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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: August 31, 2014 04:31PM

[latest in a series]

When the Mormons build a new temple, before it is opened for the performance of Mormonism's most sacred ordinances, it must be "dedicated": a high Mormon official comes to the temple, members holding a certificale of their worthiness (a "temple recommend") fill the temple to attend the ceremony, and the official says a "dedicatory prayer," which sanctifies the building and makes it sufficiently holy that the Spirit of God can enter it comfortably.

Here's the problem:

Usually the dedication ceremonies extend over several days, often four or five. The same ceremony is performed, with the same dedicatory prayer. The purpose, of course, is so that more members can attend the ceremony than if it was done only once. It is a faith-inspiring experience to be able to attend a temple dedication.

But questions arise: if the ceremony is performed on four different days, at what point is the temple truly sanctified?

If the first day's prayer is valid and effective, then the following days' ceremonies are vain repetition. They are meaningless, only for show. Those attending on following days are only watching a re-enactment, like the re-enactment of a historical battle: it's not real. But if the temple is not effectively dedicated until the final day, then the previous days' ceremonies were vain and meaningless. Or does the first day's ceremony consecrate it 25%, with each following day adding to the consecration? The Kirtland temple was dedicated with one prayer. Why does it take more nowadays? To hold multiple ceremonies seems to be an admission by the church that they don't have enough power or authority to do it in one swoop.

It's like a theater production that announces four "opening nights." Once they have opened, there can be no more "opening nights."

So, dear Mormon, tell me: at what point is the temple actually dedicated?

Previous posts in this series:

#1: Baptism wording:,1013735
#2: "sun" vs. "son":,1089659
#3: Name of church 1834-1838:,1102694
#4: Bible prophecies:,1121855
#5: Languages in the pre-existence:,1127558
#6: What is doctrine?,1135995
#7: Worshiping Jesus:,1187412
#8: Priesthood:,1218790
#9: Prophecy of JS' murder:,1274661
#10: Sacrament:,1287928

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Posted by: Tom Padley ( )
Date: August 31, 2014 04:40PM

It's all a showcase for the image of TSCC. And it's an ever-changing show with additions, deletions, modifications, clarifications, and hoopla to fit the current situation. In Joseph Smith's time it was a magical, mysterious era and the people bought the smoke and mirrors routine. Now the smoke and mirrors have been replaced by spin and fanfare and temples and the City Creek Mall. PT Barnum would be proud of how well TSCC has fared.

I forgot to answer the question. The temple is dedicated when the first prayer is read and the congregation says amen. At that point Gawd has approved of the latest magnificent structure, which has been paid for by the schmucks who still believe.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/31/2014 04:55PM by Tom Padley.

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Posted by: rt ( )
Date: August 31, 2014 04:42PM

My first thought was: this is a reductio ad absurdum fallacy.

However, such a fallacy occurs when you take a statement to absurd lengths. In this case, the absurdity shows up right off the bat in round one. Religion and reason just don't mix.

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Posted by: zelph on your side ( )
Date: August 31, 2014 07:52PM

Unless of course you have a white handkerchief handy - then it all makes sense. It's amazing what people will believe when it concerns ritual behavior!

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Posted by: Pista ( )
Date: August 31, 2014 05:59PM

It reminds me of when the president uses multiple pens to sign a single bill so more people can have the same piece of history.

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Posted by: jiminycricket ( )
Date: August 31, 2014 06:17PM

I'm just curious. At each session of a temple dedication there is the traditional ceremony of waving the white handkerchief and repeating the hosanna shout. So I would venture to say that the temple session accepted by god and jesus would be the most enthusiastic-happy-hankie-waving crowd registering the biggest shout on Kolob's hosanna-shout-o-meter.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/31/2014 06:40PM by jiminycricket.

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Posted by: Greyfort ( )
Date: August 31, 2014 07:15PM

Hmm. Let me put on my old Mormon hat again and think like I used to.

I think I would say that it doesn't matter how many days the ceremony takes place. It's all just one long ceremony to God. Or rather, Heavenly Father.

It's dedicated after the first prayer, but it's just one long celebration, so that as many of His children can celebrate with Him as possible.

It's like a 5-day party with prayer.

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Posted by: rhgc ( )
Date: August 31, 2014 08:10PM

1. Having multiple temples is something never accepted in the OT.
2. In the NT, no temple is necessary.
3. All the mo temples are a fraud.
4. The rites performed are a fraud.
5. Why any rational person would partake of the temple dedications is a mystery.

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Posted by: Money101 ( )
Date: August 31, 2014 08:38PM

The purpose of the temple is to generate money for the Church. It reinforces the need to pay tithing so you can attend the temple. Marriages, missions, etc are all tied to the endowment/temple.

I suspect that if you graphed a chart with tithing revenue vs temple distance, you would find that there is a strong correlation between the temple proximity and revenue. More temples means more money for the Church.

So, to answer your question -- it takes many dedications to reach all the members and drive the message home that you must pay to play, you must pay to pray, you must pay. God and sanctity have very little to do with this.

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Posted by: michaelc1945 ( )
Date: August 31, 2014 08:46PM

The whole temple idea went out with Christ on the cross. The Mormon temple is just another example of LDS pretentiousness and self importance.

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Posted by: michaelc1945 ( )
Date: August 31, 2014 08:46PM

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Posted by: randyj ( )
Date: August 31, 2014 09:28PM

...Mormons go through the same endowment ceremony hundreds, if not thousands of times throughout their lives, then having the temple dedicatory prayers repeated isn't a big deal. It's just more of the same for drone TBMs.

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Posted by: Particles of Faith ( )
Date: August 31, 2014 11:35PM

When I first joined the church I had no visual impression of a temple dedication so I envisioned SWK smashing a bottle of champagne at the corner of the temple to be dedicated.

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Posted by: Facsimile 3 ( )
Date: September 01, 2014 07:15AM

Slightly off topic, but you mentioned the Kirtland temple dedicatory that prayer, why did Joseph Smith pray to Jehovah? Do they still pray to Jehovah in modern dedicatory prayers?

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Posted by: baura ( )
Date: September 01, 2014 04:23PM

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Posted by: mindog ( )
Date: September 01, 2014 07:25AM

This really isn't "stump" material. There's not any real contradiction or evident hypocrisy in here. I think in either my believing and now nonbelieving state, you'd get about the same reaction, "so what". It's like asking a person if they're a member after they get baptized and before they get the laying on of hands for the holy ghost or after...Or the multitude of practices I saw of that during my mission. Where the person would immediately have the laying on hands or they would wait for the following Sunday...And what if that baptized member didn't show up that following Sunday or ever again to get the HG?

Bigger stumps are better sought out in contradictions of history, doctrines, or practices, like prophesies Joseph or Brigham made in regards to retracting certain doctrines. Or if you wanted to target the temples specifically, then you could point out that as soon as any unworthy person enters the temple that the dedication is now void and that it would have to be dedicated again for the ordinances to be performed with any validation.

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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: September 01, 2014 02:05PM

mindog Wrote:
> This really isn't "stump" material. There's not any real contradiction or evident hypocrisy in here. I think in either my believing and now nonbelieving state, you'd get about the same reaction, "so what".

That reaction would be from a TBM no matter what you presented him with: JS married other men's wives? So what! The BoA is not a translation, as JS said, but "inspired scripture"? So what!

I notice that you did not answer the question: at what precise point is the temple sanctified? And what are the implications of your answer, regarding the other performances of the ceremony?

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Posted by: mindog ( )
Date: September 02, 2014 06:33AM

The answer is simple enough. It's sanctified at each of them. Temples get rededicated after remodeling or other changes are made to the interior that may let people in a more obvious unworthy state into the building. Every dedication "counts".

I guess the first one would be the "big one", but they all count as far as they're concerned. I think if we were to check on the stats of a temple you'd find that the official "dedication day" is the first one. I think I've seen some rededications listed.

Mostly, in the end, they're just about getting people to get excited about the new local temple, so they can spend a few hours playing costume and sitting in a fairly tasteless, but expensive room. And to get those tithing payments rolling in.

Personally I was always more bothered by the cafeterias that are in some of the temples. my loves them!

It's just not a stumper. At most it could be an, oh that's interesting, or oh this could be something to waste my time thinking about.

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Posted by: No Mo ( )
Date: September 01, 2014 08:17AM

How can you expect people to think rationally who believe their imaginary sky god father wants them to dress like this?:

They do not think. They follow. They regurgitate what they are spoon fed at the cult gatherings.

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Posted by: ok ( )
Date: September 01, 2014 06:00PM

That's all I need to know about the momos!!!

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Posted by: Stray Mutt ( )
Date: September 01, 2014 02:08PM

Yeah, I was baffled when I first learned there were multiple dedications. Crazy church.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: September 01, 2014 02:16PM

Kabuki theater

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Posted by: Ex Aedibus ( )
Date: September 01, 2014 02:17PM

A related question involves the fact that the names are recycled in the temples. Catholicism especially tends to pinpoint exactly when transubstantiation occurs. So, at what point does a dead person become baptized/endowed/sealed? The first time? The fifth time?

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Posted by: L Tom Petty ( )
Date: September 01, 2014 02:18PM

The temple is truly sanctified after the first dedication. The subsequent dedications are for show and to get more members feeling as though they participated.

Actually I have no idea, and neither do the old boys dressed in white.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: September 01, 2014 02:25PM

None of the shooters knows for certain who has the live bullet which actually kills the prisoner. So all of the shooters and all of the hankie wavers have to live not knowing if their bullet or hankie was the real one.

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Posted by: Sagan Standard ( )
Date: September 01, 2014 04:08PM

Regarding multiple dedications and having a written dedication prayer, that bothered me as an improper deviation from historical precedent when I was a believing Mormon, until I read The First Mormon Temple, by Elwin Robison. He cites a second dedication of the Kirtland temple on March 31, 1836, for those who were unable to attend the first one due to space constraints.* My thinking at the time was, if Joseph Smith set that precedent, then it must be acceptable to God, even though it still bothered me as being more bureaucratic than inspired. (Now, I am agnostic.)

Regarding the challenge of when the temple is considered dedicated, Joseph Smith claimed that Jesus appeared to him and Oliver Cowdery on April 3, 1836 and declared that he accepted the temple (D&C 110:7). Thus, by that pattern, no temple is truly dedicated until Jesus personally appears and accepts it. And since we have no record (not even hearsay/testimony) of Jesus appearing and accepting any other temple, none of them should be considered dedicated. (I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the objective evidence of any such a visit.)

*Apparently, the Kirtland door wardens literally turned people away at the first dedication on March 27, 1836, once the temple was considered full, at 900-1000 people. And for those who were allowed in, they were asked to give a voluntary donation at the door, and $963 was collected. It is also interesting to note that some members even then were bothered by the dedication being a written prayer instead of an extemporaneous one.

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Posted by: Chump ( )
Date: September 02, 2014 11:57AM

"Regarding the challenge of when the temple is considered dedicated, Joseph Smith claimed that Jesus appeared to him and Oliver Cowdery on April 3, 1836 and declared that he accepted the temple (D&C 110:7)."

Did Joseph ever discuss this in detail? Section 110 is written like a first-person history, but I don't believe that Joe wrote this. Wasn't it Oliver's brother that recorded this section? This wasn't added to the D&C until 30 years after Joe's death. Why? This would have been the most important occurance in early mormon history. This vision supposedly happened behind drawn curtains while the temple was full of people, but I don't believe any contemporary journals recount any glowing behind the curtains, etc... Is there any contemporary evidence that anything interesting actually happened in the Kirtland temple?...beside Joe and Co. washing feet, getting drunk and talking about flaming tongues, angels climbing in through the windows, etc...?

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Posted by: generationofvipers ( )
Date: September 02, 2014 09:19AM

The pageantry is the key. The symbolism is all that matters. The apostles know as well as we do that there is no "sanctification power" so they can say the prayer as often as they want.

If they really believed it they would say dedicating prayer then a different type of prayer on the other occasions.

You can do the same name in the temple a hundred times. The church knows this happens but knows it makes no difference to the deceased. Mainly because they are dead as hell.

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Posted by: jerry64 ( )
Date: September 02, 2014 09:42AM

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Posted by: Phazer ( )
Date: September 02, 2014 10:02AM

+1 Good one!

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Posted by: alx71tx ( )
Date: September 02, 2014 10:49AM

All a good Mormon needs to do is follow the money trail on this question of yours and it makes perfectly good sense. Don't forget how much the church cares about its latter day profits.

1. Thinking about your question "at what point is the temple actually dedicated" will not increase revenues for the church. Thus such thinking should stop.

2. Having 20 ceremonies on 4 different days allows for many more people who might pay tithing in the future go attend, have a special experience, and be more likely to work harder and be more diligent towards paying more tithing in the future.

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Posted by: squeebee ( )
Date: September 02, 2014 11:31AM

Actually there's also a big catch-22. It's not just recommend holders that can attend, but those with a valid ticket. Twelve year olds can attend the dedication and do so outside the baptistry area.

So, if the first one is valid (which is a sound assumption I'd think) then there should be no 12yos in the subsequent sessions.

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Posted by: Chump ( )
Date: September 02, 2014 11:43AM

This is what I was thinking. Youth can attend dedications and sit in the celestial room. If the temple has already been dedicated, they shouldn't be allowed to enter the celestial room, right?

The Ogden temple is about to be dedicated, and members across the state will be "participating" in their ward/stake buildings. Church leaders are saying that the chapels become extensions of the temple and a recommend is required to enter. So, is the chapel being dedicated as a temple as well? Do they still do multiple sessions, or is this not required since mormons across the state will be able to attend remotely? I'm just glad I don't have to attend with my TBM wife. Apparently I'm not worthy since I no longer buy the bullshit.

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