Posted by Zenaida

Photo by playingwithbrushes

Why do I have to wear a veil in the temple?

A friend asked me why I don’t like being veiled in the temple.  I asked him to imagine that the moment in the endowment when we speak directly to God, in the TRUE way, the he was asked to cover his face.  I suggested that the next time his wife offered family prayer that he cover his head and face.  I would be very surprised to hear that he actually took me up on that suggestion.  I wouldn’t either.  Even saying it out loud sounded like blasphemy in my ears.

If the temple is the Lord’s University, what am I supposed to learn from having my face covered.  I admit, it would feel much worse if I wasn’t allowed to speak, but I am, so maybe I’m overreacting?  It would also be much harder to accept wearing a veil anywhere outside the temple.  In defense of equality in Mormon religion, men and women do wear the exact same article of religious clothing outside the temple.

A veil separates us from God, so by wearing a veil are we closer to God?

Is there a parallel between wedding veils?  The idea that a women being given in marriage (shudder) is pure and already closer to God that her male counterpart sounds suspiciously unequal to me.

Margaret and Paul Toscano present a fascinating exploration of the origins of veiling women in the Mormon temple ceremony.

Ideas that are not paradoxical tend to be sentimental, incomplete, and dogmatic. According to psychotherapist Scott Peck: “[I]f a concept is paradoxical, that itself should suggest that it smacks of integrity, that it gives off the ring of truth. Conversely, if a concept is not in the least paradoxical, you should be suspicious of it and suspect that it has failed to integrate some aspect of the whole” (1988, 238). The same can be said of symbols

As with all profound symbols, the face veil, worn as a headdress by women throughout the temple and used to cover the faces of women during a ritual prayer, reflects this dualism. The veil is a paradoxical symbol evoking both positive and negative associations.

Julie Smith breaks it down at Times and Seasons.

10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
This is a very important point. Why do women wear the veil? They do it as a symbol of power or authority. We would normally, when thinking of fallen humanity, think of power and authority resting with the male. However, when the woman veils her head (and I believe the suggestion is that she is doing this herself; she isn’t being forced to do it nor is someone doing it for her), she is literally ‘covering up’ (or denying) the idea that man is her head. When the woman chooses to veil, she is choosing to exercise power or control over her head–physical and metaphorical. In the context of praying or prophesying, a veiled woman is one in a direct relationship with God–man is no longer her head. Further, remember that the veiling is not done all the time, but only while engaging in prayer or prophecy. This is important: it points out that, particularly while in that relationship, the woman has direct access to God and, as her physical head is covered, so her metaphorical head (i.e., man) is covered or denied. While some have interpreted Muslim (and other uses of the veil) as oppressive to women, this is a gross misreading of this particular text, where the veil is a symbol of women’s liberation from man’s headship.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the veil.  Does it empower you?  Does it irritate you?  What is your interpretation?

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48 Responses

  1. mw says:

    Interesting topic. I have spent a good deal of time studying the practice of veiling in Islam. In the Muslim community opinions about veiling vary from it is a form of empowerment to it is a form of oppression. Opinions about the temple veil among Mormon women probably vary just as much. I think the thing that makes veiling oppressive, regardless of religious perspective, is when a woman it told she MUST do it. Veiling in the temple might empower some women in the way that Ms. Smith describes, but (although not endowed) I can’t see myself feeling that way about having to wear a veil. I’d be wearing a veil because someone told me to, because that is what you are “supposed” to do. So here is what I want to know, can’t women who feel like the temple veil is oppressive just take it off? I know I probably sound naive, but what will they do, kick us out of the temple?

  2. stacy says:

    Wow. I *love* Julie Smith’s idea. That is profound, and it really, really resonates with me. I felt chills as I read it. I’ve long been puzzled by this part of the temple ceremony, because I knew that I was being blessed but the veiling never made sense to me. This is something that I want to ponder on more, because it feels so … right.

  3. Katherine says:

    I interpret veils as hiding. I’ve known some wonderful Muslim women that wear veils when around men not of the their family as a sign of modesty and I have no problem with that. But I do NOT think we should be hiding from God.

  4. Anita says:

    I am mildly claustrophobic, and therefore have a hard time veiling (especially while standing). For that reason, I usually opt not to participate in the prayer circle–standing like that I get hot and clammy and faint. Yet I like Julie’s explanation, and the idea of the Jewish prayer shawl, which is that men cover their heads when they pray.

  5. Caroline says:

    I deeply dislike the veiling myself. I have negative associations with it – it seems to me to connote that somehow my face is shameful or that there needs to be a barrier between me and God in some way because I’m female.

    I don’t buy Julie Smith’s argument. It’s a good try, but if veiling is really this empowering act to dislodge the man as head, then what do we make of Moses veiling himself before God in the scriptures? And does this mean that every other time we women are not veiled – which is 99.9999999 percent of our lives, the man IS head, and we are somehow supposed to act and think accordingly? And yet for those brief minutes, he’s not? It doesn’t make sense to me.

  6. Emily U says:

    The veil neither empowers nor irritates me. I think it’s weird, but there are other things about the temple ceremony that raise my ire more than the veiling.

    I don’t buy Julie Smith’s explanation either. I don’t buy the idea that the man is ever the head of the woman. And the idea that the only time women have direct access to God is while veiled in the temple is totally ridiculous.

  7. D'Arcy says:

    This quote by Julie Smith is the first really “positive” reading of the wearing of the veil that I’ve ever seen. I do wonder, if it is supposed to be this way, why no one teaches it as thus. My 8 years of temple activity, no one EVER mentioned any reason why we were wearing it, no interpretation that stuck every seemed right. I know that I just felt dejected and, as Caroline has already voiced, a bit shamed of my face and my presence there, like my power was being covered up, not accentuated.

  8. Alisa says:

    My MiL warned me about the veiling before I received my endowment, but it surprised me that it didn’t bother me as much as some other aspects of the temple, such as the hearken covenant, Eve’s silence upon leaving the garden, and the inequality of giving and receiving in the marriage ceremony.

    I am not sure if the veil subordinates or glorifies women. Is the veil something that hides us here on Earth, or is it something that hides the Lord? My gut feeling is that it’s the sacred that hides behind the veil since the Lord can always see us. And, in the temple, I think both husband and wife take turns interacting with each other on the other side of the veil.

    One possible interpretation is that first I take the place of the Lord behind the veil in the ceremonial prayer, and later my husband (or soon-to-be husband) takes the Lord’s place by hiding behind a veil. Eventually, through working together we are both uncovered and united.

    I know that my thinking is likely to raise even more flags with gender inequality, as the conversation at the veil also seems unequal. But, for me, thinking of my headress veil as symbollic of the temple veil makes me feel a little better.

  9. Starfoxy says:

    One thing I’ve heard connected to the veil women wear is that when women give birth they are bringing someone through the veil- which may be connected to Alisa’s idea of taking the place of the Lord behind the veil. Women bring people through the veil into mortal life and men bring people through the veil out of mortal life. I like the apparent symmetry of that, but I haven’t taken the time to really think through all the implications and see if it’s as great as it looks on the surface.
    There’s plenty of ideas along those lines that I haven’t teased out yet, I’m sure plenty are troubling, but there may be some gems in there.

  10. mb says:


    About Moses veiling himself before God in the scriptures; actually Moses veiled himself before the congregation when he spoke to them upon his descent from Mt. Sinai, not when he was speaking with God. His face shone after speaking with God and the light from his face was disconcerting to the Israelites and made them afraid to come near him. Veiling himself helped them to be able to focus on his message instead of on his glowing face. Exodus 34

    You can decide if there’s a corollary there to other veilings.

  11. Minerva says:

    I have more difficulty with other parts of the temple (hearken and also that women are on the left during the time we are veiled) so maybe those difficulties has taken up all my angst so I don’t have veil isues. I don’t understand the veil, just like I don’t understand a lot of what we do in the temple. I’m just glad we’re not veiled AT the veil. That would bother me greatly…that part of the endowment ceremony is my absolute favorite and nearly redeems the whole thing for me (I am not married, so I have not had the experience of my fiance taking me through…that would bother me).

  12. Rachel says:

    i’ve always found the veil to be annoying b/c it never stays on my head…always, always falls off!

    seriously…. i always liked veiling my face b/c i always felt like it was my time to be alone with God in the temple. i could hide behind the veil and He and i could converse….didn’t have to acknowledge the other 100 people in the room.

  13. Noah says:

    I don’t know the real reason, but allow me to offer a quick more women-friendly interpretation that may or may not be the case: The temple is a sacred place; closed to the world. It’s ceremonies and rituals are hidden from the world because the world neither understands nor appreciates them, nor is it worthy of them.

    That is, the temple is fortified on the outside by think stone walls covered with the symbols of a very Patriarchical Priesthood.

    Perhaps your face is being covered, not because your body, which is a symbollic of a temple (or is the temple symbollic of your body–now you’ve got it), is shameful, but because it is sacred. That’s certainly what I think, and such is the nature of religion; we need to be the author’s of our own religion.

  14. G says:

    yep. hate that part of the temple. well, hate quite a few parts, find the whole thing very male primary female secondary.
    (Except initiatories. I always did love that very personal administration by a woman directly to my body with blessings direct from God to me. Heh, if I remember correctly. it has been a while.)

    This is not to say that women can’t have spiritual experiences in the temple, even at those moments. I have. But that is incidental to the misogyny of the way the ceremony is written.

  15. Jessawhy says:

    Great post, Z!

    This is such an interesting topic, and when our book group discussed Strangers In Paradox, we spent a lot of time on this issue.

    I still haven’t resolved it for myself, but I do like to hear everyone’s alternate explanations and I think it’s helpful to realize that what you may believe now can change in the future.

    D’Arcy, you may like Strangers in Paradox, they have an excellent chapter on the temple that opens up a lot of new interpretations.

  16. Rachel says:

    initiatories has always been my favorite, both as a a patron and temple worker. i only wish we could see women acting in those priesthood roles outside the temple. i always felt honored to wash an anoint another woman.

  17. Anita says:

    Try the ones with combs! I can’t keep the other kind on either.

  18. G says:

    Rachel, yes, one of the reasons I too became a temple worker was to have the opportunity to bless and anoint another woman like that. It was a very powerful experience for me.
    I guess, in affect, having the opportunity to do that made it even more difficult for me to accept the general non-practice of such a thing outside of the temple.

  19. stacy says:

    I seem to have been caught in the spam filter for some reason–I’ve never been put into moderation before. What I tried to say earlier was that I found the quote from Julie Smith quite profound and moving.

  20. Rachel says:

    the combs don’t work either. i want a veil attached to a barrett!

  21. Starfoxy says:

    I would say if you have your own veil then put a barrette in it. The elastic or the comb (or the barrette) isn’t what makes it a veil, they’re just there to facilitate the veilery.

  22. esodhiambo says:

    HATE the veil.

  23. Kiskilili says:

    I find it interesting to compare how the concept of a “veil” is applied elsewhere in Mormonism. Most prominently, the veil is what separates us from God here on Earth. I think a pretty good case can be made that the temple sets it up so there’s virtually always a buffer between women and the divine–ordinarily it’s a man (and notice God even addresses Eve through her husband), but during the prayer circle it’s a veil.

    Of course veiling is open to a broader range of interpretations than some other elements of the ceremony, and the veil bothers me less than other aspects (like others on this thread have said, other things in the ceremony disturbed me so deeply the veil was the least of my concerns), but I don’t think that in a ceremony in which women are formally subordinated and then only women are veiled a woman-friendly interpretation is really possible.

    For example, are women’s bodies sacred in a way men’s are not? It’s hard not to hear patriarchal repercussions in that idea, like that women’s bodies have to be protected and thus restricted where men’s don’t.

  24. Juliann says:

    My favorite time in the endowment is the veiling because it creates a private world. However, it almost gives me a panic attack in the prayer circle because I can’t hold it away from my nostrils to breathe. So I don’t do prayer circles. Because it surprised me that I ended up with such an attraction to the veil, this museum pamphlet quote helped me to see how to reframe something that can be seen as oppressive.

    “Because of a curtain’s ability both to conceal and reveal, medieval illuminators adapted this form of textile to convey the symbolic and spiritual messages of revelation and epiphany found in biblical stories.”

    [Shrine & Shroud: Textiles in Illuminated Manuscripts, exhibition at J. Paul Getty Museum June 28-Oct 2, 2005.]

  25. EmilyCC says:

    Love this discussion–thanks for the post, Z!

    There are lots of good explanations here for the veil and its symbolism, but as long as women wear the veil and men don’t, I’ll continue to struggle with this one.

  26. Zenaida says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone!

    I agree with Caroline and Emily U that Julie Smith’s argument doesn’t hold much water for me. Especially if you read the section just before the quoted material in her post. I pulled the most woman friendly interpretation I could from it.

    D’Arcy, I wish we had far more opportunity for conversation about the entire temple ceremony. I found it extremely difficult to have any kind of conversation about it or ask any questions at all because, apparently any question we have can be answered on an individual level by ourselves. I love the idea that God would teach me directly, but maybe I’m just a bit deaf. I would love more open discussion with my peers on these things.

    Alisa, maybe it’s been too long for me, but what is it about the conversation at the veil that’s unequal?

    Starfoxy, I also like that symmetry. I know women bear 99% of the physical burden of bringing children into this side of the veil, but I certainly can’t do it by myself. I think that removes men from their part in creating life. Then, what is my %1 in taking people out of this life? Does that say anything about the significance of Fatherhood vs. Motherhood and Priesthood vs. Women?

    Kiskilli, I think it could imply a lot more than just our bodies. Our whole being is apparently more sacred, or just more fragile? ?

    G, I’m with you. I still love the initiatory.

  27. Zenaida says:

    And, the temple ceremony has changed before. Other than the style of garment, (long johns vs. modern two-piece) have the temple clothes ever changed?

  28. Zenaida says:

    mw, With the way the temple workers buzz around making sure everyone is dressed properly, I think you might be asked to leave or some such scene if you were not veiled at the appropriate time, especially since it’s made quite obvious that the women should now veil their faces.

  29. Alisa says:

    Zenaida, I was thinking the conversation at the veil is unequal because one person represents God, and the other a human. One dispenses the knowledge, and the other asks for the knowledge. Because women never get to bring their husbands through the veil, they never learn their husbands’ new names.

  30. CatherineWO says:

    It is so interesting to read so many reactions and interpretations of the woman’s veil. You’ve all given me much food for thought on a subject I’ve never really considered. I have always thought of this aspect of the temple ceremony as just a carryover from old traditions and have never looked for anything symbolic or even spiritual in it.

  31. Kelly Ann says:

    Interesting thread. I was never bothered by the veil in the temple – never really thought about it. Kind of figured it had to do more with tradition as well.

    However, as a temple worker, it caught my attention more. To sit in front of a session unveiled felt odd. But I never assigned a meaning to it. To me it is just part of the experience (as other things indeed bother me more).

    However, to Zenaida, I say that I was quite impressed by my temple’s policy last year to leave the patrons alone. When dressing we helped the patrons figure the clothing out but we weren’t suppose to make a scene or correct them if they managed to get through the Celestial Room with something on backwards or whatever. In regards to the veil, there were a few women for reasons of claustrophobia or whatever did not wear it (better said they did not cover their face with it, as everyone has their head covered in some form). We were told to respect that.

    And finally, I agree with the others that the Initiatory was my favorite part of the temple. I miss it tremendously. But I miss a lot of things.

  32. Paul says:


    I interpret a man’s veiled role with respect to the resurrection and immortality, rather than with respect to leaving mortality.

    Not that this changes the rest of the discussion. Much.

  33. CSS says:

    I have a hard time with the veil. For me (regardless of academic jargon) if something is covered up it is meant to be hidden. And after all the other instances of women being second to men in the temple ceremony, how can I suspend my reason to assume that veiling my head actually means I am the head? I don’t buy it. It makes me feel bad and ask myself what about being a woman necessitates that I should be hidden. Historically, it veiling has occurred across cultures because women were either too sacred or too sexual, either way they needed to be protected from themselves or from others. I’m neither and both at the same time. But so are men, right? So why aren’t they veiled?

    My seminary teacher once said that the veil represented the fact that each couple can only have one head. The woman veils her face and connects to the man so that they are one. As one, you can only have one head and that is automatically the male. All one needs to do is sit through the endowment to realize that this is repeated multiple time throughout the ceremony. I obviously had problems with this and decided to pray about it. My answer in the temple was a shockingly loving and understandable thought. It really came as just a warm flash: “It is just cultural. The temple has a long history throughout the world. These practices have taken on many forms. Women have only recently been a part of these ceremonies and as such their inclusion is secondary to the rituals, not necessarily to God.

    So I find peace in that and that I received that answer in the temple. Who knows if it was just my own thoughts, but I choose to believe it was something more. However, I wonder through all this talk of veiling and men and heads and couples, what about those who are single? Isn’t the entire ceremony horribly offensive? It makes me wonder, as a church do we project the idea that you are never good enough on your own?

    • Sarah says:

      Can I tell you the warmth and love I just had reading this. I love this. I ordered a book entitled “The Veil: Women writers on its history, lore, and Politics” and am actually quite excited to read it. I lean more toward the “Its unnecessary, if it truly denies men as my head, then I should wear it ALL THE TIME.” I believe more in the symbolic becoming one, becoming one as God is one, one in purpose, one in mind, but certainly not one as in heirachy (spelling) or one as in one in body.”

      But this answer just melted my heart, and I hope I can hang onto it as I go through the Temple.

      • Sarah says:

        About 4 years late on this, but then again, I’ve been researching it and any help matters to me. Every testimony that I hear about women recieving “its just cultural, it matters not to me” from the Lord empowers me. I do not simply like wearing the veil, and will see how it feels on Tuesday. Weather I am becoming closer to God, or hidden from God. I do not know. All I know is that we are secondary in the Temple and even in the Church. Which bugs me a lot. Maybe I will have a similar experience to you. I sure hope I do. I’ve been angry with God for being silent, and allowing it to happen. Though I also deep down still believe he can change it, will change.

  34. Zenaida says:

    CSS, I am single. I find it difficult to connect with the temple ceremony in many ways because there is only one way to see my place there. Even though I am single, I must see myself as Eve, the companion and helpmeet to Adam. It definitely feels like it is impossible to be complete on my own.
    Between biology and culture, I find that I frequently tend to ignore my own interests and focus on the goal of finding a mate, in an unhealthy way, I think. I don’t know how common that is, but I would guess it’s fairly common. Since women are never under divine obligation to create successful “providing” careers, I’ve always felt like my career is kind of an afterthought, and I have treated it as such in many ways. It’s coming back to haunt me.
    Soap box aside, maybe the veil is just another one of those things about the church that challenges us to think outside the box, so someday we change the way we think.

  35. Zenaida says:

    Kelly Ann, I think that’s great. Things like claustrophobia should definitely be accommodated, but what about feminism? What if I simply replied, “I prefer not to.”

  36. Kelly Ann says:

    Zenaida, As a temple worker, I would have accepted that because it would be more disrupted to make a scene out of it. But my guess is that if you got into a conversation with someone about it, they may have referred you to the temple president. We were instructed to direct all questions to the temple president.

    Now that would be an interesting conversation …

  37. Adolfo says:

    I interpret a man’s veiled role with respect to the resurrection and immortality, rather than with respect to leaving mortality.

  38. I don’t know if it’s just me but the picture doesn’t load.

  39. Danielle Peterson says:

    I believe it all stems from the authority referred to in D&C 84:21-22 where it states ” without[..] the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.” Prayer in the temple is intended to bring the presence of God. Because only men are ordained with the authority of the priesthood, women would perish at the sight of God. As a protection for them and to allow them to participate in such prayer, women are required to veil their faces.

    That’s it. Rather than giving women the power they need in order to stand the presence of the Lord, they decided to put veils on them.

    It’s wrong. We can stand by and justify it till the cows come home, but it isn’t right and shouldn’t be apart of the temple ceremony.

  40. R. Allen says:

    I have never posted, blogged, or anything else but I was searching for information as to why women have to veil in the Temple and came across this.. My thought is, that in her quote, Julie again has selectively used a small portion rather than the whole thought in the chapter to make her point. In the Temple women have to submit to men, in the Temple we are also taught we are not worthy as men are to face and speak with GOD by having to veil our heads while men do not. Read the below scripture right before the scripture Julie quotes:

    7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
    8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
    9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
    10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

    And in the Temple man is given power over the woman and the woman must submit. It is no wonder we have such a confused generation….talks tell us we are equal (lip service), but everything else (even the Temple) tells us we are not. I am confused by this. If I had been told any of this before going to be sealed I would have chosen not to go. But we have to keep things “sacred” but really it is to keep us in the dark. I

    have a husband who is so into church, couldn’t wait to take me to the Temple, and has the “priesthood”, but does not take care of his family and responsibilities ( I now have to work 50 to 60 hours a week to make ends meet, while because of his “depression” he feels it is his right and it is OK not to work…it was not this way when we got married)…yet the church treats him with respect and backs him up and ignores my needs. Why doesn’t someone say “hey, get help, and go to work even if you don’t feel like it because you have obligations.” Even the mental health site the church has now put out has everything about how we can “help” people with depression and how we should talk to them and how we should coddle them etc. but absolutely no resources for those of us who have to live with someone who has it and how to survive. I am not making light of depression….what I am saying is there has to be a happy medium….we all matter. And it seems I do not matter to the church. The old adage that we are taught all the time….”it’s not about who is the most worthy” (talking about the Priesthood) still lives on today and the church teaches and empowers the men with this teaching.

    Those are my thoughts. It is not my intention to offend those who may have depression or who have loved ones that do…but I shared my experience with the church and those I have spoken to within the church.

  41. Mya says:

    As a Biblical Scholar in Training™, I am here to offer the last definitive word you will ever need on the subject. (If you can’t hear the sarcasm in that, I will confirm to you that I am a snooty academic who thinks they’re all that.)

    In the Bible, there are few mentions of a physical “Veil.” There is the Veil between the Holy of Holies and the rest of the Tabernacle, and the Veil Moses wore after coming down from the mountain. (All other coverings use different words.) Canonically, all Veils of the Gospel are specifically designed to protect those outside the barrier from what is inside the barrier. Moreover, in D&C, we learn that the Veil covering the Earth is not, in fact, covering the earth, but covering God and protecting the Earth for his glory.

    It would seem that the Veil puts women in that place of power, protecting the menfolk from the source via a Veil. Symbolically, one could argue that the whole ceremony puts women as a representation of God or Godly power. Consider Eve’s silence after the Garden; is it a representation of God’s absence in regards to Adam after the Fall? Perhaps women as subject to men are representation of men’s authority over priesthood power, God’s power, provided they stay worthy.
    Indeed, I have found women’s role to be part of the “Priesthood Circuit,” a belief further cemented by much conversation with a converted Jew. In Mosaic times, women worked at the curtain outside of the Tabernacle, barring those who could and could not enter. Women themselves do not need priesthood ordination nor the obligations that come with it to enter into the most Holy of Holies, for they already have a portion of Godliness inside of them.

    True, women are not whole without a man (the priesthood itself is nothing when not being used to further God’s kingdom), but men is not whole without women — “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man.” Men require both the testimonies and the connection to God than women hold. Veils are to be worn with sacred pride, not shame.

    (Did I sound stuffy enough? I personally have not experienced claustrophobia with the Veil yet, so I might need a little more practice in enclosed spaces ;p)

    • Andrew R. says:

      Mya, very interesting. Thanks for the comments.

    • Moss says:

      “Women themselves do not need priesthood ordination nor the obligations that come with it to enter into the most Holy of Holies, for they already have a portion of Godliness inside of them.”

      My understanding was that women were allowed no further than the Court of Women which sat between the Court of Gentiles and the Court of Israel (Men). Only the High Priest was allowed in the Holy of Holies. Do you have a source that states women were allowed in? That would be revolutionary!

      • Moss says:

        Or are you saying that ‘women don’t need to enter the Holy of Holies’ because they have a portion of Godliness? (I was reading it as ‘women don’t need the priesthood to enter the Holy of Holies’).

  42. Spunky says:

    Beautiful, Mya. I think you are spot on. Thank you!

  43. Sophia says:

    In Ephesians 5, Paul suggests that the relationship between husbands and wives should be as between Christ and his church. In Christian tradition, the Song of Solomon was regarded generally as a symbolic of the mystical union between man and God. I would suggest that at certain points in the temple ceremony, the sisters represent humankind and the brethren represent the Savior. I believe the veil to have a function within this particular construct.

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