Colbert can do an extended riff (most of a four minute sketch) last week on Xenu and his audience knows what he’s talking about. So much for secrecy.

    You raise a stink, more people are going to want to know what the fuss is all about. My suggestion is to let this sleeping dog alone. For all you know, this could be tastefully done, not expose any oaths or secrets and just be a flashback to the day she got married to Bill. But I can just about guarantee you that if you raise hell, people will use their good friend Google to find out more. And what they find is NOT what you want people to see.

  • beijingrrl

    It appears a lot of LDS are coming here to comment without ever having seen the show. I’ve seen the entire series and let me assure you it does definitely make the distinction between polygamous sects and mainstream.

    Although there are some humorous episodes, I think it is a thoughtfully produced show. The characters are not caricatures and their faith is not mocked. Although I am an atheist and do not accept the concept of religious faith, I can respect other people who do. I think Big Love treats the faith of their characters, mainstream and not, respectfully.

    I know that I now view the beliefs of the LDS and polygamists as no more crazy then any other religion. For those who believe in a religion, they probably have a more favorable view, too.

    I’m on the fence about whether they should show the sacred ceremonies. Initially, I did not think they should as I can understand why it would seem offensive to someone in the church.

    However, the argument that Catholic confessions are portrayed in a fictional manner without an uproar from that church does give me pause.

    I will certainly watch and I hope that it is treated as respectfully as other issues have been on the show in the past.

  • CatBallou

    The stupid, it burns!
    I’m astonished at how many LDS have come to an atheist site and begun rambling on about their religion.
    Alisa, Erin, Alexandria–no, your religious beliefs are not entitled to respect. Your right to hold those beliefs, yes. But when people believe ridiculous things, they are and should be mocked.
    Erin, your knowledge of the motives and religious beliefs of the “founding fathers” is laughable. Colonists who settled here to practice their own religions (many, many years before the “founding fathers” instituted a government) were themselves completely intolerant of other religions. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and many others were not even Christians, although they did believe in the existence of some sort of creator.
    Alexandria, when you say both “there is too little respect for religion” and “The majority of people have some sort of faith or belief,” you demonstrate only your lack of critical thinking skills. Obviously if the majority of people are religious, there is plenty of respect. You’re just whining because SOME people don’t respect religion. Boo hoo. Don’t want to be mocked or ridiculed? Stop believing in absurdities.
    Do your religious beliefs affect the rest of us? Of course. Not just in the specific, as with Prop 8, but in the overall functioning and progress of our shared society. Irrational people drag everyone down, they hold up social justice and scientific progress. Look no further than the ignorance of the “Intelligent Design” movement, and its attempt to undermine science education.

    Lest you think I’m just picking on the poor, misunderstood Mormons, I think Grimalkin is way off base too. She conflates the notion of respecting the privacy of others out of courtesy with some legal right to privacy. That’s not what I was talking about at all. The notion that individuals are no longer entitled to courtesy simply because they congregate is just wrong. “For all we know, the Mormon church sacrifices babies”?? Please, you don’t think that for a minute. For all we know, every time you have a party with your friends, you sacrifice a baby. My earlier post made an explicit exception for criminal activity.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    In the interest of factual accuracy, I should mention that my previous comment had errors. Well, it was not so much incorrect as it was out of date. Since 2005, the Washing and Annointing Ordinance has been changed to something much less shocking. See http://packham.n4m.org/temples.htm. Also, I would not assume that these practices are universally the same among all Mormons.

    I do not condone, by the way, mocking of this ceremony. I think it is all too easy to mock, and I don’t like being mocked myself. On the other hand, I have a really hard time feeling any sympathy for the need to keep something sacred, and therefore mostly secret. There is simply no analogy to anything outside religion. Personally, I would be much more concerned that they might get some of their facts wrong, thus misinforming the public.

  • Chal

    I don’t understand the problem here.

    They aren’t barging in on anyone’s private ceremony, they’re simply showing what goes on in the ceremony. Non-Mormons seeing this won’t affect Mormons in any way.

    And there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

  • http://briankeithanderson.com Brian Keith Anderson

    “the church defends the secrecy of these details passionately, claiming that they need to be confined within the temple due to their highly sacred nature.” Your SOURCE didn’t even get two sentences into the first paragraph before HE LIED. The endowment and marriage ceremonies are on file at the Library of Congress and have been there for decades. Get the facts or get bent. Moron.

  • Zar

    The Mormon population is a lot smaller than Mormons claim. Mormons count ex-Mormons (who haven’t officially broken off from the church due to fear of negative social consequences) and dead people they have posthumously converted among their numbers. Trufax!

    For me, this is about respect. There is too little respect for religion in this country. Too little respect for those that choose to believe in something higher and greater.

    Too little respect for those that love people of the same sex.

    They ask that respect be shown for their beliefs.

    How about showing respect for someone’s relationship?

    It is unfair that idle curiosity is taking precedence over who actually has a right to know.

    It’s also unfair that childish prejudice takes precedence over who actually has a right to make their own decisions.

    Whether we agree with their religion or not, is it really kind of us to encroach on something so important to them?

    Whether we agree with someone’s sexual preference or not, is it really kind of us to encroach on something so important to them?

    We live in a world where people mock what they don’t understand.

    Not only do they mock them, they accuse them of being sinful and even ban their practices!

    What is it that is so threatening about a group that holds sacred ceremonies?

    What is it that is so threatening about two men or two women getting married?

    As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the temple ceremonies are something that are very dear and sacred to me.

    As a person with many gay and lesbian friends as well as a healthy sense of empathy the chance to see my loved ones joined in matrimony is very dear to me.

    You might disagree with all that we as Mormon’s believe in. Fine. But do we not also have the right to our understanding of the sacred, and be allowed the privilege of worshiping God as we deem appropriate for us? Why the need to poke fun and amuse yourself at our personal expense? If the sacred is sacred for even one, then who are any of us to treat it otherwise?

    You might disagree with homosexuality. Fine. But do we not also have the right to our love, and be allowed the privilege of living our lives as we deem appropriate for us? Why the need to ban and oppress at our expense? If the loving is loving for even one, then who are any of us to treat it otherwise?

    etc

    (Seriously. Any of you who are offended by HBO but supported Prop 8 are hypocritical tyrants.)

  • Brian

    I think it is rather disingenuous to say that only those who belong to the LDS church, headquartered in Salt Lake, are Mormons. Those polygamists believe in the Book of Mormon just as much, and the B of M is just as much a part of the history of the Reorganized LDS church, the Church of Temple Lot, and the Strangites beliefs and foundation. The fact that the Salt Lake City Mormons are the biggest group gives them no exclusive right to that name. Should the biggest group of Christians claim exclusivity to the name, how would you feel? Are only Catholics Christians? You claim to be Christians because of your belief in Christ (rightly so, IMO). By the same path, these other groups that believe in the Book of Mormon are just as “Mormon” as you. Do unto others.

    Good luck, and it is TV. It doesn’t seem to respect what is sacred to others, but it doesn’t seem to be as mocking and sacrilegious as a South Park episode. Having your freedom of speech requires that you give the same to others, no matter how poor their taste (in your opinion).

    And Cat- You said that things should be mocked if you think they are dumb. That just isn’t nice. Maybe they should be exposed, brought to light, and definitely questioned. Belittling people you don’t agree with is a sign that your side is not as strong as you would wish (not saying that is true for this case. Don’t mock, question, investigate, and think about instead. It wins over peopel on the other side and is just nicer

  • Megan Hall

    There is are reason that we as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are quiet about the things we hold sacred, and that is because of shows like this, that make fun of the way we choose to worship. If you think of the things in your life that are most personal to you and then see them broadcast on television and scrutinized that would hurt… don’t you think? Think if it was you. What are the things you hold dearest to your heart?

  • Brian

    Last sentences should read.

    Don’t mock. Question, investigate, and think about instead. It wins over people and is just nicer.

  • Mark

    It’s disrespectful and highly offensive to Mormons to show their special ceremonies on TV. That much is clear. Atheists and religious people alike need show respect for each other! This sort of foolishness just causes strife and contention, like the Danish newspaper’s cartoons of Muhammad. We have to learn to disagree without being disagreeable.

  • Jim

    Some things in life are only as special as you treat them: you open the door for your girlfriend, you leave flowers on your grandfather’s grave, you wax your new car, etc.

    So if someone wants to hurt you, they find what is special to you and attack it. Teenagers do it to their parents, bullies do it to their victims, and apparently HBO does it to religions.

    I am a little concerned with how much the LDS community is reacting to Big Love because it will only encourage the bullies. Once they know they can get a reaction out of you, they will push the button again and again.

    Look at how this depiction is being done, and the venue, and the marketing. None of it points to a sincere attempt to educate or persuade – controversy is the headline.

    They are doing it because they know it is special, and they know it will hurt – not in the painful-medicine way, but like a slap to her face, a piss on the grave, a key to the car.

    If you are the type of person that wants to tune in to be part that, what are you saying about yourself?

  • Siamang

    I think it’s been shown here that the members of the LDS church here complaining are wrong about the nature of the show, and likely wrong about the way this scene will be touched on in the show. Those who watch the show report that religion is touched on thoughtfully and in a generally tasteful manner. The complaints by people who are proud to have never watched the show ring all the more hollow for it.

    But that doesn’t change my question, nor does the offense and calls for similar “respect” from foes of Prop 8. Prop 8 also offended my family, but I do not claim a right not to be offended.

    That aside, I’m still waiting for a “good for the gander” similar situation in secular society. Is there something that grants similar “making a movie about this is OFF-LIMITS!!! and everyone better respect it!!” in non-religious society?

    Let’s say I, Siamang, thinks something my local club does is similarly special. Let’s say there’s an atheist club, where we talk about atheist things. And we think that’s pretty special. Will all Mormons decide here and now to respect that and never say anything bad about what goes on in the seekret atheist meetings?

    What if an atheist converts to LDS church? Can he never give a power-point presentation, or a skit or a movie showing the seedy underbelly of atheism?

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    I can’t begin to worry about Mormons hurt feelings because their “sacred” rites, rituals, garments and other religious trappings are being broadcast. Considering the heinous lack of respect they’ve shown other people, LGBTs in particular, they have no right to demand that their religion be respected.

  • Tupou

    What a sad world we are living in. If you are so curious about the events that take place in the temple all you have to do is read the Bible. It will be very boring for nonLDS to watch this dipiction and will be left saying what was the big fuss about? The people who value the ceremonies and their meaning are sick to see someone blast in on television for profit and personal gain(Tom Hanks). This country is starting to be one of religious intolerance and the free world is being slave to what some think “free” really means. The views that I have read that oppose the LDS all seem very angry. What have we done to you? Thrown stones and called you names? I don’t think so, it just isn’t in our nature. Make sure the ridiculous statements you are claiming are backed up by fact. Want to know more about the LDS religion? Read it’s main sources…The Book of Mormon and the Bible. Still have questions…try God. If you don’t believe in him there is no harm in having an opened mind and finding out for sure, right?

  • Tupou

    Buffy,
    We didn’t make prop.8 we just practiced our right to vote as did many Catholics,Jews, Blacks, Asians and Hispanics who made up the majority of the vote. Maybe you should find out what is really making you so angry…

  • Jim

    @Zar

    if the same-sex community were as open about their relationships as Mormons are about their temples, prop 8 never would have been forced.

  • angsty

    What a terrific blog post (and interesting comments)!

    I’m a former member of the LDS church and my family and friends who are Mormon have been VERY upset over Big Love in general from its inception. This episode, even if it just shows Barb in temple costume, will be very upsetting for most Mormons who take their faith seriously.

    I think presenting anything related to the temple is a good thing. Part of the LDS church’s strategy for hooking potential members is that it doesn’t give them complete information up front, but gives it to them a little at a time.

    Before I went through the temple, I was given very little relevant information. If I had been told clearly what I would have been participating in, I wouldn’t have gone (some of the objectionable practices have since been eliminated).

    If information is more widely available, potential members can make a more-informed decision from the beginning. I’m all for that.

  • LSmith

    I find it interesting as a member of the LDS church who has participated in ALL the temple ordinances – that they would even put this in a television show. Interesting in the sense that I’m not sure how it ties in with the storyline because I’m not sure that the other “mormon” break off sects who do still practice polygamy (unlike the LDS church who stopped over a century ago before Utah was a state)have in their practice as far as as the temple ceremonies, or the clothing used in them. While they may have researched the ceremonies and the clothing as such information is readily available online to those who are curious, I still just don’t quite understand why they choose to confuse religions with each other unless confusion is the goal?

    It does not bother me that they are doing this because showing such things does not detract from how sacred we hold them to be, or the reverence in which they are used. If people are really that curious, fine, let them see. It’s not going to help their understanding of the whole thing because it’s quite out of context.

    As for “magical” underpants that keep getting mentioned – this term really makes me laugh. There is NOTHING magic about them. They are a reminder of covenants, just like many Orthodox Jews still wear only in different fashion (same idea) and they are a guide for modesty among the members of the church. We believe you receive blessings for wearing them as they are instructed to be worn (for rememberance and in obedience) but there are no magical properties in these undergarments – which are in fact more than pants. Again – look up pictures if you’re curious, but you won’t really understand the fully meaning to someone LDS unless you talk to one who understands those things.

    There are so many people in this world who are anxious to find fault with all kinds of religion, any religion, any beliefs outside their own, and so much intolerance. I choose not to be one of those people who criticizes or cuts others down. It’s quite backwards of the tell tale signs of intelligence and maturity in human beings to mock what is sacred to others, and to cricize and ridicule. People really ought to get over the need to fling insults like grade schoolers – it’s very degrading to themselves.

  • JCP

    In the temple ceremony, the participants are commanded to keep it “secret” not sacred. The “sacred” explanation is given by church members that don’t have the cajones to stand up for their beliefs and tell outsiders that they have taken blood oaths to keep it secret.

    (former temple recommend holder, returned missionary, married in the temple.)

  • Solamente

    Really, the LDS folks got their garmies in a knot over this? This is a television program, not an educational workshop on why the LDS Church is Odd. Move on and change the channel! I would hope the program stays true to the actual ceremony, that is about as respectful as I would expect them to be; then if they go and discuss how odd or flat out nutty the ceremony made them feel, good for them. Alternately, if the characters discuss the spiritual lift and completeness they now enjoy, equally fantastic.

    The point is, sacred, secret, beautiful, weird, honest, or out of context, it is a television program! If you equate this episode to porn, and are so offended, then change the channel! Until the right of free speech is whisked away, executives, bloggers, actors, exmormons, reporters, you name it will talk about LDS temple ceremonies, sometimes in a documentary way, sometimes as a faith promoting story, sometimes as a great joke. It is all about perspective.

    Last time I checked no one said a word about television programs creating storylines about abusive Catholic priests. Cause it was just entertainment, and we all like different types. Live and let live, and keep your ceremonies sacred in your home and keep mum. Of course, if your neighbor watches the show and asks about it tomorrow, then you might do better to just move.

  • Big T

    I can’t believe HBO big love is doing this. The Mormons have made it clear that this is something sacred to them.

    What will happen is they’ll completely miss represent what really goes on while spitting in the face of something a religious group holds sacred.

    Unbelievable that they are doing this. I just DO NOT get this. Tom Hanks where is the sense of decency to the Mormons?

  • CatBallou

    No, Brian, gullibility and the lack of critical thinking skills are ripe for mockery. If you tell me that the stars determine you life, or that you believe in leprachauns, unicorns, and fairies, or a hundred other unfounded ideas, I will mock you. People whose ideas aren’t founded on reason are very seldom susceptible to conversion by reason.

    You’re all whining that you want your religious beliefs to be “respected.” You know what the ultimate sign of disrespect is? Missionary work. If you really respected the religious beliefs of others, you’d leave them alone. But no, you’re so sure you’re right and they’re wrong! Hypocrites.

  • CColton

    I find it so sad that other people not of our faith can’t just understand that there are some things so close to your heart, that to share it with the outside world, not only degrades it; but makes it less special and less important to you. I know there are many things that people not of the LDS faith would not like broadcasted all over television. Take celebrities. Every part of their private lives is sloshed and degraded and down-played on the internet, on TV and on the radio. I don’t think that most people would like having a private, intimate moment with their spouse or significant other published and written all over the internet! I hope that others will understand this, and that if they want to learn more about the temple, all they have to do is ask an LDS friend our check out the LDS website. They don’t need to think its some secret religious rite. Its not secret–its sacred and special.

  • Enoch

    Any religious symbol (of which the Latter-day Saint Endowment is saturated) does two things… It reveals and it conceals. Paul spoke of the Gospel understanding as both milk and meat. For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the temple teachings are meat. Those who have not had the milk will not understand the endowment, and will be confused by what they see. Inside the temple there is an atmosphere of respect and searching for truth. It is a sacred space. If you take the endowment out of the temple, and out of this atmosphere all that will be seen are the symbols. The true meanings will be concealed. Whatever is left can then be easily misunderstood. Anything out of context does not portray the intended message. On top of this, the characters of this HBO show are polygamous. Polygamists are not allowed in temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and therefore do not even participate in the ceremonies at hand. The writers of this show are intentionally trying to confuse this concept to the public. Yes, we hold these ceremonies sacred because it gives us a deeper meaning of who we are and what our relationship with Jesus Christ is. For all those who are LDS remember, “No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, [and] nobly…” Let’s state that we do not like our pearls being strewn around, but after word turn the other cheek and let us bear up our cross. We are in good company.

  • Dave

    I can only imagine the uproar if the Dome of the rock was shown on TV and what goes on inside. Non Muslims are not allowed in. Why no uproar with Mormons? Hollywood claims they want everything fare yet they dont practice what they preach.

  • curious

    Lots of posts but no one objects to the sexism? Really? She’s the one up for punishment…remind you of any other famous women in religion? Don’t watch, don’t really care. I’m just tired of the old patriarchal dance…

  • tamarind

    Oh boy, the Mormons found Friendly Atheist and all jumped in! I wonder where it was linked from.

    What goes on in the temple is very toned down compared with what it used to be. The endowment ceremony once involved stripping completely naked and being touched in several places by a temple worker (of the opposite sex, of course). What is absolutely hilarious is that Mormons who’ve gone through the temple more recently would not believe this if you told them.

    The changes that have been made to the endowment ceremony over the years are absolutely fascinating. They’ve made it less sexist, less strange, and less frightening for a first-timer.

    Parts of the endowment ceremony that were removed:
    - An oath to avenge the blood of the prophets upon the nation (the U.S.) [removed 1919-1927]
    - Agreeing to graphic penalties for sharing the “signs & tokens” of the temple: slitting one’s throat and disemboweling one’s stomach.
    - Reference to Satan’s having black skin. [removed 1970s]
    - Syllables purported to having meaning in the Adamic language. [removed 1990]
    - Women no longer covenant to obey the law of their husbands. Language which faults Eve for initiating the Fall is dropped. Many references to Adam are replaced with references to Adam and Eve. [removed 1990] – In 2005, participants began fully clothing themselves in the garment before entering the washing room, thus eliminating the final vestiges of ritual nudity (which had been gradually curtailed since the 1920s). Water and oil are now applied to the head only, not to multiple parts of the body.

    **What’s sad is that eventually, the endowment ceremony will contain nothing even remotely alarming.** Mormons don’t know their own history. If they realized just how racist, sexist, fraudulent and ridiculous their church was in the past, they would leave mormonism in droves.

  • Mary

    Thank you, Friendly Atheist, for taking the time to post what is going on in the religious world today. ((By the way, this was linked in through Google if you did a search on Big Love Temple Ceremony))

    There have been many comments posted regarding secret vs. sacred – then we have the really nutty ones that turned this into a proposition 8 issue – even though Many of the visitors to this site don’t even live or deal with California issues.

    I think that whatever HBO does, they have told the Mormon church that they would do it tastefully and respectfully – and I think that they should be given a chance to prove that they have done just that. It’s going to be aired whether Mormons like it or not and the best that they can do is be prepared to answer questions to those that may have it.

    I agree, if a person chooses to have a faith or belief in a religion, then they should know about it, know it’s history, and definitely not force it on anyone else. A truly faithful person will study their faith and beliefs and understand that the Bible, through Jesus Christ, states that you are to Love your neighbors as yourself and that it is not up to you to judge – that is God’s job.

    Cat – you should take it easy or you are going to give yourself an ulcer. My advice to you is to not sweat the missionary work being done – it’s done by JWitnesses, Mormons, Baptists, and many other faiths. Maybe that’s the only creative way they can come up with to “Spread the word” – who knows.

    It has been very insightful reading the posts made here. As with everything in this world, there are two sides. When it comes to “respect” (As mentioned so many times) perhaps both sides deserve some respect. The non mormons who don’t want to have things shoved in their face, but are obviously curious about what happens behind the walls of those white buildings, and the mormons- who obviously hold these ceremonies in a very special regard.

  • Travis

    I just heard about this upcoming episode on Big Love today. In fact, I’ve never even heard of the show. Parts of the official church response where quoted in the local nightly news and so I was curious what was really going on. I happened to come across this posting from a quick google search and I have read all the posts with some interest.

    I personally am not worried about what will be aired on the show. I won’t watch it, because I don’t have cable, and I will probably forget that it was even supposed to happen soon. I mostly wanted to post because nobody has linked in the LDS church’s official response to the upcoming episode. The Publicity Dilemma.

    If you want to know the church’s official response, as opposed to others’ personal feelings, please read it.

  • tamarind

    I do not have the right to ridicule or disrespect you for your beliefs. You also do not have that right to ridicule or disrespect my beliefs.

    Are our public schools really so bad that no one informed you of your fundamental rights?

  • anonymous

    Mormons aren’t polygamists, they haven’t been for over 100 years. Big Love doesn’t portray mormons in a proper light. They used to claim that they were portraying the FLDS group, however this new temple stunt shows that they were lying.

    Oh well, just goes to show that nothing is sacred anymore. Not sex, not marriage, not children not life and especially not religious beliefs.

  • AxeGrrl

    If the Mormon church didn’t spend millions of dollars in attempt to negatively affect the real lives of other people who aren’t even in the same state they are, you’d probably see a little more ‘automatic respect’ for the church.

    But as it is, since the Mormon church has demonstrated a complete lack of respect for loving relationships that have nothing to do with them, there’s little motivation for me to give the church respect unilaterally.

    I say this, but I have absolutely NO desire to purposely/actively offend anyone in the Mormon church for no reason…..I’m just saying that the church (in my eyes, personally) and its highly organized/highly funded campaign to get marriage privileges taken away from same-sex couples ~ people whose lives have absolutely NO affect on theirs ~ has severely diminished my previous neutral-but-respectful attitude towards the Mormon church.

  • CatBallou

    Oh mynonexistent gods, I can’t believe the arrogance, pearl-clutching, and cognitive dissonance the “devout” here are capable of.
    Let’s see, “our rites are so much more meaningful and sacred than your rites, you can’t possibly understand.” Really? You think that the ceremonies of the Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, etc., are less meaningful to their congregants? My wedding was incredibly meaningful to me, as was my father’s funeral, but I don’t get my panties in a twist when I see weddings and funerals in movies. No one is recreating your particular ceremony, so it isn’t an intimate moment of your life. It’s a ceremony that, by your account, millions of people undergo.
    Speaking of which, some of you are simultaneously bragging about the wide distribution of the LDS and whining about being persecuted. Get your story straight. You seem to be doing just fine, but you like the victim image.
    A major source of strife between early Mormons and others was polygamy, and the church’s leaders were eventually happy to disavow that fundamental tenet. Way to stick up for your principles!

    And then we have the “No True Scotsman” argument: “Real” Mormons don’t act this way. As someone else noted, if they think they’re Mormon, they are.

    And my favorite, fatwa envy! “You’re picking on us, but you wouldn’t treat the Muslims that way!” Yes, but HBO isn’t interested in showing respect to Islam. They’re interested in avoiding acts of terrorism. The Danes don’t regret publishing those cartoons; they were responding to threats and standing up for their status as a free country. Now you’re whining because you’re not considered a threat.
    I started this thread as sympathetic to the notion of respecting the rites of the LDS, but after reading these weak arguments (not to mention the pointless “testifying”), I’ve changed my mind.

  • Converted to Mormonism

    I am a convert to the LDS Church and am hurt that no one’s beliefs can be held sacred.

    It is a shame how those who cry for tolerance are intolerant, and those who cry for equality don’t practice it.

    It is sad that in today’s society common decency and respect really are not common after all.

  • C.Dunn

    It really isn’t about something secret.
    If it were secret, then we’d build underground building, or something else to hide it.
    The temple rites are sacred, and people should be prepared before they take part in them.
    Showing them on air is just another example of people’s insensitivity.
    Would you appreciate somebody broadcasting you and your significant other have intimate relations on national television?
    No, probably not.
    That’s sacred, the fact that it happens isn’t secret.

  • just drop it

    tamarind…

    Where did you get all of your information? You seem to be quite the expert.

  • Warna Biru

    I think its great that theres a group of people who are ignorant of a religion yet discuss so much about it. Those who think they know so much about it, and the temple ceremonies, yet don’t consider the fact the Mormons ARE aware of the temple ceremonies history. Do you honestly think mormons, who already hold the ceremonies as sacred, would somehow be willing to discuss this with you? You’ve got to be missing a few brain cells if you wonder why there are no apologists on this subject. You’ll see what you want to see and hear what you want to hear. Being curious is no crime, I’d like to know what you do behind closed doors too… hilarious really…

  • Brian

    Cat,

    I am not saying that you should not criticize others beliefs. I have no problem whatsoever with the Big Love show. I think the tone of the show is not mocking, however.

    I do think some Mormon things are crazy. I am also not sure I am right. I think it was Twain that said the surety with which I know that another’s religion is folly leads me to suspect my own. I do suspect my own, and I believe that others have a right to believe what they will.

    When I say mocking is not nice, I would challenge you to find a great philosophical leader who recommends it. Gahndi, King, Confucious, Buddha, Jesus, dali lama. . All pretty wise guys and they were not fans of mocking others. You can mock anything you want, and Mormons should just suck it up and quit there griping (and they should), but I am saying it isn’t kind behavior.

    I will freely give you that many mormon proselytizers are irritating, pushy, and out of line. Some very visible members of almost all groups are kind of jerks. I will also give you that the many of the posters believe that because they really are the right ones (they really know unlike those others that say they are right- they are special), they get special status. It’s BS. It goes back to the principle that this belief is a unique little snowflake- Just like all the others.

    Still, don’t be a jerk to others even if they are a little weird is not some advanced theology.

  • BarnCat

    Okay – the person who said he wasn’t allowed to attend an uncle’s funeral because it was in some room? That isn’t gonna happen. Funerals just take place in a chapel. Maybe somebody said, “You have to dress in your Sunday best,” or something. But nobody is EVER kept out of a funeral – and there are no roooooms for that.

    This is what bothers me, that people jump to conclusions and assume weirdness and whatever. LDS people are not mean, not cruel, not stupid. They have rituals that are sacred and symbolic to remind them that they are supposed to be what pretty much all Christian people are supposed to be – honest, faithful, willing to sacrifice their time and resources to help people, true to their commitments – like marriage – true to their marriage.

    It’s not that you’re NOT SUPPOSED TO SEE. It’s that the temple is a place where only people who are really serious about being all those things I listed above go to make promises to God. I know that promises don’t mean much anymore. Every idiot in the world stands up and says “I do” in any conventional wedding ritual but he really means, yeah – until I don’t feel like it, or until I don’t get what I want, or until it gets boring. The Mormon people feel like the promises they make to God – about those things I listed above, remember – that they are REAL promises. And it’s better you don’t make them at all than to make them and lie to God about it, or turn out to be too shallow or selfish or whatever to keep them.

    Lying to God, or taking him lightly? Never a great idea. I’m not talking fire and brimstone. I’m talking I believe he’s real and he knows everything and everything belongs to him. So anyway, the Temple is a quiet, clean place where you think hard about what you really want to be in your life, and you make promises – to be honest, to sacrifice your stuff and time to help people, to be true to your husband or wife, and you mean these things. You really mean them.

    that’s really basically all it is. Wooooo – it’ll make really, really good TV, won’t it? Try not to fall asleep.

    These people are just dis-respectful. It’s like they put a camera in the window of your house and then put your family up on youtube for people to laugh at. Nice.

  • Kevin

    Catballou,
    Thank you for respecting our rites as LDS members. No “weak” arguments needed…in fact, no arguments needed at all. What is sacred is sacred. I for one appreciate your willingness to offer that.

  • BarnCat

    Oh, sorry. One more thing. Polygamy was practiced over 100 years ago in the church. NEVER since. Those who kept doing it were escorted out of the church (symbolically). There is no secret continence of it. For more years than any of you guys have been alive, LDS people have had NOTHING to do with this practice. There have been polygamists who have lied to get into the temple – that much is true, but it really doesn’t make any sense. If you don’t believe in the actual authority of a church, and you break its rules – which shows you have no respect for it – then why would you want to get inside the heart of the church, like it still counts for you???

    Polygamists ARE NOT MORMONS. In fact, some polygamists I’ve heard are very insulted to be associated with what they consider a corrupt form of true religion. So do both groups a favor, and don’t try to make them part of each other.

  • Taylor

    I bet it is going to be a flashback involving the first wife who was raised as a mainstream mormon and is seen in temple clothes in the TV guide article.

  • Jordan Rivers

    I’m LDS, an active member, and I attend the temple regularly. I know it’s hard to understand the secrecy in a world that is all about full exposure. Honestly though, the temple ceremony is nothing but words and actions performed in a place that is very special to us. I think the world would find it boring. I was pleasantly surprised my first time when I saw how un-weird it actually was. But to us it’s sacred. It is meaningful and important to us, but I guess the “secrecy” causes overactive minds to go crazy. I hope that this televised breach of privacy bores all these people who are hoping to finally see what goes on in the temples to death. It would seem fitting…there’s really nothing to see, and the things that are there to be gained from it could never be gained from a lazy boy sitting in front of a TV.

  • Rieux

    Like catballou, I am a bit flabbergasted at the sudden influx of complaining Mormons on a thread at an atheist blog.

    Folks, it appears that you have a poor understanding of your audience here. You’re clearly missing some rather fundamental aspects of what it means to be an atheist—on this blog, and indeed in American life generally. For one thing, we atheists do not, as a rule, grant your widespread presupposition that your declaration that some ritual or practice is “sacred” or secret thereby renders it off limits to our intellectual examination, critique, or—yes—mockery. Quite clearly you’re unhappy that various practices or beliefs of yours are not treated with the kid-gloved deference you’d prefer. Well, tough. That’s life in the adult world; that’s the nature of the free marketplace of ideas. Please suck it up and stop whining.

    We who are not Mormons do not actually have a moral duty to respect your beliefs, much less your self-serving declarations that your ideas or practices are “sacred.” When we conclude that those beliefs and/or practices are irrational, silly, discriminatory, wasteful, or destructive, we have the right—both a legal right and a moral one—to say so.

    Indeed, we have both a legal and a moral right to express our critical ideas, whether on a blog, in a book, in a speech, or on a television series. Quite evidently, you don’t like that critical examination. Equally evidently, that provides us with no responsibility to avoid hurting your oversensitive feelings.

    Religious privilege—the unfortunately widespread notion that religious ideas or practices deserve to be protected from the slightest critique or intellectual attack—has the effect of rendering atheists and nonbelievers second-class citizens. Please stop trying to muzzle your critics merely because hearing and seeing what we have to say about your ideas makes you unhappy.

    Multiple Mormons on this thread have appealed to “the sacred” as a value that must needs be respected. But many, many of us atheists do not concede that sacredness deserves deference:

    The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas—uncertainty, progress, change—into crimes.

    Salman Rushdie

    That man is demonstrably all-too-familiar with the dangers of “the sacred”—and his most infamous work has some bleedingly obvious parallels with the television show being discussed on this thread. The several wannabe Ayatollahs on this thread would do well to meditate on the parallels between The Satanic Verses and Big Love. Do you really want to side with Khomeini against Rushdie?

  • Stephie

    “What the hell actually goes on in these ceremonies that I’m not allowed to see? Wouldn’t it be better if these ceremonies were out in the open? It could clear up misunderstandings and allow us to critique what really happens instead of some false caricature.”

    I’m inclined to agree with you here. It seems to me that a religious group that wants to be taken seriously, and not treated as a cult, should, uh, I dunno, maybe not act so much like a cult? I definitely want to see this show now. I haven’t gotten HBO for quite some time, and I’m starting to feel a little deprived… Or it could just be the feeling you get from watching American Idol, you know, where your brain starts to self-destruct…

  • Stephie

    @AxeGrrl: I agree with you for sure, but I thought I’d pass along a funny little bit of food for thought at the extremely amusing risk of being flamed by MORMONS of all people, on an atheist board…

    Someone pointed out to me recently, after this whole prop 8 debacle, that it actually would BENEFIT mormons to support gay marriage rights. This is because once marriage equality is uniformly and federally recognized in the US, mormons could then claim (not necessarily successfully, mind you) that they, polygamists, are a minority, and their rights to marry “as many damn chicks as they want” should be federally protected as well. So really, the further back they wish to send other minority groups in their fight for equal rights, the further back they send themselves, because, as I said in my earlier post, they seem to enjoy playing the part of crazy, myopic, close-minded cult that they appear. Now, typically, a cult-like religion would do well with making nicey-nice with outsiders, because, let’s face it, polydactyly is not especially attractive when you gotta see that person with 12 fingers every Sunday. But since mormons WISH to be so secretive and, frankly, bitchy about their precious beliefs, maybe they should have kept their noses out of gay people’s business. They got a hell of a lot of nerve being upset in any fashion about any backlash they might have received from funding a hate campaign. It would be like if the KKK were suddenly confused as to why most people don’t like them. Not that mormons and the KKK are the same or anything. I’m just saying it’s a little ridiculous.

  • GullWatcher

    Catballou and Rieux, you nailed it (and thanks for the great Salman Rushdie quote). The claim that this is about ‘sacred’ or ‘private’ rather than ‘secret’ is nonsense, and the arguments given here by Mormons about how this is harmful or damaging to them are ridiculous. It’s totally about secret, and not wanting it known by the uninitiated (I wonder if those who compared it to a fraternity had any idea how much that didn’t help the cause?). I suspect the sheer banality of these secret sacred ceremonies are what the church is most afraid of having revealed.

    Many things are considered sacred and private – marriages, birth, baptisms, sex – and we see them portrayed constantly on TV and movies, and in no way does it make it any less sacred or private for people going through those ceremonies. It doesn’t matter how HBO does it, it doesn’t matter why they do it, they are not violating anyone’s privacy by a depiction of a ceremony by actors. Neither does this depiction of the rituals interfere with anyone’s right to worship how they see fit. Are these Mor(m)ons completely incapable of understanding these not-too-difficult concepts?

    I don’t think any group on earth so revels in the mantle of victimhood as the religious do. They do so love their self-invented martyrdoms….

  • AxeGrrl

    Kevin said:

    What is sacred is sacred.

    Indeed.

    Does the Mormon church only respect what is ‘sacred’ to its own members? or does that ‘respect for sacredness’ extend to what those outside the church hold as ‘sacred’?

    I ask this as though it’s a rhetorical question because the Mormon church’s actions in the Prop 8 decision clearly suggest that they don’t respect things that other people consider ‘sacred’.

    Please don’t ask for respect that you don’t reciprocate.

    Yes, it’s as simple as that.

  • KC

    I hope they use the pre 1930ish ceremony. The one that made the participants swear an oath of vengeance against the U.S. Gov. up to the fourth generation. Or something like that. How spiritual is that?

  • Skeptimal

    Dakulis said: “The timing of this is just too interesting to ignore when the California Supreme Court heard arguments on Prop. 8 just last week, then again, I think the free publicity and “buzz”, just look at how worked up I am, couldn’t hurt the show either, huh?”

    Although I can’t say with certainty about this particular episode, most commercially produced shows that require a lot of research have to be written months ahead of time, so the timing is *probably* coincidental.

    Is the episode going to be respectful? I don’t know. The plot line involves some Mormons taking vengeance on the lead family for trying to expose a historical letter that “proves” the church never intended to end polygamy. Up to this point, the portrayal of the LDS Church has been respectful and, frankly, uncontroversial.

    As to whether this treads on sacred ground, I don’t see how it *can* without actually filming inside a real temple. Although I’m not a Mormon, so there are probably sensitivities I’m not goint to fully “get.”

    Please understand that some very destructive groups have hidden horrible and abusive practices under the guise of “sacred” rituals. Does the American public have a *right* to know what every religious group does behind closed doors? No. But worse harm would come if respect for others’ religion was taken so far that no one could talk about anything that wasn’t first approved by the group itself.

  • petursey

    I think someone posted something about this on some mormon-lovers website.

    All religions should have their silly secret ceremonies shown on TV..then everyone can see what self-serving, money grabber, hate peddling entities these so called churches are.

    The LDS Church was the main source of funding against the promotion of equality in California. If a Church that believes in love, brotherhoos, secret handshakes and silly ceremonies can peddle such hatred then it deserves to be mocked ..and hurt where it hurts by being taxed !!

    Don’t take this as “mormon-hatred”..I think all theist religions are the same..until they promote their principles of love and equality and non-hatred and exclusion (as well as the barbaric treatment of women and children) then they should be removed of their charitable status and legal protections.

  • Sonia

    Would you want a bunch of people watching you have sex? Would you want a camera in your room while you do it? Would you want a movie made about the ways you are intimate with your spouse?

    That’s what it feels like to the LDS people. This is a VERY sacred ordinance to them- as sacred as sexual relations with their spouses.

    An LDS person feels totally violated when these things are made known publically.

    Throughout history there have been temples that only certain members were aloud to enter- you have to be prepared to make those sacred covenants.

    It’s like a preschooler, you wouldn’t want to have to a preschooler be responsible for the calculus you tried to teach them. They don’t understand it- so if you expected them to teach about integrals- they would have no clue.

    The same goes for this temple ceremony. Everyone who is not spiritually prepared does not understand the deep meaning and covenants made therein.

    ANYONE can enter the temple. It’s no secret. You just have to be living a chaste and worthy life first.

  • Sonia

    I also thought I’d add that if you really want to see a temple in real life and in a respectful manner- the LDS church holds “open houses” after they are built for the general public to go through. There are several that are “open” right now.

  • Sensible Mom

    My experience with mormonism is that it is a lot less strange than most other religions. How about the ornate outfits that Catholic leaders parade around in, chanting, swinging candle things, or Jewish hats with ringlets hanging down, Jewish women with shaved heads and wigs, Turbans and hair thats never been cut, Red dots on the forehead, and countless other symbols that religion uses to set themselves apart or worship God. I have no interest in making followers of any religion feel uncomfortable about it. It’s general courtesy. I don’t think mormons are in any way ashamed of their rituals, but uncomfortable that they are being disrespected so rudely. This is just another example of the liberal media, to whom nothing is sacred, targeting people of faith as dumb and/or fanatical so they can feel better about their meaningless lives. The religious majority can see through that, and the rest of the floundering population can watch the show.

  • Steven

    Lindsey F wrote:
    “It is most certainly an issue of respect. To Latter-day Saints, the temple, and what occurs inside, are sacred things. I believe that even former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should show respect to current members by not sharing with the rest of the world things that are regarded as sacred.”

    When I first saw Hemant’s post about upcoming Mormon temple scenes in the TV show Big Love I thought “I wish Lindsey were still contributing to the site”.
    I hope that Lindsey F is in fact Mrs. Jensen and that she still drops by Friendly Atheist from time to time.
    I agee that there are plenty of things that are sacred – human rights, human lives, human dignity. I don’t agree that dressing up in ceremonial robes and enacting made-up rituals is sacred in any way. It’s all part of the “bells and smells” theatricality that religious organizations have used for centuries to impress their flocks. What is truly amazing is that what worked on the illiterate and uneducated centuries ago works today among some of most sophisticated people in history.
    Secret handshakes are not sacred – that sounds a lot like talking into your hat.

  • Mormon Boy

    If the author is a friendly atheist I would hate to meet an unfriendly one. If you had a nice family portrait and say everyone did not look so nice or were too perfect would you like it put on TV where people would discuss the looks of your family. This is like a guest going through the bathroom cabinets. The friendly atheist is not so friendly.

  • Old Beezle

    1) I’m glad so many Mormons are contributing to Friendly Atheist!
    2) I’m amazed at how many of these mormons are trying to concoct a defense around the idea that showing the temple ceremonies is like showing someone have sex (as Sonia said above–and many others: “Would you want a bunch of people watching you have sex?”). It’s almost as if you learned it from the same Sunday school lesson. All of your answers and reasons sound the same. I have yet to hear any real logic used in defense of the secrecy surrounding the Masonic-style rituals. Keep going if you want to build that logical bridge between temple ceremonies and porn. I think you may have a shot because the temple is the only place (besides a doctor’s office) where I have been simultaneously naked and touched by a man. I’m referring to the washing and annointing that takes place prior to the endowment ceremony. The church has since changed this practice so that the initiate is no longer naked during this portion, but dressed in his underwear/garments. Funny that god’s sacred endowment has been changed so very many times. Not funny for those of us who had to endure the abuse of it. So I guess I agree in part–I wouldn’t want my naked body shown on tv while an old man blesses my giblets.

    The fact is that most Mormons aren’t aware of their own history. How many wives did Joseph Smith have? Hint–it’s more than just Emma as portrayed in the church propaganda piece playing near temple square. How did Joseph translate the BoM? Hint: it had to do with a magic rock and a hat. Lastly, what was the date that the Melchezidek priesthood was “restored”? Hint–you’re not going to find the answer to this one because the church itself doesn’t know (and no cheating with Aaronic priesthood dates!).

    Get the answers to these and you might have a better idea of how much the men in suits in Salt Lake have been avoiding and hiding all these years. Or are those moments in church history simply too sacred to talk about…like the temple? Or do you not talk of them because they truly are embarrassing to you?

    By the way, Joseph Smith was killed because he ordered a printing press destroyed that was exposing his secret polygamy practices. It is a fundamental part of the Mormon psyche to hide things from outsiders. That smells like fear to me.

  • Peter

    awww poor little mormons getting upset…

    @Sonia.. it’s spelled ALLOWED not aloud… gee those mormon schools sure are good..they can’t teach spelling but they can sure teach hate crime !

  • http://jeffmilner.com Jeff Milner
  • Amber

    I am not a religious person, but I think it is sad whenever someone’s sacred beliefs are exploited for entertainment purposes. If people don’t believe the teachings of a faith, why do they care what goes on in the ceremonies of that faith? As a society, we should really rexamine our morbid curosity for things like this – especially if we label ourselves as “open-minded.”

  • Kevin

    First of all, Siamang Says, ‘Mormon’ funerals don’t take place in some secret room. They’re either at a funeral home or the chaple of a church that all people can go to.

    Will there be a huge outrage from LDS people? Well if your expecting us to threaten HBO with powder in envelops or picket them and disrupt them as was done to us becuase of Prop 8, don’t hold your breath. I personally find it extremely disappointing that people just can’t leave it alone. Eli’s sons in the Old Testemant just couldn’t let it go that their father wouldn’t let them past the veil to the Holy of Holies where the Ark and the Covenant rest. So, they stole it and took it into battle only to loose it to their enemies, never to see it again.

    Sacred covenants and rituals have been a part of God’s religion since Adam and Eve. We don’t let people take high positions in government until we’ve conducted extensive background checks to ensure they won’t damage the government. Why then is it so odd that God’s church would teach people basic principles first, invite them to accept them, then add to their knowledge and invite them to make covenants when they’re ready. There are so many examples of people who knew a lot of God’s truth and fell away. The more you know about the truth of the Gospel, the more accountable you become for not acting on it.

    Unfortunately, as ‘accurate’ as this portrail will try to be, it will be done without the proper intent. Doctrine like this wasn’t intended to be experimented with like this on TV. It was meant to be taught and participated in with true intent and understanding. With the whole picture being presented to the person making the convenants to accept or reject. Without the presence of the spirit and without proper context, HBO will only serve to lay more doubt and confusion on the viewers.

    It won’t cause any damage to the LDS church, that’s why not much will be said about it. We will collectively be disappointed that there are so many in a hurry to view a mockery of our faith. We’re not out there making mocumentaries of anybody elses faith and I guarantee we wouldn’t use former members with no regard for their former affiliations to learn insider information to ‘expose’ the ‘truth’ about a religion.

    While ‘we claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may’, I am always confused as to why others are so intent on doing something against the ‘Mormons.’

  • Rieux

    Sonia wrote:

    Would you want a bunch of people watching you have sex? Would you want a camera in your room while you do it?

    Presumably not. Now, who is photographing you having sex without your consent? Or photographing you doing anything without your consent? Who has put a “camera in your” temple?

    You are attempting to declare the any and all portrayals of an entire category of activity off limits. That is not analogous to you (or me) being watched or photographed in any context.

    No, I’m happy that there are no cameras in my living space filming me and my partner having sex. Nonetheless, I recognize that there is a rather prominent industry devoted to filming people having sex. As long as the actual people involved have given valid consent, I think that’s just fine; I do not have a difficult time recognizing the major differences between the sex in an ordinary pornographic film and the sex that goes on in my bedroom. You seem to be having a difficult time noticing the differences between an equally dissimilar pair of experiences.

    That’s what it feels like to the LDS people. This is a VERY sacred ordinance to them- as sacred as sexual relations with their spouses.

    Then you have absurdly overdeveloped senses of personal offense and deference to your ideas and practices. If what you say here is true, your sensibilities do not deserve to be taken seriously.

    You can’t shut down the free marketplace of ideas just by complaining that you really don’t like it. As I said: tough. Suck it up and stop whining.

    Throughout history there have been temples that only certain members were aloud to enter- you have to be prepared to make those sacred covenants.

    It’s like a preschooler, you wouldn’t want to have to a preschooler be responsible for the calculus you tried to teach them. They don’t understand it- so if you expected them to teach about integrals- they would have no clue.

    If you think that analogizing us Gentiles to preschoolers is going to result in us seeing you in a positive light, or indeed taking you seriously, you are clearly mistaken. To put it mildly, we remain unconvinced that there is anything about your religion that is beyond our intellectual competence.

    Non-Mormons “understand” lots of things just fine, Ma’am. The fact that we disagree with you—say, about the value, sacredness, or absurdity of temple rituals—doesn’t actually demonstrate a failure of understanding. In various areas, we just happen to think you’re wrong.

  • Alex Kallimanis

    I’ve been hostile to religion for my entire life. I was raised by very tolerant, compassionate, loving parents, but they were both in agreement: religion was the cause of most of the world’s violence. Okay, so fast forward 45 years and I’m channel surfing. I land on Big Love and before I know it . . . I’m hooked. Yes, I’m drawn in by the excesses, the whole over the top polygamist thing. Yes, I know it’s a fiction, but to the Mormons out there, during all the soap-opera drama, I fell in love with the central family in this fiction. These folks let me in to their lives in a way my actual Mormon acquaintances never will. I don’t believe Mormon’s are actually like this. I don’t think you’re polygamists. I know it’s just a show. These characters may be fictional, but their human desires feel real. For the first time, I understand what the celestial family means to Mormons. The sweetness of family (as long as you toe the line). I also get why it was so painful for some of my dear friends to leave the church, even though they hated it, and suffered mightily because of it’s doctrine. Big Love actually opened my eyes to understanding religious fervor a lot better than studying religion and history from an intellectual viewpoint. The producers captured something that spoke to a common human fear and longing. So, while an atheist/naturalistic worldview answers those issues for me, and while I still think that fundamentalist, True Believers of any kind are pretty much the scourge of civilization, Big Love, hyperbolic as it is, has helped me feel the experience of being Mormon. Should they show the temple ceremony? I’m ambivalent on that. I believe the right to swing one’s god ends where someone else’s face begins and the Latter Day Saints are always swinging their god around (missionaries, Prop 8), so they engender a bit of hostility from the gentiles. So, yeah I’m ambivalent about respecting the institution. But now I can say I have some compassion regarding Mormonism, which I really couldn’t say before. I only wish the producers made a Muslim version.

  • Joseph

    Old Beezle
    I think you brought up some really good points:

    1. It is good for members of the LDS faith to be contributing more accurate views of the religion they are willingly a part of vs. the prejudice views of those who left it. Even if those views are the “Sunday school answers” others weren’t willing to accept.
    2. Another excellent point you brought up is the need for continual learning with accusations that Mormon Christians should learn more of their history. Their history is Christian history. I loved the connection so many (yours especially) have made with Joseph Smith and the Masonic-style rituals. The usage of that particular talking point only illustrates that need you (and all of us) have for the aforementioned continual learning. Of course there are similarities between the two and many others for that matter. Members of this faith believe that all those truths (including those pertaining to the temple) God has revealed to us, were eventually scattered, change, or lost all together after the death of Christ’s apostles. So the “restoration” that Joseph Smith claimed God called him to do was a gathering back of ALL those bits and pieces of truths, some of which indeed were practiced already by others. Again, I guess there is always a need to learn a little more history. Like the history of the church Christ organized. What ever happened to that one?
    3. Along those lines you mentioned the humor you found “that god’s sacred endowment has been changed so very many times.” Can He do that?! I mean seriously, what right did He have, through Jesus Christ to change from the law of Moses, (which also became subject to scattering, change, and lost of full understanding) to the higher law of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?! Who is God to teach and correct and reinstruct?!
    4. And lastly, Joseph Smith was killed because he ordered a printing press destroyed. Just like Jesus Christ was killed for the alone fact that He claimed He would be resurrected in three days after His death. Let’s just ignore the previous three years (in the case of Christ) ministry and attribute it to that one claim alone. My point is, that your point (the truth that was in it) was merely the straw that broke the camels back.
    So again, thanks for bringing up these awesome points! And to think at first, I thought your comments reeked of prejudice.

  • Rieux

    “Mormon Boy” wrote:

    If you had a nice family portrait and say everyone did not look so nice or were too perfect would you like it put on TV where people would discuss the looks of your family. This is like a guest going through the bathroom cabinets.

    Awwww. Pity the poor Mormon Boy. Someone has defaced a portrait of his family! By depicting beliefs and rituals that are not, er… members… of his… family.

    As we’ve told Sonia, my Boy, you don’t actually have moral standing to demand that anyone else kowtow to your overdeveloped senses of personal offense and deference to your ideas and practices. If you can’t tell the difference between a religious ritual and the members of your family, your absurd sensitivities are not our problem.

    If the author is a friendly atheist I would hate to meet an unfriendly one. [....] The friendly atheist is not so friendly.

    Hilarious! You haven’t spent much time in the atheist blogosphere, have you? If you think Hemant Mehta, of all people, is “unfriendly,” you really should stop surfing this neighborhood of the Internet entirely. Atheists like Greta Christina, Richard Dawkins, and (oh, the humanity!) the cephalopodic demon that is [LIGHTNING STRIKE] P.Z. Myers [CRASHING ORGAN CHORD] would clearly cause your indignant head to implode.

    Prithee turn back, young Mormon Boy. This vicinity is far too harsh for thee.

  • Siamang

    I keep reasking this question, because nobody yet, of the dozens of Latter-Day Saints posting here, has seen fit to answer it:

    What secular thing that atheists do as a group will garner tit-for-tat widespread “respect” from Mormons?

    What will all of you declare as similarly off-limits from any church-produced films, lectures, skits, power-point talks, animations, youtubes, etc?

    Because if the “respect” only goes one-way, then it’s not actually respect, it’s fealty.

    I’m asking this because, as a group, I haven’t been feeling a lot of respect coming FROM LDS members.

  • Logger Logger

    I suspect that since Tom Hanks is a producer of big love and since he rightly feels that Mormons played a large role in passing Prop 8 in California, much to his dismay, he feels a bit of satisfaction urking Mormons with his show.

  • Nausicaa

    A little late, but I don’t understand the comments from some LDS members here. They keep indicating that HBO is airing this to marginalize or make fun of the sacred rites and ceremonies.

    Anyone who is actually familiar with the show knows that won’t be the case. Big Love has consistently treated the characters’ belief system objectively and without judgment. Beyond that, it sounds like they are going to great lengths to be as accurate as possible to minimize misunderstanding. I don’t see how any of this conveys disrespect – it is in no way analogous to defacing a family portrait or airing a couple in coitus – but religious people obviously think much differently than me.

    One of the principle themes of the show is the struggle to live religious traditions in the modern world, and it has rarely been anything but sympathetic.

    I think it’s a great show, and it’s enjoyed by many religious people, as well as the non-religious.

    Lastly, I hardly think the LDS has any standing to complain, after just recently being at the forefront of a movement to destroy the families of thousands of homosexuals in California. Talk of sacredness and understanding fall really flat coming from these people.

  • matt

    i love “big love”, but my issue is with the series misrepresenting what the church believes and allows.

    i am a member of the lds church and been to the temple before. you have to be living the standards of the church to go to the temple and you have to pass a strict interview where they ask you if you believe in the teachings of the church. if you pass you get a temple recommend pass.

    polygamous groups were excommunicated in the first part of the 1900s and thus cannot get a pass to attend the temple. i’ve heard they often try and steal people’s wallets to get passes to try and get into the temple these days.

    the family isn’t lds and thus wouldn’t be allowed in. if big love shows the family sneaking into the temple or lying to get in i’m somewhat okay with it–depending on what exactly they show. if it’s just the temple clothes i could care less, but if they include the words and hand stuff i’m never watching again (it’s just disrespectful)

    so if they show them getting in to the temple no problem i’m not okay with it. they’ll probably do a flashback to the original wedding, though.

  • missy mae

    I went to the official website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Below is a link that proclaims their stance on the Big Love episode that will be portraying the sacred ceremonies that are done in the temple.

    I found it fascinating that there are no angry feelings exhibited by the leaders of the church. Please take the time to educate yourselves and understand both sides of the story.

    http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/the-publicity-dilemma

  • LDSMom

    Wow, I am amazed at all of the discussion surrounding this topic. I am also intrigued that the fact that HBO wants to exploit something sacred to members of my religion makes it something the poster of this site wants to watch more of. Thank you to those of you who belong to the LDS church and those who do not who respect us and stand up for our right to practice our religion in a peaceful, spiritual way we feel is appropriate. So much of how I feel has already been said, but all in all, it comes down to for me is a moral issue of respect and misunderstanding. I find it very interesting that when HBO started this show they said numerous times and even in a statement to the LDS church that these characters are not LDS (polygamy was once a practice for some in the church. It is no longer allowed within the church and any who participate in polygamy today are excommunicated from the church) since they could not be active church members today. Then, to gain ratings and sensationalize something I think is beautiful and special, HBO sends their characters (who would not be allowed to enter unless they were members of the LDS church, which HBO said they would not be) to the temple? To me it shows that so many things are now protected – race, gender, even ethnicity, but religion can still be exploited, mocked, and looked down upon for ratings. I am sad that these things will be taken out of context and lead to more misunderstanding against members of my church who as a general rule are good people doing great things. Instead of trying to learn more about our church by watching an ex-Mormons sensationalized view of a sacred ceremony, I would hope you would get to know some real, practicing members of our faith. I think more is said by the way our religion encourages people to live their lives and choose to treat others than you can see by an out-of-context mockery of something we hold dear. I’m sure you will have many scholarly disagreements with what I say, but as a mother I try to teach my children to respect others, their beliefs, their cultures, their traditions and the way they choose to practice them unless it harms someone else and I am saddened that HBO and so many of you think that curiosity supersedes that same respect for my religion.

  • Anonymous

    Siamang –
    I want you to know first, that I am LDS, and Second, that I was married to an Atheist for 10 years. That being said – I want to re-enforce what you already know for yourself, I am sure.

    First off, in dealing with Respect – that is up to an individual, not a group. I have a great deal of respect for my (now ex) husbands non beliefs, and he respects my beliefs. We are still the best of friends. That is part of maturity. Many LDS Members have already learned this type of maturity and are not floating around on this site arguing with you guys. The ones that have not learned this respect for others, are the ones feeling the most need to argue back about how they themselves are not being respected. **In my defense – the reason I am on this site is because I wanted to read about what others were thinking – this seemed to be a good place to start**

    Second – I find that many things are offensive to have put up on TV. My mother was raised catholic, and I do not agree with having their religious ceremonies pasted all over the TV. Even though I am LDS, I also go to Mass on Easter and Christmas. I choose to learn about other faiths and if I find I have more interest in learning about it then I ask them directly instead of going through a television program, as TV will distort anything to make the ratings go higher. One of my favorite places to visit is sacred-texts.com, and I invite anyone to go there to learn about other faiths.

    Though it will happen, I do not feel that all Mormons should be defined by a small group of people that have responded on this site. The church is made up of more than 10 Million members, and I see but a small fraction of them posting here. The same issue goes for this proposition 8 stuff. I have MANY gay and lesbian friends and I love them all regardless of their choices. I respect their decision. I also have my own beliefs and they respect those. The church did not fund the war against Prop 8, as many would like to think – but many of the LDS Individuals in California did donate to this. So, why is it that the whole church is being thrown under the truck for those in California who made that choice? How is it so quickly forgotten that even the Catholic church stood beside the LDS faith when it came to Proposition 8. (View) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv72urCWJcU

    Again, I digress – that is not what this is about. My point is only to state that Each person should be evaluated on an individual basis. It seems that mature people can do this, and the less mature sit around and whine or complain or attack others. And, Siamang, there is not one person who will come up with a list for you about what should and should not be shown, because each of them find different things that they hold to be more sacred than the others.

    If you were speaking to me individually, I would say that you could show just about everything in the temple, except the signs that are given. The rest of everything can be found in the Bible and even though I hold the bible to be very sacred, it’s not a secret at all.

    I wish this site the best as each of the posters on it. Intelligent thoughts have been posted and I have been more enlightened by being here and reading the responses, and for that I am grateful. Thank you.

  • Kevin

    Siamang,
    As a Mormon myself, please help me better understand your question. I would want, above all, to demonstrate to you that there IS a mutuality of respect for you as an individual, and for your own opinions and comments.

    I ask this because in reading over these postings I notice that for the most part we are all missing each other! It is kind of an “apple and orange” discussion. On the one side are those who are speaking from a spiritual perspective, and then there are those – the “atheists” as you have offered the definition – who are speaking from an intellectual and logical perspective. The fact is that we are speaking two different languages if you would and expecting to understand one another – and we are not. The “spiritual” is simply different than the “intellectual.” You cannot intellectualize spirituality and personal belief, and you cannot spiritualize the intellectual process. They are simply different. And thus we are simply missing one another. It is my feeling that it is such “missing” that seems to appear to be disrespect on both sides of this issue.

    I do not want to enter the fray here. I simply seek an understanding – an understanding that allows us as Mormons to hold our own beliefs as sacred – as it allows you to hold your own beliefs in the same manner.

    If there is judgement happening on either side of this issue, let it cease now! In a world of such confusion, anger and commotion can we not find the way to speak to each other with compassion and charity regardless of the perspectives we carry? Please, let us find the way!

    I do not have to defend my right to believe, and neither should you. And I, nor you, should not be ridiculed for believing as we do. I think it is only fair though that we not ridicule or judge the other in such exchanges.

    A final thought: there are issues that are simply not for public scrutiny. For example, the specific, individual and personal wonders and beauties that are expressed between intimate partners should never be allowed to be debated in a public forum. These emotional based experiences are unique and should be treated with tremendous respect and confidentiality. They should never have to be defended or debated.

    Such is also the case for the spiritual (or transcendental) experiences anyone has. They are also deeply personal, and should not have to be defended or debated.

    Thus, I honor the deepest feelings of your own emotional and spiritual (transcendental) experiences…and would simply ask the same from you.

    Please…let us all keep the individual and personally sacred, sacred.

  • GullWatcher

    Siamang, asking for original thought from people trained since birth to parrot what they are told is something of an exercise in futility, as evidenced by the two non-answers you have already gotten.

    Anonymous, you went on and on about respect, but you DIDN’T answer the question.

    Kevin, you didn’t answer the question either. You just reiterated that some things should be sacred and not for public scrutiny, with no reason given for that, except that gosh darn it, they just SHOULD (which is not any kind of an answer). Nor did you demonstrate why actors showing a ceremony is equivalent to showing people’s private moments, although you claimed that it is. It’s not.

    I’m not holding my breath for any an answer that actually addresses Siamang’s question, as that would require original, coherent thought. It just doesn’t seem likely.

  • Chal

    This isn’t personal.

    It’s someone’s interpretation of a ceremony that is applied by rote to hundreds of thousands.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps, Gullwatcher, you did not fully interpret my response. I basically stated that Widespread respect is not something that can happen – it’s something that needs to take place on an individual basis. His question cannot be addressed fully the way that he’s asking it – he’s looking for widespread respect – and that’s difficult to do when individual personalities and preferences are in play here.

    If an individual Atheist and I were to get together, I am certain that a mutual respect could be reached. However, I have met atheists in my ex-husbands group, that only want to argue, and in that situation, where there is only argument, I am sorry- but no agreement is going to be reached. However, just because an argument ensues, does that mean that I should disrespect all atheists? No.

    So, not to bring you down man – but- I don’t think that you understood the response… or maybe you didn’t read the question in the first place. But, by all means, PLEASE hold your breath. It might help. If Siamang were to be more specific in his question, I would be more specific in my answer. Instead, he asked for a general response, and that’s precisely what he got.

  • John Dulin

    One major problem I see with this depiction is that the wider cosmological context of the ritual’s symbolism will not be explained. Any ritual and belief system can look stupid and bizarre when taken out of context. The endowment is a symbolic ascent into the divine presence. It signifies an eternal intersection between community, family, procreation and divinity.

    If it were just “secret” Mormons would feel comfortable discussing the details outside the temple with those in the know, but they don’t. It is our sacred space, and for something to be sacred it most be set-apart from the profane world. It is that set-apartness that is violated here. My initial gut reaction is similar to what I might feel if my private, intimate moments with family and friends were, without my permission, displayed for entertainment purposes.

  • ATL-Apostate

    Wow, this place has been overrun by Mormon trolls. This must have been posted somewhere in mormonland.

    One thing: I don’t care about yours (or anyone else’s) make believe God, gods, or rituals. You could have a circle-jerk in the temple for all I care. So long as no one gets hurt, and all are consenting adults.

    I don’t respect religion, or “beliefs,” a priori. It is a fallacy to say that just because someone has “faith,” that faith should be respected. I don’t respect other’s belief in Santa Clause, Fairies, the Easter Bunny, garden gnomes, etc. It’s a fairy tale for grown-ups, and well, just plain silly. Not that religious beliefs should be trampled upon willy-nilly, but I’m tired of believers demanding “respect” for their belief in an imaginary friend.

    When you were a kid and someone told you there was no Santa, you were free to continue believing, but don’t be surprised if the rest of us point and laugh at you.

  • GullWatcher

    Anonymous, I can only assume that you are being intentionally dense. Here’s Siamang’s question: What secular thing that atheists do as a group will garner tit-for-tat widespread “respect” from Mormons?

    All you did was say it’s the wrong question, and then go on about respect being individual. Ok, fine, that’s your opinion, but it’s not an answer.

    Unless, of course, what you are saying is that Mormons as a group will never respect anything except their own idea of the sacred? In that case, my apologies, it wasn’t a very clear answer, but it was an answer.

  • GullWatcher

    For anyone interested in the power of dragging things into the light, I recommend chapter two of Freakonomics (as miller mentioned), or the 03/25/2005 episode of This American Life, both of which recount the story of Stetson Kennedy, and how he helped to break the power of the Klan by revealing their secrets (ceremonies, handshakes, and code words), and specifically by revealing those things in a fictional context.

    Some things NEED to be exposed to the light, so they can be seen for what they are.

  • Mr. Mormon

    ok. I converted to ‘Mormonism’ when I was 18. I’m now in my early 40’s and yes I have been through all of the temple ceremonies. I also watch the show Big Love. The show depicts LDS religious practices which are NOT accurate! They are close in some instances but not in others. The temple ordinances should not be out in the public. Not because there are things that happen in them which are strange or evil. Actually, these ceremonies are filled with love and good. They are sacred. That’s it. Believe me when I tell you, there is nothing that any person would find offensive. Quite the contrary in fact! HBO promised they would not make the connection between there characters and the real Mormon church. They are the ones who are going back on their word – not the church itself. Anyway, just some input from a real life Mormon.

  • Pedro

    Anonymous Says in her 3rd paragraph I have MANY gay and lesbian friends and I love them all regardless of their choices. I respect their decision.”

    Excuse me gay people do not CHOOSE to be gay…when will god-squadders of all persuasions..whether catholics or silly magic underpants wearers get this thru their indocrinated skulls..

    I also thought it was a nice touch for her to blame “individuals” and not the whole Church…maybe the LDS should do that when the LDS Church says in California that all gays are child molesters. It goes both ways Missy

  • Old Beezle

    Truer than you know, GullWatcher.

    I’m not holding my breath for any an answer that actually addresses Siamang’s question, as that would require original, coherent thought. It just doesn’t seem likely.

    Anonymous, having been mormon, I’ve heard the ‘hate the sin, but love the sinner’ mantra ad nauseum. That still doesn’t keep devout mormons like my mother from espousing her disgust for homosexuals on a regular basis. Her reaction is more the norm, despite the party line.

    The same issue goes for this proposition 8 stuff. I have MANY gay and lesbian friends and I love them all regardless of their choices. I respect their decision. I also have my own beliefs and they respect those. The church did not fund the war against Prop 8, as many would like to think

    Further, the church recruited its members to donate in support of Prop h8…to the tune of over $20 million dollars. The church didn’t really need to spend its own money because it has its loyal people to do the heavy lifting.

    Kevin,

    I would want, above all, to demonstrate to you that there IS a mutuality of respect for you as an individual, and for your own opinions and comments.

    Do not deny that your religion states that it is the only true religion on the face of the earth and that all others are in error. That is the very basis for Joseph Smith’s original query that supposedly got the mormon ball rolling. Further, any logical argument regarding the basis for your beliefs will ultimately devolve into you claiming, “because I know” and “because it’s just right.” There is no possibility of mutual respect when one party is assured ‘beyond a shadow of a doubt’ and with ‘every fiber of [their] being’ that they know the ultimate truth about life and its purpose. Run from the man who claims to have all the answers!

  • Old Beezle

    GullWatcher:

    Some things NEED to be exposed to the light, so they can be seen for what they are.

    “It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.” –Thomas Paine

    Mormons will not discuss the temple ceremonies openly despite it being an essential part of being an active member and on their path to achieving ‘glory.’ Reveal your secrets if they can stand the light of day and the scrutiny of your peers!

    from your own Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 30:17,

    There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light…

    Truth can take a beating and still be true. It’s time to put your truth to the test. Big Love will air and your works will be in the open…to either flourish by their merits or wither away.

  • http://betweenpants.blogspot.com Scott Van Tussenbrook

    I am a former Mormon. I went on a mission and I’ve been through the temple dozens, if not hundreds, of times. I’m also gay. I left the church, officially, about 10 years ago. I have been content, since then, to live and let live. I left Utah, moved to California, and was perfectly happy to let us all have our differences but live together on this rock without incident.

    Until, last year, when the Mormons threw their considerable financial muscle behind a mean-spirited ballot initiative to strip me of the right to ask my fiance to marry me. I watched them all throw their hands up and cheer when the Yes On 8 verdict was announced. I was appalled. Here were people exulting — CHEERING — for taking away my rights. Nothing in their lives had changed — nothing. Their marriages were not in peril. They are not, nor will they be, the subject of legal wrangling, as are the marriages of so many of my friends. My world, however, had been changed. I had been relegated to a second-class status. I had been “put back” in my place, I guess.

    (What would Jesus have done, I wondered.)

    Where is the respect for me, and *my* beliefs, and *my* life? To use Mormons’ own parlance, one could say my relationship, my love for my man, is as “sacred” to me as their temple rites are to them. I wasn’t given much — ok, any — consideration for my right to privacy or desire not to have my life mocked. Why do Mormons think they deserve any different?

    It’s no secret the Mormon church members donated tens of millions and the church itself assisted with many more hundreds of thousands of dollars in in-kind donations they are only now reluctantly beginning to report. They built websites, produced films, manned phone banks, all of it — all to come into my relationship, my bedroom, and take something away from me that had been given by the California Supreme Court — rights I was entitled to by my citizenship in a state to which I, like everyone, pay taxes.

    So, we didn’t just roll over and take it — they’re getting called on their mean-spirited intrusion into our lives. And they’re not happy about it.

    It amuses me to no end that NOW, they’ve decided they want everybody to be respectful of our various differences — please — where was all this “respect” for those who were “different” all last summer when the lie-filled commercials bankrolled by the Mormons were splashed all over my TV?

    Memo to Mormons — people will respect your cherished beliefs and allow you to live your lives without harassment if only you would offer the same respect in return. Until you start doing that, we’re not going to let up. It’s no longer 1840. You can’t wall yourself off from the world. You live here, in this crowded place, with all of us.

    It would be in your own best interest to learn that, and quick. Otherwise, you risk becoming (too late?) nothing more than the butt of jokes, watching in bewilderment as the world passes you by. Just when you began to live down your horribly racist past, you’ve stepped in yet another “culture war” you’re going to lose. Sooner rather than later, your hostile attitudes toward gays are going to be seen as just as boneheadedly anachronistic as your “Negroes were less valiant in heaven, thus they were cursed with black skin and a flat nose” (Paraphrasing Brigham Young) schtick.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Back up off my and my people, and I’ll leave you alone too.

    Re: the temple ceremony in general — it’s equal parts boring and bizarre. But it’s going to make great television.

    Pay Lay Ale,

    Scott Van Tussenbrook
    Los Angeles, CA

  • http://betweenpants.blogspot.com Scott Van Tussenbrook

    Kevin says:

    A final thought: there are issues that are simply not for public scrutiny. For example, the specific, individual and personal wonders and beauties that are expressed between intimate partners should never be allowed to be debated in a public forum. These emotional based experiences are unique and should be treated with tremendous respect and confidentiality. They should never have to be defended or debated.

    OH REALLY?? Then what, exactly, did you think you were all doing in the whole Prop 8 debacle last year? I tell you — you were doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING you claim now, nobody should do to you.

    Why do the rules you’d like to have everyone play by, not apply when we’re not talking about you?

    I mean, wow!

    Scott Van Tussenbrook
    Los Angeles, CA

  • Pedro in the Netherlands

    Scott

    Thanks for your emotional and moving story ! You summarise the truth of what the LDS has done in the past year and now they don’t seem to be able to take the criticism they are getting for promoting inequality.

    You should move with your fiance to the Netherlands (and looking at your surname it sounds like some of your family came originally from round here) .. here all people are equal (for real) and can marry (even in Church’s if they want), the separation of Church and State is clear…and the hate provokers don’t get chance to promote legislation to discriminate !!!

  • Rieux

    Old Beezle, I’m with you on nearly all of this stuff, but:

    It’s time to put your truth to the test. Big Love will air and your works will be in the open…to either flourish by their merits or wither away.

    Meh. My prediction is that Big Love will air, there will be minor expressions of outrage, the whole thing will be forgotten about in a few weeks, and Mormonism will neither “flourish by [its] merits” nor “wither away” any time soon.

    My prophecy is this: nothing terribly interesting will happen in the near future.

    That’s usually a safe one.

  • Terry Small

    Scott, you’re the best.

  • Old Beezle

    When your god is right and you are always right, then other people’s rules seem to apply less and less to you. That is the danger of all religion–especially the mormon variety.

  • Leslie Price

    It is really sad that everyone is supposed to respect all other religions or as those on this site have chose no religion. But… when it comes to this one, eveyone wants to find a way to bring it down. Pentecostals jump around and sway and raise their hands in the air moaning “oh Jesus, yes, Jesus” and their prayers are allowed, not silent and personal, but how about we make a movie about them and how they compare to Satan worshipers? Nahh… we accept them. Baptist can go around screwing everyone in town and putting down gays and lesbians and telling everyone that its ok to be evil and do cruel things to other people because you are saved by grace. I’ll bet “Jesus” loves that. How about doing a undercover movie on how they train Catholic Priest? Can we video tape their ceremonies too? This will never end.

  • Molly

    I imagine a lot of Mormons don’t like it because it portrays an aspect of Mormonism (polygamy) that many of them don’t subscribe to. But it seems like they still do take part in these ceremonies.

    I see a lot of Mormons commenting on this show. We are not polygamists! We are the only REAL Mormons! (regarding other sects of their religion)

    After reading this and watching the Prop. 8 circus on CA this past year it seems to me that many Mormons only seem to see the world in terms of THEIR needs, what is sacred to THEM. I don’t see much evidence of any universal perspective. Lots of arbitrary absolutes.

    NEW YORK (AP) — Holocaust survivors said Monday they are through trying to negotiate with the Mormon church over posthumous baptisms of Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps, saying the church has repeatedly violated a 13-year-old agreement barring the practice.

    Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say they are making changes to their massive genealogical database that will make it more difficult for names of Holocaust victims to be entered for posthumous baptism by proxy, a rite that has been a common Mormon practice for more than a century.

    But Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, said that is not enough. At a news conference in New York City on Monday, he said the church also must “implement a mechanism to undo what you have done.”

    “Baptism of a Jewish Holocaust victim and then merely removing that name from the database is just not acceptable,” said Michel, whose parents died at Auschwitz. He spoke on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi-incited riots against Jews.

    “We ask you to respect us and our Judaism just as we respect your religion,” Michel said in a statement released ahead of the news conference. “We ask you to leave our six million Jews, all victims of the Holocaust, alone, they suffered enough.”
    . . .
    In 1995, Mormons and Jews inked an agreement to limit the circumstances that allow for the proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims. Ending the practice outright was not part of the agreement and would essentially be asking Mormons to alter their beliefs, church Elder Lance B. Wickman said Monday in an interview with reporters in Salt Lake City.

    “We don’t think any faith group has the right to ask another to change its doctrines,” Wickman said. “If our work for the dead is properly understood … it should not be a source of friction to anyone. It’s merely a freewill offering.”
    . . .
    Only the Jews have an agreement with the church limiting who can be baptized, though the agreement covers only Holocaust victims, not all Jewish people. Jews are particularly offended by baptisms of Holocaust victims because they were murdered specifically because of their religion.

    Michel suggested that posthumous baptisms of Holocaust victims play into the hands of Holocaust deniers.

    “They tell me, that my parents’ Jewishness has not been altered but … 100 years from now, how will they be able to guarantee that my mother and father of blessed memory who lived as Jews and were slaughtered by Hitler for no other reason than they were Jews, will someday not be identified as Mormon victims of the Holocaust?” Michel said Monday.
    . . .
    Church spokesman Otterson said the church kept its part of the agreement by removing more than 260,000 names from the genealogical index.

    But since 2005, ongoing monitoring of the database by an independent Salt Lake City-based researcher shows both resubmissions and new entries of names of Dutch, Greek, Polish and Italian Jews.

    The researcher, Helen Radkey, who has done contract work for the Holocaust group, said her research suggests that lists of Holocaust victims obtained from camp and government records are being dumped into the database. She said she has seen and recorded a sampling of several thousand entries that indicate baptisms had been conducted for Holocaust victims as recently as July.
    . . .
    In May, the Vatican ordered Catholic dioceses worldwide to withhold member registries from Mormons so that Catholics could not be baptized.

  • Old Beezle

    Rieux said:

    My prophecy is this: nothing terribly interesting will happen in the near future.

    Ultimately I concur. The heated rhetoric is more a holdover from my mormon days. When you’re mormon, everything revolves around mormonism.

    The withering of mormonism is already happening–though quite undramatically. The internet has offered a death by a thousand cuts for the church and their political forays simply get their collective heart beating faster.

    Mormons here have quoted membership numbers as high as 13 million. When you assume activity rates in the 30-40% range, then that’s only about 5 million worldwide of active, believing mormons. They’ve been cutting their missionary force as well or have been unable to garner the numbers they used to. Knowledge of their past has been unkind to their recruitment efforts. They won’t go away any time soon, but will continue as they are–nothing spectacular indeed.

  • Baura Kale

    The Mormon Endowment ceremony is unique in that it is a secret thing that can’t even be discussed between a Mormon husband and wife in the privacy of their own homes. As far as I know no other “mainstream” religion has such things. When a movie or TV show depicts Holy Communion at a Catholic church I never hear Catholics complaining that their “sacred” rituals are being exposed. Do Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians have such things? Not that I know of. I checked with a Jewish friend of mine. He knows of no similar thing in Judaism.

    Mormonism’s temple ceremony is the pinacle of the religion. It is where the most important and binding covenants are made by Mormons. Now since the Mormon Church sends out 60,000 full-time missionaries as the vanguard of an agressive policy to “convert the world,” and since Mormons are active in politics at all levels (often on direct ecclesiastical orders–see Calif’s Prop 8) isn’t it incumbent that we should know about it? This idea of “we are here to convert all your neighbors but it is an ‘atrocity’that you actually show what we do behind closed doors wears thin.

    If the Mormons want to be left alone then they should be like the Amish and leave everyone else alone. However they seem to want it both ways, they want to be a force in the world but don’t want to be looked at too closely. As it is Big Love is doing the right thing. Kudos.

  • Heathekt

    A number of themes expressed here.

    We hold these ceremonies to be sacred so they should be respected.

    We should be left alone in our beliefs.

    This is offensive, disrespectful and so on.

    People should respect our religious beliefs.

    Valid points and feelings, perhaps you should keep this indignation in mind the next time you are puzzled by the same feelings being expressed by those who object to the baptizing of their dead relatives.

  • Ryan S

    I doubt anybody reads anything way down here (I haven’t even read it all), but Siamang’s question deserves a response:

    “I don’t blame them for wanting to keep this exclusive.

    What I’m doing is wondering what makes their desire to keep it exclusive rule that non-members need to abide by.

    For example, I’m pretty dang sure that Scientology doesn’t like their secrets publicized either. I’m wondering if declaring your secrets sacred means that they are allowed to stay secret when your members leave you.”

    There’s no enforcement of these secrecy rules in the sense that you want.

    Why is it that I don’t punch you in the face? Is it just because I’m afraid to go to jail or get sued? No, it’s because I know that even though it won’t hurt me physically at all, it will hurt you; and because of decency and respect, I don’t want to hurt you.

    If you’re not guided in this case by rules of decency and respect and only look to enforceable rules of society to guide you, then I pity you. That’s part of the point of the Mormon temple ceremony–they agree to be guided by additional rules because they think those rules will, in addition to other things, make them and their community better.

    Far be it from me to go all pc, however, and say that hurt feelings or sensibilities should become an automatic societal veto. Political correctness just takes that point to an illogical extreme in the other direction.

    Here, the situation is at the complete other end of the pendulum swing: I doubt HBO, in its profit/ratings calculus has assigned adequate importance to LDS and others’ sensibilities.

    But it’s HBO. Who, least of all Mormons, still expects decency from HBO?

  • Siamang

    Kevin wrote:

    I do not want to enter the fray here. I simply seek an understanding – an understanding that allows us as Mormons to hold our own beliefs as sacred – as it allows you to hold your own beliefs in the same manner.

    But are those beliefs beyond comment by people who disagree? For example, when Mitt Romney bore false witness and falsely accused atheists, secularists and church-state separation advocates of holding an opinion we don’t hold, in order to curry political favor? I support his freedom of speech to be wrong and even insult, demean and lie about us.

    That’s freedom of speech. I would NEVER, EVER, EVER in my whole life advocate that you should shut your mouth about atheists or atheism. Ridicule us all you want! A free exchange of ideas demands nothing less. Whatever you do, however, remember that I will attempt to treat you better than you’ve treated us. I supported Mitt Romney against the bigots in his own political party…. that was, until he made it clear that he, as Wendy Kaminer wrote: “opposes bigotry in self-defense, not in defense of others, which is to say that he does not really oppose it at all.”

    I do not have to defend my right to believe, and neither should you.

    Actually I defend your right to believe. I just don’t defend your actual beliefs, nor would you mine.

    However, I think you are *asking* me to defend your right to believe that temple ceremonies should never be portrayed in fiction. This seems a lot like asking me to take part in a religious rule, even though I am not a member of your religion.

    Nobody here has even attempted, as far as I can see, to explain why I should take up that belief as my own. Nobody here has explained what possible activity my (ficticious) atheist club might do that would be held just as sacrosanct by LDS that they would never offend it, talk about it, portray it in fiction, speak against it, etc.

    And I, nor you, should not be ridiculed for believing as we do.

    Ridicule is merely a not-very-attractive form of expressing one’s disagreement. When theists unilaterally disarm and stop expressing disagreement with people who believe differently about God, sexuality… etc, then we can talk about a world where ridicule is off-limits.

    I understand that you don’t like your religion being the butt of jokes. I don’t like being the butt of Mitt Romney’s political speech on religion. I don’t like my family being the butt of LDS members’ views on the sacred bond of loving, mutual-consenting monogamous adult marriage.

    All of that said, I want you to know that I hold LDS in higher esteem than most Americans, I think. And that is because I’m not hung up on which religion is the “right” one. Your religion is a unique expression among many, and I appreciate it as a cultural expression which is every bit as valid personally, emotionally and spiritually as the manifold forms of religious belief in our society. Also, I felt some common cause with you as a member of a minority belief. I am very aware that you suffer from the brunt of a bigoted minority, and I honestly do feel sympathy for you.

    Recent events in the last election have dulled that sympathy. But it is still there.

    I think it is only fair though that we not ridicule or judge the other in such exchanges.

    I honestly feel like that call against judgment goes one-way.

  • Siamang

    the brunt of a bigoted minority

    meant

    “…brunt of a bigoted majority…”

  • PK

    I am a temple going member of the church. As I analyze my feeling towards this I find that I am not angry but somewhat sorrowful. It does not affect me in any way as long as I keep my covenants. There is allot of information about the temple on the internet. The only way it can get there is from someone who has been there and has made a solemn commitment to not reveal it. The information probably cannot be completely trusted since it is revealed by people with very low integrity.

  • Dakulis

    Grimalkin,

    I was a psychology major, probably before you were born, lol. So, what we got taught then came right after they taught us about the invention of the wheel and fire. That said, my brother just retired from teaching business in a major university and his thesis was about the early concepts in the development of “investment theory” and it does have some similarities and important characteristics of cognitive dissonance. As I pointed out, I thought several of your points were valid, just not well supported by something I could hang my hat on.

    As for my “assuming”, I prefaced the points by conceding I was venting, i.e., leaving logic for the moment to discuss my emotions. Did you miss that part? So, I recognize I deviated from reason and reasonable argumentaion. The point I was making to you was to give me the same courtesy. If you are going to express your opinion or your view of a theory, tell me but if you’re going to express it as proven, then prove it. That’s a distinction that you should be able to pick up.

    Finally, you really do need to work on your reading comprehension, here’s what I said:

    As you are probably aware, Hollywood blames the LDS Church for passing Prop. 8 in California, never mind that 70% of all blacks voted in favor of it, 52% of all Hispanics and a slight majority of Asians and never mind that fact that if no LDS folks had voted, it would have still passed.

    So, let me see, Tom Hanks is the executive producer of Big Love. A month or so ago, Tom Hanks comes out on a rampage and blasts the Church and its members as “Un-American” for giving money to the Prop. 8 campaign and voting for it.

    A month later, the show is broadcasting the temple ceremony. Geez, it could be a coincidence or it could be Tom’s way of taking another shot at the LDS Church, notwithstanding the fact that his publicist suggested a public retraction was in order. After all, you don’t want all those Mormons boycotting all your future movies, do you Tom?

    The timing of this is just too interesting to ignore when the California Supreme Court heard arguments on Prop. 8 just last week, then again, I think the free publicity and “buzz”, just look at how worked up I am, couldn’t hurt the show either, huh? LOL

    How, did you torture that statement into saying that the show was “anti-Mormon” over its 2 year history. I simply provided relevant, current background of events that have occurred in the past 6 months – the Prop. 8 controversy – and more recent events involving the show’s executive producer going on a rant against the LDS Church, shortly before this episode airs.

    Moreover, I didn’t express it as fact, see my explanation above, I expressed it as a theory or potential explanation for the show’s current episode and the timing of it.

    Scott,

    Prop. 8 was “mean spirited” in your mind but not mine. You were raised LDS, you know the doctrine and you understand some of the reasons why the Church took a stand on this. I know this for a fact because my son is gay, is a returned missionary and we have had many discussions about “marriage” versus “civil unions” or something different that still provides all of the rights of a civil joining without use of he word, “marriage.”

    However, I need to correct a few points. Yes, members did contribute their own funds towards Prop. 8. No, the Church did not contribute a dime to Prop. 8. You can look at the required public disclosure documents and you will not see anything donated by the Church. Please fact check this and you’ll see that I am correct.

    That said, I have a real problem with the GLB community using inflammatory language to punish the Church for supporting their principles. How many Hollywood folks spent money, how many GLB folks spent their money? So, it’s okay for “your side” to pay to support their principles but not Church members? That makes no sense.

    Now, why is no one in the GLB community supporting the LDS Church on their stance that they would support “civil unions” and equal rights to G-L couples? This position recognizes that the “State” has a right to recognize and collect a fee for providing licenses but it also recognizes that the institution of “marriage” was church centered and each church gets to decide who qualifies for marriage according to their own beliefs. Where’s the hate or prejudice in this stance?

    In fairness, you need to provide the full picture if you’re going to start name calling and make certain that the facts you do provide are accurate.

    Beyond that, there’s been so much additional discussion that I don’t have time to read that I would just say:

    “Hey, can we all get along?” LOL

  • http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/ JBC

    This is it. I am an active LDS member, yes Temple Endowed! Many of the comments above are so crazy about the Mormon or LDS Church. Based on many of the comments of this site it should be labeled the friendlyantimormon. If you would like to know about the LDS Church its teachings and faith go to the source. Do you really think that someone who has left the mormon church has a lack of bias. If they did not they would still be members.

    The Word is Tolerance! If I were to pee on a crucifix, paint the prophet Mohammud naked, make jokes about the holocaust to a Jewish Person, or yell the N-Word to an African American it would be considered extremely offensive. How would you know that you do not do these things is because the person you are doing them too has told you they are offensive. Do you really think that you can understand what offends an LDS member from a blog or from the prospective of a non LDS member or even worse someone who has left the church. Ask one of the 13 million members who believe in this faith and they will tell you. This show offends me as a Mormon and that should be sufficient for someone who is tolerant and respectful of others beliefs.

  • Siamang

    This position recognizes that the “State” has a right to recognize and collect a fee for providing licenses but it also recognizes that the institution of “marriage” was church centered and each church gets to decide who qualifies for marriage according to their own beliefs. Where’s the hate or prejudice in this stance?

    The problem is that while you do get to decide that among your own membership, you are also demanding to decide that on behalf of people who aren’t members of your church.

    However, I need to correct a few points. Yes, members did contribute their own funds towards Prop. 8. No, the Church did not contribute a dime to Prop. 8.

    I have an actual question here: was this individual giving requested, ordered or suggested by the church, whether at the highest levels or at the local level?

    Because it seems clear to me that there was a specific getting together, as many, many LDS givers gave the same exact amount, $1000. Strange that they would all seem to independently arrive at the exact same round figure? No?

    So, it’s okay for “your side” to pay to support their principles but not Church members? That makes no sense.

    I think it’s wrong to take fundamental rights away from a group. I would never vote to forcibly divorce people who were married in the Mormon church, for instance.

    It’s another instance where that respect seems to go only one way.

    Shall we vote on which of your rights we get to take away? Fair being fair and all?

  • Siamang

    This show offends me as a Mormon and that should be sufficient for someone who is tolerant and respectful of others beliefs.

    If I told you I was offended by your religion, would you cease to practice it?

    Why not?

    Think about who gets to choose what is offensive, and you may be closer to understanding us.

  • http://www.singularsaints.com DWmFrancis

    The executive producer and lead writer of Big Love are in an openly gay relationship. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand what their not-so-secret agenda is. Maybe they’ll figure out how to work the names of all the contributors to Proposition 8 into the script. (Plural marriage wedding guest list perhaps?) Of course, that won’t have anything to do with Mormons either. ;-)

    With respect to the LDS Temples and the ceremonies performed in them, there are sufficient references in the Old Testament and LDS scriptures to place them in the mainstream of a very old and well established tradition of teaching humanity about their relationship to God and each other which goes as far back as the oldest cultures (Egypt). The wearing of ceremonial clothing should also not be a surprise, priests in many other religions wear them when they conduct rites on Sundays, at weddings and funerals. They are an outward symbol of an inner commitment to serve God and humanity. In the LDS faith most adults (including women) can and do serve in these “priestly” capacities.

    This revelation by Big Love is a cheap shot at the LDS Church and their position on gay marriage. Tom Hanks has already made his disdain clear on prior occasions, both in public and on screen. Nothing new to report there. What is new is the depth of disrespect being expressed.

  • Pingback: Big Love: Next episode to show Mormon Temple ceremony! « A continuous conversation between atheists

  • ST3V3

    Let it be known, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints still do believe and practice polygamy. I should know because I am still a member of this church (maybe not much longer) ….

    FACT: A man can and are married/sealed to multiple wives in Temple Sealing Ceremony.

  • Mystereck

    Most of the people of the United States, and certainly most of the world, do not care what Mormons do in their temples. In fact, they don’t care about Mormons in general.

    BIG LOVE is entertainment. It might be accurate, and it might not be. If the ratings go too low, they’ll cancel it. If the ratings stay high enough, they’re renew it.

    If you like the show, watch it. If you don’t like the show, turn it OFF, and go do something else more fun.

  • Rieux

    Wow–the Mormon crowd wandering in here to complain clearly has no interest in paying any attention to the arguments of those of us who disagree. Now that’s respectful!

    Looks like I was taken aback by the same JBC line Siamang was:

    This show offends me as a Mormon and that should be sufficient for someone who is tolerant and respectful of others beliefs.

    In a word, no. The fact that you think that (a) a particular idea is “offensive,” or (b) your beliefs deserve to be protected from challenge, intellectual attack, or ridicule, creates no moral duty on our part to refrain from (a) expressing that idea or (b) challenging, intellectually attacking, or ridiculing your beliefs. You don’t like subjecting your religious notions to the scrutiny of the free marketplace of ideas? For the third time: tough. Be an adult, suck it up and stop whining.

    Wake up, Mormons on this thread: we do not accept your right to demand that we not “offend” you. You have no right not to be offended. If you keep bizarrely presuming that you do, nothing you say will have any relevance to your opponents on this thread.

  • http://www.equalitysblog.typepad.com Equality

    Yea, indeed, verily I say unto thee that apostasy itself is a sacred topic, completely off-limits for discussion by those who are not apostates themselves. We apostates consider it a gross sacrilege for non-unbelievers to discuss our profane beliefs (or non-beliefs as the case may be) and practices, which we consider most sacred (not secret). Accordingly, we call upon the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to remove from its curricula all references to apostates and apostasy, and to not discuss this most sacred of profane and unholy topics. All we ask is that everyone else in the world capitulate to this very reasonable demand we make to be left alone to blaspheme in peace and without further criticism from the so-called religious world.

    Incidentally, if you want to know how much respect Mormons have for people who leave the Mormon church, see their curriculum for the current year, a book called The Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith.

    In that book, in lesson 27, Mormons are taught from the words of Joseph Smith that “apostates” (i.e., those who leave the Mormon church) have the spirit of the devil, are comparable to Judas of old, and should be shunned or, alternatively, pitied. Once again, “respect” is a one-way street for the “righteous.”

    Also, I find it amusing how many of the Mormons here who are jumping up and down about polygamy like to quote Joseph Smith–the guy who started Mormon polygamy by marrying at least 33 wives in addition to his first, some of whom as young as 14 years old, and some of whom were already married (in direct violation of his own revelation that provided only “virgins” could participate in “plural marriage” See Doctrine & Covenants section 132). They can cry all they want about the fundies being separate from the mainstream Utah branch of Mormonism, but the fact is that the fundies, along with over 100 other splinter groups that religious studies scholars properly classify under the “Mormon” umbrella of religious groups, trace their history directly back to Joseph Smith and the beginnings of Mormonism, just like the Utah church headed by Tommy Monson. Indeed, the great majority of polygamy that exists in the United States today owes its existence to one Joseph Smith. Without him, and without the system of plural marriage that he initiated (supposedly at the insistence of an angel with a drawn sword who “made him do it”), there wouldn’t be a “Big Love.”

    Finally, I am tickled by the Mormons here who complain that the show is “inaccurate” in its portrayal of Mormons (of all stripes). The lesson manual to which I just cited is about Joseph Smith. It fails to even acknowledge that Smith engaged in polygamy. Neither do any of the videos or images or other lesson manuals produced by the Mormon church, which systematically engages in whitewashing and suppression of church history, keeping its own members (and more importantly potential members) in the dark. Big Love is not 100% accurate. Neither was the South park episode. But they both are far more accurate and revealing than anything the LDS Church produces.

  • http://ldssexchildabuse.blogspot.com/ Mountain Meadow Ghost

    As a mormon who has been through the temple several times I have to say that the Endowment Ceremony is the worst freak-show I have ever witnessed! LDS covenant to devote all their time, ressources, money and even their life to the Church. They also covenant to obey and not speak evil of church-leaders. Any disagreement with any part of what the Church leaders say is considered apostasy. Until 1990 the Endowment ceremony included penalties and blood oaths and getting uncomfortable close to the veil worker during the 5 points of fellowship. LDS get a “New name” and learn some secret handshakes like the patriarchal grip – or sure sign of the nail. The handshakes or tokens are believed to make them pass angels in order to get into the celestial kingdom. The handshakes are demonstrated on YouTube and transcripts of the whole endowment ceremony can be found many places on the internet.
    Considering that LDS believe that God is the Eternal Father and that the CEO (currently Thomas S. Monson) is a “Gods prophet” it is strange that the Temple Ceremonies needed to change so much! What was once thought essential for exaltation is not seen that way today!

    Many elements of the endowment ceremony is copied from masonic rites – but the temple clothes are truly ridicolous. People look like they are attending a KKK rally wearing pizza baker hats and green fig leaves aprons. It is so outlandish and cultish and so far from anything Christ taught that I stopped going. I could simply not take it seriously.

    Also consider that family members that are not “Worthy” can not attend the wedding of their sons or daughters. And this is a Chruch that protray themselves as family Church! LOL.

    LDS believe that families can be together forever in the celestial kingdom – Another temple ceremony seal children to their parents. Ex-mormons will not be able to be together with their families forever.

    Also LDS Claim they do not practise polygamy anymore. That is a blatant lie. A woman sealed to a man in the temple can not remarry if she becomes a vidow or divorces. A man however can remarry another woman in the temple for “eternity” – this makes him sealed to more than one woman. LDS believe that these men will ahve both women as his viwes. So LDS still practise polygamy.

    I also notice the LDS doctrine of “Lying for the Lord” in the statement from the church about Big Love: They claim:

    “When an independent film company produced a grossly distorted version of the Mountain Meadows Massacre two years ago, the Church ignored it”

    That is a blatant lie! The Church actually was forced to apologize for the atrocities members committed when they killed 120-140 innocent and unarmed men and women.

    Interesting that the church also mention beycotting AOL and HBO!!! In the aftermath of the passing of prop 8 in CA, some advocated boycotting LDS business who had donated money to the Yes on 8 Campain – The outcry of “We are getting persecuted for our religious beliefs” were hilariously funny. Just look how they act now – they can dish it out but don´t take it!

    People has to face that Mormonism is based on the false teachings of false prophet who was a great charasmatic conartist, who had 33 vives – 2 who were 14 making Joseph smith a pedophile. He lied about everything – Ask LDS why he was sent to Carthage Jail? They haven´t got a clue that he and LDS vigilantes destroyed the Navoo expositor, run by the former 1. counselor, who left the Church when Joseph Smith wanted to marry his wife!!!! But like LDS and Church leaders say – the truth is not useful, if it is not faith promoting.

    Watching the reaction of a Church and it’s members that believe that all other churches and religions are FALSE and they are the “only true Church” is quite amusing. Let them have their secret KKK pizza baker costume parties, with not so secret handshakes. But stop them from creating a theocracy -their version of “Gods kingdom on Earth” by forcing their “Values” on everybody else like they have done everytime equal rights for blacks, women and now gays and lesbians are discussed. Prop 8 in Ca, the common ground initiative and now trying to prevent civil unions in Illionois, show the true ambition of the MLM Mormon Inc. They don´t care about separation of Church and state – No wonder Mitt Romney never became a serious candidate for US President! If LDS have it their way they will create a theocracy more brutal and murderous than the Islamic Priesthood Regime in Iran. But they forget that freedom of religion is also freedom from religion!

  • http://www.equalitysblog.typepad.com Equality

    Now, why is no one in the GLB community supporting the LDS Church on their stance that they would support “civil unions” and equal rights to G-L couples? This position recognizes that the “State” has a right to recognize and collect a fee for providing licenses but it also recognizes that the institution of “marriage” was church centered and each church gets to decide who qualifies for marriage according to their own beliefs. Where’s the hate or prejudice in this stance?

    Actually, Dakulis, your church reversed that stance after the election. Just last month the LDS Church had the opportunity to follow through on that, but it did NOT support the Common Ground Initiative in the Utah legislature that would have provided gays and lesbians with all the rights of marriage. LDS Church spokeswoman Kim Farah first said “The church is not planning on commenting on civil unions for the time being.” Then LDS Church spokesman Michael Otterson said “I don’t want to give the impression that the church is saying civil unions in all cases are OK.” Church President Thomas Monson was silent on the measure. Why? Some might infer from the Church’s lack of action in Utah and other states that the Church was disingenuous during the Proposition 8 battle, when it said that it ONLY opposed the use of the word “marriage” for gay unions. It sure looks like the Church leaders and spokespeople were not being completely honest in all their dealings with their fellow man. I wonder if Thomas Monson can answer the temple recommend questions truthfully? Get your facts straight, Dakulis. It might help make your arguments more persuasive.

  • Dakulis

    Equality,

    Here’s the article my son pointed me to, it seems self-explanatory. If you have articles that the Church put out after this, I’d be happy to take a look at them.

    Salt Lake Tribune poll.

    Even so, a House committee Wednesday rejected Rep. Jennifer Seelig’s HB160, which would have offered two, unmarried cohabiting adults — including same-sex couples — safeguards of inheritance rights and medical-decision making for one another.

    Foes argued gay couples and other unmarried pairs already can secure those rights through wills and other contracts.

    HB160 “is unnecessary,” testified Stan Rasmussen, public-affairs manager for the conservative Sutherland Institute. “Further, it creates confusion regarding current law governing inheritance and medical-decision making.”

    But Salt Lake City resident Kim Hackford-Peer warned that having all the right documents in place wasn’t enough to guarantee that she could be in the room when her partner, Ruth Hackford-Peer, was having an amniocentesis during her second pregnancy.

    “What if the circumstances were different? … What if I was not allowed my last opportunity to talk to her?” Kim Hackford-Peer asked. “When even one person is hurt by a rule or a law that could be changed to make sure that nobody is hurt, I believe, we, as a community, have an obligation to make that change.”

    She also noted not everyone can afford to hire an attorney to draft a will or a health-care directive.

    Still, the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee voted 9-4 along party lines against the measure.

    Despite Wednesday’s defeat, the Common Ground Initiative is far from dead, said Mike Thompson, executive director of Equality Utah, the advocacy group leading the charge. Democratic lawmakers have promised to bring back their bills, with some variations, next year.

    And activists scored some mini-victories. All the bills, save for one pulled by its sponsor, at least reached committee hearings.

    “The majority of Utahns support these basic protections,” Thompson said. “We are not giving up on these issues. The Common Ground Initiative is not a 2009 legislative agenda.”

    Another failed gay-rights bill, HB288, was not included in the initiative. It would have allowed unmarried couples, including gay and lesbian pairs, to adopt and foster children in Utah.

    Equality Utah crafted the Common Ground Initiative in response to statements made by the LDS Church after passage of California’s Proposition 8. Even though it supported the ballot measure, which banned same-sex marriage in the Golden State, the church said it “does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.”

    Despite those comments, the LDS Church did not endorse Equality Utah’s initiative.

    So, I’m not misrepresenting anything, just commenting upon what I read and I haven’t seen anything to the contrary but I’m always willing to read more. The remainder of your comments aren’t even really pertinent to our discussion so I’ll just stop here.

  • http://www.equalitysblog.typepad.com Equality

    You said the Church supports civil unions. Then you post a news article about the Equality Utah initiative that would provide civil unions, including a line that says “Despite those comments, the LDS Church did not endorse Equality Utah’s initiative.” It seems the church supports some gay rights in theory; it just hasn’t found a ballot initiative or legislative proposal in any state or at the federal level that it has been able to voice support for. Which makes the rhetoric ring just a little hollow, dontcha think?

  • Old Beezle

    Thank you, PK, for the ad-hominem attack and ignorance and intolerance of who I am and what I believe:

    There is allot of information about the temple on the internet. The only way it can get there is from someone who has been there and has made a solemn commitment to not reveal it. The information probably cannot be completely trusted since it is revealed by people with very low integrity.

    As I recall from my first mormon temple visit, I was issued a verbal contract at the moment of signing. In other words, I knew nothing about what was going to take place other than that it was an ‘essential ordinance’ akin to baptism when covenants would be made with God. What I got instead was naked touching, silly outfits, a movie featuring Satan, and secret passwords and handshakes. Had I been presented with the full facts as to what was about to take place, then I would have ripped up that ‘contract’ on the spot. With friends and parents watching however (they’re always present the first time a new initiate attends the temple), I could hardly bow out just because things started to look a little strange to my 18 yr-old eyes. I trusted my friends and family. I trusted the mormon leaders. I trusted Joseph Smith and THEY all broke their trust and committment to me. A contract cannot be made by coercion and be valid. In my opinion only people of low integrity would participate in such a charade as the temple is.

    As for JBC:

    If you would like to know about the LDS Church its teachings and faith go to the source. Do you really think that someone who has left the mormon church has a lack of bias. If they did not they would still be members.

    If you want unbiased information regarding any product, then you go to a third party who reviews it–not to the salemen or to the factory who have a vested interest in your purchase. Ask a mormon about mormonism only if you want a sales pitch.

    The problem is that the information regarding what happens in LDS temples is a closely guarded secret by the LDS and so there is little information in the public forum. Big Love will help provide such and hopefully begin a dialogue about it.

    Further, your claim that only unbiased people would remain in the church is absurd and a logical fallacy akin to the No True Scotsman argument, i.e. if someone leaves the mormon church, then they weren’t ‘true’ members. Only those who have the courage to stand up to hypocrisy and lies leave the mormon church. Everyone else swallows Joseph’s Myth hook, line, and sinker. Being brainwashed is worse than being biased.

    I know that you will now label everything I said as anti-mormon and that will cease all reasoning and thinking in your head. That’s fine. Just be aware that you’re doing exactly as you’ve been told to. Yours is a Pavlovian response and is understandable. You should, however, learn to examine even those facts and statements that at first seem upsetting or absurd to you. If humans did not do so, then we would still believe that the sun revolved around the earth just as religions of old told us to because the alternative rocked their boat.

    You must be able to think outside of the little world that the mormon church has built for you. Forming new neural pathways will be difficult, but you’ll find it to be the most rewarding and empowering thing you’ve ever done.

  • Athiest former Mormom

    As a former Mormon, now an athiest, and one who has never missed an episode of Big Love, I find it amusing that so many “members of the Church,” who clearly haven’t watched the show, are conjecturing about what will be broadcast on Sunday’s episode of Big Love. Haven’t they ever noticed that TV show promos sometimes make a bigger deal of something than it is in reality? They see a still shot in the TV Guide and think the whole darn ceremony will be displayed to an audience ready to ridicule. What paranoia! My guess is that the character, Barb, who is still technically a member of the LDS church is going to be excommunicated after being outed by her sister, or her sister’s husband, as being involved in plural marriage. She will likely be called to Church Court and will have a flashback to receiving her endowments in the temple.

    What I will say is that these rituals are kept from all members of the LDS church unless and until they go through them themselves – until they are “worthy.” What does that mean, you ask? Well, basically, you have to follow the rules of the church and make sure you pay your tithing (10% of a person’s gross income). That’s the price of admission to participate in these bizarre rituals. My father and (2nd) stepmother went through great financial hardship in order to get “sealed” in the temple. What’s most disgusting about it is that the tithe that members pay (“fire insurance” as it’s often referred to) gets wired directly from the ward every week to Salt Lake City headquarters. Salt Lake decides what each ward’s budget is, which ends up being approximately 1% of the total annual tithe submitted to SLC. So, here are these sometimes poor/struggling families or just-married young BYU students knocking themselves out to buy their way into being “worthy” to get married in the temple. It’s just shameful and I hope the hypocrisy of this religion is exposed for what it is.

    Another thing that’s not really talked about is that the mainstream LDS church absolutely supports the concept of polygamy. I sat in Young Womens’ class every Sunday and on more than one occasion it was taught. According to LDS doctrine, when their members reach the “Celestial Kingdom,” polygamy will be practiced again. When I and my friends balked at this, saying that we wouldn’t want to share our husbands, we were told that once we were on the other side of the “veil” that it would all be okay with us because the “fullness of the Gospel” would have been revealed at that time. What a crock. Growing up female in the church is horrible – being told that because men hold the “priesthood” they are divinely inspired and will always be the decision-makers of the household. When I said, reflecting on my own father’s sometimes very flawed decisions (marrying a 19-year-old girl when he was 43), “but what if the man is wrong,” I was told that, no, he won’t be wrong because he holds the priesthood.

    Now, the LDS members who are writing into this board can get all pious if they want and call me bitter (which I don’t deny by any stretch), that’s fine. They’d better be prepared for their offspring to become disillusioned and leave “the Church” like me and all of my siblings. By the way, I’m still technically LDS because in order to get my name off of the membership rolls, I will have to send a letter to the local bishop, including my address, and he will send his minions to my house and hound me about it, summon me to Church Court, etc. It’s like trying to get out of the mob.

  • AxeGrrl

    Dakulis wrote:

    That said, I have a real problem with the GLB community using inflammatory language to punish the Church for supporting their principles. How many Hollywood folks spent money, how many GLB folks spent their money? So, it’s okay for “your side” to pay to support their principles but not Church members? That makes no sense.

    Let’s deconstruct this to make it simple…..

    GLB folks supporting their principles (ie fighting for marriage rights) does absolutely NOTHING to affect the Mormon church.

    When Mormons fund efforts to strip GLB people of marriage rights/privileges, this has a real, tangible negative impact on the lives of those GLB people.

    Get it now?

    The apparent blindness to this blatantly obvious and hypocritical double standard is mind-boggling.

    Respect isn’t a one-way-street. If the church continues to show complete and utter disregard for the ‘sacred’ things of other people, there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to respect it.

    If you want everyone to ‘just get along’, then stop interfering in the lives of other people. So very simple. Do that, and then yes, we most surely COULD all ‘get along’ :)

  • Jack

    Wow, this discussion sure went downhill quickly from where I left off yesterday. This was the only place where it seemed a good discussion was happening with opinions from both sides. Now it is just turning into a big bash all around. What a waste.

  • laterose

    What about the magic underpants?

    so I haven’t read the two hundred some comments, but I as I recall the temple initiation thing is when you start wearing the magic underpants.

    I know this because my sister got married in the temple back when she was mormon. I wasn’t able to go to her wedding. I spent it in the church next door with a very bored photographer. My mom got to spend it in the hallway of the temple. I guess since she was the mother of the bride they wanted her to be closer even if she couldn’t actually see it. The only thing objectionable about the ceremony other than excluding many family and friends was that apparently the mormon ceremony doesn’t involve asking the bride if she consents to the marriage. They ask the groom but not the bride. I don’t know if that’s traditional or just something my sister’s “sealer” did.

    Also I’ve been in a mormon temple. Before it officially opened they had sort of an open house when they built one in my home town. My sister dragged the whole family to go see it. I guess it was ok because it hadn’t been sanctified or something.

  • lindsey

    I know this is going to be a reiteration, but this is the internet, and everyone who wants to talk gets to =)

    A lot of you Mormons posting here are making a few assumptions which are not necessarily accurate

    assumption 1: you don’t know anything about mormonism! or real LDS church!
    you’re wrong: there are a lot of people on here who used to be Mormon, some even went through all the Temple ceremonies. I was raised Mormon myself. So we know what we’re talking about.

    assumption 2: Big Love is hateful and wants to make fun of us.
    you’re wrong: I’ve been watching big love from the beginning. It’s a well researched show, and while it brings the drama, these people are portrayed realistically, not as caricatures. The show has also made a clear line between FLDS and mainstream LDS throughout. Don’t panic, we all know you don’t practice polygamy.

    assumption 3: our beliefs must be respected.
    No, we don’t have to respect you’re beliefs. In this country, you’re allowed to worship in the way that suits you. I respect your right to do so. I do not, however, need to respect your beliefs.

    There are a few comments here that say “Mormons haven’t practiced polygamy for 100 years!” Okay, mainstream mormons haven’t. It behooved the church to distance itself for political reasons. But there have always been groups who stayed with it. And here is my question about this: is god’s truth eternal? Either polygamy is God’s law or it isn’t, I thought God didn’t change his mind? So, they practiced polygamy in the Bible, and the early Mormons practiced polygamy. I remember hearing in church that polygamy is also the way things are done in the Celestial kingdom. So: is this practice correct or not? Were the early saints wrong or not?

    I also find it interesting is that the immediate assumption is that this is intended to ridicule. Do you find your own beliefs so worthy of scorn that this is all you can expect? If you keep something secret, people will be curious.

  • NoMollyMormon

    To the person who really, really wants to know about the “Mormon underpants”:These are called ‘temple garments’ and the person wears them after they’ve been through the temple (ergo the name).  I wore those cursed things for about a dozen years until I left the church.  My understanding is that they are to keep you from temptation, as in if you see some hot guy you would like to get it on with…..hey!  nothing doing……you have on these temple garments & were married in the temple.  There are ‘marks’ here & there on the garments to remind you of your sacred voews, blah blah blah.And to the other person asking about Polygamy.  This is supposed to be the way it works in the Celestial Kingdom.  Not only that, but if a couple is sealed in the temple & lives righteous lives (gag) they get to be God & Goddess of their own planet.  I kid you not.  So, since the Mormons had to drop practicing polygamy openly for political reasons, that didn’t change their belief that it’s practed in the celestial kingdom, ergo is really God’s wishes. Yeah, bizarre.

  • http://backaccessward.blogspot.com/ beetle

    This all just goes to demonstrate that, as a whole, Friendly Atheists are more courteous net citizens than the Mormons trolling here.

    When FA links to some Xtian blog article, and FA regulars feel compelled to comment on the originating site, I have appreciated the following habits:

    1) FA-ers identify where the link came from (i.e., FA). There is no pretense that random atheists are visiting the site spontaneously.
    2) FA-ers read the other posts (both FA and non-FA), and only comment if there is something novel to add to the discussion.

  • Pete

    i’ll i’ve got to say is: snap!! after reading all this, i’ve got to put some icy-hot on my eyes to ease the visual chaffing i’m getting! my favorite in reading all of these was the tactic of: if you have a different opinion/faith than me, i’m going to make you look dumb with either direct or indirect personal attacks on you and your opinion. some even offered citations! thus far i feel 0% understanding has been achieved. but then again, that probably wasn’t the goal was it?

  • Aboz

    It has been suggested on another blog that since Tom Hanks is a producer of Big Love and that he had a recent outburst against the Mormons, that there is a good chance that he is behind this to get back at the Mormons for proposition 8 in California. I thought that was a brilliant deduction. Indeed, this is not from the spirit of love, but the spirit of hatred.

  • Aaron

    I am a practicing member of the LDS faith. I haven’t seen any episodes of Big Love, so I’m not really qualified to comment on whether it’s portrayal of polygamist culture and Mormon culture culture is accurate and realistic. I will say, however, that regardless of whether the portrayal is realistic and fair, I am still disappointed that they would choose to re-enact parts of the temple ceremonies in their show.

    My objection arises from the fact that the temple and the ordinances performed therein are considered to by very sacred. We hold the temple in such reverence that we don’t discuss the temple ordinances in detail even among ourselves outside the temple walls.

    A sacred experience doesn’t necessarily have to be a religous experience. Think about the experiences that have had a profound or solemn effect on your life. Maybe it was a time when you really communicated heart-to-heart with a dear friend or relative. Maybe it was the birth of your child. Maybe it was a funeral of a loved one. I pity anyone who has never experienced anything sacred.

    Now imagine if HBO filmed that profoundly affecting moment of yours, and put it on TV without your consent. How would you feel? If they told you they had researched your sacred experience thoroughly to present it in the most accurate way, would that make it any better? Maybe some people would be all right with that, but I think most of us would be upset.

    When I heard Big Love is planning on showing parts of the temple ceremonies, that’s kind of how I felt (although not exactly). My objection isn’t a matter of whether it will be portrayed fairly. It’s a matter of feeling violated because HBO is disrespecting my very sacred experience for the sake of entertainment.

    The endowment ceremony is an ordinance (not unlike baptism in some respects) that typically takes about 2 hours, and there is a lot of information/doctrine that is presented during the ceremony. The first few times I attended the temple, I even found it very confusing. It took me several trips to the temple before I started to get a basic understanding of the purpose of the ordinance and how it ties in with other areas of the gospel.

    Imagine what it might be like for someone who has never been exposed to Christianity were to witness a baptism. Would they understand the symbolism, meaning or importance of the ordinance? Would they understand why Christians consider baptism to be a spiritual/sacred event? Of course not. It would look bizarre, cultish, even frightening.

    For anyone who has not attended a temple ceremony, that is probably the impression you will have while you watch the snippets that are shown on the show. It’s not really possible for HBO to present the ordinances in a context that would make sense to someone who is not well versed in LDS doctrine and beliefs.

    That being said, there have been comments made on this forum that imply there are racy/inappropriate things that happen in the temple. That is simply not the case. There is a lot of stuff that happens in the temple that you might find very confusing. However, there is nothing that happens in the temple that would be considered inappropriate/racy/obscene if it were to happen in a crowded public area full of school children.

  • understanding

    Everyone in the world holds something sacred or special to them that wishes that item be held that way. Religion is something that many people hold sacred. Muslims don’t like pictures of Muhammad printed, Catholics don’t like the conclave open to the public or I’m sure ridiculed, people don’t like phone calls during dinner, sports fans don’t want phone calls from tele-markers during games,

    What if someone was to walk into a funeral for one of your family members and when asked if they knew the deceased and they responded with I don’t know them and I don’t really care to find out? Does it matter if you prefer to use the term sacred or secret or personal? If you tell a friend something in confidence they have every right to share that with the world with anyone they please to but they don’t because they hold it sacred, secret or personal and honor you by keeping it that way.

    If no one is harmed then I think things can be kept sacred, secret or personal and others who know about it should be wise to do the same thing.

    A guy may secretly film a sexual encounter with a woman and then post that video on line, make a movie, show his friends. Does he have the right to show his friends? Are they curious to see it? Does that mean he should? Are these good enough reasons to show this video? I don’t think they are now if the girl says sure lets go ahead and show them he then has permission. But isn’t this a private act? Secret act? Or personal act that one might not want to share with others? Just as the guy should get approval from the woman involved so should Big love get approval.

    Just remember that some people want to keep things personal, private, sacred or secret and a respect for people would be nice as long as that does not hurt anyone or endanger others. Just think how you would feel if someone showed disrespect at your parents or child’s funeral, took your sacred religions views and treated them as not sacred, broadcasted intimate cases of your life, or told your secrets to others.

  • Amelia

    I feel like I’ve been raped again. You have taken something very very private, very sacred, very personal and riped it away from me and your laying it open to display not for some warped personal kicks but for some warped need for a few extra dollars. Did I wrong you some how someway? If so I appologize, please don’t do this to me not again I don’t know if I can take it again. If it helps, no you don’t learn anything about plural marrage in the Temple, you don’t learn anything about an intergalatic anything, what LDS people do or do not choose to wear is their own business. I don’t make your choice of undergarment public business. You can learn alot of what is said in the Temple by reading your Bible that’s right, not terribly exciting earth shattering stuff. PLEASE LEAVE THE LORD’S TEMPLES ALONE

  • Aaron

    In response to comments about polygamy being taught as an eternal principle:

    I’m a lifelong member, and I have never heard that preached from the pulpit, I’ve never heard that taught from an ecclesiastical leader, and I’ve never read that in any of the church publications.

    I have heard several people on several occasions speculate that someday polygamy will again be practiced by the church, or that polygamy will be practiced in the hereafter. I wouldn’t consider any of these people to be authoritative sources. When I hear members of the church speculate on things like that, my first thought is that they are jumping to wild conclusions based on speculation and misinterpretation of scriptural meaning.

    In response to “NoMollyMormon” who wrote “if a couple is sealed in the temple & lives righteous lives (gag) they get to be God & Goddess of their own planet.”

    Again, I have never heard that preached from the pulpit, I’ve never heard that taught from an ecclesiastical leader, and I’ve never read that in any of the church publications.

    I have read that assertion many, many times. The only places I have ever read that, however, has been in online forums such as this.

    Regarding the church’s belief about the divine potential of man, the most widely-known statement is, “As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become.”

    Some people who disagree with the LDS church have taken it upon themselves to twist this statement into “Mormons believe that when they die they will rule their own planets.”

    I respect people’s right to disagree with LDS beliefs, and to point out problems within the LDS church (yes, I acknowledge my church is not perfect and it has made mistakes in the past, and will probably make more mistakes in the future). However, I have little respect for you if you intentionally misquote LDS doctrine to give it an even more bizarre, ridiculous slant.

    Come on! We Mormons have plenty of wierd things that we actually believe. You’ve got plenty to work with already without adding any modifications, or implying that things you heard from your cousin-who-knows-a-Mormon is official doctrine of the LDS church.

  • Aaron

    Regarding comments made about Mormons buying their way into the temple:

    Only LDS faithful who hold a temple recommend are permitted to attend the temple. If a member wants to obtain a temple recommend, they have an “interview” with their bishop. The interview consists of a series of questions asked by the bishop and answered by the person who wants to obtain the recommend.

    I believe there are currently 21 questions on the interview list. All members everywhere are asked the same questions, and bishops are explicitly instructed to not modify or add to the questions. One of the questions is “are you a full-tithe payer?” This question is not given any more precedence over any of the other questions. I don’t know all of the other questions, but they are along the lines of “are you honest in your dealings with your fellow man?”, “do you sustain Thomas S. Monson as a prophet, seer, and revelator?”, and “do you have a testimony of Jesus Christ?”

    The point is that the bishop does not determine whether someone is worthy to attend the temple. The person who is being interviewed makes that determination themself. The bishop never says “I know you’re making $100,000 a year, and from my calculations you’re only paying 2%.”

    The interview is an opportunity for the interviewee to assess their own worthiness. Willingness to pay a full 10% tithe is only one of many measures of an individual’s testimony.

    Suggesting that people are “buying their salvation” by paying tithing implies that qualifying for a temple recommend is a lot easier than it actually is. Paying a full tithe is only one requirement among many for a faithful LDS adherent.

  • WHERE’STHEbigLOVE?

    I Googled this mess and found myself on an Athiest site. How ironic.

    Some of these comments (on both sides) are insightful and some are just seething with bitterness…Prop 8 anyone?
    Some people want to discuss this and others just want to hear themselves use words like “Lest” and “ad-hominem”…get over yourself.

    Here’s what happens:
    “Big Love” airs the show as planned. The athiests and ex/non-mormons still go on not believing in God or anything that Mormons believe.
    Mormons are disappointed that their sacred ordinances are portrayed out of context and trampled. They move on.
    Prop 8 opposers feel a tincy bit of gratifying revenge.
    Viewers are left with more questions and confusion than answers, and misunderstaning mormons continues.

    And we’re back to square 1. Are we better off?
    If they aired this episode about an ex-muslim guy who converted to christianity that revealed an inside video of Mecca, his whole family would get beheaded on the internet and somebody would catch a suicide bomber over at HBO headquarters.
    But this is COMPLETELY different. wouldn’t you say?

  • Rieux

    Beetle:

    This all just goes to demonstrate that, as a whole, Friendly Atheists are more courteous net citizens than the Mormons trolling here.

    You have a point–but I don’t think I would call what our Mormon guests are doing here trolling. It’s more like filibustering–they’re trying to squeeze out any dissent from their petulant whining by mere repetition and strength-in-numbers. In a sense, their tactic is the opposite of trolling: rather than trying to provoke a reaction, they’re trying to bury the reaction (and then pretend it doesn’t exist).

    Honestly, it seems to me that what they’re doing is measurably worse than trolling. At least trolls recognize that there are two (or more) sides to an issue.

  • AxeGrrl

    Stephie said:

    since mormons WISH to be so secretive and, frankly, bitchy about their precious beliefs, maybe they should have kept their noses out of gay people’s business. They got a hell of a lot of nerve being upset in any fashion about any backlash they might have received from funding a hate campaign.

    Precisely :) and I completely agree with your comments about Mormons ‘pushing themselves back further’ when they try to do the same thing to gays/lesbians (legally)

    (sorry i missed your post earlier ~ being a veritable ‘needle’ in this haystack:)

  • AxeGrrl

    Dakulis said:

    Scott, Prop. 8 was “mean spirited” in your mind but not mine.

    So, Dakulis, by the same token, you should be ‘ok’ if the producers of ‘Big Love’ said to you:

    ‘our decision to show temple services is “mean spirited” in your mind but not ours

    and you should be ‘ok’ if a homosexual person said to you:

    ‘our decision to protest and boycott all things Mormon is “mean spirited” in your mind but not ours’

    right?

    will ANY Mormon posting in this thread have the integrity to ‘explain’ why their active bigotry (which has real world negative consequences for people who have nothing to do with their church) should be ‘respected’, while reactions against their bigotry are apparently NOT worth respecting?

    anyone??

  • http://ldssexchildabuse.blogspot.com/ Mountain Meadow Ghost

    Now we can discuss what really goes on the temples until the cows come home – but I thought you might want to see much more for yourself what really goes on the in the mormon temples: I almost bet that Big Love Will not show this!

    some part of re-enactments of the temple Endowment (pre 1990 showing the penalties and blood oaths)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sDDHwV4n20&feature=related

    Total re-enactment showing everything! including the clothes worn:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXNeMYwEaIQ&feature=related

    Naked in the mormon temple – (Well covered by a shield (sheet) – which the temple worker reaches under to do the Washing and Annoiting – YES you will get naked!!! before putting on the Magic unsexy underwear – one mans experience:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YatJsH53YWw&feature=related

    Video showing all the Secret “Socalled” sacred handshakes so you can pass the Angel too:

    -First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood
    -Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood
    -First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood
    (Sign of the Nail):
    -Second Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood(Sure sign of the Nail – or Patriachal grip)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBnY9zu-piw

    At the Veil: (Before it used to be much more intimate – the 5 points of fellowship – now they only do this):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHPdfGwuiLM&feature=related

    All going through the temple gets a “new name” : usually a biblical name – every woman and man gets the same name that day –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAEcxXBNyTY&feature=related

    Test conducted to see if the Magic Mormon Underwear protects against bullets (as claimed by LDS)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAEcxXBNyTY

    The Magical mormon underwear/garments have been displayed before in movies:

    Angels in Amerca:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmZnDiYOHZg&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WOOac519CQ&NR=1

    Mormons try to babtise every-body – Jews – muslims – Nazis – Hitler – serial killers (Ted Bundy) Catholics and christians and even Atheists by proxy (After they are dead – they find the names in Geneaologic archieves) thereby forcing their beliefs on everybody Living (Era, denial of interacial marriages, prop 8 CA, preventing equal rights for gays and lesbians all over the world) or dead:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INqPZzMvVnw&feature=related

    What they don´t tell is however that they also go through the endowment ceremony for you by proxy and give men the priesthood by proxy. They will also conduct marriages by proxy.

    So all of you will be babtized into the LDS Church, get the temple endowment and the priesthood and even get married – whether you want to or not. You do not have any choice! At least you now know what they are enforcing on you , hopefully after you are dead, to spare you the humilation and total lack of respect of your values and beliefs! I just felt you should know this!

  • Indigo

    I’m still waiting for somebody to respond to the question about why, if a non-Mormon finds something about Mormonism offensive, members of that religion are not obligated to stop practising it out of “respect”. (And incidentally, as a feminist and a humanist, I can find plenty to be offended by.)

  • NoMollyMormon

    No one wants their beliefs scorned, but then a lot of us don’t have missionaries all over the world trying to convert people to their church like the Mormons do.

    Ergo it’s only fair that people be told what they’re getting into if they join.

    There is the distinct possibility that some of the more bizarre aspects have been downplayed in the last 20 years, as the person who responded to my first posting said he/she had never heard of the promise that a couple sealed in the temple, living righteous lives, would be rewarded by being God/Goddess of their own planet. But back in the 1960s that was taught. I wss there.

  • Justin Case

    It is interesting reading about all the excitement and mystery about the upcoming Big Love episode. I guess people will be thinking: “Once and for all, we’re finally going to see the truth about all this Mormon stuff.” Well, you are wrong.
    What about the secret ceremonies within the Catholic Church? I don’t knock the Catholics?
    What about the secret ceremonies within the myriad Native American tribes? I don’t knock the Natives.
    There’s so much more out there that is “secret” or “sacred” that people haven’t a clue about.
    In some way, all this reminds me of Monty Python in search of the Holy Grail!

  • Old Beezle

    Spot-on, Rieux:

    It’s more like filibustering–they’re trying to squeeze out any dissent from their petulant whining by mere repetition and strength-in-numbers. In a sense, their tactic is the opposite of trolling: rather than trying to provoke a reaction, they’re trying to bury the reaction (and then pretend it doesn’t exist).

    It’s no wonder that most of their comments sound the same: why do you persecute us and the temples are sacred [full stop]. This is what the church has taught them since childhood and they’re just echoing the party line. Just as they ignore the more embarrassing moments of their own history they will ignore this one and when it’s all said and done they will pretend it didn’t happen–just like they did with Prop 8 last year, Mountain Meadows Massacre spotlight in the last few years, and even the South Park episode. Their collective memory is only as good as what the leaders pass down to them.

    That is also why no mormon will respond to question regarding things that may be sacred to atheists. It’s not what they do. They state the party line and if it’s ignored, they move on. They will not engage in debate most of the time–especially anything they brand as ‘contentious’ debate. They don’t have any answers for you.

  • Entor16

    I think with all this uproar behind the episode, people who actually watch it will maintain that it isn’t anything different than watching a scene in a catholic confessional (which I’ve scene many times in movies and tv), or a Jewish temple, a Christian baptizing ceremony etc etc. Are these not as sacred????

    Scenes like these DO NOT denounce religion, whatsoever, but rather celebrate the practices. Come Monday, our practices will not be any less sacred than they were Sunday when the episode is supposed to air. I guess I just take it for what it is. Here are the full statements from HBO and the producers:

    HBO Statement:

    “We know that the writers/producers of the series have gone to great lengths to be respectful and accurate in portraying the endowment ceremony. That ceremony is very much an important part of this year’s storyline. Obviously, it was not our intention to do anything disrespectful to the church but to those who may be offended, we offer our sincere apology. It should also be noted that throughout the series’ three-year run, the writer/producers have made abundantly clear the distinction between the LDS church and those extreme fringe groups who practice polygamy. ”

    Statement from Mark V Olsen and Will Scheffer :

    “In approaching the dramatization of the endowment ceremony, we knew we had a responsibility to be completely accurate and to show the ceremony in the proper context and with respect. We therefore took great pains to depict the ceremony with the dignity and reverence it is due. This approach is entirely evident in the scene portrayed in this episode and certainly reflected in Jeanne Tripplehorn’s beautiful and moving performance as she faces losing the Church she loved so much. In order to assure the accuracy of the ceremony, it was thoroughly vetted by an adviser who is familiar with temple practices and rituals. This consultant was actually on the set throughout the filming of the scenes to make sure every detail was correct.”

  • Old Beezle

    Justin Case:

    I guess people will be thinking: “Once and for all, we’re finally going to see the truth about all this Mormon stuff.” Well, you are wrong.

    Why? Please explain…

  • Old Beezle

    Understanding:

    Just remember that some people want to keep things personal, private, sacred or secret and a respect for people would be nice as long as that does not hurt anyone or endanger others.

    All good and well and agreeable, but the secret temple rituals do hurt people. New members to the church are told next to nothing about what goes on in the temple. They’re only told that it’s a neccessity and that’s it’s “special.” Then when they do go, they often feel shocked, betrayed, and the victim of a scam. Those people have been hurt by all of the secrecy. Disclosure and discussion would alleviate many of those problems. It is actually in the church’s best interest for the public to be able to learn as much as possible about what being a member fully involves.

    Besides, there are hundreds of thousands of exmormons who do know exactly what goes on in the temple, but that, I would think, does not lessen the sacredness of the event for you personally. Something can be public knowledge and still be privately sacred.

  • lane

    Ok so everyone wants to know what goes on in the temple. Well I’m not going to tell you because to me it is sacred, and to show it would be equivalent to you walking into a mosque and burning the Koran on the floor. People can not understand that just maybe there is something that we hold so dear that we don’t wish to have it ridiculed. Without an full understanding of the purpose of temples and without a belief in the LDS church people will gain nothing from being there and will rather open themselves up to confusion. People tend to make fun of that which they do not understand.
    I quite enjoy the fact the HBO hired and ex-Mormon as their expert. I have found there are two types of ex-Mormons, the ones that walk away trying to forget what they knew, therefore their memories are in question. Or number two the ones that become bitter by some minor offense, often due to their own mistakes, and who have a hidden agenda of hate towards the church, again not too reliable.
    I expected many questions about this when I come to work the next day. I can explain the purpose but I will not discuss the details.

    Just so you do know the endowment is a ordinance by which we learn more of God and his plan for us here and after death. It clears the way for admittance to the Celestial Kingdom, or highest degree of glory. But contrary to popular belief this is not a requirement to enter the other levels of heaven, and only a very, very few will end up in the LDS equivalent of Hell,
    The sealing ceremony is the way by which we join couples and families together of “all eternity” thus striking the “till death do we part” from a standard marriage”. Civil unions, marriages outside the temple are for mortality, temple marriages are for ever, PROVIDED YOU LIVE UP TO YOUR COVENANTS, it is not a free ticket in.

  • lane

    Then when they do go, they often feel shocked, betrayed, and the victim of a scam

    In my opinion this would only occur if you do not properly prepare yourself. There are temple prep classes you can attend prior to going. Also if you truly have a testimony of the restored church than anything that does not involve the violation of others should be of shock. Nothing we do is extreme, no one is hurt, no animals are involved, there is no mention of anyone other the Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as deity.
    Unfortunately in a society the really values nothing anymore, I am not surprised that so few people have any understanding of things being sacred. Family, Sex, Children, Human life are near worthless to society anymore. As a convert of 10 years this is a sad day for me, but we will push forward, this will simply act as another opportunity to speak about what we believe, just as ‘Big Love’ and ‘South Park’ have done in the past. I just wish that this time the price was not so high.

  • WHERE’STHEbigLOVE?

    since blacks voted 2 to 1 in favor of and hispanics/catholics voted 3 to 1 in favor of Prop 8, I was wondering if anyone could tell where I can find a blog that calls blacks, hispanics and catholics bigots? I want to shred those guys with clever dialogue. We can’t let them get off so easy!

    Granted, the mormons probably used some temple witch power while “sacrificing babies” to gain mind control over the majority of California.

  • laterose

    It’s that the temple is a place where only people who are really serious about being all those things I listed above go to make promises to God. I know that promises don’t mean much anymore. Every idiot in the world stands up and says “I do” in any conventional wedding ritual but he really means, yeah – until I don’t feel like it, or until I don’t get what I want, or until it gets boring. The Mormon people feel like the promises they make to God – about those things I listed above, remember – that they are REAL promises. And it’s better you don’t make them at all than to make them and lie to God about it, or turn out to be too shallow or selfish or whatever to keep them.

    You want to know how long my sister’s special “sealed for all eternity” marriage lasted? Ten months. They didn’t even make it a full fucking year. I on the other hand, have made no promises in front of gods or men, and yet have made a happy home with my beloved for five years. So forgive me for not taking your REAL promises seriously when I have managed to surpass them simply by living my life.

  • AxeGrrl

    wheresthebiglove said:

    since blacks voted 2 to 1 in favor of and hispanics/catholics voted 3 to 1 in favor of Prop 8, I was wondering if anyone could tell where I can find a blog that calls blacks, hispanics and catholics bigots? I want to shred those guys with clever dialogue. We can’t let them get off so easy!

    Hmm, does your computer not have google? Do a search and you’ll find what you’re looking for. It’s easy! :)

    I take it that you’re not going to offer a response to the “why should what Mormons hold as ‘sacred’ be given respect when they offer no respect for what other people hold as ‘sacred’” question?

  • Polly

    The concept of secrecy from an organization that has ex-members is interesting. Does an organization have the right to retain secrets from non-members?

    The question is: Do individuals own their own experiences involving the organization or does the organization? Some companies have non-compete contracts with outgoing employees so that those employees can’t take their special skills and experience from that one company and us it to benefit a competitor.
    Maybe LDS should get their members’ commitment to secrecy in writing before allowing them into the temple?

    But, like someone mentioned above, secrets just do more to sew distrust than anything else.

  • lane

    I take it that you’re not going to offer a response to the “why should what Mormons hold as ’sacred’ be given respect when they offer no respect for what other people hold as ’sacred’” question?

    Unfortunately there are times when what people hold sacred is on both sides of the issue. I assume you speak of Prop 8. One side says homosexual marriage is a right, on the LDS side we say heterosexual marriage IS sacred, thus the fight ensues. Now I don’t hear that non-temple is sacred, there is no such concept. So stand for what you believe is sacred and fight tooth and nail even if others do not agree. I respect the homosexual fight, but I disagree and therefore fight from my side.
    In my opinion all marriages should be retroactively turned into domestic partnerships, as far as the state is concerned, and marriage should revert back to its rightful owners, the church.

    I know people don’t like this but the church payed nothing for the fight concerning prop 8, the members did, are you going to remove their first amendment rights. I am sure there is some non-profit Gay and Lesbian group that fought prop 8, perhaps they need their tax exempt stauts revoked.

  • http://bryanandmolly.blogspot.com Molly

    As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, let me answer some of your questions.
    First off, what we do in the temple is not secret, but sacred. They are things that are not taught until you have an understanding of the basic principles of the church. Very much like other religions, Judaism & Catholicism. You must learn to walk before you run. There is nothing that is done that ANYONE would be ashamed of, but if you don’t understand the church or our basic principles than you will be confused. That is why it is done with in the temple and out of the public eye.
    We are not offended because we think they are showing anything that we would be ashamed of, we are offended because they are taking something that is so highly respected and sacred to us and disprespectfully putting it out there to make money. Someone would say it is like someone taking their diary and their most treasured memories and thoughts and reading them out loud on TV.
    Also you said the following “but I imagine a lot of Mormons don’t like it because it portrays an aspect of Mormonism (polygamy) that many of them don’t subscribe to. ”
    It is not an aspect of Mormonism, Polygamy has been against the rules of the church since 1890, any members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who practice this are excommunicated. It is members of the FLDS church that practice polygamy, and they don’t practice these temple ceremonies. So by doing this show they have completed blurred the lines of 2 very different religions. SOme think they are not different, but I tell you they are as different as the Catholic church and the Methodist church.
    I am saddened at the fact that HBO thinks they have a right to show this, and that even after they have recieved millions of complaints and pleas to stop it that they would continue on. I feel sorry for them that they have no respect for religions and those that practice them.

  • Alex

    I was very active LDS and was kicked out for being gay. The LDS Church (Mormons) can’t just enter (or incite) culture wars, mobilize and persecute a legitimate minority and then call “foul” and pout when they’re discussed in a public sphere.

    The church strictly controls its image and history from within the Church (they employ a ‘correlations’ department that employs, from my recollection, over 50 people). As they enter the public sphere, they have no reason to pout if their shaky foundation is given an honest, third-party look. I for one will turn a deaf ear to their crying.

  • http://atsmith25@yahoo.com John Doe

    This is not being done with the intent to educate people about what goes on in our Temples, it is a direct attack on the Mormon Community. This show is ridiculous, inaccurate and offensive. Mormons contribute so much to society with charity and volunteer service and all the general public wants to do is ridicule us. We are by no means perfect, but we do try to teach and practice good moral values…. something that the world in general is lacking right now. I think its interesting how people like the makers of big love are trying to act like heros that are exposing some criminal coverup, but the truth is … if they were alive at the time of Jesus Christ, they would be the ones crucifying him.

  • Rieux

    Old Beezle:

    That is also why no mormon will respond to question regarding things that may be sacred to atheists. It’s not what they do. They state the party line and if it’s ignored, they move on. They will not engage in debate most of the time–especially anything they brand as ‘contentious’ debate. They don’t have any answers for you.

    Yeah, that’s what I’m learning here. And boy, has this thread ever been an educational experience.

    I’m an ex-Lutheran, not an ex-Mormon; I left the Lutheran church at age 17. Obviously I have serious disagreements with the Lutherans I grew up with and who taught me Sunday School, Confirmation, and so on—but even the doofiest of them are considerably more cognizant of the world around them (intellectually and otherwise) than the LDSers visiting us here. Screwy as Lutherans, like most mainstream Christians, can be in the things they believe, the ones I know have got nothing on the present crowd of Mormons as far as inability to see beyond the end of their own noses is concerned.

    I’ve never felt so pro-Lutheran [shudder]: these Mormon commenters are pathetic.

  • tamarind

    In my opinion this would only occur if you do not properly prepare yourself. There are temple prep classes you can attend prior to going.

    Oh come on lane, any mormon and ex-mormon who has gone through the temple knows that the ‘temple preparation’ classes don’t tell you anything about what actually goes on in the temple. There is no way on earth that someone going through the temple for the first time is prepared for the ceremony’s weirdness, unless they’ve gotten information on it from somewhere else.

    Everyone is initially taken aback by the experience. Don’t kid yourself. It’s a disturbing state of affairs.

  • AxeGrrl

    lane said:

    Unfortunately there are times when what people hold sacred is on both sides of the issue. I assume you speak of Prop 8. One side says homosexual marriage is a right, on the LDS side we say heterosexual marriage IS sacred, thus the fight ensues. Now I don’t hear that non-temple is sacred, there is no such concept. So stand for what you believe is sacred and fight tooth and nail even if others do not agree. I respect the homosexual fight, but I disagree and therefore fight from my side.

    (sigh) I’m sorry, but did you miss the point again?

    The same sex marriage of other people does not affect Mormons or the Mormon church.

    Mormons advocating for gay people to NOT have marriage rights/privileges DOES negatively impact the actual lives of gay people.

    Is this really that difficult to understand? really?

    If certain people in society felt that ‘secret ceremonies’ went against their principles/beliefs and advocated for the government to disallow Mormons to have them would you say that those people were as morally ‘right’ as the Mormons who wanted to practice their ceremonies?

    Do you see the point now?

    (is it me? am I (and others) not communicating this point clearly or something?

  • GullWatcher

    @Iane

    Also if you truly have a testimony of the restored church than anything that does not involve the violation of others should be of shock. Nothing we do is extreme, no one is hurt, no animals are involved, there is no mention of anyone other the Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as deity.

    There are other things people can find shocking – like how childish and/or just plain lame is some big secret thing that supposed to be sacred. That was how Stetson Kennedy helped break the power of the KKK, by making their secrets known. It wasn’t because outsiders made fun of them, it was because after having it out in the open, lots of the KKK members took a look at themselves and realized how stupid their secret society was. It demoralized from within, legitimately.

    Shine the light, HBO!

  • Rieux

    Hey, AxeGrrl—if it’ll help, I’ll try to answer your question:

    why should what Mormons hold as ’sacred’ be given respect when they offer no respect for what other people hold as ’sacred’?

    Two words: religious privilege. Americans broadly believe that religious beliefs should be protected from challenge and critique to a degree that vastly exceeds the protection afforded to any other kind of idea—and indeed to several kinds of people. That’s just the special status, it’s widely believed, that religion deserves to have.

    So if you blast Mormonism, and your Mormon opponent blasts you for being a stupid ignorant atheist (Psalm 14:1: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good”), you have violated social standards of discourse, but your opponent has not. Simple.

    That help?

  • AxeGrrl

    lane also said:

    Now I don’t hear that non-temple is sacred, there is no such concept.

    And there we have it folks.

    Lane is saying it bluntly: “my definition of ‘sacred’ is the ONLY one that exists“.

    What supreme arrogance. And selfishness.

    And you said (with a straight face presumably) that you ‘respect the homosexual fight’??

    What utter utter bollocks.

  • GullWatcher

    @Molly and any other Mormons who come here to post – Can you please AT LEAST do us the courtesty to read what’s been posted here before commenting? To do otherwise is rude, and results is halfwitted posts like Molly’s, which starts out with “let me answer some of your questions”. If she had bothered to read anything here, she would have known that a) we don’t HAVE any questions, and if we did b) other people have already posted the same stupid Mormon propoganda a hundred times or more. Are you TRYING to make yourselves look bad? Because you are surely succeeding.

    So which is it, guys – are the Mormons who come here all stupid, or rude, or both? Clear this up for us, please.

    Oh, look, I guess we did have a question…..

  • b

    Hey mormons:

    What are you all ashamed of? Oh, yeah all the crazy/scary nonsense that you do in the temple. I know why you keep it secret too. Otherwise you kids would freak out an run away from your cult as fast as possible.

    Hmmm, so you can’t go into the temple to learn these secret rituals until you are about to leave on a two year mission or are about to get married? Why is that? Why can’t your church members go to the temple right when they turn 18? I mean, technically they can, right?

    Maybe it is because you know how freaky the cult rituals are in the temple. And you know you have to have a larger commitment to keep people from running out screaming after getting their loins washed and annointed.

    Is that really fair to a young man or young woman? If a woman about to get married is freaked out about the temple rituals, what are her options? The first she learns about these cultish ceremonies are when she experiences them firsthand on the day before or the day of her wedding. If she is shocked/disgusted/scared, what is she to do? Cancel the wedding and not marry the person she loves?

    That is just cruel.

  • Jim

    @Gullwatcher

    dude, from reading your posts it seems that you aren’t any less devoid of stupidity, ignorance, and rude comments. In fact, you fit rather snugly into the very stereotypes you and many others are accusing mormons of being: arrogant, rude, unwilling to listen to any one else’s view point, absence of original thought…etc. Am I saying all the posts from mormons are not those things? No. I’m just saying everyone is basically using the same rhetoric to convey different view points. Even you. so maybe instead of spending so much time bashing the very rhetoric you’ve employed you could find a more people friendly hobby. Like gardening. Everyone likes flowers. What do you say?

  • WHERE’STHEbigLOVE?

    AxeGrrl, I’m glad you asked,

    why should what Mormons hold as ’sacred’ be given respect when they offer no respect for what other people hold as ’sacred’?

    Rieux already touched on the religous freedom side of the argument. But the issue for us is that the temple ordinances are private. It’s not open for public debate or critique.

    Gays, on the other hand, want to tell me that gay-marriage is ok and it should be accepted as “normal”. Well it’s not. It never has been normal. They want to make it a public issue, they want to make it LAW and the MAJORITY of the population struck it down.
    we don’t want you to understand or accept our beliefs if you don’t want to. YEs, we aggressively give you the opportunity to learn more through missionary work. But allow you to make that decision for yourself.
    Gays didn’t lose any rights that they didn’t already have. We just prevented them from gaining new ones. THEY made it a public issue.
    Broadcasting our temple ordinances will get all of us nowhere. But it’ll make a few bitter avenging losers feel better.

  • Siamang

    What I’m seeing is that many Mormons posting here are acting like WE made the tv show. We didn’t, and treating us as the enemy, or the place to vent your anger makes us feel like doormats. Especially since none of you seem to want to listen to us. And yet again, it’s the one-way respect that’s the problem. You come here, to our site, to our community, to do your business and leave.

    Well, since my question, despite being asked thrice by me and many times by others, is being ignored… I wonder if the visitors posting here might answer this question:

    What do you hope to achieve by posting here?

    If it’s “make the posters here know that many Mormons are angry about a tv show.” then mission accomplished, you can stop posting now. (bolded there for skimmers, of which the “guests” seem to solely consist).

    If it’s to convince atheists that your anger is justifiable and warranted, you have not succeeded, as you falsely pair it with filming people surreptitiously in flagrante dilecto. Also you refuse or are unable to draw any secular parallel rights. So you have failed to make your case that a right to individual privacy should extend to organizations when that organization is a church, but not when it is an atheist club. You have not furthered this argument, but rather continue to restate it after it has been rejected as specious. If you are attempting to justify your anger to the regular posters here, you have failed.

    If you are attempting to entreat our respect without recognizing the right to any matching “sanctity” within atheist groups, you have failed.

    If you are attempting to enlist our aid in any letter-writing campaign or boycott of HBO without making the case of the previous points, you have failed.

    If you are attempting to “set the record straight” about Mormon practice, or their involvement with the passage of Proposition 8 in California, you have failed. Specifically, the direct falsehoods promoted here by LDS members that the official Church didn’t support the measure. As if direct monetary support from the top of the Church is the only means of support. See this link for why this is a lie of omission.

    And finally, if you are here to show us that the word “respect” means something to you, all of you by your actions here are failure in motion. By your failing to listen to us, by your failure to answer our questions, by your failure to extend the rights you are asking for to people who don’t share your faith… By your actions in treating this site like your own private pity-party… you have failed to bring anyone here closer to respecting or understanding your community at all. You have turned people here who were sympathetic to your cause away from you by your actions. You could not have fared worse, short of resorting to threats. Thank goodness or God that nobody has gone there.

  • GullWatcher

    @WHERE’STHEbigLOVE? – so, it’s the same answer as Iane – what is sacred to you is sacred, what is sacred to anyone else is unimportant and wrong. Thanks for making it clear twice over.

    Mormons like you deserve NO respect, and frankly, I hope you get even less.

    Does anyone know where these Mormons are coming from? Who or what site sent them here? I would really like to know.

  • another ex-mormon

    I left the cult, I mean, the church, after realizing the mind control, guilt and brainwashing I had experienced. I had only experienced these things for a couple of years, as an adult, and leaving was still traumatic. For people brought up in it, singing songs about it from infancy, with parents who present it as “our way”, it must be nearly impossible to truly question it for themselves. The entire temple ceremony, word for word, including the secret handshakes and embarrassing outfits, can be found on the internet. But I don’t think you’ll get to see the movie starring satan… seriously.

  • Rieux

    AxeGrrl wrote:

    why should what Mormons hold as ’sacred’ be given respect when they offer no respect for what other people hold as ’sacred’?

    And “WHERE’STHEbigLOVE?” responded:

    Rieux already touched on the religous freedom side of the argument….

    Are you kidding me? Do you actually think my comment supports your absurd bigotry? (I guess you haven’t noticed that, on three separate occasions upthread, I have admonished the childish Mormons on this thread to grow up, “suck it up, and stop whining.” Missed that, huh?)

    Here’s my answer to Axe Grrl’s question again, Chief:

    Two words: religious privilege. Americans broadly believe that religious beliefs should be protected from challenge and critique to a degree that vastly exceeds the protection afforded to any other kind of idea—and indeed to several kinds of people. That’s just the special status, it’s widely believed, that religion deserves to have.

    So if you blast Mormonism, and your Mormon opponent blasts you for being a stupid ignorant atheist (Psalm 14:1: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good”), you have violated social standards of discourse, but your opponent has not. Simple.

    That’s called “sarcasm,” friend. I was mocking your insufferable sense of entitlement to rain down bigotry on innocent people—here, atheists and gays—from a position in which you claim it’s offensive even to question your “sacred” absurdities. You get to dehumanize us, but we don’t even get to challenge your ideas.

    The term for your disgusting hypocrisy is religious privilege, buddy, not religious freedom. It’s a cousin to white privilege, male privilege, and straight privilege. (Perhaps you should look those terms up, given your confusion between privilege and freedom.) Indeed, privilege, as you wield it, is entirely the opposite of freedom. Religious privilege is morally bankrupt and fundamentally inhuman.

    Both your reading comprehension and your ability to recognize your own attempts at self-aggrandizement are horrendously bad.

  • Old Beezle

    me (regarding 1st time visitors to mormon temple):

    Then when they do go, they often feel shocked, betrayed, and the victim of a scam

    Iane:

    In my opinion this would only occur if you do not properly prepare yourself. There are temple prep classes you can attend prior to going.

    It is common of conservative religions to blame the victim in abuse situations and your remarks show that this is the case with the mormon church as well. Would you also blame a rape victim for the actions of her assailant?

    As another poster has already noted–the temple prep classes do nothing in actuality to prepare oneself for what will occur in the temple, but rather cover the history/reasons for ordinances/covenants with god and their importance–essentially taught from scriptures that are available to all (as some other mormons have tried to assert that all that takes place in the temple can be found in the bible–which is not so).

    Since it is a part of the temple ceremony to promise not to discuss what goes on in the temple outside of the temple, I would like you to explain to me how these temple prep classes could even hope to prepare someone for the temple without actually discussing what happens in the temple. Do you learn how to swim in a swim prep class or in the water?

    You also asserted that:

    Also if you truly have a testimony of the restored church

    then you would not be shocked. In other words, if you were a true member, then you would believe anything they told you.

    According to you and the mormon faith, the first law of heaven is obedience and that’s all the temple is–a test of obedience to the church itself. If you swallow the temple pill, then you’ve sworn your allegiance to all things mormon. You will not discuss it, you will not debate it, you will not think about. When the prophet has spoken, the debate is ended.

    In mormon temples, part of the ritual involves bowing one’s head and saying, “Yes,” to whatever covenant at the moment is being sworn to. This encapsulates the ENTIRE temple experience–just bow your head and say, “Yes.” Submit.

    When they tell you to drink the Kool-Aid, will you do that too?

  • Old Beezle

    Rieux:

    Screwy as Lutherans, like most mainstream Christians, can be in the things they believe, the ones I know have got nothing on the present crowd of Mormons as far as inability to see beyond the end of their own noses is concerned.

    Glad you noticed. :)

    This also helps to put that blissfully-ignorant-smile on their faces too. When you’re always right in your own right little world, everything is peachy. And everyone who criticizes you is just bitter or offended. Mormonism is a very egocentric mindset.

  • Old Beezle

    Iane:

    I quite enjoy the fact the HBO hired and ex-Mormon as their expert. I have found there are two types of ex-Mormons, the ones that walk away trying to forget what they knew, therefore their memories are in question. Or number two the ones that become bitter by some minor offense, often due to their own mistakes, and who have a hidden agenda of hate towards the church, again not too reliable.

    Please elaborate on your extensive experience with exmormons. You appear to be such an expert that you can condense them all into just two categories–both of which manage to paint exmos in a bad light and mormons in a good light. Astonishing!

    Do you even know any exmormons or have you followed the counsel of the leaders of the church and cut off all contact with apostates (as you like to call them)?

    BTW, for those keeping track, it is one of the questions in the temple-worthiness interview if you associate with any apostates or critics of the church. Do they also quiz you about any associations with known communists? What kind of a paranoid group is this?

    I for one have walked away from the church and I cannot forget what happened there. It is burned into my mind forever, whether I like it or not. No one offended me and caused me to leave nor did I leave due to sin (‘their own mistakes’ as you like to call it). I was a member in good standing, had served a full-time mission, been married in the temple, still held a temple recommend and I walked away.

    I know that the church tells you that the only reasons a member would leave is due to offense, sin, or that they never had a testimony in the first place, but that simply is not true. I am an exmormon and know many exmormons and their reasons for leaving are as diverse as their personalities. Your leadership is wrong about this and if they’re wrong about that, then what else are they wrong about?

  • Gary

    I am LDS AKA Mormon. What has bothered me about this is that this is being portrayed as taking place in the “Temple” Not everyone can enter the temple. This is a flawed storyline and is only being done to mock what myself and others hold as sacred. I will vote with my remote and my dollar on this, not because someone told me to but because it is the right thing to do

  • lane

    This is intended in a subdued tone, please to not read it as though it comes from a haughty stance of malice.
    So many to respond to. Ok to who ever it was that went off about us coming to your territory. I’m sorry, honestly, I am under the impression that this is a public domain, and my sole reason for being here is to present the other side, we learn nothing when isolating ourselves. As for ex-Mormons, I actually know quite a few, friends, co-workers, relatives and every single one practices either “I just want to forget” or “you need to get out too”. The church does not tell me this I have gotten that impression from those around me. I would appreciate it if HBO named their source and what their history is.

    AxeGrrl

    why should what Mormons hold as ’sacred’ be given respect when they offer no respect for what other people hold as ’sacred’?

    Actually I do respect others. I associate with many Hindu’s, Muslim and yes Athiests. In fact it is stated in our articles of faith

    We claim the aprivilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

    I think people confuse us standing up for ourselves and stating our beliefs as thinking we are perfect. Any Mormon that claims perfection is confused, we are flawed and as human as anyone else.
    For the person that felt that we were attacking everyone here for HBOs decision I am sorry if it came off that way, we are only looking for a place to tell our side of the story. You are not HBO, you are not showing a story that blurs the lines and shows something sacred. Our fear is that it will be portrayed incorrectly.
    Our soul point with homosexuality is we do not believe it is right, but yet we have not tried to stop domestic partnerships. Now gay marriage is a public domain because the State has made marriage a public institution, I still say give marriage back to the church and convert everyone to domestic partnerships with regards to State programs.

    Now with all this said it would be completely inappropriate and unacceptable for the church to produce a video that shows the home and sex lives of homosexuals and depict it badly or demonize it while claiming that we got our research from an ex-gay so we know its accurate.

    Unfortunately this is not the best place for testifying of what I believe and how strongly I feel about my attempts to love everyone even while I may disagree with them.
    I do not wish to incite hate, but rather understanding, and I am sorry if I have done otherwise.

  • GullWatcher

    @Iane

    I’m sorry, honestly, I am under the impression that this is a public domain, and my sole reason for being here is to present the other side, we learn nothing when isolating ourselves.

    It is indeed an open forum, but the honest thing to do is to say who sent you here. From the very high number of brand new people posting, all Mormons, it’s clear that somewhere out there is a site or blog frequented by Mormons that has posted a link to this particular site. So, who sent you? Or is that all secret and sacred too?

    Now gay marriage is a public domain because the State has made marriage a public institution

    Exactly right – public AND secular, and therefore none of your church’s business.

  • Old Beezle

    Iane:

    As for ex-Mormons, I actually know quite a few, friends, co-workers, relatives and every single one practices either “I just want to forget” or “you need to get out too”. The church does not tell me this I have gotten that impression from those around me.

    You’re right–this is a much more subdued tone than your previous post. You have rightfully stepped back from claiming that all exmormon memories of the church are questionable. Thanks for reading and replying!

  • http://www.equalitysblog.typepad.com Equality

    So which is it, guys – are the Mormons who come here all stupid, or rude, or both?

    Neither. They are simply heavily programmed. The canned responses you see from the Mormons visiting here are not rehearsed. They didn’t get together and agree on a message, the way political candidates’ spinmeisters do. No, they are simply reacting in a Pavlovian manner. They’ve been programmed by the church to spout “sacred not secret” and “there’s nothing unusual or bizarre to those who understand” and “milk before meat” and “walk before run” whenever they see or hear the words “secret rituals,” or “Mormon mysteries” or the like. They aren’t stupid–they’ve simply shut off the critical-thinking portions of their brains, having ceded that territory to the church. The Mormon church crushes dissent, discourages free thought, controls the flow of information about the church’s history, doctrines, and practices, and employs numerous techniques to get its members to think alike, look alike, and act alike.

  • http://www.equalitysblog.typepad.com Equality

    Iane said:

    Our fear is that it will be portrayed incorrectly.

    But that’s not really true, is it? It’s not the accuracy of the portrayal that has raised such a hue and cry–it’s the fact that they are daring to portray it at all. At least that’s what almost all the Mormons I’ve seen commenting on the matter have said. Are you saying you are fine with Big Love portraying the temple ceremonies as long as it portrays them accurately?

    Would you even know if they were portrayed accurately? I mean, if it’s a flashback scene and they show the endowment as it was performed before the spring of 1990, would you know if it is accurate? I received my endowment in March 1990, shortly before the changes took place. I went many times thereafter. I am familiar with both the pre- and post-1990 versions. I will return and report on Monday and let you know how accurate it was. If they get it right, will you apologize to HBO?

    Incidentally, I am an ex-Mormon atheist who left the church one year ago after 18 years of membership. I have a blog that discusses, among other things, Mormon issues, and I am a moderator at a discussion board called Further Light and Knowledge (for disaffected and former Mormons). I found this blog post when I did a Google search yesterday on “Big Love” and “temple ceremonies.” I was actually looking to see what blogs in the faithful Mormon blogosphere were saying about it.

  • Old Beezle

    Equality–spoken like someone who has seen the man behind the curtain and lived to tell the tale. I concur 100%

    Here’s a stanza from a mormon children’s song that the kids sing together on Sundays:
    “I want to see the temple
    I’m going there someday
    To feel the Holy Spirit
    To Listen and to pray”
    That’s a nice whitewashed version for kids! No mention of ceremonial outfits or secret handshakes though.

    At least it’s better than the repetitive “Follow the Prophet” song whose oft-repeated refrain of “Follow the Prophet, Follow the Prophet, Follow the Prophet, for he knows the way” still haunts me to this day.

    The indoctrination starts early and only gets more intense with age.

  • lane

    it’s clear that somewhere out there is a site or blog frequented by Mormons that has posted a link to this particular site. So, who sent you? Or is that all secret and sacred too?

    For me it was google, typed in ” ‘Big Love’ temple”. Can’t speak for everyone else.

    Exactly right – public AND secular, and therefore none of your church’s business.

    Yes but based on our beliefs marriage was God’s institution before it was the States, therefore we get involved. I’m sorry but if anyone is of the opinion that marriage was public before it was secular than I guess we have found an impasse. This is why I push for making all marriages retroactively domestic partnerships with regards to State and return, in my opinion, marriage back to the Church.

  • Old Beezle

    What’s your blog’s address, Equality? If you can’t post it here then email it to me at oldbeezle@gmail.com

  • http://Yahoo Ya right!

    HBO hired an excommunicated member of the Mormon Church for their expert? I know if I wanted a honest and un-prejudicial review of a restaurant I would not ask someone who was kicked out and told not to come back.

  • GullWatcher

    @Iane

    For me it was google, typed in ” ‘Big Love’ temple”. Can’t speak for everyone else.

    That brings up 129,000 hits. So, again, why THIS blog, of the 129,000 hits?

    And if anyone else would care to comment as to how they got here, that would be good. Clearly, Mormons are being funneled here from somewhere, even if Iane got here on his own.

    Yes but based on our beliefs marriage was God’s institution before it was the States, therefore we get involved.

    Every society, bar none, has a form of marriage, even ones that don’t have a god. Are you going to forbid them marriage as well?

    As far as having secular and religious marriages be separate things, that actually could be a good idea, except for one thing – you will never get people to quit calling both of them marriage. You can’t legislate the way people use words, it just doesn’t happen.

  • Jenny

    In my humble opinion we should try to respect the beliefs of others and not persecute anyone for their faith . That being said, how can anyone claiming they are protecting their right to freedom of religion not in turn respect the freedom of expression (speech)? Big Love is a FICTIONAL show ,yes, but if you don’t like it don’t watch it.

  • GullWatcher

    Old Beezle, if you click on Equality’s name above his post, it will take you to his blog. Anytime you see a poster’s name in red instead of black here, it’s a link.

  • Cody

    to a mormon, the temple is the holiest place on earth. HBO “exposing” the “secret” ceremonies and such won’t solve anything. the temple ceremonies will still take place, and the general public will still not understand what in the world they mean… possibly on the surface, but not completely.

    muslims have their sacred places of worship. there are entire cities in the middle east where only muslims are allowed to go. no one sits around and thinks up a tv episode designed to “expose the muslim faith”.

    in the ancient days of jerusalem, when solomon’s temple was still standing, only certain people were allowed within its walls, and even then, only the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies. what was involved in their temple ceremonies? why were only certain people allowed in? unauthorized entrance into the Holy of Holies was also punishable by death.

    let any religion believe what they want. they’re not hurting anybody by having a ceremony that isn’t available to all. that’s the problem with society and the media today. if they don’t understand it, they ridicule it. if they’re not allowed access to it, they slander whoever it is that denies them, then they speculate at its unscrupulous actions.

  • lane

    This site was the first one on the list that looked some what organized.

    Every society, bar none, has a form of marriage, even ones that don’t have a god. Are you going to forbid them marriage as well?

    Honestly I am in this society so I am worrying about these United States. I know most people complain but we live in a country that affords me my right to stand for what I believe even if it is not popular.

    Does anyone see a problem if we just remove marriage from state control all together and just issue all people regardless of sexual orientation domestic partnerships?

  • GullWatcher

    @Iane

    This site was the first one on the list that looked some what organized.

    Most people who comment have regular blogs they hang out at – why are you cruising for a random (but organized!) blog to comment on this specific issue? Is that standard for you?

    Honestly I am in this society so I am worrying about these United States.

    We have a multicultural society, and people from all of those societies come here. Will you deny them the right to marry if they have come here?

    Does anyone see a problem if we just remove marriage from state control all together and just issue all people regardless of sexual orientation domestic partnerships?

    No, but you will. How would you feel when all those people in domestic partnerships insist on calling themselves married, at all times and in all contexts? Because they will, and if you try to ‘correct’ them, they will just blow you off and keep doing it. How will you respond when you find you can’t stop them?

    Two years down the road, the newest definition of “marriage” in the dictionary will read “The state of being joined in a domestic partnership”. I can guarantee this will happen. You can’t stop it.

    If you ARE ok with those people calling themselves married, then why not let the government call them married, too? It’s all still secular, and no skin off your religion’s nose.

    Either way, none of this excuses your attempts to deny gay people the basic right to marry the person they love, just because you don’t approve. That is still bigotry, and still ugly.

  • http://backaccessward.blogspot.com/ beetle

    @lane

    Does anyone see a problem if we just remove marriage from state control all together and just issue all people regardless of sexual orientation domestic partnerships?

    I actually think you are onto something there. But keep in mind that secular marriage carries with it a great deal of legal and financial consequences. This is in stark contrast to religious marriage, which is (in this life) mostly about ceremony. If domestic partnerships were not a sham similar to “separate but equal” we might find it easier to find common ground.

    So, does anyone see a problem if we just remove civil marriage from religious control altogether, and just let religious denominations keep their various sacraments of holy matrimony to themselves?

  • lane

    Most people who comment have regular blogs they hang out at – why are you cruising for a random (but organized!) blog to comment on this specific issue?

    I saw a blog, I read the story, I commented. I view it no different than commenting on CNN, except for here there is no censor so we actually get a conversation going.

    We have a multicultural society, and people from all of those societies come here. Will you deny them the right to marry if they have come here?

    Now just as a reminder Mormons do not practice polygamy. So now on to your question, some people from this “multicultural society” might believe that polygamy is okay, they may believe in burning their wives for whatever reason, they may see no problem with having sex with children, they may see no problem in abusing and sacrificing animals. So I ask are you going to take their rights away?

    We continue as we always have, people vote and the majority rules. People are elected by the people and govern the country. When you sway enough people and politicians to your side you win. Now I do not condone a single one of the behaviors I listed above, and understand people have a right to truly in their hearts believe that such behavior is right, but I will not condone or support it. Rather I fight against it even when the majority tells me I am a bigot, because truly in my heart I personal feel it is the right thing to do, and I always have, even before I became a Mormon ten years ago.

  • Beth

    I think we need less politically correct cowtowing and more truth on tv. Sacred places, rituals, and ceremonies are found within every religion, it is not unique to Mormonism. The difference is that other religions share them with the world, while the Mormons make sure they limit access to the Temple and the rituals so that only members who are up to date with their donations can participate. In this way, they keep the demand high and the supply low to ensure good profits. It also ensures that people witnessing the bizarre rituals are already indoctrinated and won’t find them strange or offensive like average Christians would. These rituals simply do not jive with the rituals Christians and Jews have used for thousands of years. They are based on freemason rituals that Joseph Smith participated in. In fact, Smith strayed so far from Christian dogma when he made up his religion that most Christian churches don’t consider the LDS church to be truly Christian, their teachings simply don’t meet the criteria. Mormons always have an “us vs. them” outlook, like they are so persecuted. So, the church conceals their rituals, even their teachings, to avoid “bigotry” from other Christians. In other words, true christians can see that the Emperor has no clothes. That is why they call the “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”, they put Jesus’ name in the title to hammer home that they are Christian, because so many other Christians know that they are not.

    You need a Temple reccomend from a church elder to go into a temple, in other words the church decides if you are worthy to go into their most sacred places. I know that a religion needs to create criteria for who can participate and what is required for membership, but I am proud that the most sacred places in my religion are open to the public. I’m proud that my church puts it all out there, the good the bad and the ugly, and you can take it or leave it. After all, the people in the most need of the healing power of sacred places usually can’t afford the kind of donations needed to gain a temple recommend. A homeless man can walk into my church to seek solace, but not a Mormon Temple. This is not very Christian, but neither is the book of mormon.

  • GullWatcher

    @Iane

    So now on to your question, some people from this “multicultural society” might believe that polygamy is okay, they may believe in burning their wives for whatever reason, they may see no problem with having sex with children, they may see no problem in abusing and sacrificing animals. So I ask are you going to take their rights away?

    Major straw man, or false analogy, if you prefer that term. Unless you claim that YOU have the right to burn your wife, have sex with children, etc?

    Of course I would deny anyone the right to do those things – and there’s where the difference lies. You want to deny other people a right you claim for yourself – marriage. So again, are you going to deny those people from other cultures the right to be married, because the religious component doesn’t fit your model?

    I also notice you didn’t answer the question about what to do when marriage gets redefined to include domestic partnerships….

  • lane

    So again, are you going to deny those people the right to be married, because the religious component doesn’t fit your model?

    Honest answer, yes.
    Maybe you will like this one better. Will you deny citizenship to every single person that wants to come live here? That is a right you have that is denied others and while you may say there are legal channels, millions of people would love to come here if you let them. Some things we try to preserve. It makes me sick what society has turned marriage into, you can throw it aside so easily ,and for many the only value is the tax breaks. I am trying to preserve marriage in the form that I know it to be when in its true and proper form. You obviously disagree, and I understand, I simply do not accept.
    I know this pains people, but please understand that Mormons do not hate other people. We are in pained do to what we see as a breakdown in society and a removal of those things we hold dear. Thus back to what HBO is doing, we do not hate them, the actors, people that post comments on blogs attacking us. We are simply in pain from the tide we see before us. We are stuck trying to love mankind while standing by what we believe, unfortunately loving and giving people what they want are not always the same.

  • WHERE’STHEbigLOVE?

    Once, one of my atheist friends told me he was “too smart for God”. It makes sense if you really, really think about it…or does it?

    As I said in my first post, all of this is going to take us nowhere.
    So as much fun as blogging is, I’ll leave y’all to your self affirming group of friends. I’m gonna go brainwash my kids, make love to one of my wives and sacrifice a chicken in the nude. Maybe when I’m done I’ll go out after hours and gaybash unsuspecting couples in back alleys. Who knows? There are so many lives to ruin and so little time.

  • lane

    Have fun WHERE’STHEbigLOVE. Work hard on those kids, my liberal hippie parents worked hard to brainwash me into the homosexual anything is good, abortion is fine, sex with who ever, drugs all the time, drink till you pass out, down with the establishment theology and see what they got. A temple attending, sealed to his wife, father of 3 (watch out over population), non-drinking, non-smoking Mormon.

    By the way before any one starts the “you’re so self righteous” bashing. It was a joke.

    I will now bow out as I have probably taken up too much of your blog and I have caught enough flack from people. Blame it on Google they got me here.
    Love ya

  • GullWatcher

    @Iane

    We continue as we always have, people vote and the majority rules.

    Democracy is not that simple. That’s why we have a bill of rights and a constitution, so that the vote of a majority can NOT take away the rights of a minority. Democracy is messy.

    I am trying to preserve marriage in the form that I know it to be when in its true and proper form. You obviously disagree, and I understand, I simply do not accept.

    And no one is stopping you. You can make your marriage as sacred as you like, but you have no right to deny other other people the same rights you cherish. You think you do, and that, I do not accept.

  • Siamang

    We are simply in pain from the tide we see before us. We are stuck trying to love mankind while standing by what we believe, unfortunately loving and giving people what they want are not always the same.

    I think part of the problem as I see it is that as a political force, proponents of conservative limits on marriage are done with the honey (if they ever used that) and have gone to the vinegar.

    You have one idea of marriage, based on your religion. You seek to impose that religious idea of marriage on people who do not share your religion. Rather than convince others of the rightness of your view or the rightness of your religion, and short of that, leaving people the heck alone, you’ve sought to use the power of the government to enforce the dictates of your religion on the rest of us.

    As a minority religion in this country, I’d say beware what you wish for. If a simple majority can take away fundamental rights from a minority group, Latter-Day Saints might find themselves victims of the bigoted majority of fundamentalist Christianists.

  • AxeGrrl

    Siamang said:

    You have turned people here who were sympathetic to your cause away from you by your actions.

    Exactly.

    To be honest, I never realized the extent of the bigotry among Mormons before this thread happened.

    And to hear the constant ‘can’t we all get along’ refrain from them….completely ignorant of their bigotry and lack of respect.

    Thank yourselves, Mormons, for diminishing your church in a LOT of eyes.

  • AxeGrrl

    GullWatcher said:

    public AND secular, and therefore none of your church’s business.

    This.

    There has been absolutely no substantive, valid rebuttal to the above point from the Mormons in this thread.

    They want what they want, and there’s no reason to respect what anyone else holds as sacred/dear.

    Unbelievable.

  • AxeGrrl

    wheresthebiglove said:

    Gays, on the other hand, want to tell me that gay-marriage is ok and it should be accepted as “normal”. Well it’s not. It never has been normal. They want to make it a public issue, they want to make it LAW and the MAJORITY of the population struck it down.

    Newsflash: you don’t live in a theocracy. You live in a democratic republic, where protections against a ‘tyranny of the majority’ exist for a reason.

    (are Mormons not taught history or civics? where is this ignorance coming from?)

    No one is making you ‘accept’ gay marriage. You’re free to disagree with it, but you’re not free to try to legally impose your religiously-based disapproval on other people.

    It’s the equivalent of Jews trying to enforce a ‘no eating pork’ law that would affect non-Jews…..which is utterly ridiculous.

  • WHERE’STHEbigLOVE?

    AxeGrrl, I reeeaally want to leave now. Curiousity is getting the best of me though.

    Jews trying to enforce a ‘no eating pork’ law that would affect non-Jews

    ..is like homosexuals trying to enforce same sex marriage on non-homosexuals…

    which is utterly ridiculous.

    Newsflash: We the people…One nation, Under God…this ‘democratic republic’ you speak about is run by the Majority. Maybe someone should explain to you how democracy and voting works.
    Minorities are protected by rights and laws which are ALREADY in place as stated by the Constitution. This does not include a blanket of protection for rights that “should be”, “may in the future be” or “might” become law. The ‘tyranny of the majority’ has not violated anyone’s right to same-sex marriage because IT DOESN’T EXIST.

    You’re free to disagree with it, but you’re not free to try to legally impose your religiously-based disapproval on other people.

    FALSE. How about, you’re free to disagree with it, but you’re not free to try to LEGALLY IMPOSE your athiestic-based disapproval on other people. (I bet that statement just sucks now.)
    Fact is: we all have the right to fight for whatever it is we believe in.
    Spread the bigLOVE! I’m OUT!

  • Siamang

    ..is like homosexuals trying to enforce same sex marriage on non-homosexuals…

    Wait? Are you saying that they want to force straight people to get gay-married!?!?!

    No, you’re not. You’re saying they’re forcing society to accept them. See how it’s different?

    Eating pork is against your religion? Don’t eat pork.
    Getting gay-married is against your religion? Don’t marry a gay person of your same sex.
    Depicting the Prophet Mohammed is against your religion? Don’t do it!
    Showing what goes on in the temple is against your religion? Don’t make that movie then.

    But what you’re asking us to do, or in the case of gay marriage, using government to force us to do is this:

    Gay marriage is against our religion, and all people NOT of our religion must follow our religious rule.

    Eating pork is against our religion, and all people NOT of our religion must follow our religious rule.

    Depicting the Prophet is against our religion, and all people NOT of our religion must follow our religious rule.

    Etc.

    Now, what if your religion and my religion (or my beliefs in the sacredness of love) conflict? So that your religion conflicts with my religion?

    My preferred position in that case would be live and let live. It doesn’t seem to be yours. Yours seems to be “suck it, we’ve got a majority”.

    Which I again warn members of a minority religion, you may not like where that’ll lead in ten years.

  • Rieux

    Siamang:

    Getting gay-married is against your religion? Don’t marry a gay person of your same sex.

    I’d say marrying a gay person of the opposite sex is an even worse idea, regardless of your religion.

  • An Observer

    I’m sure this is one way to get back at some supporters of Proposition 8.

    “The truth is this [show, "Big Love,"] takes place in Utah, the truth is these people are some bizarre offshoot of the Mormon Church, and the truth is a lot of Mormons gave a lot of money to the church to make Prop-8 happen,” Tom Hanks told Tarts. “There are a lot of people who feel that is un-American, and I am one of them. I do not like to see any discrimination codified on any piece of paper, any of the 50 states in America, but here’s what happens now. A little bit of light can be shed, and people can see who’s responsible, and that can motivate the next go around of our self correcting Constitution, and hopefully we can move forward instead of backwards. So let’s have faith in not only the American, but Californian, constitutional process.”

    January 16, 2009

  • AxeGrrl

    wheresthebiglove said:

    Spread the bigLOVE! I’m OUT!

    given your comments on this board, I’d say you’re most definitely NOT ‘out’ :)

    but there are plenty of people here who would support your move out of that closet! :)

    and since Siamang so handily dismantled your specious, logically-flaccid reply to my previous points, I feel no need to add further comment.

  • WHERE’STHEbigLOVE?

    HAHA. Yes,AXEGRRL, I’m sure some people would love to see me come out of some closet but I just don’t see that happening in this lifetime. Truthfully, I was hoping for a little more than a “what he said” response. I wouldn’t go as far to say that he “dismantled” anything, but it’s been fun anyway.
    Siamang, thank you for clarifying that one little tidbit. I’m sure others not as smart as yourself would’ve been TOTALLY lost. I do agree that things MAY be different in ten years. Maybe then you can tell me to “suck it, we have the majority” (but not in a gay way, please).
    Good luck to you all!

  • AxeGrrl

    wheresthebiglove said:

    I do agree that things MAY be different in ten years. Maybe then you can tell me to “suck it, we have the majority”

    Therein lies the (apparent) difference between us…..

    right now, you’re saying ‘suck it, we have the majority‘, but in the future we’ll say ‘isn’t it great that we ALL are treated equally under the law?

  • Anonymous

    I am the EX-Mormon consultant that was on the set during the filming of the episode everyone is alarmed about. I was a LDS church member from birth, served a mission, got married in the temple, taught at the MTC, etc. I left the church 10 years ago. I prefer to say, I graduated from the church. Even though I don’t beleive in the “literal” interpretation of the churches teachings, I still have a lot of respect for it’s members. I have very close family that is still very active in the church. Months ago when I was approached with the script and after hearing the scenes in question, I offered to be present and assist with making the portrayal as accurate and respectful as possible. I can honestly and sincerely tell you all that every single person involved in making the show treated these scenes with the utmost respect. Infact, the very reason I chose to participate and assist them was so they would be able to accurately portray the temple the ceremony. We live in a day and age where secrecy and hidden information is of the past. There’s already a really creepy version of the temple ceremony on youtube. I beleive that in the long run, “Big Love” will have done us all a great service by demystifying the temple and portraying in such a beautiful manner. If it is truly a sacred ritual, nothing can make it unsacred. I’m sure many of you may read this and shake your heads thinking, I should have known better. Well, the truth is, I do know better and that’s why I chose to be a part of this.

  • Craig

    It’s not that the temple is a secret, it is Sacred. You make certain covenants with God, that are between you and God. Those covenants should not be taken lightly! If you promise God not to disclose the information given in the temple, you shouldn’t. If you made a promise to God, I would not want to be the one to break that. It is sad that people exploit the things that are most sacred to people. It doesn’t matter if it is done with respect or not! They are things that are not supposed to be revealed anywhere but the temple! As Latter Day Saints, we have been ridiculed and prosicuted from the beginning. All we have ever taught is good values. Treating others with respect. It would be nice if everyone could do that.

  • SomeGuy

    I would just hope that people remember that opinions expressed by a person claiming to belong to a group (whether atheist, mormon, or other) does not speak for that entire group.

    I have enjoyed reading all the comments here over the past week. I wish that I had something profound to add, unfortunately I do not.

    I am LDS, and if I had lived in California during the last election, I would have voted against Prop 8. I believe the rights we have in this country should be extended to all.

    As far as the whole Big Love/Temple debate, all I can do is shake my head disapprovingly and move on with my life. I wish that HBO would decide not to do it, but I would be surprised if HBO removed the temple scene before the show airs. (HBO must be smiling at all the talk this episode has generated for their show. I know many LDS and Non-LDS who are now interested in this show). Have I thought about boycotting HBO and their sister companies… nope. I have actually thought about adding HBO to my cable subscription since I believe regular network television shows have been lacking in entertainment.

    All in all, I just hope that everyone realizes that not every LDS member agrees with everything that was said here. And although I do not belong to the other groups, I would also hope that everyone realizes that not every atheist, Lutheran, Catholic, .et cetera may not agree with everything that was said here either.

  • Siamang

    Thanks for saying that, SomeGuy.

    Also, thanks anonymous just above for your added perspective.

  • angie

    members of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints hold a lot of things sacred. i guess a lot of people don’t live that way anymore. hardly anything is really held sacred or respected. (this big love thing is a prime example.) the ordinances that go on inside latter day saint temples are not sensational, secret or strange. unless big love changes it or sensationalizes it then it won’t be too exciting to see. it isn’t “secret”, and latter day saint church members aren’t trying to exclude anyone from seeing something because it’s embarrassing or secretive or because we think we’re better than anyone else. we believe that to participate in temple ordinances one must be “worthy”, which just means that they keep the basic commandments, gain a level of maturity and understanding of the gospel so that they will understand the significance of the symbolism and sacred ordinances that go on there, and show respect and love toward God. so within the church, there are members who haven’t been to the temple yet, but they understand that someday they will and that’s just fine. latter day saints don’t want to shun or exclude anyone from attending our temples and seeing exactly what goes on inside. on the contrary, we invite all people to investigate the teachings of Christ and learn more about Him. all people have the opportunity to attend our temples if they want to go for the right reasons: which is to come closer to God through His gospel. as for the “secrecy”, if you can believe it, it really is just out of respect for things we hold sacred. my husband and i have both attended the temple and participated in its ordinances, yet in our home when it’s just the two of us, we choose not to speak of the things that go on in the temple, even though we both have been and seen and participated in everything. no one would ever know if we were to discuss temple ordinances when we’re alone in our apartment. we don’t talk about it with each other, not because we feel scared, pressured or coerced into silence, but because we hold it sacred and we believe that it shows respect to God not to speak about His holy ordinances outside His house, which we believe has been dedicated for that purpose. i’m rambling but i hope people can understand that latter day saints aren’t crazy or weird or cultish, we are normal people who just take our relationship with God, our belief in Him and our reverence for Him very seriously. it’s sad that the makers of big love don’t have respect for the things that we hold most sacred, but oh well. watch it if you want, it won’t be very exciting if it’s portrayed correctly! :)

  • Quentin Morford

    I find it interesting that the Anonymous Ex-Mormon above who claims to be the consultant for the show can with such authority state that “secrecy and hidden information is of the past.” I happen to enjoy having sex with my wife in secrecy. I also like to use the bathroom in secrecy. I also think that if someone wants to have a secret ritual, who the hell am I to stop them, as long as it is legal and not harming anyone. I presume that this chicken who has to remain anonymous made a promise never to tell what goes on in the temple when he went through like other Mormons did. Now that he has “graduated” I guess he is entitled to breaking a promise???…..in my book that is a huge lack of integrity.

    The simple fact with all this is that if the Mormons want to keep this secret and sacred, any respectful person should leave it alone. To a mormon who holds the ceremony sacred, this is tentamount to spitting in their face. Many of you on this blog may be ok with that, and that is your own problem. I for one would not disrespect you in the same manner.

  • Indigo

    “We continue as we always have, people vote and the majority rules.”

    So if millions of people declared that Mormon marriage is a sick twisted idea about relationships between men and women, and voted to create a law stating that Mormon wedding ceremonies no longer confer the legal status of marriage, and that a Mormon cannot marry another Mormon – would you just shrug and say, “Oh well, the majority doesn’t see our rights as important. We’ll just have to accept that.”?

    Somehow I doubt it.

  • Julie

    Why are some people having so much fun at the expense of the Mormon church? Compare what motivates that animosity to what compels church members to spend so much time worshiping God and trying to do good. What motivates us to try daily to worship God? What motivates 60,000 missionaries at any given time to try to spread the gospel through out the world? What motivates us to give of our time and money to help others such as in major catastrophes? Have you ever taken the time to see how much good we really do? What if the motivation to do good really comes from God? What if we are correct in our beliefs? What if there is even the smallest chance our beliefs are true? Could making fun of sacred ceremonies be without eternal consequences? What if the Temple ceremonies really are sacred?

  • GullWatcher

    @Julie

    Why are some people having so much fun at the expense of the Mormon church?

    Well, we would discuss things with you instead, but the Mormon parrot trolls that have infested this thread don’t seem to be capable of it.

    Have you ever taken the time to see how much good we really do?

    Very little, compared to the harm you do.

    What if the motivation to do good really comes from God? What if we are correct in our beliefs? What if there is even the smallest chance our beliefs are true?

    What if, what if, what if….. it’s a really silly game, but I can play too. What if you are completely wrong? What if you’ve been fooled and lied to all your life? What if you whole religion is based on a lie? Now, you tell me, where did that silly game get us?

    Could making fun of sacred ceremonies be without eternal consequences?

    Yes.

  • lane

    Real quick, Quentin Morford thank you for your comment I appreciate it.

    And as Angie pointed out

    it won’t be very exciting if it’s portrayed correctly!

    If there is any thing you find sensational as a non-member than I can guarantee it is incorrect. By the way 95% of what is imparted in the temple can be found in scripture, which is open for everyone to see.

  • Skippy

    :blinks: I actually made it through all the comments! It took me awhile, but, I did it. What I’m noticing, however, is the visiting Moron folks aren’t bothering to read anything beyond the initial blurb at the top of the page. There are so many repetitious comments! There are very few people reading/responding to follow-up questions in the comment sections, instead, it’s as though they’re just swamping the page and, to avoid direct plagiarism, are changing a word here or there, but, for the most part, over-and-over, they say the same thing.

    Keep your eyes on your own papers, kids!

  • Skippy

    … and sign me up for the Siamang fan club!

  • Siamang

    Thanks, Skippy!

  • Old Beezle

    I’m still pleasantly surprised that new arrivals can spot the parrot comments from the mormons:

    (from Skippy)

    the visiting Moron folks aren’t bothering to read anything beyond the initial blurb at the top of the page. There are so many repetitious comments!

    That’s the result of years of indoctrination–you get the same answer over and over and over….

    Quentin:

    I happen to enjoy having sex with my wife in secrecy. I also like to use the bathroom in secrecy.

    Seriously? Do I need to point out the differences in a worlwide organization’s rituals and your intimate encounters with your own wife? Ever heard of comparing apples and oranges? This is one of those times.

    Plus, every mormon on here has missed the most obvious point: something can be public knowledge and still be privately sacred. Everyone knows who Jesus is and many mock him far more than even know who mormons are, but I’m sure their knowledge or their mockery do not lessen how you feel about your sacred beliefs regarding Jesus. Or is your faith so small that it does?

    also from Quentin:

    I presume that this chicken who has to remain anonymous made a promise never to tell what goes on in the temple when he went through like other Mormons did. Now that he has “graduated” I guess he is entitled to breaking a promise???…..in my book that is a huge lack of integrity.

    Dude, read the prior comments for pity’s sake. Just take two minutes to even pretend you care what other people say. Please! One of your morgbot friends already said this and it was already responded to. Lack of integrity? You don’t even know him!

    There’s documented evidence that the founder of your religion, Joseph Smith, ‘spiritually’ married women who were already married (it’s called polyandry and even BYU”s precious FARMS has an apologetic essay about it–do your research) and you cry lack of integrity on a person you don’t know, but just read a blog comment from. Sounds like you lack integrity if you’re willing to overlook evidence in favor of slandering someone you don’t even know.

    Please, mormons, just boycott HBO and Big Love like Monson told you not to (because we all know you will anyway) and be done with it. You’ve added nothing new to the conversation and have even succeeded in showing your true colors to people who may have once been sympathetic to your cause. As it turns out, the more people learn about mormons, the less they want to know. So let’s just skip to the chase and forget all about you and you can go on believing that your church and Utah are the center of the universe.

  • Old Beezle

    Iane:

    95% of what is imparted in the temple can be found in scripture, which is open for everyone to see.

    By “imparted” he means that the general ideas expressed in the temple have a scriptural basis. His statement is misleading however, because no where in scripture–Bible, Book of Mormon, or otherwise–will you find a description of what PHYSICALLY and ACTUALLY occurs inside the temple.

    Way to give the milk before meat, Iane…

  • Old Beezle

    Iane (re the temple rituals):

    If there is any thing you find sensational as a non-member than I can guarantee it is incorrect.

    I love a challenge! >:)

    How’s this for sensational…
    prior to going into the actual endowment ceremony, an initiate must first be washed and annointed and put on the garments of the holy priesthood. What this entails is getting naked, putting on a poncho, going behind a curtain with an old man where he proceeds to pronounce rote blessings over you while he touches you with oil to specifically bless different parts of your body. Luckily, when he blesses your loins, he doesn’t actually touch the fruit itself–just nearby the general area. If that’s not sensational enough for you…

    …well, actually it was too sensational for even the so-called prophets of the lord because they changed the ceremony in 2005 so that the initiate is no longer naked–just in his underwear.

    Now we’ll let the general public decide if it’s sensational or not, which was of course the original intent of the Big Love writers.

  • lane

    Good one Old Beezle, “morgbot”, “moron” I’m impressed :)
    Why the name calling, folks?

    For those that are complaining about not getting straight answers, I have to accuse you of not reading the posts. Myself and others have directly answered questions and tried to explain things. This is hardly a medium for explaining the entire theology of our church. I will accept that if someone really does not want to see both sides of a story then they won’t. I have talked to Atheists that speak like a Dawkins book, but I will not accuse them of being brainwashed dolts. Perhaps you need more real life contact with Mormons, perhaps you will find we share a theology but not a brain. I am trying to figure out why I am still here, I guess I am just trying to stand for my beliefs but I certainly look forward to talking to a real live Atheist.
    For all the name callers, ex-Mormons excluded, how many of you have had a honest discussion with a Mormon?
    I was an Atheist for years and since becoming Mormon have had respectful conversations with Atheists and Homosexuals and have not had half the amount of venom thrown at me, even when we disagree on life changing topics, as I have here. Now I am going to let you in on a secret, ready? Mormons are not perfect, some grew up in the Church and never gave a second thought to anything, some are in fact simple followers that show up on Sunday and nod their heads. But guess what we are not all that way, and I think that perhaps this secret could be applied to every religion, non-religion, group or society. So now a challenge. Go find a thoughtful intelligent Mormon, yes they exist, and have a honest discussion.

    Thank you to those of you that have been respectful, I do appreciate your maturity. Now who ever wants to can continue the name calling have at it, just make sure it is original.
    Cheers

  • lane

    This just in.
    Go to http://www.lds.org and right there is a video explaining why we build temples. There is also a link there to the youtube video of the same.

    And last I will leave this link to our LDS News Room which says enough that I feel I can now comfortably walk away.
    I am sorry if you feel that I invaded your space, it was not my intention.
    Thank you to Friendly Atheist for the forum and people like Quentin that I felt tried to be polite on all sides.

  • Old Beezle

    Iane:

    Good one Old Beezle, “morgbot”, “moron” I’m impressed
    Why the name calling, folks?

    Dude, I’ll own up to using “morgbot” because it was used in Big Love so it’s entirely on topic, contextually accurate, and, I will admit, definitely a name and I definitely called most of the mormon responders to this thread it (because people do sound like robots when they all say the same thing—-I would suggest Dawk-bots for the atheist parrots out there, if you like).

    But, I never used “moron.” Be mean if you want, but be accurate. Don’t put words in my mouth.

    Your misleading comment about 95% of the temple being in the scriptures was entirely inaccurate and I called you on it–and you ignored it in favor of crying foul about name-calling. Way to avoid the real topics, Iane.

    Iane:

    people like Quentin that I felt tried to be polite on all sides

    Yes, thanks Quentin for calling the Big Love consultant a chicken and saying that he has low integrity. Way to be polite :)

    more fun from Iane:

    how many of you have had a honest discussion with a Mormon

    My entire extended family is still actively Mormon, Iane. I speak with them all the time. When they can’t handle my honesty, they stop talking…just like you.

    Iane:

    Myself and others have directly answered questions and tried to explain things.

    What you consider an explanation is, in reality, just the party line. It’s why all the mormons on this thread have said the same thing and then left. You have nothing else to say. We don’t want your testimony or a proslyting line. We want you, in your own words, to stand up for yourselves in a rational way. Drop the persecution complex and discuss the issues. Instead we just heard “sacred not secret” a million times from different voices. You consider it a sufficient answer and we consider it a cop-out.

    You, your church, Tom Monson, do not own my temple experience or that of the writers of Big Love. My temple experience was OBVIOUSLY drastically different than yours. Mine was not sacred–it was a big secret sham. It is well within my rights to share that experience with others be it in a conversation, in a blog, or even in a tv show. You own only your beliefs and we don’t want them so stop forcing them on us.

  • Old Beezle

    Iane:

    This just in.
    Go to http://www.lds.org and right there is a video explaining why we build temples. There is also a link there to the youtube video of the same.

    And last I will leave this link to our LDS News Room which says enough that I feel I can now comfortably walk away.

    Thanks for the shameless plug. Celestial points to Iane for his missionary efforts ;)

    When I was a missionary for the LDS church it was always our parting shot too–just leave the reading materials with the hardhearted people and walk away. The rest was up to them and the Lord, right? You have washed your hands of the matter…

    Thanks for reminding me about this common Mormon tactic–it really takes me back and reminds me why I left mormonism behind and dusted my feet off when I was done. :)

    See you in the CK, Iane! Maybe we’ll “hie to Kolob” someday and have lunch. Cheers!

  • http://backaccessward.blogspot.com/ beetle

    @lane

    I admire your tenacity and willingness to have a back and forth conversation.

    How many of you have had a honest discussion with a Mormon?

    Many of us have tried to engage Mormons in real-life honest discussions. My experience with that is that the Mormons are not forthcoming. I cannot really characterize that as honest, nor is it really much of a discussion.

    I very much appreciate the insight offered by the ex-Mormons. Their perspective and insight have a great deal of face validity. In the absence of any credible or coherent refutation, it is natural and logical to ascribe them a high truth value. I am troubled that you would exclude them from the conversation.

    I disagree agree with your assertion that you have directly answered most questions, and I find your explanations very superficial. On the other hand, your contributions here have been a huge improvement over the drive by posts most (almost all) are leaving, so thank you for that!

  • http://backaccessward.blogspot.com/ beetle

    @SomeGuy

    I am LDS, and if I had lived in California during the last election, I would have voted against Prop 8. I believe the rights we have in this country should be extended to all.

    Good for you! If more Xtians were more “live-and-let-live” more atheists would be more inclined to go back in the closet!

    So SomeGuy, how did you happen to come by this blog?

  • lane

    Sorry in advance for the extremely long post.
    Seems I just can’t get away :) Sorry Beezle the name calling question was meant for everyone, not just you, but in my opinion you have shown even more disrespect with your response to my non-existent challenge, so I am through with you.
    Beetle the reason I excluded ex-Mormons is because they obviously have some experience with the church so it seems silly to make sure that they have had a conversation with a Mormon. It is obvious that most people do not want our testimonies here so it seems silly to do so, but let me just say this. I have heard all the opinions that the feeling I get concerning God is all some subconscious scientifically explainable thing, and you know life would be easier if I could believe that. I tried not to believe for years, reading Dawkins and the like, but it still seemed empty. Even when my anti-religious parents tried to teach me about agnosticism something said no. My only knowledge of Christians was about God and Christ being one, but that felt wrong.
    Long and short as hard as I fought the Mormons they answered my questions, the spirit filled me and I felt complete. Suddenly I saw Christ and God as two separate beings with physical bodies which was precisely what I had always believed but never thought anyone else did. I met a man that was a engineering professor that had a job and a family and devoted, for free, so many hours as a bishop, and who, even as I wanted to hate the Mormons, blew me away with the love, and honesty in his eyes. I realize that what I believe is not in harmony with what the world wants me to believe, but when I ponder and study the gospel I am lifted and given a high that nothing else in life has ever afforded me. Nothing about my first trip, or any other trip, to the temple seemed strange, in fact I felt even more full with every step I took, and I guess for me it is that enhanced feeling I hold sacred, so HBO can do as they please. Just to make clear the root of my belief and study is God the Father and His son Jesus Christ, not some man like Thomas Monson, though I know he is a wonderful human being. Either way why should I keep beating my head into the wall which is this forum? And if you haven’t caught on you are beating your head into a wall which is me.
    I would love to be the Mormon you have a good conversation with but this online world is not conducive as I have already written way to much and it is only the tip of the ice berg, talking face to face is so much better. Just find a Mormon that is not a pacifist when it comes to using words. I am sure you have questions but I don’t have the days to spend back and forth writing, trying to explain it to you all, I wish I did. Like I said life would be easier without knowing what I know, but the peace I feel is worth going through anything even ridicule and scorn.

  • Skippy

    *I* was the one who wrote “Moron”, not Beezle, and, whether you believe me or not, it wasn’t intentional, I just missed a letter. I actually didn’t even see it ’til you’d pointed it out. Good eye! Sorry you took such offense to my typo.

    As far as reading the comments, I read them all… it took a *really* long time too! What I was commenting on was how similar all the LDS answers were, with maybe 2-3 visitors leaving more in-depth comments. You being one, lane. :)

    The reason I’d mentioned it was because, in scrolling through the comments, it’s difficult to ignore numerous comments that say the same thing (albeit, worded slightly differently) over and over again.

    It’s been mentioned prior, but, you ask about whether anyone here has had a discussion with someone other than a “ex-Mormon”, and, that’s something that too, has been addressed earlier. Many times.

    So, I ask, are there any points you think ought to be clarified that haven’t been? Would you be able to refute any claims made by ex-Mormons that you disagree with?

    Siamang – I’m totally gonna make up some buttons an’ everything! ^_^

  • lane

    Skippy I appreciate you telling me about the typo. I’m sure you can believe that ‘moron’ is written in many other forums, but done intentionally.
    I feel comfortable with where things are at. I will be happy to state my own side against any ex members, my only thing is please understand that with things like Beezles reply to my “challenge” a few quick lines can so simplify and twist things to make them appear perverse, while the complete story which takes 10 pages brings clarification. Not just with Mormonism, but with many things in life people take everything out of context and make it something else. Guess that’s a fear about HBO, they take the temple ceremony out of context and without background information and then leave us,Mormons, to set the record straight. I am sure people can exhaust me with their questions, and I wish I had easy answers but sometimes I feel like I a explaining quantum physics to someone taking Algebra 1. Its not a bad thing, its just like I said in a earlier post I don’t know how to explain somethings unless you too have had my experiences.
    This is cheesy but how do you tell someone that has never tasted salt, what it tastes like? How do you explain to a blind man the difference between blue, red, and yellow? We come from different backgrounds and beliefs and half of the problem for me is how to translate it into a language others can understand, even if they don’t agree with it.
    Really Skippy I would love to sit here talking all day long but I am sure we all have lives :) Either way, everyone if you have questions ask, please understand if I send you to a link for explanation as I do not have time to, nor do I want to, write and post a masters thesis on here. I will make sure to put my personal opinions into whatever I post so it is not simply “here is the canned answer”. Thank you

  • Quentin Morford

    Old Beezle, sorry I did not take the time to read each and every comment. I read most and skimmed others. Wish I was a faster reader, but I am not.

    Let me respond to your comments:

    You stated: “Seriously? Do I need to point out the differences in a worlwide organization’s rituals and your intimate encounters with your own wife? Ever heard of comparing apples and oranges? This is one of those times.”

    The fact of the matter is that even though it is a worldwide organization it is still a private organization. True, it is open to whoever wants to join, but it private (not public) none-the-less. That being the case, whatever they choose to keep as secret, as long as it is legal, is their prerogative and should be respected. Simple enough?

    My point in comparing that with my own intimate secrecy is that being a private individual I am entitled to my privacy. Pretty apples to apples if you ask me. If you would like another comparison, try trade secrets within business. Just because a manager leaves a company, he is not at liberty to divulge those secrets.

    That leads me to my next point: I don’t need to personally know Bernie Madoff to know that he lacks integrity. I don’t need to know anyone personally that has taken trade secrets and sold them illegally to come to a conclusion that thy lack integrity. Same applies to Anonymous who was paid to be a consultant and divulge things he promised to keep secret. His choice, but still a promise is a promise.

    For your reference Webster defines Integrity as follows: 1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values

    I am pretty confident in how I characterized Anonymous.

  • http://backaccessward.blogspot.com/ beetle

    @Quentin

    Quentin, how did you first hear about the FA blog?

    That being the case, whatever they choose to keep as secret, as long as it is legal, is their prerogative and should be respected.

    Are you serious? Is not the world a better place because many secret-but-legal rituals of the CoS, KKK, Freemasons, U.S. DoJ, and many, many other groups have come to public light? Besides, you say these secret activities are legal, but why should such assertions be taken at face value when the LDS church has a record of past indiscretions?

  • http://backaccessward.blogspot.com/ beetle

    @lane:

    I feel like I a explaining quantum physics to someone taking Algebra 1

    That is not a little condescending, no? (P.S. I think you have the situation exactly backward.)

    I don’t know how to explain somethings unless you too have had my experiences.

    Many people here have had experiences nearly extremely similar to that which you gave in your testimony. Some even gave your particular denomination a fair go. Do you not see the arrogance in expecting your view point to be taken at face value when you are so dismissive of the perspective of others?

    It is obvious that most people do not want our testimonies here so it seems silly to do so

    Yet, despite how obviously silly it was, you gave us testimony anyway! To your credit, your written testimony is a lot more coherent than the ones which have been delivered to me (also unbidden) in person. I do not think it fair to blame the medium for your inability to be persuasive.

    Your testimony did explain a few things. You are a relatively new Mormon, as opposed to a lifer, so you are willing to engage honestly, and you still have habits of rational inquiry. You were spared the more extreme aspects of Mormon ritual, and you are focus on where LDS is now rather than its early history. Your path to LDS is perfectly understandable and reasonable, and has provide you great comfort at little apparent cost. It is natural that you would want to share this good news. I find it ironic though, that when your arguments fall flat, you tried the script response anyway, even though it was obviously silly!

    Really lane, you are doing as well as you could hope for. The real problem is that your position, that your religious convictions compel you to work against basic fundamental human rights of others outside your group, is morally bankrupt.

  • Rhys Hodnet

    Characteristic of the Mormon support for the legislation of religious beliefs (and the virtues of rule by majority) is that they, in this case, assume that they are in the majority. And as long as they believe themselves in the majority, they will continue this line of argument.

    But, were the situation reversed, and the faithful LDS found themselves in the minority on an issue, and, say, evangelical Christians in the majority, one can safely guess that their support for legislating religious beliefs and rule by majority would diminish greatly.

    Theirs is not an argument born out of principle but an argument born out of convenience and presumption of power. They do not truly believe in the principle of legislating religious beliefs. They do, however, truly believe in the principle of legislating religious beliefs when they are Mormon ones.

    I’d like to see how our Mormon friends would approach this issue if they could but imagine themselves on the other side of it.

    Empathy and critical self-reflection are not, by and large, commonly found character traits among religious ideologues (or ideologues of any stripe).

  • Rhys Hodnet

    Lane said, “This is cheesy but how do you tell someone that has never tasted salt, what it tastes like? How do you explain to a blind man the difference between blue, red, and yellow? We come from different backgrounds and beliefs and half of the problem for me is how to translate it into a language others can understand, even if they don’t agree with it.”

    Let me ask in return, have YOU ever tried to put yourself in the place of someone who is gay? Have you ever tried to imagine loving someone, wanting to dedicate your life to this person, only to be told by society that your love was illegitimate, sinful, a perversion, and not worthy of recognition?

    Let me say that I was Mormon 40 years, served a mission, attended the temple many times, and am intimately familiar with how Mormon culture conditions people to think and speak. I understand your point of view fully (indeed, I used to think and say the same). But I can also tell you that once I actually tried to see the world from others’ perspectives, that I realized the shallow, intolerant, unempathetic, ego-centric, and misguided Mormon world view.

    I know all too well what your salt tastes like, and that is why I spit it out.

    Why don’t you practice what you preach? Imagine yourself in the shoes of a gay person, imagine what he/she feels, try to see the world from his/her perspective, and then report back here and bring us word.

  • SomeGuy

    @ beetle

    So SomeGuy, how did you happen to come by this blog?

    I originally heard about the Big Love episode on one of the many news sites (either cnn, msnbc or another one… I’m not sure). Then I googled “Big Love Mormon Temple” and this blog was listed near the top. Which is probably how so many others found this site as well.

  • lane

    That is not a little condescending, no? (P.S. I think you have the situation exactly backward.)

    Wouldn’t you say telling me the situation is reversed make you the condescending one? :) But yes I am sorry it was the first thing that came to mind, perhaps more like me explaining J2EE coding practices to my friend who is a lawyer.

    So yes I gave my testimony, sue me. I guess I am relatively new if 12 years still puts me in that category. Look sometimes what you call ‘the script response’ is in fact the response, 1+1=2, why would I say it equals 12?

    The real problem is that your position, that your religious convictions compel you to work against basic fundamental human rights of others outside your group, is morally bankrupt.

    And if I believe someone elses position is ‘morally corrupt’ then I should just let them remain that way? To use the analogy, if someone is asleep in a burning building should I just let them try and get their good night sleep? And yes the building is burning, it is not my imagination, so do not try that angle, that is a steel wall.

    Let me ask in return, have YOU ever tried to put yourself in the place of someone who is gay?

    Yes indeed I have. I have thought a lot about it and talked with a couple that has been together for 20yrs. I don’t agree with their lifestyle, and they accept that. I agreed that they should be able to share benefits and see each other in the hospital when the other is sick, and they agreed to let me keep the word marriage. This is my whole point, in case you missed it, for returning marriage to the church and let everyone hetro or homo to have a domestic partnership. The couple I talked to felt that the gay community was causing themselves more damage by taking on the secular institution of marriage and not just getting their legal rights to partnership instituted.
    And as I recall the church has said they will not stand against domestic partnerships, doesn’t sound like Mormons are being directed to deny you any legal rights.

    Have you ever tried to imagine loving someone, wanting to dedicate your life to this person, only to be told by society that your love was illegitimate, sinful, a perversion, and not worthy of recognition?

    Hmm, I think that I have been told that my temple sealing means nothing, that Mormons are a perversion. In fact I got a message on youtube yesterday accusing me of being a worshiper of satan. We might not have an extermination order out on us anymore, but do not suppose that we are not hated by many. I may be a ‘relatively new’ Mormon but I have been shouted at and cursed, and you know what I loved those people anyway and tried to respect that they are doing what they feel is right, cursing them back is pointless and only soils me.

    When I was a missionary for the LDS church it was always our parting shot too–just leave the reading materials with the hardhearted people and walk away. The rest was up to them and the Lord, right? You have washed your hands of the matter.

    And what else do you do when someone spits in your face Beezle, which is exactly what you did with your little ‘challenge’ thing. I am washing my hands of you, but not the rest of the people here. I simply provided a link to information, the root of this is what HBO is doing so I provided links to the official response, as I give my own here.

    Just out of curiosity what is everyone else’s position? I am a Mormon of 12years that grew up in a highly liberal, agnostic home. Are you ex-Mormon now Born again, or Atheist, or have you always been an Atheist? If not an Atheist, then how did you get here, and what is your motivation? Us Mormons have been asked these questions so I feel it is only fair to get the same information.
    Perhaps if I know your background I can respond to your questions trying to view things from your perspective and avoid being accidentally insulting.

  • Old Beezle

    Iane (good to see you’re back):

    Sorry Beezle the name calling question was meant for everyone, not just you, but in my opinion you have shown even more disrespect with your response to my non-existent challenge, so I am through with you.

    You’re through with me…again? Keep dusting your feet, Iane. You responded to none of the meaty matters of this discussion, including my ‘sensational’ personal experience with the temple.

    Iane:

    please understand that with things like Beezles reply to my “challenge” a few quick lines can so simplify and twist things to make them appear perverse, while the complete story which takes 10 pages brings clarification.

    Iane, if you’re saying I was untruthful in my account, then please correct me. It was factually accurate, it did happen to me, and I did feel violated and lied to about the temple by the church and by my own family. I am totally upfront and honest with my experiences here and you call them perverse. It makes me sad for you and the entire mormon population that you are so incapable of empathy and understanding when it comes to people not like yourselves. This is the crux of mormon intolerance and multiple others have pointed it out as well on this board.

    Iane:

    Like I said life would be easier without knowing what I know, but the peace I feel is worth going through anything even ridicule and scorn.

    Ditto from my side. I wish I hadn’t had to go through the temple at all. I honestly wish I could forget many of those experiences, but it’s made me who I am–reviled by you and yours, but loved by those who truly do know me. I’m sure you feel the same from your side.

    Feelings aside though, people in general deserve to get an honest answer and full disclosure about the temple if they ask for it. Mormons cannot and will not do this (for all of the reasons you and yours stated above) so I’m here to pick up the slack. I’m here to let people know that all is not well in Zion like the advertising leads us to believe. Mormonism may work for you, but it doesn’t for me and I believe there are more members in your church who would rather not be there, but only are due to familial and social pressures and an instilled fear of life without the church. If my words can help them to feel less alone in their doubt and their pain, then it is worth all the damnation and condemnation that you and the church leaders can heap on me. They deserve truth and freedom if they want it. Everyone does.

  • Old Beezle

    Quentin:

    The fact of the matter is that even though it is a worldwide organization it is still a private organization. True, it is open to whoever wants to join, but it private (not public) none-the-less. That being the case, whatever they choose to keep as secret, as long as it is legal, is their prerogative and should be respected. Simple enough?

    see my above post to Iane about disclosure if you care for the full answer.

    And no it’s not apples to apples when the church involves thousands in one ‘sacred’ situation, like the temple, and wants to involve more compared to your ‘intimate/sacred’ relations with your wife which is, and always will be, just between the two of you. Besides–no one wants those details about you and your wife because they are just yours. The temple experience belongs to many.

  • Old Beezle

    Quentin:

    That leads me to my next point: I don’t need to personally know Bernie Madoff to know that he lacks integrity. I don’t need to know anyone personally that has taken trade secrets and sold them illegally to come to a conclusion that thy lack integrity. Same applies to Anonymous who was paid to be a consultant and divulge things he promised to keep secret. His choice, but still a promise is a promise.

    For your reference Webster defines Integrity as follows: 1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values

    I am pretty confident in how I characterized Anonymous.

    You missed the conversations about signing contracts under duress and without full disclosure of what was being contracted. In my view, a contract is only binding when both parties come to the table as equals, in full disclosure. If you hold something back, then you’re doing so dishonestly and with a motive to strengthen your side. This is exactly what the mormon church does with temple promises.

    I try to adhere to a moral code of honesty and truth and the lies from the church violated that code. Integrity applies to everyone and you can’t characterize other people as lacking integrity just because they do not adhere to YOUR moral code. Again, the ego-centric intolerance of the mormons presents itself here in your view. People are not wrong just because they don’t do what you say. They are definitely wrong, however, when they mislead and hide the truth from others…which (for the millioneth time) is what the church does regarding the temple ceremonies.

  • GullWatcher

    @Quentin

    I don’t need to personally know Bernie Madoff to know that he lacks integrity. I don’t need to know anyone personally that has taken trade secrets and sold them illegally to come to a conclusion that thy lack integrity.

    What if Bernie Madoff had sworn people to secrecy about what he was doing – do you think it would still be the right thing for the people who knew what he was doing to keep that secret?

    Keeping a secret is that shouldn’t be kept doesn’t show integrity, it shows cowardice. If it weren’t for whistleblowers, who risk their livelihood and sometimes their lives to bring things out into the open, the world would be a far worse place.

    And for those of you who are about to assert that these particular secrets are harmless – that can’t be proved until they are out in the open. Say it all you want, I don’t have to believe it until you prove it.

  • Old Beezle

    These secrets do harm people, GullWatcher. You are completely right. I am living proof of it. So are many others like me. Mormons either can’t believe that or they don’t want to. That doesn’t make our experiences any less real.

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  • http://backaccessward.blogspot.com/ beetle

    @lane

    Twelve years huh? Got kids? I mean it is one thing for a free willed adult sign up with a secretive group. Subjecting children to that though really raises the ante.

    And if I believe someone elses position is ‘morally corrupt’ then I should just let them remain that way?

    Actually, sometimes, Yes! Is the someone else forcing you to adopt their lifestyle? Are they hurting animals or child or non-concenting adults? Preaching is one thing. Passing laws against them is something else.

    To use the analogy, if someone is asleep in a burning building should I just let them try and get their good night sleep?

    How about an analog that is much closer? It was not so long ago that inter-ractial marriage was illegal in many places in this country. The majority felt that it was immoral, and proper to keep it illegal. Many felt as deeply in their conviction about this as you do about gay marriage. They had the backing of their church, and many stridently advocated to maintain the status quo. Were they right?

    This is my whole point, in case you missed it, for returning marriage to the church and let everyone hetro or homo to have a domestic partnership.

    I didn’t miss it and I commented about that when you first raised the idea here, but you didn’t reply. You can’t ask for something to be returned if you never owned it! Actually, I do not disagree with you on the idea, but the tactic to discriminate against same sex couples in the mean time is still reprehensible, and the one has nothing to do with the other.

    If you were sincere on this idea, you would (1) leave the gays alone, and (2) propose legislation on the Federal and state level proposing statutes that substitute “civil union” for “marriage”. But you are not doing either of things!

    Some people, both straight and gay, think broadened domestic partnership laws would be good enough, but they are mistaken. Where that has been tried, it has not worked well.

    Your idea to retroactively rename civil marriages as domestic partnerships is a good thought exercise, but obviously impractical. It would be much more reasonable for religious organizations to create “marriage plus” for their membership. Whatever rules LDS or whoever wants for “marriage plus” is up to them.

  • Joseph

    TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS:

    Please read Elder Hales’ last conference talk on Christian Courage before responding to any of these blogs

  • Old Beezle

    Here, Joseph, I’ll help you out on this one to show my [ahem] Christian Courage:

    Robert Hales:

    Our aim should be to help them understand the truth, not defend our egos or score points in a theological debate. Our heartfelt testimonies are the most powerful answer we can give our accusers…

    Looks like most mormons here already followed their marching orders and just bore their testimonies. What the LDS church leadership knows is that the sharing of a testimony really just strengthens the person saying it (because then they don’t have to think of a real answer–they just have to repeat the same testimony they’ve been taught to build and cultivate all their lives)…and then they don’t have to (to borrow a phrase from Mr. Hales) listen as the “devil laughs.”

  • http://mormonhatershow.blogspot.com Lone Danite

    HBO has no Man-Mojo, they are simply going after Mormons because we are an easy terget, please check out my blog for more details: mormonhatershow.blogspot.com

  • Old Beezle

    No, Lone Danite, it just so happens that exmormons want to be able to tell their side of the story too and Big Love has given them the opportunity. They don’t hate you any more than you hate them.

    Why do you say that mormons are an easy target?

  • Joseph

    Old Beezle:

    I’m glad you had the chance to check out Elder Hales’ talk. I hope you read more than just a phrase or two that could be used to illustrate “my lack of original thought.” My friend, I don’t know you, or your personal history. From your comments, I recognize that you are fairly intelligent and rather talented at expressing your views and opinions. And in again responding to your posts, I also recognize that my imperfections and limitations in communication will further expose my opinions (and probably character as well) to your quick, sharp rebuttal. I could take the time and exploit your rhetoric and manipulate your words and loop holes. But to be honest, I don’t have the time to and more importantly, we have more in common than we have differences. I can’t make the world a better place by spending all my time checking out and participating in a blog like this. But like you, I feel I can improve myself (and hopefully those around me) by trying to adhere to principles I feel to be true. Again I realize I’m probably setting myself up for a clever response, exposing my “stereotypical” and “brainwashed” mormon logic or the lack thereof as you might see it. But I needed a break from the midterm I’m working on figured I drop you a quickie one last time. I wish you the best in your efforts to find joy and success! God Bless!

  • Barb

    Tom Hanks opposed prop 8. He is angry about mormons. He is the executive producer of Big Love. I think he’s probably trying to make them mad. Sounds like it’s working.

    Sounds like retaliation.

  • GullWatcher

    i like apple pie

  • Old Beezle

    Joseph said:

    I could take the time and exploit your rhetoric and manipulate your words and loop holes.

    Well thank God you didn’t and instead adhered to Mr. Hales’ advice to:

    not defend our egos or score points in a theological debate

    Looks like you get to spare me the lash and “follow the prophet” at the same time. It’s so rare to get a win-win situation. I’m happy for you. :)

  • NoMollyMormon

    Did anyone SEE Big Love last night? It was on last night, yes? no?

    I don’t have HBO so I don’t know how it depicted the ordinances some of you were concerned about, etc. etc. etc. etc.

  • Donnchaidh

    I am an athesist fan of Big Love, mostly I watch it b/c it astounds how people will cling to a belief as if it is some how true; suspending all reason.

    People with religious beliefs want others to respect their right to believe in whatever diety, sacrament or experience they consider sacred.

    We don’t respect people’s beliefs regarding history, if someone came to you and said no the vikings were not the first europeans to land in North America, we would disagree with them, b/c the data is imperical you can’t argue with it.

    There is nothing imperical about religion, its all about belief. Belief was fine in the middle ages when people had limited knowledge of how the world worked but what are our excuses now?

    I was once a religious person, I even have the mastersin theology to prove it, but once you start critically review not only the theological test but the literature upon which its foundation was built you see that it is nothing more than a bunch of stories. From the book of mormon to the “old testament to the Jesus myths all of it is nothing more than stories we tell our selves to console us through living and to cope with the unknowing of death.

    When will we grow up.

  • malaprops

    I thought it was a pretty good episode–not the best, but a lot of interesting stuff happened and the writers brought the same amount of extreme earnestness to last night’s episode as they have to all the previous ones.

    I watch the show because I find this particular fictional universe interesting, not because I think it’s a Mormon reality show. I don’t know anything about Mormons or temple ceremonies, so I can’t speak to the veracity of what was shown. But I also don’t care if it was “true”. All I care about is that the story was very organic for the character of Barb. That’s what makes it a good tv show.

  • Travis

    As a practicing Mormon in good standing with the church and able to attend the temple, I find it hilarious that there are so many misconceptions about Mormons, or Latter Day Saints. A)True Latter Day Saints no longer practice polygamy. B) Latter Day Saints are not concerned about secrecy in the temple but keeping what happens in the temple SACRED. There is a difference. I’m finding that there are a lot of brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, etc that are offended for not being allowed to attend wedding ceremonies and funerals (not sure about a funeral because they are held in a public meeting house)at the temple because they do not believe in the ordinances. I’m confused as to why someone who doesn’t believe in the ordinances would want to attend, or cry about not being involved in the ordinance. The LDS church does not exclude ANYONE! Everyone is invited to live according to the beliefs of Latter Day Saints. and anyone can enter the temple if they live according to these beliefs. My mother was unable to attend my temple marriage, but she knew it was important to me and would never be offended because I chose to have my wedding in the temple. Airing a sacred ordinance on tv where (let’s face it, the numbers aren’t that great for Big Love) there’s a miniscule populous viewing it, doesn’t make the ordinance any less sacred to those that believe it. It just proves that there’s an interest in it. If you are curious about the sacredness of the temple I would talk to the LDS missionaries or at least a member of the church that actually knows how special a place it is. It cracks me up that the producers are so proud of having an ex-mormon on set to verify the authenticity of the ordinance. I wouldn’t trust an “Ex” anything to be an authorative figure seeing as they are “Ex” for a reason. He may be a disgruntled guy trying any way he can to shed the church in a bad light. Just be wary of so called “authorities”. The most important thing to remember is that it’s not about secrecy in the temples, it’s about what happens being sacred.

  • Elizabeth*

    Since BIG LOVE is my favorite show, and probably THE best show on television today, I had to comment.
    This show is extraordinary, because it is different.
    The show is this:
    Bill Hendrickson was kicked out of Juniper Creek FLDS compound at age 15. The show gives you an insight into the FLDS and the differences it has from the regular LDS church.
    Bill is a grown man now, and through certain circumstances has one legal wife “BARB” and two spiritual wives, Nicki and Margene. They all live in separate houses but share an adjacent backyard.
    Nicki Grant, Bill’s second wife is The “prophets” daughter. The prophet that kicked Bill out as a young boy.
    The show has good moral values, and portrays the struggles that the family goes through day by day. trying to defend their stand about their beliefs.
    The LDS church does not accept them because of the plural marriage.
    It is exeptionally well written.
    about the “Strange practice” in the Temple. all I can say from my point of view, is that every Religion has Rituals that the rather keep secret.
    The show is done in good taste, you are missing out if you are not watching!

  • Kevin

    Big Love has hit the nail on the head about Mormonism. Mormons still believe in polygamy and still practice it today.I live among the Mormons, I have family that are Mormons, I was Mormon for 42 years, I served a Mormon mission. Mormons want to hide the fact that they still practice polygamy. A man can marry many wives in the temple and they will be his in life after death. If you want to know about Mormons go to http://www.utlm.org/ start at the beginning of Mormonism with Joseph Smith. Read the facts that the Mormons wont tell you. Joseph the founder had over 33 wives himself many young teen girls, others that he stole from married men. BIG LOVE is very accurate. and the ceremony at the temple even though it was a short snip it was dead on!!!

  • GullWatcher

    @Travis

    My mother was unable to attend my temple marriage, but she knew it was important to me and would never be offended because I chose to have my wedding in the temple.

    You had your wedding someplace where your mother couldn’t attend, on purpose? Assuming your mother is a decent person, that’s a pretty crappy thing for a person to do to their mother.

    So much for ‘family values’….

  • Old Beezle

    Travis:

    I wouldn’t trust an “Ex” anything to be an authorative figure seeing as they are “Ex” for a reason. He may be a disgruntled guy trying any way he can to shed the church in a bad light. Just be wary of so called “authorities”.

    First of all, read the multitude of other posts that have already addressed the issue of mormon distrust and labeling of those who have chosen to leave the ‘compound.’ You simply don’t like what former mormons have to say because they tell the flattering the unflattering alike.

    For example, we (as former mormons) will talk about the temple openly and honestly with people when they ask. We will discuss the similarities between mormon ritual and symbols and Masonic ones. We will discuss how inappropriate the touching was during the washing and the annointing (pre-2005 changes) and how it was a violation rather than a spiritual experience as we were told it would be. And, yes, there were changes to the temple ordinance rituals over the years and we will discuss those as well.

    (Travis):

    The most important thing to remember is that it’s not about secrecy in the temples, it’s about what happens being sacred.

    Thanks for reminding us what every other mormon who has posted to this blog has said (almost as if they were all taught to say the same thing…) We get it…you hold your rituals sacred just like every other religion on the planet does their own. You still won’t talk about them and that still makes them a secret.

  • lane

    Sorry been really busy.
    Why has no one addressed my question as to their background and current affiliations? Some have given a glimpse, like how many years there were a member, just curious.
    Quickly I want to address Kevin on the issue of polygamy. We are only allowed one wife at a time in mortality, so don’t make it sound like I could have two wives under my roof at the same time. The background is that in order to reach the highest level of celestial glory a husband and wife must both be righteously eligible and be sealed together. Now call me crazy but my experience is that women tend to be more righteous than men, so should a caring Heavenly Father deny women entrance because there is a lack of worth men? Whether you believe it or not, what do you care about what happens after we all die? If we are right than we are doing what is correct, if we are wrong than none of it is valid. And since we are not practicing having multiple mortal wives at the same time then we are not effecting multiple mortal lives. My wife has made it clear that should she die I should be sealed to any future wife, I know other wives that have expressed their dislike and it will be up to their husbands to respect that, no one is forcing us to be sealed to anyone.
    Now I don’t believe the idea of forcing teen girls to marry 70 year olds which is FLDS practice, or at least it was I think they said they changed that. But if an adult wants to have that relationship than what is your issue. Now I don’t agree with is and will fight legislation that allows all the “wives” to have simultaneous married status, but I can hardly rip children away from their mothers, and it is hard to prosecute a man if a ALL of his “wives” entered into it willingly. Still don’t agree with it but what the heck do you care?
    As for feeling violated, I have been much more violated by just about every doctor I have ever had. I had my washing in 1998 and I certainly did not have anyone coming close to touching me between the legs. I have done multiple washings since and still no problem, course I don’t have any problem at the doctors, it’s all standard procedure to me.

  • http://mormonhatershow.blogspot.com Lone Danite

    When can we expect HBO to produce a movie or series about the life of Mohammed. Perhaps they could get Antonio Banderas to play Mohammed?

  • Old Beezle

    Iane:

    Quickly I want to address Kevin on the issue of polygamy. We are only allowed one wife at a time in mortality, so don’t make it sound like I could have two wives under my roof at the same time.

    Fair enough, but many mormons make it sound as they have NOTHING to do with polygamy and that it was only some out-of-date practice given up over a hundred years ago. Mormons still BELIEVE in it though and practice ‘spiritual’ polygamy like you described. In fact, many believe that it will be reinstituted ‘when Jesus comes again.’ Mormons haven’t given up polygamy–they’ve just placed it on hold.

    Iane:

    As for feeling violated, I have been much more violated by just about every doctor I have ever had. I had my washing in 1998 and I certainly did not have anyone coming close to touching me between the legs.

    The difference is that a doctor is supposed to examine patients thoroughly for their own health and everyone knows that going in. It’s their publicly stated job.

    Compare that to what I said earlier regarding initial temple visit:

    Prior to entering the temple for the first time, a member is told next to nothing about what will actually and physically take place there all the while being told again and again that it will be THE MOST special and THE MOST sacred experience of their lives. What you get instead is a violation of your privacy, your individuality, and your intelligence in the form of a movie and odd rituals that culminate in group chanting around an altar before passing through “the veil” (death) into heaven…but only if you provide the proper handshakes and passwords.

    …not to mention the washing and annointing. No one touched me between the legs either, Iane, nor did I claim that they did. The fact that I was naked except for that ‘shield’/poncho thing and was being touched AT ALL on my naked body by a complete stranger on a day that was described as nothing but holy and sacred constituted a huge betrayal for me and a violation of my self and my privacy. It was the first of many betrayals that day.

    The temple for me was not at all what the church claimed it was going to be. I felt like all the members around me, my family included, were in awe of the Emperor’s new clothes while I saw nothing except for a man in his underwear.

  • Old Beezle

    Lone Danite:

    When can we expect HBO to produce a movie or series about the life of Mohammed. Perhaps they could get Antonio Banderas to play Mohammed?

    I’d love to see that! Good casting too :)

    Hey, can you blame HBO for not wanting to bring a fatwah down on their heads and possibly expose their employees to violence? Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch film maker, made a ten-minute movie about Islam called Submission and he was murdered for it in 2004.

    Salman Rushdie wrote a great book (yeah, not quite a movie) on the foibles of Mohammed and the early days of Islam: The Satanic Verses. And, yes, some of the Islamic leaders did call for his death because of it.

    Luckily for HBO, mormons are peaceful and believe in turning the other cheek if they feel bruised. How the truth can possibly be called an offense to them is an entirely different conversation…oh, wait, just read the comments above! We’ve covered it in glorious detail.

  • Travis

    So much for family values? Who’s wedding was it? Mine or my mothers? We had a ring ceremony outside of the temple that everyone was able to attend. My mother was totally okay with it so why should it matter to anyone else? She knew how important it was to me and loves me enough to put my beliefs before her need to be present. As for continuing to bring up what every other mormon has said like it’s been rehearsed, I’m not spouting something off as a rehearsal, it’s simply a sacred thing and if you are not part of it, you simply will not understand the meaning. Big Love may have shown it on TV, but that doesn’t mean anyone that’s never gone through the temple will have any idea of what is all means. I’m an active mormon and I would never have more than one wife and I’ve never been asked to have more than one wife. This is actually comedic. Does anyone have any idea how many religions and cultures in the past an present practice polygamy? Yeah it happened, as it happened in the bible as it continues to happen in other cultures. Why is everyone so crazed by it? I would never slam anothers religion or beliefs. There just seems to be a lot of angry people with empty lives that get off on slamming what they don’t know or understand. Again, no one is excluded, everyone is invited to learn about the church and temples. And the reason I’m repetitive about the subject is that there are still people on this blog that are saying FLDS and LDS are the same. Seriously folks, they are different. No doubt there will be somebody that argues that but man, educate yourselves.

  • Old Beezle

    Travis:

    We had a ring ceremony outside of the temple that everyone was able to attend. My mother was totally okay with it

    FYI – you did not mention the ring ceremony in your prior post so that may be why you received the reaction you did from GullWatcher.

    Travis:

    The LDS church does not exclude ANYONE! Everyone is invited to live according to the beliefs of Latter Day Saints.

    I take this this to mean that people WILL BE excluded if they do not adhere to LDS doctrine. So, in effect, mormons exclude non-mormons. Glad we’re clear on that.

    That’s ok though–it’s well within your rights to worship as you will and believe as you do. That’s not what the entire Big Love discussion was about though. The issue is that mormons acted as if Big Love had no right to show the temple ceremony. Explain to me why they CANNOT show the ceremony instead of why you believe they SHOULD NOT.

    Then you can address the question that Siamang asked ages ago in the early days of this blogathon (the reference to the question is in the last sentence of the last paragraph).

    Siamang:

    Actually I defend your right to believe. I just don’t defend your actual beliefs, nor would you mine.

    However, I think you are *asking* me to defend your right to believe that temple ceremonies should never be portrayed in fiction. This seems a lot like asking me to take part in a religious rule, even though I am not a member of your religion.

    Nobody here has even attempted, as far as I can see, to explain why I should take up that belief as my own. Nobody here has explained what possible activity my (ficticious) atheist club might do that would be held just as sacrosanct by LDS that they would never offend it, talk about it, portray it in fiction, speak against it, etc.

  • http://backaccessward.blogspot.com/ beetle

    @ lane

    Why has no one addressed my question as to their background and current affiliations?

    Seems way off-topic to me. Plus, you have not gotten back to me on my earlier (and more interesting) questions, so I do not wish to distract you further! :-)

  • Siamang

    Thanks, old beezle. I had wondered if anyone was keeping the fire burning on that unanswered question.

    The fact that it remains unanswered, 359 responses into the thread, is actually all the answer I require.

    The answer is this: The Mormons posting here demand respect they are unwilling to reciprocate for others. I think that boils the original argument of this thread down nicely.

  • Old Beezle

    Well said, Siamang. Agreed.

  • Elizabeth*

    WOW! so many comments from people that don’t even watch the show… WATCH THE SHOW AND THEN COMENT!! Polygamy is wrong when practiced Joseph Smith STYLE! I truly feel he was a fraud.. but for the sake of the MORMONS>>. polygamy does have a stance.. listen!!!

    Many men have afairs with women that just do it for the lust.. true? yes it is so if a man in mormonism desides to marry another woman as a second wife praise be to him! he is honoring her and making her worthy on to yhe LORD what is the problem?

    If she is over 18 and says yes it is ok with the first wife, and as long as there is a limit what is the problem? I know many women over 40 that would go for this !

  • Travis

    I think it’s been blown way out of porportion. I’m not as worried about it as the media is portraying. I understand the curiosity factor for non LDS folks. But I see so many half truths and speculation in this blog that the only question I have is why are people that are not LDS and anti mormon so hell bent on finding out about what goes on in temples? I don’t expect anyone that’s not LDS to understand how sacred and important temples are, but why are people so hateful about it? I think the media has blown it way out of porportion because everyone I know isn’t all that worried about it. I respect all religions and beliefs, and so I would ask that people not lump every Latter Day Saint into one giant programmed populous. I’ve met great people and horrible people from all walks of life and all religions…there are good and bad in each of these groups. I feel I’m a pretty good person and I’m well respected and educated, if someone wants to slam me simply because of my beliefs, I say go for it…if it will help fill an obvious void in their lives, hey, I’m happy to be of service. Can someone please answer why there is such a need to know what goes on in temples? Especially with folks that don’t believe it or are anti mormon? What is the fascination? Isn’t there anything else these people can do to fill the spare time? Charity work maybe? I mean why not be part of the solution instead of part of the problem? There are so many REAL issues in the world…

  • Old Beezle

    Now here’s the kicker:

    Despite the mormon church and mormons refusing to discuss what goes on in their temples and taking offense should others attempt to discuss or show the ceremonies, their stated goal is to get everyone into their temples–either in person or by proxy after you have died. They want it both ways–for everyone to participate yet no one be allowed to discuss it.

  • Old Beezle

    Travis:

    What is the fascination? Isn’t there anything else these people can do to fill the spare time? Charity work maybe?

    This coming from someone who belongs to an organization that places gold-plated statues on top of their temples. Isn’t there anything else the LDS church can spend their money on? I doubt that gold-plated statues add to the sacredness of the temple ceremonies and seem rather out of place with a church bearing Jesus’ name who routinely railed against the rich.

  • Travis

    Old Beezle,
    Why the chip on your shoulder? Did a Mormon offend you in some way? What’s your affiliation with the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? Are you an excommunicated member of the church? disgruntled? Or just one of those mean people with nothing better to do than tear down what you don’t understand?

  • Old Beezle

    Travis:

    Can someone please answer why there is such a need to know what goes on in temples? Especially with folks that don’t believe it or are anti mormon?

    As a former mormon, I feel that, had I known what really would take place in the temple, I would not have chosen to participate or bow to familial/societal pressures to participate. Members of the LDS church and prospective converts to the church deserve to know the full extent of what the LDS church expects and requires of them in regards to temples and the ceremonies that take place there. Since the LDS church is heavily engaged in proselyting itself to the public, then the public at large is the pool of potential converts and they therefore merit full disclosure. Moreover, since the church engages in performing temple work by proxy for those that are deceased, regardless of their background or their consent, people deserve to know what the LDS church is doing in regards to their ancestors and recently deceased relatives.

  • Travis

    by the way….I’m not offended. I’m too secure in my life to be offended by someone who simply doesn’t understand what they are talking about.

  • Old Beezle

    Travis:

    Old Beezle,
    Why the chip on your shoulder? Did a Mormon offend you in some way? What’s your affiliation with the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? Are you an excommunicated member of the church? disgruntled? Or just one of those mean people with nothing better to do than tear down what you don’t understand?

    You make a lot of assumptions about me—many of them quite negative. Most of the questions you ask I have already addressed in prior posts here. I fear that you are seeking to tear me down personally instead of attempting to rebut the claims and questions in this thread:

    Is a person able to make better decisions with more information?

    When doing research is it better to use a single source or multiple sources?

  • Travis

    I’m simply trying to understand where your coming from Beezle. In my experience, people who have left the church have done so not because of the doctrine, but because they were offended by someone. How long after you went through the temple were you a member of the church? You didn’t take temple prep classes to prepare you for the temple? Were you raised in the church? if not, how long after you were baptized did you go to the temple?

  • Travis

    It’s not going to make a difference to any member of the church. The sacredness of the temple remains. Latter Day Saints are not the first, nor the last religion to be misunderstood. This will die down and most Latter Day Saints have moved on already. Folks with an ax to grind for whatever reason are trying to make it into something it isn’t…It’s extremly sad when a country that was built on religious freedom no longer adhere’s to its foundation. We mock other peoples religions, hold nothing sacred or even just show compassion and RESPECT FOR RELIGIOUS PRACTICES…yet as people sit back on their couches stuffing their faces with potato chips and watching Hollywoods spin on these religions, they wonder to themselves why The United States is in such a downward spiral. It’s extremely sad.

  • Old Beezle

    Travis, you’re going to find something that will justify for you my departure from the church. Your questions are not intended to better understand my point of view, but instead to cement in your mind your own point of view. I left because I realized the church is not true. You stay because you believe it to be true.

    I will answer the questions for you since you will not:

    Is a person able to make better decisions with more information?

    Yes.

    Therefore people should be able to learn everything and anything about the mormon temple ceremonies so that they can make the best informed decision for themselves.

    When doing research is it better to use a single source or multiple sources?

    Multiple sources.

    Therefore people should investigate the LDS church thouroughly using not just what the official missionaries or the members of the church say, but what former members and third parties say as well. This applies to doctrine as well as history.

    Since I have answered these questions myself, feel free to address the one Siamang posed ages ago:

    what possible activity my (ficticious) atheist club might do that would be held just as sacrosanct by LDS that they would never offend it, talk about it, portray it in fiction, speak against it, etc.

  • Andrew Morford

    First, let me say that I feel for anyone that is hurt, misguided, misunderstood, belittled, etc. by another. The ill feelings generated by such are real.

    Second, I have seen both good and bad responses from each side of the debate. I applaud those who don’t pass judgment and are genuine in their discussion to understand.

    Now, let me share a couple of stories. The first is about a man who seemingly out of nowhere shoves an elderly woman to the ground spilling the contents of her purse all over the ground while bruising her hip and breaking her arm. Later that day witnesses see him taking a knife to anther person, slicing their stomach open. Knowing all this, let’s say you have the chance to be in a room alone with this person. What would you do or say to this individual?

    The next story is about you. You have spent the last many months training and preparing for a future race. You have put in long hours and feel invested in the race. The race comes and goes, the outcome is set. Given the time and effort in preparation would you feel better with a second place finish or second to last place?

    Going back to the first story, if I told you the man was shoving the elderly woman out of the way of a runaway truck and was a surgeon by profession, would that change what you did or said to him? And with the second story, if I told you it was a two person race would that change anything?

    Bottom line, each of us comes from different backgrounds, mindsets, experiences, etc. We cannot fully appreciate what another is saying, meaning, implying, etc. by a simple read of a blog. I hope that each of us try to listen (or read) and understand even when we don’t agree. I would also hope that we don’t jump to conclusions based on a response or comment of another. Sometimes (often many times) what was perceived was not the intent of the message.

    I wish you each a rewarding day. A belief I have is that we do have a loving God that cares about each and every one of us. I don’t expect all who read this to have this same belief. That won’t stop me from praying that all could come to this understanding.

    As a side note: Quentin, does mom know you are playing with the computer again? Sorry little bro…couldn’t resist after I find your name in a few locations on a blog I am reading.

  • lane

    Only got a moment but I would like to say thank you to HBO I have had three discussions with different people, none of which were shocked and all expressed a respect for the church. I gave two a book of mormons out and they are all interested in learning more :)
    Now I have to feed my three children whom I will corrupt with a prayer were we ask a blessing on those who suffer and probably the missionaries if my son says it.
    Next tonight I have to work on a sunday school lesson and a sharing time lesson, yeah me. Must corrupt children with talk about charity.
    Everyone have a beautiful night. I’ll try to think harder about the next discussion, just wanted to say thanks to HBO for a wonderful past few days.

  • Old Beezle

    Iane:

    Only got a moment but I would like to say thank you to HBO I have had three discussions with different people, none of which were shocked and all expressed a respect for the church. I gave two a book of mormons out and they are all interested in learning more

    Good to see you’re making lemonade from the lemons. I think you can now also appreciate that making MORE information available to the public is to the benefit of all. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right? :)

    So what was all the fuss about…???

  • Kathryn

    You know, regardless of what the mormons believe, or how you feel about their beliefs, they are still allowed to keep something that is highly sacred to them private. I was a church member almost my whole life, when at 18, I decided that I didn’t belive in it. I have never been through an endowment ceremony, although I do have a general knowledge of what occurrs. However, my mother, brother, 2 sisters and their husbands have all been through it, and I have never once asked them or felt the need to ask them any of the private details of what it was like for them. That is THEIR business. It is about THEIR relationship with God and Jesus, not about what the mormon church teaches about God and Jesus. I think that if people want to know what’s going on in the temple, they should be given/find out the basic facts…..which are available through any mormon you may know, or their website. The only problem with showing just a small part of this ceremony on television for the general public to see, is that it’s not taken in the proper context. I understand that it’s not a huge part of the show, it doesn’t go into extreme detail, and that it’s not claiming to be a major part of everything mormons believe, but I personally think that the biggest issue is that it’s NOT any of those things. When I was still Mormon, I was not ready, nor was i worthy to participate in such a ceremony(and by not worthy, I mean I didn’t have a good relationship with god, or kept any rules), and it would have taken a lot of time and preparation to be able to do so. But, do they explain on the show what this character had to do in order to become endowed? Do they show the committments she had to make, and her personal beliefs and testimony? I don’t think that actually showing it will be the thing that upsets mormons, I just think that treating it as a flashback feature, when it is something that is a very personal experience isn’t right or fair. I’m not knocking the show at all, I just don’t think that they really had any idea……….
    I just think it’s kind of ironic that i was a mormon, and was actually very close to being endowed, and am in no way curious, but all of these athiests are just dying for a chance to see what those crazy mormons are really up to :) maybe, if your so curious about other people’s religions, you should actually try to find what’s missing in your life, instead of being so concerned with what makes other people happy??

  • Kathryn

    oh, and old beezle, just as one last shot, from an ex to an ex, there is no way in hell, heaven, earth, or the fantasyland in your head that you will end up in the celestial kingdom. I should know. I’ll be in hell too.

  • lane

    Thank you so much for your comment Kathryn I really appreciate it.

    So what was all the fuss about…???

    While yes I made lemonade out of lemons and publicity ain’t bad it is still the fact that it is sacred to me. Some one tried to peek in my window and show a quick glimpse without all the details.
    I have learned from this though that Elder Hale is right it will all blow over and just gives us more opportunities.
    This forum gave me the chance to explain the difference between spiritual plural marriage and mortal plural marriage, which the church’s does not sanction. But when someone tells the half truth of “Mormons still practice polygamy” They always seem to fail mentioning that it is not in this mortal life, and therefore if you do not believe in our form of heaven than it is null and void.
    Beezle information is a great thing when you have all the information. I quite enjoy the non church documentaries that come at it from both sides and lay it all out. I understand that when it is totally church produced people question the validity, but also when there is no chance for the church to state it’s case in unison with the detractors, Big Love, it creates a lack of information. People watch HBO and see one fictional version, but there is no show after wards, and no one is going to turn to a church station, to hear the other side. When you investigate the church you should take the time to look at both sides.

    One sided information is near worthless. I respect everyone for asking their questions it has been a pleasure to discuss/debate. I wish we could all see each other face to face since I am sure I have missed answering some questions in the shuffle.

    Hey Old Beezle we still gonna

    “hie to Kolob” someday and have lunch.

    ?

  • Old Beezle

    You’re funny, Kathryn:

    oh, and old beezle, just as one last shot, from an ex to an ex, there is no way in hell, heaven, earth, or the fantasyland in your head that you will end up in the celestial kingdom. I should know. I’ll be in hell too.

    Thanks for setting me straight on the belief system you don’t even participate in! Is there any bad news regarding the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause that you want to break to me gently too?

    Oh and thanks for noticing and replying to my sarcastic comments, which I sometimes like to call “mormon troll bait.” You ate it up like it was green jello with marshmallows at Wednesday night mutual. :)

  • GullWatcher

    @Kathryn

    I just think it’s kind of ironic that i was a mormon, and was actually very close to being endowed, and am in no way curious, but all of these athiests are just dying for a chance to see what those crazy mormons are really up to

    What is wrong with these Mormons who come here, that they are just completely incapable of understanding a point. No one else has taken up this particular stupidity, although Kathryn is not the only one to mention it.

    So here you go: we don’t give a damn. Atheists in general don’t want to know what goes on in your ceremonies. I can think of a million things I would rather learn about. That’s not the point.

    The point is, the information about what actually happens should be freely available to anyone who wants or needs it, that HBO is well within their rights to show a ficitionalized version, and the protectionism currently given to religions (such as immunity from criticism or examination) needs to stop.

    Seriously, your religion and its rituals interests me not at all.

    @Travis

    It’s extremly sad when a country that was built on religious freedom no longer adhere’s to its foundation. We mock other peoples religions, hold nothing sacred or even just show compassion and RESPECT FOR RELIGIOUS PRACTICES…

    I think it’s really sad when people misrepresent freedom of religion. All it means is you get to practice your religion. It doesn’t mean I am compelled to have any respect for it, or even to pretend I do.

    Neither does it give your religion the immunity from criticism or examination that you seem to feel is some sort of right. It’s absolutely not, and all your outrage and moaning won’t make it so.

  • Old Beezle

    Regarding making lemonade from lemons, it helps to take a look at the history as well.

    The United States government brought to bear a lot of pressure on the LDS church for still practicing polygamy in the late 1800’s. The church wisely decided to discontinue the practice (mortal polygamy only of course). This brought the church more in line with the mainstream.

    Then there was the Equal Rights Amendment and the time when blacks were finally allowed the priesthood in the LDS church in 1978. This too helped to make the church more mainstream.

    Then came changes to the temple endowment itself around 1990 and 2004. Gone were the blood oaths, the Pay Lay Ale chanting, and nudity during the washing and anointing (not to mention the gradual evolution over time of the garments from long johns to what they are today). The weirder parts are slowly going away.

    Showing any part of the temple ceremony on tv would not have even been possible 25 years ago. Maybe someday the church will even drop its prohibition against discussing the temple openly (just speculating).

    The net effect of all these changes, regardless of whether you believe they were brought about by external pressure or direction from god, is that the LDS church is slowly shedding the weirder/stranger/more cult-like aspects and becoming more mainstream. Though at each step of the way the church charged its critics with persecution and violating their sacred rights, the changes have actually been beneficial to the church itself. By becoming more mainstream they appeal to a wider audience and thus have a larger pool of potential converts and also have to worry less about current members leaving. This sounds like it’s a good thing for everyone—mormons and non-mormons alike.

    Iane:

    When you investigate the church you should take the time to look at both sides.

    I could not agree more. That’s also why I disagree with the church labeling any unflattering information about it as anti-mormon and throwing it on the intellectual book-burning pile. The other side of this is when former mormons and/or critics label all church-produced information as sheer propaganda. Neither label is entirely fair though there is some truth to both. Everyone has bias. Everyone holds something sacred.

    The best way, therefore, is to always look at all sides—like you said. So I challenge you to read Fawn Brodie’s No Man Knows My History (1945) or Ann Eliza Young’s Wife No. 19 (1876) if you haven’t already. If those are too controversial still then at least check out a book by the ‘new atheists’ (Dawkins or Hitchens), which critique all religion in general or even just Rushdie’s fictional Satanic Verses, which only critiques Islam. During our discussions here on this post I’ve already had the opportunity to read 10+ Ensign articles!

    I think you’ll agree that, if you are firm in your beliefs, then adding more knowledge will only help to strengthen your position. Have at it!

    P.S. If I can sneak past Kathryn, then I’ll meet you at the Kolob Kafe for lunch 666 years after Judgment Day. You can’t miss me—I’ll be the only one with horns. :)

  • Dana

    I’ve seen things like this before. Years back some bonehead got baptized in Arizona just so he could wait a year to get a temple recommend, and go through temple prep classes just so he could tape-record the endowment ceremony and write a couple articles about it. I think that one got a week of publicity, made some people upset, and ultimately did no harm to the Church.

    I mean, what a waste of effort. He could have gone to any embittered ex-lds (not all ex-mormons are bitter anti-mormons) to get the details and saved himself the trouble (that’s what everyone else does).

    It’s the same deal here. Information about the temple has been posted by antis for years on the internet. What a waste.

    The fact of the matter is that these things tend to have the lifespan of a housefly. Most people who watched saw things they did not understand at the surface level let alone at the deeper symbolic levels that require years of temple service to truly understand.

    It’s upsetting that sacred things are taken out of their proper setting, and those who hold these things sacred have reason to feel hurt or violated. But as usual it will come to nothing.

  • Kathryn

    to GullWatcher…
    So, If you genuinely don’t want to know what happens in a ceremony, then let the people who DO want to know complain about the mormons, while you continue on another crusade about something you have absolutely no interest in.
    And Beezle……
    Santa must still exist if he brings you gift wrapped mormons ready to debate you. And the Easter bunny can go take a flying leap, cuz he never brought me anything good.
    You seem like you could be an elusive one, but i do have a lot of experience with babysitting(you know ex mormons), so I have had my share of keeping tabs on people ;)
    And to all other athiests who are still reading this……
    sorry to interfere on your blogspace, but it does seem like you enjoy a challenge. I don’t understand your beliefs, or maybe(if you prefer), your lack of them, but i do respect your right to do what you will with your life without being forced to listen about something you have no interest in. I really do think that writing/debating on a blog like this would be fun for me, however, opposite sides can only debate on testy subjects for so long before it only becomes hostile and no longer informative. Just for the record, i am no longer mormon, and in the forseeable future, will not be returning. however, i AM still a christian, but do not attend church. It is only my wish to share my own personal experience on the subject, and maintain respect for ALL beliefs and cultures that are not harmful to others. Sorry if this was not accomplished, but i did make the attempt. Have a good day everyone!! Even Beezle!!:P

  • http://backaccessward.blogspot.com/ beetle

    @ lane

    I am sure I have missed answering some questions in the shuffle.

    I would very much like to hear your response to my inquires about marriage politics.

    I have another question for you. Given (1) your own experience of the disconnect between the temple preparation classes and the “high weirdness” of your first actual ceremony, and (2) Old Beezle’s testimony how that lie of omission was the tip of the wedge which drove him from the church — Will you discretely warn your own children, or accept the risk of your children being disaffected?

  • GullWatcher

    @Kathryn

    So, If you genuinely don’t want to know what happens in a ceremony, then let the people who DO want to know complain about the mormons, while you continue on another crusade about something you have absolutely no interest in

    Of course, why didn’t I see it? It’s stupid to care about other people’s rights, I should only care about my own!
    /sarcasm

    I care deeply about the first amendment, freedom of information, and making sure religious people understand they have no special privileges and no right to censor other people. That’s why I’m chiming in about this issue. I didn’t bother to watch the show, I haven’t looked up any of the re-enactments on youtube or other descriptions on the internet, because I just don’t care – it’s boring to me. As long as they are there for others, and continue to be, that’s what I care about.

  • mssonni

    Zar was making a joke!!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe that people didn’t get it — this is too funny!

  • lane

    @beetle
    Sorry only time to cover this one, I’ll try to go back and read marriage politic related posts

    Given (1) your own experience of the disconnect between the temple preparation classes and the “high weirdness” of your first actual ceremony, and (2) Old Beezle’s testimony how that lie of omission was the tip of the wedge which drove him from the church — Will you discretely warn your own children, or accept the risk of your children being disaffected?

    Now my temple prep folks were very informative as to the general things that would happen in the temple. They explained the purpose of the washing and where it applied to physically. Though they didn’t say it out right it was obvious that this could not be done fully clothed. They did explain that nothing is done that involves nude exposure, that everything was done as conservatively as possible while still properly performing the act.
    Now when I got to the temple no one just threw me in a dressing room and said put this on. We met before hand, once through the doors, and it was explained to us the full procedure except for the exact words, at no point did I feel that I could not (1) ask for clarification or (2) put the whole thing off, all those little old men were very concerned for everyone’s level of comfort. Even the man that performed it went to great lengths to make sure I understood before he started. And just a note I did this back in 1998 before the change so all I had was the smock.

    As for my own children, yes I will prepare them. I will stick to my commitment to not reveal the sacred things, but that is up to pray and continued temple attendance to decide. And when we attend the temple together for the first time I will express my love and commitment to them, and assure them if they have any reservation, I will support them. I would rather they wait and go through the temple when they are spiritual prepared rather than because they feel obligated to do so.

    There is my experience and my intentions for my children. I am very sorry for Beezle’s terrible experience. I had nothing but support and people walking me through it as much as they could without breaking their own vows. I am sorry Old Beezle I wish it had been different for you. I wish it had been for you like it was for me, a day full of being comforted, assured, loved, taught and uplifted.

  • KellyH

    HBO needs to consider this–if they had done some depiction of the hajj to Mecca, complete with the ceremonies around the ka’aba and such, there would have been suicide bombings around the HBO studios, and before it ever would have happened, HBO would have pulled the plug out of “sensitivity.”

    Also, the apron is green, not blue. Wonder how they got that detail wrong.

    Offending, persecuting and showing bigotry toward Mormons is politically correct and acceptable. Something that is not true for other groups. Something to consider.

    • antinephilehi

      HBO I hope your company will go bankcrupt because youre liars!!!! why dont you make videos about anti-islam and let’s see what will gonna happen next?

  • Old Beezle

    @ Iane:

    I am sorry Old Beezle I wish it had been different for you. I wish it had been for you like it was for me, a day full of being comforted, assured, loved, taught and uplifted.

    Yes–your experience did appear to be quite different from mine. I could tell that the elderly gentleman performing the washing and annointing was being as ‘professional’ as he could, but my problem wasn’t with him specifically, but with the whole act of the washing/annointing itself.

    My parents and older brother were there along with some people from the ward and some family friends. I kept thinking, “they all did this too so I should just keep going along and everything will be alright.” They met me in the celestial room with smiles and hugs. They tried their best to be supportive, but again, my problem wasn’t with them or the staff–it was the process of the temple itself.

    Then, when I entered the Missionary Training Center, we would attend the temple once each week (for 8 weeks as I was serving a foreign-speaking mission). I tried to ignore the things that bothered me about the temple and focus on the positive things–trying to find underlying symbolism in everything as I had been taught and wanted to do. I never again participated in the washing/annointing however. I could not make myself want to go through it again.

    I used the celestial room as it was intended–as a place of comfort and meditation. Indeed, it was the part of the temple ceremony that I looked forward to most because then I didn’t have all of the ritual/ceremony thrust at me. I saw it as the rewarding final gift after a “lifetime” of work and obedience–even if I didn’t understand everything just yet.

    What I found in the celestial room was what I had always found in spiritual moments throughout life–just me and my thoughts. I even had moments that some would term personal revelation, but I was always clinically aware of my own mind–almost as if when you’re dreaming and you realize that you are dreaming while you sleep. The dream may still be sweet, but you know that it’s a dream.

    I tell you this, Iane, because I can tell that you genuinely do believe in the church, love your family, and even have empathy for my experience though it was so different from your own. Be aware that, regardless of how hard you try, your children may not see the temple in the same way you do.

    That is the point, however, that not everyone will see/experience things the same. That’s why we need to be allowed to choose for ourselves. People can only do that if they have all the best and most accurate information available to them.

    I think that the church can do a better job of this. The time for any secrecy is over–something can still be sacred and not be a secret because, in the end, whatever happens between you and your god happens secretly in your heart and in your mind. No one can take that away from you or tarnish it. It is just yours.

  • Old Beezle

    @ KellyH:

    Also, the apron is green, not blue. Wonder how they got that detail wrong.

    I guess it hasn’t crossed your mind that they did it on purpose. C’mon, I knew about the green aprons when I was a teenager either by going to funerals where the deceased was wearing it or seeing it as part of people’s ‘temple kit.’ They didn’t get it wrong–they changed it. I don’t know why.

    Offending, persecuting and showing bigotry toward Mormons is politically correct and acceptable. Something that is not true for other groups. Something to consider.

    Wow–you must have read that essay that floated around Facebook–The Last Acceptable Prejudice. What tripe.

    Mitt Romney himself insulted people with “no faith” while he was campaigning for the presidential nomination. Religion discriminates against no religion routinely. Remember that the next time you see a cross on a hill or a ten commandments plaque in a park or near a goverment building. Remember it when you look at the Church office building in downtown SLC and realize it’s one of the tallest around. Remember it when you hear about the Utah liquor laws–laws that restrict the sale and concentration of alcohol not for the religious majority who do not even imbibe it, but for the gentiles who so happen to share the state with the mormons.

    As a mormon, you just happen to belong to one of the smaller and stranger religious sects and therefore get disapproving looks from the religious and non-religious alike. Remember when Hinckley talked about being a ‘peculiar’ people as if it was something to be proud of? Well be proud of it and stop crying persecution already.

  • Kasia

    Just wanted to make a statement that funerals for members of the church do not take place in the temple. The person that claimed he wasn’t allowed to attend his uncles funeral must have had a memory lapse. Funerals take place in church buildings not temples. Members of the church know their history, we do not make it a habit of arguing with everyone out there who has an incorrect opinion about our beliefs. People will believe what they will believe. If you are sincerely
    curious about our beliefs we would be more than happy to address those questions. But if you are looking to argue to boost your ego and direspect our beliefs you’re not worth our time or efforts. Your portraying our sacred ceremonies does not change my faith, its just a shame you can’t find something better to do with your time.

  • sandy

    I am a latter day saint. I am a convert to the LDS church. When I was alone sick and suicidal, my mormon neighbors helped me, loved me and served me. I do now attend the temple and cherish it with all my heart. I simply want you to know that the majority of mormons are dissapionted and un comforatable with the sacred temple ordinances being shown on TV. Most of us will not act out in anger. It hurts me that something so special to me is being disrespected. I beleive however that we as mormons will love and care for ALL those around us despite their beleifs or life styles. I respect you and your right to choose your beleifs. I pray for you everyday. I beleive this will only make us stronger. We will still help with disaster releif. We will still love our neighbors. We will still serve on missions. We will still share the gospel of Jesus Christ and we will share the love of Christ with all. The Big Love Show will soon fade and this episode will lose its luster. But from my own personal experience When you are down and out or sad or hungry the latterday saints and your heavenly father will still care for you. Lets not get caught up in another argument about what different people do or beleive. I challenge you to ovoid contention and seek God. there is no real Joy in hurting any person or group of people. There is however accountability with God our father for hurting others,or not loving your neighbors. I beleive God will be sad and dissapionted in this violation of the sacredness of his temple and ordinances. May the love of Christ be with you.

  • Miranda

    I don’t think Big Love should be aired simply because it’s not true. I am a Mormon and I’ve been inside a temple and participated in sacred works , but mason ceremonies are non existent. The Mormon people only wish it doesn’t air because it shows false doctrine of the church that , bitter,weak minded, misinterpret people made up to make Mormonism seem like a secret, heathen society who marvel at our selves….which can obviously been seen as not true. The real ceremonies are sacred and special to our hearts and the media wants to distort and destroy what we base our lives upon. I suggest that if you really want to know what Mormons do ask them not the media. Our religion doesn’t deserve to be exploited and mocked be people who don’t even know the first thing about it, but people fail to listen and understand…you just can’t argue with stupidity.

    • antinephilehi

      you HBO are all stupid!!! you didnt respect our belief!!! why dont you make videos anti-islam and let’s see what will gonna happen next? i’m gonna break your necks!!!

  • Old Beezle

    you just can’t argue with stupidity.

    You hit the nail right on the head! :)

    Thanks for regurgitating what every other mormon said. Did you even take the time to read any of the posts????

    P.S. the ties between Masonry and mormon temple ritual are well documented and the signs, tokens, and symbols are almost identical. Even the iconic beehive was a Masonic symbol before a Utah one. If you want a mormon-approved source, then here it is:
    http://www.fairlds.org/Misc/Similarities_between_Masonic_and_Mormon_Temple_Ritual.html

    That will get you to the FAIR website where they attempt to defend the mormon faith. Check it out…you’ll learn a thing or two.

  • Chris

    At the risk of “regurgitating” what other Mormons have said -which is not as worrisome as this not being said at all- I want to put in my two cents:

    Yes, I read some posts, but there are too many here to waste time on reading all of them. That said, I believe in the constitutional right of others to create whatever content they want -as long as that content doesn’t take breaking the law to create, and this doesn’t- but I have no respect for someone who uses that right to exploit that which is sacred to certain people.

    Oh well, I don’t watch HBO anyway, and I am not going to call for a boycott or ban on their free speech, though the first one would be well within my own constitutional rights.

    I’m actually surprised it hasn’t happened earlier. The ceremony has never been “secret”; it is on record, by law, with the library of congress, for anyone who has the motivation to check it out. There have been several attempts of people trying to record and publish the temple rites, most of which cannot get past their bias enough to not try and smear it to make it seem more “creepy” and “cultish”.

    The show has some big problems, according to my limited knowledge of it -I say that because I have only seen bits and pieces of the show in previews, and have not watched their rendition of the temple ceremony, so I don’t know if it is accurate or smearing- anyway, I understand that the show is about polygamists, but it is fact that once the church stopped practicing polygamy, members who refused to comply would be excommunicated, and therefore cannot go through the temple ceremony. I know a man from Africa who had to give up two of his wives to get baptized. That’s dedication.

    The show cannot be about “Mormons”, but possibly some offshoot, polygamist branch that has their own temple -which would most likely have had its ceremonies adapted in some way, and differ from the LDS temple ceremonies (endowment, eternal marriage, baptism for the dead), as well as be in a cheaper built building. The creators of the show are dishonest in the fact that they don’t make this distinction, and rely on society’s ignorance to keep the controversial atmosphere about it all, which acquires them ratings. Oh well, it is obvious that dishonesty is also covered by our first amendment, or we wouldn’t have a media.

    About Masonry, what is the proof that the similarities are significant? Many religions borrow symbols from other cultures and religions, look at Christmas and Easter! And if it is a religion that is “from God”, if you understand or accept that concept, it would be more likely to borrow such things as God is trying to relate grand information to people in terms that they would understand, which would be things that are already established, both symbolic and literal.

    If the Mason temple rites can be traced back to Solomon’s temple –even though Masonry itself can’t be, the ceremonial aspect that started in Masonry was inspired (or copied) from that which did trace back- then it makes sense that ancient and modern day temple rites have similarities. The teachings, as pointed out by someone else, are vastly different, as well as the purpose of the rites. Smith was probably instructed to learn of the Masons, to help him understand the structure of what the Lord would bring about. That is just speculation though. I’m just saying there are multiple variables that prove there are multiple probabilities, and people shouldn’t pretend they know the whole of it by putting forth their theories as fact.

  • Chris

    Just wanted to add another emphasis that it isn’t “secret”, but sacred. If people can’t respect that they are of little significance when it comes down to it.

    I’ve been on both sides of the Mormon persecution reality. Once, as an avid Mormon basher, and now on the receiving end, as a faithful member, having learned many great life lessons that matured me.

    It is real.

    The points made by beezle, about religion discriminating against non-religion amount to pissing in the wind. Non-religion discriminates against religion too. In fact, male discriminates against female, and female to male. Vegans discriminate against meat eaters, and meat eaters to vegans. Druggies discriminate against non-druggies. Such is the nature of opposites.

    Mitt Romney may have struck a wrong cord with you, but you obviously have some easy to push button that you wait to whine about getting pushed –this is what your posts tell of you– but he in no way violated any etiquette as pertaining to political campaigning, keeping his religion separate from the office he was running for. The media did all the “exclusions” and “discrimination” on him, as there was an attempt from them, and from Huckster and the “born again” world to discredit him because of his religion. Outright hypocrisy.

    The “none of your business” attitude about the temple is to protect those who are not ready for such information. Some people won’t get it and it will be more of a stumbling block for them than a blessing of knowledge, and so should not have access to make the covenants. Especially if there is some huge, unresolved sin there, to help block the spirituality of it all -which is the only way to really “get it”. Besides, it really is not anybodies business, except those who prepare for and respect it. At least respect others beliefs and leave them alone about it.

    P.S. this is not just to you, beezle, but to the kind of people who don’t get the concept of sacred things not being broadcast for anyone to see. The whole, “casting pearls before swine” concept.

  • Old Beezle

    Just wanted to add another emphasis that it isn’t “secret”, but sacred.

    Yeah…noted…for the XXth time.

    the kind of people who don’t get the concept of sacred things not being broadcast for anyone to see.

    I don’t get why you fail to see that your “sacred” was actually harmful to me and others I know. Had I actually known what would go on there, then I would not have gone. You can keep your pearls.

    P.S. when did Joe Smith become a mason? When did he roll out the endowment? The two are more than coincidentally linked. Moreover, J. Smith Sr. and Hyrum Smith were masons as well.

    P.S.S. (bonus questions) how many versions of the First Vision are there? Why do they differ? How could Joe Smith confuse an angel with God or not even be clear on how many beings appeared to him?

    How good are you at spin doctoring? What does cognitive dissonance taste like?

  • Rachel

    It’s not that it is secret…it’s sacred. Period. not all members are even allowed to participate or enter the temple. You have to be an exemplary member of the church and live your life like Christ would in order to enter the temple.

    By law all religious activities that are practiced in the US are kept in the Library of Congress…you can read about all of our sacred practices there.

    BIG LOVE is a mockery of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Mormons are NOT pologymist anymore and haven’t been for 200 years. FYI. if you want information on something you should probably seek the source and not a false TV show.

    go to http://www.lds.org for real information about LDS people and their beliefs.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    Rachel, what world do you live in where the Mormons have been AROUND for 200 years? The Book of Mormon itself was only published in 1830!

  • Non Practicing Mormon Marti

    I just wanted to add my two cents to this blog about Big Love. I personally have enjoyed watching the series and I’m amazed at how accurate everything is. While the show does mingle the LDS portion (the temple ceremony scene) with the F-LDS (basically their day to day lives) I can only comment on my experience as a Mormon. I think the confusion in the story line is that these characters are complex and come from different backgrounds. Barb was raised in a traditional Mormon (LDS) family but then she married Bill who was the fundamentalist side. Both sides however do practice very similar teachings. That is why their marriage works. They believe in the principles that families are forever and that you follow the guidance of your priesthood holder. I think if you are not Mormon or F-LDS, these small details are lost and confused on the public. I can understand why the Mormons would get so upset because they always have to defend the difference between the LDS and the F-LDS churches and are taught to keep the ceremonies secret from the public.

    From my experience being raised Mormon (I still have my immediate family practicing the Mormon religion to this day)i can attest that this religion is very male chaveunist and really wants their followers to live every rule to the inth degree. My experience growing up in the church was a very positive one. Then I married someone who joined the church in his 20′s and my marriage was a complete disaster. I begged for help and support from the church leaders and was basically shunned or ignored. This experience changed the way that I felt about the church. I can relate to Barb’s character as she struggles with her beliefs and is trying to find her way in this world. It is tough being in the Mormon church as women just are not treated the same as men and we are taught to be subsurvient to our priesthood leaders. I’ve had mixed emotions while watching the show as it has brought up a ton of painful memories but I also enjoy the characters and appreciate how they all stick together and support one another in the end. I think these values are sorely missed in the world. I appreciate many of the principles that I was taught however I struggle with some of the things the leaders ask of us or who they support so I cannot and will not ever get involved in the church again. I believe that anyone should have a right to practice whatever religion they want. I did go to the temple often but I also had a hard time understanding the ceremonies and thought they were weird. I personally think that is the way that the Mormons keep their members in line by dangling their “worthiness to go to the temple” to all the members so they can always have another level of spirituality to go. I know every religion is full of symbols and particular ceremonies. I think the Mormons have more than a few. Religion is a very personal matter and I think you should be able to practice in it in what ever way you choose. I look forward to seeing what path these characters will be going next. I think it has been good to get this topic out in the open.

  • Amanda

    I started watching this show on re- runs after all 5 seasons have been out. I just stumbled on the temple ceremony episode, and I have to say it made me sick inside. I felt like everything that I hold dear and sacred was thrown out for everyone in the world to mock and laugh at. I feel violated in a way. I was always taught to respect the temple, and it has been close to my heart all my life. My dear husband and I were married in the temple, and I just feel like crying knowing that these things that are so special and sacred to lds people are being mocked and ridiculed. I guess satin really knows what he is doing. I believe that showing these sacred things was evil… Signs of the times. It makes me sad how horrible the world is getting.


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