Friday, June 16, 2017

Orientation

This week has been all about the employee on-boarding process. The hiring department requested a list of my vaccinations and I was informed I could receive whatever injections were deficient in my case (none, thankfully). I was also reminded of which online training modules were still pending completion. Once I have everything I need, I will be able to walk through the doors of my hospital as a full-fledged employee and have a sense of belonging.

Had I shown up and been asked to repeat my already completed courses, or re-inject my vaccines I would have been confused. Instead the orientation process is, thankfully, only about getting me what I need to move forward. The temple is the same way.

Think about it. Wouldn't it be weird if in the temple we repeated our own baptism and confirmation? If that happened we would likely ask ourselves why we were doing them over. We might even ask ourselves if our first baptism and confirmation had been invalid or incomplete.

And yet so often we go to the temple expecting its rituals to represent and/or recreate our entire life's experience. Besides that being a false standard, it sets us up for despair when what remains needed for completion is different between men and women. --Just imagine if during employee orientation we felt someone else was already the stand-out or favored one because he was given several booster shots, a chest X-ray, and many more training modules. That would definitely be the wrong interpretation, even the opposite conclusion as one could easily argue that employee was way behind his counterpart(s).

Below I have created a table of the "series" of gifts bestowed in and out of the temple. I think it serves to highlight the dichotomy between the sexes that would make holding the temple ordinances as all-encompassing to be misguided:



With this in mind, I wish to discuss an insight I had recently. Well, several insights, actually. The first continues with the theme of re-envisioning the temple's functionality.




In the above diagram I'm showing my current interpretation of priesthood power(s). When I think of them, I like to imagine literal offices in a building. In blue we see the "Melchizedek," written in quotes because this is a name given to avoid the overuse of the name of the Lord. (The Aaronic priesthood is not a separate entity and is thus shown as an appendage.) Above the blue building is the yellow skyscraper with its ever-growing levels of glory. This represents the Patriarchal Order of priesthood. Though "patriarchy" conjures up male-only imagery, I have concluded that this actually equates to "of the family." It is in this category that the definition of God means male AND female. The green section depicts the highest office in the Melchizedek priesthood, which overlaps with the Patriarchal Order, and can currently be accessed only in the temple setting.




Since the part in blue represents the power of Christ, and the yellow section is the only place where female divinity exists in its fullness, we see God the Son as being the link between the two as represented above.



Going back to the "building" diagram, I think it important to add the component of keys as represented here by the asterisks (*). They open up the doors to each office on its respective level in the priesthood. I have also added stairs to the highest level of the Melchizedek priesthood to signify an ascent to a higher order within it where another, final door remains.  Along these lines, Elder Boyd K. Packer gave a talk once using a parable about keys and vaults. He seems to be touching upon the Patriarchal Order when he describes a man and woman turning their keys at the same time to inherit their greatest treasure (shown in my diagram by the door on the left with two asterisks). He adds that woman shouldn't be troubled that man has two keys when she only has one... And to that I say "absolutely!," especially since I offer that that second key was *received* by man from woman. Yes, his greatest power stems from her.

Also, I have added "House of Israel" and "Many Mansions" to describe the extent of each building. If woman is coming to earth from royal birth (so regal you must stand when she enters the room) she is, among many things, not lacking in inheritance when it comes to real estate. In contrast, man has a single, relatively modest house. To meet in the middle (green section), she must be appointed (read: anointed) to his humble abode and he gets to be written into her will. Talk about the guy marrying up!

(It's worth pausing here to recall the start of this epic post where I point out that if one were to take this exchange at face value and no context, it would look really unfair towards the woman.)

I had always known to think of Jesus Christ as the intermediary, but seeing Woman hold both keys to the final door leading to the Patriarchal Order got me to see her in that in-between role, as well. Her role in that position stems from the fact that God the Father (and Mother) is too holy to deal directly with man (His greatness being like a fire would consume him). And Jehovah, before being born to an earthly mother, was too holy to be in contact with earthly man (a natural enemy to God). This is where Eve comes in. For how near to the angels is woman! She is the virtue (angel) who can act upon Adam as she is under the direction of Jehovah who is under the direction of God.





Above I have drawn what I like to call "The Glove of God." It's a symbolic representation of how I see God dealing with man on earth.  In The Creation he is forming man through the protective inner layer of Jehovah, who is covered by the outer lining provided by Eve. What characteristic allows Eve to be in contact with both Heaven and Earth? You can find that answer in the temple. But if you're not in a place for that, consider the evidence of this Heaven-Female-Earth dynamic right before our eyes. A pregnant woman, for example, straddles both Heaven and earth as she creates a person somewhere in-between. She then births a child who, if taken before the age of accountability, has a spirit worthy of returning to God. How near to the angels, indeed.

(At this point I would like to point out that Eve is not Adam's mother, but did take part in his creation which in one sense, does make her the mother of all living.)

Analogies are never perfect when it comes to things divine, and in this case the limitation is that this imagery of the glove makes it seem like Jesus and Eve are objects being acted upon. That is not the case. This is meant to show the harmony, even fluidity of their doing the Father's will. I cannot, however, say in Eve's case that she is exercising full agency as she has not yet obtained knowledge regarding good versus evil at the point of The Creation.

When Eve finally does obtain knowledge, it is through transgression and the protective barrier is essentially rent in twain by this. I show in the middle image the break in Eve and even Jesus Christ who must eventually take upon Him our sins. Absent here is God the Father who cannot be among man in this fallen state for reasons mentioned above.

To recreate the protective barrier, Jesus Christ is born of woman and creates a cross-link (pun not intended, but boy does it work) which allows Adam and Eve to interact with God the Father again.



If we zoom in, we see that Adam has a much closer connection to both Jesus Christ (represented in yellow) and God the Father (not shown under the arch) after The Fall. I posit that this is through the Melchizedek Priesthood. In order to complete the arch, Eve (represented in purple) now has this one area where she needs to work through her husband, Adam, only when he submits to the hand of God.


When we zoom out in this cross-section view, we see Eve represented on the whole. This gives the perspective that she is far from broken and has an identity many times greater than that part of her that is inseparably connected to Adam.

Thus we see how one mundane experience in life coupled with some faith can lead to all sorts of thoughts and insights in the temple. I'm very excited to go back and ponder on this some more, and feel compelled to again remind any and all readers that this is the gospel according to Monique. You do you.

p.s. Upon returning to this post soon after writing about Eliza R. Snow here, I just realized that the hymn "O My Father" is the equivalent of a FUBU (For Us, By Us). It's the story of woman's mortal journey, realizing she came from an exalted sphere, and tapping into that divine power which gives her revelation concerning both our Father and Mother. So fab!

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