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There are things in the Temple that I don’t understand. How can I gain greater understanding? Who can I ask, or where can I find appropriate resources?(Done)

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1) The most important way to learn about and understand the Temple is to go back. Generally speaking, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it. If you go to the Temple with clean hands and a pure heart, prayerfully, having had enough sleep (very important!), and with a specific question or questions in mind, you will receive much more than if you go tired, hungry, unworthy, or uninterested. OF course, the conflicts of daily life mean that we often get to the Temple under less-than-ideal circumstances, so do what you can in terms of planning to make the real closer to the idea.
2) Many people ask Temple workers their questions. While Temple workers are much more familiar with the Temple ordinances simply by nature of their work, they don’t necessarily know any more about them.

A call to an administrative position of itself adds little knowledge or power of discernment to an individual…

-Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 309.

When I was a worker in the Provo Temple, we were counseled not to answer questions, but to refer people to the Temple Presidency instead. This was wonderful counsel, because in my conversations with other Temple workers, I frequently heard highly speculative and non-scriptural interpretations! One BYU professor related an experience of his.

I was quite surprised by a comment a Temple worker made to me the other day. He said, ‘People keep asking me about the symbolism of the Temple. Since I don’t understand it, I just tell them it doesn’t matter.’

-Joseph Fielding McConkie, introduction to Alonzo Gaskill’s The Lost Language of Symbolism: An Essential Guide for Recognizing and Interpreting Symbols of the Gospel, ix.

The best person to ask in the Temple is the Temple President. He may have some suggestions or material for you.

3) So, if I shouldn’t ask Temple workers, who can I ask for authoritative interpretations? Well, no one, really. If you really want to ask someone a question at the Temple, seek out the Temple president and see what he says. There is no official Church book that explains the Temple ordinances, their history or symbolism. A few books have been written by General Authorities, listed here on the Temple Index. General Authority magazine articles are listed and linked throughout, as well as solid, faithful and respectful LDS scholarship relevant to the Temples. The Church has an official Temple page for schedules and such, as well as a few temple articles. Another useful on-line resource is FAIR’s Temple page.

4) There are several possible reasons why no official interpretation of the symbols exists. For example, it allows people to learn and grow on their own- inasmuch as they seek, they will find. It allows each of us to “personalize” the Temple, to receive personal revelation for ourselves, to liken it to ourselves (cf. 1 Nephi 19:23). It also allows us to see on multiple levels, as with Jesus’ parables.
5) Although no official book exists, there is lots of good material out there. As already mentioned several times, I’ve created a large list of books and articles about different aspects of the Temple, and arranged them by topic. I call it the Temple Index. If I were going to recommend one single book, and assuming you’ve read through Elder Packer’s The Holy Temple which should really come first, I would recommend Matthew Brown’s The Gate of Heaven (American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 1999). ©


 
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