Saturday, July 18, 2015

Temple prep - "All Done in Order"

The following text is taken from the pamphlet "Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple" (2002) and annotated by me.

Following the dramatic events at the Kirtland Temple, difficulties and persecutions required that the Saints move. Wherever they located, the Lord revealed plans to build temples. The Lord just didn't have the foresight to see that the saints would be chased away. He really could have saved time and lives by just telling Joseph to take everyone out to Utah instead of some silly place like Missouri. This was true in both Independence and Far West, Missouri. In this period persecution fell upon the Saints with unprecedented rage and eventually they fled to Nauvoo, Illinois. Nauvoo was clearly not far enough. The Lord should have seen that. Here the revelation came again and the commandment to build a house of the Lord.

The Lord explained that the purpose of the building of the house was to reveal the ordinances. “And verily I say unto you, let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein unto my people; for I deign to reveal unto my church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times.” (D&C 124:40–41.) Freemasonry was definitely not hidden "from before the foundation of the world" and yet that's what you get in the temple. Weird.

He had mentioned that the temple would be a place for them to conduct “your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, … by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name.” (D&C 124:39.) If you're an active LDS Mormon, you're probably wondering right now what solemn assemblies, what memorials for "sacrifices by the sons of Levi", what oracles "wherein [we] receive conversations", what statutes and judgments, and what revelations of Zion might mean with regard to the temple. Apparently there should be more to the temple than we now have.

Among the ordinances we perform in the Church are these: baptism, sacrament, naming and blessing of infants, administering to the sick, setting apart to callings in the Church, ordaining to offices. In addition there are higher ordinances, performed in the temples. These include washings, anointings, the endowment, and the sealing ordinance, spoken of generally as temple marriage. Boyd, you left out memorials for sacrifices and conversations with oracles!

How important are the ordinances to us as members of the Church? However important you we as members make them. The real question is "How important are these ordinances to Jesus?" Probably not very. He never really talked about them.

Can you be happy, can you be redeemed, can you be exalted without them? Answer: They are more than advisable or desirable, or even than necessary. More even than essential or vital. They are crucial to each of us. "Necessary", "essential", "vital" and "crucial" are synonyms. Your rhetoric is weak.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said he was frequently asked the question:
“Can we not be saved without going through with all those ordinances, etc.?” I would answer, No, not the fullness of salvation. You have to buy the whole set, folks, not just what Jesus was selling. Jesus said, “There are many mansions in my Father’s house, and I will go and prepare a place for you.” House here named should have been translated kingdom; and any person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too. Dude, Joe, you haven't been too good at translating. I'd give it a rest. Would you mind sharing with us where Jesus explained the "celestial law"? (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 7 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1949], 6:184.)
President Joseph Fielding Smith said:
I do not care what office you hold in this Church, you may be an apostle, you may be a patriarch, a high priest, or anything else, and you cannot receive the fulness of the priesthood unless you go into the temple of the Lord and receive these ordinances of which the prophet speaks. Trust Joseph. He only lied when it saved his skin or made some money. No man can get the fulness of the priesthood outside of the temple of the Lord. Are you suggesting that when we go through the temple both men and women are given the fulness of the Priesthood? Like, even women have total god powers?? (Joseph Fielding Smith, Elijah the Prophet and His Mission [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957], page 46.)
We spoke earlier of the higher ordinances performed in the temple. How can any ordinance be "higher" than another "crucial" ordinance? Can an ordinance out crucial another? These include the endowment. Is the endowment more crucial than the marriage sealing, or are you just giving us a merit badge checklist? To endow is to enrich, to give to another something long lasting and of much worth. The temple endowment ordinances enrich in three ways: (a) The one receiving the ordinance is given power from God. You'll be a totally badass wizard!  “Recipients are endowed with power from on high.” Which powers from on high do we get?? (b) A recipient is also endowed with information and knowledge. Secret passwords and slick handshakes! “They receive an education relative to the Lord’s purposes and plans.” You mean the plan that we all had memorized in Primary? That "Lord's plan"? (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], page 227.) (c) When sealed at the altar a person is the recipient of glorious blessings, powers, and honors as part of his or her endowment. What blessings, powers and honors? How are we blessed? How are we more powerful? How are we honored?

There are two published definitions or descriptions of the endowment, the first by President Brigham Young:
Let me give you a definition in brief. Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being able to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell. Passwords and handshakes open the heavens, kids. That's how God rolls. Oh, and Brigham meant "crucial", not "necessary". (Discourses of Brigham Young, comp. John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1971], page 416.)
Elder James E. Talmage described the endowment thus:
The Temple Endowment, as administered in modern temples, comprises instruction relating to the significance and sequence of past dispensations, and the importance of the present as the greatest and grandest era in human history. "Past dispensations" here means back to the first half of the 19th century with a healthy dash of late Mideval Freemasonry. This course of instruction includes a recital of the most prominent events of the creative period, the condition of our first parents in the Garden of Eden, their disobedience and consequent expulsion from that blissful abode, their condition in the lone and dreary world when doomed to live by labor and sweat, the plan of redemption by which the great transgression may be atoned, the period of the great apostasy, the restoration of the Gospel with all its ancient powers and privileges, the absolute and indispensable condition of personal purity and devotion to the right in present life, and a strict compliance with Gospel requirements. This is actually a marginally helpful quote in terms of outlining the endowment (but not nearly as helpful as reading it or watching it online). However, now that we've gone over everything, you don't really have to go to the temple to review it again. Or just take a couple of hours to refresh that whole narrative peacefully at home. (James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1962], pages 99–100; hereafter cited as The House of the Lord.)
This statement from Elder Talmage makes it clear that when you receive your endowments you will receive instruction relative to the purpose and plans of the Lord in creating and peopling the earth. You will be taught what must be done for you to gain exaltation. You've said this before in other sections with these same vague terms.

The blessing of the endowment is required for full exaltation. Don't you mean "crucial"? Earlier you said it was "more than" advisable, desirable, necessary, essential and vital. Does "required" mean all that? Every Latter-day Saint should seek to be worthy of this blessing and to obtain it. Otherwise they're selling themselves short! And saving countless hours of sitting through a lame movie, repeating oaths and promises they've already made in the catch-all covenant of baptism, getting dressed up like a clown, driving and parking, and worrying about why the ceremony is so unenlightening.

The ordinances of washing and anointing are referred to often in the temple as initiatory ordinances. It will be sufficient for our purposes to say only the following: Associated with the endowment are washings and anointings—mostly symbolic in nature, but promising definite, immediate blessings as well as future blessings. This is not very enlightening, Boyd. You really should say what the "definite, immediate blessings" are. You should also be telling us that we will be getting naked (this pamphlet was published before 2005) and touched by a stranger (now you just get gestures of touching while you sit in your new underwear). You should also mention the second anointing.

In connection with these ordinances, in the temple you will be officially clothed in the garment and promised marvelous blessings in connection with it. What marvelous blessings? These are all empty explanations. It is important that you listen carefully as these ordinances are administered and that you try to remember the blessings promised and the conditions upon which they will be realized. For us visual learners it would be useful to see the words.

The sealing ordinance is that ordinance which binds families eternally. Through more magic words while the couple, dressed in Masonic robes, is kneeling at an alter doing the handshakes. Temple marriage is a sealing ordinance. It used to just be for polygamous marriages. When a couple is sealed in the temple following a civil marriage the children born to them previous to that time, and therefore not born in the covenant, are sealed to them in a brief and sacred ordinance. The only temple ordinance that isn't brief is the endowment and it really could be shortened significantly.

Please be certain that your life is in complete order. Or else what? What are you trying to threaten these poor neurotic kids with? This only comes from receiving your temple blessings, your ordinances, for “in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.” (D&C 84:20.) What "only comes from receiving your temple blessings" and ordinances? What is "this" in reference to? Don't leave us hanging!

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