news roundup – Temple ceremonies, pestering Mitt, and more

If you didn’t catch it and – assuming you were temple endowed at one point – you’re looking for some creepy flashbacks, check out the secret recording of a Mormon temple ceremony that is still on youtube:


For those who weren’t temple endowed, well, now you, too, can learn the secret passwords, handshakes, and signs that will get you past the angels who stand as sentinels protecting people from getting inside god’s house to, you know, hang out with the big guy.

American Atheists have decided to play the Mormon card, since Obama hasn’t. They are now following Romney’s tour bus around with a banner:

Mitt Romney also helped hook a bunch of Russians on cigarettes – to help save the Philip Morris company. Way to go Mitt!

It’s gotten a fair amount of play, but I don’t think anyone has yet framed it correctly. The fact that Billy Graham took Mormonism being a cult off his website in order to support Mitt is a big deal. You know why? Because it says politics trumps religion in the US. And that, that is a sign of secularization.


I'm a college professor and, well, a professional X-Mormon. Thus, ProfXM. I love my Mormon family, but have issues with LDS Inc. And I'm not afraid to tell LDS Inc. what I really think... anonymously, of course!

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9 Responses

  1. chanson says:

    It’s funny how — now that Romney is the Republican nominee — the Religious Right is OK with Mormonism while the atheists are playing the Mormons card. And, by funny, I mean totally predictable.

    Pointing out Mormonism’s racist, sexist, and homophobic teachings makes sense. But as I discussed in my FI article, I’m not so impressed by people who think that Mormon beliefs are crazier than the beliefs of other religions. I agree with PZ in his response to Richard Dawkins:

    He came right out and said that he thought Mormonism was worse than the older, more established religions. That was the gist of his defense, actually: that Catholicism and Anglicanism and the various other protestant faiths were older, therefore less wackyand that Mormonisms clear mimicry of Elizabethan English, for instance, is a clear indicator that it was all fake. I dont think thats a good argument; Id argue that Christianity could have been just as obviously bogus to a contemporary during its formation because theyd be as aware of its cultural context as we are of Mormonisms origins; We benefit from sufficient proximity that the anachronisms leap out at us. But also, I think familiarity breeds complacency. Sure, Mormonism is nuts, but Catholicism is equally so. If you want deranged beliefs, I would merely cite the dogma of original sin the pernicious doctrine that all people are born intrinsically evil, giving us a rich heritage of guilt and shame as just as wicked and disturbing as anything Mormonism has come up with, and its far more pervasive, too.

  2. St. Aint says:

    I have a question re: your FI article- you state that mormons now believe only in polygamy in an eternal sense. Then how is it that a man (and only a man) can be married in the temple to more than one woman right now? My ex- and I divorced, but only he was able to remarry in a Temple ceremony. I’ve been told that I have to go through a Temple divorce to be able to marry again in the Temple. And what happens to me if I die before the mormon divorce goes through? A Bishop informed me that only my ex can take me through the veil.
    I know the church splits hairs by saying on one hand they recognize civil divorces, but on the other only men can marry again in the temple if their ex is living.

  3. profxm says:

    St. Aint, good question. When it is suggested that Mormons only believe in polygamy in an “eternal sense” what I would mean by that is that living Mormons cannot have two living spouses. Male Mormons can have a living wife and as many dead wives as they can manage during their lifetimes. Those men will have multiple wives in the Mormon hereafter (according to their thought), but not until then.

    Now, you’re situation is a unique variant of this. Unless you get a temple divorce, which is only allowed by the upper hierarchy of the religion, you cannot remarry in the temple because you – in true, Mormon patriarchal fashion – can only have one “eternal” spouse. Your former husband, on the other hand, can have as many as he wants. So, he can remarry in the temple without a temple divorce because he is just adding to his tally of wives. However, he is not married to both wives simultaneously according to the secular legal system. He will only have you as a wife in the Mormon after life.

    And, yes, part of the justification for polygamy was the claim that eternal “bonds” and “linkages” were required for resurrection and pulling people through the veil. According to Mormon doctrine, unless you get a temple divorce, your ex-husband will be the one who resurrects you and pulls you through the veil.

    If your still Mormon, put any credence in such things, and think your ex is an ass, it may be worth trying to get the temple divorce. If you’re no longer Mormon, what do you care what Mormons do when they play “make believe” in their temple?

  4. St Aint says:

    profxm; what do I care what mormons do when they play make believe in their temple?
    That’s circular logic- the same used when asked (in the 70’s) why they didn’t allow blacks the priesthood (Do you belive the church is true? then you accept that blacks can’t have the priesthood- if you don’t believe it’s true, why would you want a false priesthood…)
    My point is, that to the public they say that they don’t practive polygamy, whereas in fact they do. On the mormon records books, my ex has two wives (at last count).

  5. profxm says:

    Well, I’m not sure that comparison is fair. Who, exactly, is being discriminated against in this situation? You, because you can’t have two spouses on the Mormon records? I guess that is a form of discrimination, but I’m hard-pressed to find that worthy of activism to remediate the discrimination you face. Perhaps women INSIDE the Mormon Church who WANT multiple eternal male spouses can take up that cause. Personally, I have no investment in that issue. For me, it’s kind of like arguing over who gets the bigger portion of the BLARK pie: since it doesn’t exist, why debate it?

    With the blacks and the priesthood issue, the discrimination was obvious – blacks were disenfranchised, openly and IN THIS LIFE! This wasn’t hypothetical discrimination (though that, too, was included). It was real world discrimination.

    In this case, your ex-husband has a current, legally recognized wife, and a former wife to whom he is sealed in the “Mormon afterlife.” If you’re concerned about the Mormon afterlife, then, by all means, do something about this inequality. File for a temple divorce. Or begin working for change to allow Mormon women to have multiple husbands in the afterlife. But my point in saying, “What do you care what Mormons do when they play make believe in their temple?” was to wonder why you would care if you’ve left the religion and no longer believe?

    As far as whether Mormons are currently “practicing” polygamy, I don’t think anyone would say that they are, legally. Your husband is not “legally” married to two women. Theologically, he is married to two women. Thus, in a very technical, legal sense, the Mormon Church is not practicing polygamy according to the laws of the land. But, as I noted and many others have, the doctrine and theology of polygamy was never repudiated. The Mormon Church still allows polygamy, just not during mortality. Your ex-husband doesn’t have two wives right now, in mortality, living with him that are legally recognized. He has one wife, and another that is sealed to him assuming the Mormon version of the afterlife is, in fact, the correct one (or even real).

    I think we’re really arguing past each other here. You’re arguing that he has been entered into two marriages in this life, without a divorce occurring for the first. But a civil, legal divorce did occur for the first. A spiritual divorce didn’t. If that means Mormons are “currently” practicing polygamy, I don’t think you could sell that in a court of law. I’m simply arguing that Mormons don’t see what they are doing today as the “practice” of polygamy in mortality. Your husband doesn’t have two simultaneous wives until he and they are both dead. Thus, he isn’t a polygamist according to the government. He is a spiritual polygamist and will, assuming the Mormon afterlife is accurate, become a polygamist in the future.

  6. Alan says:

    The fact that Billy Graham took Mormonism being a cult off his website in order to support Mitt is a big deal. You know why? Because it says politics trumps religion in the US. And that, that is a sign of secularization.

    I’m not sure I understand. I see it as a sign of uneasy alliance. The evangelicals had to fold, not getting the candidate they wanted, and now, it’s a matter of coming together to squoosh what’s considered the worse evil. Opposing religious groups come together all the time against certain themes (abortion, same-sex marriage, etc), but in the end, are still cliquish. How do mean this is about secularization, per se?

  7. profxm says:

    Alan, if Billy Graham valued “religion” more than he valued “politics,” he would either: (1) choose not to vote for either candidate, or (2) choose to vote for the candidate who is a Christian by his definition and does not belong to a “cult” – Obama. Yes, in a sense this is about “social values,” but it’s also about – in the minds of evangelicals – voting for a member of a cult versus voting for a Christian. The fact that Graham caved on this suggests to me that he values politics over religion. And, frankly, the backlash that is resulting against him from the Evangelical community is illustrative of this – he is being widely criticized for removing the “Mormonism is a cult” reference from his website because it suggests he is putting politics before religion.

  8. Chris F. says:

    I agree with all of profxm’s aguments so far. The fact that Billy Graham is endorcing Romney means that he is drinking the Fox News kool aid and believes that Obama is a Muslim, and by association, a terrorist (Hussein is his middle name after all…). If he truly believes that Mormonism is a cult, and he believes that Obama is a Muslim which, by the way, has many similarities with Christianity that a lot of people aren’t aware of, and he chooses do endorce the member of the cult, or in other Evangelical language “church of the devil”, then it is clear that his politics is more important to him than his religion. This isn’t a terribly surprising revelation to me, considering that he often seems more concerned with his money than with his religion also.

    I’m afraid that the CoJCoL-DS will always have some amount of descrimination. Even after they receive some “first presidency revelation” that makes it ok to be gay, there will still be descrimination against women, which is very deeply engrained into their beliefs and culture. Exhibit A, during the endowment session, women have to vow to obey their husband, whereas men have to vow to obey God.

    BTW, if you’re wondering about my change in language; it is because I’ve recently had my own revelation, which is that the church isn’t true. I’m sure I’ll blog about it later, but for now, my head is still spinning. Maybe blogging about it will help with that. Who knows.

  9. Alan says:

    Yes, in a sense this is about social values, but its also about in the minds of evangelicals voting for a member of a cult versus voting for a Christian.

    Wasn’t there that one influential evangelical guy (Bryan Fischer, maybe?) who said something like, “It’s better to vote for the guy who’s not Christian, but has Christian values [Romney] rather than the professed Christian who has un-Christian values [Obama]?” I think there’s a sense that neither man is a “true” Christian, but it will be interesting to see just how far Fischer’s logic goes in terms of Romney securing the evangelical vote. I’m also curious to what extent black evangelicals will vote against Obama given his “social values.” I’m too busy these days to research this myself, so hopefully there’ll be data readily available after the election.

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