LDS church issues statement on temples as word of ceremony changes circulate
(KUTV) — The LDS church issued a statement about its temples on Wednesday as word of changes to its ceremonies swirl on social media and in news media.
The statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints didn't address the rumors directly but seemed to be a response, issued on the church's news and public relations page MormonNewsRoom.org. The statement declined to confirm or deny the rumors stating:
A dedicated temple is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Its ordinances are sacred and are not discussed outside a holy temple.
Twitter was one of the platforms where rumors swirled but a Facebook post that seemed to be from a professor at church-owned Brigham Young University seemed to offer news of the changes without details. Alonzo Gaskill removed his original post and offered another in its place. In both posts he encouraged members to go to the LDS temples.
An ecclesiastical endorsement is required to enter a temple building and participate in the rituals. Faithful members obtain "recommends" after interviews with two church authorities in their local area that signifies members live church teachings and follow church leaders.
Gaskil said he attended the Nauvoo temple, open one day earlier in 2019 than most, and said he expected the changes to be world wide.
"The presiding Bretheren have had some changes to the temple ordinances in the works for some time and, in the Nauvoo temple this morning, those were rolled--as they will be in other temples throughout the world (presumably starting tomorrow)," his original post said.
In place of that post:
"I posted a short message yesterday with the intent of encouraging people to attend the temple, and as a testimony that President Nelson is a prophet of God—receiving revelation for the Church today," Gaskill wrote on Facebook.
The ceremony most associated with the temple is called the "endowment." It is one of several ceremonies that take place in the approximately 150 temples operating world wide. Others ceremonies include baptisms for the dead and marriages of couples called a "sealing." The church previously released a video explaining what a temple endowment is.
The endowment ritual, according to the church video, includes the creation of the world and the fall of Adam and Eve. Reports from those claiming to have attend the temple say the new ceremony enhances Eve's role and promises made by those attending the temple no longer require women to obey their husbands but to obey God. The promises for participants of both sexes are reportedly the same. Women reportedly no longer veil their faces.
Temple changes are not new, which the LDS Church states with its statement Wednesday about its rituals since the church was founded in 1830:
Over these many centuries, details associated with temple work have been adjusted periodically, including language, methods of construction, communication, and record-keeping. Prophets have taught that there will be no end to such adjustments as directed by the Lord to His servants.
In 1990 the New York Times covered a ceremony change on its front page stating that the changes were confirmed by church officials who said the details were too sacred to discuss. The Times said the changes made at that time would make the ceremony more palatable to women participating in them, similar to claims made on social media about the 2019 changes.
"More specific information on the changes has been provided to the news media by Mormons participating in the rituals at the church's 43 temples around the world and by former Mormons who are critical of the rituals. A number of Mormons who would not discuss details of the rituals verified that these reports were ''pretty factual'' or 'not inaccurate,'" the Times wrote.
Nine years ago the church produced a video about the blessings of the temple.
The full statement from the LDS Church:
"Whenever the Lord has had a people on the earth who will obey His word, they have been commanded to build temples. Scriptures document patterns of temple worship from the times of Adam and Eve, Moses, Solomon, Nephi, and others.
"With the restoration of the gospel in these latter days, temple worship has also been restored to bless the lives of people across the world and on the other side of the veil as well.
"Over these many centuries, details associated with temple work have been adjusted periodically, including language, methods of construction, communication, and record-keeping. Prophets have taught that there will be no end to such adjustments as directed by the Lord to His servants.
"A dedicated temple is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Its ordinances are sacred and are not discussed outside a holy temple."
Recently videos of the ceremonies have circulated online. Recording such ceremonies is strictly forbidden by the church.