Questions can be endless. Therefore I largely ignore them. But I responded to an email today and post it here because a few others may be interested:
1. Can these ordinances be acceptable to the Lord due to the faith of the participants even if they occur in a general environment of “rejection” and condemnation? (My mind is drawn to Hannah seeking a blessing from Eli as an example).
If you re-read the lecture in Ephraim this was the point I made there. I even used Hannah and Eli as the example of faith of a recipient justifying the acts of a wicked and unqualified priest.
2. Is there a difference between performing the ordinances of the preparatory gospel for the deceased, and the higher ordinances ? Does the Lord accept the lower, but declines the higher? Similar to ancient Israel being permitted to continue in the lower order unto our condemnation. And if the Lord declines the higher, why were your ancestors asking for it?
The only ordinances that have ever been required for the dead are baptism and washing–because they require a physical body and they are intended to preserve the body into the resurrection. The other ordinances can all be, and do get, attended to in the spirit world. Remember Christ ordained others in the spirit world. (D&C 138:30.) LDS rites include ordination, but that is not necessary because Christ did it in the spirit world. The rest of the ordinances are informational, and can be done as readily with as without a body. Joseph’s remark about performing “all the rites for the dead” would not cause any mischief and serves as an opportunity for the living to repeat the ceremonies (an aid to memory and understanding). But the truth is that all the rites are not required for the dead. The final temple built will have work done for the dead in the separate, ceremonial font area apart from where other rites for the living will be performed. The dead and living will only intersect in that ante-chamber or area.
3. Is this “rejected” status of the church and her dead a newly realized status that has taken multiple generations to develop and culminate with certain recent events and signs? Therefore what was once acceptable in recent years to the Lord is no longer acceptable to Him today?
The rejection was incomplete until recently. But the manner of “sealing” done by LDS rites since Joseph died will not elevate anyone to be resurrected. Instead they confine all of the living participants to lie with their kindred dead until some later work is done for them all.
Given the reaction of those now living to the reestablishment of the restoration, however, it seems unlikely many of those now living would or will accept the gospel when declared to them, as required for D&C 137:7-8 to apply for their good.
The conditions are ever the same. They refuse to accept the truth at their peril. They will be possessed of the exact same spirit when dead as when living. Therefore nothing can be done to change their destiny in this cycle of creation because they are taken by a false spirit and possess a hard heart. They claim to know, and therefore will be judged as if they did know.
4. When your ancestors requested that you stay so they could receive their robes of righteousness, what good was the endowment to them, if that ceremony we’ve inherited is but a remnant of what Joseph was restoring , and a product of some of Brigham Young’s interpretations? Is there a significant value to us and those deceased to practicing the fragments of the ceremony that we do have?
All symbols are useful and reflect on our willingness to accept the truth had they been permitted to tarry. (D&C 137:7-8) There is no better proof of willingness to accept than to actually accept even an incomplete, partial ceremony. It measures their hearts in a way that proves them worthy of receiving more. They surely will receive more, including the robes of righteousness indeed–not merely a ceremonial clothing but actual covering by the atonement of Christ.
5. Were your ancestors able to receive the ordinances because of a special covenant or allowance you received personally from the Lord? Or in other words, your kindred dead would seal to you, because you received a sealing from the Father? (I apologize for asking this, I understand that I may be asking for things I cannot yet comprehend).
The ancestors involved identified themselves to me. I now know that when a full restoration happens in the future, those 11 ancestors are worthy of the rites and the essential work will be done here for them.
As to rites for the dead themselves, originally the work was not done for the dead. It was done for only three categories:
-Those personally known to the one doing the ordinance as someone who would have accepted the truth had they been permitted to tarry, and they can bear personal testimony of the character of the deceased.
-Those persons who left a record from which it can be judged they would have accepted the truth had they tarried. The same standard as the first category, but the evaluation is based on their written record, rather than the personal knowledge.
-Those who, by revelation, are known to be willing to accept the truth had they tarried.
The later practice of indiscriminate ordinances for everyone deceased is an innovation and not a correct practice.