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Blessings Of The Temples

Talk given 30 November 2014

Once upon a time, President Heber J. Grant invited a number of financiers to visit Salt Lake City. As part of this, J. Golden Kimball was given the task of escorting them on a tour. As they began passing some of the city’s landmarks, one of the financiers began asking how long it took to build certain individual buildings. No matter what timeline Kimball gave, the man scoffed, claiming that folks back East could have done things a lot faster. Kimball was frustrated by this, as it indicated the man was unaware of the circumstances under which the early pioneers labored.

Finally, the tour passed Temple Square. Once again, the financier opened his mouth, this time pointing to the temple and asking what the building was. In response, Kimball said (to paraphrase) "No clue; it wasn't there yesterday." [Kimball]

Those who understood the story behind the construction of the Salt Lake City temple would understand Kimball's frustration with this man and why he was so keen on setting him straight. Indeed, it was nearly 40 years between the time ground was first broken and the time the temple was finally finished. [LDS 1]

Ever since the early days of the church, the members have struggled to build temples for the benefit of humanity. In December of 1832, members in Kirtland, Ohio began work on the church’s first temple. Virtually every last able-bodied man who was not already on a mission assisted in the task; these men built it by day and guarded it from mobs by night. Sadly, this temple had to be abandoned when the church was chased to Missouri. Land had been prepared and dedicated in Missouri, but persecution kept one from being built. Work began anew once the church was in Nauvoo, Illinois, and once again a temple stood on the Earth. But in the face of mob violence and persecution, work was done in haste to ensure that the membership could enjoy its blessings before they had to flee. [Church History]

Once the church was safely settled in Salt Lake City, work began again. The ground was broken for a new temple in 1853, and a few months later workmen began to lay the foundation. The effort was halted in 1858 when news reached Utah that the Army was on its way as a result of a false report of rebellion. Believing that the soldiers might disturb the site, Brigham Young ordered the foundation covered over to look like a field. When the foundation was finally uncovered, it was discovered that the foundation had shifted and was now unstable. It would be 14 more years before the foundation was rebuilt and construction could begin anew, and many more before the temple itself was ready. [Primary 5]

But why is the temple so important? Why would these early members put so much time and effort into building temples even in the face of such opposition? This is because of what exactly goes on inside of the temple.

As we read in the Gospel Principles manual [Gospel Principles, pgs. 233-234]:

"Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are special buildings dedicated to the Lord. Worthy church members may go there to receive sacred ordinances and make covenants with God. Like baptism, these ordinances and covenants are necessary for our salvation. They must be performed in the temples of the Lord.

"We also go to the temple to learn more about Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. We gain a better understanding of our purpose in life and our relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We are taught about our premortal existence, the meaning of earth life, and life after death."


What are some of these ordinances?

A major ordinance of the temple – and a major blessing – is the endowment. As part of the endowment, members make covenants with God and receive assorted instructions. These help to bring those individuals who have "taken out their endowments" closer to God, both by helping people to become more committed to living righteous lives and by allowing people to become more focused on the gospel. [True 171] As explained by James E. Talmage [House 84]:

"The ordinances of the endowment embody certain obligations on the part of the individual, such as covenant and promise to observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth and the uplifting of the race; to maintain devotion to the cause of truth; and to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King – the Lord Jesus Christ. With the taking of each covenant and the assuming of each obligation, a promised blessing is pronounced, contingent upon the faithful observance of the conditions."

This is one of the several ordinances which can only be done in the temple, such that in Doctrine and Covenants 124:37 we read "And again, verily I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name?"

Another blessing of the temple is that of eternal marriage. As noted in the Gospel Principles manual [pg. 209]:

"Families can be together forever. To enjoy this blessing we must be married in the temple. When people are married outside the temple, the marriage ends when one of the partners dies. When we are married in the temple by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, we are married for time and eternity. If we keep our covenants with the Lord, our families will be united eternally as husband, wife, and children. Death cannot separate us."

In contrast, note the common wedding vows used in society: "…Until death do you part."

As explained in Doctrine and Covenants 132 (15 – 21):

"Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.

"Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.

"For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.

"And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.

"And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.

"Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory."


Bear in mind that spouses are not the only ones who benefit from the sealing ordinances which take place in the temple. Those children born to parents who have been sealed are born "in the covenant" and as such are already sealed to their parents. Individuals who were married outside of the temple and children who were born outside of the covenant can be sealed upon membership in the church. [True 171]

Still another blessing of the temple is the ability to perform work vicariously on behalf of those who have passed on without having received the ordinances or covenants of the restored gospel. Unlike those who may believe that the dead are lost, we have been commanded to actively seek after them. To once more quote the Gospel Principles manual [236]:

"Many of our ancestors are among those who died without hearing about the gospel while on the earth. They now live in the spirit world. There they are taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who have accepted the gospel are waiting for the temple ordinances to be performed for them. As we perform these ordinances in the temple for our ancestors, we can share their joy."

In order to do so, we must first identify our ancestors. Fortunately, we live in a day and age in which we have numerous options. Once upon a time, people were limited to what they were told by relatives and family friends, plus what few documents that they may have had available to them. Nowadays, dedicated researchers and archivists help to preserve documents from the past – including official documents, newspapers, books, and other historical materials – and in doing so often scan these documents so as to gather information from them. Some places simply search the information as needed, while others record material on microfilm & microfiche (making them easier for novices and amateurs alike to explore) and some go so far as to scan images into digital form so that they can be explored and searched via computer. [Gospel Principles 237][Note that the church itself has Family Search.org as an option, and that the church has an arrangement in place with Ancestry.com so that members of the church supposedly have free membership on the site.] I myself not too long ago spent an afternoon helping my mom search through the archives of the newspaper I work for in an effort to locate information for a family friend.

Once we have identified our relatives, we need to see if they have had their ordinances done. This can be determined by checking our own church records and the church's records of all temple ordinances. If a person needs to have work done, then once their name has been submitted a living family member who is worthy (those between 12 and 18 who have special permission and those over 18 who have their endowments) can stand in for these persons while they are being baptized vicariously, and endowed members can stand in for them so that they can be endowed and sealed vicariously. You see, even though these individuals have passed on, they still need to be baptized and can still be sealed; they can also still benefit from having these ordinances performed as well. But because they cannot do it for themselves, we must stand in their place. [Gospel Principles 237, True 171-2]

This cause is so important that The Lord referenced it by name in D&C 124, noting in verse 30 that "For this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me." In other words, although the temple is normally the only place in which a person is supposed to be able to perform vicarious baptism, given the plight of the Saints at the time God allowed them to happen as if they were normal baptisms.

There is also another, less commonly discussed blessing to the temple: peace. As noted in True To The Faith [173-174]:

"In addition to being a place where sacred priesthood ordinances are performed, the temple is a place of peace and revelation. When you are troubled or when crucial decisions weigh heavily on your mind, you may take your cares to the temple. There you can receive spiritual guidance.

"Sometimes you may feel that you cannot think clearly because your mind is so burdened with problems and the many things clamoring for attention. In the temple, the dust of the distractions can settle, the fog and haze can lift, and you can understand things that you have not understood before. You can find new ways to deal with the challenges you face."


The temple is so important that God once more spelled matters out in Section 124 (verses 39 - 41) so that there could be no misunderstanding:

"Therefore, verily 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, 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.

"And verily I say unto you, let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein unto my people;

"For I deign to reveal unto my church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times."


Indeed, as we read again in True To The Faith [True 174],

"The Lord will bless you as you attend to the sacred ordinance work in the temple. And the blessings He gives you will not be limited to your time in the temple. He will bless you in all aspects of your life. Your labors in the temple will strengthen you and refine you spiritually."

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Works Cited:

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Church History In The Fullness Of Times. www.lds.org/manual/church-hist…

_____. Gospel Principles. 2009. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

_____. Primary 5: Doctrine and Covenants and Church History. www.lds.org/manual/primary-5- doctrine-and-covenants-and-church-history/lesson-44-the-salt-lake-temple-is-constructed-and- dedicated?lang=eng&query=salt+lake+temple

_____. True To The Faith. 2004. Intellectual Reserve.

Kimball, James. “Salt Lake Wasn’t Built In A Day”. J. Golden Kimball Stories. 1999. Salt Lake City: Whitehorse books

[LDS 1] “Salt Lake”. www.lds.org/church/temples/sal… . Accessed 18 November 2014.

Talmage, James E. The House Of The Lord. 1968. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.
Blessings Of The Temples
Although I officially had two weeks to prepare this, the whole bit with family coming up for Thanksgiving meant that I basically only really had nine days to get this done. 
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www.snopes.com/politics/obama/…

Michelle Obama, as part of a live interview, said that people could reward themselves for voting Democrat by eating fried chicken.

I.

Just.

Wow. 

Did she not think about how she was going to sound? 
thehill.com/policy/defense/222…

After having spent the past few days trying to make the case that civilian aid workers who worked directly with Ebola victims should not be quarantined, Obama just tried to make the case for why soldiers who also worked in the affected regions should be quarantined.

...And in the most insensitive and hypocritical fashion that he could muster up.

And people wonder why so few Democrats want to be seen with him right now: they're probably afraid that he'll say something else like this.
I had a random idea the other day.

One of the key principles of being a good citizen is being informed.

Thing is, due to the economy here in the US, a number of people have cancelled their subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals (not just the print editions, mind you, but also the digital editions) as they were "unaffordable luxuries" under the situation.

This is leading me to wonder.

Suppose we have it set up so that the first, say, $50 of however much someone spends on newspaper, magazine, and online news subscriptions each year would be tax-deductible?

Each time a person subscribes to or renews a subscription to such a source, they can show the receipt and have it be counted. If a single subscription is less than what the limit is, then the remainder can be put towards another subscription.

Thoughts?

Thanks. 
[QUOTE=drstevej;66334647]"As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become."

A Response To MRM's "As God Is, Man May Be?"

17 September 2014

www.mrm.org/lorenzo-snow-coupl…

Another day, another article to debunk.

This document opens in standard form for critical material, in that the author's citation of McConkie's "Mormon Doctrine" lacks any sort of date citation for the edition. This is problematic, as even Wikipedia [1] notes that the book was unauthorized and that the original edition contained numerous instances of material that was McConkie's personal doctrine and not church teachings. I did locate the citation in my 1979 edition, and in so doing noted that an extensive section of text had been deleted by the ellipses. The full text from the passage is as follows, with the deleted material highlighted:
"Thus, those who gain eternal life receive exaltation; they are sons of God, joint-heirs with Christ, members of the Church of the Firstborn; they overcome all things, have all power, and receive the fullness of the Father. They are gods."

Not only did the document modify the punctuation (a significant warning sign), we see that the deleted material is key to understanding the context. For starters, to those who are LDS, there is a significant difference between the words "God" and "god", with the latter being used to denote an exalted beings (a usage observed in Psalms 82:6 where we read "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High."). Not only does the deleted material remove the explanation of the LDS theology on the topic, it also obscures the LDS interpretation as well: humans will become exalted, but will not become challengers to God’s title or position.

Next, the author cites a work known as "The Gospel Through the Ages" as if it were authoritative, when it is also not. A check of the work's info on Half.com [2] reveals that the work was published not by the church itself but by Deseret Book Company, which (while owned by the church) operates with autonomy and so publishes as it sees fit; just because a work is published by someone who is a church leader does not make it official church doctrine. Likewise, "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith" and the "Journal of Discourses" are not official, either. I would love to see the author cite a work that was official, as official works do teach the matter. [3]

The author tries to use Biblical citations to answer the church's theology, but his answers fall flat. He first tries to cite Isaiah 43:10 as "evidence" that the concept of exaltation is not Biblical, but he misses 43:12, where we read "I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God." Thus, the passage in question is speaking on the matter of idolatry; presuming it to also speak of exaltation is an inference that is not in my opinion entirely justified. Isaiah 44 also speaks of idolatry and not exaltation, with verses 9 and 10 reading "They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing?" In this context, it becomes clear that Isaiah 45 is likewise about idolatry and not exaltation. In that sense, all three verses not only come from the same narrow section, but are also not entirely relevant.

The author then goes to Psalms 82 and John 10 in an effort to "explain" the LDS defense, in the process completely missing what I have noted earlier concerning LDS theology. He also failed to actually cite anything officially sanctioned by the church, which makes me wonder if he actually stopped to investigate the church's own materials. I am quite disappointed.

The author tries to follow it up with a citation from Jeremiah 10, in the process ignoring the fact that the chapter is also about idols and not exaltation. Because of this, his attempt at rhetoric falls flat. Also flat is his assertion that "It would be safe to say that most Mormons do not even know what the "fulness [sic] of gospel law" includes, much less obey it." On what basis does he make this claim? We merely have his assertion.

He also tries to use Isaiah 64 to argue that "works" cannot save, in the process making the same mistake of so many other critics by presuming that the LDS faith uses a works-based salvation system. As noted in the Fourth Article of Faith, "We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost." Faith is preeminent in the LDS faith, but at the same time we believe that one's faith must be active. We take James chapter 2 quite seriously, in that we regard a faith that is not active as being a faith that is hollow [4]. In that sense, it would be against LDS theology to believe that one can work one's way to salvation. Rather, when we say "We will work out our salvation," we mean "we will obey God's laws and labor to be active in the faith, doing good and remaining mindful of both our promises to the Lord and our standards."

       Given this, I find it ironic that the author derides Dr. Mouw when he himself is, indeed, guilty of just what Dr. Mouw was warning about concerning non-Mormons judging the church without first doing their homework.

The author tries to make it appear that he has done so by quoting from a piece in The Ensign, an official publication of the church, but his effort backfires because he hangs himself on this one. As the author did not see fit to cite where he found Dr. Mouw's specific words on the matter, and I have had no success in finding any sort of reference to his remarks outside of this article, the author has rendered the issue moot because his claims cannot be fact-checked (a very serious academic no-no). Yes, the theology does teach exaltation. But until such time as I can find the supposed statement made by Dr. Mouw on the topic, I cannot presume that the statement has been properly presented given the author's other flaws with accurately presenting material as seen elsewhere in this article.

As far as the author's claims concerning contacting the church’s public relations department, he seems to presume that silence is an admission of something untoward when it could simply have been his e-mail getting lost in the shuffle. He also regards it as untoward that his request to speak to someone from church headquarters was "ignored", but even if we presume that the matter happened as the author claims we have no way of knowing why his request was not responded to. He also seems to presume that all members of the church march in lockstep when it comes to matters of theology, hence his seeming surprise that individual members of the church – including folks from BYU – can have their own personal understanding of matters and so can either be unaware of something or even hold a different POV.

All told, I'm not impressed. If I had handed in such a poorly constructed and poorly-referenced work as this during my graduate work, I'd have been laughed out of the program.

[1] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_D…

[2] product.half.ebay.com/Gospel-T…

[3] For example, www.lds.org/manual/gospel-prin…

[4] www.lds.org/manual/new-testame…
Response To MRM
I was challenged to respond to this one by a critic on another site I go to.
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deviantID

Ironhold
Darren
United States
Current Residence: Central Texas
Operating System: Acer Laptop.
Interests
I'm one of the editors over at TF Wiki.net, a fan-maintained wiki for the Transformers franchise.

One ongoing project we have <a wytiwyg="1" href=tfwiki.net/wiki/User:Tigerpaw2…>involves trying to figure out which US broadcasters aired what season of the cartoon</URL> during those years in which the cartoon was available via broadcast television rather than being broadcast via a cable network.

For a number of media markets, all we have are question marks; either we do not have information concerning who aired what, or the information we have cannot be verified. For other markets, some of the listings are little more than educated guesses or rely on questionable information sources.

We'd appreciate any help that anyone can give us. I've been trying to contribute, but even I've hit brick walls along the way.


Currently, the identified seasons are as follows:

Generation 1
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988

Although it was originally taken for granted that all networks which broadcast the series back in the day debuted the premiere episode on or around 24 September 1984, we were forced to split the chart into individual seasons when it was discovered that KCEN-TV delayed the premiere of the show until January of 1985.

Generation 2

Although the series had two seasons, no irregularities have been noted and it is presumed that all networks which aired the series aired both seasons.

Beast Wars
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3

Season one was broadcast as part of a syndicated block of programs, and when that block was discontinued the show was syndicated on its own. This led to situations in which the show jumped networks between season 1 and season 2.

Beast Machines
Robots In Disguise

Although these two shows were officially supposed to be broadcast by Fox, there have been reports to indicate that this was not the case; some markets did not have these series, while in other markets the Fox Kids feed was broadcast by a different station.

Transformers: Cybertron

Although the series debuted on Cartoon Network, it was moved to The WB Network for four months in 2005 as a Hail Mary play to help draw ratings.

Thanks.

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kaylathehedgehog Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the fave!
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Krazzulimaii Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I saw your very intelligent argument on the forum. Good on ya, clearin up stuff for us. Have a llama
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Ironhold Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2013
Thanks.
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bohobella Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
This will sound really dumb if I'm remembering wrong, but you're LDS, right?

I'm wanting a copy of the BOM to study for myself, but I've found out there's no mission or church on my island, so I was wondering if you had any idea where I could buy or get one otherwise.

Unless you're not a member of the church then this is just strange.
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Ironhold Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
[link]

This is the entire BoM, with footnotes, online in an HTML format.

In fact, the entire canon, the current Sunday School manuals, and copies of the official church magazines dating back to ca. 1971 can be had on the church's website for free if you just want to look at digital versions.

If you want a physical copy of any of it, then as a non-member you'll need to place an order with Deseret Book ([link]) or another LDS retailer.
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Lady-Doll-Paige Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2010
Hello again... I wish to thank you for the watch... and still 'ouch' for the whole stiches thing... O_o
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Thank you for the fav! My cats sends a meow :D
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thanx for the fave
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Thanks for the fav!
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Thanks so much for the :+fav: on my Daily Deviated Film, Cecil The Penguin. Cheers mate :D
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