“And [Raphael] said unto them, in the temple of the Lord: Behold eight tasks shall I give unto thee, teach thy people to do these each in their proper order.” -Book of Remembrance 25:2
As we meet together as Saints, some have asked the proper way to organize services. The correct answer of course is, by the Spirit. That said, the Lord has given us instructions on this topic through Raphael, as he spoke to Adam and Eve. These instructions should be used in our home temples, in our Synagogues, Tabernacles, and Temples for personal and group worship. And these may be used by seekers, disciples, and ministers. They are given to the world to be received in the spirit.
“First, beginning thy rituals in prayer” -Book of Remembrance 25:3
It seems rather obvious to say we should open with prayer, yet what is prayer? What does this instruction mean? Prayer is more than mere words. Prayer is direct communication with God. We must be open to speaking and listening in the Spirit. It is a form of meditation. We pray from the heart, and hopefully in the Spirit of prophesy and revelation (Ecclesiasticus 39:5). Does this mean that prewritten prayers are lesser, or undesirable? No. It is about the spirit in which the prayers are said or read, not the words. How many times do we hear prayers that are verbatim the same yet not read? There is no difference between these and written prayers. And all are acceptable before God when given in the proper spirit.
“Second, rehearse unto all the proclamations of the Word of God.” -Book of Remembrance 25:4
Prayer helps us align our thoughts with God and helps prepare us to speak spirit to spirit. After prayer, reading from the Word of God helps us align as one in the same direction, preparing for the service. The scripture(s) chosen should match the theme of the service that all may worship as one in Christ’s name. The scripture(s) should be prayerfully chosen ahead of time when possible. Yet those leading services should follow the Spirit’s promptings, should they feel moved to change or add to the readings. The True Word of God is Christ and the True Scriptures are written upon our hearts. This is important to remember as scripture is written by men and women as they are in the high plains of Heaven. We too should seek these higher plains to understand what they are telling us, and this can be done to greater extents in group settings.
“Third, open thy hearts to hear and to feel that thou might learn and be blessed.” -Book of Remembrance 25:5
As mentioned before, prayer should invite us to speak spirit to spirit and the scripture reading should give us focus. We should remember that the True Word of God is Christ, and the True Scriptures are written upon our hearts. This is important to understand as scripture is written by men and women as they are in the high plains of Heaven. We too should seek these higher plains to understand what they are telling us, and this can be done to greater extent in group settings. This is why the third must be the opening of our hearts. The first two steps are the invitation, now we must accept that invitation.
Oils and Flowers
“Fourth, place oils and flowers pleasing to the nose to welcome the Lord into thy midst.” -Book of Remembrance 25:6
With our minds and spirits open, we next place pleasing smells to enlighten our minds. Modern science tells us that scents help open us to things like happiness, boosting brain power, and more. Frankincense is a good example of this. According to the New York Times, “Pharmacologists in Israel have found that frankincense, a whitish resin tapped from the veins of a shrubby tree, relieves anxiety and depression…” Why not add these scents from the beginning? Because our spiritual eyes must be opened first. Then, we may add these external stimulants, otherwise we may be deceived by things which feel right to our mortal minds, not yet being opened to the things of the Spirit.
“Fifth, keep thy bodies clean that thy hands might give in righteousness.” -Book of Remembrance 25:7
We should be clean before we begin our services. That said, it is at this point that we ensure we are spiritually clean before the Lord (2 Corinthians 7:1). This is because the next step is the work at the altar of God. This work is sacred, and we too must be sacred, clean, to perform or accept this work. Raphael is speaking here of abandoning Egoism before we partake of rituals. Baptism may be performed at this step, making one worthy of the Sacrament of Communion that follows. The Foot Washing may be performed here that one might be made clean for their Endowments. The Sacrament of Communion may be done here, combining steps five, six, and seven, that we may be clean as we worship the Lord. But all of these must be done with pure intent.
Consecrate upon the Altar
“Sixth, consecrate upon the altar in supplication before God.” -Book of Remembrance 25:8
Now is when we preform the Works of the Lord. This may be the Sacrament of Communion combining the sixth and seventh steps, the Laying on of Hands, an Endowment being received, the blessing of babies, or any number of good works. It would also be the time to bear testimony, share a message or preach to the congregation, or open for testimonies. This is the part where we worship as one, as the Saints of God. It is clear that these works are to be performed at the altar. This does not always literally mean an altar, but the altar is a symbol of where we place the things of the Lord in His temple. An altar is a symbol of a number of things; a table, the earth, the creations, and more. If the temple is a symbol of our bodies, the altar is a symbol of our hearts. And this reminds us that if everything is the Creator then we, the Creation are in a sense the heart of God.
“Seventh, renew thy covenants that the body, mind, and spirit might be renewed therein.” -Book of Remembrance 25:9
In the Latter Day Saint movement, we renew our covenants by partaking of the Sacrament of Communion. This may be performed as part of other previous steps. However, if it has not been completed by this time, now is the time for Communion. In the Old Testament times, animals were offered as sacraments to renew covenants. Where done properly, these were then eaten. Today the Sacrament of Communion, bread and water or wine, has replaced the sacrifice of animals as we have been told that the sacrifice required of us is the broken heart and contrite spirit (3Ne 4:50 RAV, 9:20 OPV; BoR 11:28-29).
A Temple Walk
“Eight, thy feet walk into the temple, yea the house of study and even the house of prayer, therefore complete these that thou mayest return into the world of men in perfection.” -Book of Remembrance 25:10
This may seem an odd statement, given that we should already be in the temple from the beginning of the services. But remember, we are the Lord’s temple: the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). We should see all of the things we are doing in the temple, be it an area, a room, or a building, as examples of the internal transformation we are going through as we grow grace by grace. Our prayers are not to be said merely with our lips, but with our hearts. Scripture shouldn’t be read merely to hear, but to be felt. Rituals are not performed merely to be done, but to enlighten. All of these tasks are to be done in humility, not to be seen, and internally as an outward expression of inward convictions.
” Do not revere the Lord for the world’s sake, nor for thy eternal glory; thou shalt revere for the Lord’s sake, and the light of God shall spring from thee as from a fountain, and by this thou shall be perfected before God in love, for it is by grace thou art saved, and thy works are as a sign unto the world.” -Book of Remembrance 25:12-14