Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Holy Temple – a Beacon to the World

(find the talk here)

“My brothers and sisters, temples are more than stone and mortar. They are filled with faith and fasting. They are built of trials and testimonies. They are sanctified by sacrifice and service.” President Thomas S. Monson

I love the temple. I love the peace that I feel in the temple. This song from the LDS Seminary videos sums up my thoughts about the temple.

Heaven’s light flows through the windows
Warming even walls of stone
In the refuge of the temple
I find strength beyond my own.

I can feel the power of heaven as I stand on holy ground
And the Spirit whispers what I long to learn
Eyes are touched with understanding I can see beyond this world
It’s the place I reach for heaven, and it reaches in return

Filled with purpose, filled with power
Granted gifts to life the world
In God’s house and in His presence
I am filled with strength to serve.

The stories of the Saints building temples are both sobering and inspiring. Sobering because I feel like I take for granted how easy it is for me to attend the temple, and the early Saints sacrificed all that they had to build temples. Inspiring because it teaches me just how significant the temple is – and that brings me strength, and helps me better understand the blessings obtained through worshipping the Lord and communing with Him in His holy temples.

“Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort.” I wish that I sacrificed more and put forth more effort to worship in the temple. Recently I went to the temple when it didn’t seem like the thing that made sense – but spiritually, it was the only thing to do. And the blessings from that trip to the temple made a huge difference in my day, and will probably make a significant impact on the rest of my life.

I am learning to turn to the temple when I have trials or questions, or when my life simply seems to chaotic. I can and should find refuge in the temple, and recharge, ready to go back into the world. The temple is not part of the world. It is a part of heaven, and I want to bring that feeling of being in heaven with me every time I leave the temple, and I feel like a piece of heaven can and does come with me as I go back into the world.

President Monson presented a statistic that left me virtually speechless. “Eighty-five percent of the membership of the Church now live within 200 miles (320 km) of a temple, and for a great many of us, that distance is much shorter.” These days, 200 miles is a few hours drive, or a relatively inexpensive plane ticket. I fall into the “great many of us” where the distance is much shorter. I live less than 20 miles from not one, but four temples. And within 60 miles of seven, soon to be nine temples. I have absolutely no excuse to my relative lack of temple attendance. And yet, I make excuses.

“If you have been to the temple for yourselves and if you live within relatively close proximity to a temple, your sacrifice could be setting aside the time in your busy lives to visit the temple regularly.” This is definitely the sacrifice I could (and should) make. What “regularly” means to me may be different than what it means to you, but regular temple attendance will definitely bring greater blessings into my life than I ever imagined. I am sure of it.

President Monson counseled the youth of the church to “always have the temple in your sights.” I hope that we can teach our children to keep the temple in their sights as they grow. President Monson taught us one way to do this by quoting President Spencer W. Kimball who said, “It would be a fine thing if …parents would have in every bedroom in their house a picture of the temple so [their children] from the time [they are] infant[s] could look at the picture every day [until] it becomes a part of [their lives]. When [they reach] the age that [they need] to make [the] very important decision[concerning going to the temple], it will have already been made.”

This is one of my goals as I decorate our home. The children have a picture of the temple in their bedroom, and we have a picture of the temple in our bedroom, but there are so many more places where we could display a picture of the temple. And more pictures of the Savior. But all those pictures won’t make as big of a difference unless they also see us attending the temple.

“The world can be a challenging and difficult place in which to live. We are often surrounded by that which would drag us down. As you and I go to the holy houses of God, as we remember the covenants we make within,we will be more able to bear every trial and to overcome each temptation.In this sacred sanctuary we will find peace; we will be renewed and fortified.” Living in this world feels particularly trying some days, and when I went to the temple on that challenging day I felt so much peace and strength – I knew that the covenants I had made in the temple, and the spirit that is there would help me “bear every trial” and “overcome each temptation.” And it did.

“Each [temple] stands as a beacon to the world, an expression of our testimony that God,our Eternal Father, lives, that He desires to bless us and, indeed, to bless His sons and daughters of all generations. Each of our temples is an expression of our testimony that life beyond the grave is as real and ascertain as is our life here on earth.”

When I was in Denver, CO a few weeks ago visiting with a non-member friend who was there for job interviews, we drove to the temple in Littleton, CO. I wish that I had remembered this talk from President Monson as I talked to her about the temple. I am sure I bore testimony of many of these truths, but I would have liked to have said more.

What sacrifices have you had to make to attend the temple? Is your temple attendance regular? Do you display pictures of the temple throughout your home? What blessings have you experienced from temple attendance? Have you felt the peace and strength of the temple as you worship there?

Find more great comments on President Monson’s talk over at the General Conference Book Club on Diapers and Divinity:

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