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The Sacred, the "Secret," and the Sinister in the Latter-day Saint Tradition

TitleThe Sacred, the "Secret," and the Sinister in the Latter-day Saint Tradition
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsBlythe, Christopher James
EditorUrban, Hugh N., and Paul Christophe Johnson
Book TitleThe Routledge Handbook of Religion and Secrecy
KeywordsTemple Endowment; Temple Worship

Many Latter-day Saints would be uncomfortable with the presence of an essay on their tradition in a book on religion and secrecy. While I suspect the vast majority of my co-religionists would be fine with the sort of study I present here, they would likely not be startled but annoyed at the word “secrecy” used to describe their religious practice. Latter-day Saints are well aware of the potentially negative connotations of a “secret” and instead describe those rituals, teachings, and experiences that should only be shared with the utmost care and only in the right contexts as sacred. In contrast to a “secret” where the goal is to conceal it from others, Latter-day Saints reason that they want to share the sacred with all but must only do so when individuals are properly prepared to understand sacred things. In this chapter, I look at how the “sacred” has been discussed and implemented in regards to Latter-day Saint ritual, how esotericism defines interactions with outsiders, and informs Latter-day Saint identity and practice.

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