Joseph Smith attempted to restore the fulness of the gospel of Christ, but was killed before being able to get it done. What he restored was less than 30% of the fulness, as what we have in our temples are represented only by the first facsimile, in the book of Abraham. And our ordinances have been changed even further, making what was originally given by Joseph Smith far less than we have today. However, the little that we have still points to the Three Learning Phases God has always used to teach those who rise up to receive it.
The three learning phases are simply:
- Apprenticeship- study for familiarity
- Craftsmanship- deep pondering for comprehension and understanding (most difficult, given our lives of constant distractions)
- Mastery- patiently teaching by persuasion, to lead another to understand
Ordinances are the tools God uses to instruct men through this process of coming to KNOW Christ. We learn from scripture that when Christ comes, those who KNOW Him will KNOW Him, because they will be LIKE Him. The ordinances were intended to do exactly that, make US like HIM.
Consider the sacrament prayer for the bread. There are three covenants we take:
- Willing to take upon us Christ’s name
- Always remember Christ
- Keep Christ’s commandments which Christ gives to us
In return for these three steps, we are promised that Christ’s spirit will always be with us. If that spirit is always with us, it changes us to be LIKE Christ. Isn’t that the objective. The first covenant is your willingness, and it connects to your study (apprenticeship). The second is remembering, and that connects to your pondering (craftsmanship). And the third is to keep, or to take action, following the promptings of Christ commanding you, and that is all you teach (mastery). The ordinance of sacrament was intended to instruct us to change us, through a sanctification process, when if done right, would make us LIKE Christ. When Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea, he tried to get them to be sanctified to bring them into the presence of God. But they rejected it, and would not change. So, God, in His wrath, took Moses, and cursed the Israelites to wander the wilderness; and they suffered until all who rejected the invitation died. They rejected God’s invitation to belong to His family.
Our temple ordinances, although they have been reduced to a partial ceremonial drama, still has the ability to instruct. In order for someone to be instructed by them, the same three phases of learning must be used: Learn it inside and out/ Ponder what is being taught/ and Teach the principles you’ve learned.
Conclusion: We have jacked up a bunch of things as we have substituted what we don’t understand (ignorance) with false traditions. We somehow think that baptism is the same as sacrament, and we teach the children that every Sunday we are clean, like a little baby. If every time we partake of the sacrament we are like babies, then none of us will every be adults, and can never progress to be like God. No, sacrament was not intended to clean you of sins, it was intended to patch the hole of ignorance, and fill you up with light. That is the sanctification process.
Our ordinances are intended to teach us to be LIKE Christ, so that when we see Him, we will KNOW Him, because we will be LIKE Him. Just as there are more than just one facsimile in the book of Abraham, there are more ordinances that God intends to give to instruct us to become more like Him. But if we pay no attention to what has been offered, and instead we substitute false traditions where we are ignorant, our ordinances that we DO have, will continue to diminish, until all we are left with is a catholic catechism. And every Sunday will become a dress-up halloween party, with dried wafers, or tiny pieces of bread as our treat.