Should ex-Mormons keep their temple oaths?

I say not. It was made under false pretenses. Here is a good discussion of that by an ex-Mormon:

A Christian’s word should be their bond…their word was given freely.

That’s actually questionable. It was done under the threat that if you didn’t take the oath your family would be taken from you in the next life and you would be damned in eternity.

I want you to know that I really do admire your truly Christ-like approach as you give your insights into this kind of question. As one concerned about seeking to follow Christ in both word and deed, thank you with all of my heart. I agree with you 100%.

If one were sworn to visit a Buddhist shrine weekly, should he still do that? How about a Black Mass?

I suspect the real reason Mormons don’t want their temple ceremonies made public is that it would hurt their missionary outreach. Of course the real reason the ceremonies were made secret was to hide Joseph Smith’s plural marriages and those of others that followed.

Friends do not believe in performing oaths. Each individual Friend must live in the truth. Our words are our bond. Friends seek to speak the truth without an oath to back it up…an oath would seem to indicate our word could not be trusted unless it was accompanied by an oath.

I would let that Friend who left those faith traditions make up their minds concerning such matters…I would assume that the Friend would believe the Light Within was guiding them from these issues…if they had given their word that they would not share what went on in these groups…they and they alone must make that decision.

Before I became a Friend, I “vowed” to serve my country in the military when I came of age…as I moved toward “convincement”, I found I was not able to follow that promise and serve in the military…did I break my word? Yes. I will bear that responsibility.

In many ways, I consider a Mormons oath to not reveal what is sacred to those who would make light of it very similar to the “seal of the confessional” for Catholic priests…whether I agree with it or not is not my issue…I was asked my opinion…a Christian’s word should be their bond.

I wrote a reply but changed my mind half way through writing it.

Given the circumstances, and the fact that it took the form of a covenent and not just an oath, I’d say he was released from it.

If it had been a simple oath I’d say it is still binding.

I am an ex-mormon who used to attend the temple regularly and made a covenant not to reveal the content of temple rites. I choose not to discuss this content out of respect for the beliefs of my former fellow church members. Bu I do not believe that revealing something is a violation of the covenant I was supposed to have made with God, since in the end it turned out that God wasn’t there in the first place to hear me make my covenant with him to keep silent on the sacred things of Mormonism. I was the only party to the covenant. Since God is not the author of nor part of LDS temple rites, God was not a party to my covenant-making in the temple. I’d say, in that regard, the covenant wasn’t valid in the first place since the assumptions underpinning its validity were in error.


I’ve no idea what promises or undertakings are involved but on the assumption that no evil is promoted your stance seems to me to be sensible and honorable. I was wondering if you now consider with hindsight that the covenants or oaths you made when you were a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints were made “under false pretenses,” which is how the Original Poster evidently sees it.


If there are false pretenses, they were made by Joseph Smith, who made the whole thing up. I don’t pretend to know his motivations, but it could be he really believed he was receiving visions when he wasn’t. So maybe false pretenses is a bit strong. This kind of thing is a common occurrence historically across all religious traditions, and I’m willing to be charitable and accept the possibility that Joseph truly believed he was doing the right thing (even when, objectively, he wasn’t). It’s my belief that the people who officiated at the temple the day I received my own endowment (that’s when I made those promises and covenants) were good and honorable people who really believed they were doing what God wanted them to do. The same goes for my parents and church teachers who prepared me for the temple. Everyone thought they were doing the right thing. I guess I equate my temple covenants with anyone raised in a different tradition who converts to Christianity. If I promise Allah and my parents to always remain Muslim, can I be accused of breaking a promise and violating a covenant if I convert to Catholicism? The answer is yes only if Islam is true. The same is true of Mormonism and temple covenants. Since neither tradition is true, violating promises and covenants made under false assumptions of that tradition’s truthfulness do not merit any kind of consequence, IMO. In fact, IMO making such a choice to break a promise in order to adhere to the truth is a morally valid choice. What would God say to someone to whom Jesus says “Come, follow me” and that person says “sorry, Jesus, I promised Ganesh and my mom to always remain a Hindu.” Well, since Ganesh doesn’t exist, the promise to the elephant God was an empty promise and there are no consequences for breaking my oath; but it would still be uncharitable to run around talking about mom’s practices at her home altar to those who are clueless about Hinduism and might mock her beliefs. I view Mormon temple rituals the exact same way.



I’d say the question is moot. If an ex-Mormon keeps his Temple promises, he’ll stand alone. All the Mormon Temple ceremony versions have been in circulation, and are on the Internet now.

My husband and I (along with our whole family) were excommunicated from the Mormon Church, thereby releasing us from any ordinances and/or oaths. We are now truly and completely Catholic, and our faith totally resides in the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

May the Lord be praised.

This is not the point. Since mormons hold the temple endowment and covenants sacred and if a mormon promises to keep such endowments or convenants sacred, whether he or she becomes an exmormon is a moot point.

Nothing is sacred to the internet. All is known. But religions should honor what is sacred to other religions. Would you go to India and intentionally kill a cow? Or would you go into an indian american burial ground and commit acts that the Native Americans would consider to be blasphemous?

But what are they protecting by silence, and what are they harming by talking? Nada. The cow is already on the loose.

I don’t think that excommunication would release anyone from breaking oaths or covenants that are considered sacred. An excommunicated member is always welcomed back with open arms in the lds faith. In fact, it is encouraged to return to the fold.

Likewise if a catholic priest converts to mormonism would you expect him to honor the catholic confessional? I think so.

Mormons make a LOT of promises. To tithe. To obey the word of wisdom. They send their kids on missions, and vow to consecrate their increase to the building up of the church. Just leaving breaks a lot of promises. The Catholic confessional involves genuinely private confidences that could embarass an individual. The Mormon Temple is a shared even. Even they concede that it’s not secret, just sacred.

To paraphrase: Nothing is sacred to Mormons. All is known. Mormons do not honor what is sacred to other religions. Would you go to a Catholic Church and ______ on an altar? Or would you write a “history” of Native Americans that they consider to be blasphemous, offending them and the spirits of their ancestors? Would you mock the “spiritual eye” of Hindus, and put them on the same low level as Native Americans because they call themselves “Indians”? Would you offend Masons by appropriating their rituals? Would you offend Catholics by offering a parody of their own religion and beliefs?

I, personally, would not divulge temple rituals, except for those sections that encourage Mormons to victimize others. Mormonism is wierd enough that one need not expose the wierdness in those rituals.

It has nothing to do with actions intended to offend or harm anybody. In ancient Greece, there were lesser mysteries for which the penalty for divulging them was death, and the greater mysteries that were not protected by any law, because if you weren’t worthy you wouldn’t understand what you were told anyway.

In Mormonism, all sorts of people go through the Temple. Some are brought to tears at the thought of how much their Heavenly Father loves them. A few are grossed out. Others do it over and over out of a desire to provide vicarious ordinances for the dead, probably not feeling very much themselves.

The big secret is: it’s not the gestures, the words, the ritual that does the “magic” - anything numinous happens between the individual and God. That’s why the ordinances of the Temple can change over time and still be valid (yes they do!!!), as can the sacred garments (that everybody knows about) and the method of ordaining men to various priesthood ranks, etc.

Why were you excommunicated?


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