Temple Questions

I received email inquiries about the expected temple, and how Joseph Smith’s rites relate to what will be built. I responded with the below comments, which I assume would be of general interest:

Joseph never completed the restoration of the temple rites. Therefore what the temple should include would be more (significantly more) than what happened in Nauvoo. It would require a floorplan and layout that fits the full sweep and purposes of the Lord in returning the ancient Holy Order. That requires knowledge to be taught in some detail. As a consequence of what the temple is intended to accomplish, there would be different parts of the facility that get different uses and different access. Some parts of the process would be limited to very few people ever being admitted, while other areas would essentially be public with anyone having admission. The LDS and the Cutlerites have nothing to offer. Both were never in possession of what needed to be restored.

Joseph did “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” that included symbols and depictions to convey sacred information that is to be communicated in a sacred space using symbols and ritual to embed a message from God. It was, as best as it can be reconstructed at this point, a continuation of the Book of Abraham translation that he promised to deliver. However, it was not appropriate to do so publicly. So it got moved into a sacred ritual. It did not get completed. As time ran out, he was working on several incomplete threads of material that belong to the restoration. The Lord’s restoration at the end of time must reclaim what was here at the beginning during the first dispensation. That is much more than has survived through the various apostasies, and more than has been on the earth since the time of the first patriarchs.

Information that Joseph was working on but did not complete would have greatly expanded the restoration, had he been allowed to continue. Joseph had arrived at a point where the material was becoming increasingly inappropriate for the public. And those who were exposed to the commencement of that effort were not really suitable and failed to comprehend what they were getting conferred upon them. The lack of comprehension resulted in a whole bundle of errors following Joseph and Hyrum’s murders as the recipients attempted to duplicate what Joseph was attempting at the end. As distortions crept in, the effort to duplicate things became much like the Pharaoh’s sincere attempt to “imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first Patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also Noah” but who likewise could not do so with any success. There was no power in the imitations.

Had the effort succeeded, then what Joseph was attempting would have resulted “in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest, and without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the Priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto man in the flesh, for without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.” Joseph had obviously been able to endure this ascent to God’s presence. However, the restoration was intended to guide and instruct others along that same path so that the ordinances would manifest to man in the flesh the face of God, or in other words, to endow them with the knowledge that reckons directly from God’s presence. It was intended for mortal man to be taught the pathway back to the Throne of God so they could successfully make that journey.

It does no good to discuss this subject, because the material is only designed to be conveyed in an appropriate place, at an appropriate time, to an appropriate audience. And making this the subject of discussion outside of that setting, place and qualified recipient is little more than voyeurism and gossip. It runs the risk of making profane what is necessarily intended to be kept sacred. That obligation is why the material has not (and cannot) be preserved beyond any dispensation when it is bestowed.

Academics who have studied this issue carefully know there is something very important that has been lost. And they have conjectured and attempted to gather the threads together. The failure of the academic world to recover it is a testament to the importance of the vigilance and care that those who have been entrusted with the material have shown for God’s gift to them. It is also proof that something very important has been lost.

There are some rites for the dead, but not what/how the LDS have interpreted the work to be done. Baptism is required for everyone, including the dead.