The following is a conversation that occurred in another forum.
The discussion began over the meaning of the inverted star symbol on the original and rebuilt Nauvoo Temple but took many detours to other topics.
The locations of the sun, star, and moon stones on the original Nauvoo Temple (dedicated at night 30Apr1846) are shown in the picture below. The 4th floor of the rebuilt structure will have a window that has the star motif (shown in the figure). The conversation follows the figure.
Subject:  Nauvoo temple
Subject: RE: Then and now
Date: 11/21/2000 7:42 am MST
(quote) I am curious as to what you mean by the following comment: "There is a great effort made by patrons to do the work for the dead, all the while oblivious to the metaphor that the patrons themselves are among the (spiritually) dead. The dead always do the work for the dead." (end quote)
Well, I will try my best. It is like one of those hidden pictures. Difficult to see at first... but once it is seen, one wonders how it was missed. The temple endowment has a purpose which is to teach carnal man what he does not know. There is no use for someone to keep going through the endowment if one knows what it is about. Once it has fulfilled its purpose, then it will no longer be needed. Remember that John saw in his vison of the New Jerusalem that there "was no temple therein" but that the Lord was the temple of it.
The people going through the endowment are the real benefactors as well as those who are same (benefit by its teachings) on the other side of the veil. The phrase "rebuilding of the temple" is what it is all about. But, the temple that really matters: the one built without hands, is the one that it is all about. Not some building (built with hands) and its instructions to man. It is all about you, who are the true temple of God.
I noticed that Nick Literski had a quote from the scripts on his website regarding the rebuilding of the (Nauvoo) temple. Here it is:
". . . and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts." (Haggai 2:7-9)
See? It is all about us. Carnal man, who stands as a polluted temple, is to be cleansed and rebuilt, becoming greater than the former. When the Lord "comes quickly to his Temple", he speaks of coming to you. It happens now, in this (the present) generation because he already stands at the door (of the temple) and knocks. Unfortunately, carnal man cannot hear until he quiets his outward mind and then can hear through the noise (that he, himself, has created). Search for the (hidden) door of the temple and you will have found what so many spend their lives searching for.
These things have been symbolized in all temples, even the great one at Egypt called the Great Pyramid. Look at its history and what it is about. Some folks think it was filled with treasure, but when it was opened (after being sealed up), they found only dust inside. But, the real treasure is still there because they missed it. In the pyramid, those who look for material treasure will find dust, which is what material riches are. The real treasure is in its (hidden) symbolism. There is a brief essay on the pyramid and its meaning on my website, if you are interested.
The folks who built the (outer) pyramid (in the midst of Egypt) didn't know what it was about and that it was for them. It is the same with those who build the pyramids today. Brigham didn't know what the endowment was about, nor what polygamy was about, nor blood atonement, nor Adam-God, etc., etc. Like the fallen Israelites erroneously took the command to sacrifice the beast (within) to literally mean to kill their innocent animals, Brigham took these things literally and the preparatory gospel rose again. That is why Brigham became a murderer of Joseph Smith, although he did not pull the trigger, he knew who killed the Smith brothers, protected them, then turned around and murdered Joseph Smiths character by pinning polygamy on him after he was dead and could no longer defend himself. Did God speak to Brigham? Of course. Notice that God spoke to Cain after he slew Able. Brigham didn't understand any more than Able did. The problem with carnal man is that he doesn't understand what it is about. The fall of Adam is all about mis-understanding, not obeying orders.
Read the whole thread... food for thought!Subject: RE: Then and now
Author: a sister
Date: 11/22/2000 9:54 am MST
I'm curious as to what you mean about the polygamy subject. I don't believe in polygamy - ever. Are you saying that Joseph was meant to take it as a symbolical thing, or what? And how did Brigham pin it on Joseph. I don't understand. But I'm very interested to hear what you have to say on it. OH, also - you mentioned that sacrificing beasts was only symbolic. How can that be? In the scriptures God gives them specific instructions on how to kill the animals. i.e. kill the bird, pour the blood on the altar, remove this part and put it there, and that part and put it there, etc.
Subject: RE: Then and now
Date: 11/22/2000 12:22 am MST
(quote) I'm curious as to what you mean about the polygamy subject. I don't believe in polygamy - ever. Are you saying that Joseph was meant to take it as a symbolical thing, or what? And how did Brigham pin it on Joseph. (end quote)
Well, this is a very long conversation that perhaps will take us far from this thread of the inverted star.
To just reply briefly as possible, I will just refer again to God telling the folks in the OT to "sacrifice the beast" and that they took it erroneously by thinking it meant to (literally) kill some (innocent) animal (eg. a lamb) rather than the beast that exists within themselves. These are the unacceptable sacrifice... the acceptable sacrifice is offering (on the altar) a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
The whole point is that there are several meanings that can be taken. Carnal man lives in perversion of the meaning by taking it literally.
Ask yourself this: Why is it that we think the existence of explicit instructions on (apparent) animal-killing in the Old Testament (penned by the purveyers of the mosaic-law) means that it has got to be literal rather than symbolic? Isn't the Old Testament story of the Israelite people, really the story of the failure to understand what it means? Wasn't that Jesus's message?
Maybe it is the same with polygamy? Maybe there is a literal meaning that is the pitfall and an allegorical meaning (applying to each of us in the present time and place) that is profoundly meaningful? The literal meaning (one husband marrying many women) serves to separate (wo)man into castes (classes, tribes), but the allegorical meaning (the relationship of all men and women to God) unites into one?
Regarding the mainstream LDS historical view of polygamy (that Joseph taught it privately, but lied publically), I am hesitant to go there right now because, again, it is getting far off topic and, secondly (and primarily), experience has shown me that it is a mine-field that seems to generate more heat than light. I commented a bit on it about six months back on the DO discussion group.... that I think Joseph told the truth (he didn't live it) and it was Brigham who lied. That is, I said that only one of the two lied rather than both of them (like LDS say). Got clobbered for it too... not that this matters, but it seems to have been more diversifying than edifying/uniting. But, maybe Sterling has archived some of it and you can go back and read it if there is an interest. Perhaps one can sift something valuable out of all of the name calling, posturing, and ill-will that seemed to rise out of the discussion.
Well, bringing us back to this particular discussion... I was only trying to suggest in the previous post that we make an error when we think the temple builders are "in the know". It is a similar thing when many of us look at the OT folks like Jacob, Moses, and Abraham. Many of us think that everything these fellows did must be good, because doesn't it say they were "holy men"... "accepted of God"? An alternate way to look at it is that these fellows were imperfect men who became (in the end) "holy and just." And the OT is their story. So, maybe the OT is primarily meant to show us pitfalls rather than it being a handbook of "how-to-do-it-right" (instructions). When Jacob stole his brother's birthright or deceived his own father, then maybe he was being unholy at the time... only to be purified later. When, Abraham took Hagar as a plural wife (well, "concubine" or slave-wife), maybe it is a story of "faith lacking" (that Sarai would yield a son) rather than the opposite? So, the OT is not a story of "men who are holy"... but rather the story of "how carnal men became (whole) holy." We should not take their mistakes to be virtues (as is often done).
Subject: RE: Then and now
Author: a sister
Date: 11/22/2000 2:00 pm MST
I agree wholeheartedly about what you say concerning the holy men of the Old Testament. It seems to be human nature to look at their lives and think that since it's "in the scriptures" that it means it's all good and right. I used to feel that way, so all I can say is "there, but for the grace of God, go I." I can only thank the Lord that He has shown me that EVERYBODY is human and we all make our mistakes and have our pitfalls. And I think polygamy is defininately a pitfall and a stumbling block. If one looks at what a concubine really is, it alone is a testimony that polygamy isn't ordained of God. A concubine generally came from what was considered a "lower class" tribe, or someone from another city or village that didn't quite measure up. Concubines were very often considered as slaves, and were not given the same privileges and rights as the "normal" wife. They were even traded or sold to different people, especially kings - or given as 'gifts'. Is that equality? Men and women are supposed to be equal in holiness, and marriage is supposed to be filled with sanctity and beauty, not 'classing' people one over another. No, this union could not be ordained of God. Not in my opinion, anyway.
You're right - this subject is a whole new thread. But I would like to discuss it very much. I'll send you an email. Thanks for the insights. Oh, but I did have one more comment: What about when Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son - before he could do it, the Lord provided a ram in the thicket for the sacrifice. What do you say about that? Do you think the Lord actually could have given people instructions to kill the beasts because that's what they asked for, or had faith in? It was a more carnal way of doing it, because that's as far as they had advanced. So, he gave them what they asked for [ask and ye shall receive]. Maybe they were a bit too dense at the time? I dunno. Opinions?
~ A sister...
Subject: RE: Abrahamic sacrifice
Date: 11/23/2000 6:50 am MST
Since about this time last year, I have intended to write an essay commenting about the hidden meaning of the Abrahamic sacrifice and put it on my website, but it just seems to never get done. You have inspired me to make a better effort.
In brief, it comes down to Abraham realizing what is meant by sacrificing his son, and then doing so. Of course, all are familiar with the story that God told Abraham to "sacrifice his only son, Isaac", but Abraham had two sons (Isaac and Ismael) so it did not mean to kill Isaac, since he was not an only son. "Son" is a metaphor for what we ourselves have created and carnal man is so in love with his own creations that it keeps him in bondage. To see God, he must lay his own most-important creation (his "ownly" son) on the altar in sacrifice.
So, Abraham goes up the mountain with his son and on the mountain sees a ram stuck in a thicket by his horns. At this time (when he sees/recognizes it), the ram is (finally) behind him. Abraham himself, his own all-so-important ego/son is the ram. Carnal man will eventually find all of his efforts to earn his way into heaven will come to frustration... he eventually finds himself stuck in the thicket by his horns (of make-believe power). When this "altar"-ego is slain in sacrifice, a new man emerges. The Abrahamic sacrifice is a pattern for every (wo)man.
Have you ever noticed in the OT account that it says that Abraham AND Isaac went up the mountain (cf. Gen 22:3), but only Abraham returned ("to his young men" -- Gen 22:19) from the mountain? Isn't that interesting?
You might want to take a look at the essay titled "The seed of Abraham" on my website for some offerings on what this means. Briefly, it is that the "seed of Abraham" which will "bless the earth" is a spiritual bloodline rather than a literal blood-posterity. Abraham's seed are those who "do the works of Abraham" (make the acceptable sacrifice).
Well, there is much more, but will have to be for another day (like what it means "to obey is better than sacrifice").