Recovery to Mormonism
Aren’t temples like the “secret combinations” condemned in the Book of Mormon? Why temple recommends?
The fact about Satan is that he is jealous of God. He was originally condemned for wanting Christ’s place and God’s glory and power. Therefore, on Earth, Satan sets up counterfeits of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He tempts his followers to make false gods and gain fake rewards. He tries to make it look like something of God out of jealousy and a need to deceive those looking for truth.
Those who condemn the Church often compare temples to the “secret combinations” denounced in the Book of Mormon. These secret societies kept all of their workings a secret within their membership, which every member promised not to divulge under penalty of death.
Mormons do not speak of temple ceremonies in detail: they promise not to do so. However, there are two great differences between secret combinations and temple worship which make one from Satan and one from God. The smaller difference is that Mormons do not kill people for telling about temple ceremonies. Some have divulged everything there is to divulge, and they are still alive. The greatest difference is the secret these two kinds of societies keep; the secret that the secret combinations kept was that of murder. Secret combinations existed to commit crimes and then cover them up, like a mafia that has corrupted and infiltrated a community.
The secret of the temple is not really a secret at all. It is simply a series of ceremonies and covenants that are sacred. Because the temple ordinances are so sacred, they are reserved only for those who are worthy and prepared to receive them. Mormons preserve these sacred, special ordinances of God from being profaned or ridiculed by only speaking of them in detail within the temples themselves.
Part of being ready and worthy to enter the temple is taking the things of God seriously enough to keep sacred things sacred, and not take them lightly. If Mormons made temple ceremonies common talk, they would be absentmindedly tossing about something holy and precious. Just like bone china and silver only come out for special occasions because they are fragile, special, and need particular care, Mormon temple ceremonies are only to be talked of in certain places at certain times. Again, like you wouldn’t take out the bone china and silver for someone who would drop the cups and bend the silverware, Mormons do not reveal the temple ceremonies for those who would disrespect them.
Mormon temple ceremonies are much like bone china and fine silver in that they are fragile. People who aren’t prepared for them may misunderstand them or speak ill of them, and they are too precious for the world to mock. The ordinances are special, and all people need study and repetition in order to understand them. They contain amazing blessings for humankind that are so special they should be reserved for when they will be most appreciated. The temple ceremonies need particular care, in that everyone who experiences them needs to pay careful attention and study them out seriously to understand the many doctrines and blessings contained in them. They need to be respected as sacred and special gifts from God.
Mormons have temple recommends to show that they would not disrespect God’s temple by unworthiness or by taking sacred things lightly. The recommend itself is signed by (usually) a bishop and a stake president (otherwise two Church leaders with the same kind of authority). The bishop and stake president each interview members to find out if they are worthy. People who enter the temple must live the commandments of God, have pure and honest lives, and believe in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The members themselves must also sign the recommend, showing their belief that repentance by the atonement of Jesus Christ has made them worthy to enter the house of God.
Temple recommends aren’t about whether someone “belongs” in a secret society, they are about whether someone is worthy to receive and treasure wonderful gifts from a Father in Heaven. One very important reason why respectful unbelievers can’t enter Mormon temples is that true belief is required to respect these special blessings, and receiving them requires obedience and devotion. The consequences of receiving the promises and not keeping the covenants are severe, and they are not from the Church: they are from God.