Note: This is a follow-up to this post, which you may want to read first. Clear as mud?
In response to a few other questions about my faith, I posted the following on a forum I visit and thought it might be of interest here as well:
Yes, you are certainly right. The ceremony is for members of the Church who are prepared spiritually for it and it is not discussed outside the temple. I guess when we say, "Sacred," we do also mean private and special.
I liked this article's take on the controversy: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=5803281 As it points out, other religions also have sacred places that non-members are not allowed to go.
And as to Big Love being "sensitive" or "accurate" in its portrayal, it is making a mockery of our beliefs to exploit them for profit. No one in our faith would do such a thing, and we are offended that others are doing it. In the article above, it says: "HBO admits it hopes this season of "Big Love" will stir the pot in an attempt to gain more viewers." That certainly sounds like exploitation to me.
I do appreciate that so many of you are sincerely trying to understand rather than condemn.
Quote from another member of the forum: Like I said before, everyone said those Muslims were SO CRAZY for getting so CRAZY about a picture of Muhammed being drawn and I think this is the basically whats going on here. Someone is "drawing a picture" of their ceremony and they are mad about it. But its just a picture and its only sacred and holy to them.
I respectfully disagree. First, while there are some similarities in the Muslim belief that Mohammed should not be portrayed and our belief that the temple ceremony is only intended for the Lord's house, no one that I know is calling for a holy war, committing acts of terrorism, or even starting flaming wars against HBO. We are simply standing up and saying that we do not agree with what is happening.
And even if these things are sacred and holy only to us, that's still millions of people who feel that way. Isn't there a place for respect for other's beliefs even if you don't understand them?
I've been in lots of Catholic Churches in my life to see the beautiful artwork and paintings on the walls and have always acted with respect and reverence towards those who are there to worship. I do not make the sign of the cross or light a candle when I pray, but I respect those who do and I wouldn't do anything to offend them. All we are asking is the same respect for our beliefs.
The temple is a special place for us, as it was in ancient times. If you read your Bible, you'll find that it was always a place of reverence and a place that was restricted only to believers. Only certain Israelites, for example, were allowed to carry the ark of the covenant.
One of our leaders, Elder David A. Bednar, has said that our temples are places for the highest sacraments of the faith. "Everything in the temple is focused on the Lord Jesus Christ and on our Heavenly Father and the plan of happiness which He provided for us. Everything in the temple is ennobling and uplifting and edifying. There's a great peace in the temple."
Central to our practice is the belief that God communes with man today, both through the Holy Ghost and through modern prophets called the same way as Noah, Isaiah, and Peter were. When we go to the temple, we go to be taught by the Lord and to ponder on His plan for our lives.
When you take our worship out of the context of the temple and the way we feel about our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ, you are dishonoring our worship and making a mockery of what we believe. Doing so "merely" for entertainment purposes, to me, is like the moneychangers outside the temple in Christ's day. Jesus himself was offended and overturned the tables, "And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them." Matthew 21:12-14
We believe that the temple is the House of the Lord. On every temple is written the words "Holiness to the Lord. The House of the Lord." You may not agree with us, but please respect that our beliefs are sincere and deeply felt.
edited to add:
To read more about this issue, here are two articles about this subject that I enjoyed:
Letters Better Off Not Sent by Orson Scott Card
Is Something Sacred? by Terrance D. Olson
And here is a short video from my Church entitled Why We Build Temples: