Recently I’ve had an interesting, yet somewhat disheartening, discussion wherein a reader of this website questioned my motives, goals, reasoning, and aspirations. If you’d like to browse it, you may begin here.
Let it be known far and wide that my desire is that I might, in the smallest measure, be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to bring about His purposes in righteousness. Ultimately, that is all. Appendages to this might be found here.
There will ALWAYS be naysayers anytime you do anything good. I appreciate your website and it has provided me with a lot of great information. Don’t let it trouble you.
Just coming out to say that I’ve gain much from your website and I don’t believe you nor this site have veered off course from the original intent.
Will the conference talks be available in print format if we were unable to attend? Thanks for all of your work on this site. I appreciate it. (and am learning!!!)
I don’t contribute much here in the way of comments, but I am also a fan of the site. I understand the concern of revealing more than ought to be revealed; however, I do not feel that any of those lines have been crossed on this website. I wish that we, as a people, were more willing to appropriately discuss and study those temple doctrines which we are not covenantally-bound to not reveal. Of course the greatest teacher is the Spirit; and if all of us spoke the language of the Spirit perfectly, I suppose we would not need to discuss gospel doctrine together. I mean, I suppose we wouldn’t even need a church hierarchy, prophets, etc. We would just have the whole of God’s will and of gospel truth perfectly communicated from God directly to our Spirit. But alas, we see through a glass darkly, and we are all, both individually and collectively as a church, growing in light and knowledge, growing in the light of Christ and the blessings and manifestations of the Spirit, hence the need for reading from the best books and teaching one another the doctrine of the kingdom. And I believe that if we do so with broken hearts and contrite spirits, the Holy Ghost WILL accompany our readings and teachings.
In short, Bryce, I appreciate your work. Thank you for all your research and writing.
Thank you Michael.
@Ellen, the conference talks will likely be made available in print. They may also be available as video recordings on YouTube.
Thanks Matt. You really have to have thick skin to be a missionary online, let me tell you. Every now and again it finds a soft spot.
Having read much of the conversation, I’m somewhat amazed at the initial concern that was expressed. Frankly, the temple prep manual is as broad and general as one can get and still have temple in its title. Such manuals are NOT scripture. They are prepared, reviewed and approved by men, directed by the Spirit. However, that does not make the content infalible. My belief is the manuals are developed for the lowest common denominator (one with the least understanding). From there, further light and knowledge is to be sought by both the teacher and the students so that all might gain from the process and be further edified. As two of my children prepared to enter the Lord’s House, they went through temple prep class. But based on my conversation with them, they had very little understanding of even the broadest concepts of the Temple. In my priestly and patriarchal role as their father I helped them see the ancient nature of the temple experience (without violating my covenants of not revealing sacred things), its royal aspects–through the scriptures and other ancient sources–and fulfilment of the Savior’s Kingdom of God concept. They were prepared to absorb their initial experience in a way that I did not have upon entering the Temple for my first time.
This blog does an excellent job of providing insight and allowing its readers to open doors to greater understanding of the temple experience. I would be more concerned about the zeal of piety expressed in the initial comment. Though the intention was good, such perspectives can be limiting in seeking further light and knowledge.
Great comments Bryan. Thank you.
In support of this website, I will share a personal experience.
The first book of Hugh Nibley’s that I ever read was, “Temple and Cosmos.” There were several phrases in that book that changed my personal Gospel study, such as:
“Civilization is hierocentric, centered around the holy point of the temple.” (p. 15) “…there is no part of our civilization which doesn’t have its rise in the temple.” (p. 25) “The temple is a scale model of the universe, boxed to the compass, a very important feature of every town in our contemporary civilization, as in the ancient world.” (p.15)
And, (paraphrased) that the temple ties heaven and earth together in a meeting place, a place where we can take our bearings on [all] things. (p. 19, emphasis and addition is mine.)
That last bit really enticed me. Nibley explained: “The temple is also an observatory. That is what a templum is –– a place where you take your bearings on things. More than that, it is a working model, a laboratory for demonstrating basic principles by use of figures and symbols, which convey to finite minds things beyond their immediate experience.” (p. 19)
When civilizations strayed from the temple, certain patterns and bits of ordinances became scattered throughout the world. Nibley spent his scholarly life searching for these in ancient manuscripts to further our understanding of the past and how it related to the temple.
It was through his books that it dawned on me that my method of learning the Gospel must change. Instead of going subject by subject, I saw the need to understand how all subjects interfaced with each other as they circled a central holy point. The temple must be used as a fulcrum, I must mentally pivot all things from it; here was a new tool to stretch my finite mind.
This new perspective caused a quantum leap in my comprehension!
It also caused me to re-evaluate this website, Temple Study.
Many cannot see the value or future of a website dedicated to one subject. They may think that since we cannot discuss sacred parts, what else is there to talk about other than ancient history and how to prepare for and how to worship in the temple?
But there is a way to expand, to have limitless discussions of many things. If this website follows Nibley’s path, it can show the links of worthy topics to each other, and then act a fulcrum in itself to show how they revolve together around the central holy point.
I believe there is an excellent opportunity here in this forum to augment our Gospel knowledge unlike any other LDS site. I welcome any comments about my idea.
Bryce, I am posting late on this subject because I’ve been busy and am now catching up on your posts. When I first learned of this site (from an adult Institute class blog), I was so excited by the things I found here (and that was in the first months you began). I feel the Spirit when reading about the various topics you write about, find and post, or link to. While attending a meeting, the temple came up, and I shared your site address while recommending what I had been reading on it. One man got upset and said “we didn’t need to study the temple, the Spirit would teach us.” I believe the second part of that statement is true, but I so disagree with the first part. We do need to study the temple or the Spirit can’t teach us. The temple is everywhere if we just learn to recognize it and see the patterns that weave things together and increase our spiritual understanding.
That man’s comment reminded me of another occasion when I had taken a particularly in-depth Book of Mormon class that had provided some wonderful new (to me) insights, details, and patterns. A friend mentioned he was going to be teaching Book of Mormon. I offered to share my notes with him, and his response was: “Oh, I’ve taught Book of Mormon before”–as if he knew all there was to know and didn’t need to learn anything more. Unfortunately, I feel that mindset is far too prevalent in the Church.
I am grateful for technology that brings seeking saints together. Thank you for all you do to make this possible.