I came across a talk from President Brigham Young that was deeply insightful, and I want to share a portion. It is from an address he gave on August 24, 1872 in Farmington, Utah, and reported by David W. Evans. In it President Young describes the ordinances of the temple, and the many ordinances that we have yet to receive, including resurrection.
Now a few words to the brethren and sisters upon the doctrine and ordinances of the house of God. All who have lived on the earth according to the best light they had, and would have received the fullness of the Gospel had it been preached to them, are worthy of a glorious resurrection, and will attain to this by being administered for in the flesh by those who have the authority. All others will have a resurrection, and receive a glory, except those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost.
It is supposed by this people that we have all the ordinances in our possession for life and salvation, and exaltation, and that we are administering in these ordinances. This is not the case. We are in possession of all the ordinances that can be administered in the flesh; but there are other ordinances and administrations that must be administered beyond this world. I know you would ask what they are. I will mention one.
We have not, neither can we receive here, the ordinance and the keys of the resurrection. They will be given to those who have passed off this stage of action and have received their bodies again, as many have already done and many more will. They will be ordained, by those who hold the keys of the resurrection, to go forth and resurrect the Saints, just as we receive the ordinance of baptism, then the keys of authority to baptize others for the remission of their sins. This is one of the ordinances we can not receive here, and there are many more.
We hold the authority to dispose of, alter and change the elements; but we have not received authority to organize native element to even make a spear of grass grow. We have no such ordinance here. We organize according to men in the flesh. By combining the elements and planting the seed, we cause vegetables, trees, grains, &c., to come forth. We are organizing a kingdom here according to the pattern that the Lord has given for people in the flesh, but not for those who have received the resurrection, although it is a similitude.
Another item: We have not the power in the flesh to create and bring forth or produce a spirit; but we have the power to produce a temporal body. The germ of this, God has placed within us. And when our spirits receive our bodies, and through our faithfulness we are worthy to be crowned, we will then receive authority to produce both spirit and body. But these keys we cannot receive in the flesh. Herein, brethren, you can perceive that we have not finished, and cannot finish our work, while we live here, no more than Jesus did while he was in the flesh.
We can not receive, while in the flesh, the keys to form and fashion kingdoms and to organize matter, for they are beyond our capacity and calling, beyond this world. In the resurrection, men who have been faithful and diligent in all things in the flesh, have kept their first and second estate, and worthy to be crowned Gods, even the sons of God, will be ordained to organize matter. How much matter do you suppose there is between here and some of the fixed stars which we can see? Enough to frame many, very many millions of such earths as this, yet it is now so diffused, clear and pure, that we look through it and behold the stars. Yet the matter is there. Can you form any conception of this? Can you form any idea of the minuteness of matter?….
We will operate here, in all the ordinances of the house of God which pertain to this side the vail, and those who pass beyond and secure to themselves a resurrection pertaining to the lives will go on and receive more and more, more and more, and will receive one after another until they are crowned Gods, even the sons of God. This idea is very consoling. We are now baptizing for the dead, and we are sealing for the dead, and if we had a temple prepared we should be giving endowments for the dead-for our fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles, aunts, relatives, friends and old associates, the history of whom we are now getting from our friends in the east….
I am going to stop my talking by saying that, in the millennium, when the kingdom of God is established on the earth in power, glory and perfection, and the reign of wickedness that has so long prevailed is subdued, the Saints of God will have the privilege of building their temples, and of entering into them, becoming, as it were, pillars in the temples of God, and they will officiate for their dead. Then we will see our friends come up, and perhaps some that we have been acquainted with here. If we ask who will stand at the head of the resurrection in this last dispensation, the answer is-Joseph Smith, Junior, the Prophet of God. He is the man who will be resurrected and receive the keys of the resurrection, and he will seal this authority upon others, and they will hunt up their friends and resurrect them when they shall have been officiated for, and bring them up. And we will have revelations to know our forefathers clear back to Father Adam and Mother Eve, and we will enter into the temples of God and officiate for them. Then man will be sealed to man until the chain is made perfect back to Adam, so that there will be a perfect chain of priesthood from Adam to the winding-up scene.
This will be the work of the Latter-day Saints in the millennium. How much time do you suppose we have to attend to and foster Babylon? I leave this question for you to answer at your pleasure. I have no time at all for that, I say, and stop my sayings. (Journal of Discourses, 15:137-38).
I was walking on campus today, talking on the phone to my dad about Margaret Barker. Someone over heard me, came up to me, and asked me if I knew about your blog. Maybe he’ll drop in and say hi here!
I thought that was pretty cool. Keep up the good work!
That’s great! Good to hear the word is getting out about the site!
Speaking of Margaret Barker, do you think that we Mormons are being unduly uncritical of her scholarship just because a lot of what she says seems to be right in line with LDS theology and thinking? Should we be more critical of her scholarship? Just a comment from someone I read the other day.
Should we be more critical of Margaret Barker? Yes, we probably should be. We should analyze with a critical eye all that we read. Margaret Barker is burning new trails and advancing ideas that are quite controversial in the field of religious studies. She is making waves that people are starting to notice and that some don’t appreciate. Some are starting to criticize her methods. They say that her theories are based on gross assumptions with too little evidence and that she doesn’t provide sufficient footnotes to show where her ideas are coming from. I’ve talked to professors who don’t like to cite her for that reason. There are other criticisms.
However, I really think that despite such issues, Barker is truly brilliant, perceptive, and courageous. Moreover, I believe that she is correct in most of her theories. I am always comparing what I read in other works with her research and I have found that the ideas of other scholars back up much of what she proposes–she has brought a lot of these ideas together to form a smooth picture of historical reconstruction.
Do I think she is right on everything? No. I have my issues with her ideas on resurrection, Melchizedek (as a theophany of Yahweh), and other things–so we shouldn’t, as with any scholarly work, accept everything she says at face value–but she is one of the best and most exciting scholars out there for LDS readers and I believe that if we help promote her ideas there will be tremendous (positive) consequences for the future of religious studies.
I think you are right David. Thank you for your commentary and analysis. Clearly there are going to be things that we disagree with her on (e.g. I don’t think I agree with her view of baptism). But where she is in line with the restored gospel, I think she’s making waves. As with many incredible scholars through history, it will probably take some time until those waves make it to shore.
Guilty as charged, Andrew . . . saying “she” and “temple” and “king Josiah” and whatnot could only lead to one logical conclusion, you know: Margaret Barker! I recently picked up and finished Temple Theology, but drool at the book you mentioned on the phone. 😉
It’s true, this site is premiere, IMHO. I’m so pleased at its quality and to have stumbled upon it! It’s a wonderful venture, Bryce, but I’ve told you that. I love the temple, and my thirst for studying its mysteries has been rekindled.
Regarding Bro. Brigham’s quote, it expounds on Bro. Joseph, who said, “it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned [the principles of exaltation]. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.”
Thank you Particle Man for your kind compliments. It gives me a good sense of fulfillment to know that I’ve been able to provide faith-promoting insight about the temple, and a forum where we can appropriately discuss these things.
Right now I’m working on Hamblin’s Solomon’s Temple, but I want to get into Barker’s Temple Theology too. That sounds like a great book.
Dr. Hamblin’s book is great. It’s not “deep” by any means, but it is one of the best books I’ve read.
It’s good to see you here, Particle Man
President Kimball quoted from the above passage in the April, 1977 General Conference. The talk is entitled “Our Great Potential”.
URL is here:
or a TinyUrl here: http://tinyurl.com/66bqkh
Best of the Week 6: Academic LDS : Mormon Metaphysics
[…] “Many more ordinances.” A nice little post by Bryce discussing a talk by Brigham Young on other ordinances such as resurrection. This is a topic that doesn’t get as much theological discussion as it perhaps should. (Perhaps due to the context in which it is usually taught as part of the marriage ordinance) This and a few other talks by Young really ought, I think, contextualize how we view the temple but also how we view progression. […]
I am thankful to know more ordinances exist beyond the veil.
I have been thinking about all the temples during the millennium and who is going to man them for a thousand years. Will ressurected beings be able to work in the temple? If ressurected beings will be on the earth during this time, they could bring with them many names and much information. I always thought only mortals could work in the temple. This would mean that thousands, maybe even millions would need to be born during the millennium to do temple work. I’m sure mortals would need to be alive at the end of the millennium to finish the work of the earth. What do you think? Is there anything written on this subject?
Yes, I believe that resurrected beings will be working alongside mortals in temples to do the temple work necessary. They will help provide the names and information necessary to do the work. However, angels and resurrected beings cannot do the actual physical ordinances. Those must be done by mortals only. I’ll have to see if I can find a reference on the subject.
I once ran some numbers about the time and number of temples to do endowments for 60 billion people. (60 billion is a number sometimes assumed to be the total offspring to date of Adam and Eve. The highest estimate I’ve read is 100 billion.) Assuming 2 endowment rooms per temple, 2 hours per endowment, full utilization at 5.5 or 6 days/week etc., (I forget if I used 2 or 3 8-hour shifts/day) some time off, I calculated that an _average_ of 1500 temples utilized over the 1,000 years of the Millennium ought to do it. Assume starting at square zero at the beginning of the Millennium, (assume both live and proxy endowments for people born _during_ the Millennium will not be a “challenge,” so ignore them for this calculation) and that temples would be built at a constant rate right up until the end, that would mean 3000 temples in existence at the end, 1500 at the midpoint, or an average of 3 new temples put into service per year.
3 new temples/year is very doable, as the church has been announcing/building/dedicating 5 to 6 temples per year since about 2002.
So even if most of today’s existing temples are physically destroyed in the pre-Millennium cataclysms, and even if a large percentage of LDS die off (at least 1/3rd of the earth’s population is predicted in scripture to perish in the tribulations _prior to_ the actual 2nd coming), sustaining a pace of building 3 temples/year seems doable.
Assume 10 stakes are needed to support and staff a temple and maintain a decent schedule. That’s approximately 20,000 active members. So 3 new temples/year, would require a growth rate of 60,000 new (active) members/year. (side note question: Would converts go inactive in the Millennium?)
So even if there is a big reduction or “die off” of LDS in the tribulation/2nd-coming, it would likely take only 2 or 3 generations (50 to 75 years) to build back up to a membership growth level (children of record plus converts) to sustain the temple work needed to get it all done by the end of the Millennium.
And it may be safe to assume that conversion rates and convert retention rates will likely be much better in the idyllic conditions of the Millennium. Whether or not that is so, even a _constant_ growth _rate_ (% increase per year) means _exponentially_ increasing raw numbers. And since the number of temples that the church can support is based on raw numbers, the number of temples could then increase exponentially, not just arithmetically.
So the idea of getting temple ordinances for everybody back to Adam and Eve is very doable from a time-and-resources standpoint.
What about those people we don’t know about on the other of Jesus Christ’s creations, and the Lost Ten Tribes? How would you add those numbers into the needed ordinances?
Since the heavens will be open, and communication between heaven and earth will be easier, could we be told who needs ordinance work performed, and who doesn’t want any ordinance work performed? That would free up a lot of needless work. Also, the proxies for ordinances must be mortal. Since men will be changed when they reach the age of a tree, how many spirits have been reserved to be born during the millienum? Families could probably be bigger. When Christ came to the Nephites, all the people were converted within a few years.
Brigham Young gave resurrection and creation as examples of ordinances after death and said that there are many more. What do you think some of those others might be? Given that there are ordinances that come after death, do you believe there might have been some that were received before birth? If so, what might those be?
I’m unsure what other ordinances might come after death, but one certainly that came before birth was foreordination: https://www.lds.org/topics/foreordination?lang=eng
LDS Women Hold and Exercise Priesthood Authority – Temple Study - LDS Temples, Mormon Temples, Study Blog
[…] The priesthood is also the ultimate power upon the earth, even the power by which it was made. It is the power that enables the resurrection. […]
In the Church we have all the ordinances for this life, President Young taught there are others to be gotten in the
afterlife. We have been taught we eventually will gain the ordinance and keys of the resurrection,that is a given.
As each of us have the opportunity to become like the Savior and Father by nature, what is to follow?
There is not just the advanced knowledge, the light and truth(glory), but the keys to have spirit children, to go on
to organize other earths,for the advancement of other intellegences. All within the framework of the same plan,
called the Gospel or plan of Salvation or Exaltation See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.354 and 373.
As long as we do what is expected of us in this life, by living the Gospel,and passing through the ordinances here,
we can progress to a greater extent after this life. With our spouses as our partners such eternal life will be