We stopped sacrificing animals and we keep the sabbath day in a different way, but why do we still use garments and attend temple cerimonies? What is the pattern that defines what things we still do or don’t once the law of Moses is not ‘valid’ anymore?
This is an oft asked question. And perhaps, with lack of understanding what the Law of Moses was may cause some confusion.
The Law of Moses was… well, the law that God gave to ( you guessed it) Moses. So, what gospel was present before Moses? How did God deal with them? And why was it changed when Moses was the prophet?
We have in scriptures the description of God’s dealings with man in several different dispensations. Each dispensation has it’s special observances. But at the same time, there are consistent ordinances throughout all the dispensations. Navigating through all that is part of the calling of Prophets.
Adam was baptized as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price (Moses 6:64). We know he performed animal sacrifices (Moses 5:6-7) as did Abraham (Abraham 2:17) The coats of skins Adam was given after The Fall is commemorated in our garments that we wear today.
All this was LONG before Moses ever came around. It was even LONGER before Jesus’ mortal ministry. Yet there were these ordinances which were obviously NOT exclusive to the Law (of Moses).
Then, after Christ’s resurrection, he spent some time with the Saints of the Old World explaining how they should do things in the next (apostolic) dispensation. But much of that is so piece meal insofar as how much as survived that it is easier to see it in full form in the Book of Mormon (the Nephite dispensation).
We see that people of the New World had been wondering the same thing that you’re wondering about now. And His answer was not really a “why”. It was simply a direction to stop arguing about it and just do it.
21 And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.
22 And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you. 3 Nephi 11: 21-22
Now, today, we have a different dispensation — The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. And for this dispensation, the Lord has given us clear direction through His prophets on what observances we are to keep and what observances we are doing away with. And there are some things that are for our dispensation alone — like the Word of Wisdom.
As you study these things, you may want to try to understand why some things were done in the past, and discontinued, as well as why we continue to do some other things. Remember, the Lord, Himself, did not take the time to explain the “why” at that point among the Nephites. He may not have done so among the Saints of the Old World either. But it most certainly was a commandment to do some things and do away with other things. So, that tells me that understanding the “why” comes from the doing.
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. John 7:17