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The Gospel in Words: Pattern

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"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"

(D&C 94:2).

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