Rodney M Bliss

From Temple To Temple

I went to two temples today. I hadn’t been to one in over a year. The other I’ve only been to a twice in the last year.

They have nothing to do with each other.

This is a picture of the Mount Timpanogos Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s located in American Fork, Utah. This morning I attended it with my son.

Several things happen inside Mormon temples. Marriages happen there. Also, baptisms by proxy for desceased ancestors also happen there. We weren’t in the. temple today for either one of those activities.

Also, the temple is a place for instruction, an activity called “The Endowment.” My son is soon going on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Later this month he will head out to Indianapolis, Indiana for two years.

Going through the temple Endowment ceremony is a right-of-passage for new missionaries. The Mount Timpanogos Temple generally has 4,000 volunteers that spend time serving throughout a week.

Today, there were probably less than 1% that many. Typically thousands of people go through the temple as patrons in a single day. A single Endowment room holds several hundred people. Today, there were three of us, in the entire building; my lovely wife, my son and myself.

This is a picture of the Masonic Temple in Provo, Utah. I’ve been a Mason for about 10 years. The Masons pretty much shut down in Utah during the height of the pandemic. We only restarted a couple months ago.

We were installing new officers today. Generally this meeting is one of the biggest of the year. It’s one of the few that visitors can attend. Not, today. Today, there were the officials doing the installations, the new officers and a couple other Masons who are regular members of the lodge.

There are interesting paralles between Mormon and Masonic temples. Both have activities that are closed to the public. Mormons consider their activities sacred and that’s the reason for their secrecy. Masons, on the other hand, just plain old call them secret.

Mormon ceremonies are for both men and women. Masons meetings are strictly a fraternity. Church temples consider the activities that occur inside as being essential to our eternal salvation. The ceremonies are literally all about our relationship with God. Masons, are decidedly non-religious. The only requirment being that petitioners have to believe in a Supreme Architect of the Universe. What you call him, or it, is up to the individual members to decide. The ceremonies are about helping good men become better.

The Masonic temple is open to the public except during an actual tiled meeting. (It’s called “tiled” because there is literally a guy standing outside the door with a sword called the Tiler to keep away evesdroppers. Mormon temples are open for tours for a period of time. After that, they are dedicated and closed to the public.

There’s a even stronger tie between the history of Masons and Mormons. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a Mason for a short time. He and all other members of the church were kicked out of the Masons after Joseph Smith revealed the temple ceremony.

In fact, the animosity was so deep that Masonic lodges in Utah refused to allow members of the LDS Church to petition to join until 1983.

It’s fitting that I got to participate in ceremonies at these two buildings, that share a name, but represent different parts of my life.

Both are very important to me. And thanks to COVID, today’s experiences were both familiar and unique.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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