A Mormon Image: The All-Seeing Eye

December 8, 2003 | 34 comments
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During the nineteenth-century all-seeing eyes were a common Mormon image. They seem to have been borrowed from Masonry and represented the presence of God. Accordingly, the symbol was frequently associated with temples, and appears in numerous places on the interior and exterior of the Salt Lake Temple. This image, however, is much earlier and comes from the St. George Tabranacle.

StGeorgeEye.JPG

In addition to the all-seeing eye, notice the image of the clasped hands. There are a number of meanings that could be associated with this. For example, it could refer to the friendship of the Saints or the friendship between man and God. This was also a symbol frequently associated with the temple or the afterlife and appears frequently on nineteenth-century Mormon tombstones. The crowns could refer to the promise that the faithful may become kings and priests, queens and priestesses to God. The “Holiness to the Lord” motto is associated with temples, and appeared on lots of Mormon images in the nineteenth century. The motto “Faith and Union,” as far as I know, is unique to the St. George Tabranacle.

This image is several feet tall in real life and is painted on the wall behind the pulpit in the main meeting hall of the tabranacle. Interestingly, at one point in time it was painted over by the tabranacle maintance crew. The image was restored on the orders of Elder Boyd K. Packard.

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34 Responses to A Mormon Image: The All-Seeing Eye

  1. Cassie on December 9, 2003 at 12:09 am

    Well that clarifies that for me….thank you. Someone was questioning me about Mason images being used in the temple …. my only answer was that maybe the Lord had a hand in the Masonry. I don’t really even know who Masons are, to be honest. But this answers that question for me. Thanks.

  2. Clark Goble on December 9, 2003 at 1:03 am

    Actually a lot of people don’t realize it but the beehive, in its early Mormon use, was highly influenced by Masonry as well. (Which is not to downplay the BoM reference and the symbol of industry)

  3. Michelle on December 9, 2003 at 1:27 am

    There is a lot of research concerning masonry and Mormonism — one article by Dr. Reed C. Durham, Jr. can be found at http://www.xmission.com/~country/reason/widowson.htm. There is also a lot of research about temple symbols and their significance. A good starting point is Temple and Cosmos, by Nibley, specifically Sacred Vestments and The Circle and the Square.

    I remember spending hours in the library reading about temple symbols from old, “special collections” books — all in an attempt to satiate my curiosity about a historical and cultural custom that predominated religious life of which I could not participate in. I remember reading that the clasped hands could symbolize friendship, our relationship with the Lord, and/or the marriage relationship. It was time well spent.

  4. ben on December 9, 2003 at 11:08 am

    Nick Literski, an LDS Mason, is working on a book about the role of Masonry in the restoration, though he won’t be talking much about the temple. I don’t remember the link, but there is one under the Masonry section of my temple site, which has lots of links to published temple material.

  5. Nate on December 9, 2003 at 11:44 am

    In a shameless bit of family self-promotion, I would also suggest:

    Richard G. Oman, “The Exterior Symbolism of the Salt Lake Temple,” which was published a couple of years ago in BYU Studies.

    You can download it from the BYU Studies website here:

    https://byustudies.byu.edu/productitem.asp?id=1131&type=7

  6. clark on December 9, 2003 at 2:45 pm

    I believe there are a few other books on Mormonism and Masonry coming out. There’s been a bit written thus far ranging from Quinn to Brooke to Buerger and then a few Dialog articles. But most is either very brief or mentions only a few points. While a lot of the masonic really isn’t that religious, Mormons did adopt a lot of its symbolism and language. Brigham Young was fond of quoting masonic puns or “he who has an ear to hear” sayings. (Sort of like Nibley writes so that those familiar with the endowment will get a different take to some of his essays)

  7. Cassie on December 9, 2003 at 3:05 pm

    So can someone explain why this is bad? A non-member seem to think that if we adopted symbols from the Masonry then the church was formed off of that group and not by the Lord. What do I say? The only thing that came to me is that (as I said earlier) maybe the Lord had a hand in forming the Masonry as a way to prepare Joseph Smith?.?. I don’t know. (Feel free to giggle and laugh at me :) )

  8. clark on December 9, 2003 at 3:14 pm

    I agree with you Cassie. I don’t understand why Mormon parallels and borrowings from Protestantism or Catholicism are somehow acceptable but those from masonry are somehow problematic.

    One can point to the evolution of certain masonic borrowings as being problematic. Brent Metcalf has done this. But this simply raises the question of the role of 19th century religious perspective as a way of restoring ancient traditions. In other words it assumes that any genealogy of 19th century culture must directly maintain borrowed items all the way back to 1st century Palestine. (i.e. if masonry retained the endowment it must retain all borrowed items in a kind of purity of repetition) This is, to my mind, not only unnecessary to the LDS position but rather doubtful a priori. Of course Mormon critics don’t see it that way, as Brent Metcalf’s writings attest. (Although the item he wrote on – the five points of fellowship – have been removed from the endowment raising obvious questions about how essential it was to the endowment and undermining his position)

  9. Cassie on December 9, 2003 at 3:47 pm

    So what does one say to someone who insists they need an answer as to why all that happened. (The removal of Masonic things from the endowment ceremony)

    I do not know the history of the evolution of temple ordinances….so therefore I cannot comment on why or how they were changed.

  10. Nate on December 9, 2003 at 3:59 pm

    On Masonic Symbolism: I agree with what Clark has said. I think of it this way. Joseph Smith wrote his revelations in English using a linguistic vocabulary drawn from his environment. It does not follow that the environment provides a necessary and sufficient account of those revelations. (Although I think it is a necessary element of understanding them.) Masonry provided a symbolic vocabulary for certain elements of the temple ceremonies. However, I don’t think the use of this vocabulary makes Masonry a necessary and sufficient explination of the endowment.

    On Changes: I think one important element is the changing social context of the endowment. It used to be something that a person would do just a few times in their entire life. It was very long (essentially all day). Now we have a concept of temple work for the dead in which we expect people to regularlly (where possible) attend the temple. The length (mainly as a result of repitiations) as been limited. I also think that there were teachings and oaths made in the temple which strictly speaking were not part of the endowment, which have been removed. Finally, I think that certain elements of simply been modified in light of current needs and conditions. I don’t find this problematic, but this is because I don’t really view ordinances as necessarily unchanging in their form or meaning. They are necessary not in some absolute or metaphysical sense. Rather they are relatively necessary, that is they are necessary because God requires them. And God can require different things at different times.

  11. cooper on December 9, 2003 at 5:06 pm

    My husband is currently researching and preparing a text that addresses this very subject. Without going into an exhaustive explanation suffice it to say that these symbols are not “borrowed” from masonry. These symbols are evidenced throughout millenia by all ancient civilizations. They were taught to them by the patriarchs. The use of these symbols by the Masons, Egytptians, Sumerians and others are evidience of their apostacy. They took truths taught to them by God and corrupted them by comingling them with the teachings of man. When you begin searching for these symbols, you will find them everywhere. The shaking hands are evidence of the covenant made by Abraham with God. Truth is eternal. Man corrupts it and then uses for his benefit.

  12. clark on December 11, 2003 at 4:35 pm

    I think the one problem apologists trying to argue away masonic parallels face is that it confuses the rather common archetype with the particular form of the archetype. Yes all seeing eyes are rather common. Nibley makes a big deal of them in an Egyptian context for instance. Same with handshakes, tokens of remembrance, veils, robes, ascents, etc.

    However the particular form they taken in early Mormonism is clearly masonic. A lot of the symbols are understood in a masonic sense. Joseph explicitly ties the restoration of the endowment to masonry. So merely finding ancient forms of this doesn’t really address the central issue.

    However to follow up with my original point, I suspect many elements of Mormonism regarding Christology and so forth Joseph got from Protestantism and Biblical commentaries. Why is that OK while receiving information from Masonry bad? Why do we accept all the revelations Joseph received in response to studying the Bible or Hebrew as fine, but get uncomfortable if he claims the same kernel as coming from Masonry or perhaps even the general “hermetic” culture?

    I think this gets back to the Biblical inerrancy issue. We’re comfortable, in a certain sense, with Protestant views of Biblical inerrancy, even if we intellectually discount them. Yet extra-Biblical sources we are also very comfortable with the Protestant distrust of them – especially the conservative Protestant dislike of what I prefer to call Renaissance philosophy. (Of which masonry is one manifestation)

  13. Renee on March 1, 2004 at 6:20 pm

    The picture isn’t there now. Just the red x of doom.

  14. Richard B. on March 29, 2004 at 5:11 am

    Why should the influences of Freemasonry on Mormon rites and symbols matter when what is termed here as Protestant and Catholic influences do not?

    The answer should be as obvious as it is unavoidable. Catholics and Protestants receive their “influences” from the same sources as do all Christian sects: directly from the Old and New Testaments. We as well as they are all Christians in belief, thus it is quite understandable and unavoidable that as they existed before us in worshipping Christ, we could not but receive some influence from their contemporary forms of very general worship (e.g., hymns, dress, perhaps architecture). However the deeper one proceeds into the weightier matters of faith, the less can be seen of any possible influence from other Christian denominations.

    Freemasonry, on the other hand, is not at all Christian in either foundation or dogma; instead it is historically, dogmatically, and indisputably — Pagan. And most troublingly, unlike the mild Christian influences on general worship that can perhaps be said to exist in the Church from other sects, yet the deeper one proceeds into Mormon doctrine and ordinances the more influence Freemasonry has.

    Freemasonry claims to have originated in ancient Egpyt from pagan religions and practices founded upon a very solid foundation of the Occult, astrology, numerology, and Magick, all of which are denounced in the strongest terms possible by the Old Testament, the New Testament, and — last but hardly least — the Mormon Church itself, irnoically.

    In the Bible, the hatred with which the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob denounces all “magicians,” “soothsayers,” “witches,” and pagan representatives is so great that entire cities were laid waste by His command. And this same righteous disdain is ironically found almost as strongly in the Mormon Church, too… though not at all in any genocidal sense, of course. Thus were God to truly have inspired Joseph as claimed, there can be not one shred of doubt but that He would most certainly not have done so in restoring such important lost Truths as the Temple and its ordinances through the influences of such pagan and borderline-Satanic beliefs and practices as those found in Freemasonry.

    And that, I’m afraid, is why the Freemason influences matter so much to anyone for whom Truth also matters.

    However for “Molly Mormons” and others like them for whom “warm fuzzies” matter more, please ignore these facts, take two chapters from Moroni, say a quick “cleansing” prayer to “feel the Spirit”… and prolly by morning you’ll again be able to face your Mormon painting of Christ as an auburn-haired, Caucasian BYU linebacker, and the photos of the nearest Temple and the First Presidency smiling so sweetly down at you… and feel the waves of Mormon “Stepford Family” catatonia descend, thankfully obliterating from your concern all the unsettlingly poignant facts herein contained.

    Hmmm… perhaps a more suitable analogy of Mormon indifference to facts and complacent “contentment” can be found elsewhere in science fiction –

    Landru: “You will be absorbed.
    Your individuality will merge
    into the unity of good,
    and in your submergence into the
    common being of ‘The Body,’
    you will find contentment
    and fulfillment.
    You will experience…
    the absolute good.”

    Kirk: “Joy be yours–
    and tranquillity, my friend.”

    McCoy: “And peace and harmony.
    Are you of the body?”

    Kirk: “The body is one.”
    Blessed be the body
    and health to all of its parts.
    My friends…
    What is your theory, Mr. Spock?”

    Spock: “This is a soulless society, Captain.
    It has no spirit, no spark.
    All is peace and tranquillity–
    the peace of the factory, the tranquillity of the machine,
    all parts working in unison.”

    (“Return of the Archons”, Star Trek)

  15. Grasshopper on March 29, 2004 at 4:22 pm

    Pagan, schmagan. I’ll stick with Joseph on this one: “We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true ‘Mormons.’”

  16. grasshopper helper on April 4, 2004 at 8:04 pm

    Hey… I’m with “Grasshopper” on this one.

    So what that Mormonism gets its deepest ordinances straight from pagan Freemasonry instead of the Bible, and that Joseph Smith was also convicted of being a “treasure seeker” using the Occult, or that Joseph Smith translated the BoM by using the 19th Century magical practice of putting a “peepstone” in his hat followed by then placing his face into the hat and didn’t even use the Golden Plates to translate from, or that he had polygamous marriages with many women, including all of Emma’s RS counselors and even her secretary without her knowledge or consent while excommunicating anyone who even “preached polygamy”, and who later — only a month before his death — declared that any who claimed he was a polygamist would be revealed to be “perjurers.” Who cares that Joseph Smith went so far as to marry at least one woman (Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner) while she was still married to another man, thus committing adultery on both sides of the definition?

    It’s all good cuz he was a prophet. And prophets can do whatever they want, regardless. So just like Grasshopper, I’ll just laugh at all the historical facts and “stick with Joseph” throughout and continue to “…consecrate (myself), (my) time, talents and everything which the Lord has blessed (me)” (including tithes, fast offerings, and other monies as requested) all to the Brethren in Salt Lake, even after the Prophet can’t even go on “60 Minutes” and “Larry King Live!” without betraying his own testimony and allegiance to the Gospel in equating his office to that of the Pope, in stating that polygamy “…is not doctrinal” when the DOCTRINE & Covenants Sec. 132 still states that it is an Eternal Doctrine and still is part of the “New and Everlasting Covenant,” and then tops it all off by declaring that the entire principle upon which the Plan of Salvation depends (“As Man is God Once Was, as God is Man May Become”) is nothing more than “…a couplet” that he doesn’t “…think is even taught anymore” when previous “prophets”, including Smith, declared it the single most important principle of the Gospel.

    Yeah… let’s stick with Joseph Smith and the line of back-peddling, mealy-mouthed Mormon “Prophets” that have followed so we can all buy the perpetual BS and hypocrisy they exhibit so as to all “…come out true Mormons.”

  17. Grasshopper on April 4, 2004 at 8:37 pm

    Hey, Nate! I found one o’ them “liberal Mormons” you was complaining about! ;-)

  18. chris goble on April 5, 2004 at 12:31 am

    Richard B.
    “Thus were God to truly have inspired Joseph as claimed, there can be not one shred of doubt but that He would most certainly not have done so in restoring such important lost Truths as the Temple and its ordinances through the influences of such pagan and borderline-Satanic beliefs and practices as those found in Freemasonry”

    I wonder how well this black and white logic really applies. I assume that many pagan’s had, families they loved, and ways of supporting and encouraging this love (see Jacob 3:6-7). Is it fair to say anything these pagans held important would never get used in the restoration? I would hate to have to toss out the baby with the bath water.

    “And that, I’m afraid, is why the Freemason influences matter so much to anyone for whom Truth also matters “

    Ouch!! Isn’t there an Alanis Morisette song about this way of phrasing the Truth?
    http://www.lyricsdomain.com/1/alanis_morissette/ironic.html

  19. Nate Oman on April 5, 2004 at 12:36 am

    Yikes! A Star Trek quote! How can one possibly top that kind of authority…

  20. Clark Goble on April 5, 2004 at 3:02 am

    Alanis Morisette Chris? Ugh. Surely you aren’t quoting her simply because you need a Canadian quote? (grin)

    I’d also say that calling Freemasonry “pagan” is a bit of a stretch. Certainly it is highly influenced by hermeticism and neoPlatonism. But then Augustine was influenced by neoPlatonism. Freemasony has as much to do with physical masonry as anything. And most of the masons were devout Christians. BTW – the claims of freemasons to come from Egypt are about on par with the claims of freemasons to have come from Solomon’s Temple. (The latter, btw, are the more standard claims. Remember who Hirum Abiff is, after all)

    I’d also say that to simply say that the only influences on Protestantism or Catholicism is the OT and NT except for clothing, hymn and the like is simply difficult to swallow. Certainly those were major influences, but the character of both was affected by a lot more as well.

  21. Richard B. on April 5, 2004 at 4:20 am

    Chris Goble –
    “Is it fair to say anything these pagans held important would never get used in the restoration? I would hate to have to toss out the baby with the bath water.”

    Golly, Chris… I guess that would depend on what was being “restored”: paganism or the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. Or shall you now attempt to argue that the two are somehow related or synonymous?

    In “Mormon Doctrine”, Bruce R. McConkie has “Pagans” listed as “Heathens”, under which heading he declares: “The heathens are those who do not even profess a knowledge of the true God… They worship idols or other gods that are entirely false…”

    This most certainly falls right into harmony with the entire Old Testament wherein God continually and unalteringly displayed His unmitigated intolerance for paganism and heathen worship. There are many instances in the Old Testament where God ordered the wholesale slaughter of entire cities simply because their inhabitants practiced paganism (though I’m sure they loved their families too, Chris). Nor was God the least hesitant to destroy even His own people when they chose to take up paganism, as well (e.g., The striking dead of a large number of Israelites who dared to worship the Egyptian Apis Bull ["Golden Calf"] that Aaron had made while Moses was upon Mt. Sinai).

    Here follow two scriptures, both small examples illustrating God’s hatred of paganism:

    Judges 2:
    13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.
    14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.

    Ezekiel 20:
    7 Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

    Note that this last scripture specifically targets the false gods of the Egyptians… whose pagan worship forms the very foundation of the Freemason rites upon which the Temple Endowment is founded.

    Now… given God’s never-altering hatred of all things pagan, I (for one) would just love to know exactly what pagan “baby” you feel is being thrown out here? What aspect of “paganism” do you feel God finds not only acceptable but such a necessary part of the “Restoration” that, without it and its rites, Joseph Smith could not have “restored” the “true” Temple Endowment?

    What is it exactly about paganism that you think God would find indispensible for this “Last Dispensation”?

    And of course, as the scriptures boldly declare nothing but God’s hatred of paganism and its rites and religions, you will no doubt defend your position for paganism with a few scriptures as well… right?

    For more information on this topic, enjoy: http://www.foxgrape.com/masonry.htm

    – Another Invaluable Star Trek Moment –

    “Bread and Circuses” -

    Spock: “It seems illogical for a sun worshiper
    to develop a philosophy of total brotherhood.
    Sun worship is usually a primitive-superstition
    religion.”

    Uhura: “I’m afraid you have it all wrong, all of you.
    I’ve been monitoring some of their old-style
    radio waves, the empire spokesman trying to
    ridicule their religion, but he couldn’t.

    “Well, don’t you understand?
    It’s not the sun up in the sky.
    It’s the Son of God.”

  22. Pagan on April 5, 2004 at 10:45 am

    (Warning. Some sarcasm ahead)

    Moses builds the tabernacle having seen the pattern by revelation (Exo 25:9). But wait, several of the ritual objects in the tabernacle have Egyptian names, which means they were borrowed from the Egyptians! PAGAN! (If the Hebrews had known what they were, they wouldn’t have needed to use the Egyptian designation). See “Egyptian Etymologies for Biblical
    Religious Paraphernalia,” in Sarah I. Groll (ed.), Egyptological Studies
    (Scripta Hierosolymitana, Vol. 28; Jerusalem: Magnes Press of the Hebrew
    University, 1982),

    The “spoons” of Exodus 25:29 have direct Egyptian connections. Both were a hand-shaped bowls on a rod, used to burning incense. These are frequently depicted in Egyptian art, and examples have been excavated in Israel. See the Anchor Bible Dictinoary, “Incense Dish” for a description of the Israelite censers. Moses just borrowed them from the Egyptians, those pagans god is always condeming!

    Again, David received the plan for the Jerusalem temple by revelation, in writing (1 Chr. 28:11). Yet, the plan of his temple is strikingly similar to previous temples… in Phonicia! Those darn pagans again! I think David just copied the pagan temples, and made up the “revelation” later to cover his tracks. After all, who gets hired to build the temple? Hiram, king of Tyre in Phonicia! PAGAN PAGAN PAGAN! Moses and David and Solomon must have forsaken god to do such things…

    Kinda wears on ya, doesn’t it Richard?

  23. Richard B. on April 5, 2004 at 10:49 am

    Clark Goble –
    “I’d also say that calling Freemasonry “pagan” is a bit of a stretch. Certainly it is highly influenced by hermeticism and neoPlatonism.”

    Golly, Clark… and what do you think “hermeticism” and “neoPlatonism” are? Let’s find out, shall we:

    Hermeticism = “The study and practice of occult philosophy and magic, of a type associated with writings attributed to the god Hermes Trismegistus, “Thrice-Greatest Hermes,” a syncretistic deity who combines aspects of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth. Hermeticism is also associated with alchemy. These beliefs were influential in European occult lore, especially from the Renaissance forward, when they were revived by people like Giordano Bruno and Marsilio Ficino. Hermetic magic underwent a 19th century revival in Western Europe, where it was practiced by people such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Eliphas Lévi.”

    (http://www.wordiq.com/cgi-bin/knowledge/lookup.cgi?title=Hermeticism)

    NeoPlatonism = “A pantheistic eclectic school of philosophy, of which Plotinus was the chief (A. D. 205-270), and which sought to reconcile the Platonic and Aristotelian systems with Oriental theosophy. It tended to mysticism and theurgy, and was the last product of Greek philosophy.” (Author’s Note: “pantheistic” = “of many gods” [i.e., paganism])

    (http://www.brainydictionary.com/words/ne/neoplatonism193767.html)

    Thus… just as I said earlier… Freemasonry is founded on the principles of Paganism and the Occult, primarily those aspects having direct descendancy from Egyptian paganism.

    And finally, I found it both indefensible and irreconcilable that you should attempt to defend Joseph Smith’s usage of Freemasonry because St. Augustine might have borrowed from NeoPlatonism. Joseph Smith was supposed to be a “True Prophet of God” while Augustine certainly never attempted such an outrageous claim. Joseph Smith supposedly saw and spoke with God, Himself, receiving divine revelation pertinent to leading and directing the Restoration while Augustine certainly was not. If Joseph truly were a literal and true Prophet, he wouldn’t have needed to backslide into using Paganism, as might have Augustine (by your claim), much less the Occult. The fact that he did (and ironically that you defend him for so doing) borrow from Paganism and the Occult does not defend Smith as a prophet, but instead defends him as being exactly, no more and no less, what Augustine also was: most certainly NOT a prophet.

    Therefore… unless there are others who will attempt any degree of logical argument to the contrary (and yes… I did say logical), the fact still remains as initially posted here that Freemasonry has as its origins both Paganism and the Occult, and that Smith deliberately borrowed from the more paganistic and occultic aspects of Freemasonry in forming by far the most key and esoteric ordinances performed in the Mormon Church. Thus as I stated earlier, the deeper one goes into Mormon theology, the more (rather than less) influence direct from Paganism and the Occult are seen.

    And the more one realizes this, the more one cannot but be concerned that the entire heart of Mormon theology has more in common with paganism and the Occult than ever it does with the Bible.

    Now… you tell me: which end of the spectrum is leaned towards most by this… that of Jesus, or Satan?

    – The Star Trek Wisdom… Continues — ;)

    Spock: “You are aware of the biblical story of Genesis?”

    Kirk: “Yes, how Adam and Eve tasted the apple
    and were driven out of paradise.”

    Spock: “Precisely, Captain,
    and in a manner of speaking,
    we have given the people of Vaal the apple,
    the knowledge of good and evil,
    and they, too, have been driven out of paradise.”

    Kirk: “Doctor, do I understand him correctly?
    Are you casting me in the role of Satan?”

    Spock: “Not at all, Captain.”

    Kirk: “Is there anyone on this ship …
    who even remotely …
    looks like Satan?”

    Spock (testily): “I am not aware of anyone
    who fits that description, Captain.”

    Kirk: “I didn’t think you would.”

    (The Apple)

  24. Richard B. on April 5, 2004 at 11:46 am

    Hey Pagan! (cute name, btw)

    That’s it? You’re pinning this lame argument on a few spoons and bowls? That somehow parallels Smith’s inclusion of entire Pagan rites and rituals as the single most important ordinance performed in Mormon theology?!

    Where do you think the Israelites were forced to learn how to make spoons, bowls, and yes, even buildings, for over 400 years? Small wonder their artesan skills were all derived from Egypt… that’s where they had been forced to work as slaves making all such! So what? That most certainly does not make their sacred rites and ordinances of Pagan origin… as are the Mormon Temple ordinances.

    Your argument would only begin to be relevant if you could show us where any of the actual ordinances of the Jewish Temple were borrowed from or descended from Paganism and/or the Occult (as is my argument re: the Mormon Temple ordinances). Until such time as that… please take your misplaced sarcasm and your illogical reasoning elsewhere; I find myself embarrassed for you.

    Your final argument in attempting to equate as “pagan influence” the fact that non-Jewish labor was used in building Solomon’s Temple is just ridiculous. Gee, “Pagan”… did I once fault the Mormon Church for employing non-Mormons in the building of its temples? How is this at all relevant to the “sacred” ordinances therein descending directly from Paganism and the Occult? Yet another glaring lack of logic in attempting yet another side-stepping non-sequitur.

    Oh… btw… The only thing that gets wearing here is the adroit alacrity by which you Mormons carefully tip-toe around and avoid the true issues of any argument. ;)

    – Another Cleansing Star Trek Moment… in honor of Pagan’s “Logic” –

    Spock: “I love you, however, I hate you.”

    Alice 210: “But I am identical in every way with Alice 27!”

    Spock: “Exactly. That is exactly why I hate you,
    because you are identical.”

    (Both the androids slump over in confusion)

    Spock: “Fascinating.”

    (I, Mudd)

  25. Grasshopper on April 5, 2004 at 12:18 pm

    Uh, no, it’s not the only thing that gets wearing…

  26. Richard B. on April 5, 2004 at 12:30 pm

    Oh… I’m sorry, “Grasshopper.” Should I have used “Kung Fu” quotes instead?

  27. clark goble on April 5, 2004 at 2:44 pm

    “Pagan” you missed the point. To say something is influenced by paganism is not the same as saying it *is* pagan. Otherwise Augustine would be a pagan and not a Christian saint.

    BTW -

  28. clark on April 5, 2004 at 2:48 pm

    Dang. For some reason the Form here won’t let you click in the text to move your cursor location. Very annoying.

    Anyway, what I was about to say is that you move from influence to “more in common.” This is, of course a gross leap. Further it begs the question in no small way since it ignores the roll of Jewish merkabah and Jewish and Christian gnosticism and their influence on hermeticism and to a lesser extent neoPlatonism. (BTW – neoPlatonism is generally taken to be a general approach. Many famous Christian saints were neoPlatonists and the role of neoPlatonism on Christianity mustn’t be understated)

    Anyway, while I’m sure you have in your mind something like “the Bible is complete and has everything and interprets itself” history clearly shows otherwise. How people *read* the Bible varies significantly and many people feel that conservative Protestant literalism and innerrancy is one of the more difficult thesis to defend.

  29. still pagan on April 5, 2004 at 3:06 pm

    Uh, thanks clark. I don’t think the inclusion of foreign elements in Israelite religion makes it pagan. I was trying to satirize Richard’s nuanced interpretive framework- God hates paganism, especially egyptian paganism, and God would never give a revelation involving any elements borrowed from neighboring “pagan” cultures.

  30. clark on April 5, 2004 at 3:15 pm

    Sorry. I’ve had so many wild discussions with Biblical literalists that its very difficult to tell the reality from the satire. (grin)

  31. Ivan Wolfe on April 5, 2004 at 4:31 pm

    clarke – I have decided that satire is slowly dying out.

    With people claiming Bush=Hitler or that any criticism whatsoever of the current government is unpatriotic or that conservative evangelicals are the same as the Taliban

    well, satire used to be the expression of views so wild that they pointed out flaws in the suppossedly more reasonable views (such as the idea to eat Irish babies in Swift’s work).

    Nowadays wild views from the extreme wings are so common that it’s hard to satarize them anymore.

    In addition to that, a lot of things that aren’t satire, but just propagandisitic attacks (such as a few choice plays being run on London’s West End or anything by Michael Moore) that use the label “satire” to try not to appear as nasty and mean-spirited as they really are.

    But that’s another conversation entirely.

  32. Ivan Wolfe on April 5, 2004 at 4:35 pm

    What I mean by that is not that Pagan wasn’t being satirical but that it’s getting harder and harder to recognize satire (at least for me).

  33. Donna Mirabile on May 27, 2004 at 6:08 pm

    I just want to nod my head at Richard’s comments. The more study I’ve been doing into the occult, Mormonism and Masonry, the more evidence I see that Masonry is occultic in nature and Mormonism is NOT founded on the Word of God. Has anyone ever read Michael Quinn’s book, “Origins of Power”? He gives a balanced view of the whole issue when he explains that Joseph Smith was, in fact, a 32nd degree mason, and shortly after he received that, he had the temple ceremony “revealed” to him. Also, if you are curious as to why Masonry is not considered Christian and is pagan, do a search on Christian Masons and read some of the things you come up with.

    The biggest issue that Mormons have with Christianity is, Christians worship one God. The God who is unchanging. Jesus Christ was this literal God, who took the form of man. Mormons worship a god who is one of MANY gods, and they want to become gods themselves. That’s what the temple ceremony is all about.

    Mormons depend on their works (temple ceremony, “second sealing”, to name a few) to get to their heaven (i.e., to become gods and goddesses). Christians depend only up on Jesus Christ.

    Donna

  34. Kingsley on May 27, 2004 at 7:23 pm

    Donna: But God changed when he became a man & replaced His old law with a new one, right? Or are you saying that Jehovah had a body from the get-go, which He took down to earth with Him, & that the doctrines He taught in the Old Testament are identical to the doctrines He taught in the New Testament?

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