SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Amid rumors among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that there were changes made to one of the religion’s most important ceremonies, Church leadership released a statement, but did not address the reported changes made.
The temple endowment ceremony is for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have made covenants to follow the religion’s teachings. Those covenants are made in all LDS temples throughout the world.
Members of the Church typically do not share details of the endowment ceremony. However, the ceremony does consist of a re-enactment of the Fall of Adam and Eve and their banishment from the Garden of Eden as written in the book of Genesis.
Criticism has abounded in recent years of how Eve is portrayed in the temple endowment ceremony – some have called the tone of the program misogynistic.
Temple attendees reported Wednesday that Eve’s role is much more prominent when she and Adam are banished from the Garden and into the world. (Historically, Eve has very few lines following the expulsion; now she reportedly has a monologue).
The Church released a statement Wednesday, but did not make specific mention of the changes.
“Whenever the Lord has had a people on the earth who will obey His word, they have been commanded to build temples. Scriptures document patterns of temple worship from the times of Adam and Eve, Moses, Solomon, Nephi, and others.
With the restoration of the gospel in these latter days, temple worship has also been restored to bless the lives of people across the world and on the other side of the veil as well.
Over these many centuries, details associated with temple work have been adjusted periodically, including language, methods of construction, communication, and record-keeping. Prophets have taught that there will be no end to such adjustments as directed by the Lord to His servants.
A dedicated temple is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Its ordinances are sacred and are not discussed outside a holy temple.”
According to the Church, the “endowment” is one of the most sacred rituals among Latter-day Saints, which includes a representation of the Creation and the Fall of Adam. Members of the Church make sacred promises or “covenants” during the ceremony to listen and follow God’s will.
When a member of the Church is “endowed”- meaning granted more knowledge concerning God’s commandments – they are instructed to wear sacred temple garments under their clothing. The garment represents an outward manifestation of an inward commitment to honor God and to follow His commands.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently released a video on the sacred nature of the temple garment, which has historically drawn criticism – even mockery – from non-members of the Church or from disgruntled former members.
Even though many world religions teach that Eve was the initiator of the Fall of Adam by partaking of the fruit of knowledge, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that Eve “recognized the necessity of the Fall and the joys of redemption.”