Since the blog post “Why a Temple” came out, I have sat in on way too many conversations which weigh the pro’s and con’s of being taken “up to a high mountain” into the presence of Jesus Christ in order to receive one’s Calling and Election versus receiving it through what most are convinced is the way more mundane process of receiving one’s covenants and ordinances through a temple ceremony in Zion. When I’m asked what I think, I usually just say “sounds like they are equivalent for the purpose to me.” Here’s why I say that:
There are too many equivalencies made in too many of Denver’s writings for us to not understand that the rites, and covenants, and ordinances received in the temple In Zion will be the same as though we had stood in the presence of Christ to receive these things. Below I have presented some things he has said:
. “Information can be sacred. It can be controlled by God so that when He determines to communicate it to man He will do so either by catching the individual up into the heavenly realm or by commanding that a temple be built to house His revelations. Either option will require that those who enter in must be approved by His decree, because the way is guarded by sentinels who protect what is Holy from what is profane.” (The Holy Order paper. P.4, last paragraph.). the “either/or” in this case is the establishing of an equivalency.
. “The purpose of a temple (meaning an actual temple commissioned, ordered, blessed, accepted, and visited with His Presence) becomes holy ground and the means for making available to faithful people in every state of belief and hope the opportunity to receive, by authorized means, the same covenant, obligation, association, expectation and sealing through an authorized and binding arrangement in sacred space. This is the SAME THING they can receive from God directly if they enter into His presence while still in the flesh.” (“Why a Temple” P. 3, 1st paragraph. Emphasis mine.)
. “The purpose of a temple (meaning a real temple) is to substitute for the temporary ascent of a mortal into God’s presence.” (“Why a Temple” P. 3, 2nd paragraph.) Now my personal feeling about the word “substitute” is that it doesn’t just mean “to stand in place of, until….” If I substitute a different brand of yeast in bread making, it is intended that it will work just as well in making the bread rise. And if it does so, then it is an effective “substitute.”
. “In ritual (through the temple) it is possible to convey a great body of information with symbolism, metaphor, relationships, and types that work on the mind the same way that visionary experiences directly with God convey.” (“Why a Temple” P. 3 Paragraph #3.)
. “The LDS version of temple rites is insufficient to allow anyone to obtain the right to ascend to God’s presence in eternity. The Lord will fix this, as He intends to establish an Ensign to which all nations (meaning scattered, covenant Israel) will return in the last days and there receive their crowns at the hands of servants who will minister covenants for this purpose” (D&C 133: 31-34). (Why a Temple” P. 4-5.)
So, if we are hinging our belief against the equivalency of these things because of a statement made by Denver wherein he said; “The Temple ceremony is not the real thing. It is a symbol of the real thing.” Then we must also say that a visionary experience with Christ is also not the real thing (meaning exaltation) but is a symbol of the real thing. Both accomplish the same thing, which is to convey information that the individual is authorized after death to continue the upward ascent. Neither a promise from the lips of Christ nor temple rites are the upward ascent, but both promise that we are authorized, and teach how to continue in that ascent. And according to JS that will still be a long while after we die and have accomplished many things which make us exactly as Christ is, with life and resurrection within us.
The great thing about having one with The Holy Order on the earth is that he can minister as the Holy Spirit of Promise, which to my mind is to minister as, and in the stead of Jesus Christ, according to His command.
And God does this all for mankind, because He will not even be thwarted by the weakness of men.
PS Now by making these comparisons am I saying there is no need to seek the face of Jesus Christ? Heavens no, it’s a commandment!!