I’ve been in the church for over a year after having been a pentacostal minister for over 20 years. I love your site. It has answered many questions for me and increased my faith and testimony. However, in my studies I came across two scriptures that I cannot seem to reconcile with LDS doctrine and practices. Matthew 5:33-37 and James 5:12. In light of these scriptures how do we then swear oaths to secrecy concerning Temple activities?
Let’s look at the verses you are looking at first.
33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Then James 5:12:
12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
When Jesus was descending from the top of the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James, and John he told them not to speak of it to anyone until he had ascended to heaven. Why would he do that? More than once Jesus instructed those he healed to keep it to themselves. Why would he do that?
The answers to those questions are the same as the answer to the secrecy about temple ordinances. There’s nothing dark, forbidden, or evil about them. It’s a matter of trust. Whenever we have deeply spiritual experiences, we face a decision to either keep them in our hearts, or go shout it to the world. When Heavenly Father speaks to us, he doesn’t always want us to go telling everyone about it.
Often times, the more significant moments in our lives are for us alone and the ordinances in the temple are part of that. The covenants we make in the temple are a very sacred thing that Heavenly Father wants to keep between him and us. It’s part of the ‘casting pearls before swine’ idea.
Look at how some individuals seek to attack the LDS Church for what is known publicly, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, etc. What do you think they would do if the temple ordinances were publicized?
The ironic thing is that Heavenly Father wants to share the ordinances with the world. However, he wants to do it on a very personal level because he regards each of us individually as a very important son and daughter of his.