Sunday, July 12, 2015

Temple Prep - "Come to the Temple"

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

There are many reasons why one should want to come to the temple. Even its external appearance seems to hint of its deeply spiritual purposes. Sounds like curiosity and you said curiosity was not a good reason to go to the temple. I should also add that the external appearance of the temple is all you get before going through. No one hears about the secret rituals unless they have someone close to them break the temple rules or they do a little online searching. Much more is this evident within its walls. Over the door to the temple appears the tribute “Holiness to the Lord.” When you enter any dedicated temple, you are in the house of the Lord. That "Holiness to the Lord" tribute is still external, sir, not "within its walls". Anyway, I really hope you explain some of the internal stuff to help us all understand just why you think the Lord would live in an LDS temple. I suspect you saw him there one morning in his pajamas frying a couple of eggs, or at least found his toothbrush in the bathroom.

In the Church we build buildings of many kinds. Like luxury malls, sky rise apartments and anything else that will fit in a city designed for 500 thousand people. We're busy little bees, ain't we? In them we worship, we teach, we find recreation, we organize. You forgot "buy", "sell", "invest" and "strategize". We can organize stakes and wards and missions and quorums and Relief Societies in these buildings or even in rented halls. But, when we organize families according to the order that the Lord has revealed, we organize them in the temples. What? It sounds like you need a little lesson on how families are made. There are several options. The most popular method is sexual reproduction. Another very popular approach is adoption. Both sexual reproduction and adoption can happen different ways, but I'm guessing you're already not paying attention...  Temple marriage, that sealing ordinance, is a crowning blessing that you may claim in the holy temple. The way you've framed it, it sounds more like the capstone requiring a skillful crane maneuver. 
In the temples members of the Church who make themselves eligible can participate in the most exalted of the redeeming ordinances that have been revealed to mankind. There, in a sacred ceremony, an individual may be washed and anointed and instructed and endowed and sealed. Weren't we washed at baptism? Why do we need to be washed again? And what do we need anointing for? How does the content of the instruction you speak of differ from our regular meetings? What does "endowed" mean exactly? I think sealings are the only thing non-endowed members really understand before they go through the temple. It means an eternal marriage, right? A marriage that can never ever be dissolved by God or man. And when we have received these blessings for ourselves, we may officiate for those who have died without having had the same opportunity. Why would God not give so many billions of his children this opportunity in life? Why would he make nearly everyone who's ever lived writhe in sorrow and anguish over the unavoidable loss of their loved ones at death for the duration of their earth life? Don't you think they'll be at least a little annoyed to find out that someone else was sealed on their behalf? That all their emotional suffering was for nothing? The jokes on them! In the temples the sacred ordinances are performed for the living and for the dead alike. Those who died without the law are exempt from the law. That's what the scriptures say. Do you believe your own scriptures? Here is the baptismal font, where vicarious baptisms for the dead are performed, with worthy members acting as proxy for those who have gone beyond the veil. Baptism, like most rites in most cultures, is horribly arbitrary. It's almost like God didn't think this through.
“Come to the temple.” If not now, come soon. Pray fervently, set your lives in order, save whatever you can in hopes that that day may come. "Save" as in "save your money so you can spend it on temple attendance? This finally sounds a bit like temple attendance in Jesus' day. Will we buy sacrificial doves and oxen there or just T-shirts and keychains? Start now that sometimes very difficult and discouraging journey of repentance. Because you know your reader is that besmirched with sin? Keep in mind that your audience has been baptized, and repentance, dear brother, is a prerequisite for baptism. What I mean is, we know about repentance. The temple transforms the individual and makes abundantly worthwhile any efforts made to get there. You're right about being transformed. I doubled my efforts to understand what I had gotten involved in and those efforts to understand ultimately changed my life in a big way. For some who live at great distances from a temple, the temples will come to you before you might come to them. Keep your faith and your hope and determine that you will come—that you will be worthy and that you will come to the temple. If you're online you have no excuse for not going to the temple right now.

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