Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Temple: I Don't Have to Believe Literally in Order to Believe Deeply and Passionately

I love Mormonism's temple theology - but I love it for the symbolism of the sealing of all God's children in unity and for what it does to our own hearts to see others as just as loved and important to God as we are, even those who are radically different than we are. It is SO stunningly different than the theological basis of Protestantism that I believe strongly in its inspirational foundation - that is was revelation from God, even with the Masonic origin of some of its elements.

If I had to believe in the literalness of the exclusive saving power of the ordinances (that ordinances must be performed for every person who has lived in the history of the world or they will not be exalted), I would not accept it - since I would have to reject the symbolism that is so rich and powerful to me. Many people need literalness, and I have no problem whatsoever with people taking it literally, but I don't have to believe in it that way - since I personally believe the symbolic view is much more powerful than the literal view.

I also know the ordinances so well by now that I don't have to concentrate on them anymore - or, really, even pay attention much at all. I can spend almost two hours in a quiet place, have a prayer in my heart, let my mind wander and think about whatever hits me in the moment. That approach has been wonderful for me. It can happen for some people in nature (as President Uchtdorf stressed a couple of years or so ago), but it happens best for me in the temple.

Also, for what it's worth, I don't get hung up on the math at all (the question of how we can do ordinances for billions of people) - not one bit. Given the belief that it will be done in the Millennium by millions of people, it isn't daunting in the slightest (in fact it would happen quite quickly) - but, even without that framing, it doesn't matter to me in the slightest, since it has no relevance whatsoever to the symbolism I love so much. 

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