This is a talk I gave in Sacrament on July 15, 2007.

I love to see the temple.
I’m going there someday to feel the Holy Spirit, to listen and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God, a place of love and beauty.
I’ll prepare myself while I am young; this is my sacred duty.[1]

I love this Primary song! Last Sunday when the bishop asked me to speak on temples, the words to this song immediately began running through my mind. As I have reflected on these words this past week, I have realized how much they resonate truth to me now—even after having been through the temple for myself. Today I would like to share some of my own personal experiences of the temple as well as some words from a few General Authorities to illustrate the principles found in the first verse of this song.

I love to see the temple.[2]

I have had the opportunity to travel around the country a little. At nearly every destination, I try to squeeze in a visit to the temple—if only to walk the grounds—because I love to see the temple. I love knowing that they are in many cities around the world.

Jeff and I recently moved back to MN from the Portland, Oregon area. It wasn’t that frequent, but on occasion, we would find ourselves driving along I-5. I loved it when we would crest the hill and could see the majestic spires of the temple. It was such a wonderful sight to behold; it always brought me a sense of comfort.

We are taught that the Lord’s people are a temple-building people. Many temples have been erected throughout time, and I would imagine that they have always been a sight to behold. I imagine that many have marveled at their beauty—whether they be the temples of ancient times, the smaller temples of today or the larger temples that were built at the beginning of the Restoration.

One such temple was the Nauvoo temple. In an Ensign article in 1994, President Hinckley had the following to say about the Nauvoo temple.

The temple which rose [in Nauvoo] was to be the crowning jewel of [the] city. When it was completed in 1846, a year and a half after the Martyrdom, it was looked upon as perhaps the finest building then in the state of Illinois. … Its tower reached 165 feet in the air, and it could be seen for many miles up and down the river, from the far interior of Illinois, and from far into Iowa. It was the last thing that our people saw as they began their long journey west."[3]

The Nauvoo temple was glorious. I remember when I was little we would often visit Nauvoo. Back then there was only the footprint of the temple, as it had not been rebuilt. Even though I could not actually see the temple on those visits, I could still feel of its presence and imagine what it must have been like to see it up on the hill overlooking the city.

Seeing temples in my daily life, whether in person or in photographs, has helped to instill in me a desire to attend the temple and do the Lord’s work.

I’m going there someday to feel the Holy Spirit, to listen and to pray.[4]

When the children in Primary sing this song, they are making plans to someday enter the temple. Many of us, as adults, have already had the privilege of attending the temple, but it doesn’t stop there. Whether or not we have been through the temple for ourselves, we should always sing this song with the resolution of “I’m going there someday,” because we should continually be desirous to return to the temple to feel of the Spirit, to listen to the counsel of the Lord and to pray to our Heavenly Father. Going to the temple is not a one-time deal. Every time we attend, we can receive these blessings.

Joseph B Wirthlin, in a conference talk, in 1998, said,

The ideals of faith, hope, and charity are most evident in the holy temples. There we learn the purpose of life, strengthen our commitment as disciples of Christ by entering into sacred covenants with Him, and seal our families together for eternity across generations. Receiving our own endowment in a temple and returning frequently to perform sacred ordinances for our kindred dead increases our faith, strengthens our hope, and deepens our charity. We receive our own endowment with faith and hope that we will understand the Lord's plan for His children, will recognize the divine potential within each of us as children of our Heavenly Father, and will be faithful to the end in keeping the covenants we make. Performing temple ordinances for the dead is a manifestation of charity, offering essential blessings to those who have preceded us, blessings that were not available to them during their mortal lives. We have the privilege of doing for them what they are unable to do for themselves."[5]

Faith, hope and charity are wonderful blessings that we can receive through frequent temple attendance. I think these attributes are developed when we feel the Holy Spirit, when we listen and when we pray.

In Psalms 27:4, David says, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.[6]

There is no place on earth where we can do this more fully than in the temples. I believe that it was for this purpose that the Lord gave us temples—as a place for us to go and be edified in Him.

The temple is a house of God, a place of love and beauty.[7]

In October 2003, my sister, step-mom and I went on a trip to Las Vegas. One of the sights that I definitely wanted to see was the Las Vegas temple. It took a bit of determination and a lot of map consulting, but we finally found it! It was beautiful! As my sister and I walked around the grounds that day, I could feel the spirit so strongly; it was overwhelming. I could feel the love of my Heavenly Father envelope me, and I knew that I was his daughter—a daughter of God.

The beauty of the temples is striking. Even those who are not of our faith recognize the beauty of the temples. Back in February of 2006, I read an article in the Ensign that really left an impression on me. I’d like to read an excerpt to you now.

“Picturing Myself in the Temple” by John Cox, as told to Janine Simons Craeger

Never did I think that by putting myself in a picture of the temple, I would also put myself in the temple.

I grew up in Godstone, England, and was 17 years old when the London England Temple was dedicated in 1958. As a member of another church, I went through the temple open house with my parents. Although this left a great impression on me, I went back to my life as it had been before.

A year later, I joined a photographic club and chose the London temple as a suitable subject for a photograph to enter in a competition. As I set up the camera that day, I thought, “This needs something else. I need to put somebody in there looking at the temple.” So I used a timer and took the shot across the reflecting pool with me sitting in the foreground. That photograph took first place.

My father informed the temple president, Selvoy J. Boyer, of my award. He wanted to see the picture, so I made a print and presented it to him. He gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon. I read it and obtained a conviction that it was scripture.

On April 1, 1960, President Boyer baptized me. Throughout my life, I’ve had a special feeling about the temple, and it all started with a photograph. The temple was there from the beginning and has been with me ever since. Indeed, it continues to be the central focus of my life.[8]

I love this story because this brother was attracted to the beauty of the temple and was able to feel of the love that abides there and came to know that it was a house of God. No one can deny the beauty of the temple.

I’ll prepare myself while I am young; this is my sacred duty.[9]

You might hear these words and think that they do not apply to you because you are no longer in Primary; however, aren’t we taught that when we have humility before the Lord, we become as little children? We are also taught that this life is a probationary period where we can prepare to return to our Heavenly Father. Preparation is never-ending; no matter our age, we still should always be in a state of preparation to enter the temple.

Elaine S Dalton, in a conference talk in 2006, said

Personal worthiness is essential to enter His holy temples and to ultimately become heirs to 'all [the] Father hath' (D&C 84:38). The Lord has said, 'Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God' (D&C 121:45). When we do this, we can confidently enter the holy temples of God with a knowledge that we are worthy to go where the Lord Himself goes. When we are worthy, we cannot only enter the temple, the temple can enter us. The Lord's promises of salvation and happiness become ours—and our earthly mission becomes His. . . .

To the youth of the noble birthright, look into the windows of eternity! See yourselves in the Lord's holy temples. See yourselves living worthy and pure lives. Generations are depending on you! I testify that worthiness is possible because of the redeeming and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.[10]

I love it when she says, “When we are worthy, we cannot only enter the temple, the temple can enter us. The Lord’s promises of salvation and happiness become ours—and our earthly mission becomes His.”[11]

The temple and the work we do there become intermingled with our daily lives. As we do the Lord’s work, He will bless us with salvation and happiness.

Sister Dalton directs this statement to the youth of the noble birthright. I would like to extend that to everyone here today because, again no matter our age, we are all youth of a noble birthright and generations are depending upon each of us! Are we doing all that we can to live worthily, to enter the temple of the Lord, to abide with Him?

I would like to read a story that Jeffrey R Holland shared in a conference talk in 2004.

The Punta Arenas Chile Stake is the Church's southernmost stake anywhere on this planet, its outermost borders stretching toward Antarctica. Any stake farther south would have to be staffed by penguins. For the Punta Arenas Saints it is a 4,200-mile round-trip bus ride to the Santiago temple. For a husband and wife it can take up to 20 percent of an annual local income just for the transportation alone. Only 50 people can be accommodated on the bus, but for every excursion 250 others come out to hold a brief service with them the morning of their departure.

Pause for a minute and ask yourself when was the last time you stood on a cold, windswept parking lot adjacent to the Strait of Magellan just to sing with, pray for, and cheer on their way those who were going to the temple, hoping your savings would allow you to go next time? One hundred ten hours, 70 of those on dusty, bumpy, unfinished roads looping out through Argentina's wild Patagonia. What does 110 hours on a bus feel like? I honestly don't know, but I do know that some of us get nervous if we live more than 110 miles from a temple or if the services there take more than 110 minutes. While we are teaching the principle of tithing to, praying with, and building ever more temples for just such distant Latter-day Saints, perhaps the rest of us can do more to enjoy the blessings and wonder of the temple regularly when so many temples are increasingly within our reach.[12]

Two things strike me about this story: 1) The faith and diligence of those saints who are able to make the long trip is incredible, and 2) The faith and diligence of those saints who gather to cheer them on is equally as incredible.

What a sacrifice it would be to make this trip—110 hours, that’s more than 4 ½ days, and more than 20% of your annual income! Do we take our minimal sacrifice of less than an hour travel time and just the price of gas in our cars as seriously as these saints? Do we attend the temple as often as we are able? No matter the sacrifice, attending the temple takes faith.

I would like to touch briefly on those saints that came out to a brief service on the morning of the departure of the temple-goers. Imagine the love these saints had for their brothers and sisters. Think for a minute about our brothers and sisters in this ward, in our families, and in our circle of friends. Are we doing all we can to encourage them to attend the temple? Are we helping to ease their sacrifice of going to the temple? It is not only personal worthiness that can keep someone from attending the temple. There are many ways in which we can help our brothers and sisters attend the temple in addition to sharing our testimonies. We can personally extend an invitation. We can offer our time and our service so that they might attend.

We need to not only encourage ourselves to prepare to enter the temple and to keep our covenants with the Lord, but we also need to do as these saints in Chile did, and sing with, pray for, and cheer on their way those around us who are able to attend the temple; we need to encourage everyone to receive of the blessings of the temple.

I would like to close with the following words from Russell M Nelson:

The temple is the house of the Lord. The basis for every temple ordinance and covenant—the heart of the plan of salvation—is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Every activity, every lesson, all we do in the Church, point to the Lord and His holy house. Our efforts to proclaim the gospel, perfect the Saints, and redeem the dead all lead to the temple. Each holy temple stands as a symbol of our membership in the Church, as a sign of our faith in life after death, and as a sacred step toward eternal glory for us and our families.[13]

I love this quotation because it is so very true. The temple is at the heart of the gospel. Everything we do, everything we learn, points to the temple, and it is all because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for all the many temples that dot the earth today. It is my prayer that we will all be more desirous to attend the temple more frequently and to feel of the love of our Savior more fully that as we enter the temple, we may allow the temple to enter us as well.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

[1] Children’s Songbook #95
[2] Children’s Songbook #95
[3] Gordon B. Hinckley, "Nauvoo's Holy Temple," Ensign, Sept. 1994, 60
[4] Children’s Songbook #95
[5] Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Cultivating Divine Attributes," Ensign, Nov. 1998, 27
[6] Psalms 27:4
[7] Children’s Songbook #95
[8] John Cox and Janine Simons Creager, “Picturing Myself in the Temple,” Ensign, Feb 2006, 11
[9] Children’s Songbook #95
[10] Elaine S. Dalton, "Look toward Eternity!" Ensign, Nov. 2006, 32
[11] Elaine S. Dalton, "Look toward Eternity!" Ensign, Nov. 2006, 32
[12] Jeffrey R. Holland, "Abide in Me," Ensign, May 2004, 31
[13] Russell M. Nelson, “Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings,” Ensign, May 2001, 32

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment. I try to respond to each one, so why not subscribe, too? :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails