Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Big Show

There is a television series on HBO about a fundamentalist Mormon family. The husband is married to several women. You know, I never really got the whole polygamy thing. Hen-pecking in stereo and an inordinate amount of money spent on viagra.

At any rate, there is an episode coming out soon (or perhaps it has already aired) where there is a temple marriage portrayed. There are two problems with this. First, fundamentalist Mormons are not allowed in the LDS temple. Only "true Mormons" are allowed in the temple so the show is factually in error. I can appreciate how a Latter-Day Saint would be concerned about this sending the wrong message to the masses. They have made it very clear that they do not practice polygamy. If one of their number is caught practicing polygamy they are excommunicated. Excommunication is a huge deal for a Saint because the LDS church is the only game in town. They cannot become a god if they are disfellowshipped.

The second problem is that the temple ceremonies-for example, weddings-are a closely guarded secret of Mormons. They solemnly vow to not reveal what goes on inside to anyone. I believe the penalty for violation is death (though I do not think anyone would actually be killed if they did reveal the secrets). LDS bloggers are all up in arms at the sacrilege.

They would say that the temple ceremonies are not so much secret as they are sacred. The Gentiles (and even some LDS people) are not clean enough to enter the holy site. It seems to me, however, that the real reason they don't want you to know what is going on in there has more to do with public relations than with sanctity.

I have heard from former Mormons that a lot of strange things go on inside there. In the endowment ceremony, people are asked to swear allegiance to the oaths they are about to make without even knowing what the oaths are! They can leave only at this point but there is tremendous peer pressure not to. After that they are stuck.

At any rate, it will be interesting to see how accurate the sealing ceremony is portrayed on Big Love once it finds its way to you tube.

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