Scott

When did temple marriage begin?

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Just now, Just_A_Guy said:

Just so.  But as it fits into this discussion—it would be a simple thing for Christ to give the Church a revelation instructing us to sacrifice a red heifer in remembrance of His First coming (or even in prefiguration of His Second Coming).  The meaning God has currently given us for these symbols, isn’t enough for us to try to extrapolate out which symbols God may or may not have us using in the future.  

Again, I don't disagree. But there is plenty of precedent (I'm speaking to a lawyer here :)) suggesting that animal sacrifice was instituted to look forward to the atoning sacrifice of Christ, while the modern sacrament was instituted to look backward at the same event. And since the sacrifice was specifically reconfigured as one of "a broken heart and a contrite spirit", which essentially equates it with the sacrament (or at least makes the sacrament an integral part of the sacrifice), it's not at all unreasonable to conclude that animal sacrifice was done away with at Christ's resurrection in favor of a holy sacrament of remembrance. There may indeed be more to it than that, but it's certainly a reasonable belief. So I'm not arguing that you're wrong, only that it's not obvious that the other side is wrong (except for that pesky teaching of Joseph Smith...).

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3 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

What is it about animal sacrifice as a symbol, that inherently suggests it symbolizes a future event and not a past one?  What is it about eating bread and drinking water as symbols, that inherently suggests it symbolizes a past event and not a future one?

I don’t think God instituted these rituals/symbols because they have fixed and inescapable meanings or because they inherently represent things that are future versus things that are past.  He institutes the rituals and tells us what they’re supposed to mean to us; and He reserves the unilateral right to amend, re-interpret, replace, end, and/or restore them. 

That said:  As insulated from death and gore as 21st-century westerners are—one might suggest that we, above all other past cultures and societies, need to be confronted with an animal sacrifice in order to fully comprehend the stark reality of what Christ did and what it means.

I'd accept your argument that there is nothing "inherently" future or past about either of these ordinances.  But that is what we are taught regarding those ordinances.

Have we not been taught over and over again that we are required to sacrifice a broken heart and a contrite spirit IN LIEU of blood sacrifice?  Do we not practice the Sacrament as the ritual by which we "look to the Savior"?

The difference between animal sacrifice vs eternal marriage is necessity.

  • Animal sacrifice has a replacement or substitute for a very similar principle.  Redundancies, I certainly can see being done away with -- lack of necessity.  But I'd still leave the door open to having a redundancy used again.  I just don't see it as necessary, when we have a substitute.
  • Eternal marriage has no substitute.  Yet we know it is necessary.  It always has been and always will be.  Our eternal destiny requires it.
Edited by Mores

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1 hour ago, Mores said:

On the particular issue of sealed marriages, I chose the latter; you, the former.

I think this choice is a matter of faith, which can be had in things unseen that are past (as in clear descriptions of ordinances that are missing from corrupted scripture) as well as things in the present and future.

From D&C 107, we learn that the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God "was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage [BIC]" with the promise that "his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be preserved [sealed] unto the end of the earth." Adam "predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation," which includes the people of Enoch/Zion who were taken up and those who benefit from the restored sealing  ordinances in the last days. It seems consistent that the translated families have been sealed since the times of the City of Enoch.

Edited by CV75

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5 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I think this choice is a matter of faith, which can be had in things unseen that are past (as in clear descriptions of ordinances that are missing from corrupted scripture) as well as things in the present and future.

That depends on your meaning of faith.  The idea of corrupted scripture and missing scripture was not the basis for my position.  It is apparently yours.

The problem is that I find the automatic "well, the Bible was corrupted" argument to be just as much of a cop out as the "lack of evidence = proof of lack" argument.

When we lack evidence, we must use certain principles to guide us.  In a court room, we can choose to utilize the presumption of innocence, or "women must always be believed" argument.  Time has proven that the presumption of innocence doctrine is the better choice for courtrooms.  Not always accurate, to be sure.  But in the end, it prevents more trouble than it causes.

Similarly, my FAITH in the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the prophetic role of Joseph Smith and all his successors, the truth of the Book of Mormon, the D&C, etc. lead me to believe the body of beliefs that we've come to form as a community of Saints over the course of 170+ years.  When there is lack of evidence otherwise (other things being equal) I choose to believe that this aggregate belief system is fairly accurate.  

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1 hour ago, Mores said:

That depends on your meaning of faith.  The idea of corrupted scripture and missing scripture was not the basis for my position.  It is apparently yours.

The problem is that I find the automatic "well, the Bible was corrupted" argument to be just as much of a cop out as the "lack of evidence = proof of lack" argument.

When we lack evidence, we must use certain principles to guide us.  In a court room, we can choose to utilize the presumption of innocence, or "women must always be believed" argument.  Time has proven that the presumption of innocence doctrine is the better choice for courtrooms.  Not always accurate, to be sure.  But in the end, it prevents more trouble than it causes.

Similarly, my FAITH in the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the prophetic role of Joseph Smith and all his successors, the truth of the Book of Mormon, the D&C, etc. lead me to believe the body of beliefs that we've come to form as a community of Saints over the course of 170+ years.  When there is lack of evidence otherwise (other things being equal) I choose to believe that this aggregate belief system is fairly accurate.  

Of course the truth of any conclusion depends on the meaning attached to the words used in describing it. This is how evidence is as easily manipulated to deceive as well as to disabuse.

Using your logic, faith in ancient things as revealed through latter-day revelation that are missing from corrupted scripture is better than denying those ancient things existed because they are not clear in corrupted scripture. I and others in this thread have provided a chain of evidence showing that latter-day revelation provides the basis for faith that the sealing power was used for marriage (“temple marriage”) in the time of Adam and the patriarchs, the New Testament, and outside of latter-day temples after the commencement of the Restoration.

How is it that you conclude that corrupted scripture is the basis for my position?

Here is a good article about the process of determining accuracy and its relatively subordinate value to truth: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2019/08/the-essential-role-of-revelation?lang=eng

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19 minutes ago, CV75 said:

How is it that you conclude that corrupted scripture is the basis for my position?

Because you wrote:

1 hour ago, CV75 said:

which can be had in things unseen that are past (as in clear descriptions of ordinances that are missing from corrupted scripture) as well as things in the present and future.

Take a look at the two phrases here:

  • clear description of ordinances.
  • missing from corrupted scripture.

I'm actually going to defend MOE's position based on this statement. Simply because we have a clear description of an ordinance today does NOT necessarily mean (by virtue of that ordinance being clearly spelled out today) that any lack of mention in ancient scripture was due to corruption of scripture.

Although I agree with your conclusion (i.e. Marriage sealings were performed) my line of reasoning is quite different.

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Here's another interesting tidbit regarding Solomon's Temple.

Quote

And the weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. And he overlaid the upper chambers with gold.

 2 Ch  3:9

Note the word used for "upper chambers" is

Quote

 עליּה (‛ălı̂yâh)

Translation: roof-room, roof chamber

So, it is not reasonable to interpret this as the Holy of Holies (which one had to ascend a few steps to get to).  It appears to be a room that was built above the holy-of-holies.

Such a chamber is not mentioned in any of the liturgical specifications in the Law of Moses.  

Records from Josephus indicate:

Quote

They erected its entire body, quite up to the roof, of white stone; its height was sixty cubits, and its length was the same, and its breadth twenty. There was another building erected over it, equal to it in its measures; so that the entire altitude of the temple was a hundred and twenty cubits. … The king also had a fine contrivance for an ascent to the upper room over the temple, and that was by steps in the thickness of its wall; for it had no large door on the east end, as the lower house had, but the entrances were by the sides, through very small doors. He also overlaid the temple, both within and without, with boards of cedar, that were kept close together by thick chains, so that this contrivance was in the nature of a support and a strength to the building.

— Antiquities of the Jews, Book 8, ch 3, ¶ 2

Knowing what we know of the temple and sealings, could this room have been used for any other type of liturgical function other than a sealing room?  Given the sacred nature of the ordinances, is it any wonder that no description of the ordinance exists?

Edited by Mores

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1 hour ago, Mores said:

Because you wrote:

Take a look at the two phrases here:

  • clear description of ordinances.
  • missing from corrupted scripture.

I'm actually going to defend MOE's position based on this statement. Simply because we have a clear description of an ordinance today does NOT necessarily mean (by virtue of that ordinance being clearly spelled out today) that any lack of mention in ancient scripture was due to corruption of scripture.

Although I agree with your conclusion (i.e. Marriage sealings were performed) my line of reasoning is quite different.

But parsed phrases out of context are not the basis of (reasoning for) my position. Their context is an example of our choices of what to understand of the past as a matter of faith in things unseen in the past. The line of reasoning wouldn't change that.

In addition to clear descriptions, latter-day revelation does say that the ordinances were practiced anciently, were lost or corrupted, and are now restored. They also say the ancient scriptures were corrupted and that many "plain and most precious" parts and "also many covenants" (1 Nephi 13:26) were removed. As helpful and supportive as that may be, it is not my line of reasoning, which is more directly tied to the "triple combination" which informs my faith in things past, present and future.

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12 hours ago, Texan said:

The discussion above leads me to think that I have misunderstood the concept of sealing.  When I started learning about the Church, I remember my shock at hearing the term "sealing" in the context of marriages.  I immediately thought of hermetically sealed or even shrink-wrapped couples before the altar.  

But now I'm wondering whether "seal" means something more like embossing a gold-foil star at the bottom of a document, and maybe "a sealed couple" is better described as "a celestially certified couple."  Is this a useful way of understanding this concept?  Or does the concept of sealing imply some new level of spiritual inseparablility between a husband a wife?

Texan, thank you for my laugh of the day-- picturing a newly wed bride and groom shrink-wrapped together :)

@Just_A_Guy did a pretty good explanation of this earlier, but to add the the chorus--

During baptism, we covenant with God- formally giving ourself to Him and He embracing us.  Being a disciples of Christ brings joys and help in this life, and will much more in the world to come.    Likewise with other ordinances-- we're giving ourselves to Christ, but until very last ordinance: the sealing.  During a sealing, we give our relationships to Christ and He embracing them.  Having Christ embraced in our relationships (both marriage and parent/child) brings joys and help in this life, and will much more in the world to come.    Even the best people/relationship are barely scratching the surface of the huge joy Christ will bring.  

12 hours ago, Texan said:

Is this in the JST?  I'm not an Old Testament scholar, but I don't recall any mention of marriage or family sealings in the Bible versions that I'm most familiar with.  In fact, when I mention the concept of "sealing" to my Protestant friends, they are somewhat startled by the whole idea, and one woman was aghast.  But she had just gone through a messy divorce, and she did not welcome any doctrines that could threaten the finality of her divorce. 

Two important things to remember about sealing in the eternities:

1) It's not the current sinful you that's going to be dancing around with Christ in the eternities.  It's the PERFECT you-- the one that has been completely washed clean, over-bounding with love and goodness equal to Christ Himself.  That PERFECT you is the one we're talking about.  And likewise you PERFECT mom, dad, and other family members.

2) If perfected you doesn't want to be involved with a perfected <insert spouse name>, that's alright: you don't have to be.  God doesn't force anyone to do anything, and that includes staying in a relationship you don't want.  

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On 8/1/2019 at 9:51 PM, Jane_Doe said:

1) It's not the current sinful you that's going to be dancing around with Christ in the eternities.  It's the PERFECT you-- the one that has been completely washed clean, over-bounding with love and goodness equal to Christ Himself.  That PERFECT you is the one we're talking about.  And likewise you PERFECT mom, dad, and other family members.

Thank you, I've been waiting many years for someone to say that last sentence of yours that I just quoted.  I had many opportunities to convert to the Church, but something always seemed to short-circuit it at the last moment.  I get the idea that Church members take great comfort in the doctrine of eternal families.  Someone (maybe Jeffrey Holland, I don't recall) said something to the effect that he would not want to be in heaven without his wife and kids.  One assumes that his kids are out of their teenager years.

But my story is different.  I came from a family with irredeemable alcoholics (at least in this life), domestic violence of the worst kind, and parents who abandoned their children.  The thought of my being together with them eternally was a real threat and seemed to be the final deal-breaker in my journey toward, and ultimately away from, the Church.

In any case, someone suggested I carry this topic to another thread, which I may do.  Thank you for your thoughtful comments, which I always enjoy reading.  Sorry if I hijacked this thread away from its original scope.

Tex

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7 minutes ago, Texan said:

Thank you, I've been waiting many years for someone to say that last sentence of yours that I just quoted.  I had many opportunities to convert to the Church, but something always seemed to short-circuit it at the last moment.  I get the idea that Church members take great comfort in the doctrine of eternal families.  Someone (maybe Jeffrey Holland, I don't recall) said something to the effect that he would not want to be in heaven without his wife and kids.  One assumes that his kids are out of their teenager years.

But my story is different.  I came from a family with irredeemable alcoholics (at least in this life), domestic violence of the worst kind, and parents who abandoned their children.  The thought of my being together with them eternally was a real threat and seemed to be the final deal-breaker in my journey toward, and ultimately away from, the Church.

In any case, someone suggested I carry this topic to another thread, which I may do.  Thank you for your thoughtful comments, which I always enjoy reading.  Sorry if I hijacked this thread away from its original scope.

Tex

I get where you're coming from- when we talk about eternal families, there's that tendency to be idyllic about it, because we are picturing the PERFECT family sitting right next to a PERFECT Christ.  But today... a lot of folks don't sit near Christ at all.  I myself have family members that... well, they're not welcome in my house right now because I don't find them safe to be around. Those aren't the type of people who will be in sealed relationships in the eternities.  Such sins will be done away with for those that choose follow Christ and honor their sealing coventents.  No more abuse.  No more pulling each other apart.  No more pride.  Only caring for each other so much that you would literally give everything that you have and everything that you are to be with them & Christ.  

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On 8/1/2019 at 6:51 PM, CV75 said:

In addition to clear descriptions, latter-day revelation does say that the ordinances were practiced anciently, were lost or corrupted, and are now restored. They also say the ancient scriptures were corrupted and that many "plain and most precious" parts and "also many covenants" (1 Nephi 13:26) were removed

Are these ordinances (baptism for the dead, temple marriage, mormonwiki even mentions an
ordinance of the dedication of graves) lost or corrupted from the Book of Mormon or are
they absent because they were never practiced?

Thank you,

Gale

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3 hours ago, GaleG said:

Are these ordinances (baptism for the dead, temple marriage, mormonwiki even mentions an
ordinance of the dedication of graves) lost or corrupted from the Book of Mormon or are
they absent because they were never practiced?

Thank you,

Gale

All proxy/vicarious ordinances for the dead, such as baptism for the dead were not had in the days before Christ.  This has been made clear.  We have some "kinda-sorta" explanations as to why this was.  But regardless of the "why", the fact that they were NOT had is pretty clear.

Other ordinances of the temple are not really spoken of much because they are considered sacred.  Whether they were or were not actually practiced in ancient times at all is pretty much the subject of this thread.  The answer appears to be "we don't know for sure, but..."  And we have people on both sides of the argument here.

@CV75,

Do you see how the "corruption" of the Bible is not a decent argument for believing or not believing any particular doctrine? It is far too easy to state ANY belief, and just say, well, the scriptures were corrupted, therefore, I'm not burdened with having to provide proof by any scriptural support.

Edited by Mores

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4 hours ago, Mores said:

All proxy/vicarious ordinances for the dead, such as baptism for the dead were not had in the days before Christ.  This has been made clear.  We have some "kinda-sorta" explanations as to why this was.  But regardless of the "why", the fact that they were NOT had is pretty clear.

Where is this made clear?

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7 hours ago, Anddenex said:

Where is this made clear?

Unfortunately, the new Church website has made it extremely difficult to search or link anything by phone, but start by looking up "temple" in the Bible Dictionary.  It says that from Adam to the time of Jesus, that ordinances were performed for the living only.

There are other sources too, but unfortunately I can't link or search them by phone.

Edited by Scott

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https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/1994/10/the-spirit-of-elijah?lang=eng

Temple Work—Ancient and Modern

From the days of Adam to the meridian of time, temple ordinances were performed for the living only. Ordinances for the dead had to await the Atonement and postmortal ministry of the Savior.17

17  See D&C 138:18-37

 

D&C 138:48  Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.

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21 hours ago, GaleG said:

Are these ordinances (baptism for the dead, temple marriage, mormonwiki even mentions an
ordinance of the dedication of graves) lost or corrupted from the Book of Mormon or are
they absent because they were never practiced?

Thank you,

Gale

This thread is about eternal/temple marriage/sealing so I am focusing on that. I don't take the Book of Mormon be corrupted, and does speak extensively of the sealing power. Whether the Jaredites and Nephites used it for temple marriage is not specifically stated, but that they had the ancient records and books of remembrance among them, such as the record that was "brought across the great deep" and the brass plates suggests to me that they did (per my prior remarks about the OT). Jesus' treatment of the children in 3 Nephi 17 has been said to pertain to sealings, so I think that would include temple marriage.

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19 hours ago, Mores said:

@CV75,

Do you see how the "corruption" of the Bible is not a decent argument for believing or not believing any particular doctrine? It is far too easy to state ANY belief, and just say, well, the scriptures were corrupted, therefore, I'm not burdened with having to provide proof by any scriptural support.

If it were not a decent argument, we would not have been given the Book of Mormon which testifies of its corruption, and which enjoins "Moroni's Promise." It is not the entire argument, and scripture alone does not justify believing any particular doctrine. Revelation, reason, bias and denial are each used to relieve one from using scriptural support as evidence or proof, but there are scriptures that do describe the purpose and value of God's word on any particular doctrine, and scholarly treatments that supplement (or undermine, as the case may be) them.

Edited by CV75

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On 8/3/2019 at 8:15 PM, Mores said:

Other ordinances of the temple are not really spoken of much because they are considered sacred.  Whether they were or were not actually practiced in ancient times at all is pretty much the subject of this thread.  The answer appears to be "we don't know for sure, but..."  And we have people on both sides of the argument here.

The October 1994 General Conference,"The Spirit of Elijah" seems dogmatic on the
issue.

"From the days of Adam to the meridian of time, temple ordinances were performed for the
living only".

The Old Testament temple practices are sacred in nature yet it describes in great detail what
occured in the temple.  Just trying to understand why the Book of Mormon doesn't seem to
make any reference at all to the ordinances the LDS Church believes actually occurred.

Thank you,

Gale

Edited by GaleG
clarify

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25 minutes ago, GaleG said:
On 8/3/2019 at 5:15 PM, Mores said:

Other ordinances of the temple are not really spoken of much because they are considered sacred.  Whether they were or were not actually practiced in ancient times at all is pretty much the subject of this thread.  The answer appears to be "we don't know for sure, but..."  And we have people on both sides of the argument here.

The October 1994 General Conference,"The Spirit of Elijah" seems dogmatic on the issue.

"From the days of Adam to the meridian of time, temple ordinances were performed for the living only".

You are talking about different things. Mores is talking about the specifics of the temple liturgy, which likely shares common elements with ancient temple activities but may or may not bear close resemblance to them—What stories were told? What dramas were presented? What teachings were imparted? That sort of thing. Your (GaleG's) quote from General Conference is talking about whether temple rites were performed vicariously for the dead in ancient times, just as we do today. (They were not.) Different questions.

28 minutes ago, GaleG said:

The Old Testament temple practices are sacred in nature yet it describes in great detail what
occured in the temple.  Just trying to understand why the Book of Mormon doesn't seem to
make any reference at all to the ordinances the LDS Church believes actually occurred.

Gale, when I read your posts, I often feel that you are engaging in a thinly veiled attack on the Church's doctrines and practices. Do you understand why? If that is not your intent, you might wish to express yourself differently from e.g. how you do above.

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18 hours ago, Vort said:

Gale, when I read your posts, I often feel that you are engaging in a thinly veiled attack on the Church's doctrines and practices. Do you understand why? If that is not your intent, you might wish to express yourself differently from e.g. how you do above.

Thank you Vort, 

I will try to improve the way I am expressing.  So if I am understanding your view, you
believe temple marriage did occur in Book of Mormon times and in the early New
Testament church?

Gale

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4 hours ago, GaleG said:

Thank you Vort, 

I will try to improve the way I am expressing.  So if I am understanding your view, you
believe temple marriage did occur in Book of Mormon times and in the early New
Testament church?

Gale

As a long-time periodic (but very cordial and I hope respectful) investigator of the Church, I've often wondered the very same thing.  The Book of Mormon has always been presented to me as containing the fulness of the Gospel, but from my reading it seems to omit things that form the very centerpiece of today's Church.

This is not a belligerent question or an attack.  I'm genuinely interested in the question that @GaleG asked, and to be honest I have heard significantly different answers over the years.  For a while I took the view that the Book of Mormon radiated general teachings that have been instantiated or particularized in today's Church, perhaps even in a form that Book of Mormon people would not recognize, and that today's ordinances are simply specific implementations of more general principles that the Book of Mormon enshrined.  

But I've moved away from that view and am now thinking that the Book of Mormon omits many topics that were surely commonplace in ancient times, sacred or not, and that while those omissions can lead to speculation, they don't prove much.  Besides, I was always taught that Heavenly Father became God by obedience to everlasting Gospel ordinances, which makes me suspect those ordinances are pretty rigid things.

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4 hours ago, GaleG said:

So if I am understanding your view, you believe temple marriage did occur in Boook of Mormon times and in the early New Testament church?

If by "temple marriage" you mean the sealing of a man and a woman as a couple, then...I don't know. I suspect it did occur among the Book of Mormon peoples and to some degree in Old Testament times, especially during the lives of the Patriarchs before Moses' time.

In the New Testament, that's a different ball of wax. Since the temple was officiated by those who held what we would call the Aaronic Priesthood, that would seem to disallow such ordinances. But the Melchizedek Priesthood existed on the earth among men, so it is possible that someone with authority to officiate and holding the sealing power might at some points have sealed men and women into the new and everlasting covenant.

Of course, Peter received the Melchizedek Priesthood under Jesus' hand and had been given the sealing power. So it's possible that such things were done by Peter or other authorized apostles in Herod's temple early on. But I sort of doubt it. Christians were considered heretics by the other Jews, and probably would not have been allowed in the temple once Christianity had become a known quantity. The temple was razed in AD 70, so at that point it becomes moot. We have no record of any other Christian temple being built, so unless they were performing such sacred ordinances outside the temple—a possibility, but not a very likely one, IMO—that would preclude temple ordinances such as sealings.

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On 7/31/2019 at 12:41 PM, Scott said:

Yes, a taberncle is a portable temple, but only the priest from the tribe of Levi could enter.  Maybe the priest could have performed  eternal marriages outside the temple, but not within the walls.  

Without the higher priesthood? 

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On 8/1/2019 at 10:04 AM, MarginOfError said:

I'm still waiting to get an explanation for why all these things need to be restored (and why we never talk about restoring the rest of the practices around the Mosaic Law)

Animal sacrifice predated Mosaic law.

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