Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The temple - re-enacting myth

Robert Segal's explanation of Mircea Eliade's approach to myth strikes me as particularly applicable to Mormons' motives for enacting the endowment ceremony.

To hear, to read, and especially to re-enact a myth is magically to return to the time when the myth took place, the time of the origin of whatever phenomenon it explains:

But since ritual recitation of the cosmogonic myth implies reactualization of that primordial event, it follows that he for whom it is recited is magically projected
in illo tempore, into the 'beginning of the World'; he becomes contemporary with the cosmogony. (Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane, p. 82)

Playing Adam and Eve in the LDS temple.

... In returning one to primordial time, myth reunites one with the gods, for it is then when they are nearest, as the biblical case of 'the Lord God['s] walking in the garden in the cool of the day' typifies (Genesis 3.8) That 'reunion' reverses the post-Edenic separation from the gods and renews one spiritually:

What is involved is, in short, a return to the original time, the therapeutic purpose of which is to begin life once again, a symbolic rebirth. (Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane, p. 82)

The ultimate payoff of myth is experiential: encountering divinity. (From Myth: A Very Short Introduction, pp. 55-56)

Aaaaand... welcome to the Celestial Room!

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