“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands" (Acts 17:24).
What's the function of Mormon temples?
Mormons believe that their temples are the most sacred places on earth. They use them only for special ceremonies, unlike the numerous neighborhood LDS chapels which are for Sunday worship & various programs. Until recently, only regions with a high concentration of Latter-day Saints had a temple. Today there are over 140 of these unique buildings. According to the LDS Church, the purpose of the temple is to enable one to "receive the ordinances that will enable us to return to the presence of God" (Temple
Preparation Seminar, Teacher's Manual, p.15). The secret-sacred ceremonies that are conducted within these walls are considered essential for "personal salvation." While Mormons believe Christ provides for a resurrection from the dead (general salvation), the temple is believed to provide a better heavenly placement and position...even godhood!
TEMPLE RITUALS INCLUDE...
Washings & anointings.
Clothing in temple garment.
The Endowment ceremony/dramatic presentation & instruction.
Giving of tokens (handshakes), oaths and names at the veil.
The first Mormon temple was built in Kirtland, Ohio, near Cleveland. Today it is owned by the Community of Christ, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Salt Lake Temple (right) was constructed under the leadership of Brigham Young and dedicated in 1893.
Symbols found on Mormon Temples
To understand the unique images found on Mormon temples, especially the older ones, we must first take a step back in time to the 1840's. Here we find Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon faith, embracing Freemasonry. The controversial fraternity was making a comeback in the United States at that time, and soon thousands of Latter-day Saint men were joining "the lodge." Today we find that the Mormon religion shares many common symbols with Freemasonry. It is clear from Mormon sources that these symbols go beyond artistic adornment of the building.
LDS authors Brown and Smith, Symbols in Stone, write, "They are not just interesting decorations. They are teaching devices." The same book reports, "Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated the purpose of the Lord in using symbolism is both to reveal and to conceal the doctrines of his kingdom, depending on the spiritual preparation of those to whom the symbols are exposed" (pp. 98, 3).
Our research has revealed there are disagreements even among members of the Mormon church regarding what these symbols mean. Official explanations have been very difficult and sometimes impossible to find. The meanings of symbols frequently change over time and, just like Scripture, can be made to mean anything when divorced from their context. Therefore, in evaluating the significance of the temple symbols, we must consider the context in which they appear.
Mormon historian Dr. Reed C. Durham said, "...the Nauvoo Temple architecture was in part, at least Masonically influenced. Indeed, it appears there was an intentional attempt to utilize Masonic symbols and motifs. The sun stones and the moon stones, were examples." (Address given in 1974, Is There No Help for the Widow's Son?)
Wandle Mace, a foreman working on the original temple as it was being built in the nineteenth century, said the sun, moon, and the star stones represented the woman described in Revelation 12:1. Mormonism's first prophet, Joseph Smith, identified this woman as "the Church of God." (FAIR Journal, Inverted Stars on the LDS Temples, p. 1 and p. 5, fn 4)
LDS Author Matthew B. Brown stated, "...the sun, moon, and the stars on the Nauvoo Temple do not represent the three degrees of glory. They are not arranged in the ascending order of the post- resurrection rewards (stars [telestial], moon [terrestrial], sun [celestial] but rather in cosmological order as they would be seen from the earth (moon, sun, stars)." (Ibid.)
Mason, Occult Symbols
Other symbols associated with the Nauvoo Temple include olive branches, flowers, the all-seeing eye, oxen, temple clothing, and a dedicatory plaque bearing the words "Holiness to the Lord." Symbols in Stone, indicates these symbols may signify (respectively) the tree of life, the Garden of Eden, the "all-searching eye of the Great Jehovah," the tribe of Joseph, purity and covenants, and the necessity of worthiness for temple patrons.
Joseph Smith said he first saw the temple in a vision. However, Smith's involvement with Freemasonry seems to have had a direct relationship on the design of this, the second temple built under his leadership (the first Mormon temple was erected in Kirtland, Ohio). All of the Nauvoo Temple symbols have historically been used in Freemasonry and the occult (see Symbols of Freemasonry by Daniel Beresniak; The Magus, by Francis Barrett).
Smith and his family were involved in folk magic, owning several occult items including magic parchments, talismans, and seer stones. The day Joseph Smith died he was carrying his Jupiter talisman, a charm for protection and sorcery (see Early Mormonism and the Magic World View by historian D. Michael Quinn). Smith's involvement in Freemasonry is also indisputable. He became a Mason in 1842 while in Nauvoo, rising to a high degree within the organization.
Because of the pagan connections, one wonders why the LDS hierarchy did not modify the symbols displayed on the rebuilt temple as they did with the design of the trumpeting gold angel (Moroni). LDS window maker Charles Allen reported that the Nauvoo Temple Committee approached him with concerns; they feared the inverted pentagram windows might be interpreted as satanic. Despite this apprehension, the window design was not changed (Charles Allen, Window Maker, 168).
Amid all the symbols within Mormonism there is one conspicuously absent from any LDS building: the Christian symbol--the Cross. Some LDS General Authorities have expressed their opinion of the Cross, a revered emblem in Christianity but to them: "repugnant," "poor taste," "used by heathens," "symbol of death," "symbol of the apostate churches of Christendom..." Rather than display the Cross, Mormons continue to use angels, oxen, Masonic and occult images as symbols of Latter-day Saint beliefs--beliefs which are centered in a reliance upon rituals. A yearning heart looks to the Cross, a reminder of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promise of salvation for the unworthy who trust in Him alone. The message of the Cross is offered to everyone. It conceals nothing, but instead openly reveals Christ and the true Gospel of His grace.
RITES & WRONGS: Mormon and Jewish temples compared
LDS: Over 140 temples & many more under construction.
Jewish: Only one temple at a time to represent the worship of the one true God.
LDS: Temple work in behalf of the dead.
Jewish: Temple work for the living only.
LDS: Baptisms for the dead
Jewish: No baptisms of any kind in the temple.
LDS: Endowments for the living and the dead.
Jewish: No endowments of any kind.
LDS: Marriages for the living and the dead.
Jewish: No marriages of any kind.
LDS: Sealings for the living and the dead.
Jewish: No sealings of any kind.
LDS: No animals sacrificed.
Jewish: Sacrificing of animals on behalf of sinful people.
LDS: Many rooms.
Jewish: Two rooms: The Holy Place & the Most Holy Place.
LDS: Seating throughout the temple.
Jewish: No seats at all to illustrate the unending work of the priests until the time Christ finished the work and "sat down at the right hand of the Father."
LDS: Both men & women permitted inside.
Jewish: Only male priests allowed inside.
LDS: Two priesthoods: Aaronic Priests (age 12 and up).
and Melchizedek Priests (age 18 and up).
Jewish: One priesthood: Levitical Priests must be at least 30 years old.
LDS: Many High Priests.
Jewish: One High Priest at a time.
LDS: Priests from any background.
Jewish: Priests only from the tribe of Levi.
LDS: All white garments with Masonic markings stitched into the undergarments.
Jewish: High Priest's clothing was white, blue, purple, & red, decorated with pomegranates and bells on the hem.
LDS: Only those deemed "worthy" allowed inside.
Jewish: Priests made intercession for the unworthy; he first needed purification for himself.
LDS: Purpose of temples: to attain Godhood.
Jewish: Purpose of the temple: A picture of Christ and His redeeming work.
As in Old Testament times, God still demands an atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Jesus Christ, the only High Priest, by virtue of His perfect sacrifice of Himself on the Cross, paid that price in our place. We must humbly accept the fact that the debt for our sins has already been paid at Calvary and that we cannot work for or contribute anything toward our salvation.
Masonic Symbols (& Rites) Used in Mormonism
Square & Compass
Emblem of the clasped hands
Solemn assembly in the temple
Five Points of Fellowship (removed from the LDS temple in 1990)
Special garments applied to initiates
Grips (special handshakes)
The phrase "Holiness to the Lord"
Receiving a new name
Special prayer circle
Aaronic & Melchizedek priesthoods
Blood/death oaths of secrecy with morbid gestures & words (describing penalties agreed to if secrets are revealed)
Location (and possession) of the "Holy of Holies"
Numerous Freemason-inspired sunstones are featured on the Nauvoo Temple.
The All-Seeing Eye of Freemasonry can be found on U.S. currency (Above) and on early LDS temples. A Mason wearing ritualistic garb, including a ceremonial apron (Right). Both Mormons and Masons wear aprons during temple rites.
The Square and Compass of Freemasonry is a veiled sexual symbol with the letter "G" representing genitalia in between "legs." This symbol adorned the Nauvoo Temple in the 1840s, as part of an Angel Moroni weather-vane-- the crowning feature of the bell tower. The flaming Square and Compass was placed above the angel Moroni (below).
A portrayal of the LDS endowment ritual (Right), performed by former LDS member and Los Angeles Temple veil worker, Chuck Sackett (standing to the right). The green "fig leaf" styled apron represents the covering Adam and Eve made to hide their nakedness in the Garden of Eden. Upon death, LDS members are buried wearing this temple apron. God's way of salvation requires a blood sacrifice (through Jesus Christ, Hebrews 9:22) but the LDS "gospel" can be seen in the fig leaf apron--man attempting to cover over sin without the shedding of blood.
1840s Nauvoo Temple architectural drawing of the star stones and star windows. The inverted five-point star, also known as a pentagram, is a symbol used in the occult and Freemasonry.
The inverted star on the cover of
the Satanic Bible.
The Nauvoo Temple, Nauvoo, Illinois
A Nauvoo Temple moon stone (above) and star windows, star stones, and a sun stone as seen on the Nauvoo Temple (Right).
The temple of Solomon in Jerusalem (circa 970 to 931 BC). I Kings 9:10 states that it took Solomon 20 years to build the Temple and his royal palace.