God intended symbols to convey glory, honor, and a gift or endowment upon the people who received them. The symbols are not the real thing, but they teach and point to the real thing that is required for salvation. Symbolism substitutes one thing to represent another. There is always this that stands in the place of that. The value of the symbol is in teaching about that by employing this as a teaching tool. In temple symbolism, the this used has no real value, but that holds eternal value. If an unbelieving person obtains access to this temple symbol but fails to understand its relationship to that which is eternal, they have nothing of value. Likewise, when the symbol of this has no meaning for those who believe in the temple, then it fails to have any value for the believer as well.

    God’s highest truths frequently use symbols. Christ used parables to teach about that by using the familiar to substitute as a representation. He explained that this was to prevent those who were unworthy of the symbol from comprehending the truths. Seeing, they see not, and hearing, they hear not (see Matthew 7:2; Mark 2:13). Merely getting this without understanding that is worthless.

    Temple rites are a gift from God that is filled with this for that. Ignorance leads to apostasy because the ignorant cannot see that this holds powerful value to teach about that. Even the greatest symbols can become nothing when they are not understood and are discarded by the ignorant. Then they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received. For what does it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift (T&C 86:4).1

    1 “This and That,” Jan. 5, 2019, blog post.