Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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80 I Dialogue become completely engrossed in yet more rites and ordinances once it was in the desert.54 Moreover, the most elaborate of all discourses on the initiatory rites are those of the Coptic Christians.55 As teacher and administrator of the ordinances, the priest holds the key to "the treasure-house of divinity," in which "the merit accruing from ceremonial worship is accumulated."56 These ordinances, imported directly from that Treasury of Light to which they alone offer the means of return, are types of what is done above; through them "souls are led to the Treasury of Light. . . . Between us and the Great King of the Treasure of Light are many steps and veils," and it is only by "giving the proper replies to the Guardians" that one is able to approach and finally enter the Treasury of Light.57 The ordinances are most secret (they are usually called "mysteries"), and it is through their scrupulous observance that every man "puts his own treasure in order."58 The archetype whom all must follow in the ordinances is Adam, whose true home is the "Treasury of Light," and who belongs with all his children "to the Father who existed from the beginning."59 The pre-existent Adam, "the Adam of Light," having descended to earth fell into a deep sleep from which he awoke with his mind erased like that of a little child.60 He was thus in a state to undergo impartial testing, but in his new helplessness he needed instruction. This was provided by a special emissary from the Treasury of Light, the "Sent One." The "Sent One" is often a commission of three, the "Three Great Men" who wakened Adam from his sleep and immediately set about teaching him what he should know and do in order to return to the House of Light from which he had come.61 The Sent One may be Michael, Gabriel, or the Lord himself, but whoever holds that office always has the same calling, namely to assist the souls of men to return to the Treasury of Light: when the Lord, as the supreme example of the Sent One, descends below to deliver the spirits that sit in darkness, they hail him as "Son of Glory, Son of Lights and of the Treasures. . . ,"62 Always a stranger on earth, recognized only by the "Poor,"63 the Sent One comes to bring a treasure, and indeed he is sometimes called the Treasure, for he alone brings the knowledge men must have to return to the Father of Lights.64 Letters sent from above to help men in their need—the prototype of those "Letters from Heaven" that have haunted Christian and Moslem society through the centuries—being directives or passports for getting to the Treasure-house if not written deeds to the Treasure itself (the Scriptures are rated as such) are themselves included among the treasures of heaven.65 While a treasure is anything precious and hidden, the early Christian idea of what was precious differed noticeably from the abstract and allegorical "spiritual" treasures of the philosophizing churchmen of a later time. The Patristic writers, trained in the schools, are offended and annoyed by the way in which many Christians cling to the old literalism of the Early Church.66 When primitive Christians thought of a treasure it had to be something real and tangible; theirs was the tradition of the Jews before them, for whom the delights of the other world "though including spiritual and intellectual joys are most tangible delights of a completely pleasing physical and social environment."67 Much has been written about early Christian and Jewish concepts of time, but where the other world is concerned the ideas of space are at least equally important. With what care Luke tells us exactly where the angel stood in the Temple and exactly where