The Mormon Temple Ceremony: You Make The Call

Ok, folks. Here it is: the endowment ceremonies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am not responsible for making this video, mind you, I'm only making you aware of it. And I gotta say, I hesitated to do that.

As we discuss in podcast episode #59, this video represents the laying bare of something that is held so sacred by the Mormons that even I, who never went through the temple, feel like I'm violating something by presenting it here. I've honestly had to wrestle with some fairly deep questions of conscience about it.

"But why, Dan? You don't believe in the Mormon church anymore. Why do you care about what other people think is sacred?"

Well, fictitious questioner, one reason is I know A LOT of Mormons and I have no desire for them to feel hurt or betrayed by me. It's tough because religious people in general, and ESPECIALLY Mormons, feel attacked soooooo easily. Anything you say that questions any aspect of their religion is instantly perceived as an attack. Even stating your own non-belief is thought to be an attack. So, as someone who has a blog and podcast dedicated to looking at the world through the lens of atheism, I'm bound to piss some folks off. That is not my intention.

What is my intention is to take a real, open and honest look at the world and ask the questions that come up. And this video brings up A LOT of questions. For those of you who were never Mormon yourselves, I'm guessing this will positively baffle you. And make you cringe. And possibly wish you could un-see it.

Oddly, it may be even freakier for those of us who were Mormon. To have known so many good, intelligent people who submitted to this weirdness and accepted it as something that would bring them closer to a god for me brings up a cognitive dissonance as powerful as what first-time temple-goers must feel. You have to understand: newbies to the temple go into this ceremony completely unprepared for what they're about to see and do. Nobody explains any of what's about to happen to them. Usually all they know is that what they're about to experience is sacred, and they'll walk out in new underwear that they'll then have to wear for the rest of their lives.

My mind reels thinking about it.

So, rather than droning on more, I'm just going to present the video and let y'all have at it. I'm really interested to hear your reactions. Is it weirder than you expected? More boring? Both? What stands out to you? 

UPDATE: As Mike commented below, "This is what Mormons call a "LIVE" session. The movie version of the endowment is a lot easier to hear:" So here it is:

8 thoughts on “The Mormon Temple Ceremony: You Make The Call

  1. Back on episode 58 you were both very critical of David Silverman. I was actually surprised at how judgemental you both came across but rather than trying to tell you my thoughts i think you might find a recent episode of Cognitive Dissonance more interesting. On episode 79 the boys actually questioned him about his tactics and challenged him to justify them. By the end he had convinced them of his intentions and the merit of the activities of American Atheists. Why not listen and give him the opportunity, or even better have him on the show and challenge him yourselves?

    Be well

  2. Very interesting.

    I was an endowed/sealed member in Utah, but I never took the time to go up to a live session.

    I kind of wish now that I had (just for frame of reference).

    I still have my temple clothes, and have always been tempted to make some sort of parody video with them ;)

    • Went through the Manti live session one time in 1990 to get my endowments prior to being married in the temple.

      Totally freaked me the **** out! Absolutely mind numbingly boring until they got to the chanting over prayer packets, freakishly cold old men giving me”the grip” and having some old lady touching me naked under a freakin’ poncho and helping me put on that nasty underwear.

      I can’t watch the videos…25 years later and I still get sick to my stomach. I’m so glad I managed to get OUT instead of continuing to feel guilty that I didn’t have a wonderfully spiritual experience that day.

      P.S. We made our two sons watch the video session…they’d rather have toenails pulled then have to do THAT again. :)

  3. Having Silverman on your show is an excellent idea. I think these irritating AA billboards play an essential role: they stir the pot. I don’t think Martin Luther King would have been so influential if Malcom X weren’t there to punch up the dialog.

  4. I was a little disappointed Dan didn’t go big on the temple name punch line. They teased that Frank’s temple name was a popular deli sandwich; I thought for sure the next thing coming out of Dan’s mouth was going to be Quizno or Jimmy John.

    Love the show and keep it up!

  5. that was the creepiest thing i’ve ever seen… i watched all of it… i especially loved the part where eve swore obedience to Adam… wow… so happy im an atheist

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