Monday, March 16, 2009

Sacred, Secret, or Both

Lately so many in the mormon community have been talking about this over the past few weeks: Big Love Season 3 Episode 9 "Outer Darkness." I just watched the episode and found all the parts that involved temple information to be 1) extremely accurate-- from my memory they missed one "or" but thats it, and 2) extraordinarily touching and beautiful. I know that these are things that mormons don't want people without a recommend to have access to, but honestly with the information superhighway being what it is today, it is impossible for the temple ceremony to be truly secret anymore. There are too many people who have been through the endowment ceremony too many times, and then separated from the church. I watched a one hour video on youtube where an ex-mormon goes word for word through the ceremony and even gives the people in his audience the signs and tokens as they are given in current endowment ceremonies. He even talks about the changes that were made in 1990 and also prior to that.

For me, this is not a time to express outrage or be incensed that everyone knows the secrets. Anyone who wanted to know what temple clothing looks like, who wanted to hear the rituals of passing through the veil, or who wanted to see the celestial room already has all of that at his/her fingertips. I think this is now a time for mormons to not be concerned about what outsiders know. They should be proud of the temple ceremonies. Making them public doesn't make them less meaningful. On the contrary. All of the basic saving ordinances in the church are public, and that doesn't diminish their efficacy according to the precepts of the faith. Why then this sudden outrage? For me it is because it is a situation that they are unable to control. The information came out not because they said it could. But like all secrets, when you share them, they will come out. I think TBMs should be VERY grateful that the information was not only accurate, but presented in such a way as to make these rituals seem meaningful, poignant, spiritual, and important in the lives of those who call upon them.

I no longer believe that the church is the only true and living church on the face of the earth, but I am supportive of people's journeys as long as they are loving, high vibrational, non-violent, and don't take away the agency of others to have similar loving and full sojourns on this planet.

If you are an active mormon and are reading this, I would like to challenge you to make a change today. Don't be a victim. Don't be someone who is being persecuted or exposed. Be proud of your faith. Embrace the beauty of what you believe in. Don't be afraid of information coming out. If you really believe it is the truth, then no unhallowed hand can stop it. Truth is truth and it needs no buttress. You can choose gratitude instead of offense. No one has taken anything from you or your faith. What is no longer secret can still be sacred. That's always been the temple watch cry: Its not secret, its SACRED.

Now is your chance to prove it.


miss sarah darling said...

that WAS a fierce blog entry! you know, i'd have to say i totally agree. at first i was so uncomfortable with it, i turned the TV off! i was just so shocked to see it on television! not necessarily offended, i just felt a little violated.

i watched it a second time this morning, when the initial shock had worn off, and i had a different perspective on it. because it was portrayed in such detail, and in such a peaceful way, with the sweet little old people, and the soft white lighting, i felt the same warm fuzzy feeling you get in the temple. it was so familiar. i wonder if the warm fuzzies translated to others who aren't associated with the church? anyway...

it's like what i texted you last night, and like you wrote, it was inevitable. i mean, it's not like this is the first time anything has ever been leaked! it's just probably the most public. the most mainstream. anyone who really wanted to know what goes on in the temple could find out in a few clicks on the internet.

i agree with you. members should just be proud, and maintain the temple's sacredness even if it's not AS secret. know that this bound to happen sooner or later, and be glad it was portrayed in more or less a positive light. the end...i do feel it was incredibly disrespectful of HBO and Big Love to do that. they portrayed it in such a manner that it was not degrading by any means, but i just don't think it was necessary to show so many details. they knew that it was crossing a line, that they would be hurting and offending a large group of people, and they did it anyway. i can't help but feel like there is some malice in there somewhere with someone involved, you know? even if justified malice, i'm still not a fan of malice. they could have made their point and told the story with less detail, and more respect to what a group of people hold very dear.

the end

fierce blog entry!


that's a very good point. It didn't cross my mind to think about HBOs intent in doing that.. I think you could definitely be right about it being somewhat "suck it mormons-- you can't keep anything secret from us! We will show the world whatever we want". But again, I feel this is a blessing in disguise for the church. The temple isn't even all that weird anymore: its been pretty streamlined for modern day members, so I think people will be l less inclined to view it as a cult- although who knows!

Svenska and Sheau said...

Amen, brother!

I do agree with you, and with Miss Sarah.

No social respinsibility was served by HBO. They knew it would improve the show's notoriety. But I also don't think they did it just to slap the LDS faith in the face.

What you said about reacting to it is the stance the church has always taken. I got several emails about 'stop this from happening!' until , thank heavens, the church finally made a public statment saying, 'Back down members, don't care so much. There's no reason this should make you angry. It really is not a big deal.'
I got a couple emails from the same people who wrote in a fury in which they apologized and had learned something. Only like two of these came from the several I had initially received.
Anyway, I liked this post.

Jen said...

Being a non-Mormon and knowing very little about it all, I enjoy watching "Big Love". I am always Googling to find out more and more about things. "Big Love" definitely does that to me. I knew what was happening in that last episode was very important but I guess I didn't realize how important until today. Every religion has secrets....and things that they deem as sacred. We will never be able to understand or learn from each other unless some things are exposed.

I understand if people feel violated or disrespected by HBO but I must say that I am ignorant as to completely why. That is not a slam against's just that I have VERY little knowledge. I guess if they would let some people in, there wouldn't be as much ignorance about it out there. I guess that's why I don't see what the big deal is if someone knows about Christians being baptized, taking communion, etc.

Please know that for non-Moromons, I guarantee you, 99% of them did not look at it the episode as as anything more than just another episode. There is NO disrespect in anything that I have said, just much ignorance.


Spencer-- I'm very curious about the church's public statement? Did that come in the church news or via bishops? I don't really think my parents heard anything about this.. if they did they certainly didn't bring it up while they were here. I'm just interested on how the church got that information out, and I am VERY impressed that they didn't choose to take a "were the martyrs" stance when it happened. Considering how truly secretive the temple ceremony has been up to now, I am really thrilled that they just seem to be letting it roll of their backs. Interesting! Whatever you know about this situation I would love to hear!

By the way, have I told you lately how awesome you are?

Jen, thanks so much for your comment! I was asking all the guys at work what they thought about it and many of them responded similarly. One guy even said, hey, the mormon church should be happy: i mean, I'm learning about mormonism right now-- and that can't be something they are too upset about! It is true that a lot of people were asking me questions about the doctrine and character of mormons. It turned out to be a 3-4 day discussion!!

miss sarah darling said...

the church put this out before the show aired. i don't know if they have made any response since the show's airing. i got this off of someone's blog, so i'm not sure if it was released to church members, or if you had to seek this out...

2Mod4U said...

You stated that eloquently...Thank you so much for that.

Stella said...

Clark, I completely agree. Though I am not active now, it has been only about a year since i have been to the temple and I went quite often before that. I thought that Big Love did a lovely job of making it accurate and of really letting Barb's lovely feelings about what she was doing come through.

Honestly, the part that disturbed me was the disciplinary council meeting later ending with her being excommunicated. I'm still trying to figure out the excommunication idea in regards to how Christ would REALLY behave. Would Christ cast us out? I am pretty unrepentant about my "sins" as the church sees them and I don't agree with the practice of confessing to some man i don't really even know.

My friend, the sweetest girl in the world, who slipped up with her boyfriend (and she's 31 by the way, a grown woman, capable of making her own choices) finally admitted to her Bishop who ended up disfellowshipping the poor girl until she stopped her wicked ways. It was so unjust! Three men there at a table before her, she was all alone with no support and yet, she accepted it and feels so much guilt about it because she believes in the only true church. It broke my heart and caused me some anger.

But I like to fight things more with love. I believe in a God who accepts and loves us all as his creations. He loves me and I believe that now, now once i have left the confines of the church, I am so happy and am finally living my life!

Thanks for your reflections!