Jabberwocky for 2003 October 10 (entry 0)

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: I am reading the Dictionary of Symbolism. The author explores the symbolism of Freemasonry -- and every other symbol he can reach, from our cultural context and others-- explicitly and deeply.

Now, I have always heard that Joseph Smith "copied" the temple ceremonies from Masonic rites. I can live with that because I think that symbolism really is archetypical and has widespread meaning. It's very possible that Masonry is a corrupted remnant of an ancient temple ceremony. As we believe, Joseph Smith restored the teachings of the gospel; he didn't make them up.

Here's the problem I am contemplating. The temple symbolisms are archetypical and "universal"--but only to our culture. What happens when folks of another culture attend the temple? They haven't been steeped in the same symbolic values we have. Orientals, for example, don't feel the same way we do about squares, directness, exactness. On a psychological level, an Oriental is not going to have the same experience as an American or a Western European. The learning will not happen in the same way. Then what? This is a problem a worldwide church will need to address.

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Contact: Frances Whitney