Relief Society: HWH Chapter 13: The Temple – The Great Symbol of Our Membership
Several months later, in January 1995, President Hunter’s last public activity was the dedication of the Bountiful Utah Temple. In the dedicatory prayer, he asked that the blessings of the temple would enrich the lives of all who entered:
“We humbly pray that thou wilt accept this edifice and let thy blessings be upon it. Let thy spirit attend and guide all who officiate herein, that holiness will prevail in every room. May all who enter have clean hands and pure hearts. May they be built up in their faith and depart with a feeling of peace, praising thy holy name.”
1 – We are encouraged to establish the temple as the great symbol of our membership.
At the time of my call to this sacred office [President of the Church], an invitation was given for all members of the Church to establish the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of their membership and the supernal setting for their most sacred covenants.
I appreciated this quote from the lesson:
“The temple is a place of instruction where profound truths pertaining to the Kingdom of God are unfolded. It is a place of peace where minds can be centered upon things of the spirit and the worries of the world can be laid aside. In the temple we make covenants to obey the laws of God, and promises are made to us, conditioned always on our faithfulness, which extend into eternity” (The Priesthood and You, Melchizedek Priesthood Lessons—1966, Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1966, p. 293).
The words that jump out at me – and I think could be explored in the lesson:
If we go to the temple spiritual prepared in our own way, we can learn much about the kingdom, find answers our questions, and gain new insights in to the gospel.
Learning to find peace and calm – through quiet meditation – can be practiced in the temple.
These deeply personal promises and rituals can strengthen us in our life’s journey.
“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119).
2 – Each of us should strive to be worthy to receive a temple recommend.
“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; … But if it be defiled I will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there; for I will not come into unholy temples” (D&C 97:15, 17).
Temple Recommend Questions listed in the lesson with my additional thoughts:
You must believe in God the Eternal Father, in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
We encourage you to work daily on building your testimony of our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit that you feel is the Holy Ghost testifying to you of their reality. Later, in the temple, you will learn more about the Godhead through the revealed instruction and ordinances.
I would add a reminder that Heavenly Mother is also part of the Godhead. While the current temple endowment (unfortunately) does not portray a Heavenly Mother or other spiritual females, I believe that the world could not have been ordered or created with out men and women working together.
You must sustain the General Authorities and local authorities of the Church.
When you raise your arm to the square when these leaders’ names are presented, you signify that you will sustain them in their responsibilities and in the counsel they give you.
What does it mean to “sustain” our church leaders? I think this has a fairly open interpretation. The statement above suggests that to sustain them, we must follow their counsel – and I’m not sure that is accurate. For me, sustaining means that I support them in their work, I respect them, I listen to them. Agreeing with them falls outside this scope.
You must be morally clean to enter into the holy temple.
The law of chastity requires that you not have sexual relations with anyone other than your husband or wife.
Discussing what “sexual relations” means could be a lesson unto itself and I would not encourage a tangent of this nature.
You must ensure that there is nothing in your relationship with family members that is out of harmony with the teachings of the Church.
We especially encourage [youth] to obey [their] parents in righteousness. Parents must be vigilant to ensure that their relationships with family members are in harmony with the teachings of the gospel and never involve abuse or neglect.
It seems healthy to individually review our relationships with our families. Harmony creates peace in the soul and can be a good preparation for the temple.
To enter the temple you must be honest in all of your dealings with others.
As Latter-day Saints we have a sacred obligation to never be deceitful or dishonest. Our basic integrity is at stake when we violate this covenant.
I would add that it may not be useful to take an honest inventory to exactness, but rather to inventory in general terms.
To qualify for a temple recommend, you should strive to do your duty in the Church, attending your sacrament, priesthood, and other meetings.
You must also strive to obey the rules, laws, and commandments of the gospel. Be active participants in your wards and branches.
I’ll add that “duty” can mean different things to different people. We should not run faster than we have strength and we should serve the church in a balanced way keeping in mind our work and family obligations.
To enter the temple you must be a full-tithe payer and live the Word of Wisdom.
These two commandments, simple in their instruction but enormously important in our spiritual growth, are essential in certifying our personal worthiness.
There are some who see this “pay to play” requirement as frustrating, so be sensitive while discussing this one.
3 – Doing temple work brings great blessings to individuals and families.
We receive personal blessings as we attend the temple. Commenting on how our lives are blessed by temple attendance Elder John A. Widtsoe stated:
“Temple work … gives a wonderful opportunity for keeping alive our spiritual knowledge and strength. … The mighty perspective of eternity is unraveled before us in the holy temples; we see time from its infinite beginning to its endless end; and the drama of eternal life is unfolded before us. Then I see more clearly my place amidst the things of the universe, my place among the purposes of God; I am better able to place myself where I belong, and I am better able to value and to weigh, to separate and to organize the common, ordinary duties of my life so that the little things shall not oppress me or take away my vision of the greater things that God has given us” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1922, pp. 97–98)
Because of the individual nature of most temple covenants, I would recommend these thoughts about Singles and the Temple – here.
“As a single woman, who often looks for ways to fit myself into church doctrine, I was excited about this idea. The next time I attended the temple, I went with this frame in mind. And it made for a more powerful, meaningful experience. I looked for symbols and references to the individual.
I saw the temple bringing me, an individual soul together with God. As I made covenants with God, I felt myself coming together with God –becoming whole. And when I am whole, I can enter the presence of God. Upon this realization, my worship did not include my missing spouse or missing children; it was about me, myself, on a quest to return to my real home and my divine family. I took these lessons from the temple and used them in my life and work and extended family.”
4 – Let us hasten to the temple.
How can we best teach our children the importance of the temple?
- Share our spiritual feelings about the temple
- Teach them more earnestly and more comfortably the things we can appropriately say about the purposes of the house of the Lord
- Keep a picture of a temple in your home
- Teach them about the purposes of the house of the Lord
- Allow our youth to experience the temple to do baptisms