Apostasy was always the result of saints, performing rituals, without content. The ancient Hebrew temple of Moses was gutted of it’s content, which led them into captivity and bondage. The early Christian restoration was short lived, due to the corruption of the content of the gospel. At the end of each of these ancient dispensations, the missing content resulted in a decay of the ordinances, making them external and melodramatic, sensationalized, exaggerated, or overemotional. Restoration is successful as the intended content has been written upon the hearts of men. That is a warm that takes time, and cannot be hastened!
The Hebrew Temple: Moses tried to sanctify the children of Israel, to bring them to the presence of Christ, but they rejected the invitation. Before Moses left, he provided ordinances that offered the same original invitation. Moses hoped that Israel would repent, be sanctified by the content of the word, and seek ministering angels to bring them into the presence of Christ.
The law of Moses (external sacrifices only) was not what Moses left behind, but was later termed “the law of Moses” by the Deuteronomists, to use the credibility of Moses’ name to push their agenda. The Deuteronomists manipulated the scriptures, omitting significant ascension texts (like the Book of Enoch), and replaced them with records that supported their agenda, …in order to control the content of “the law.” By removing ascension texts, and refocusing the records on the written law, …the High Priests of the temple could draw the people’s attention to “the records” for the people to follow, …and reject the necessity to connect to the heavens for direction:
“10. …to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law…
12. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?”
Here we find the preaching of men, focusing on the book of the law, when Nephi wrote that the law is dead (2 Nephi 25:27). In this scripture they mock the idea of a man ascending into heaven to bring the truth to earth, for others to follow the same pattern, until all had ascended. Thus, the records were substituted, and changed to take the eyes of the people off the heavenly connection, and place them upon the written law and temple rituals for salvation (which the High Priests had control over). The temple was then gutted, to remove any indication of reconnecting to the heavens, and external sacrifices was what remained. Temple ordinances became external, dress-up, with little expectation of heavenly contact. The priests were overly dramatic, they exaggerated their importance, they were highly emotional in the practice of their external ordinances and drew attention to themselves. They hid their ignorance of the content of the records by changing them, and over dramatizing the little bit of the temple ordinances they controlled. The result, they were taken into captivity and bondage by the Babylonians!
Lehi was stoned for preaching against this decay, and took the plates from Laban, and fled by the hand of God. Others who rejected this decay of the record’s content and temple ordinances, took a copy of ancient records, went into the desert, and practiced what they understood in temple-caves. These were rejected of the mainstream high priest class, cast out as heretics, and did not suffer the same condemnation. They were called Samaritans.
Ancient Christians: The Ancient Christians had the gospel restored by Christ, who considered himself “the good Samaritan.” Christ tied himself to the Samaritan people who had content, although the main stream Jews (without content) rejected the Samaritans. The record of the birth of Christ has been manipulated to be in an animal stable. But this is not the true history. The records were changed, and it’s content manipulated, between120 AD-380 AD, at the Nicean Creed. In other recently discovered records, Christ was born in a temple-cave, in the holy of holies, on an alter.
Our King James Version is the result of this Nicean Creed, where men came together to vote on who Christ and God was. The head of that meeting in Nicea was Constantine, the catholics first vicar (or representative of God on the earth), …and Constantine wasn’t even a believer of Christ. He was a pagan, who ruled over Christians, who were fighting amongst themselves, and threatened a civil war. For fear of the damage of a civil war, Constantine used Nicea as a way to find peace among the Christians. Our king James Version was skewed to match the high priests of the time, who sought the power of men, by changing the content of the words of Christ, to emphasize on “the law,” and to de-emphasize the necessity of man to ascend and reconnect to heaven.
In my travels to Italy, I have visited some of the oldest basilica’s, and have witnessed sacred signs, tokens, special text groupings, exposed to the public in artistic fresco’s. No one is aware of its value (content). Yet, those catholics still wear robes on different shoulders, sashes, and multiple break-off religions also wear aprons, without knowing it’s heavenly significance. However, they are respected as having authority among their religionists. They perform rituals, baptisms, clothing ceremonies, rites of passage, marriages, and death rites, with such drama and emotion, to increase their congregation, thus increasing their financial success. Like their Hebrew counterparts, these have manipulated the content of the word, changed the ordinances, added pizzaz in their rituals, pointing men to the law, and disconnecting the necessity for man to connect to heaven.
The Modern Disciples: We have been under condemnation for 182 years for resting the Book of Mormon and the other commandments, not to read them (D&C 84:55). Our scriptures have been drastically changed (the removal of the lectures on faith) and subtly changed (the redefinition of the second comforter in John 14:16), so as to put into question our emphasized content. As a result, some see their salvation based in the law, while others correctly understand that salvation is offered only when connected to heaven.
Because of our condemnation for not obtaining the content in the Book of Mormon and the other commandments, our ordinances have changed over the years. The have changed from the time of Joseph (where he used a sword in the ceremony), to the removal of penalties, to sitting throughout most of the ceremony and not arising, to our most current changes of over-dramatization, and emotion-filled content, disconnected from the instructional direction for us to live by every word that proceeds forth from His mouth.
Only as we read the words of Christ can we recognize that Adam and Eve, after being cast out of the garden, build an alter, and pray “towards the garden of Eden.” The voice of the Lord came from the direction of the garden. They did not face their backs toward the garden. We would also recognize that ministering angels were intended to perform the role that Moses tried to play, for the children of Israel. The angels were intended to sanctify us by expounding the words of Christ, to restore the missing content that offers salvation, so that the ordinances actually have power, and aren’t conditional upon if you are true and faithful in all things, or if the Holy Spirit of Promise seals it upon you, …as ours currently does (D&C 76:55). Angels appear to offer sanctification by expounding the words of Christ. All ordinances are only degrees of sacrifices, preparing you for the ultimate sacrifice of all things.
In order for the restoration to be complete, there must be a people who are restored to the content of the words of Christ, who can offer up an acceptable sacrifice. They will be instructed in the words of Christ, such that it will be written upon their hearts. These will know the proper sacrifices to offer. These will not be over board, melodramatic, over exaggerated, and overly emotional. Let us be that people.
Conclusion: I have observed groups of people who gather themselves together to partake in sacrament. Because of their missing content, huge focus has been placed upon how those passing the sacrament dress, who they give the sacrament to first, which hand they hold the tray, the way those passing the sacrament line up, file in, and distribute the sacrament, …as if any of it matters. Yet, very few recognize, within the sacrament prayer, that we are asking for the presence of Christ to always be with us. The content goes unnoticed, thus the ordinances have little or none effect as intended.
Restore the content of our request for the Savior’s presence, and suddenly refusing sinners from partaking of the sacrament as an method of discipline (institutional shunning) becomes ridiculous. The reverence of that ordinance will be automatic for those who truly love Christ and want to return into His presence. There will be no need to reprimand a ward for their irreverent way of preparing for the sacrament.
It is our ignorance that causes sin, irreverence, and disregard for the sacred. That is why Christ said, “Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do.” We will not be judged so kindly, …because we have been given much. We have the records. We just choose not to read them.
The hope we are offered …is time. Time to obtain the content, to write them upon our hearts, to talk, rejoice, preach and prophesy of Christ. This work takes time and cannot be hastened, …as opposed to our current mantra to “hasten the work.” We must not hasten, but instead begin to labor diligently to write them upon our hearts. The Holy Ghost will not give you the content, if you do not seek it. So, feast upon the words of Christ. The Holy Ghost (or the tongue of angels) will reveal to you the content, and the content will tell you all things what you should do by way of sacrificial offerings or ordinances (2 Nephi 32:2-3).