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Zeitgeist

Veil between the living and the dead

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Am starting a new thread from the ruins of an older thread about photocopiers that veered way off topic.

It's about a book called A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life by Clark L. and Kathryn H. Kidd. It would be hard to exaggerate how useful and wonderful this book is. But there was one section that troubles me. Here it is (p. 259):

"There is no greater feeling than finding an ancestor's name through genealogical research, then taking that name to the temple and performing the ordinances on his behalf. Many times, people who attend the temple report that they feel the presence of the person who is being served. The veil between the living the dead is thin in the temple, and the person whose work is being done often manages to convey a sense of gratitude to the person who is serving as proxy. The work done in temples is of great importance to those who have gone before us, and many Church members will tell you of great spiritual experiences they have had while performing genealogy and temple work."

If you grew up in the Church, you may be nodding agreeably as you read this. But I did not grow up in the Church, and this passage strikes me as scary and unfamiliar. I wouldn't go as far as using words like "creepy" or "séance," but the passage feels to me like a tiny first step in that direction. It's enough to make me uncomfortable with the whole idea of temple work. Maybe I'm hanging on to parts of the Old Testament that clearly condemn "consulting the dead," as the NIV calls it (Deuteronomy 18:11).

Are you comfortable with the way the Kidds describe this? I was going to give this book to the rest of my family because they ask me about the LDS Church now and then, but if they read the section above they would totally freak out.

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Am starting a new thread from the ruins of an older thread about photocopiers that veered way off topic.

It's about a book called A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life by Clark L. and Kathryn H. Kidd. It would be hard to exaggerate how useful and wonderful this book is. But there was one section that troubles me. Here it is (p. 259):

"There is no greater feeling than finding an ancestor's name through genealogical research, then taking that name to the temple and performing the ordinances on his behalf. Many times, people who attend the temple report that they feel the presence of the person who is being served. The veil between the living the dead is thin in the temple, and the person whose work is being done often manages to convey a sense of gratitude to the person who is serving as proxy. The work done in temples is of great importance to those who have gone before us, and many Church members will tell you of great spiritual experiences they have had while performing genealogy and temple work."

If you grew up in the Church, you may be nodding agreeably as you read this. But I did not grow up in the Church, and this passage strikes me as scary and unfamiliar. I wouldn't go as far as using words like "creepy" or "séance," but the passage feels to me like a tiny first step in that direction. It's enough to make me uncomfortable with the whole idea of temple work. Maybe I'm hanging on to parts of the Old Testament that clearly condemn "consulting the dead," as the NIV calls it (Deuteronomy 18:11).

Are you comfortable with the way the Kidds describe this? I was going to give this book to the rest of my family because they ask me about the LDS Church now and then, but if they read the section above they would totally freak out.

Yes, I suppose I'm comfortable with it, but probably only because I've heard such expressions all of my life. We don't "commune with the dead" in the LDS Church, but many families have stories of dream visits from deceased family members. We certainly do believe that our beloved familiy members who have died are still spiritually alive and conscious, and are engaged in the work of the kingdom in some capacity. We look forward with anticipation to a joyful post-mortal reunion.

I do understand your feelings. All I can really say is to remember that we don't commune with the dead or invoke dead spirits to come talk with us or any such thing. (And personally, I'm not aware that I have ever felt such impressions from the spirits of those who have died. I doubt it's a common thing.)

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I, personally, am comfortable with the way the Kidds describe this except for the last sentence that "Church members will tell you of great spiritual experiences..." I served in the temple, as a veil worker, for a few months and during those months experiences were shared with a caveat that they weren't to be shared outside of the temple walls.

My experience, when people experience these great experiences they are not so quick to share them, unless they are guided by the spirit.

In relation to "consulting the dead" the scriptures inform us of a very different type of consulting -- without the priesthood of God. Remember, Joseph Smith was visited and consulted with prophets who lived, died and were resurrected. After the Lord was risen from the dead, he consulted with the living -- his twelve apostles and others.

In the temple there is no charming, no divination to speak with spirits, no sorcery, necromancy or wizardry. What is accomplished within the temple is performed by the priesthood, and if through the service of the priesthood and its ordinances, the veil becomes thin -- this is within the bounds the Lord already predicated ( D&C 130: 18 - 19 ).

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I am comfortable with the words used by the Kidds. And I agree with LM's and Anddenex's comments.

We don't sit down and have conversations with deceased relatives. Far from it. Because of the sacred nature of spiritual experiences in the temple and surround family history work, rarely are the experiences discussed openly. We lose the sacredness when we talk about something so often it becomes common.

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Lets talk Deuteronomy 18... In it the Lord is warning against putting our trust in any thing but him. Thus all the soothsayers, witches, wizards, charmers... even false prophets are very bad things and if you follow them. The LDS believe this strongly.

It also says that the Lord will have his real and true prophets that will guide us to the correct things we need to do and we should listen to the true servants of God. The LDS believe this strongly as well.

We also believe that we have living prophets today. These prophets have taught us that we can expand our efforts of Christan Charity to those that die without a knowledge of Christ or his word. This we do by finding out who they were and then performing a baptism on there behalf (we also believe that other ordinances are required but I use baptism because we have that in common with most Christan faiths)

Thus we answer the question Isaiah asks in 8:19

19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

We answer with a very solid yes. We are not those that are seeking those that have familiar spirits or wizards that peep and mutter... We are seeking unto our God for the living to the dead.

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I love this subject, and I love how such notions of feeling the presence of, being near to, departed loved ones are indeed a part of LDS belief.

From the Gospel Principles manual, Chapter 41, the Postmoral Spirit World

Where Is the Postmortal Spirit World?

Latter-day prophets have said that the spirits of those who have died are not far from us. President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Sometimes the veil between this life and the life beyond becomes very thin. Our loved ones who have passed on are not far from us” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1971, 18; or Ensign, June 1971, 33). President Brigham Young taught that the postmortal spirit world is on the earth, around us (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 279).

Such a great topic to discuss a week before Halloween! I see so little resemblance between the holiday, the activities we engage in, and anything religious. It's nice to think about what we actually do believe about the topic, before I stick my kid in her bat costume and we go out trunk-or-treating.

Edited by Loudmouth_Mormon

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Am starting a new thread from the ruins of an older thread about photocopiers that veered way off topic.

It's about a book called A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life by Clark L. and Kathryn H. Kidd. It would be hard to exaggerate how useful and wonderful this book is. But there was one section that troubles me. Here it is (p. 259):

"There is no greater feeling than finding an ancestor's name through genealogical research, then taking that name to the temple and performing the ordinances on his behalf. Many times, people who attend the temple report that they feel the presence of the person who is being served. The veil between the living the dead is thin in the temple, and the person whose work is being done often manages to convey a sense of gratitude to the person who is serving as proxy. The work done in temples is of great importance to those who have gone before us, and many Church members will tell you of great spiritual experiences they have had while performing genealogy and temple work."

If you grew up in the Church, you may be nodding agreeably as you read this. But I did not grow up in the Church, and this passage strikes me as scary and unfamiliar. I wouldn't go as far as using words like "creepy" or "séance," but the passage feels to me like a tiny first step in that direction. It's enough to make me uncomfortable with the whole idea of temple work. Maybe I'm hanging on to parts of the Old Testament that clearly condemn "consulting the dead," as the NIV calls it (Deuteronomy 18:11).

Are you comfortable with the way the Kidds describe this? I was going to give this book to the rest of my family because they ask me about the LDS Church now and then, but if they read the section above they would totally freak out.

I did not grow up in the church and I find nothing scary nor troubling about this.

Why let one passage in one book distress you? If you are looking to return to the church, why not focus on the positive? You seem to be focusing on the things you disagree with or that you don't understand. The understanding will come with time and faith.

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I can understand your feelings of concern. After all, many people who have professed to see the dead (I see dead people) or speak to the dead have been committed to an asylum and if you see a psychiatrist the ask if you've ever "seen things that are not there". Answering that in the positive again could land you in the insane asylum. However, the insane and the LDS are not the only two groups to have seen the dead.

My inlaws are not LDS but a few years ago the matriarch passed away suddenly in a horrific car accident. The daughter saw her many times in the year that followed both in dreams and while awake and the son also saw her. This had nothing to do with temple work and they are not insane.

IMO the dead are active and, although I don't know the specific reasons nor why or how, they do reach through the barrier at times. In my case it has only happened in the temple but that's not to say it's the only place it can or will happen.

If this passage causes concern, perhaps you could do some research to discover stories from others who have been visited. To me this is not the same as conjuring them up to ask where the family gold is hidden or asking them to possess someone's body.

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I wouldn't go as far as using words like "creepy" or "séance," but the passage feels to me like a tiny first step in that direction.

All I can really say is to remember that we don't commune with the dead or invoke dead spirits to come talk with us or any such thing. (And personally, I'm not aware that I have ever felt such impressions from the spirits of those who have died. I doubt it's a common thing.)

These type of stories about the L.D.S. Temples promote articles such as "Lds Temple Haunted? Did Declaration of Independence signers appear as ghosts to leader? [Vanity]." They are what I refer to as faith promoting stories. The truth will never be known.

We do not understand who or what spirits are in relationship to the larger picture. People place spirits in a "pigeonhole" of their own understanding without any knowledge of the reality.

There is nothing creepy about spirits, good or evil. Truth will surprise all us. Simply because we do not understand what is on the other side of our mortal existence does the idea of spirits scare us.

Before the War in Heaven we all got along (there was no war, then there is war). The spirits that took sides with Lucifer could have been our neighbors in heaven. Civil War breaks out and everyone takes sides making other the side the enemy. Sound familiar?

The sad part is that both sides simply have a different point of view about an event that caused the difficulty.

In the case of Lucifer rebelling against G_d, the Father, because he could not receive Jesus inheritance, promoted him and his followers to a means to help fulfill the covenant that G_d, The Father, made to the house of Israel. Something far more complex then a simple Civil War.

At the Council in Heaven I saw the side that the purpose of the earths creation as being for G_d to fulfill his promises (covenants) to the righteous of the house of Israel. I took G_d, the Father, and Jesus side of the issue while in the Council of Heaven.

I am not saying one should go practice evil because his friend in heaven did. But closing ones mind to the understanding that there is a living community beyond our present condition as mortals really presents a one sided point of view. It negates the belief in God to an extreme.

As an individual with an understanding that there is a pre-mortal and post-mortal existence I can say that the statement that is made by Kathryn H. Kidd may or may not be true.

The difficulty with the "Many times, people who attend the temple report that they feel the presence of the person who is being served" (Kathryn H. Kidd).

I can tell you that people who, have and have not, had bodies, both good and evil spirits are here upon the earth. I agree with Vort, it is not common (very rare) for mortals to experience someones presents from the other side of the veil.

Are members of the L.D.S. Church wanting to "feel" the presence of someone when they attend the Temple? Are they looking for comfort in doing so?

I did genealogy at the Family History Library in Salt lake City for 16 years. I spent a many years of my time there as a Library volunteer. I have heard lots of stories that may or may not be true.

Everything that we do in society presents the idea of "ghosts" as being an entertainment value (the fun of scaring someone/people in some way or a scary movie that scares someone/people). The therapist tells someone that he/she need more drugs because of a paranormal experience. This, of course, will marginalize the true nature and meaning of the world beyond our current condition as mortals. We speculate about life on the "other side" so that we can console ourself and others.

However, we do not know what happens after life. People place restrictions on what life (pre-mortal, mortal, and post-mortal) is in relationship to the big picture. If Jesus, who is a dead mortal, comes to visit everyone will run for the hills. He should scare them into having heart attacks.

However, we have been numbed to the fact of life before birth and after death. If Jesus were to come and walk among us we would lock him up. Simply because he would not be within our pre-conceived idea of how events should occur before his physical presents. Of course prophecy must be fulfilled. But what would keep him from visiting, simply to visit?

I have had many a experience with people from the other side of our dual existence. Of course, if we believe in a God, we understand that we are both mortal and spirit. Why is it hard to put together that there are people that we can see without bodies (those who have had bodies, now dead - those that never had bodies, angels and Lucifers followers alike)? My experience with "people" from the other side is not within my capacity to have control over. In other words, I do not choose to make their presents known to me. And how or why they make themselves known to me is something I do not understand.

People can point fingers at someone that is open about their paranormal experience. However, this is why people do not share their own paranormal experience with others. I believe in life before birth and life after death. To deny one or both disregards that God created us. Jesus was not born, was not resurrected, nor can he return without an understanding that life is eternal. Mortality is simply birth and death of the moral body. Why do we limit ourselves to the now? Why restrict ourselves to our mortal understanding of a world beyond us that we do not understand?

Because I have not gone though the L.D.S. Temple. I get a statement from members of the L.D.S. Church that some how one needs to go through the L.D.S. Temple to experience people's presents beyond the veil. This statement is not made by a very informed group of people. The idea of paranormal experience being given to an exclusive group is hmmmm ... beyond me.

I do not share, in anyway, my paranormal experience with people of other faiths. They are numbed to believe that paranormal experience are of evil spirits (at least in my understanding, as it appears they tell me of their belief, which very conditional).

The sad part of both L.D.S. church members and non-L.D.S church members is that neither party understands what evil is here upon the earth. Evil is practiced by mortals and we think in restrictions as to how that evil is be practiced.

It will surprise all us when we arrive at the moment of understanding of true pre-mortal, mortal and post-mortal existence, and how evil is practiced in our lives from both sides of the veil and by whom it is practiced.

Edited by Speakzeasy

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I'm a fairly recent convert. I can't go into details, but when I did my endowments I had absolute 'spiritual' proof that a close relative was with me and approved of my becoming fully Mormon. I have since had another experience in the temple that confirms for me that I am on the right track. I am glad to have these feelings and experiences as the temple, of all places, is the place to think of our connection to our families.

I don't see these experiences as the same as 'consulting with the dead.' It's not a Ouija board.

Edited by dahlia
clarity

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In my 44 years in the church I have heard of stories of temple experiences, but I have never had any to speak of. I have had many outside though. I was also visited by three members of my family who passed many years ago and know they pay attention to the goings on in our lives.

Dahlia said it well for me.

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I believe the difference lies in the fact that we cannot contact anyone that has passed on through death - BUT - and this is a most important difference and "But" - we can be contacted by someone that has passed on. It is obvious to me (through my own experience) that we cannot possess any special ability to facilitate or guarantee such experience but whatever it is that brings such experience is completely outside of what we are capable of.

I believe that what scripture warns us against is the effort to initiate contact or to think that someone has some unique ability to contact those that have passed on.

I once spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness thinking to obtain a visit by some divine being - though the experience was of great personal value and of great spiritual value throughout my life - I was not able to bring about an actual visitation. Years later I would learn that I cannot have any control over such things.

The Traveler

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I've done baptisms for the dead and unfortunately, I haven't yet had the experience of "communicating" with my relatives. Although, I do feel that peace of confirmation from the spirit that I did the right thing.

But yes, I don't think the account in the book is creepy at all. I mean, I don't see Joseph Smith visited by dead people as creepy, so this is just par for the course.

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Update: A few days have passed since I asked the original question. Thanks to everyone to replied. The story took an interesting turn today.

I went to a wedding this afternoon. The couple had met on an Oct 31st some years ago, and they wanted their wedding to be on Oct 31st, even though it was Halloween. It was a very religious Protestant service and it was magnificent.

At the end, the minister noted that today was Halloween and said that on this day "the veil between the living and the dead is thin" and that "the presence of those who have gone before us is with us right now and I can feel their joy at the marriage of --- and ---."

So perhaps the LDS thinking about this veil isn't so scary and unfamiliar after all. ZG

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