Mysteries and doctrine lead to instruction to know God. Mysteries are temple ritual ordinances that point to connecting to the heavens. Doctrines explain the mysteries so the initiate understands why they offer up sacrifices. Both converge to prepare the initiate to enter into the presence of God, to know God.
Mysteries: In the most simplified language, Mysteries are temple rituals or ordinances, done in a sacred ceremony, performed exactly as prescribed (words and actions). The words “ritual” and “ordinance” in a religous setting mean the same, but some try to separate them by claiming priesthood authority as the difference. An ordinances sacredness does not come from the authority of men. It’s sacredness is detached from who is the blesser of the sacriment, the preparor, the passer, the presider, the witness couple, the officiator, the temple president or the prophet, …or it’s magical combination of words and actions, for that matter. The ceremonies sacredness comes from the original source of the instruction, God. It is that source that the ordinance teaches all who receive it, to seek after. They are sacred rites prescribed to offer an initiate (not a novice or a professional) an invitation to receive something far greater.
Since the sacredness of an ordinance depends on the original source of the information, keeping the ritual exactly as it was given, and knowing who the source of the ordinance is, is of the most importance. True ordinances are given to dispensation heads, for the offering of salvation for those within their dispensation. Changing the ordinances changes the content and order of the instructions, making the instructions no more from the original source. While some light and truth might leak through, a changed ordinance causes the initiates to follow after idols.
“15. For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine 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 inBabylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.”
Open rebellion against the ordinances never really threatened apostasy. It’s easy to spot an open attack on truth. It was “straying” from the ordiances that broke the everlasting covenant, the promises made to the fathers (Malachi 4). That corruption is an insiders job. The result of straying also makes those innocently participating into idol worshippers. For this purpose maintaining the ordinances in its original form is absolutely necessary.
When men change the ordinances to fit their circumstances, that act is an indicator of whose arm they trust. Consider a child threatening his sibling to tap into the parents authority of discipline, saying, “I’m telling mom,” or “dad said to…” When men change that ordinance, they use the same strategy, unrighteous dominion. When we take God’s prescription and filter it to fit our acceptable circumstance, we corrupt the message and substitute God’s arm with our own. Thus, we make the excuse to not trust in God’s great understanding, because we foolishly assume that God did not foresee our circumstances when he originally gave the instruction.
Doctrine: Mysteries were never intended to confuse and keep men guessing. Doctrine was given to explain the meaning of the mystery. In all ancient temples, where ordinances were maintained and unchanged for thousands of years, at the temple’s heart, was a library. If the temple was the house of life, than the library was where its breath of life came from. Those performing the rituals were required to seek out knowledge from the ancient records, to know the meaning of what they performed in the ordinance. Empowered with this knowledge, initiates were willing to make the sacrifices required as part of the ceremony. Thus the temple would be filled with light and power.
Knowledge gave life to the sacrifices made, and sacrificial offerings produced connection to the heavens, as a bi-product. At first, Adam was offering up sacrifices without this knowledge. An angel gave him the knowledge. Only then could Adam’s sacrifices become acceptable. Empowered with that same knowledge, Abel’s sacrifice became acceptable. However, ignorant of that knowledge, Cain’s was not. Likewise, if we are not tied to the doctrine, our sacrifices will not be acceptable to God. As a result we are condemned.
“54. And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received [strayed?]—
55. Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—”
In 1989 Ezra T Benson said we are still under this condemnation. Judging by the way people use the scriptures today, that condemnation has continued into 2015. Joseph Smith taught that no man can be saved in ignorance, and that a man can be saved no faster than he gains knowledge. When we choose to repent of our condemnation and remember the promises made to the fathers, then the doctrine will tie us back to the mysteries, so that men can prove themselves able to receive more. Then will that which is in heaven match what we do on earth, so angels will return to instruct us, as they did Adam.
Knowing God: Knowing God is life eternal. An eternal life is one that can overcome death and corruption completely. That is what is offered by returning into the presence of Christ, to know Him. That is the correct reason for all men to reconnect to the heavens.
The Hermetic tradition offered all initiates mysteries and doctrines to test their hearts! If the initiate took well to the mysteries and doctrines, then further instruction was given through a face-to-face ministry with angels. The information given by angelic ministers was done in a personal interaction, …from mouth to ear. What is told to the initiate could not be repeated without breaking a heavenly trust, and facing tragic destruction in the flesh. Knowledge of God is guarded and protected by the hosts of the heavens. Only those who truly love God can obtain such knowledge, and teach others how to obtain it as well.
Prophets know the line that cannot be passed when discussing mysteries and doctrines, …and they stop before ever divulging secrets told them from mouth to ear. Nephi had his utterance stopped, and was saddened that more could not be revealed. Moroni felt the same. After their utterances were stopped, they used the coded language of Isaiah to reveal any more. They stuck to the mysteries and doctrines revealed when using their own words. What is given from mouth to ear was secret and sacred, and not to be revealed to those who would not know the doctrine and perform the proper ordinances.
There are indicator traces of two traditions left by ancient prophets: a written tradition (the source of our scriptures), and an oral tradition (mouth to ear). The written tradition was to prime the heart, and the oral tradition was to preserve the elect who’ve faithfully received the written tradition. For this reason my mind is led to think that cultures who have passed on their history through oral traditions may have once had far more than simple tourist attraction dances, music, legends and fairy tales. However, today the secrets given to those cultures have been changed and lost, as men have strayed from the ordinances and are condemned for rejecting the doctrines.
Conclusion: Mysteries and Doctrines are our proving ground. Straying from the ordinances, and resting the scriptures prove us unable to receive the secrets of the heavens from mouth to ear, in a personal visitation. As we repent and remember the promises made to the fathers, the proper way to perform the original ordinances will return. As we keep the ordinances and the doctrine, heavenly messengers will prepare us, personally, from their mouth to our ear.
Wolves in sheeps clothing teach rituals of men, and corrupt the doctrine to fit their circumstances, to justify their sin. Identify these and keep your distance. Wolves are slick, sly and dangerous animals. Study the doctrine to recognize the content people around you offer. That is your best looking glass.
Be patient with your findings, not to judge the matter incorrectly, for that is how you will be judged. But, …judge the matter using the words of Christ given you, and seek to accumulate more, so your judgments will prove mature. You will want to be judged exactly the same way, by the words of Christ.
Expect angels to instruct you to correct the mysteries, to do the ordinances properly. With the doctrine restored in you, and the ordinances in order, through the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness will be manifest unto you in the flesh (D&C 84:21).
Feast upon the words of Christ, they will tell you all things that you should do.