One of the common misconceptions concerning the law of consecration is that it is often conflated with the United Order. When we think that these two are one and the same thing we run into difficulties understanding them. When we don’t properly understand the law, we can’t live it. When we don’t properly understand the United Order, we can’t learn from it. The law of consecration is not the United Order. The United Order was an economic and administrative method of living the law of consecration, but even as such is commonly misunderstood and blended with the law of consecration. President Benson explained: [Read more…]
“Some day we will live the law of consecration again, but until then we must be ‘willing’ to live it.”
“It is Church doctrine that the full Law of Consecration was suspended by the Lord through the Prophet in 1834.”
“My belief is that things will get progressively worse until the actual Second Coming when Christ will institute the law of consecration.”
Have you ever heard these types of statements before? Each one comes from active, church-going, temple-attending, members of the Church. Each of them was said to me in conversation over the past two weeks. Each one is also, unfortunately, untrue. [Read more…]
And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes;
There is a footnote on the second instance of the word “that” in our LDS King James Version. The footnote reads “HEB (literally) whose hand is filled; i.e. who is equipped, or authorized.” This means that the original Hebrew would have read something like, “and whose hand is filled to put on the garments.” Apparently the word translated as “consecrated” came from a Hebrew phrase for “a filled hand” or “a full hand.”
I did a little bit of digging into this, and found some more interesting things related to this. [Read more…]
One of the criticisms leveled at the LDS (Mormon) practice of temple worship is the seemingly dissimilar forms of the ordinances when compared with those found practiced by ancient Israelites in the Bible. It is true that the forms of the ordinances and sacrifices are different, but their meaning and symbolism remain the same. Let us consider why the forms are different.
From Adam down to Moses, the Melchizedek priesthood, with its accompanying higher ordinances, were practiced by the covenant people of the Lord. These were similar in form to LDS temple worship today. Unfortunately, since most of the accounting from the Old Testament takes place from the time period of Moses to Christ, from the Bible we become most familiar with the lower ordinances that the Israelites practiced in the Tabernacle, Solomon’s Temple, Zerubbabel’s Temple, and Herod’s Temple. This is because when Moses desired to give the higher law of the gospel and the ordinances of the Melchizedek priesthood to his people they rebelled against him and the Lord withdrew these higher ordinances and instituted the lower Aaronic priesthood (including the Levitical priesthood) with its accompanying outwardly observances and performances. The Israelites were not worthy to come into the presence of the Lord as a whole; only the high priest was allowed into the most holy place in the Tabernacle, and only on certain prescribed days. These practices continued for 1200-1300 years, and the Israelites’ writings during this time fill a large measure of the Bible.
When Christ came to earth, he restored the Melchizedek priesthood with its accompanying higher ordinances. The Mosaic law was also fulfilled in Christ at that time, and the type of sacrifices performed in temples were consequently changed. Blood sacrifices were no longer required. Intermediary animals were also now not required. All of the Lord’s covenant people were able to approach the Lord directly and offer a self-sacrifice of their time, talents, and everything that they had, including the only true sacrifice we can give God, our individual will. The form of the sacrifice changed, but the meaning and symbolism remained exactly the same.
Yesterday and today, the ordinances and sacrifices offered in the Lord’s temples have always pointed to Jesus Christ and his ultimate sacrifice and atonement. The following table helps compare the types and forms of sacrifice offered in the temple of the Lord since Adam to the present day: ((Most of this information was gathered from Andrew Skinner’s Temple Worship, 121-125, 181-189)) [Read more…]
John A. Tvedtnes, senior resident scholar with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University, recently authored an article for Meridian Magazine entitled, “Secretive Mormonism.” He had some great comments about the esoteric versus exoteric nature of the LDS temple practices (emphasis is my own):
Commentators frequently refer to Mormon temple rites as the heart of secret goings-on. It is true that some elements of the temple are so sacred that we do not discuss them publicly, but most of what goes on in the temples is well-known.
One need not look far to learn that the most important such rite is the solemnization of marriage for time and all eternity and that vicarious ordinances (sacraments in Roman Catholic parlance) are performed for deceased ancestors, beginning with proxy baptism.
Even the endowment ceremony, the one most commonly held in Latter-day Saint temples, is mostly public knowledge. Most of the teachings presented during that time derive from the Book of Moses, published in the Pearl of Great Price. During an endowment session, we are reminded of our responsibility to obey the basic laws given mankind by God, such as the law of chastity (including fidelity after marriage), the law of obedience to God’s commandments, the law of sacrifice (which culminated in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross), the law of the gospel (salvation through Christ), and the law of consecration of one’s time, talents, and other divine blessings, to building up the Lord’s work on the earth.
Elements that are not discussed openly include ritual elements of temple prayer and the actual endowment or giving of signs, names, and tokens designed to enable one to pass the angels and ultimately to enter the presence of God. These may seem strange to most modern Christians, but they were common in early Christianity, as I have discussed in some of my published articles on ancient temple rites. ((See especially “Temple Prayer in Ancient Times,” in Donald W. Parry and Stephen D. Ricks, The Temple in Time and Eternity (Provo: FARMS, 1999). Also posted on the Maxwell Institute web site at http://farms.byu.edu/publications/bookschapter.php?chapid=105; “Early Christian and Jewish Rituals Related to Temple Practices,” in First Annual Mormon Apologetics Symposium: Proceedings (Ben Lomond, CA: Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research, 1999), also posted on the FAIR web site at http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/1999_Early_Christian_and_Jewish_Rituals_Related_to_Temple_Practices.html; “Priestly Clothing in Bible Times,” in Donald Parry (ed.), Temples of the Ancient World (Salt Lake City: Deseret and FARMS, 1994).))
Read the rest of this excellent article at Meridian Magazine.
[via A Soft Answer]