Meridian features Q&A with author Samuel Brown on First Principles and Ordinances

05.05.2015 | Blair Hodges

Shaun Maher at Meridian Magazine recently interviewed Samuel M. Brown, author of First Principles and Ordinances: The Fourth Article of Faith in Light of the Temple. I recommend reading the entire interview, but here’s an excerpt to get you started. —BHodges

Maher: The title of your book is First Principles and Ordinances: The Fourth Article of Faith in Light of the Temple. When I first picked up your book and read the title, I was intrigued by the part, “in Light of the Temple.” Could you elaborate on how the fourth article of faith refers to the temple?

Brown: This book started as a meditation on the temple because I had seen how central it was to what Joseph Smith was doing theologically. The Restoration really came to a head in Nauvoo as Joseph Smith worked to summarize in doctrines and ordinances the core meaning of the revelations that had been vouchsafed to him as a prophet. Life and afterlife are about relationships; it’s relationships all the way down. That’s the spirit of Elijah, that’s the sealing power, that’s the kingdom of heaven. After spending so much scholarly time thinking about what the temple illuminated in Mormon history, I realized that I was beginning to see the Gospel differently in my life as a practicing Latter-day Saint.

This First Principles book was a way to for me to reboot our understanding of what has seemed too familiar for too long. Article of Faith 4 seems so basic on the surface, so familiar and traditionally Christian: faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost. Those basic principles look like a roadmap for the individual believer through the Christian life. In light of the temple, though, the whole Gospel looks radically different. More Mormon, more ancient, more deeply relational. On that relational view, faith is about trust and fidelity in relationships with God and the Saints, repentance is about reconciliation and the healing power of relationships, baptism is a kind of birth certificate of our adoption by Christ into his family, and so on.

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Read the whole interview HERE.