In my studies and with much fasting and prayer for a better understanding of the gospel I have been brought to an understanding of the difference between the preparatory gospel and the actual fulness of the gospel. Although they are the same they are different portions of it.There is a very distinct difference in the two different portions of Christ’s gospel, the first portion is to teach, and the second portion is actually being received into God’s rest.
The purpose of the preparatory gospel is to prepare God’s children to return unto His presence. The current definition of preparatory is “pertaining to training that prepares for more advanced education”, and the 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary defines preparatory as “previously necessary; useful or qualifying; preparing the way for any thing by previous measures of adaptation”.
These two definitions tell us that the preparatory gospel is to train us for more advanced education, and that it is necessary to qualify us for the fullness. There are certain commandments and ordinances that we must first learn, accept, and apply to our lives through the preparatory gospel before we can advance to anything of greater purpose. Although we receive these ordinances outside the temple the teachings within the temple through symbolism give us a more thorough understanding of them.
We then come to the reception of the law of the gospel, the preparatory gospel of “repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments” (D&C 84:27). We first put our robes on the left shoulder. This is symbolic of the physical baptism by water – and though this does cause a change, it is not the change necessary to entering the Terrestrial law.
Remember that we are not saved by the law. By the water we keep the commandments but it is by the spirit that we are justified. Here we take our shoes off; that’s what we do when we are baptized by water. Notice later though, when we change our robes to the right shoulder we leave our shoes on. Baptism by fire doesn’t happen in a font. It might happen at work, in the car, on the couch, on a mountain, etc. The point is, your shoes might be on.
After putting the robes on the left shoulder (being baptized by water), and receiving the second token, a process is started called “justification”. We are now being washed by the spirit. At this stage in our lives we feel the influence of the Holy Ghost, and it truly is a gift. However, we have not yet experienced “the mighty change” that will cause the Holy Ghost to be our constant companion. This process of justification has started. (The Journey-Receiving Our Endowment, Jeremy Oakes 2013)
The temple ordinances are meant to teach us the true path to the fullness, we are supposed to take those teachings and make them an actual living ordinance in which we receive from Christ.
The preparatory gospel as well as the lesser priesthood are what God has given to His children to prepare us for the greater blessing of receiving the fullness of His gospel. The lesser priesthood which is just a portion of the priesthood (TPJS pg.180) is given us that we may perform and receive the ordinances that prepare us for our journey to the fullness. The preparatory gospel is full of rites and rituals that are designed to teach us that which is necessary for us to understand what is required to receive a fullness of Christ’s gospel. The temples of ancient Israel and those that currently operate today provide the rites and rituals that help us grow, they are not the end but rather the beginning of the journey.
The preparatory gospel has an exact order which we must follow in order for us to be able to return back to the presence of the Father. We first must have knowledge of the existence of God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ, for without this knowledge it is impossible to receive light and truth.
We then must develop in ourselves faith in Christ, because it is through faith that all things are made possible (Lectures On Faith Chapter First). After gaining knowledge in the existence of a deity and faith in Christ we offer unto Him a broken heart and a contrite spirit, we then accept Christ’s teachings and start the repentance process for the remission of our sins, this remission comes not because of our worthiness but by and through the blood of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, it is at this point in which we qualify to receive baptism by immersion, the Spirit has started our cleansing and justification in order for us to receive the baptism of fire (receive the Holy Ghost) which is the first comforter.
This process can take a very short time to complete or a very long time depending on the person. It is uncommon for anyone to receive all the knowledge and ordinances that are required to complete the process of the preparatory gospel very quickly for most it will take a long time. Joseph Smith however although he still had to grow grace by grace completed the process fairly quickly.
Fullness of the Gospel
The fullness of Christ’s gospel is to actually return into His presence and for Him (Christ) to present you unto the Father, this ordinance is received during mortality (D&C 93-1, 76:116-118).
After receiving the baptism of fire, the Lord will test you and qualify you for the greater blessings and ordinances of His gospel. During the testing and qualifying you continue to grow in knowledge, and light and truth by the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
Once you have proven to the Lord that you will follow Him without fail, and regardless of the persecutions and trials you will face, and you will defend truth to the taking of your own life Christ will bless you by making your calling and election sure. “Calling and election is the pre-existent conditional promise of eternal life. Making it sure is securing a promise from God in mortality that one will be exalted (A White Stone, D. Michael Bingham, 1992)”.
After receiving a revelation telling you that your calling and election have been made sure then you will receive the Second Comforter, this is having Christ appear to you, and minister unto you while you are mortal.
“The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted.
When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th versus.
Note the 16, 17,18, 21, 23 verses:
“16. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;
“17. Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
“18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
“21. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
“23. If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
Now what is this Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even he will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions-Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn (TPJS pg. 150-151)”.
After receiving the Second Comforter and being endowed on high with pure knowledge, having been washed clean through Christ’s blood, you become a member of the Church of the Firstborn, then the Lord will present you unto the Father. This is the fullness of Christ’s gospel, is for all men and women to be able to enter into God’s presence while in mortality to receive the fullness of the priesthood and the powers of Heaven.