Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Irony

From the time I was a teenager, I have been curious about learning all things mormon. There were two things that troubled me. I didn't understand the mysteries contained in the Bible; and the temple. I became obsessed with understanding.  I felt that my eternal salvation depended on understanding the symbolism in the temple and the Bible, especially the book of Revelation.

As a teen, I even read parts of a book called Mormonism and Masonry. I didn't really understand it, however, since I hadn't been through the temple and I didn't understand what Masonry was, at the time.

I obsessed about going through the temple, wanting all things that god had to offer.  After going through, I wanted nothing more to do with it, thinking it bizarre and cult like.  I didn't understand it.  I was told that I wasn't *worthy* enough to understand all of its symbolism.  I was told that, 'all would be revealed upon my righteousness.' I then tried to live in a way to make me worthy.

I studied the scriptures voraciously.  I read the bible, the BofM, the PofGP, multiple times. I read commentaries on all of them.  I found stuff on the internet.  I found stuff written by other religions.  I attended other religions, hoping that all knowledge would open my eyes. I spent hundreds of dollars on books to help my understanding.

 I tried to live the most righteous life I possibly could. I accepted each calling, even when these callings didn't fall in line with what my patriarchal blessing said these callings should be (my blessing said I would be a leader of other women, that I would rise to great heights of leadership; few of the callings I received, however fit into this category).  I questioned everything.  I researched, I studied, I prayed, I did all these things in an effort to understand the mystery of the temple and the Book of Revelation.

I believed the mormon scriptures that said that all knowledge is of god, that if we seek after good things, it was a good thing.  The more I searched, the more confused I was.  I found out that the way the Bible was put together was not how I was taught in church.  It was very fascinating, but not necessarily inspired by god.  I found out that the Greek and Roman and previous gods that were worshiped by other nations had a great influence on the Jews and eventually the religion that became the Christians. I discovered that there were many, many books that could have been included in the Bible.  I found out the books in the NT were not written by the men that carry their names.  The most recent research on the Book of Revelation is the most fascinating.  Its author concludes that it wasn't meant to be an end-of-days book about our time, but a political commentary about the Roman government and about the time period it was written in.  Of course, this only makes sense, once a person is able to step back and be objective.   Elaine Pagel, The Book of Revelation

I found out that Joseph Smith and nearly all of the early leaders in the mormon church were Masons. I found out that all the symbols on the Nauvoo and Salt Lake Temple are not religious symbols, but Masonic symbols. I didn't need to look at anti- sources for this, but to mormon sources:

The History of the Church records Smith's entrance into the Masonic lodge in 1842:
"Tuesday, 15.—I officiated as grand chaplain at the installation of the Nauvoo Lodge of Free Masons, at the Grove near the Temple. Grand Master Jonas, of Columbus, being present, a large number of people assembled on the occasion. The day was exceedingly fine; all things were done in order, and universal satisfaction was manifested. In the evening I received the first degree in Free Masonry in the Nauvoo Lodge, assembled in my general business office." (History of the Church, by Joseph Smith, Deseret Book, 1978, Vol.4, Ch.32, p.550-1)
The next day Smith recorded:
"Wednesday, March 16.—I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree." (History of the Church, Vol.4, Ch.32, p.552)
The Mormon involvement in Freemasonry reached its heights during the early 1840's in Nauvoo. In the Encyclopedia of Mormonism we read:
"The introduction of Freemasonry in NAUVOO had both political and religious implications....Eventually nearly 1,500 LDS men became associated with Illinois Freemasonry, including many members of the Church's governing priesthood bodies—this at a time when the total number of non-LDS Masons in Illinois lodges barely reached 150." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol.2, p.527)

I learned that the Kirkland temple was vastly different in design, worship and openness than the Nauvoo temple.  Why?  This is a question that will never be answered by mormon leadership.  Why? Because it means opening up dirty little secrets like polygamy:

I learned that I was lied to.  God doesn't have secret handshakes to get us into heaven.  God doesn't require women to cover their faces to pray.  God doesn't require men to take women's hands to get women into heaven.  God doesn't require polygamy to get into heaven.  God doesn't require women to submit to men. God doesn't have an end-of-day plan written in secret-hard-to-interpret writings.

The irony:  My quest to seek further knowledge, wisdom, truth and spirituality lead me out of the mormon church. Only by leaving, did I find the truth.

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