Mormonism and temples

Mormonism and temples

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


Baptisms for the dead

Is baptism for the dead an authentic Christian practice?

Summary: Is there any evidence baptism for the dead is an authentic ancient Christian practice?

Jump to Subtopic:

Refusing baptisms for the dead

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?

Jump to Subtopic:

Temple work for Holocaust victims

Summary: In 1995, after it was learned that a substantial number of Holocaust victims were listed in the Church's temple records as having been baptized, an agreement was signed between the Church and leading Jewish authorities which officially ended baptizing Jewish Holocaust victims posthumously.

Jump to Subtopic:


The Endowment

Adam-God and the "Lecture at the Veil"

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.

Jump to Subtopic:

Changes to the Endowment ordinance

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.

Jump to Subtopic:

Modern and ancient temple rituals

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.

Jump to Subtopic:

Relationship between the Endowment and Freemasonry

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.

Jump to Subtopic:

All Seeing Eye

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.

Jump to Subtopic:

A former version of the temple endowment contained an "oath of vengeance"

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.

Jump to Subtopic:

The ordinance versus the ritual used to present the ordinance

Jump to Subtopic:

Consecration of time and talents to the Church

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.

Jump to Subtopic:

Was the endowment introduced as a way of keeping polygamy a secret?

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?

Jump to Subtopic:

Mormonism and temple garments

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.

Jump to Subtopic:

Mormonism and temple clothing

Summary: Responses to questions related to ritual temple clothing.

Jump to Subtopic:


Temple marriage

Is marriage essential to achieve exaltation?

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?

Jump to Subtopic:

LDS leaders on "neither marry nor are given in marriage"

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'?

Jump to Subtopic:

Paul: it is good "not to marry"?

Summary: Why did Paul say that is was good not to marry (1 Corinthians 7)?

Jump to Subtopic:


Symbolism in Mormon temples

Symbols on the Nauvoo Temple

Summary: I've heard there are some strange symbols on the Nauvoo and Salt Lake temples. My non-member friend claims these have an "occult" significance. Some people are of the opinion that they are Masonic.

Inverted Stars on LDS Temples

Summary: Some critics of the LDS Church claim that the inverted five-pointed star on some of its temples are a symbol of evil and thereby demonstrate that Mormonism is not really a Christian religion.

All Seeing Eye

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.


Criticisms related to the temple

Ordinances revealed

Summary: It is claimed that the LDS temple ordinances were either made up by Joseph Smith or borrowed, by him, from an earthly source.

Was the temple obsolete after Christ?

Summary: Some Christians charge that Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection meant that the temple was to be removed from Christian worship—the Atonement made the temple superfluous. Therefore, they criticize the LDS for persisting with temple worship. It is also claimed that the veil in the temple becoming rent in twain after the crucifixion of Christ indicates that the temple was no longer to be used.

The role of the Independence temple

Summary: What role will the temple to be built in Independence, Missouri fill in the Church?

Reports of Drunken Behavior at the Kirtland Temple Dedication

Summary: Were there really spiritual manifestations attending the dedication of the Kirtland temple? I have heard allegations that it was in fact a drunken orgy.

Why does the Church build expensive temples?

Summary: Why does the church spend so much money on temples when children are dying of starvation in other parts of the world? Wouldn’t the money spent on these buildings be better used in feeding the hungry?

Worthiness to enter

Summary: This article addresses criticisms directed at worthiness requirements to enter the temple.

Temples made with hands

Summary: It is claimed that Acts 17:24-25 teaches that the idea of temple worship is foreign to Christianity, when Paul says: "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things."

Do temples always face east?

Summary: Do LDS temples always face east? The front of the temple is the elevation where the phrase "House of the Lord" is found. Temples face whatever direction is most practical and artistically pleasing for the site they are on.

Elias and Elijah at the Kirtland Temple

Summary: Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery reported a vision in the Kirtland Temple on 3 April 1836 (see DC 110:1-16). They reported that they received priesthood keys from three angelic messengers: Moses (verse 11), Elijah (verse 12), and Elias (verses 13-16) Critics points out that "Elias" is merely the Greek name of the Hebrew prophet "Elijah." Thus, they charge, Joseph Smith made a fatal error by having Elias and Elijah be two different people, when they are in fact one and the same.

Should there be only one temple?

Summary: Some claim that there should only be a single temple.

Did Joseph Smith only build a temple and no other Church buildings?

Summary: Some claim that it is wrong for the Church to build other buildings besides a temple, because Joseph did not do so. This claim is false—Joseph and his revelations directed the building of many different structures for Church use.