Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Temple in the Book of Mormon

Many fail to see the temple and the endowment in scripture because they are too focused on the parable and ritual instead of the meaning behind it. Truth is the temple endowment is all over the Book of Mormon and even though the story and the symbols change, the underlying message remains the same.

Mark 4: 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Mysteries are "hidden manna" or teachings that God chooses to teach His people using symbols, parables, and ritual so that the wicked fail to understand them because they fail to give "heed and diligence" to understanding them. The lessons taught in the temple are akin to Christ telling His people a parable. Again, Mysteries are "hidden manna" taught by Christ to His people in parables, or ritual symbolism.

1 Ne. 1: 1 I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.

Nephi says that He has been given a great knowledge of the mysteries or "hidden knowledge" of God.

1 Ne. 2: 16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.
1 Ne. 10: 19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.

Nephi was then shown the vision of the Tree of Life which was his endowment. All the basic aspects of the temple endowment are given to Nephi through his vision of the tree of life.

2 Ne. 5: 16 And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.

Nephi builds a temple after the order of the Law of Moses and the Lesser Priesthood.

Mosiah 2: 9 And these are the words which he spake and caused to be written, saying: My brethren, all ye that have assembled yourselves together, you that can hear my words which I shall speak unto you this day; for I have not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with the words which I shall speak, but that you should hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.

The people of Nephi are gathered around the temple and King Benjamin says he will reveal the mysteries of God the people gathered at the temple.

Mosiah 5: 2,6-11 And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. . . . And now, these are the words which king Benjamin desired of them; and therefore he said unto them: Ye have spoken the words that I desired; and the covenant which ye have made is a righteous covenant. And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters. . . .... I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives. .... I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you.

The people of Nephi at the temple recieve a group endowment and enter into the higher covenant of sanctification. These people are born again, become sons and daughters of God, and are given the new name.

Alma 12: 9-10 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.

Mysteries are only to be given as God directs and according to God's will.

3 Nephi 20-26
3 Nephi 24:16-18 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard; and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
3 Nephi 26:19 And they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another.

3 Nephi is the ultimate example of a group endowment administered by Christ himself and a renewal of His covenant with His people. All the fundamental aspects of the endowement are present. The people gather at the temple and accept and become witness of Christ, are purified and then are given bread to eat from Christ himself. Jesus Christ reestablishes and renews the covenants and reveals who the people are, their part in the plan, the whole plan of salvation is laid out, and the people are given commandments such as tithing to observe and consecration seeing how the people live with "all things in common" and the people are promised rewards to be known as a son "in that day when I make up my jewels" or the same"white stone with the new name", that John in Revelation speaks of.

When God appears to Moses in the Pearl of Great Price is another example of the endowment being given in the scriptures.

The amazing point here is that while many critics of the LDS Church claim that Joseph Smith plagiarized the LDS endowment from Masonry, it is marvelous that all the fundamental elements of the endowment are demonstrated over and over again in the Book of Mormon long before Joseph Smith was acquainted at all with Masonry. Yes, Masonry did influence Joseph Smith to ask questions about certain aspects of the endowment, but the endowment was represented again and again in the Book of Mormon long before Joseph Smith new anything about Masonry.


David J. West said...

I like to think of myself as well read, including quite a number of Church/Masonry related books. But you revealed some great points I have overlooked, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Has God told you that the endowment that Joseph Smith gave is from him? The evidences are nice but I'd like to hear what your testimony is by the holy ghost.