Mormon Temple Literalness
The following exchange took place on Eric’s ex-Mormon mailing list.
Dallin Bear writes:
I just realized something last night about th[e literal nature of the LDS temple endowment presentation]. In part of the temple session, Adam asks Peter the “What is this?” question; and Peter answers, “The first token of the AARONIC Priesthood”… . Suddenly the absurdity dawned on me. Aaron was not born for another couple of thousand years. Why would a priesthood be named after him in Adam’s day?
The same goes for when the Lord instructs Peter, James and John to go down and have Adam change the robes on the right side and introduce them to the right side in preparation for the Melchizedek Priesthood. Once again, why would they have a priesthood named after someone who hasn’t even been born yet? Joseph Smith sure didn’t think this one out when he gave Adam and Eve all the tokens and signs and names them after Aaron and Melchizedek–people who weren’t even born for thousands of years. Have any of you heard any theories or explanations from TBMs on this?
Lastly, what about Peter, James and John? They were not even born yet, so that means they are appearing to Adam and Eve as spirit angels. Remember what Joseph Smith said about angels in D&C 129? The spirit angel of a just man will be unable to shake your hand because he has not yet received his body. If he did shake your hand you would not feel anything. So how did Adam feel Peter’s hand when they went through the token motions?
someone else responds:
I could buy all of that as metaphorical, especially in connection with the statement that “this … is strictly figurative, so far as the man and the woman are concerned”. I understand that they’ve taken out that sentence since 1990, which must make it awfully difficult to make sense of it all, if the “figurativeness” of the ceremony is not an option.
What I *can’t* buy, however, is the notion that Joseph Smith restored the endowment ceremony just the way it was practiced in Solomon’s temple. Even when I was at my most believing, I never would have tried to fit New Testament characters into a ritual supposedly taking place in Old Testament times. (Oh, and the Protestant minister, too.) As if!
Dallin Bear replies:
Speaking of Solomon’s Temple brings up another point. The Jews, during Solomon’s time, are living the Mosaic Law–a LESSER law which is not supposed to contain the fullness of the gospel. The whole thing starts falling apart [when you think about it].