Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mormon Visitors

My friend recently invited some Mormon missionaries (who probably ambushed him) over to give us "lessons." This was something I'd been kind of waiting for since I moved to this Mormon filled region of the world, wanting to get some real life practice in apologetics.

Sadly, it's really hard to discuss matters rationally with them since they always go back to their testimony: "Well, if you read the Book of Mormon, and pray about it sincerely, the Holy Spirit will let you know it is true. I have done this, and I know it to be true."

So, we're stuck in a land of subjectivity. But perhaps there is some hope for seeds of rational faith to be planted. I don't know.

I already have better-than-average knowledge of Mormonism, but I want to know even more, so I'm researching the subject. I'm reading a book called Inside Mormonism, and I found an interesting website:

If you look long enough on the site (or just go to No More Penalties on this page) you can even find evidence on this site showing the connection between the original secret Mormon temple ceremonies and Masonic rites. I'll note some briefly:
Morgan revealed the oath that Masons took in the "First Degree" of their ritual: "...I will... never reveal any part or parts, art or arts, point or points of the secret arts and mysteries of ancient Freemasony... binding myself under no less penalty than to have my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by the roots..."
Now compare that to:
In Temple Mormonism, published in 1931, p. 18, we find this information concerning the Mormon ritual:

"The left arm is here placed at the square, palm to the front the right hand and arm raised to the neck, holding the palm downwards and thumb under the right ear.

'Adam—" We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the first token of the Aaronic prieshood, with its accompanying name, sign or penalty. Should we do so, we agree that our throats be cut from ear to ear and our tongues torn out by their roots.'...

"Sign—In executing the sign of the penalty, the right hand palm down, is drawn sharply across the throat, then dropped from the square to the side."

Of course, this is has been cut from the current temple ceremonies, so it won't do you much good in an argument. Besides, making accusations like, "Your ceremonies are based on Masonic rituals," isn't a very charitable way to argue in a debate, and will just harden the Mormon against your position.

It may, however, be relevant if a Mormon brings up the pagan influence on certain Christian celebrations. Then you could respond, "Yes, the Church may have adapted existing celebrations to fit the Christian religion when it was converting pagan nations, but the LDS church originally adapted Masonic rites for use in its most sacred ceremonies, so what is your complaint?"

This makes the broaching the subject less of an offensive attack and more of a riposte. But a clever Mormon will counter that the Mason ritual and the Mormon temple ritual both date back to Solomon's temple.

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