Date: October 10, 2018 10:58PM
In what context do the following best fit: secret handshakes, secret names, secret passwords, and gory death penalties for revealing the secrets to outsiders?
Do they best fit in the context of:
(A) A religious ceremony performed before an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful god? A ceremony whose constituent parts contain no actual content other than a movie (formerly a cheezy stage play) showing basic concepts derived from the Book of Abraham and which are no more sacred than the passing of the sacrament in sacrament meetings, as well as the performance of weddings and sealings, the contents of which are widely known anyway.
(B) Initiation rituals of a secret society that actually engages in secret networking, secret giving and taking of favors by and among society members in positions of power (constables, judges, businessmen, politicians, etc.) who, on occasion are required to break or bend the law to do each other favors and advance each other's interests?
I think the latter is the obvious choice. But then my thinking is subject to limitations imposed by logic, common sense and facts. Mormons of course are not subject to such limitations.
The Mormon temple ceremonies/rituals make absolutely no sense in the way that they are currently applied. There is no need for secret/sacred handshakes. Are they secret from God? How could they possibly be misused by outsiders? Could outsiders hope to deceive God by using secret handshakes and names stolen from the Mormon temple? Ludicrous, right?
As the Mormon leaders have themselves proven by gradually subtracting parts previously deemed to have been "restored" from the perfect ancient ritual or otherwise deemed to be "essential," it turns out that there actually was no need for an "oath of vengeance," there was no need for disembowelment and throat slashing "penalty" gestures and there was no need for the "five points of fellowship" mystery-man curtain hugging event.
Similarly, there is no need for a "new name" (especially considering the fact that everyone going through on a particular day gets the same new name. There is no need for the apron, the shower cap, the sash or any of that nonsense.
It made minimal sense when Joseph Smith was initiating selected people into his super secret sex club of plural/spiritual wivery in Nauvoo. To outsiders, they persisted in claiming that nothing of the kind was going on. Inside the club, Joseph was giving his blessing (pretending to be giving God's blessing) to adultery and helping to arrange partner assignments. There was a need for secrecy, hence a need for oaths of secrecy, agreements to accept penalties for violating the oaths, and possibly the use of secret handshakes and secret names to identify themselves to other members when having interactions on the outside.
It is no coincidence that the Nauvoo temple rites, which are the basis of the modern Mormon temple nonsense, were introduced by Joseph Smith shortly after he was himself admitted to a Masonic lodge in Illinois.