Mormon ordinances

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Latter-day Saint (Mormon) ordinances

This page is a summary or index. More detailed information on this topic is available on the sub-pages below.


  • Baptism for the dead
    Brief Summary: There is considerable evidence that some early Christians and some Jewish groups performed proxy ordinance work for the salvation of the dead. The most obvious of these is 1 Cor. 15:29: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" Attempts to shrug this off as a reference by Paul to a practice he does not condone but only uses to support the doctrine of the resurrection are indefensible. Paul's statement makes no sense unless the practice was valid and the saints in Corinth knew it. (Click here for full article)
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  • Refusing baptisms for the dead
    Brief Summary: I don't want proxy baptisms or other LDS temple work performed for my deceased family. What can I do to "undo" such baptisms and temple work? In the case of individuals who have recently died, members are encouraged to be considerate of the feelings of the closest living relatives: "If the person was born within the last ninety-five years, obtain permission for the ordinances from the person’s closest living relative. This relative often wishes to receive the ordinances in behalf of the deceased or designate someone to receive them. In some instances, the relative may wish to postpone the performance of the ordinances. Also, be aware that acting in conflict with the wishes of the closest living relative can result in bad feelings toward you and the Church." There is no ceremony for "undoing" a proxy baptism for the dead. (Click here for full article)
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  • Book of Mormon textual changes: "or out of the waters of baptism"
    Brief Summary: The phrase "or out of the waters of baptism" was added to the 1840 edition of the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith. It is thought that this simply recommends a prophetic commentary on Joseph Smith's part describing the proper interpretation of the phrase "waters of Judah." It is not regarded as an error, or likely part of the original Book of Mormon plates' text. (Click here for full article)
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  • Baptism is essential for salvation
    Brief Summary: Critics argue that the LDS insistence on baptism as an essential ordinance of salvation is "unChristian" or "unbiblical." (Click here for full article)
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  • Adam-God and the "Lecture at the Veil"
    Brief Summary: Was "Adam-God" ever taught as part of the temple endowment ceremony? I've read about something called "the lecture at the veil" that was supposedly in the endowment at one time. (Click here for full article)
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  • Changes
    Brief Summary: Latter-day Saints believe that the Temple endowment is an eternal ordinance that Joseph Smith received by revelation from God. Why, then, have changes been made to it several times since it was first revealed? God’s directives and how He deals with His people may vary according to His people’s understanding and needs. God doesn’t tell everyone to build an ark and wait for a flood. Changes sometimes occur as a result of God dealing with His children according to their changing circumstances. (Click here for full article)
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  • Early Christian parallels
    Brief Summary: Latter-day Saint temple ritual, though it has some points of contact with nineteenth century ideas, also seems to have selected precisely those elements with analogues in early Christian practice, suggesting that Joseph Smith was indeed inspired to restore something genuinely Christian and genuinely ancient. (Click here for full article)
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  • Freemasonry
    Brief Summary: Some critics of Mormonism see similarities between the rites of Freemasonry and LDS temple ceremonies and assume that since Joseph Smith was initiated as a Freemason shortly before he introduced the Nauvoo-style endowment he must have plagiarized elements of the Masonic rituals. This viewpoint leads them, in turn, to conclude that the LDS endowment is nothing but a variant form of Masonic initiation and therefore not from a divine source. (Click here for full article)
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  • All Seeing Eye
    Brief Summary: The claim is sometimes made by critics that since the All-Seeing Eye of God is displayed on the exterior and interior of the Salt Lake Temple[1] and the All-Seeing Eye is an emblem utilized by the Freemasons then the Mormon usage must be an indication of a connection between Mormon temples and Freemasonry. (Click here for full article)
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  • Oath of vengeance
    Brief Summary: In nearly every anti-Mormon discussion of the temple, critics raise the issue of the "oath of vengeance" that existed during the 19th century and very early 20th century. These critics often misstate the nature of the oath and try to use its presence in the early temple endowment as evidence that the LDS temple ceremonies are ungodly, violent, and immoral. (Click here for full article)
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  • Penalties
    Brief Summary: Critics point out that a former version of the endowment used to contain mention of various "penalties" associated with the breaking of the temple covenants. They use this fact to claim that the temple encouraged violence or vengeance against those who violated its covenants, or that the Church sought to use fear to motivate members to keep their covenants, however, critics misrepresent this part of the temple ceremony, which is relatively easy to do since members endowed since April 1990 will have had no direct experience with the penalties mentioned. (Click here for full article)
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  • Consecration of time and talents to the Church
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that covenants that they make to consecrate all they they have to the Church implies that those who have been elected to political office must be subservient to the dictates of Church leaders rather than their constituents. (Click here for full article)
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  • Was the endowment introduced as a way of keeping polygamy a secret?
    Brief Summary: The original endowment ceremony presented in the Nauvoo Temple included instruction about polygamy. Was this done as a way to introduce members to the practice of plural marriage while keeping polygamy a secret? (Click here for full article)
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  • Garments
    Brief Summary: Hostile critics of the Restoration often mock the LDS practice of wearing temple garments. They refer to these ritual items of clothing as "magic underwear" in order to shock, ridicule and offend. (Click here for full article)
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  • Temple clothing
    Brief Summary: Responses to questions related to ritual temple clothing. (Click here for full article)
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  • Jews and early Christians on marriage after death
    Brief Summary: The Jews seem to have believed in eternal marriage from at least second-temple times, since they posed the question about the woman with seven successive husbands, asking which of them would be her husband "in the resurrection" (Matt. 22:28; Mark 12:23; Luke 20:33). The concept of eternal marriage is well-attested among Jews in the medieval period and is frequently mentioned in the Zohar, which also notes that God has a wife, the Matrona ("mother"), and is known in the Talmud. In the Falasha (the black Jews of Ethiopia's text) 5 Baruch, it has Jeremiah's scribe, Baruch, being shown various parts of the heavenly Jerusalem, with different gates for different heirs. The text then says, "I asked the angel who conducted me and said to him: 'Who enters through this gate?' He who guided me answered and said to me: 'Blessed are those who enter through this gate. [Here] the husband remains with his wife and the wife remains with her husband'" (Click here for full article)
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  • Marriage as therapy?
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Church leaders have advocated that those with same-sex attraction marry those of the opposite sex as part of the "therapy" for overcoming their same-sex desires or inclinations. The prophets and general authorities have, in their written statements, long been clear that marriage is not to be seen as a "treatment" for same-sex attraction. (Click here for full article)
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  • Were the early apostles married
    Brief Summary: In the early Church, it was known that the Apostles were married. Early Church leaders also spoke out against those who preached against marriage. (Click here for full article)
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  • Marriage and women
    Brief Summary: Some critics charge that the LDS Church devalues those who are not married, degrades women, or encourages improper behavior by spouses. Some former members claim that they mistreated or neglected their families to better fulfill "Church duties." (Click here for full article)
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  • Is marriage essential to achieve exaltation?
    Brief Summary: Some criticize the Latter-day Saint view of marriage as essential on the following grounds: 1)If marriage is essential to achieve exaltation, why did Paul say that it is good for a man not to marry? (1 Corinthians 7:1), 2)Why does the Mormon Church teach that we can be married in heaven when Jesus said in Matthew 22:30 that there is no marriage in the resurrection? 3) Since not all members of the Church are married, doesn't this mean there will be many otherwise good Mormons who will not be exalted? (Click here for full article)
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  • LDS leaders on "neither marry nor are given in marriage"
    Brief Summary: Did LDS leaders see Matthew 22:28-30 ("neither marry nor are given in marriage") as threatening the LDS doctrine of eternal marriage? Did they think it needed to be 'corrected'? (Click here for full article)
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  • Paul: it is good "not to marry"?
    Brief Summary: Why did Paul say that is was good not to marry (1 Corinthians 7)? (Click here for full article)
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  • Divorce in the 19th century
    Brief Summary: Some members of the Church remarried without obtaining a formal legal divorce. Critics of the Church try to make this seem dishonest and adulterous, when it was in fact the norm for the period, especially on the frontier and among the poor. Critics are not honest about the legal realities faced by nineteenth century Americans. (Click here for full article)
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  • Remarrying without civil divorce
    Brief Summary: Some critics like to emphasize that some LDS members did not receive civil divorces before remarrying—either monogamously or polygamously. They either state or imply that this shows the Saints' cavalier attitude toward the law. (Click here for full article)
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  • Illegal marriages in Ohio?
    Brief Summary: Critics charge that Joseph Smith performed monogamous marriages for time of already-married members, violating Ohio law in Kirtland. Such claims are false and represent a misunderstanding about the marriage and divorce law of the day. (Click here for full article)
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