Saturday, March 23, 2013

If the Womb is a Veil (part 3)

The Veiled Christ by Giuseppe Sanmartino
If the womb is a veil, then it likely coresponds to the veil of Christ.

There is a veil that covers Christ. We read about it in D&C 88:

68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.

And also section 124:

And that I may visit them in the day of visitation, when I shall unveil the face of my covering, to appoint the portion of the oppressor among hypocrites, where there is gnashing of teeth, if they reject my servants and my testimony which I have revealed unto them.

So this veil that covers Christ doesn't just cover him generally. These two scriptures associate it with his face specifically. In Ether 3, when the brother of Jared sees the Lord, he does not behold his face first, but his finger. The faith of this man was mighty enough that he could not be withheld from seeing through the veil, but he did not see the face of Christ until he willingly revealed it. This fact should be contemplated when someone veils and unveils their face for a religious rite.

This veil, that Christ removed for the brother of Jared because of his great faith, is tied to his body. Examine Hebrews 10:

19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;21 And having an high priest over the house of God;22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Think about this the next time you take the sacrament. The bread is an emblem of his flesh, which is His veil. To eat isn't merely to remember. It is an ordinance that also points the individual towards making themselves one with Christ's veil through the marriage that he speaks about.

Paul is using the temple building here as a metaphor for Christ's Atonement. To "enter into the holiest" is a reference to the Holy of Holies in the ancient temple. The old temple, much like the new temple, was not an end in and of itself. It was a place of physical ordinances that pointed to very real and very possible spiritual ordinances like the one mentioned above concerning the brother of Jared. Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Lehi, Nephi, John the Beloved, Joseph Smith, and others are recorded in scripture to have experienced such ordinances. It all relates specifically to this veil of Christ, a veil that he is apparently one with.

If you consider the fact that the areas both before and behind the physical veils of the ancient temple were places where the blood of animals was sprinkled on the implements (the altar, the Mercy Seat on the Ark, Etc.) and the people themselves (see Exodus 24:8), then you will understand why blood is associated with the womb. If it is a veil, then the symmetry is apparent because blood is the price that must be paid for veil work.

The above scripture from Hebrews also associates water with this veil of the Lord, and both of the ordinances of baptism and the washing and anointing utilize water to symbolically cleanse the body. For baptism, the water is the veil that we are brought through. Christ was very specific about this rebirth, and clarified for Nicodemus the importance of this ordinance in John 3:

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

So you get that, right? Mothers birth, and Christ rebirths. Blood and water are involved in both processes. There isn't a single ordinance (authorized by Christ) that does not rebirth a child of God. All of these rebirths follow our initial birth.

Other than the veil of the temple, one of the few places associated with both blood and water is described in John 19:34, where a soldier pierces Jesus' side while he is on the cross. Both fluids came out of this same man who claimed that the body is a temple. This clear reference to motherhood mirrors the type found in Genesis 2 where out of Adam's side came the Mother of All Living. All of the wounds of Christ should inform our understanding of the womb, but especially the one on his side.

The clarifying scripture for all of these types is found in Moses 6:

59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;

Motherhood isn't like the Atonement. Motherhood came first. The Atonement is a response to motherhood. Inasmuch -> even so. The Atonement reflects motherhood, which preceded the Fall and the Passion. What Christ is essentially communicating with the Atonement is that all of the mothers, both before and after him, did not risk their lives for nothing. We are not born merely to suffer and die. It is a promise to all, but especially to mothers, that there is one more veil that we will pass through. And because of that veil, all of the births at the first veil will not have been performed in vain. All children of mothers will be resurrected, all spirits and bodies will be reunited.

The proof of all of this is on the veils. The veil of the Priesthood has marks. Those marks correspond to those found on the garments worn by temple-endowed Mormons. I'm not going to discuss specifics on their meaning explained there. But their placement over the breasts and navel is no secret, and this implementation is of immense importance when discussing and understanding motherhood. Why? Because the marks correspond to orifices utilized by mothers to put health in navels (Proverbs 3:8) and marrow in bones (D&C 89:18).

Likewise, the blood that exits the womb informs our understanding of why Jesus had to pay the price he did. The worth of souls is great, and mothers know. With their very bodies they know the worth of individual souls, and this knowledge gives us the closest glimpse of what Christ paid. Birth stories are stories of soul miracles, of souls passing other souls through veils. In the end, when it comes to Christ and his veil, it will be very similar.
Ponder on 2 Nephi 9:

41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.

If the womb is a veil between worlds, then it should be regarded with the same respect as the veil of Christ which is also a veil between worlds. Just like Christ, women do not employ servants at their gate. They are the keepers. If you somehow do not see the connection between these gates, then consider for a moment the fact that Christ's resurrection reunites bodies and spirits which were initially united by the womb... by mothers. We come out of our mothers attached to a nourishing and waste-removing placenta of their make. We find nourishment at their breasts. This relationship between infants and mothers is temple work, it is veil work.

Think about that the next time you see a mother breastfeeding in the chapel. We should not complain about motherhood and its veil work. We should accommodate it and be respectful of it.

Does a woman have to tear when she gives birth? No. And neither did the veil of the ancient temple need to be torn. Those who were to receive Christ did not recognize him. They did not believe that he was the grand veil worker that dictated their ordinances to Moses. They crucified him, and thus the birth of Christianity was a travail of struggle instead of the beautiful reception that it could have been.

Certainly it was expected and understood that the priestcrafts and abominations that had infected the Jewish hierarchy at the time would be at odds with Jesus' mission and ministry. But this doesn't change the fact that it didn't have to go down the way that it did. The possibility that the Pharisees and scribes could have turned from their wickedness and embraced Christ and the Gospel remained, even if the probability of it was small.

Likewise, women who approach birth with faith in their temple body, and confidence in the ability of their wombs to birth, have proven to do so without tearing. They do so all the time, and often when they are calm and relaxed in the sacred and peaceful privacy of their homes, the third place known as a temple to LDS people. I'm not saying that this is the way it must be done. I am simply saying that this is the way it can be done.

The mortal ministry of Christ began with baptism (a womb-veil) and ended with the tearing of the temple veil. Before he set out, he paid respect to his mother by performing his first miracle for her. Before he died, he made sure she was taken care of. His most important decision occurred in a garden, and this was a nod to Eve, the Mother of All Living whose most important decision was also thus adorned. The result of both garden decisions was blood loss. In truth, Christ highlighted motherhood during his ministry at every important turn.

This essay isn't intended to place women on a pedestal. This is simply meant to awaken them to their own divinity and power by pointing to the parallels that Christ identified between their stewardship and his. His life asserted the sacredness of what occurs at the womb, and identified it as a place of miracles.

"And it came to pass as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb which bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. And he said, Yea and blessed are all they who hear the word of God, and keep it." -Luke 11:27-28 (JST)

Christ allows this comparison. It reverberates with our temple rites and our garments. Compare this to the KJV of the scripture, and you will realize that the world is at war with motherhood. You will also realize that Joseph Smith was His servant.

1 comment:

  1. i haven't been checking blogs much, but did today for the first time in a while and am super glad to see you're back!

    i'm grateful for the wake-up call of your subject matter.