The Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7, is a blueprint created by God so we know how to design our lives and return back to Him.
By definition, “A blueprint is a guide for making something — it’s a design or pattern that can be followed.” (vocabulary.com)
Before we look at the blueprint found in the Sermon on the Mount, let’s talk about a real-life example of blueprints and the importance of following them.
As you read through the story of the Provo City Center Temple, hear with your spiritual ears and identify the spiritual parallels between your life and the temple.
THE TEMPLE BLUEPRINT
In December 2010, the Provo Tabernacle caught on fire and was destroyed.
It took over a year to design a plan to make that shell into a temple.
Blueprints were drawn up which give specifications of how to transform the shell into a fully functioning temple of the Lord.
Blueprints give the specifications and the design but a contractor must choose how to schedule the work to meet these specifications. There are many ways to schedule a project. However, the best plan is to sequence the work in such a way that as systems are put into place, there is no damage done to existing work. There is what we call a critical path to completion. Deviations from this critical path will make it so the project is not finish on time, or that rework will have to be done, or that there will be extra cost.
For the Provo City Center temple, we had to start with preparing the site and preparing the shell to be transformed. The walls had to first be reinforced with concrete so they would not sustain further damage during the construction process. Beams were also inserted to stabilize the shell as work began.
The design of the temple called for an intricate set of plans and a very difficult and delicate process in order to set a firm foundation. For those who have seen the temple in various stages of work, you should know that the shell has not moved. It was not lifted up, but rather in the process of creating the foundation, the shell was secured in place by a system of stilts as the ground was dug out from beneath it.
The old foundation was pulled out and a new foundation was put in. It required piers go down over 60 feet into the ground. Also because of the high water table in the area, water had to be pumped out of the hole and as the foundation went in, and a water barrier had to be put around the foundation so water would not get into the basement and erode the foundation once completed. The new foundation is just over 5 feet thick and is reinforced or strengthened with steel. (The foundation was then built up to connect to the shell and was completed in the fall of 2013)
Structural Steel was next. This framework is what supports the weight of the structure. The design had to ensure that the structure could support not only the center tower (removed from original tabernacle as it was determined the structure could not support it properly over time), but also the weight of the Angel Moroni statue.
Scaffolding soon surrounded the outside of the temple as the restoration of the brick work was completed. The bricks had to be meticulously cleaned and inspected to ensure that they were in perfect order to remain part of the temple.
Then come supporting systems: electrical, mechanical, plumbing, etc. As the inside starts to be built out, several inspections take place. There are inspections on each system that is installed. There are inspections by local building inspectors. Architects do walk through inspections. The general contractors inspect and sign off on subcontractor work. And there are also inspections by church officials. In a temple, imperfections are not to be hidden in the walls or covered up. If something is done improperly, it is ripped out and done again. (even if no one will ever see the error because it is behind a wall). On the jobsite the rule is measure twice and cut once. In other words, make sure it is done right the first time.
After the base systems are set in place and inspected, then the finish work happens. The details that we all will be able to see start to be done. There are currently many finishes being installed at the temple. This is also a long process and again, as the installation happens, the very details are inspected and any imperfections are fixed. Each piece of finish work is generally assigned a specific place to be installed. Many pieces look very similar, if not identical, but they are installed in the order they were designed to be installed. Everything must be done in order.
The details inside are not the only details that must be perfect. The landscape has to be perfectly installed as well. The blueprints tell where the fountains are to be, what elevation the sidewalks are to be installed at. Even the parking structure below ground had to be built to exact specifications.
This site/building has always had a holy purpose. As the ground was dug out, they found the remnants of the old baptismal font and other artifacts from the original building in the 1800’s.
A few of the things that survived the fire and will either be used in the temple or are being preserved for history museum include most of the outside brick; the pulpit (had to be cleaned and refinished, but it somehow survived fire); a set of scriptures; and a painting of Jesus.
After reading that story, ponder this question:
Does the design of my life match the blueprint provided by the Savior?
The Savior has been very clear on the expectations that he has set so that we can return back to him. Are we following His blueprint?
SALT OF THE EARTH
Matthew 5:13 – What does Savior compare us to?
What are some characteristics of salt?
Why would the Savior compare us to salt?
LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Matthew 5:14-16 – Why should we be a light to the world?
Are we using our influence and power to lead others to do good?
ELEVATE OUR SIGHTS
The rest of Matthew 5 is dedicated to the Savior fulfilling the Law of Moses and asking us to live a higher law. (Matthew 5:17)
We need to remember that the reason the Law of Moses was given was because the children of Israel had a hard time remembering God. It was a preparatory law to help them live the higher law.
Being obedient isn’t the purpose of the gospel if the obedience doesn’t help us become something.
“In addition, all the prophecies had been or would be fulfilled. The Jews surrendered nothing by their allegiance to the Messiah. They were merely fulfilling the purposes for which the law had been given, which was to point them to Christ. We must be careful in our own devotion to the gospel that we do not begin to believe that devotion is the purpose of the gospel. We have commandments and we must obey, but the purpose of the commandments is not to obey, but to bring us worthily back into the presence of God through the atonement of the Savior.” (LDS Living Article)
What is the lower commandment found in Matt 5:27?
What is the higher commandment found in Matt 5:28?
What is the difference? What changes?
Experimental and clinical psychologists have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the human nervous system cannot tell the difference between an ‘actual’ experience and an experience imagined intensely and in detail. (Psycho-Cybernetics: A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1960, p. ix).
So that being said, we all need to evaluate what we are choosing to “experience.”
Think back over your last week and ponder on what you “experienced”. Here’s a list to help jog your memory.
- TV Shows
- Facebook Feeds
- Instagram Photos
- Music Lyrics
- Video Games
The list could go on and on. Were any of the things that you (or your children) experienced things that you would actually do in real life?
Are there things that you need to eliminate?
Matthew 5:29 – And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee.: for it is profitable for thee that one of they members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
God commands that if there is something in your life that you don’t need, get rid of it.
If something you watched, read, or listened to recently, was not something you would ever do, YOU NEED TO STOP watching, reading or listening to it. Period. Permanently.
By not following the commandments, we are choosing to design your life outside of the blueprint provided by the Savior.
BE YE THEREFORE COMPLETE
In Matthew 5:48, we find a much quoted verse. We are commanded to be perfect. That is how some people read it and never go on to read the footnote off of “perfect.”
Footnote 48b – PERFECT: complete, finished, fully developed
Satan would want us to see this verse differently…as if we must be perfect on our own, without the Savior.
This verse, if understood correctly, should be motivating to us and not frustrating.
God doesn’t expect us to be perfect right now. It is a process, just like renovating and restoring the Provo Tabernacle to a temple. The purpose is to be fully developed and finished and that can only be achieved when we yoke ourselves to the Savior as we live our lives.
THIS IS YOUR TIME-LAPSE
If you were able to watch a time-lapse of your life, what would you see? When would the scaffolding come down? Who are the inspectors that God send it to help you? What is the critical plan of completion? How firm is your foundation?
Below is a time-lapse of the building of the Provo City Center Temple. it is put to the hymn “More Holiness Give Me”. Pay attention to the words as you watch the temple follow the blueprint set from the beginning.
What you will NOT see is a perfect building. You will see a process to perfection.
What are some things that you can be doing to be “more, Savior like thee?”
And as a final thought: