Saturday, March 23, 2013

Taking A-5 to the Temple

My son, A-5 (fifth child) and I at the Bountiful Temple this afternoon
One of the requirements for a missionary once they have a call is to go to the House of the Lord to be endowed with power from on high. My second daughter, A-4, has to wait a few more weeks until just before her wedding in the Temple to receive the same endowment as she chose not to go on a mission (which is just fine by me and the Lord).

I have tried to teach my children and others preparing (mainly when I was bishop) that the endowment includes literal priesthood "power from on high" yet is highly symbolic in its ritual. That ritual has changed to some extent over the 37 years I have been going and even before from the time of Joseph Smith. The ritualistic aspects, even as we hold them most sacred and private, are only a process to get us to the ability to seal ourselves to each other and God - dependent upon continued and improving faithfulness to the commandments and promptings of the Holy Spirit lest the whole earth be wasted at his coming. "Wasted" in this sense meaning more than just destroyed in wickedness but wasted in the sense that the whole purpose of God would be meaningless if we are not sealed with power from on high to enter his presence and unite with loved ones for all eternity. (See Moses 1:39, D&C 128)

Some people in and out of the church get bent out of shape accusing Joseph of stealing from the Masons at the same time he totally misunderstood the Egyptians, but I think they miss the whole point. The symbols and ritual are not as important as the meaning. And even there, while totally different philosophical/theological frameworks, all these rituals were initiatory in nature to prepare the individual to enter a world beyond death. (For example, see Nibley's, One Eternal Round or The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment). Joseph's prophetic refinements add the meaning of eternal families together with our Heavenly Father that other systems miss.

And don't get me wrong, Baptism and the Holy Ghost are still enough to get one into the Kingdom of God and even to Heaven. Just remember there's that "three degrees of glory" aspect that Joseph also revealed to us from God. (See also, Paul in 1 Corinthians 15). To become like our Heavenly Father, we need to enter his presence with Temple ordinances.

My son did well. He went for his own endowment today and in the future he can go on behalf of deceased relatives as he learns the rituals better with more practice. I went as his escort today but also as proxy for a distant relative, James Vaughan, christened 1805 in Glasbury, Wales.

Trying to capture sunlight on the Golden Angel Moroni on top, I got more light than expected.
That's often how it works with the House of the Lord, Holiness to the Lord

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