Another pagan practice revived

The raid of that fundamentalist Mormon sect went into the inner sanctums of the Temple in the compound and found a bed. Reportedly, worshippers used it to have sex with underaged girls. Notice that this is a throwback practice to the ancient fertility religions that the Hebrews were always tempted by. Sex as a means of worship in pagan temples was commonplace, and when the practice was carried out in God’s own Temple in Jerusalem, His judgment was fierce.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Joe

    Is it possible that this is really what is meant by the “phrase sealing your marriage in the Temple.”

  • Joe

    Is it possible that this is really what is meant by the “phrase sealing your marriage in the Temple.”

  • Arfies

    Perhaps that bed was used for sex with underage women, but the word of one “confidential informant” is hardly sufficient, in my view, to establish the fact. Even in Biblical times, it took at least two witnesses to validate a claim.

    The newspaper account is also harmed, I think, by the reporter’s use of “monolithic” to describe the Temple. I sincerely doubt that the building was constructed of just one stone.

  • Arfies

    Perhaps that bed was used for sex with underage women, but the word of one “confidential informant” is hardly sufficient, in my view, to establish the fact. Even in Biblical times, it took at least two witnesses to validate a claim.

    The newspaper account is also harmed, I think, by the reporter’s use of “monolithic” to describe the Temple. I sincerely doubt that the building was constructed of just one stone.

  • FullTime

    Even if one were to give the sect as much benefit of the doubt as humanly possible…the bible has heroes with more than one wife, the bible advocates beating in some circumstances, girls in the bible were married young, etc (not that I am saying they are right in their modern applications), this finally puts to rest any argument that what they were doing was scriptural. If any argument would have been reasonably made and listened to anyway, which I doubt.

    Yeck

    Man is elevated above animals in our ability to work past instincts to things which are higher, more worthy, and holier. Part of being worshiping God is to put the instinct in its proper place, elevating our spirit as He wanted in Eden. NOT by elevating the instinct into some sort of sacrament in and of itself. Making sex “holy” does not elevate the worshiper in any way.

    Just as if Adam had said “For what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful” would NOT have made the Forbidden Fruit any less forbidden.

  • FullTime

    Even if one were to give the sect as much benefit of the doubt as humanly possible…the bible has heroes with more than one wife, the bible advocates beating in some circumstances, girls in the bible were married young, etc (not that I am saying they are right in their modern applications), this finally puts to rest any argument that what they were doing was scriptural. If any argument would have been reasonably made and listened to anyway, which I doubt.

    Yeck

    Man is elevated above animals in our ability to work past instincts to things which are higher, more worthy, and holier. Part of being worshiping God is to put the instinct in its proper place, elevating our spirit as He wanted in Eden. NOT by elevating the instinct into some sort of sacrament in and of itself. Making sex “holy” does not elevate the worshiper in any way.

    Just as if Adam had said “For what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful” would NOT have made the Forbidden Fruit any less forbidden.

  • PeteS

    Arfies, your caution is a good one (thus Veith’s use of the word “reportedly”), but to suggest that the account is harmed by the use of the term “monolithic” is invalid. You may wish to stick with the strict meaning of the word, but the fact is that it is often used to describe something immense. Merriam-Webster gives the definition “of, relating to or resembling a monolith,” and it defines monolith as “a single stone, a massive structure, or an organized whole that acts as a single unified powerful or influential force.”

    As for this apparent practice, sinful man always tries to justify sin, even to point of making it “holy.” “Everything is permissible,” we love to say. Sins against our own bodies will always be a great temptation and are always destructive. God help us to flee from sexual immorality.

  • PeteS

    Arfies, your caution is a good one (thus Veith’s use of the word “reportedly”), but to suggest that the account is harmed by the use of the term “monolithic” is invalid. You may wish to stick with the strict meaning of the word, but the fact is that it is often used to describe something immense. Merriam-Webster gives the definition “of, relating to or resembling a monolith,” and it defines monolith as “a single stone, a massive structure, or an organized whole that acts as a single unified powerful or influential force.”

    As for this apparent practice, sinful man always tries to justify sin, even to point of making it “holy.” “Everything is permissible,” we love to say. Sins against our own bodies will always be a great temptation and are always destructive. God help us to flee from sexual immorality.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    Someone once pointed out to me that in some cultures girls are never seen as children, always as “girls.” This is why these men can get past the foulness of their actions. In their minds these children aren’t children at all, they are girls. And if you have a misogynist worldview somehow this becomes acceptable. It is a foul, foul thing.

    I pray that these children will come to know God as a loving father and not at all what they’ve been taught. Lord have mercy.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    Someone once pointed out to me that in some cultures girls are never seen as children, always as “girls.” This is why these men can get past the foulness of their actions. In their minds these children aren’t children at all, they are girls. And if you have a misogynist worldview somehow this becomes acceptable. It is a foul, foul thing.

    I pray that these children will come to know God as a loving father and not at all what they’ve been taught. Lord have mercy.

  • Bror Erickson

    Turning sex into worship is definately a temptation for man. I once quipped to a seminary professor who asked me what I would be if I wasn’t Lutheran, that I would probably resurrect some ancient middle eastern sex cult. But I find myself in the midst of one. And I don’t mean the Mormons here in Utah. Though this is still huge in the culture, even if it is tucked away under the surface. But American culture itself in general is bombarded with it. Sex is the American idol, it is what our culture puts its trust in, maybe more than money. According to Scarface, money is just the means to sex. But this is invading the realm of the Christian church also. What was that 30 day sex challenge bit? Lenten services replaced with sermon series on sex. I do think that sex within marriage does fall with in the realms of good works. Though maybe not much of a chore. But when we becomes so fixated on it as to elevate it, as I have heard some people do, to an act of worship, (and not in the sense of the anglican marriage rite) than we too are a little guilty of this pagan practice.

  • Bror Erickson

    Turning sex into worship is definately a temptation for man. I once quipped to a seminary professor who asked me what I would be if I wasn’t Lutheran, that I would probably resurrect some ancient middle eastern sex cult. But I find myself in the midst of one. And I don’t mean the Mormons here in Utah. Though this is still huge in the culture, even if it is tucked away under the surface. But American culture itself in general is bombarded with it. Sex is the American idol, it is what our culture puts its trust in, maybe more than money. According to Scarface, money is just the means to sex. But this is invading the realm of the Christian church also. What was that 30 day sex challenge bit? Lenten services replaced with sermon series on sex. I do think that sex within marriage does fall with in the realms of good works. Though maybe not much of a chore. But when we becomes so fixated on it as to elevate it, as I have heard some people do, to an act of worship, (and not in the sense of the anglican marriage rite) than we too are a little guilty of this pagan practice.

  • Anon

    The pagan practice was temple prostitution, which is manifested by ‘priestesses’.

    The Mormon practice that is so appalling is that the consummation has to be witnessed by the elders, which is why the bed was there.

    Since our society has rejected objective transcendent morals, it has to make up arbitrary morals, such as calling women the age that Laura Ingalls was when she married, “under age.” An age when the school systems assume that they are having sex, so that isn’t their objection, their objection is they imagine everyone starts having sex young, and therefore the men who are ‘of age’ are thought to be too competent at seduction to marry women of an age that was normal a hundred and twenty years ago. This is not the only area where arbitrary, made-up morals are replacing Biblical transcendent absolutes.

    Of course, the indications are that these Mormons were polygamists, and that the women had little if any choice in their marriages, and that is despicable.

  • Anon

    The pagan practice was temple prostitution, which is manifested by ‘priestesses’.

    The Mormon practice that is so appalling is that the consummation has to be witnessed by the elders, which is why the bed was there.

    Since our society has rejected objective transcendent morals, it has to make up arbitrary morals, such as calling women the age that Laura Ingalls was when she married, “under age.” An age when the school systems assume that they are having sex, so that isn’t their objection, their objection is they imagine everyone starts having sex young, and therefore the men who are ‘of age’ are thought to be too competent at seduction to marry women of an age that was normal a hundred and twenty years ago. This is not the only area where arbitrary, made-up morals are replacing Biblical transcendent absolutes.

    Of course, the indications are that these Mormons were polygamists, and that the women had little if any choice in their marriages, and that is despicable.

  • Kyralessa

    Wikipedia says Ingalls was 18 when she married, and several other sites corroborate that. As far as I know, that’s legal marrying age in any state. What age are you advocating for, Anon?

  • Kyralessa

    Wikipedia says Ingalls was 18 when she married, and several other sites corroborate that. As far as I know, that’s legal marrying age in any state. What age are you advocating for, Anon?

  • Anon

    Neither I nor my post were advocating for anything other than rejecting man-made artificial absolutes, and sticking with God’s. I was under the impression that Laura Ingalls was 16 when she married. Maybe that is when she started teaching (and doing a far more competent job than graduates of our teacher’s college can do, unless they’ve gained from somewhere other than our concrete-operational, in thrall to the NEA, teacher’s colleges).

    As to the greater sex question, I think we’d do better to read Luther on the subject, including his comments on his inspections of village parishes, rather than going by American fundamentalist-culture prudishness. Luther favored holiness, but he was no prude.

  • Anon

    Neither I nor my post were advocating for anything other than rejecting man-made artificial absolutes, and sticking with God’s. I was under the impression that Laura Ingalls was 16 when she married. Maybe that is when she started teaching (and doing a far more competent job than graduates of our teacher’s college can do, unless they’ve gained from somewhere other than our concrete-operational, in thrall to the NEA, teacher’s colleges).

    As to the greater sex question, I think we’d do better to read Luther on the subject, including his comments on his inspections of village parishes, rather than going by American fundamentalist-culture prudishness. Luther favored holiness, but he was no prude.

  • Kyralessa

    I’m confused, Anon. In nearly every state in the U.S. you can get married at 16 (or in some cases even younger!) so long as your parents consent to it. So what are you railing against?

  • Kyralessa

    I’m confused, Anon. In nearly every state in the U.S. you can get married at 16 (or in some cases even younger!) so long as your parents consent to it. So what are you railing against?


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