Saturday, February 6, 2016

Temple Ordinances

Ordinances were instituted in heaven before the foundation of the world of in the priesthood, for the salvation of man. not be altered. not to be changed. all must be saved upon the same principle.  that is only your opinion Sir—say Sectarians.—when a man will go to hell it is more than my meat & drink to help them to do as they want to.  where there is no change of priesthood there is no change of ordinances says Paul [apparent reference: Hebrews 7:12].  If god has not changed the ordinances & priesthood, howl ye sectarians, if he has where has he revealed it. have ye turned revelators? then why deny it?  (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 179, 11 June 1843, Joseph Smith Diary, by Willard Richards)
 The ordinances Joseph was referring to were apparently the ordinances of the temple.
He then asked what was the object of Gathering the Jews together or the people of God in any age of the world, the main object was to build unto the Lord an house whereby he could reveal unto his people the ordinances of his house and glories of his kingdom & teach the peopl the ways of salvation for their are certain ordinances & principles that when they are taught and practized, must be done in a place or house built for that purpose this was purposed in the mind of God before the world was & it was for this purpose that God designed to gather together the Jews oft but they would not it is for the same purpose that God gathers togethe the people in the last days to build unto the Lord an house to prepare them for the ordinances & endowment washings & anointings &c. one of the ordinances of the house of the Lord is Baptism for the dead, God decreed before the foundation of the world that that ordinance should be administered in a house prepared for that purpose. If a man gets the fulness of God he has to get [it] in the same way that Jesus Christ obtain it & that was by keeping all the ordinances of the house of the Lord....
But to the text why gather the people together in this place For the same purpose that Jesus wanted to gather the Jews, to receive the ordinances the blessings & the glories that God has in store for his Saints. And I would now ask this assembly and all the Saints if they will now build this house & receive the ordinances & Blessings which God has in store for you, or will you not build unto the Lord this house & let him pass by & bestow these blessings upon another I pause for a reply[.]  (Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 180-181, 11 June 1843, Wilford Woodruff Diary)
The house being referred to was the Nauvoo temple.
The reason why the Jews were scattered and their House left unto them Desolate was because they refused to be gathered that the fulness of the Priesthood might be revealed among them which never can be done but by the gathering of the People also also The Order & Ordinances of the Kingdom were instituted by the Priesthood in the council of Heaven before the World was[.]  (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 182, 11 June 1843, Franklin D. Richards "Scriptural Items")
That Joseph said the Lord would pass over The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for failing to build the temple in Nauvoo and bestow the blessings of the fulness of God upon another people was apparently not an invention by Woodruff.
He beautifully and in a most powerful manner, illustrated the necessity of the gathering and the building of the Temple that those ordinances may be administered which are necessary preparations for the world to come: he exhorted the people in impressive terms to be diligent—to be up and doing lest the tabernacle pass over to another people and we lose the blessing.  (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 182, 11 June 1843, Eliza R. Snow Diary)
That The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints failed to build the temple in Nauvoo was conceded by George Q. Cannon on Saturday, April 8th, 1871 - apparently during General Conference.
[T]he completion of the temple at Nauvoo brought many blessings; that is, so far as it was completed, for the enemies of God's kingdom did not permit us to complete it entirely[.]  (George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, vol. 14, p. 124)
For scripture on why the failure to build the temple in Nauvoo mattered, see D&C 124:25-55.  We may therefore expect another people to receive the blessings of the fulness of God [re: JST Matthew 21, 3 Nephi 16:10-15, D&C 14:10].

According to Brigham Young, after Joseph delivered what apparently became the core of the LDS temple rites, Joseph told him:
Brother Brigham, this is not arranged perfectly; however we have done the best we could under the circumstances in which we are placed. I wish you to take this matter in hand: organize and systematize all these ceremonies.  (L. John Nuttall Diary, 7 February 1877, quoted in BYU Studies 19 (Winter 1979): 159 fn. 77)
Now we have enough to see that there is a problem: if Joseph was reported correctly as saying the ordinances are immutable, and if the rites delivered by Joseph in Nauvoo are the ordinances Joseph was speaking of, then Brigham lied about Joseph's instructions to him.  If Joseph was reported correctly, and if Brigham was telling the truth about what Joseph told him, then the rites Joseph delivered in Nauvoo cannot have been those instituted for the salvation of men, being mutable.  Either one of these leads to the same conclusion: the temple ordinances are not salvific.

There is scripture to support the idea that an ordinance is immutable, and it puts the concern therewith squarely at the time of the coming of the Lord in glory.
Isaiah 24:1-6 
 1 Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.
 2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.
 3 The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word.
 4 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.
 5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
 6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
These are the latter-days, after all.  Isaiah's words seems to relate also to the coming of Elijah, who is to come before the day of the Lord.
3 Nephi 25 
 1 For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
 2 But unto you that fear my name, shall the Son of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves in the stall.
 3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of Hosts.
 4 Remember ye the law of Moses, my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord;
 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Joseph apparently consistently taught that Elijah's coming to restore the priesthood and keys has not yet occurred - this is a typical example.
We freequently have mention made of the offering of Sacrifice by the servants of the most high in antient days prior to the law of moses, which ordinances will be continued when the priesthood is restored with all its authority power and blessings. Elijah was the last prophet that held the keys of this priesthood, and who will, before the last dispensation, restore the authority and delive[r] the Keys of this priesthood in order that all the ordinances may be attended to in righteousness. (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 48, 8 October 1840, Original Manuscript)
If Isaiah 24 is referring to to the temple ordinance, then the LDS leadership from Brigham onward would seem to be implicated in defiling the earth by altering it.  After all, if you're not doing what you were asked to do, what promise do you have?
D&C 132:8-11 
 8 Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.
 9 Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name?
 10 Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed?
 11 And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was?
D&C 82:10 
10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. 
Some might claim that since God has given his power (i.e., "priesthood") unto men they may therefore alter things without loss of efficacy, but Joseph has already answered you sectarians:
[T]he ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed, otherwise their priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing. (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 47, 8 October 1840, Original Manuscript)
Ordinances were instituted in heaven before the foundation of the world of in the priesthood, for the salvation of man. not be altered. not to be changed. all must be saved upon the same principle.  that is only your opinion Sir—say Sectarians.—when a man will go to hell it is more than my meat & drink to help them to do as they want to.  where there is no change of priesthood there is no change of ordinances says Paul.  If god has not changed the ordinances & priesthood, howl ye sectarians, if he has where has he revealed it. have ye turned revelators? then why deny it?  (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 179, 11 June 1843, Joseph Smith Diary, by Willard Richards)