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Gospel Study Sesh – Temples

Day 1

So how’d it go everyone? Can I be honest with you? It has literally been years since I had a non Sunday fast, years. I feel like studying the gospel is making me a better person. Go figure.

So the interesting part about fasting today was the constant battle in my mind. 24 hours is hard, we’ve established that. And I had the chance many times throughout the day to either dwell on how hungry I was, or my only way to not be thinking about that was to dwell on how grateful I was and return to why I was fasting. I didn’t always brush right past the hunger, but my day was great, even with just a few reminders of how grateful I am to my Savior.

I am hoping this isn’t a one time thing for me, here’s to doing hard things, because, as Elder Douglas Callister often reminded us as missionaries, “embrace the hard things in life, it is the hard things that pay real dividends, anything worthwhile in life will be a result of a hard thing”

Question:

  • Work through as many references to the Atonement as you can think of from Temple.  Architecture, dialog, dress, etc.  What in the temple is symbolic of the Atonement?

References:

Day 2

I love love LOVE this topic. Temples are incredible.

What in the temple is symbolic of the Atonement? Everything, really, but my thoughts drift toward the altar. We make covenants and even if we are not the ones at an altar, everything is done symbolically so. The altar is a great reminder of the sacrifice of the Lord and one of many callbacks to the Old Testament that we find in temples. Altars were used for sacrifice as a reminder to Israel of the sacrifice that would eventually take place on their (and everyone’s) behalf. We have those altars for a reason, whether for an endowment or a sealing. We are to be reminded that all is done in concert with the atoning sacrifice of the Son.

Also, I really encourage you to watch this video by friend of the podcast, Steve Reed, who manages the website OneClimbs.com and LDSSymbols.com. Definitely some interesting stuff done by him.

Question:

  • Let’s stick with some Old Testament framing for this. If you are endowed, then great, work with what you know. If you’re not, then use this chance to improve your understanding of things. Why did ancient Israel have the tabernacle? What was its use? Go through the components of the tabernacle and compare them to the components of a modern temple. What similarities and differences do you see?

References:

Day 3

Honestly, it’s tough to sum up everything from Day 2’s question (sorry about the typo in it). The thing to remember is that the tabernacle was effectively a portable temple until the time that Israel could inherit Canaan and build a more permanent structure. But something happened with the tabernacle – the people rebelled against Moses and eventually forfeited the rights to the higher priesthood and its ordinances. Thus, the ordinances of the tabernacle with which we are familiar were based around the Levitical, or Aaronic, Priesthood.

Today, the temple exists solely for ordinances based in the Melchizedek Priesthood, but of interest, of course, is that youth can participate in, but not officiate in, baptisms for the dead. Limited use recommends allow for that, but further ordinances require endowment and are based in the Melchizedek Priesthood.

That’s all for that. Hope you also dug up some good stuff.

Question:

  • Why did the saints build the Kirtland Temple even though the saving ordinances associated with temples today were not revealed or carried out there? What do you learn from the construction of the Kirtland Temple?

References:

Day 4

Day 3 was basically “Why the Kirtland Temple?” A fair question, why bother building the Kirtland temple just to abandon it both in physicality and in design. We’ve based all temple designs since around the Nauvoo temple specs, and Kirtland is sort of this anomaly in church history that we don’t often dwell on. But how about a few things to consider –

The Kirtland temple is the temple where we get the stories of women donating china to be crushed and worked into the plaster on the walls. Other stories around guarding it day and night to get it built, 24 hour shifts to build, and so on, come from the Kirtland temple. One thing we can be sure of, the saints were primed for sacrifice in building the Kirtland temple.

Also, for the court’s consideration, as Geoff alluded to yesterday, we had to go from an Aaronic Priesthood operation to a Melchizedek Priesthood operation here, so the Kirtland temple is finished with what is called the ‘partial endowment’, the Lord comes and accepts, Elijah and Moses and friends come and restore keys, essentially, I would suggest a place had to be prepared so we could move on to the Nauvoo temple revelations and ordinances, as we were starting from scratch? What say ye?

Question:

  • What use is a temple to us after we’ve gone through for our own work?  I mean, dead people are great, but what’s in it for me (you — I)?  And don’t be cheeky here, no “it makes me feel happy” answers, I want real answers!

References:

Day 5

The thing with going through the temple after our “first” time is that while we do terrific work for the dead, we get the extra benefit of receiving a refresher every single time we go. If we go to the temple with an open heart and a true desire to learn and grow, we’ll find new nuggets of wisdom and insight. The folks for whom we do proxy work don’t get that privilege. We’re really lucky that while we only make actual covenants for ourselves once, we get constant reminders of everything we undertake.

Beyond that, the spirit of Elijah is legit, and we will undoubtedly develop a stronger testimony of the value of undertaking proxy work in the temple when we do our own genealogy work. Sure, it’s nice to look at a card and think about random persons, perhaps filling in the gaps in their life in our minds. That’s all good and important, but how much greater is the value and joy when we have done the legwork and know that one of our own ancestors is now receiving saving temple ordinances? That makes us more Godlike and helps us develop into truer disciples of Christ.

Question:

  • Honestly, what keeps you from going to the temple with greater regularity? Speaking from plenty of life experience, it’s amazing how, despite the best intentions, months can fly by without going to the temple. Will you commit yourself to attending more frequently? If you lack a recommend, will you commit yourself to taking the steps to obtain one?

References: