The Holy Spirit of Promise

Joseph Smith defined the principle of "mak[ing your] calling and election sure" in a 27 June 1839 sermon. This was to be accomplished, he said, after a lifetime of service and devotion, by being "sealed up" to exaltation while yet living.
(Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., ed. B. H. Roberts, 2d ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973), 3:379-81 (hereafter HC). The original source is Willard Richards's Pocket Companion, "The Doctrine of Election," published in Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center, 1980), 4-6. A brief discussion of this doctrine can be found in Roy W. Doxey, "Accepted of the Lord: The Doctrine of Making Your Calling and Election Sure," Ensign 6 (July 1976): 50-53; a more in-depth discussion is Hyrum L. Andrus, Principles of Perfection (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1970), 331-400.)

This concept was based on 2 Peter 1:10-11: "Wherefore . . . brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fail: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (see also v. 19 and Eph. 1:13-14).
This sermon was additionally important because Smith not only tied calling and election to sealing theology but also to the "second comforter" mentioned in John 14:26. According to Smith the second comforter was a personal manifestation of Jesus Christ. These ideas were also tied to the concept of personal revelation and the fact that the twelve apostles and all Mormons could and should follow Smith's steps and "become perfect in Jesus Christ."

The Catholic Liturgy and the Mormon Temple

The "Catholic Liturgy and the Mormon Temple" article by Marcus von Wellnitz shows how the Ancient Christians beliefs have filtered down through the ages. Tracing Catholic concepts to early Christian and ancient Jewish concepts provides some great insights.
Some of the aspects of Catholic rites discussed by Wellnitz include:
• the giving of new names to those entering monasteries
• the ancient practice of keeping men and women separate in the church, just as they were kept separate in the temple at Jerusalem
• the use of a veil or covering for women's heads
• the atrium of the church as a symbol of paradise or the garden of Eden
• the porter at the door of the chapel in the primitive church to ensure that only worthy persons entered
• details of ritual clothing and related symbolism
• altars and veils in church buildings
• the use of the All-seeing Eye as a symbol in Renaissance and Baroque churches (shown in photographs of two old churches in Germany)
• the raising of the hands of the priest done anciently
• the hand symbol of a hollowed palm in the left hand when approaching the altar (see Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 23:21-22)
• the prayer offered for the church and the world by the priest which was repeated by the congregation, praying for names of people written on folded parchments (diptychs), especially for those who were ill or needed special consideration
• the ritual embrace and "kiss of peace" to welcome the initiate into the community
• ritual knocking (three times) with a hammer on the portal of a door, now acted out in the ritual of the Porta Santa at St. Peter in Rome, representing entry of the children of God into the presence of the Lord.
Not only are there temple fragments showing up in the Catholic liturgy but also many symbols show up in historical Christian art and architecture and are also scattered throughout other world religions.

Also See:
The Temple Roots of the Liturgy
‘Now I see’ John 9.25
Temple Themes in Christian Worship
The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy

The Language of Symbolism

"I have long held the view that the universe is built on symbols whereby one thing bespeaks another; the lesser testifying of the greater, lifting our thoughts from man to God, from earth to heaven, from time to eternity...God teaches with symbols; it is His favorite way of teaching." (Elder Orson F. Whitney; Improvement Era 30:85l)

"And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me." (Moses 6:63)

The Prophet Nephi taught the very same principle: "all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him." (2 Nephi 11:4)

Elder Boyd K. Packer explains that much of the instruction in the temple is given in symbolic fashion. This should come in no surprise, since so much of the teaching in the scriptures is done symbolically as well. (Packer, The Holy Temple, 38.)

"Indeed, symbols can be powerful devices. One symbol can represent many ideas or concepts, stir a multitude of emotions, remind us of lessons once learned, instruct on several different levels of understanding, and even motivate us to action.
"...Gospel symbols are designed to be teaching devices, an understanding of their underlying doctrines is critical if they are to be interpreted with any degree of validity.
" entire section of Doctrine and Covenants was given to us through a latter-day prophet in order to explain the meaning of a complex set of symbols used by an ancient Prophet" (see D&C 77).
(Matthew B. Brown & Paul Thomas Smith, Symbols in Stone.)

Val Brinkerhoff, a professor of photography at BYU and has spent years studying and photographing sacred symbols, art and architecture, etc. He has photographed most of the LDS temples, as well as numerous temples, mosques, cathedrals and sacred places throughout the world. Over 3000 of his photographs are online at his website, Sacred Places & Their Symbols. Val Brinkerhoff Finding Meaning in Sacred Architecture
He has also published a number of books. One is a two volume book--The Day Star: Reading Sacred Architecture--with hundreds of photographs on his interpretation of sacred symbols and the LDS Temple.
Another one on Temple symbolism is Sacred Walls: Learning from Temple Symbols.

Also See:
Understanding Scriptural Symbols

History and Purpose of the LDS (Mormon) Temple Ceremony - Parts 1-2

Ancient Temple Texts Are Coming to Light

70 Books to be kept for the Wise

World renowned Bible scholar, author and Methodist preacher, Margaret Barker had this to say:

The traditions of the original temple survived intact, but not in those texts chosen, after the advent of Christianity, to become the Hebrew Scriptures [Masoretic Text]. The details of how the Hebrew canon was determined are not known, “Ezra” is the one responsible for dividing the 94 holy books into two collections: 24 to be made public, and the remaining 70 to be kept only for the wise [sacred Temple Texts]:“For in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of Wisdom and the river of knowledge.”(2 Esdras 14.19-48).
The imagery suggests that these were books from temple tradition, and there is good reason to believe that the books reserved for the wise — and in fact preserved only by Christian scribes — included what we now call the Pseudepigrapha, texts such as 1 and 2 Enoch, which are repositories of ancient temple tradition.
(closed quote)
(Margaret Barker, The Hidden Tradition of the Kingdom of God)

The Temple As a House of Learning

Hugh Nibley in a BYU graduation address told how the "Doctrine and Covenants 109" describes the function and purpose of the temple as much the same as those of a university: A house where all seek learning by study and faith, by a discriminating search among the best books (no official list is given—you must search them out), and by constant discussion—diligently teaching "one another words of wisdom"; everybody seeking greater light and knowledge as all things come to be "gathered in one"—hence university (D&C 109:7, 14; 42:36)."
The Kirtland Temple was the first temple erected in this dispensation just after the Church was restored.
The School of the Prophets, a forerunner to temple worship, was established three years before the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. The school met in a room above the Newel K. Whitney Store. The School of the Prophets, allowed leaders of the new Church to study the gospel together.

The Savior's Life and Ministry Was Firmly Rooted In The Temple

Not long after the birth of the Savior his parents took him to the Jerusalem Temple to "offer up a sacrifice pertaining to childbirth." There Simeon, through revelation recognized the promised child who was "the Lord's Anointed or "Christ."" He took the child "up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou they servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen they salvation" (Luke 2: 25-30). A Prophetess who served the Lord continually in the temple, named Anna, came "in that hour and she likewise thanked the Lord for sending the Redeemer and she "spake of him to all them that looked for redemption" (Luke 2: 36-38).
"When Christ was twelve years old, his parents "found him in the temple [courts]" during the Passover season, teaching the learned men among the Jews and going about his Father's business. (JST Luke 2: 46-49). Forty days after his baptism we read that "the Spirit brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple" (JST Luke 4:9). He cleansed the temple both at the beginning (John 2:13-25) and at the end of his mortal ministry (Matthew 21:1-16). We know that whenever he was in Jerusalem "he taught daily in the temple" (Luke 19:47; Mark 14:49), and the people gathered there so that they could hear his teachings (Luke 21:37-38). We read that he participated in temple festivals (John 2:13; John 5:1; John 10:22-23; John 12:1, 12-13) and entered the temple courts triumphantly in his role as the rightful King of Israel (Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-45).
"But the Savior's connection to his Father's house does not end here. The earliest Christians viewed Jesus Christ in the role of the Hight Priest of the temple (Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 5:10). He is even described as wearing a seamless robe similar to the one worn by the hight priest (John 19:23; compare Exodus 28:31-32). He pronounced a blessing on his disciples after the manner of the high priest with uplifted hands (Luke 24:50; compare Leviticus 9:22-23; Numbers 6:23-27. He was bapized at age 30, which was the age when temple priest began to serve (Luke 3:21-23; compare Numbers 4:1-4). The prayer that Christ utters in the seventeenth chapter of the book of John is regarded by many biblical scholars to be a high priestly prayer. Christ is also depicted in Revelation 1:12-13 standing in the heavenly temple wearing "the royal and high-priestly garb." (see The Gate of Heaven, Matthew B. Brown, pg. 168-169)

Guardian Angels, The Book of Life and Temple Work

After my 17 year old daughter died in a car wreck I had an experience with 'another function of guardian angels.' We had moved into our new Ward just before the wreck and our Church membership records came after her death. LDS Wards send membership records into Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City for all who are deceased. When our family membership records finally came from our previous Ward the clerk came by to have us check our daughter's record to make sure everything was accurate before sending it in. I looked over it, she was born on May 4th, died April 4th and at that time I hadn't remembered...but she had been baptized on June 4th. So that is what stood out to me...the same as it did my husband when he looked at it. All those 4th of the was interesting! The Clerk left us that copy of her record and after he left I took it upstairs and set it in her room thinking that if she were allowed to check in on us she would see it. I went to my room and laid on my bed and just sobbed over the loss of this sweet daughter.
Unexpectedly...out of nowhere came a voice to my mind. It was so loud and so clear, "IT IS NOT CORRECT!" The crying stopped instantly and I rushed into her room to check and sure enough...on the line: 'sealed to parents' it was blank. It should have had 'BIC' (Born in the Covenant) on it. I had been a Genealogy Librarian years before and was familiar with checking over records but somehow I had missed it. A call was made to the clerk to make the needed correction.
What a comfort it has been in the deepest of grief and sorrow to know the blessings of the Temple that allow families to be sealed together for eternity. And as 'children of the covenant' special divine blessings as well as sacred obligations are theirs. What greater gift could loving and righteous parents give to their children through the Gospel of Jesus Christ? 'Families are Forever' through the wonderful blessings of Temple covenants.
Several months later I was reading the book 'Life Everlasting' by Duane S. Crowther when one story he related struck me with such force in light of my experience. Quote:

Another function of guardian angels was clearly reveled to Elder John Mickelson Lang, a temple worker in the St. George Temple, in 1928.

"One day while baptismal rites were being performed, I distinctly heard a voice at the end of the font, very close to the ceiling, calling the names of the dead to witness their own baptism, allowing a moment for each spirit to present itself. After hearing many names called, I noticed a difference in the pronunciation of some of them. It seemed that the spirit who was calling must have a different list to ours.
"I was so impressed at the time that I placed my arm about the shoulders of Bro. W. T. Morris, clerk, who was passing, and called his attention to the sound of the voice, but it was not discernable to him.
"This occurrence had taken place in March of 1928, and it continued to prey upon my mind for some months, until one day in Oct. I had gone to an upper room of the Temple, as was my custom, to offer secret prayer, asking for the assistance of God in my work, and to thank Him for showing me that there was a recording angel in His house, to keep a perfect record of that which transpired. I had finished my prayer and was about to leave the room when the question flashed through my mind, 'But where and how does He get these names? Some of them were not pronounced the same as ours.'
"God knew my thoughts; I never asked of Him to know. The explanation came to me in these words: 'Every spirit that comes to earth has a guardian angel, whose duty it is to keep a record of the individual's parentage, the conditions under which it was born, its inheritance, environment, thoughts and desires, and when the individual's life is completed, the guardian angel's mission ends. It returns, makes its report and hands in the record it has kept. This record is placed upon the other book, spoken of as The Book of Life.'
"All this gave me to understand that in this other book is preserved the names and perfect dates of every spirit that ever came to the earth.
"It is also made plain therein, how all things will be proven by two or three witnesses; for instance, in case a child is left on a doorstep, the guardian angel of the child, that of the father and of the mother constitute three witnesses to the child's parentage. There are two witnesses to all things which transpire between any two persons. Also, God can give into the Temples a perfect record of the Lamanites, for instance, or any other people who have no earth record.
"God is perfect. His record is perfect. We will be judged from the books.
"I bear record that this testimony is true, for I received it from an angel in the house of the Lord."

("A Testimony Received by John Mickelson Lang in the St. George Temple in the Year 1928," unpublished manuscript in the possession of Sister Ruth Gregory, Smithfield, Utah.)
Links to paintings:
Heavenly Hands by Greg Olsen
The St. George Temple by Marcia Johnson

Also see:
Angelology: The Doctrine of Angels

Come Thou Font of Every Blessing

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace; Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet, Sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer; Hither by Thy help I’ve come; And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here's my heart, O take and seal it; Seal it for Thy courts above.

Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here's my heart, O take and seal it; Seal it for Thy courts above.

O to grace how great a debtor Daily I'm constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee: Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here's my heart, O take and seal it; Seal it for Thy courts above.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem.
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!" (Luke 13:34)

Historical Christian Art as Paupers' Bibles

Dr. Chris Mullen a Professor at the University of Brighton in the UK tells us:
"The great medieval cathedrals of Western Europe have been described as Paupers’ Bibles, communicating the teachings of Christianity to the poor and unlettered. In fact this interpretation undervalues the extent to which programmes of images could be embedded in stone to contain values and narratives that the spoken or written word often found difficult to communicate.
"Many cultures have sought to tell the great truths in ways that transcend the spoken word and the written word. Be it the theatricalities of ritual or the mechanics of the picture, the telling of truths by the path of the Visual is a challenge demanding of great power and ingenuity, particularly, as we are told, we are today awash in a sea of images."

In the year 806 AD the Buddhist Monk and Leader Kukai on his return from China stated:
"The esoteric doctrines are so profound as to defy their enunciation in writing. With the help of painting however their obscurities may be understood."

Christ's 40-Day Ministry

The Ante-Nicene Mysteries and New Testament Sources
presented by Andrew Miller

"All the 40-day teaching is described as very secret. There is the clearly stated policy that knowledge should be given always but only to those who ask for it, with the corollary that the higher and holier a teaching the more carefully it should be guarded. As “the last and highest revelation,” the teaching of the 40 days was top secret and has not come down to us. Christian scholars concede that the apostles had information that we do not have, allow the existence of an unwritten apostolic tradition in the church, and grant that there was a policy of secrecy in the early church. Plainly things have been lost."
~~Hugh Nibley

"...he [Christ] shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."
(Acts 1:3)

"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written."
(John 21:25)

"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book"
(John 20:30)

Also see:
*The 40-Day Ministry
*Evangelium Quadraginta Dierum: The Forty-day Mission of Christ-The Forgotten Heritage
*Forty Day Ministry of Christ
*Apocryphal Evidence for the 40-Day Mission of Christ
*Ante-Nicene Fathers (The Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325)
*Searching for the Mysteries of Godliness
*Words: Mysticism & Orientation
*The Forty Day Teachings of Christ in the Books of Jeu and the Pistis Sophia: A Gnostic Endowment
The Writing of the Forty Day Ministry
Early Egyptian Christianity

Non-LDS Source:
*The Secret Tradition
The Hidden Tradition of the Kingdom of God (book)

Meaning of Exoteric and Esoteric

Exoteric refers to knowledge that is outside of and independent from anyone's experience and can be ascertained by anyone. Exoteric relates to "external reality" as opposed to one's own thoughts or feelings. It is knowledge that is public. It is not required that exoteric knowledge come easily or automatically, but it should be referenceable or reproducible.
adj. 1. Not confined to an inner circle of disciples or initiates. 2. Comprehensible to or suited to the public; popular. 3. Of or relating to the outside; external.

Esoteric relates to spiritual knowledge, and comes from "within", thus "pertaining to the more inward", mystic, and is of a mysterious nature.
adj. 1. a. Intended for or understood by only a particular group. b. Of or relating to that which is known by a restricted number of people. 2. a. Confined to a small group: esoteric interests. b. Not publicly disclosed; confidential.

Early Christian Church Father Origen wrote, "In these circumstances, to speak of the Christian doctrine as a secret system, is altogether absurd. But that there should be certain doctrines, not made known to the multitude, which are (revealed) after the exoteric ones have been taught, is not a peculiarity of Christianity alone, but also of philosophic systems, in which certain truths are exoteric and others esoteric. (Origen, Against Celsus 1.7, in ANF, 4:399.)

Latter-day Saint writings allude to a similar practice. Consider the following passages from the Book of Mormon prophet Alma and the apostle Joseph Fielding Smith:
"And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries." (Alma 12:9— 11)

he early Jewish Christian Clementine Recognitions says, "For the most sublime truths are best honoured by means of si-lence." (Peter, in Clementine Recognitions 1.23, in ANF, 8:83.)

A related document, the Clementine Homilies, says that "it would be impious to state the hidden truths" to the wicked. (Clementine Homilies 19.20, in ANF, 8:336.)

Ignatius told the Roman Christians, "I am able to write to you of heavenly things, but I fear lest I should do you an injury. Know me from myself. For I am cautious lest ye should not be able to receive [such knowledge], and should be perplexed." (Ignatius, Romans 9, in ANF, 1:104, brackets in original.)

The Clementine Recognitions advocated using a "certain circumlocution" (rather than direct explanations) to hide the holiest truths from the profane, who would weary God's servants with their worldly arguments. "But if he set forth pure truth to those who do not desire to obtain salvation, he does injury to Him by whom he has been sent, and from whom he has received commandment not to throw the pearls of His words before swine and dogs, who, striving against them with arguments and sophisms, roll them in the rand of carnal understanding, and by their barkings and base answers break and weary the preachers of God's word." (Clementine Recognitions 3.1, in ANF, 8:117.)

Writings from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Codices show that for two centuries after Jesus Christ, certain religious groups practiced sacred rituals that were to be kept secret from others (See Esoteric Ritual During the New Testament Era)

Also See:
Them Sneaky Early Christians
A review of "Hidden Wisdom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism"
Hidden Wisdom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism

Truth is Eternal

President Joseph F. Smith noted that we find everywhere broken remnants of teachings familiar to Latter-day Saints, going back to a time before world apostasy. ( Journal of Discourses, 15:325—26)

Where does the gospel differ from all the rest? There is no difference at all where their teachings are true. An old maxim of Mormonism states that all religions have some truth that we share with them.

"Whether a truth be found with professed infidels, or with the Universalists, or the Church of Rome, or the Methodists, the Church of England, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Quakers, the Shakers, or any other of the various and numerous different sects and parties, all of whom have more or less truth, it is the business of the Elders of this Church (Jesus, their elder brother, being at their head,) to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation, to the Gospel we preach, to mechanism of every kind, to the sciences, and to philosophy, wherever it may be found in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and bring it to Zion. [...] This statement is not only true of the nations termed civilized--those who profess to worship the true God, but is equally applicable to pagans of all countries, for in their religious rights and ceremonies may be found a great many truths which we will also gather home to Zion."
- Brigham Young, "Intelligence, Etc." (Journal of Discourses 7:283-284)

Between Heaven and Earth

LDS Temples and Ancient Temples, 5 Part Series
Part 1:

"In antiquity, . . . the Jerusalem Temple was a place where you went to carry out holy acts, sacrifices and the like. I feel that the Mormon experience of the Temple has sort of restored that meaning to the word Temple."

--Krister Stendahl, Dean of Divinity Emeritus, Harvard University, from an interview played in the LDS video, Between Heaven and Earth, 2002.

"I am both interested and delighted to see so much of ancient religious tradition, particularly Biblical tradition, taken up into the religious structures and rituals of the Mormons."
-- Frank Moore Cross, Professor of Ancient History, Harvard University, spoken in the LDS video, Between Heaven and Earth, 2002

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Importance of the Temple to the Ancient Christian Church

The scriptures clearly show that Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection did not put an end to the ancient Christian’s worshiping at the temple.

BYU Professor William J. Hamblin wrote:
[I]t is quite clear that the New Testament apostles continued to worship in the Jerusalem temple after Christ's ascension (Acts 2:46, Acts 3:1-10, Acts 5:20-42). Even Paul worshipped there (Acts 21:26-30, Acts 22:17, Acts 24:6-18, Acts 25:8, Acts 26:21). Paul is explicitly said to have performed purification rituals (Acts 21:26, Acts 24:18), and prayed in the temple (Acts 22:17, cf. Acts 3:1); he claims that he has not offended "against the temple," implying he accepts its sanctity (Acts 25:8). Indeed, Paul also offered sacrifice (prosfora) in the temple (Acts 21:26, cf. Num. 6:14-18), a very odd thing for him to do if the temple had been completely superceded after Christ's ascension. Finally, and most importantly, Paul had a vision of Christ ("The Just One" ton dikaion) in the temple (Acts 22:14-21), paralleling Old Testament temple theophanies, and strongly implying a special sanctity in the temple, where God still appears to men even after Christ's ascension.
Hamblin elaborated further on Paul's vision of Christ in the temple during which he received his prophetic call:
Ananias says Paul will "see the Just One." (Acts 22:14)
Paul then goes to Jerusalem (Acts 22:17)
"When I [Paul] was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance" (Acts 22:17)
Then he sees Christ/The Just One (Acts 22:18)
Christ tells him to leave Jerusalem (Acts 22:18) and go preach to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21).( Bill Hamblin, "Veil of Temple Rent in Twain," post to (30 September 2006 12h47), last accessed 3 October 2006.)
Hamblin then illustrates that Paul continued to offer "sin offerings" in the temple after his conversion to Christanity:
Paul’s prosfora was participation in the fulfillment of a Nazarite vow taken by four men (Acts 21:21-26). The sacrifices required to fulfill this vow are described in Num. 6:13-18. They include making a “sin offering” (Num. 6:14). Therefore, Paul’s prosfora included a sin offering. (See Bruce, Acts of the Apostles, 3rd ed, p. 443-8.) Furthermore, Christ’s sacrifice is called a prosfora in Heb. 10:10,14,18, and is directly correlated to the temple sin offerings (Acts 10:3-9). Given all this, it is rather blatant special pleading to claim that Paul’s prosfora in the temple did not include a sin offering.(Ibid, 30 September 2006 15h03)
One respected non-LDS scholar notes the connection between certain biblical language and the temple concept:
In general, any cultic activity to which the biblical text applies the formula 'before the Lord' can be considered an indication of the existence of a temple at the site, since this expression ... belongs to the temple's technical terminology.(Ibid, 30 September 2006 15h52)

There is no evidence that the early Christian apostles abandoned the use of the temple. Indeed, they embraced it, and continued to use it for the appearance of the Risen Lord, and the receipt of prophetic calls.
It is not surprising that Christians have since down-played the importance of the temple, since most do not have one. No one would want to admit they are missing an important part of the gospel. But, if Paul and other apostles valued and honored the temple, why do critics attack the Latter-day Saints for doing the same?

Also see:
*Were the Blessings of the Temple Available to the Saints in Jesus' Time?
*The Catholic Liturgy and the Mormon Temple

"Ye Are the Temple of God"

(by Tom Kelly; Ensign, Dec. 1976)
"Last winter I was facing some deep challenges. Wanting to get close to the Lord, I walked up to the Provo Temple one evening. As I gazed at that lovely, sacred edifice, I reflected upon the words of Paul: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?" (1 Cor. 3:16.) I found myself pondering the significance of these words. In what sense is a person like a temple? What changes would I need to make in myself to be worthy to be called a temple of God?
A temple becomes a temple when it is dedicated. It is not the house of the Lord until it is given unto Him.
A temple is beautiful. Looking at it lifts and edifies. It is spotless and dignified.
A temple is calm and still. Peace and quietness reign within.
A temple is a place of worthiness--no unclean thing may enter therein.
Engraved deeply into the wall of the temple are the words, "Holiness to the Lord."
A temple is a house of service. Its whole purpose is to provide those things that are truly essential for the happiness of God's children.
The spire of the temple rises skyward. The righteous, on seeing the temple, lift their eyes to heaven.
A temple is built by sacrifice, by diligent and patient labor.
A temple is, above all, a home for God the Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. The house of the Lord is a sacred place, worthy of their presence.
With such thoughts in my heart, I looked at the temple and then at my own life:
Am I dedicated to the Lord?
Does my appearance lift and edify?
Am I peaceful and calm within?
Are my mind and heart open only to worthy thoughts and feelings?
Is "holiness to the Lord" engraved upon my soul?
Am I engaged in vital service to God's children?
Do I lift my eyes toward heaven?
Am I willing to build myself by sacrifice, toil, and patience?
Does the Spirit of God dwell in me?
In short, am I becoming a temple of the Most High God?

LDS Temples

Also See:
In His Holy House

Secret or Sacred?

Although LDS critics have placed the LDS Temple ordinances all over the Internet, written about them or portrayed them in video in an attempt to ridicule and mock LDS beliefs; still LDS members do not discuss these scared ordinances outside the Temple even among themselves. It is out of reverence that LDS members strive to keep the Temple ordinances of a spiritual nature and protect them from becoming common and profaned.
On the MADB (Mormon Apologetics and Discussion Board) one LDS poster by the screen name, ldsmom explained it:
Just as the Muslims can not profane the image of Mohamed because it is a law of God; We can not profane the temple or it's ceremonies because it is God's law.
When God first gave the tabernacle to the Israelites, he commanded that only those who belonged to the covenant could enter into the outer area where ordinances were performed. Only the priests could enter the portion of the temple where the sacred vessels were stored. And only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies.
When the first and second temples were built, the same law applied.
When the nation of Ephraim was restored in the form of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," temples were also restored.
The same laws that applied to the temples of our ancestors, apply to the temples of the latter-days.
We do not profane the temple or it's ceremonies because it is God's law.

The scriptures contain several accounts of Jesus instructing his disciples to keep things "secret." For example, on the Mount of Transfiguration, the Lord told His disciples to "tell the vision to no man" (Matthew 17:9) until it became appropriate to do so.
An entire body of knowledge was known in the Ancient Church, which came to be called gnosis, which the Lord imparted to His disciples after His resurrection during this forty day period. Not too many years later, as the ancient Christian church began splitting up into sects, each of them claimed to have this gnosis, or "secret knowledge," which the Lord had taught to only a select few. Hugh Nibley quotes Clement and comments:
"To James the Just and to John and Peter after the resurrection the Lord conveyed the gnosis, these handed it on to the rest of the Apostles and in turn to the Seventy." So we have a true gnosis, a certain knowledge, entrusted to the general authorities of the church after the resurrection and, as far as we know, to no one else. This was precisely the knowledge which the so-called Gnostics later claimed to have. From the titles and contents of recently found Gnostic writings it is plain that their special boast was to possess "What Christ taught to the Apostles after the Resurrection."(Nibley, Hugh. 'The World and the Prophets'. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company. 1988. pp.65-66.)

As late as the fourth century, Basil of Caesarea reported that there was still a strong unwritten and secret tradition that he believed originated with the Apostles:
"Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us "in a mystery" by the tradition of the apostles...." (Basil of Caesarea, Treatise De Spiritu Sancto 27, in NPNF Series 2, 8:40-41.)
"In the same manner the Apostles and Fathers who laid down laws for the Church from the beginning thus guarded the awful dignity of the mysteries in secrecy and silence, for what is bruited abroad random among the common folk is no mystery at all. This is the reason for our tradition of unwritten precepts and practices, that the knowledge of our dogmas may not become neglected and contemned by the multitude through familiarity. "Dogma" [doctrine] and "Kerugma" [preaching] are two distinct things; the former is observed in silence; the latter is proclaimed to all the world. One form of this silence is the obscurity employed in Scripture, which makes the meaning of "dogmas" difficult to be understood for the very advantage of the reader...." (Basil of Caesarea, Treatise De Spiritu Sancto 27, in NPNF Series 2, 8:42.)

Also, in the fourth century, Athanasius spoke of this tradition of secrecy and referred to these rites as "the mysteries":
"We ought not then to parade the holy mysteries before the uninitiated, lest the heathen in their ignorance deride them, and the Catechumens being over-curious be offended." (Athanasius, Defense Against the Arians 1:11, in NPNF Series 2, 4:106.)

In the Two Books of Jeu a charge was given to keep the mysteries secret:
"These mysteries which I shall give you, preserve, and give them to no man except he be worthy of them. Give them not to father nor to mother, to brother or to sister or to kinsman, neither for food nor for drink, nor for woman-kind, neither for gold nor for silver, nor for anything at all of this world. Preserve them, and give them to no one whatsoever for the sake of the good of this whole world."( The Two Books of Jeu, NTA 1:263.)

Also see:
Secretive Mormonism?
LIST–Secrecy in the New Testament

Being a "Covenant People"

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speak of themselves as a "covenant people."

Also see:
Latter-day Saints and the Covenant Framework of the Gospel
The Power of Covenants
Temple Ordinances in Early Christianity
Simile Curses in the Ancient Near East, Old Testament, and Book of Mormon

Mormon Temples - Covenants and Temple Promises with God

Symbolism and the Temple

“Symbols constitute the language of creation. All creation is eloquent at speaking truth to us through its symbols. But, it is important to remember that symbolism is a language, nothing more. It is by looking beyond language that we understand.”
--Po Tai

"Spoken words are the symbols of mental experience, and written words are the symbols of spoken words."
--Aristotle 'On Interpretation', 16, a. 2.

"God created the world in the image of the world above; all which is found above has its analogy below...and everything constitutes a unity."

--Jewish Wisdom

Rich symbolism adorns the exterior of the Salt Lake Temple, depicting mankind's journey from mortality into the eternal realms. Perhaps Elder J. Golden Kimball expressed it best when he stated: "When I think about that building, every stone in it is a sermon to me."(J. Golden Kimball, "Elder Jonathan Golden Kimball," Conference Report April 1915: 78–79.)
See link above (Salt Lake Temple) for a summary of some of the symbolism of that temple.

Multiple Meanings of Religious Symbols, Part 1-2

Also see:
*Temple Imagery in the Epistles of Peter
Mosaic Tabernacle as an Aaronic Temple
Understanding Scriptural Symbols

Worthiness & Temple Recommends

Temple Recommends
Temples have always been revered and reserved as sacred ground. Anciently, the prophet Ezekiel declared, "Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary" (Ezek. 44:9). The Prophet Joseph Smith prayed that "[the temple] may be sanctified and consecrated to be holy, and that thy holy presence may be continually in this house" (D&C 109:12), "and that no unclean thing shall be permitted to come into thy house to pollute it" (D&C 109:20).

Psalm 15, 24, and Isaiah 33 function as an Israelite “Temple recommend” - interviews and moral requirements to enter the Israelite temple compound. (Book: Donald W. Parry, “Three Temple Entrance Hymns.”)
"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." (Psalms 24:3-4)

Also see:
The Illustrated Tour of the Holy Temple (Harod's Temple) (scroll up to see illustrations)