There’s a theory developing in my mind about how our heavenly father intends to progress his people through ordinances and doctrine. I write this, not as a fact, or as a revelatory instruction to you, but as a tool that perhaps might help us all recognize a pattern of how the Lord works to progress us.
Ordinances: The Lord offers ordinances for the purpose of instructing men of the things of heaven, of godliness. He says:
“19. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.”
What I understand this is saying is that in our ordinances, the actions are only symbols, tied to instruct us, or “manifest” to us, the heavens. As we have been carefully placed here on earth, within a veil, the heavens are reaching down to redeem, or bring back, or to manifest, or to re-familiarize, those who will hear and see the instructions in the ordinances, to restore them to the heavens. Consider the few ordinances we have had revealed since the restoration (baptism, sacrament, and temple endowments). Baptism offers the knowledge of the heavens by instructing us of parting the waters of chaos within this earthly veil, rising out of the waters of baptism, to begin an ascension up the mountain of the Lord. Sacrament is an ordinance of sanctification, or the changing of a person, in preparation to “always have his spirit to be with them.” The endowment is the process teaching the necessity of our bodies being changed, to endure the presence of the Lord. The word endow, meaning “to clothe.” That is the current system of ordinances we have been given, but not all the ordinances that are available.
There are higher ordinances mentioned within the scriptures that aren’t yet made available, or that have not yet been fully restored. Ordinances, which include: resurrection, creation, teleportation (being conveyed away in the spirit), etc. Only when we fulfill the lower ordinances are we prepared to receive higher ordinances. And when those are received, then even higher ordinances can be given. We are continually given higher and higher instructions (or ordinances), until we become gods ourselves. Therefore, it is significant that we do not treat lightly the ordinances that are being instructed right now. Otherwise, we too will be kept out of the presence of God, as was the children of Israel, in Moses’ time:
“21. And without the ordinances thereof, and the authorityof the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
22. For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.
23. Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
24. But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.”
If we see the possessing of the ordinances as the objective (getting baptized/ partaking the sacrament/ being endowed), we will neglect the instructions being taught of the power of godliness being made manifest to us, while we are in the flesh. And will be satisfied with someone else entering into the rest of God, which rest is the fulness of his glory, for us. And we too will have the wrath of the Lord kindled against us, as the ancient children of Israel.
Doctrine: In my theory of the ordinances being the instruction of the heavens, or the power of godliness being manifest, the doctrine that we have been given is only a portion of his word, that was meant to accompany the level of the ordinances we have. If what we have is the lesser ordinances, than the doctrine accompanying it is the lesser doctrine. As we receive higher ordinances, there is a need to have more scripture revealed to accompany it. Thus, ordinance and doctrine go hand in hand.
The doctrine conveys examples of the ordinances that it accompanies. Consider the Book of Mormon stories. They do not instruct us of anything more than baptism, sacrament, and the endowment, preparatory to entering into the presence of the Lord. Whenever Nephi writes, when he gets to the point of entering into the presence of the Lord, he says that he cannot write more, and then he either speaks through Isaiah or stops writing altogether. Consider where he is stopped, and you will see, it is entering into the presence of the Lord in the flesh. That’s as far as our current doctrine provides instruction for. Consider the temple ordinances, it too stops at the point that we enter into the presence of the Lord. Thus, the ordinances and the doctrine are a perfect companionship.
Conclusion: This is only a theory, developing in my mind, about how our heavenly father intends to progress his people through ordinances and doctrine. When we choose to receive the instructions of the ordinances, and seek to understand them in the doctrine, then can we be properly prepared to enter into the presence of the Lord in the flesh. Only then can the Lord give us higher ordinances, and more doctrine. A people of God seek more scripture, according to Mormon.
3 Nephi 26:8-12
“8. And these things have I written, which are a lesser part [the lesser doctrine]of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken.
9. And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest [the greater doctrine] unto them.
10. And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation. [Just as the wrath of God was kindled against the children of Israel in the time of Moses]
11. Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people.
12. Therefore I, Mormon, do write the things which have been commanded me of the Lord. And now I, Mormon, make an end of my sayings, and proceed to write the things which have been commanded me.”
Right now, our faith is being tried. As we prove ourselves true and faithful in these things we have been given, our understanding of heaven must be expected to increase. The increase of our faith was intended to bring us into the presence of God, to receive of his fulness, which is entering into his rest, while in the flesh. When the day comes, that every knee shall bow, those who have received of his fulness, in the flesh, will NOT seek to hide themselves beneath a mountain of rubble, to hide because of their sins. They will have been clothed in his glory, which is his intelligence, or in other words light and truth.