Prayer Circles

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2bizE
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Prayer Circles

Post by 2bizE » Thu Dec 02, 2021 11:16 pm

I learned something really unusual today from Reddit u/Mormon that in 1978 SWK banned the use of prayer circles from the homes, stakes and ward buildings. Arrangements could be made to do them in the temples.
This was brought up in the Mormonism Live episode with Denver Snuffer. I haven’t listed to all of it yet.

I have a few questions:
1) Was the prayer circle used in the endowment before 1978, or was it in 1978 that it became a thing only to be done in the temples? An article below seems to indicate that, but I’m not sure since this was also a Christian/Protestant practice as well.
2) Did any of you participate in prayer circles in wards and stakes or homes?

Letter from SWK to SPs and Bishops in 1978:
https://m.imgur.com/a/hN4ER

More info about prayer circles:
https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Prayer_Circle
~2bizE

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nibbler
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by nibbler » Fri Dec 03, 2021 8:24 am

Like many things in Mormonism, prayer circles were borrowed from others and modified to have their own Mormon flavor.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_circle

I've seen LDS families do prayer circles outside the temple, like when the home teachers or missionaries are visiting. Those prayer circles took on the form of more generic protestant prayer circles, not prayer circle as defined in the temple.

With the way they were conducted, the prayer circles outside the temple that I've taken part in had their roots in traditions brought over from converts of other Christian denominations; they weren't related to the temple. That's probably how prayer circles in Mormonism started as well. Joseph's m.o. was taking existing Christian (or other) teachings and rituals and "restoring" them to their proper order.

It's right there in the name he gave, "the true order of prayer." Here's this thing other religions do but to underscore Joseph's claim to revelation he restores the right way it's supposed to be done and makes another differentiator between Mormonism and other denominations in the process.

In reading the letter, it sounds like we're talking the prayer circles as performed in the temple. Interesting how the main point of contention in the letter wasn't making signs, tokens, etc. outside specific moments in a temple (which I was always taught was verboten), it was a question of logistics in acquiring permission. The people that had the authorization to give permission were getting overwhelmed with requests... instead of just letting people do it whenever they felt like it without requiring permission. That's the PH though. Oops, we gave the PH to all males, gotta find a way to remind people who is in charge. Keys!

It's also funny to see that even back in 1978 they went to the "to give you more time to be with your family" well as the excuse for changes. It's nice, it's often true, but the days where I was doing church stuff for 9+ hours on Sunday aren't far enough behind me. Sorry nibbler, can't do that 5 minute prayer. It would take away from your family time. Now let's attend another stake meeting that lasts 2 hours, is a repeat of the talk the SP gave during sacrament, which itself is just a repeat of a talk everyone gives all the time, and could be handled in a three bullet point email.
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

Red Ryder
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by Red Ryder » Fri Dec 03, 2021 9:05 am

I’ve heard they were discontinued from homes after the first presidency and quorum of the twelve learned of the high use in the Draper Stake. 😂
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Emower
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by Emower » Fri Dec 03, 2021 10:42 am

Prayer circles was the cult cherry on top that I had to swallow when I went through for the first time. I went into the endowment room freaked out after my initiatory ordeal where I was molested by several old men. Then we watched a movie. "Alright, this isnt so bad" thought I. After the robing I looked around and thought "nope, this here's a cult." Then came the chanting. "Yup, definitely a cult" thought I. Then came the chanting with the hand holding. "I gotta get out of here" thought I, but the invitation to leave had already passed and the angels with their witnesses were in the room. Then came the full frontal embrace. "Dont like this one bit" thought I. After that I put it all on the shelf to have it crash down years later.

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Palerider
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by Palerider » Fri Dec 03, 2021 3:05 pm

2bizE wrote:
Thu Dec 02, 2021 11:16 pm

I have a few questions:
1) Was the prayer circle used in the endowment before 1978, or was it in 1978 that it became a thing only to be done in the temples?
I remember this edict coming down when we lived in Utah.

Yes, the prayer circle was used in the endowment before 1978; probably from the beginning.
It was restricted only to temples in 1978.

I was actually surprised there were people doing it outside of the temple because I considered it part of the temple ceremony exclusively. I'd never heard of it being done in Idaho and figured there's no accounting for how far Utah mormon's might take something.... :roll:

ETA:

The interesting thing about this is that a girl I was dating before my marriage was preparing for her mission and had just gone through the temple for the first time.

Me being an RM she asked me if the prayer circle was the "true order of prayer", then what was she doing when she was on her knees every night praying to God? :shock:

I had no answer. :|
Last edited by Palerider on Fri Dec 03, 2021 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Yobispo
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by Yobispo » Fri Dec 03, 2021 3:17 pm

I recall when I was a young man in the 80'sthat some of the old-timers in my ward talked about how they used to enjoy the prayer circles in priesthood, and they even mentioned that some buildings in Utah (where they do everything right) had an alter in the priesthood room. My dad confirmed this to me later when I knew more about it and asked. My dad was a convert in 1972, he saw prayer circles and knew it was part of the deal, but thought it was odd. His feelings were probably common, he thought it was weird but that he just wasn't spiritual enough to "get it" so it was his fault for not enjoying it.

This reminds me of two other discarded practices: wives assisting in priesthood blessings and non-member dads assisting in baby blessings.

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wtfluff
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by wtfluff » Fri Dec 03, 2021 6:38 pm

Yobispo wrote:
Fri Dec 03, 2021 3:17 pm
I recall when I was a young man in the 80'sthat some of the old-timers in my ward talked about how they used to enjoy the prayer circles in priesthood, and they even mentioned that some buildings in Utah (where they do everything right) had an alter in the priesthood room.
I've heard that back-in-the-day some folks even had had alters in their homes. What a blast eh? An alter in your living room for chanting 'round.

Remember in "that one" Harry Potter book when the Death-Eaters do a prayer circle? I wonder if they had permission? :P
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

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moksha
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by moksha » Sat Dec 04, 2021 7:33 am

Muslims who make the pilgrimage to Mecca will form concentric circles around the Kaaba in prayer. Circles are also used in witchcraft. I imagine LDS usage sprung from the intertwining of folk magic in the LDS belief system.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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stealthbishop
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by stealthbishop » Wed Dec 15, 2021 12:07 pm

I wouldn't be surprised if this tradition (of humans in a circle connecting with each other) goes way back to our ancient ancestors. Probably a way to create that tribal/communal bonding and unity. As mentioned previously, it's in many other traditions. That proximity probably releases some oxytocin and forms some bonding. The chanting/humming or singing also activates the parasympathetic nervous system (ventral vagal complex) and helps form those bonds as well. Sure, ours has the Mormon flavor and looks very culty and weird in modern society. But we may have to take a step back and if we saw an indigenous culture put on sacred clothing, circle up, and chant we would probably have much more tolerance for it.
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Hagoth
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by Hagoth » Wed Dec 15, 2021 12:12 pm

moksha wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 7:33 am
Muslims who make the pilgrimage to Mecca will form concentric circles around the Kaaba in prayer. Circles are also used in witchcraft. I imagine LDS usage sprung from the intertwining of folk magic in the LDS belief system.
Circumambulation at sacred sites is waaaay older than Islam. The pre-Buddhist stupas in India were designed with circular pathways around them for pilgrims to walk around. If you ask me, circumambulation is one of the key ingredients of religion that is missing from Mormonism. Just standing around in a circle doesn't cut it. I wonder if a group of us started showing up at temple square every day (once it's open) and started walking circles around the statue of the Aaronic Priesthood restoration sculpture if it would catch on.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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deacon blues
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by deacon blues » Wed Dec 15, 2021 4:18 pm

Have a drum circle in the temple and call it the true order of drums. Dionysian vs. Apollonian worship. ;)
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Palerider
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by Palerider » Wed Dec 15, 2021 7:46 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Dec 15, 2021 12:12 pm
moksha wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 7:33 am
Muslims who make the pilgrimage to Mecca will form concentric circles around the Kaaba in prayer. Circles are also used in witchcraft. I imagine LDS usage sprung from the intertwining of folk magic in the LDS belief system.
Circumambulation at sacred sites is waaaay older than Islam. The pre-Buddhist stupas in India were designed with circular pathways around them for pilgrims to walk around. If you ask me, circumambulation is one of the key ingredients of religion that is missing from Mormonism. Just standing around in a circle doesn't cut it. I wonder if a group of us started showing up at temple square every day (once it's open) and started walking circles around the statue of the Aaronic Priesthood restoration sculpture if it would catch on.
Having been to many Native American powwows I would think that the circle dances, which can be a form of prayer, go back a long, long way. I suspect Paleolithic.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

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moksha
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by moksha » Wed Dec 15, 2021 8:55 pm

Palerider wrote:
Wed Dec 15, 2021 7:46 pm
Having been to many Native American powwows I would think that the circle dances, which can be a form of prayer, go back a long, long way. I suspect Paleolithic.
The true order of prayer circles restored to us by the Lamanites. As the Neanderthals would say, Pele ale.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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blazerb
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by blazerb » Sun Dec 19, 2021 2:29 pm

Yobispo wrote:
Fri Dec 03, 2021 3:17 pm
I recall when I was a young man in the 80'sthat some of the old-timers in my ward talked about how they used to enjoy the prayer circles in priesthood, and they even mentioned that some buildings in Utah (where they do everything right) had an alter in the priesthood room. My dad confirmed this to me later when I knew more about it and asked. My dad was a convert in 1972, he saw prayer circles and knew it was part of the deal, but thought it was odd. His feelings were probably common, he thought it was weird but that he just wasn't spiritual enough to "get it" so it was his fault for not enjoying it.

This reminds me of two other discarded practices: wives assisting in priesthood blessings and non-member dads assisting in baby blessings.
I think the custom of performing prayer circles outside the temple lasted for quite a while among some people. If I remember correctly, in the MTC a seventy who was addressing us mentioned some elders who were under demonic attack. This was in the late 80's. He said they "prayed as you learned in the temple" for God's help, and the attack was stopped. After the meeting, we were discussing whether he meant the prayer circle and how it would be done if everyone were the same sex. Of course no one followed up. We did not ask anyone who would know, and no one who would know talked about it. I'm pretty sure this GA was just someone who did not get the memo that this was not done anymore.

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moksha
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by moksha » Sun Dec 19, 2021 2:41 pm

Offering up their Prayers with Holy Iconography

Image
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Hagoth
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by Hagoth » Sun Dec 19, 2021 3:14 pm

blazerb wrote:
Sun Dec 19, 2021 2:29 pm
...some elders who were under demonic attack.
I wonder what that even means.

A pretend cure works best for a pretend malady. They might have tried throwing salt over the left shoulder. It works if you believe it does.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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blazerb
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Re: Prayer Circles

Post by blazerb » Mon Dec 20, 2021 6:08 pm

moksha wrote:
Sun Dec 19, 2021 2:41 pm
Offering up their Prayers with Holy Iconography

Image
Worship you can believe in.

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