Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Blessings of the Temple

In the Bible we read about the temples of old. We read of Solomon's great temple, Herod's, and even a traveling tabernacle that was used by the children of Israel. The temple is the Lord's House. It is a place here on earth where He can come to dwell. In the absence of a temple, the Lord has often come to a mountain. Moses went up to the mount to converse with the Lord. In Psalms we read the question, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?" (Psalms 24:3) It also gives us the answer to that question: "He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." (Psalms 24:4) But what about in our day? Isaiah prophesied that we too would have a temple. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it." Isaiah 2:2. I can testify that this scripture has been fulfilled.

Blessings of the temple

One of the blessings of the temple is that it is a place where we can gain further knowledge about God's plan for us. We can make sacred covenants with God. The temple is a place of learning.

Another blessing of the temple is that we can perform sacred ordinances for ourselves, and for by proxy for our deceased ancestors. The Savior said, "...Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." John 3:5 In the temple, we can perform this ordinance for those who never had the chance in this life. The Bible dictionary of the LDS publication of the scriptures states: "From Adam to the time of Jesus, ordinances were performed in temples for the living only. After Jesus opened the way for the gospel to be preached in the world of spirits, ceremonial work for the dead, as well as for the living, has been done in temples on the earth by faithful members of the Church." (18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;" 1 Peter 3:18,19

One of the great ordinances that we perform in the temple is eternal marriage, and the sealing of families. In most marriages on this earth, the pastor performing the marriages states, "until death do you part". But in the temple, one holding the Priesthood of God marries us for not only this life, but the life to come. In conjunction with this marriage, our children are sealed to us, so that we become an eternal family unit. The Savior gave this authority to Peter, "“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:13–19). This ordinance also can be performed for those who are deceased.

Another great blessing of temple worship is that when we enter the holy temples of God we can feel the peace that distills upon that sacred edifice. The temple is a place to escape from wordly influences. It is a place to rest and feel the influence of the Spirit. "15 And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it; 16 Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God." Doctrine and Covenants 97:15,16

Only members of the church who are in good standing are permitted to enter the temple. The blessings of the temple are extended to all, but are conditioned upon faithfulness and worthiness. But even those who are not members of the church can visit the visitor's center and the temple grounds. Even outside the temple, on the temple grounds, the peace of the spirit can be felt. Inside the visitor's center at the Salt Lake and Oakland temples are replicate statues of the "Christus" by Thorvaldson. Visitors can contemplate the sacrifice of our Savior while viewing this great statue. Missionaries also can give special presentations to help visitors better understand the mission of the Savior, and the plan of salvation.

I invite all to come to the temple. If you are a member, I invite you to come and remember your covenants, and feel of the peace of the spirit. If you are a non-member, I invite you to come and feel of the spirit that is present on the grounds and in the visitor's center.

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