Looking at the Veil

If you walk into a theater and there is a beautiful, black grand piano on the stage, what do you expect to hear?

If you walk into a theater and there is a movie screen on the stage, what would you expect to see?

If you walk into a theater and there is a trapeze and net, what do you expect to experience?

If you walk into a theater and on the stage there is a large, white temple veil, not a sheet of fabric representing death, but a sacred curtain that represents the veil that presently separates us from seeing and speaking with God, what would you expect the purpose of that meeting will be?

I would expect that the end object would be to teach me something about the veil. And, when I was finally standing at the veil, wearing a symbol of mortality, I would know that I was being taught that I could approach the veil in this life to speak with God, and then how to “enter in” to actually be with God.

When we enter the temple, we sometimes become lost in the events, the symbolism, the clothing, words and ceremony of it all – and we forget that in reality, we are sitting there looking at the veil.

Brother John

© June 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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13 Responses to Looking at the Veil

  1. Jodi Sadleir says:

    Thank You Brother John, I’m new to your blog, my son who is a recovering drug addict, and recently released from jail, where he had a profound rebirth, and some very powerful witnesses of the spirit, told me about your books, I’ve ordered and received the two Angels among us and The Spirit of Fire. My son has been told there are other books in the series, and I’d like to get them for him. He is in a in house program in Mt. Pleasant Ut, called MATR. He is learning so much and growing spiritually, he goes to church each week, and has started the repentance process with his bishop there. Can you help me about the other books in the series? Also I’d like to thank the Brother C and Brother D who contributed to the replies. I so appreciate all of your insights. I’m an ordinance worker in the SanDiego Temple and I often try to get more help and understanding of the purpose of the temple. Now I know where to go for that. Thank you brother John for offering the blog. Sister J.


    • John Pontius says:

      Hi Jodi,

      Thank you for your comment, and for contribution your story.

      The other novels in the series are on my website http://followingthelight.org/books-and-essays/. You can download them for free.

      The novels were just another way of sharing the principles in my first book, Following the Light of Christ into His Presence. It will better help you understand what we are talking about here on the Un-Blog.

      Brother John


  2. darrell brashear says:

    I would like to share something I had learned about the veil that means a lot to me. From my studies in the scriptures it seems there are three different veils mentioned and the parting of each of is done through mighty prayer.

    The first veil is mentioned in the scriptures as far as I know is the veil over our minds. It is called the veil of unbelief. This veil is what keeps us from seeing things as they really are; it is what makes Satan’s lies so effective in our lives.

    In Alma 18:41 king Lamoni prays…”O Lord, have mercy; according to thy abundant mercy which thou hast had upon the people of Nephi, have upon me, and my people”. After Lamoni had prayed this prayer he fell to the earth and was physically unconscious for three days.

    During that time the scripture says that “….Lamoni was under the power of God; he [Ammon] knew that the dark [veil of unbelief] was being cast away from his [Lamoni’s] [mind], and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness-yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God”. (Alma 19:6)

    The parting of this veil probably won’t be as dramatic for most of us as it was for king Lamoni, but it will also be accompanied by prayer led by the Spirit, and it will enable us to see things as they really are.

    The second veil as far as I know is the veil over the heart. It is closely related to the veil over the mind. This veil is what keeps our heart’s in a hardened state. Whereas sin seems to be associated with the mind, evil seems to be associated with the heart. The scripture in Moroni says that the devil “…inviteth and enticeth to sin, AND TO DO THAT WHICH IS EVIL continually”. (Moroni 7:12)

    Whereas king Lamoni asked the Lord for mercy, his father asked”…Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast [heart], and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy…” (Alma 22:15) A couple verses later it reads, “…the king did bow down his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying: O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day”. (Alma 22:17-18)

    I mentioned earlier that sin is associated with the veil over the mind. It is connected with selfishness. Satan tells us the lie that we can find happiness in selfishness. Every sin we’ve ever commited was the result of selfishness. I also mentioned earlier that evil is associated with the veil over the heart. Evil is connected with pride. A person can appear to be lacking in sin and yet be evil (Luke 18:10-14).

    We read in Mosiah about Alma’s people who were in bondage to Amulon. We also read that the Lord didn’t deliver Alma’s people immediately from their bondage; rather, He first eased the burdens upon their shoulders that they could not feel them upon thier backs, and He did this while they were still in bondage. This enabled them to …”submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord”. (Mosiah 24:15).

    It seems to me that the Lord doesn’t immediately (for most of us) deliver us from our spiritual bondage. He most often changes the way we believe and think first which lightens our loads, and then eventually delivers us entirely by removing the evil from our hearts.

    The third veil is literally the veil that separates us from His presence. The removal of this veil is also accompanied with mighty prayer. In the Bible Dictionary under “prayer” it states, “…Prayer is a form of work, AND IS AN APPOINTED MEANS FOR OBTAINING THE HIGHEST OF ALL BLESSINGS”.

    The Book of Mormon gives the account of the brother of Jared parting the veil and entering the presence of the Lord. It doesn’t give much detail about his prayer, but it does mention that he was praying not only for himself but for others as well. He asked the Lord saying, “O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.

    Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been merciful unto us. O Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock.

    And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea”. (Ether 3:2-4)

    I hope this isn’t too long. It’s something I cherish and I wanted to share it.
    Sincerely, brother D.


  3. James says:

    I had commented on the earlier post “Journey to the Veil’ that I would pay particular attention during the endowment session for the part where we ‘die’ before parting the veil. My wife and I had a wonderfully spiritual time together in the temple last night, and I can say offcially, there is no death mentioned or implied in the temple endowment. So if the events of the temple are supposed to represent the possibilities that lie beyond the grave, the ceremony itself does not say so.

    We are familiar with the progression from pre-mortal life, to the Fall, to the Telestial world, and finally to the Terrestrial world. There is no mention of the Celestial world or kingdom. There is no implication of leaving the mortal body or being reunited with it. All ministrations are ‘go down to the man.. and his posterity in the _____ world’. Beyond the veil, is commonly referred to as the ‘Celestial Room’, however, the ceremony itself only mentions the ‘Presence of the Lord’. Notice it never says the ‘Presence of the Father’.

    Those of the Terrestrial glory are to receive of the ‘presence of the Son’, but not of the ‘fulness of the Father’ (DC 76). It would appear then, that those who progress by making and keeping covenants as instructed in the Temple endowment and are therby permitted to enter the ‘presence of the Son (Lord)’ as mortals, have yet to experience a mightier change that shall take place at the resurrection to Celestial status, which differs in glory even as the sun differs from the moon.

    I don’t understand all of what is implied with the progression to the Terrestrial world during the endowment. Although I have some ideas, and I’ve always found it interesting that certain covenants are made following that event. I hope to gain more understanding with this new perspective that Brother John has given.



    • John Pontius says:

      James, very astute observations.

      I have several quotes by Joseph Smith and Joseph Fielding Smith on this subject. It basically distills to this: When a person progress through the veil and has their Second Comforter experience, they still live in the Telestial world, but if they request translation, then they become beings of the Terrestrial order because they can’t die, but they are living a Celestial law (typified by the Celestial “Room” in the temple). So, they are “Terrestrial mortals living a Celestial law in the Telestial world”.

      I had to think about that for a while. It’s a bit to wrap your mind around, but it answered my questions which were right along the lines of the ones you voiced in your comment.

      If this isn’t enough, remind me and we’ll Un-Blog about it next week.

      Brother John


      • Darren says:

        This has been on my mind too. Thank you both for the insights already shared. Please share more if the Spirit allows! Thanks–I will be eagerly awaiting.


        • John Pontius says:

          Hopefully, tomorrow. Thanks for your interest and comments. I am finding that it takes a lot of spiritual effort and preparation to write on the topic of approaching the veil. I really refuse to write about sacred things shooting from the Hip. If the Spirit isn’t present, I am not able to say anything of lasting value. This has always been the case, and being a flawed mortal, I am not prepared every day, or even every time I sit down to Un-Blog.

          I also think it takes time to absorb these things, and if I wrote deep doctrine every day, people would soon be overwhelmed and stop dropping in to Un-Blog. Then when they happened back, they would have a hard time picking the thread of these deep things again. I know you understand becase of your comment about the Spirit allowing such things. It is a grand and glorious thing when it does.

          Brother John


  4. Donald says:

    This part of Joseph Smiths King Follet sermon fits here I think:

    When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.

    And these verses from D & C Section 132

    22 For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.

    23 But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also.

    24 This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.

    25 Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in thereat, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.

    I wonder if the liveS (v 22) are cycles continuation….added upon in each cycle…. re-births (like you’ve suggested to us?)… passing through veils to higher kingdoms?

    And the deathS (v 25) we remain “stuck” in this telestial world? cycle after cycle….not continuing on in the work of examtation? Until those left are ultimately thrown back into some kind of primordial dissolution.?


  5. cheyenne brashear says:

    Brother John,

    I was reading over my last comment, and there was a statement I made that I feel the need to correct. I said that we will never reach a plateau in our understanding unless we stop seeking for light and truth.

    I meant to say that in this life we will never reach an end or a plateau in our understanding unless we stop seeking for light and truth. Thanks. Brother C.


  6. cheyenne brashear says:

    Brother John,

    It’s good to be on here again. After reading this last post, I thought back to words that I remembered reading from a book called “The Scriptural Temple” by Mark H. Greene III; these same words are quoted in Truman G. Madsen’s book, ” The Temple: Where Heaven Meets Earth”.

    These words are quoted from the prophet David O. Mckay at the time the Los Angeles temple was dedicated. He said on that occasion: “I believe there are few, even temple workers, who comprehend the full meaning and power of the temple endowment. Seen for what it is, it is the step-by-step ascent into the Eternal Presence. If our young people could but glimpse it, it would be the most powerful spiritual motivation of their lives.”

    From what I can understand, President Mckay said nothing about death when he spoke about this “step-by-step ascent into the Eternal Presence”. I feel that as we seek and feel after these things(the knowledge and power to enter back into the Savior’s presence),Christ’s grace, power, and goodness work in us,giving us a greater desire and power to incessantly seek for further light and knowledge. I feel as we approach the vail, the Holy Ghost makes intercession for us “with groanings which cannot be uttered”; He asks and knocks on our behalf and we are given certain promises.

    In the book of Mosiah, at the time of their spiritual rebirth, the people said,”And we, ourselves, also, through the infinite goodness of God, and the manifistations of his Spirit, have great views of that which is to come(the promises);and were it expedient, we could prophesy of all things.” (Mosiah 5:3)

    I feel, not by experience yet, but by feelings that the Holy Ghost has placed in my heart, that a person can be born again several times and not necessarily be aware of it. I also feel, however, that there is a rebirth that is accompanied by mighty prayer, and that at this rebirth great things are shown a person which enables them to be “willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us,all the remainder of our days…” (Mosiah 5:5)

    All of these things are just my feelings, but I feel confident that they come from the Spirit. I feel that at this point, a person begins to have a surety of hope, “which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.”(Ether 12:4). I also feel that a person at this point has “strong faith and firm mind in every form of godliness.”(Moroni 7:30)

    Once a person has their calling and election made sure they receive the “word” and the “promise”(Ether 12:20-21) which enables them to have the faith necessary to once again approach the veil but this time to secure the promises made before and to enter through the veil into the presence of Jesus Christ.

    All of these things I have gathered from my own studies, pondering, and prayer. As I have said before, my understanding is nowhere near complete yet and there is an eternity of truth yet to aquire. This to me, is what makes the gospel so exciting, it is that there is no end to truth; we will never reach a plateau in our understanding unless we stop seeking for light and truth. Thanks again brother John for continuing to share truth with us. I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that these things you share as you are moved by the Spirit are indeed true. These things that you share keep the gospel exciting and fresh in my heart and mind. Brother C.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kim says:

    Wow, hadn’t thought about it like that before. Thanks, Bro. John.


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