In the Lords prayer we read, “…thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…” The records of the Pyramid texts (some of the oldest known writing known to our day- approx. 3,800 BC) show the old kingdom Egyptians mimicking and preserving their rites or endowments to exactness by carving them into their temples and tombs, burying them with their dead, and continuously reciting them, considering them knowledge one must have to be united with Ahmon (God the Father). Any deviation from the rites or their ordinances was considered a grave sin because they believed that these ordinances were the same in the heaven as it was on this earth. If man deviates from them, the connection to heaven will gradually be closed up, leaving us fallen. The ancient Egyptians failed to maintain the rituals, rites and ordinances. Truths were disconnected from the rituals, rites and ordinances till they became merely traditional and surface ritual. Finally, they are seen as coffin texts only, as a last ditch effort to save a soul. In the Egyptian new kingdom the order of the rites are confused and symbols are written out of order because very little understanding existed. What was once an exact replica of the original ordinances is demoted to ritual traditionalism- a checklist item.
Similarly, we find a warning to us saints:
“14. And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people.
15. For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken min everlasting covenant;
16. They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.”
Lets break this prophesy down into its parts:
- A time will come when we will not hear the voice of the Lord, his servants (angels?), or give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles (identified as separate from the servants- that’s why I think it means angels). Then we’ll be cut off (does this describe us?)
- Because we strayed from Gods ordinances and broken covenants (have we become like the Egyptians and fail to understand the ordinances in our temples?)
- Also because we don’t seek the Lord to establish His righteousness (Do we put God first, and then build upon that as a foundation or are we just weekend warriors?)
- Instead we walk in our own way (Are we making things up in assumptions to avoid bridging the gaps with revelations?)
- We follow after the image of our own god (Are we redefining god to fit us, or redefining us to fit God?)
We call this the last days and this is scary. I brought this up in priesthood quorum once and received a very negative response from the elderly brethren in the quorum. They said that they hadn’t heard that translation before, and if that were true, then they would just need to wait till the next life before they could do anything about it, as they are rounding 87-89 years old. Since then I haven’t brought it up so as to avoid any contention. However, I have observed their comments, and most of them attach their salvation to having worked in the temple, shaken the hand of the prophet or a favorite apostle, or having claim because of the “calling” they have been entrusted with in the church in the past (Seventy/Temple President/Stake President/Bishop/etc.). Having observed they’re comments and recognizing what it would mean for an 89 year old man to destroy his foundation upon which he has built his entire life on, would seem to be scary. Probably because they don’t see hope in making much change in the short amount of time they assume they have. Perhaps they imagine that the process introduced is unachievable from their stand point in life. Can you imagine redefining yourself at 89 years old? How impossible does that seem? How can anyone believe that this can result in success?
I believe that the parable of the laborers in the vineyard ought to breath hope into those who are old, who feel like rebuilding on a new (or non-traditional) foundation. The laborers who came later were paid the same as those who came early. God does not expect us to be perfect. He wants our hearts to desire Him, to do things His way, to come to Him for the best methods. He would rather us to come to Him sooner than later, but received the laborers in the late hour as He did in the early hours. This requires that we demolish the foundation the way we see the world and look to God to redefine our view. This is done by serious scripture study, then add to that sacramental and temple ordinances with the intention of “knowing God” and “understanding God.”
The advantage the elderly have is that they already live a sort of quiet life, and keep busy doing things that they have been doing for years, so they have the ability to think while they work. The younger generation are constantly trying to keep up with the world, such that there is no spare time. Even when we drive long distances, we are connected via cell phones, texting, face booking, emailing, etc.
In the Mt. Timpanogous temple dedication president Hinckley said that “the temple is more for the living than it is for the dead…” We are not realizing the value of the temple ordinances when we think that we’re doing it for someone else. The point of the temple is to point the initiate to pierce the vale and become connected to heaven, to see his face and know that he is the great I Am (D&C 93:1). It is for us to meet Christ at the vale because He employs no servant there (2 Nephi 9:41). It is in the temple that Abrams name was changed to Abraham. It was in the temple that Jacobs name was changed to Israel. It is in the temple that Zachariah sees the angel Gabriel telling him of his unborn son, John the Baptist. The message is for us to connect to the heavens by a serious effort to know God and come unto HIm. The tools He has given us are:
- Ordinances (Sacrament, Temple, etc.)
The temple is more for the living than it is for the dead. When we are connected to heaven, angels come freely from the presence of Christ, miracles are not quaint serendipitous events, and mankind can cast out Satan and receive greater light and knowledge (Alma 12:10). Once connected, the Lords prayer is answered, we will do “…on earth as it is in heaven…”