Magazine article USA TODAY

Should Mormons Be Feared Because of Their Beliefs

Magazine article USA TODAY

Should Mormons Be Feared Because of Their Beliefs

Article excerpt

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has secretive oaths, covenants, and pledges to death penalties as part of its Temple rituals.

MITT ROMNEY is a longstanding card-carrying 'temple Mormon." Mormon temples are not places of worship; they are closed to the public. Entrance into the Mormon Temple is the utopia to strive for in Mormondom. Anyone who achieves temple status is by no means a casual Mormon. The primary mandate for entrance is to be a consistent tithe payer of 10% of your gross income. Nobody can enter without meeting this requirement.

The Mormon churches are completely different meeting places from the temples. Sunday church services are held in local buildings known as wards or churches. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Temples are closed on Sundays, but open on weekdays. Only the most faithful followers of the Prophet and the Mormon doctrine are allowed to enter. The rituals in the temples--especially the "endowment"--are considered so sacred that individuals are forbidden to discuss them outside the temple itself.

In fact, up until the 1990s, ritual participants were so sworn by oath to secrecy that, if they revealed anything about them, this act would be punishable by death. Here is the exact oath taken in the temple ceremony by participants: "I will now explain the covenant and obligation of secrecy which are associated with this token, its name, sign, and penalty, and which you will be required to take upon yourselves. If I were receiving my own Endowment today, and had been given the name of John as my new name, I would repeat in my mind these words, after making the sign, at the same time representing the execution of the penalty: I, John, covenant that I will never reveal the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. Rather than do so, I would suffer my life to be taken."

Romney regularly attends and participates in these temple ceremonies and rituals that consist of secret handshakes and names, tokens, vows, death oaths, and other bizarre proceedings. There are many websites and books that accurately depict these rituals.

It is important for the reader to know that I am fully familiar with what I speak of. I personally experienced these ceremonies on my wedding day. Let me share what I went through in the Endowment Ceremony and Sealing of my first marriage, though I am not supposed to be alive to do so due to the outrageous oaths that I, as a 19-year-old bride, had to take and endure on what was supposed to be an enchanted day.

On the day of my wedding, I, my husband to be, my mother, lather, and various relatives arrived at the Idaho Falls Mormon temple. We all assembled on the front steps for photographs. When it was time to go inside, most of our friends and relatives were left at the steps, as they were not allowed to enter and witness the ceremony.

Once my future husband and I entered the lobby, I was instructed to walk through an entrance for only women. My fiance, whom we'll refer to as Ted, was led through a separate entrance for men. Once inside the temple, two "temple worker" women led me to a private lockerroom. One pointed to a locker and instructed me to hang my beautiful white velvet wedding dress in it. I did as directed. Due to the secretive nature of the temple, my parents had given no instruction or warning of what was about to take place.

As I stood by my locker, the women brought a bowl of scented water and placed it at my feet. "You need to remove all of your clothing." I was instructed, not asked. For a few seconds I wondered if they were serious. In spite of my embarrassment, questions, shock, and discomfort, I stripped down to my bra, panties, and slip. One of the ladies said again: you must take everything off. My hands were trembling so badly I had some difficulty. The onlookers just watched with what seemed to be a bit of impatience. …

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