I believe Joseph Smith, and perhaps his associates, accessed the higher Christian "new covenant" long before the temple ordinances were ever introduced, even as early as the First Vision. The confusion, as I understand it, is that access to that higher covenant is not through carnal commandments and ordinances, not even those within the temple on Earth.
There is a term that the scriptures use to refer to something in us that separates us from God. It is called the "natural man," or at times the "carnal mind." What is this? And how can a correct understanding of it help us commune with and become one with God?
Today I feel I had my eyes opened to the meaning of scripture. It was like flipping the switch on a light. I suddenly understood and the meaning was laid open to my view. I'd like to share with you what I think is a key to understanding the scriptures having to do with the "natural man."