Friday, March 16, 2012

The Sacred Embrace as Five Points of Fellowship

I often lament that modern Mormonism has lost portions of its early history. While some of these forms and concepts are best consigned to the trash-bin, others are sorely missed. I believe that there are traditions from our nineteenth-century past which have lost their significance because there has been a lack of understanding about their religious symbolism.

Many older members of the Church and students of LDS history will recall the "Five Points of Fellowship," which was a part of Mormon liturgy up until the last two decades. This was an important emblematic ritual -- a sacred embrace which preceded entering into the presence of the Lord through the veil. Because this symbolic rite had its origins in Nauvoo-era Freemasonry, there is much we can learn about the meaning behind the symbol from Masonic writings. But I don't believe these understandings were ever carried over into LDS discourse.