Month: January 2019

Development

The pathway to the ideal always requires a walk through the practical. It is not a single leap to become Zion. It is a journey, filled with challenges and opportunities. Time, planning, resources, faith, labor, sacrifice, and patience along with compromises and temporary steps will be taken before we get there.

The first increments are perhaps the most important on the journey. In the parable of the 10 virgins, by the time the wedding party arrived it was too late for half the virgins to enter.

Those who stand back and await to see what will be produced rob themselves of the chance to prepare now. Then when the crisis comes, it will be too late.

Time, careful and difficult steps are required beforehand. No one lacking the preparation will be able to endure the society of those who did prepare beforehand.

However modest and simple the steps now underway may appear, they are vital. They are leading to something much greater.

We are on the pathway to the ideal, but for the present must deal with the practical. Those participating have begun the journey already.

54: Abraham, Part 1

This is the first part of a special series on Abraham.

Today, Denver addresses the question: What do we need to understand about Abraham in order to understand our place in the last days events? What is God’s view of The Book of Abraham and what ought we to take from it as we look towards a continuation of the restoration?

Transcript:

Continue reading “54: Abraham, Part 1”

Power in the Priesthood

I was asked yesterday about a definition for the term “Power in the Priesthood” and I responded:

Power in the Priesthood: Generally, having heaven acknowledge the priest’s acts as authorized, such as in baptism and blessing the sacrament. But also includes any endowment conferred directly by the Lord upon a person to accomplish an act, deliver a message, perform a mission, or labor on the Lord’s behalf with His authorization. Not every act done by men claiming authority from God is acknowledged by God, but only those acts with power in the priesthood belong to Him. Hence the Lord’s saying, many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, and in your name have cast out devils, and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I say, You never knew me. Depart from me, you that work iniquity.

There is another, related term, Blessings of the Priesthood:  This refers to the results of receiving an authorized priesthood holder’s administration to a recipient. The blessings of the priesthood endure even after the death of the priesthood holder. Although Joseph Smith died in June 1844, the blessings he conferred while here endured until early in the 20th Century.

53: Discernment, Part 3

This is Part 3 and the final part of a special series on Discernment.

Today, Denver addresses the following questions: What is discernment? How can I develop the gift and ability to discern? What can be done to correctly discern true and false spirits? And, how can I discern my own thoughts from those from God?

Transcript:

Continue reading “53: Discernment, Part 3”

52: Discernment, Part 2

This is Part 2 of a special series on Discernment.

Today, Denver addresses the following questions: What is discernment? How can I develop the gift and ability to discern? What can be done to correctly discern true and false spirits? And, how can I discern my own thoughts from those from God?

Transcript:

Continue reading “52: Discernment, Part 2”

“this” and “that” Conclusion:

The man was created first for a reason. He was also given dominion and governance over this world for the same reason. This was not for his sake, but to save this creation. The man needed to be accountable and responsible for everything in the creation, and for what would happen here. He had to be given rule so that he would be the accountable party for the fall. This, in turn, results in his redemption also redeeming everything under his dominion also from the fall.

For the woman to be redeemed, God put her under the purview and accountability of the man: “your desire shall be to your husband and he shall rule over you.” (OC Gen. 2:18; see also T&C 110: Lecture 2:16) Paul was explaining this in his letter to the Corinthians: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman, the man, and the head of Christ, God.” (NC 1 Cor 1:44) Although Paul is considered a chauvinist because of his explanation, this was the order established in the beginning by God, not by Paul. Paul wanted others to understand it.

Man cannot change the order ordained by God. Paul’s attempt to explain it does not mean Paul preferred it. He just understood it. He hoped to help others also understand it.

In accordance with the Divine ordination, the temple rites should include the covenant wherein the woman solemnly covenants and promises before God, angels, and witnesses at an altar that she will observe and keep the law of her husband and abide by his counsel in righteousness/or heed his counsel in righteousness. However worded, the covenant must track with the original order established by God for the man and woman.

The objective is unity, or for them to become one. Christ reiterated that God’s decree should be respected, not set aside by men. “Have you not read that he who made man at the beginning made him male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more two, but one flesh.” (NC Matt. 9:19)

Paul’s teaching to the Corinthians also explained, “every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is even all one, as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 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. For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man, neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have a covering on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.” (1 Cor. 1:44) This obscure practice Paul refers to is grounded in something other than Paul’s bias. Covering the woman with a veil during prayer has always been part of the correct order. It is a profound and important symbol.

Because the woman’s creation was directly from the Heavenly Mother, as explained in Our Divine Parents, saving the man could not save the woman unless the woman was placed in the role God established. By placing her under his rule, it allowed her redemption. Saving all that was under the rule of the man will also include saving the woman. By God’s decree, salvation was extended to the woman through her husband’s rule. This is the reason temple covenants necessarily put the woman under the rule of her husband.

This is obviously not a license for the man to engage in misrule. To “rule” is to be responsible to teach all those in one’s dominion. A ruler is a teacher responsible for instructing others. Teaching by the ruler is required to be done without any appeal to authority, but by persuasion, meekness, and gentleness, love unfeigned and pure knowledge. (T&C 139:6)

In order to be saved, a woman must be under the dominion of her husband. Paul hoped to teach the Ephesians to follow the Divine order in love and respect. He taught, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord; for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and he is the savior of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself, for no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it even as the Lord the church; for we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife, even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (NC Eph. 1:20-21)

If husbands reflected the pattern of Christ’s love for His church in cherishing their wives, then submitting or hearkening to the rule of the loving husband would be a light burden. Husbands would elevate and be considerate of their wives. He would cherish her, and there would be no resentment or conflict between them.

The cure for a husband’s failure to cherish his wife is not to rebel against and destroy the order established by God. Doing so brings only condemnation. Isaiah foretold, “The Earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” (OC Isa. 7:1) There is no honor in destroying the ordinance. That defiles the whole earth, as Isaiah explained. The solution is instead for the ignorant and foolish husband to repent.

“this” and “that” Part 3

In a temple ceremony, a veil is used as a symbol to separate the initiate from the Lord. This is a symbol of the division between heaven and earth, between time and eternity, or between the sacred and the commonplace. Beyond the veil are the angels, gods and spirits (that). Here there are mortals.

Passing through that veil (that) happens in one of two ways. One way is to gain knowledge of God’s mysteries and living true and faithful to them. This is symbolized in the temple ceremony, but that actually happened in the case of the brother of Jared. “And because of the knowledge of this man, he could not be kept from beholding within the veil. And he saw the finger of Jesus, which when he saw, he fell with fear, for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord. And he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting. Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil. Therefore, he saw Jesus, and he did minister unto him.” (NC Ether 1:14) Temple rites explain that anyone who arrives at the veil boundary who has been true and faithful in all things is entitled to converse with the Lord through the veil. Once the Lord is satisfied they possess the required attributes, then they can enter into His presence.

The second way of passing through that veil is explained by Alma, “[B]ehold, it has been made known unto me by an angel that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.” (NC Alma 19:6)

The ceremony employs two veils to symbolize the separation between mortality and eternity, the sacred and the profane. The boundary veil is used during the ceremony to test the initiate before permitting the individual to enter into the presence of the Lord. The second veil is used to symbolize the role of the woman.

Except for what happens in the womb of the woman, everything in mortality is subject to entropy. Women have the ordained power to produce new life. Everything else decays and dies. Her power defies the universal effects of entropy.

The ceremonial boundary veil that acts as the divider between worlds represents when the initiate is tested by heaven. This takes place before they are permitted to pass from earth to heaven, from time to eternity and from the commonplace to the sacred. In direct contrast, the veil of the woman represents the transition of pre-earth eternal spirits into mortality, when the sacred becomes embodied. She, along with God, veils in flesh the spirits from beyond the veil. “You have clothed me with skin and flesh, and have framed me with bones and sinews.” (OC Job 4:10) Therefore, the woman’s veil represents the inverse of the other veil. The boundary veil symbolizes losing the flesh to leave mortality, and her veil endows the immortal spirit with mortal flesh.

Like her heavenly counterpart, the woman represents creation. This process, like that which is beyond the boundary veil, is sacred. Both veils symbolize the sacred.

Woman is veiled to show that in a fallen world, trapped by decay and death, creation continues through her. Life springs anew and what is sacred and pure is born into mortal life. It would not be proper to remove the ceremonial veiling from the woman unless the intention was to abort the symbol of new life and creation. It destroys the symbol of the sacred power given to woman. The destroyer, of course, seeks to end life and impose misrule and death.

Of all the symbols in the temple rites, some of the most important and least understood involve the woman. The role of man is knowledge and the role of woman is wisdom. In the paper Our Divine Parents, pages 35 through 38, there is a discussion about Moses’ parable of the creation of man and woman. The woman had a direct relation to the Heavenly Mother, from whom she obtained the power to produce new life. That power resides with the Eternal Mother, and had to be endowed by Her for the mortal woman to inherit that eternal power. The creation of woman was designed to preserve, despite the fall of man, the Divine Mother’s power allowing life to continue despite the relentless pull of entropy toward dissolution, decay and the grave. This originally elevated the woman.

“this” and “that” Part 2

Like the parables Christ taught, temple rites have always used symbols to use “this” act or performance in order to reveal truths about “that” which is eternal. Temples are a great storehouse of symbolism, or one great parable used to teach truths about God. For example, under the Law of Moses, the rites of animal sacrifice required for various sins and cleansings were used to teach about the future sacrifice of a Redeemer.

The Scribes and Pharisees did not understand Christ’s parables. Those stories meant nothing to them. If it had been left to the Scribes and Pharisees, Christ’s parables would have been discarded. Imagine what Christianity would lack if we did not have the parable of the Good Samaritan, or the mustard seed, or the lost coin, or the Prodigal Son because the Scribes and Pharisees saw no reason to retain them.

When it comes to symbols (this) representing something else (that), the temple clothing given in the initiation is filled with symbolism. Depicted in the beginning of temple ceremony are six days of creation. They include six organizing labors divided into increments called “days.” Day 1: organizing together disorganized material to form a world. Day 2: dividing the water from the land. Day 3: establishing the lights in the firmament as signs. Day 4: placing plant life. Day 5: placing animal life. Day 6: putting man on earth. Despite the interruption, the seventh day was ordained to be a time of rest from labor.

There are also six articles of clothing. Article 1: robe. Article 2: slippers, Article 3: cap. Article 4: apron. Article 5: girdle. Article 6: undergarment. Each of these articles of clothing is worn by the initiate to symbolize, among other things, the creation labors, or one of the six days of creation. The slippers represent to the initiate the second day of creation. Until the dry land appeared, there was no place for man to walk.

The temple clothing symbolizes other things as well. The slippers in particular have an important second meaning; one that is more intimate than the appearance of dry land on the second day of creation. Slippers are removed and then put on again as part of the temple clothing so as to draw attention to them. Unlike the robes, which are changed from one shoulder to another to symbolize progression, nothing is done with the slippers when the robes change shoulders. Once they are donned as part of the temple regalia, they are to remain on the initiate even while other articles are moved. This is because once a soul begins to walk in the path of righteousness they are never to depart from that path.

The journey of the saved soul remains ongoing until we are in the presence of God. The slippers represent staying on the path; having remained true and faithful in all things. This in turn qualifies the individual to converse with the Lord through the veil and receive further light and knowledge. A house of God must symbolize this, as explained by Micah: “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths.” (OC Micah 1:9; see also Isa. 1:6) The symbol of staying on that path is critical because that is the only way to obtain salvation: “none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the straight path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.” (NC 2 Ne. 15:1) Following this path has been the message delivered by true prophets among the Jews and Nephites. “Cry unto this people, saying, Repent ye, repent ye, and prepare the way of the Lord, and walk in his paths, which are straight[.]” (NC Alma 5:3; see also NC Matt. 2:1)

The slippers and other articles of ceremonial clothing represent one of the days of creation, or symbolize part of the creation itself. Wearing these six symbols means the initiate represents the creation. When the initiate enters through the veil into God’s presence, that entry represents redemption of the initiate, and also symbolizes the redemption of all creation. This means that the creating process continues even if only one couple is redeemed. Through the redemption of the man and woman as one, they will continue to create worlds without end. (See NC Eph. 1:11; T&C 69:28) Christ testified, “Moreover, those who are here on this journey with me will be added upon for evermore if they have faith in me. They will rise up to likewise generate endless lives, worlds without end.” (T&C 171: Chapter 5:16)

The symbolic journey of the initiate is also the symbolic continuation of all creation. There will be other souls created, and other worlds established like the world in which we presently live. Thus the journey on that path continues worlds without end. Taking off the slippers and putting them on again as part of the temple clothing is a profound symbol of eternal truth.

51: Discernment, Part 1

This is Part 1 of a special series on Discernment. In a lengthy Times and Seasons article entitled “Try the Spirits” published on April 1, 1842, Joseph Smith wrote:

A man must have the discerning of spirits before he can drag into daylight this hellish influence and unfold it unto the world in all its soul-destroying, diabolical, and horrid colors; for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God.

Today, Denver addresses the following questions: What is discernment? How can I develop the gift and ability to discern? What can be done to correctly discern true and false spirits? And, how can I discern my own thoughts from those from God?

Transcript:

Continue reading “51: Discernment, Part 1”

“this” and “that”

Symbolism substitutes one thing to represent another. There is always “this” that stands in the place of “that.” The value of the symbol is in teaching about “that” by employing “this” as a teaching tool.

In temple symbolism, the “this” used has no real value, but “that” holds eternal value. If an unbelieving person obtains access to “this” temple symbol, but fails to understand its relationship to “that” which is eternal, they have nothing of value. Likewise, when the symbol this has no meaning for those who believe in the temple, then it fails to have any value for the believer as well.

God’s highest truths frequently use symbols. Christ used parables to teach about that by using the familiar to substitute as a representation. He explained that this was to prevent those who were unworthy of the symbol from comprehending the truths. Seeing, they “see not” and hearing they “hear not.” (See, NC Matt. 7:2; Mark 2:13.) So we understand that merely getting this without understanding that is worthless.

Temple rites are a gift from God that is filled with this for that. Ignorance leads to apostasy because the ignorant cannot see that this holds powerful value to teach about that. Even the greatest symbols can become nothing when they are not understood and are discarded by the ignorant. Then “they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received. For what does it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.” (T&C 86:4)

Before the temple endowment was given, God explained what He intended to accomplish through the future rites: “I say unto you that 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 and honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name.” (T&C 141:12) God intended the symbols to convey glory, honor and a gift or endowment upon the people who received them. The symbols are not the real thing, but they teach and point to the real thing that is required for salvation.

In the temple ceremony there are symbols for certain virtues that are called “keys.” These keys use hand contact and words as the symbol (this) to substitute for the actual virtues of obedience, sacrifice, chastity, gospel and consecration (that).

In the Egyptian ceremonial there was a symbolic weighing of the heart against the Ma’at feather, along with the 42 negative confessions that a person had not sinned, had not robbed with violence, had not stolen, had not uttered lies, had not committed adultery, and so on. These rites were intended to teach the person to avoid bad behaviors and acquire the seven virtues of truth, justice, balance, order, compassion, harmony, and reciprocity.

Like the ceremonies of Egypt, the restored temple rites were also intended to symbolize the acquisition of the virtues of obedience, sacrifice, chastity, gospel and consecration. The ceremony also put the initiate through a symbolic judgment in the presence of a judge who conversed with the initiate through the veil, asking for them to present the symbols (this) to demonstrate they had acquired and were in possession of the required virtues (that).

Anyone can learn of the ceremonial symbols without possessing the required virtues. But to satisfy the God-judge who meets mankind as they pass through the veil at death, the initiate must possess the actual virtues these key words and hand contacts represent. They must have the real thing.

Throughout the restored temple ceremonies the symbols are introduced sequentially, first on the right side. Therefore, interpreting the symbols focuses on understanding the significance of the right side.

To teach Christ’s gospel using symbol, part of the temple ceremony included putting a robe on the left shoulder and tying a girdle around the waist on the right hip. By putting the robe on the left shoulder, the right shoulder was left uncovered. Anciently, clothing was valuable, and most labor was manual. A bare shoulder could become calloused through work, and if scratched or cut, could heal. But a torn robe took effort and time to repair, and any injury to the garment would shorten its life. Therefore, clothing was protected from this daily labor when possible by leaving the weight-bearing shoulder uncovered. Leaving the right shoulder bare in the temple ceremony symbolized that at that stage of the initiation there was still the need to carry a burden on the right side. The work was not done.

The belly is the symbolic center of our appetites and passions. Tying the bow of the girdle on the right side symbolized the need to bind the belly, or control the appetites and passions that so often lead to sin and conflict. The bow symbolized the effort required to conquer the unruly body.

There was also a bow over the right ear for the man, the bow having three loops. Placing these over the right ear symbolized the need to hear, or hearken. The three loops above the ear symbolize first the Godhead who are above. These loops secondly also symbolize the fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whose names are often used to identify the true God. By obeying the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the person can accomplish the labor symbolized by the bare shoulder and bind the inappropriate appetites and unruly passions portrayed in the knotted girdle on the right hip.

When the individual achieves these required developmental improvements symbolized in this robing, then they remove all these accouterments and put them on again. Removing them was the symbol that all progress made will not be enough if you are unwilling to lay them aside, sacrifice what you have obtained from God, in order to receive more. Nothing can be gained if you are unwilling to change as often as God may require of you. Even if you mourn the loss of what you must lay aside, when God asks it of you it must be done to progress further.

As the symbolic journey continued, the robe and girdle were again donned and changed. This time the robe moved to the right shoulder and the bow is tied on the left hip. Because the symbols are interpreted from the right side, this movement shows that the hard work has been accomplished, and the robe can be safely worn upon the shoulder. The physical battle is over and the body has been controlled. They have won honor through their progression in light and truth. There is no longer a knot or tie on the right hip, but only the smooth girdle surrounding the belly because desires, appetites and passions have been defeated. Progress has been made. This is why they were part of temple worship.