A common question I have received from people online is “Why is the Mormon temple secret?” Many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would in turn respond, “It’s sacred, not secret.”
I might offer a different point of view–the Mormon temple ceremony could be considered both sacred and secret.
Why are the Mormon temple ceremonies sacred?
In the temple, members of the Mormon Church make some of the most important promises to God to follow His commandments. In addition, the wedding ceremony between husband and wife takes place within the walls of the temple. These and the other temple ordinances are therefore considered to be very sacred to those who participate in them.
But why the “secrecy”? Why don’t members of the Church talk about these ceremonies much outside of the temple?
To these questions, I would respond with a couple questions of my own. Are there certain events in your life which are too personal or special to share? Perhaps there are experiences that you don’t typically share with others because you doubt they can understand why they are so important to you? The same applies to how Mormons feel about the sacredness of the temple experiences.
Is there a Biblical precedent for the “sacred and secret” reasoning?
Yes–consider the Mount of Transfiguration discussed in Matthew 17. Jesus was accompanied by Peter, James and John to a high mountain. There, they witnessed some incredibly sacred events. Jesus was transfigured before them and spoke with Moses and Elijah. God’s voice from heaven confirmed Jesus’ divinity: “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Matthew 17:9 describes Jesus’ instructions to the apostles to keep these things secret:
And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
Just as Jesus counseled His apostles to keep these sacred experiences to themselves, so too are Mormon members counseled to not talk lightly about the sacred temple experience.
Most importantly, it’s important to remember that Mormons invite everybody to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ and be baptized. We want all to experience the temple ordinances and the blessings they bring.