“You were a spirit before you were born. You were there when some were chosen to be ‘rulers,’ or in other words, teachers. You have within you a spirit that was in that group. You saw and participated in what went on, and have that somewhere still inside you. It is kept from you by the ‘veil of flesh’ now covering your spirit (Hebrews 1:32). Somewhere within you lies the ‘record of Heaven.’ Or more correctly, the Record of Heaven. If you gain access to it, it has the capacity to teach you the ‘truth of all things.’ Within it is such an abundance of truth that the things of God are not hidden from you, neither far off. It is not in Heaven, so that you ask : Who will go to Heaven to bring it to us. It is not beyond the sea, that you should ask, Who can go to bring it to us? But it is very close to you, in your own mouth, in your own heart, that you can do what is asked of you.”1 Obedience is the means by which all men and women gather light. The commandments are revelations of the inner person one ought to become. They are how one grows in the flesh to comprehend God in the spirit. The body is a veil that keeps man from Him. By subordinating the will of the flesh to the will of the spirit, one gains light and truth.2 “The first step along the path is to make it through the veil. Not the veil in a temple, or in a rite offered by men to one another. We must be brought through the veil back into the Lord’s presence. That is the step which stops most of our progress. By and large we don’t believe it possible. We make no attempt because we think it is not available, or we should not be trying to become more than our leaders, or we are not qualified, or some other false teaching which hedges up our progress.”3 Perhaps the greatest idea to man’s mind is that all CAN converse with God through the veil, preliminary to entering into His presence. In that idea is found the promise of communication with God, followed by Him allowing one to visit with Him through the veil. Every soul who has faith in that and acts consistent with their faith will obtain the most glorious assurances from God. They will not be barren or unfruitful in their knowledge.4 When the Lord determines a man’s “righteousness” is acceptable before Him, then He redeems that man by parting the veil and bringing him into the company of the redeemed (see T&C 69:19).5 “It is a thin veil, not a wall, that separates you from God. Do not let it become insurmountable. It was always meant to be parted.”6
In a temple ceremony, a veil is used as a symbol to separate the initiate from the Lord. This veil is a symbol of the division between heaven and earth, between time and eternity, or between the sacred and the commonplace. Beyond the veil are the angels, gods, and spirits. Here there are mortals. Passing through that veil happens in one of two ways. One way is to gain knowledge of God’s mysteries and to live true and faithful to them. Passing through the veil is symbolized in the temple ceremony, but the reality of it actually happened in the case of the brother of Jared. And because of the knowledge of this man, he could not be kept from beholding within the veil. And he saw the finger of Jesus, which when he saw, he fell with fear, for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord. And he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting. Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil. Therefore, he saw Jesus, and he did minister unto him (Ether 1:14). Temple rites explain that anyone who arrives at the veil boundary who has been true and faithful in all things is entitled to converse with the Lord through the veil. Once the Lord is satisfied they possess the required attributes, then they can enter into His presence. The second way of passing through the veil is explained by Alma : Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life (Alma 19:6).
The ceremony employs two veils to symbolize the separation between mortality and eternity, the sacred and the profane. The boundary veil is used during the ceremony to test the initiate before permitting the individual to enter into the presence of the Lord. The second veil is used to symbolize the role of the woman. Except for what happens in the womb of the woman, everything in mortality is subject to entropy. Women have the ordained power to produce new life. Everything else decays and dies. Her power defies the universal effects of entropy.7 Mothers are the physical veil between pre-earth spirits and physical bodies inhabited in mortality. They clothe children in the veil of flesh. This power used to be honored in the LDS temple veiling of women. This power to give life has been regarded in almost all societies as something sacred and holy. In this current coarse and vulgar society, the idea has been rejected, as a matter of law, that women engage in a sacred and holy labor when bearing children.8
The ceremonial boundary veil that acts as the divider between worlds represents the physical boundary at which the initiate must stop when being tested by heaven. This testing takes place before they are permitted to pass from earth to heaven, from time to eternity, and from the commonplace to the sacred. In direct contrast, the veil of the woman represents the transition of pre-earth eternal spirits into mortality, when the sacred becomes embodied. She, along with God, veils in flesh the spirits from beyond the veil. You have clothed me with skin and flesh, and have knit me together with bones and sinews (Job 4:10). Therefore, the woman’s veil represents the inverse of the other veil. The boundary veil symbolizes losing the flesh to leave mortality, and the woman’s veil endows the immortal spirit with mortal flesh. Like her heavenly counterpart, the woman represents creation. This process, like that which is beyond the boundary veil, is sacred. Both veils symbolize the sacred. Woman is veiled in temple ceremony to show that in a fallen world, trapped by decay and death, creation continues through her. Life springs anew, and what is sacred and pure is born into mortal life. It is not proper to remove the ceremonial veiling from the woman unless the intention is to abort the symbol of new life and creation. It destroys the symbol of the sacred power given to woman.9
1 “2 Nephi 32:1–2,” Aug. 31, 2010, blog post.
2 “2 Nephi 32:4–5,” Sept. 1, 2010, blog post.
3 “Fullness of Priesthood,” Jan. 2, 2012, blog post.
4 “LDS Temple Ordinances,” May 25, 2015, blog post.
5 “Mosiah 3:2–4,” May 24, 2012, blog post.
6 “The Trick to Avoiding Apostasy,” June 22, 2012, blog post.
7 “This” and “That” Part 3, Jan. 8, 2019, blog post.
8 “Our Divine Parents,” March 25, 2018, 34, paper.
9 “This” and “That” Part 3, Jan. 8, 2019, blog post.