"And behold, it must be done according to the pattern which I have given unto you." (D&C 94:2)
A pattern is "something shaped or designed to serve as a model from
which a thing is to be made; a design" (Oxford English Dictionary).
"Pattern" comes from the Indo-European root meaning father or rock or
stone or foundation. The original root word of pattern was patron. "The
transfer of sense from 'patron' to 'model, pattern' developed from the
idea of a patron as a model to be imitated; in fact pattern was
originally used to denote a human model" (Chambers Dictionary of
The words "pattern" and "template" are related, and, interestingly,
template is "a diminutive of temple which was borrowed from Latin
templum which is a plank or rafter in a building for worship. Template
in its earliest form is temple" (Chambers). Temple comes from the root
word shrine, meaning a "place cut out" (The Roots of English).
I am dwelling on the relationship between pattern and temple because
most of the references to "pattern" in scripture are connected to the
temple. For example, Moses was directed to "make me a sanctuary; that I
may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee after the
pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments
thereof, even so shall ye make it" (Exodus 25:8-9; see also 1
Chronicles 28; 10, 19 regarding the building of Solomon's temple). The
Prophet Joseph was likewise instructed to build the Lord's house at
Kirtland "according to the pattern which I have given unto you"
The Lord has also given us, individually, "a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived" (D&C 52:14-19).
In the temple, before the Savior came to earth, the law required the
purging of sin by the shedding of blood in animal sacrifice. "Without
shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the
patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these (animal
sacrifices); but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices
than these" (Hebrews 9:22-23).
This pattern of animal sacrifice was only the earthly pattern of the
ultimate and infinite sacrifice of the Savior. "For Christ is not
entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the (patterns)
of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of
God for us" (Hebrews 9:24). There is, therefore, no more need for the
"high priest" to enter "into the holy place every year with the blood
of others; ? but now once in the meridian of time hath he (Christ)
appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (JST Hebrews
The pattern today of the Lord's sacrifice is in partaking, with a
broken heart and a contrite spirit, of the emblems of his body and