4 Handshakes and You Get a Planet

by | Dec 29, 2023

Recent Conversation with a Dedicated Detractor of Our Faith

His name is Ben. He posted a recycled, inflammatory infographic about what Mormons believe. It was highly inaccurate and meant to put us in a bad light. Item #10 said that we have four secret handshakes in the temple,and then wet our own planet.

My Response

Infographic #10 – The temple is a place of great curiosity for someone not of our faith. It is also a source of a lot of urban legends. People get pretty creative with those stories – evidenced by the infographic. It could be said that #10 is far off from what really takes place. For example, nothing is said about getting planets in the temple. In fact, nothing is said about getting a planet in any of our scriptures or doctrines.

To even coin it that way is pretty irreverent and irrelevant to the Plan of Salvation. I’m not sure what I’d do if someone handed me a planet. There’s no game plan mentioned for such an event. There’s no mention of anyone being handed a planet ever in any of our scriptures, doctrine, or temples. If that idea originates from anyone with rank in the past 200 years, it is outlier speculation and not in our doctrine.

So first point, no we don’t believe that we die, and get handed some planet. We don’t believe anyone does. And planet distribution is not a conversation or teaching that takes place in the temple. I will share what we DO believe about eternal progression and where it comes from, and what it means at the end of this post.

What Does Take Place

Let’s talk about what does take place in the temple – and what I’m about to share is authorized to be shared publicly. It appears in our newsroom articles, our General Conference talks, and our Handbook, which is online. And it will thoroughly answer your question.

The “handshakes” are not secret handshakes that we greet each other with. We don’t call them handshakes; that’s a bit casual of a word. But rather they are tokens that correspond to the vows we take. As we progress through the vows, the hand tokens are symbols to remind us of the covenants we make. It helps with the idea of progression through the temple ceremony.

From the Latter-day Saint Church website:

“During the endowment ordinance, you will be invited to make certain covenants [vows] with God. These covenants are:

> Law of Obedience, which includes striving to keep God’s commandments. [“as found in the Holy Scriptures.”]

> Law of Sacrifice, which means doing all we can to support the Lord’s work and repenting with a broken heart and contrite spirit.

> Law of the Gospel, which is the higher law that He taught while He was on the earth.

[meaning the two great commandments – love God with all heart, and love neighbor as thyself]

> Law of Chastity, which means that we have sexual relations only with the person to whom we are legally and lawfully wedded according to God’s law.

> Law of Consecration, which means dedicating our time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed us to building up Jesus Christ’s Church on the earth.

“All covenants with God are intended to be binding. When you keep your covenants and repent of your imperfections, your relationship with Him is strengthened, and He will bless you more fully. Your relationship with the Savior also becomes closer and more meaningful. Covenant keepers gain greater access to the power of God and to lasting love, peace, comfort, and joy. God promises that those who keep their covenants will have the opportunity to return to live with Him forever.”

What Does Consecration Mean

Necessary clarification: Please notice that the word “consecrate” does not mean physically turning over your resources and giving them to the Church, as some critics like to claim. To consecrate your time and talents means to assign them a personal sacred purpose. It means that you realize your resources and blessings are sacred, and in your heart, you intend to use them for the good of God’s Kingdom.

consecrate: to make or declare sacred; set apart or dedicate to the service of Deity

Celestial Room

We then progress to the “Celestial Room” like the one pictured.

“At the end of the endowment, participants symbolically return to the Lord’s presence as they enter the celestial room. There, you can ponder, pray, read the scriptures, or quietly share your thoughts with family and friends. It is a place of peace, where you can also find comfort and divine guidance.”

Eternal Increase and Progression

There is no mention of becoming gods in the temple, as some have reported. Instead, we are promised if we observe and keep those vows, we will become kings and priests unto God:

“5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:5-6)

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:6)

“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)

Eternal Progression

We believe in Christ’s words about the next life, that there will be eternal purpose, glory, and progression for the billions of eons to come. Forever is a long time.

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:20-21)

Nonetheless, Joseph Smith pointed out that no matter what height we attained, God the Father and Jesus Christ would always be our God and far above us. We don’t believe that we ever become equal to their stature or place in the eternities.

Also, to be fair, and this sets us apart, we do not believe that we will exclusively sit on a cloud, play a harp, and sing praises for the billions of eons to come – with no further purpose. We believe in eternal progression, glorious purposes and, and an eventful eternal life.

This more than addresses #10

(reference: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, Bible)

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  1. Monica Kaufmann

    Ditto above. Very well done. Am teaching a Temple Prep class. Would like to quote a couple of lines you wrote about hand tokens. May I?

    • Shawnie Cannon

      You are welcome to use any content and thank you for teaching Temple Prep!

  2. Rosemary Hopkins

    Well stated and resourced. I appreciate your ability to explain things in a way that is easily understood, and your courage to speak out and clear up misinformation that is always running around. Thank you.

    • Shawnie Cannon

      Rosemary – thank you for your delightful comment.


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