As I was reading in the Book of Mormon the other day, the following part of a verse in Mosiah 2:9 stuck out to me:
open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.
What are the mysteries of God?
The Bible Dictionary contains numerous references to the “mysteries” of God. In fact, the New Testament has the most references out of all scripture. I like the Greek definition of what “mysteries” means. According to one of the ministers of Spirit and Truth Fellowship International, “mysteries” or “musterion” in Greek means “Sacred Secret“ in it’s purest English translation. Therefore, when we read in scripture about the mysteries of God it is something sacred but secret to those who are not interested in “opening their minds, ears, and hearts.”
The Bible contains numerous examples of people talking about the mysteries (sacred secrets) of God.
In Matthew 13 Jesus speaks in parables to a multitude. His disciples then question him and ask him why he speaks in parables to the people rather than just come right out and say it directly. Jesus then answers by saying “…it is given to you to know the mysteries of God but to them it is not given.” This fits in with Jesus’ warning in Matthew 7 not to cast our pearls before swine. In other words, some people haven’t opened their hearts and minds to be able to understand the sacred secrets of God and if they’re not ready it’s of no use to try to teach them.
Another New Testament example is found in Ephesians 3. In this verse Paul discusses how mysteries are made known to Jesus’ people through His apostles and prophets.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ or Mormons believe in modern-day apostles and prophets and that the mysteries of Jesus’ kingdom can be made known through them. One mystery that many people from other faiths and also within the Mormon faith have a difficult time understanding is the temple ceremony and the ordinances and covenants made within the temple.
Whoever is pure not only from all defilement, but from what are regarde as lesser transgressions, let him be boldly initiated in the mysteries of Jesus, which properly are made known only to the holy and the pure.
This quote shows that in the early Christian church there were certain “mysteries” of Jesus only reserved for those who had prepared themselves spiritually. Furthermore, it mentions an initiation process.
In addition, Callister references the scripture in 1 Corinthians 4:1 that talks about the leaders of the church being the “stewards over the mysteries of God.”
Modern-day LDS temple ceremonies are similar to this concept. Within the Mormon temples LDS members who have prepared themselves participate in ordinances and ceremonies and make covenants with God that could be compared to the initiations mentioned by Origen from the original Christian church.
What happens inside the temple is very symbolic and in order to understand the ceremonies and ordinances one must be spiritually prepared and willing to receive the “mysteries” of God. If one hasn’t taken time to prepare spiritually, it will be hidden from our view much like those of Jesus’ day who did not understand His parables.
My first temple endowment experience was very overwhelming and confusing to me. Upon entering the temple I hadn’t properly prayed, studied about the temple and in the scriptures, and prepared for the experience. Therefore, it was very overwhelming and confusing. Looking back on it God didn’t reveal anything to me because it would have been similar to casting pearls before swine. I wasn’t humble and didn’t have the right attitude upon entering the temple. It wasn’t until years later when I had humbled myself more and taken time to pray, prepare, and develop the desire to learn the “mysteries of God” found in the temple that I started having amazing and sacred spiritual experiences within the temple.
It is my testimony that if we prepare ourselves before going to the temple we can and will receive amazing communication from God and the sacred secrets He would have us know in our lives will be revealed.
What are your thoughts about the temple ordinances being a “sacred secret?”