In this second episode of the “Matters of Perspective” series, Charles Randall Paul reads his May 2009 Sunstone article, “The Sacred Secret Open to All: Ye Are Gods,” a wonderful exploration about the concerns many people have with the secrecy related to Mormon temples and how Latter-day Saints might do a better job communicating about what goes on there. Drawing on historical sources, Paul demonstrates a reversal in public perspectives about secret/sacred rites that has taken place in the past two centuries—a shift from seeing those who participate in rites such as the Eleusinian mysteries or Freemasonry as highly trustworthy (until this shift one could hardly hold high political office were one not initiated into the rites) to highly suspect. Why has this taken place? And in the case of Mormon temple rituals, can this distrust be reversed with different messaging that better shares what goes on in the LDS temple, especially through contextualizing them as fitting the genre of “ascent literature,” myths and rites that tell the secret sacred story of humankind? Are there ways to better communicate why Latter-day Saints consider temple work as wonderful and affirming for “all” people? Can Mormons re-structure aspects of its temples as sacred centers to make them more welcoming to everyone?
Several aspects of this article were discussed in Mormon Matters episodes 75-76, “Communicating about the Temple.” We encourage you to listen/re-listen to that exceptional episode.
A print version of Paul’s original article can also be accessed and read here.