The endowment is a stone of stumbling for most Mormons. Before penalties and blood oaths and the preacher character were removed, it was a chilling and anti-Christian experience. Now that they're gone, the signs that still refer to ritual throat slitting and disembowelment are still there, but no one knows what they mean anymore, since the actual penalty words were removed. The cupped hands are supposed to represent the catching of entrails. The extended thumb signifies an edged weapon used to kill those who reveal the signs and tokens. Divorced of context, the temple has gone from a terrifying experience to one that is merely confusing.
Since we know for a fact that the masonic rituals upon which the endowment is based originated in the late medieval craft guilds, not with King Solomon, there is no need to continue to preserve masonic elements in the temple. Modern Mormons tend not to be Masons, so there is no longer any cultural connection that allows Mormons to feel comfortable with such rituals.
So how could the church make the endowment a more comfortable, edifying and less troubling experience for the members?1) Drop the Adam and Eve stuff, and instead focus on Jesus and his mission
I remember being disappointed that the whole focus of the temple was Adam & Eve. I wanted it to be about Christ. Christ should be the center of the pinnacle of the Mormon worship experience, not a couple of naked yahoos in the jungle.
2) Drop the masonic signs, tokens, key words
They have no connection to ancient Judaism or ancient Christianity. They have no business in a church claiming to be a restoration of the latter.3) Instead of covenanting to serve the church, covenant to serve God
I don't know about you, but when I first went through, and heard the following, my heart sank:
"that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints..."
I wanted to pledge myself to God, not to a church.4) Cut it down to 45 minutes
The first half hour is fine. It gets awfully tedious after that, when it's your fifth, 10th or 50th time through.5) Ditch the funny outfits
Every unendowed member has heard that strange, cultish things go on in the temple. These outfits do nothing to contradict that notion. They scared the bejesus out of me when I saw everyone wearing them:6) Let everyone know what they're in for before hand.
People have a right to know what to expect.7) Drop the entrance fee
It doesn't matter that the money changers have moved off site. Requiring the paying of tithing for temple use is a slap in the face of Jesus
Feel free to post your own.
Parley P. Pratt wrote:
We must lie to support brother Joseph, it is our duty to do so.
B.R. McConkie, © Intellectual Reserve wrote:
There are those who say that revealed religion and organic evolution can be harmonized. This is both false and devilish.