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My friend (really, he's a guy in my old singles ward) does temple work every Thursday afternoon. But my friends and I all know that he is not worthy. Are the people he performs work for the dead for penalized or are their ordinances diminished because of his unworthyness?
I don't intend this to be a church criticism post. Let me be clear: I have a testimony of the gospel. However, there are some things I've always wondered, and have never found an answer that feels exactly right. I'd just like some other perspectives. I grew up with inactive LDS parents who are not sealed in the temple. As a child this really bothered me...with all the talk of forever families I wondered what that meant for mine. The only answers I can get are: "It will all work out in the heavens" or "Its about sealing everyone back to Christ; not who you're gonna be with in heaven" or something close to these explanations. So, what I wonder is; well....if it's not about who we will be with, why does it matter? Why the push for a "forever family"? If it's all gonna be worked out in heaven (I won't be denied blessings because my parents aren't sealed) why is it so important? I have absolute faith that it WILL all be fine because I believe in a loving God, but when there is such a HUGE focus on this, why aren't there more clear answers? I can't believe that a righteous, loving family just won't be together in the after life because they didn't go through a ceremony in a specific building. What about those couples who have circumstances we can't put into our neat little boxes? Such as; a couple who are sealed, but the man dies early and the woman remarries someone who can't be sealed to her because she's already sealed but they have children and live 60 years together? Or my grandmother who out-lived all 3 husbands and loved each of them the same. (And there are dozens of other scenarios). Perhaps this is what the mellenium is for, so I keep my faith that God has a plan I just can't understand in my mortal state. But it seems our idea of what SHOULD be is very idealistic and limited. I often also wonder...what could be done with all the time, effort and money that goes into the temples themselves and then the hours spent working and attending them? Could we not do more good by serving those ALIVE? Even if the symbolic ceremonies need to be done on earth, could we not have less extravagant places to do it?
The past few weeks as I drove to work I thought of several questions I don't have the answers to. Hopefully you can help me sort out the answers. 1. If one of the primary purposes of the Millenium is Temple Work, but all of those who are worthy of the Telestial and Celestial kingdoms are resurrected and alive during the millennium, then can't they all do their own work? I understand temple worthy members could still act as temple workers, just not as proxies. 2. Also, does this mean that if temple work during the millennium is done by proxy only for those who can't do it themselves (Terrestrial), then if the Telestial person accepts the covenants, will they be immediately resurrected and become alive in the millennium, or do they still have to wait until the end, at which point they are Telestial anymore? This doesn't seem to make sense. 3. If someone is not resurrected during the early part of the millennium because they are 'Telestial', then why do their temple work at all? Unless they repented and become temple worthy (a.k.a. Celestial) then they couldn't make the covenants anyway, correct? It only makes sense if people could go from Telestial to Celestial during the millennium. 4. If all children under the age of 8 years old are considered celestial, then they would be resurrected at the beginning of the millennium, but based upon the statistics I've seen on infant mortality, this would likely result in tens of billions of children over the history of the earth that would be resurrected. Not all of them, or possibly even most of them, will have parents who are resurrected to raise them at the beginning of the millennium. How are these children going to be raised, by all of the Celestial and Telestial parents who are alive at that time? 5. Will spouses grow old and 'twinkle' at the same time to become young again? If not, I guess it would be strange to have a 20 year old woman married to an 80 year old man until he 'twinkled' too. 6. What happens if there is an accident and someone dies? Or can't people die or drown, or something similar? Thanks, I've been thinking about these questions for weeks and can't think of answers to satisfy them that I've ever heard.
This question is just for non-LDS readers. How do you feel about the LDS practice of doing temple work for your dead ancestors? I ask because the people for whom we perform these ordinances have non-LDS relatives too. (Sometimes in the past non-relatives names were submitted but that is not the accepted practice. If it is done currently it is not in keeping with the disclaimer submitters must acknowledge before they can submit a name. The rules have tightened up from what they were before.)