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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Insight for LDS Historians, May 25, 2011
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This review is from: Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History (Hardcover)
This book gathers together an amazing collection of personal correspondence between LDS Church leaders, from Brigham Young to today, on the LDS temple - ordinances, protocols, changes, etc. There are wonderful historical insights, surprising developments, and an insider's look at the development of LDS temple theology. Highly recommended for anyone interested in real LDS history. The documents speak for themselves as there is virtually no intrusion or commentary by the author/editor, however this requires that the reader have some basic understandings of LDS personalities and events to keep things in their historical and theological perspective. The perfect antidote for folks tired of the sanitized histories usually available from the LDS faithful, or the overly sensationalized histories told by LDS detractors.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 22, 2011 10:32:51 PM PDT
J. Jensen says:
As a Latter-day Saint, I have always been interested in the history and evolution of the endowment. I am wondering whether this book is able to provide that history with respect to the specific portions of the endowment considered sacred to Latter-day Saints. I recognize there is a line between presentation and specific sacred content, whereas some members view both as the same and avoid a conversation of presentation at the risk of delving into the sacred. How do you feel this book treated the sacred nature of the ordinances? Did it discuss their history without inappropriate revelations of specific content? Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2011 10:37:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 22, 2011 10:46:22 PM PDT
Bill McGee says:
The sacred elements of the temple ceremony are always treated with respect. The editor makes it clear that he draws the line at anything that would sensationalize the temple, and actually omits specific references to ceremony elements deemed too sacred by LDS members. However, he includes more than some members may be comfortable with, but there are other books, like the one by Elder Packer, that are pretty explicit as well, so he is in good company. The line is a bit ambiguous, as some elements need to be looked at to understand how thise ceremonies have evolved, but in my opinion the editor manages to strike a reasonable balance between historical accuracy and sensitive treatment of the sacredness of the temple.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2011 11:04:58 PM PDT
J. Jensen says:
Thank you for your swift response! Your comments have been helpful. I am a history teacher and avid Church history hobbyist, and have always enjoyed studying elements of LDS history related to the development of worship and faith, including the evolution of the temple endowment. I recognize that though the presentation has been altered significantly since being given in that upper floor of the red brick store in Nauvoo, the important saving aspects of its revealed knowledge have remained constant. A study of certain Jewish and other historical texts offer explicit descriptions of rituals in other religions similar to those performed by Latter-day Saints. While some may see this as a distraction or even a destroyer of their faith, it only increases my testimony in the fact that Mormons don't have a monopoly on revealed truth, and certain truthes have been preserved in other faiths. I am leaning towards purchasing this book based on your comments. Though the editor had his troubles with the Church in the 1990s following his graduation from the University of Utah, it does not appear he published these books as a quest to settle a personal score with the Church. I cherish the temple endowment and the role it has played in my life for many years. It is because of my love of and faith in the endowment that I seek to deepen my understanding of it through studying its history and evolution. I do not have questions and doubts, merely faith and desire to understand more. In sharing this I hope you are better able to ascertain whether this book will harmonize with my desires or warn me if it is not designed for someone of my background and inclinations. I know the editor spoke this year at a group of ex-Mormons (the Post Mormon group), but am hoping his audience in that presentation was not also the intended audience for his book. If so, it is not for me, though it appears that may not be the case. Thank you for your review, comments, and assisstance in helping me gauge my receptiveness to the thesis of this work.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 23, 2011 6:11:51 AM PDT
Bill McGee says:
I think you will like it. I also think you will like similar books I can highly recommend. One is entitled 'The Quorum of the Anointed,' and the other is 'The Mysteries of Godliness.' The first is an account of the months leading up to the opening of the Nauvoo Temple when the endowment was first being practiced in secret, and the second looks more at the ritual itself. Both of them are history oriented and treat the temple with insight, professionalism, and respect.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 23, 2011 7:18:33 AM PDT
J. Jensen says:
Have you read Devery Anderson's other work, "The Nauvoo Endowment Companies?" That one sounds interesting as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 23, 2011 7:39:44 AM PDT
Bill McGee says:
Yes, I have read it. It fits chronologically in between the Quorum of the Anointed and the Development of LDS Temple Worship books. It is the driest of the three. It provides interesting details on how the temple operated and how some of the ordinances worked, but it also contains just long lists of names of everyone who went through the temple before leaving Nauvoo. But if you're going to look at this whole thing it is probably valuable.

I also like the Mysteries of Godliness book because it takes all of the raw historical data and journal entries from the Quorum, Nauvoo Endowment, and Development 'trilogy' and wraps an interesting historical narrative around them, combined with additional research and information.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 23, 2011 7:44:51 AM PDT
J. Jensen says:
Thanks for your assistance. I just purchased a copy of "The Mysteries of Godliness" thanks to its cheaper, paperback price. I have added all the other 3 to my Wish List and with an upcoming birthday and Christmas am hoping to unwrap some enlightening and interesting reading courtesy of my wife! Thanks again.
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