The Mormon Secrecy Code

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April 7, 2011
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Question from the box: “I have a mormon friend and he doesnt like to talk about what goes on when he goes to church. Is there a secrecy code or something? Once you are a mormon can you “un-become” a mormon??”

We try to practice the teaching of Christ when he said “hold up your light that it may shine unto the world… I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me.” Most faithful members of our church are more than willing to share their beliefs with any soul who shows even a little interest. Try letting your friend know that you really are curious, and ask specific questions. Hopefully he’ll open up.

We certainly have no secrecy code. That being said, if an experience is very sacred (e.g. temple worship), it “must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit” (D&C 63:64).

Members can be removed from the church in one of two ways. They can request that their names be removed, or they can be ex-communicated. The latter is usually due to willful disobedience of major commandments.

See also: 2 Nephi 26:27-28, Moroni 6:7-8

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11 Responses to “The Mormon Secrecy Code”

  1. Nefi the Mexican

    Asking your friend what goes on at church is a good way to find out what church is like, an even better way is to go with him to church so you can see for your self. If he is too timid or reserve to feel comfortable to go too church with you, you can always find a local church building and the times that services are by going to the following link which also offers a more detail explanation of what church is like.

    http://mormon.org/worship/

    hope this helps

  2. wonderdog

    Dang, this guy needs to invite his friend to church.

  3. cindy

    Aren’t we to witness of our experiences with Christ?  As He said, “Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort ; and in secret have I said nothing. “

  4. Kassie

    I think it is possible this person was talking about what goes on inside a temple, rather than not wanting to talk about what goes on in a ward church service. A regular Sunday church service is open to everyone and there would be no reason your friend wouldn’t want to take you there! In fact I hope he would as we believe in “every member a missionary!” Talking about the temple might make him uncomfortable because we don’t discuss what goes on in the temple with non members. This is not because it is “secret” but rather we consider it so “sacred” we just don’t talk about it willy nilly. EVERYONE can share in the blessings of the temple and what goes on there. You must be worthy, of course, to enter into the temple because it is the closest thing to heaven on earth. That we know to be true. My husband says every time we go (and we TRY to go at least once a month) “every time I go to the temple, it is like a taste of what heaven must be like.” We learn there, we covenant there, we worship there. It is a holy place and therefore not something we “bandy” about to everyone. There are no “secrets” there. Just sacredness……

  5. Cindy

    The original temple was designed as place in which an exclusive, inherited priesthood presided over animal sacrifices (2 Chron), but the sacrifice of Jesus Christ fulfills that need as the scripture says in Hebrews 10, ” Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
    If we accept His sacrifice, He goes on to encourage us to confidently seek God’s presence, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
    Instead, it seems as though you describe a need for us to “become” worthy before entering God’s presence. Paul describes the dangers of trying to establish our own righteousness in Romans 10, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
    Aren’t we to submit to God’s righteousness and accept His gift of a Savior rather than trying to “tidy ourselves up” so that we can be with Him in the temple?

  6. (comment divided into sequential parts)
    Cassie — Wonderful comment!  You really impress me with your evident maturity, insight and faith.
    Honestly, I wish we could discuss a bit more about the mechanics of what happens in the temple, because everything you said applies so perfectly.  There is a talk by Elder Russell M. Nelson in General Conference that I have found very useful on this point:  http://lds.org/general-conference/2001/04/personal-preparation-for-temple-blessings?lang=eng.  He does a great job addressing the topics of covenants, the Atonement, and temple recommends.  His references are also exceptional.
     

  7. (part 2)
    A few of my own thoughts:
    1)  Salvation is a gift by the grace of Christ.  (See 2 Nephi 25:23, Bible Dictionary “Grace” and scriptures referenced therein.  (Go to scriptures.lds.org to look up references.))
    2)  The purpose of Salvation is to help us become as He is so that we can be as happy as possible (i.e. receive a “fullness of joy”).  (“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:48 — Joseph Smith even clarified this to mean “Ye are therefore commanded to be perfect …”)  “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”  (Moses 1:39)  “And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;” (3 Nephi 28:10) and others.)
    3)  We cannot be happy if we are burdened by sin.  “Wickedness never was happiness.”  (Alma 41:10)
    4)  Sin is universal.  (Alma 34:9 and MANY others (It’s starting to take too long to list a good collection of the relevant scriptures.  Elder Nelson has great ones in the talk I referenced above.))
    5)  We cannot overcome sin on our own.  We need the Grace of Christ.  (again Alma 34:9, 2 Nephi 9 and MANY others)
    6)  The Grace of Christ is about more than cleansing from sin.  It is an “enabling power” to make us “new creatures” — becoming more as He is.  (See 2 Corinthians 5:17, Mosiah 3:19 (Sorry, my computer’s being slow, so I can’t get the links up.))
    7)  We access the Grace of Christ through covenants — two-way promises between man and God.  (Baptism is one such covenant — see Mosiah 18:8-11)
    8)  It is far better for someone to refrain from making a covenant than to make one unprepared and because of this, later break the covenant.  (“For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.”  (Doctrine and Covenants 82:3)  See also the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11.  This is also part of why the Savior taught in parables — so that those who were not prepared for the greater, more important knowledge would not understand, but those that were prepared could receive it.  (See Matthew 13:13-16, Luke 8:10, Mark 4:11-12))
    9)  In the temple, we make additional covenants beyond baptism which, like baptism, carry eternal weight.  We also receive teaching which, like the Savior’s parables in the New Testament, also carry eternal weight.  To allow those who are not prepared for this to go inside and make those covenants and receive those teachings would, honestly, be cruel and irresponsible as it would, in most cases, be setting them up for failure.
    A few years ago I taught a beginning Calculus class.  One semester, I had a wonderfully smart and hard-working student sign up for my class.  I was familiar with her and knew she was very dedicated.  However, I also found that she hadn’t had enough background in college algebra.  As I went through the first chapter with the class, her normally bright, happy smile became more and more strained and distressed.  She realized that this was not the class for her.  Fortunately, she decided to transfer into a good college algebra class.  If she had not made this decision on her own, I would have suggested it to her.  Realistically, to allow her to stay in my class would have been cruelty and unfair on my part.  She had to have the proper prerequisites first.  (The story has a happy ending:  Only a semester or so later, I attended her graduation ceremonies where she gave the commencement address as her college’s valedictorian.)
    Heavenly learning similarly has prerequisites.  However, in this case, it is not about what we know, but about what we are able to obey.  For example, in Matthew 19:16-22, the Savior only instructed the young man to “sell that thou hast, and give to the poor” after He had seen that the young man had kept the commandments to “do no murder, … not commit adultery, … not steal, … not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, … love thy neighbor as thyself.”  If the young man had not been able to keep these more basic commandments, there is no way the Savior could have reasonably asked him to give everything he had, but would likely have instructed him to work on the commandment where he was lacking, as He did with the lawyer whose question prompted the Parable of the Good Samaritan — “Go, and do thou likewise.”  (Luke 10:25-37)
    10)  The temple is a place of holiness, and those that enter therein must be holy, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.  This in no way implies that they are perfect, nor does it imply that their holiness is of themselves — indeed all holiness is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  It simply means that they have had the proper prerequisites, including earlier covenants, worked to keep those covenants, and tried live their lives in such a way as to be able to have companionship of the Holy Spirit, as promised on receiving this gift after baptism.
    11)  The temple recommend is a process, commanded by the Lord through revelation to His living prophets, through which it is determined whether or not an individual has the proper prerequisites and is living a life of holiness in such a way as to be able to properly enter the House of the Lord.  It is basically a formal invitation from the Lord to visit Him in His house — the temple.
    12)  It is by this process of continuing holiness “by the blood of Jesus” that we are able to “have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place” which occurs in the temple.  Before Christ, the high priest entered the Most Holy Place only once per year on the Day of Atonement.  Entering this Most Holy Place symbolized returning into the presence of God — essentially “undoing” the Fall of Adam.  As it is only through Christ that this is possible, before Christ came, this was only done symbolically.  The high priest, symbolizing the Savior, would enter the Most Holy Place, symbolizing returning to the presence of God, in anticipation of when the Savior Himself (as the great High Priest — see Hebrews 5:1-10; 9:28) would open the way for everyone to literally return to the presence of God.  After Christ came, the way was open for everyone to enter the Most Holy Place, providing, of course, that they had “confidence [i.e. were made holy] … by the blood of Jesus.”
    This is, in essence, the process of salvation.  In the temple we follow this process symbolically in anticipation of and in preparation for being able to complete it literally.  The sealing of husbands and wives and families is the power to complete this process together as a family.  The proxy work for the dead is simply to help those who have passed on to complete this process for themselves.  This is essentially the work of the temple.  It is wonderful.
    (Sorry for the overly long comment.  I hope it was useful.)
     

  8. (Hmmm…  For some reason, the page didn’t like me linking the scripture references in my comment to the corresponding scriptures at scriptures.lds.org.  Maybe there is a glitch with the link functionality in the comments.  Oh well.)

  9. Kassie

    Bill-thanks for your comment. I was simply trying to simplify the temple covenants. Who said “the Temple is beautifully simple and simply beautiful!” I would recommend that anyone who is not LDS, or has not yet passed their one year waiting period after baptism to tour the inside of a temple before it is dedicated and closed to the public. I guarantee you will feel the Holy Ghost among you as you walk through the beautiful rooms and see the beautiful things found only in our Lord Jesus Christ’s and Heavenly Father’s home!” My children recently got to visit the Nauvoo temple with their grandparents after it was rebuilt in recent years and said it was simply a “marvelous” experience. My 17 yrs old son who was debating about going on a mission and who my husband and I had prayed so fervently for, came back from the trip to Nauvoo and said “That’s it. Mom, I’m going on a mission. The Holy Ghost convicted me within 10 minutes of walkiing into the “House of the Lord.” He is alive and well and in Argentina now on a mission that he says is “changing his life daily!” He has a beautiful bride waiting for him when he returns. And because they are willing to make temple COVENANTS AND PROMISES-BOTH GOD AND THEM-they will continue with our eternal family in our destination-Celestial Kingdom! What a blessing to have the Plan of Happiness! Temples probablhy don’t bring people INTO the Churh, but they sure keep them there if you renew your covenants with fullness of heart. It is a blessing and a priviledge, not a “requirement” or “can’t do” list to me anyway! Blessings!

  10. Cindy

    I have had the chance to visit the Nauvoo temple and while it was certainly beautiful, I struggle with the emphasis the temple places on the making of covenants with God.  While we certainly want to do the will of our Father, are we, with our sinful and imperfect nature, in any position to make promises of any kind to the Holy and Sovereign God?
    In Matthew 5 Jesus reminded us that while the letter of the law called for us to perfectly keep our promises to God, the intent of the law was even greater, in that we should not demean God by making any promises with Him.  He went even further to say that doing so was of the Devil, “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself , but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool : neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be , Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”
     

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