One-Minute Answers by Stephen R. Gibson

Contents of One-Minute Answers

Are the Temple Rituals Anti-Christian?

Question: Isn't it anti-Christian to have rituals like Latter-day Saints do in their temples?
Rituals, by definition, are acts that are performed repeatedly with an expectation of some type of results. In the case of religion, the results involve God's intervention. For example, in Old Testament times, under the direction of the prophets, the people sacrificed animals in similitude of the sacrifice which Jesus Christ was going to make in their behalf. Rituals regarding the Passover were especially evident. In the time of Christ, doves and other animals were sacrificed by the hundreds of thousands yearly in the temple. Yet today, these same God-introduced actions would seem strange, almost cultic. Nevertheless, they were commanded of God through Moses.

In New Testament times, other rituals were initiated. The Lord's supper, baptisms, and symbolic washing of feet are examples of these rituals.

It is easy for others to label something they do not understand as non-Christian or Satanic. Consider the Muslim tradition of facing Mecca five times a day when one prays: it isn't something Christians do, but it isn't satanic either.

Because non-LDS Christians don't understand the LDS temple and what goes on there, some have relentlessly dreamed up bizarre stories that mark this sacred worship. Lately, a small group of anti-Mormons, while professing great love of Mormons, claim a worship of the devil occurs in the temple, which just isn't true.

The rituals we perform in the temple seem different to them, but different doesn't make them evil. Picture a non-Christian hearing Jesus speak these words: "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him" (John 6:56). Some of Christ's own disciples were so confused about the introduction of this "ritual" they quit following Jesus (John 6:66).

The Old Testament, especially Exodus and Numbers, is replete with temple rituals that today seem strange and very different to us. These are God's words to Moses from the Good News Bible, Exodus

Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the Tent of my presence, and have them take a ritual bath. Then dress Aaron in the priestly garments—the shirt, the ephod, the robe that goes over the ephod, the breastpiece, and the belt. Put the turban on him, and tie on it the sacred sign of dedication engrave, dedicated to the Lord, then take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him. Bring his sons and put shirts on them; put sashes around their waists and tie caps on their heads . . . They and their descendants are to serve me as priests forever.
Later in the same 29th chapter of Exodus, we read:
Take the other ram—the ram used for dedication—and tell Aaron and his sons to put their hands on its head. Kill it, and take some of its blood and put it on the lobes of the right ears of Aaron and his sons, and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet. Throw the rest of the blood against all four sides of the altar (Exodus 29:19-20).
Obviously these rituals are no longer performed. However, those who believe the Bible to be the word of God accept these rituals as being from God and of God, strange as they sound to us today.

True followers of Jesus Christ during the meridian of time would not have tried to get Peter to talk about what transpired on the Mount of Transfiguration after the Lord had told him and two other apostles not to tell anyone else, as long as the Lord was living. Those rituals which are performed in the temples today consist of making sacred covenants with our Father in Heaven. No one in good taste makes fun of things sacred to another, nor tries to bait them into talking publicly about things they have promised not to divulge.