Friday, July 31, 2009

Family Reunions: part deux

The last week has been of a sobering nature for me. I have not been myself and instead, have ultimately changed into a new "self," or a re-discovery thereof. As I awoke this morning and completed the tasks of my day, it was barely 9 o'clock in the morning. With the whole day left and not enough strength to overcome my challenges, I decided to pick up a book and read it in its entirety. This is not unusual for members of my family - we read books like camels drink water.

Through the last week I have had certain questions in my mind. A large question that grabbed my consciousness dealt with how to spend my time effectively when I found myself alone. I am no stranger to being alone; I have always been severely independent and over the past year or so I have found myself changing. I am now more dependent in a very good way and yet am unaccustomed to the feelings that have arisen in my attempts to merge my two experiences. As of late I have been despondent. I felt hindered by my own vices of unimportance, lack of worth, and other such emotions that are fairly common to many.

After a month long struggle with illness and exhaustion, pretense and masquerades, I found myself at the brink of it all last night. However, as the sun fell and rose again, light shone once more through my window upon the wisdom I sought from President Boyd K. Packer. A dear friend gave us the book "The Holy Temple" and I have sought to finish it since last August. Today, I read it from cover to cover in a little under 3 hours, pausing to think, take notes, and make important connections as to what the Temple really entails.

Towards the end of the book, I noticed that the tone had shifted away from exactly what we do inside of the temple but rather to what our purpose is concerning temples and how we involve the Spirit of Elijah. The Spirit of Elijah - some may be wondering just what that entails - is sent to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers.
Watch here and now, for this "thread" of which President Packer speaks is so intriguing.

In Jewish tradition, there remains a belief that Elijah will return (rooted in a reference in Malachi) and he is expected. "In the celebration of the Feast of the Passover, an extra place is set for Elijah. The tradition is observed even in our day." Elijah holds the priesthood keys that seal what is upon the earth to heaven. I found this account, also taken from "The Holy Temple" to be enlightening:
"The door is opened and the fourth and last cup of wine is filled. An additional cup, the Cup of Elijah the Prophet, is set on the table. The company arises as if to greet him. Elijah in Jewish tradition is the long expected messenger of the final redemption of mankind from all oppression. (Passover Haggadah, Christian Friends Bulletin of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, March 1954)."
"In modern-day Jerusalem, Temple Hill, or the Place of the Rock, is a religious shrine to Islam, to Christianity, and to Judaism. All three great religions hold tie to this place. All three, likewise, have a common thread in a tradition that Elijah the prophet would return. (The Holy Temple, Packer, B.K., p. 117)"

Elijah did return, during the week of Passover, to the Prophet Joseph Smith and to Oliver Cowdery on April 3, 1836 in the Kirtland Temple. He once again restored the keys of sealing to the Prophet Joseph. He was able to do so because Elijah is a translated being, who also gave those same keys, eighteen hundred years earlier to Peter, James, and John. This allows Latter-Day Saints to once again turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. In doing so, we 'seal' together our generations in the Holy Temple.
President Joseph Fielding Smith commented upon this incident of 1836:
"It was, I am informed, on the third day of April, 1836, that the Jews, in their homes at the Paschal feast, opened their doors for Elijah to enter. On that very day Elijah did enter - not in the home of the Jews to partake of the Passover with them - but he appeared in the house of the Lord, erected to his name and received by the Lord in Kirtland, and there bestowed his keys to bring to pass the very thing for which these Jews, assembled in their homes, were seeking. (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:101)"

Why do we hold family reunions? To gather more information, for genealogical and temple work. Its a far grander scheme then the attractions that we arrange to lure our family members there. We have a desire to search for our fathers that we may know them and in turn, link ourselves and our children to them.

- I have a testimony of the things I have written. I may not fill my blog with pictures, state original feelings in creative methods or with splashes of color, nor do I update it regularly. However, I was commanded by an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ to bear witness to the things that I know to be true in this method. Solemnly, I do so. I did not present all of the pieces of this doctrine upon my blog; I presented the piece that has been re-affirmed in my heart and soul. How much we share in common with those that are not of the Latter-Day faith! I find it fascinating and enlightening to learn and apply the lessons I have garnered from the pages of this text. I know that our Father in Heaven loves each and every one of us, regardless of our location, race, religion, or status. May we be increasingly aware of those around us who need the ministering of angles. May we be those angles, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Katy said...

Thank You for sharing... Krista, it's always so nice and refreshing to hear a heartfelt testimony ... Thank you.

justified said...

you and your husband are always such a good example to me! touching post.

Tiffany W. said...

When I was at BYU I took an Islam class and a World Religions class. I too was amazed and fascinated with the similarities between our religions and others! I believe the Lord speaks to all His children. And although other religions may not have the whole truth... they still hold many truths. And hopefully that knowledge will one day prepare and allow them to recognize and accept the whole truth when it presents itself. Whether in this life or the next.