I gave a talk last Sunday in my home ward. I love going home. Giving talks, not so much. So this last trip home was seriously tainted by me having to stand up at the podium. Not to mention, when I went up there, Layton cried for me and so I had to hold him for the first few minutes while he constantly moved the microphone up, down, left, and right and I just kept shifting positions to be able to speak into it. Oh well. Anyway, at least it was on a topic that I love – the temple. I thought I would share it here. It is kind of long, so if you get bored, don’t feel bad. I’m sure the people that had to listen to it got a little bored too :)
I would like to start by sharing a quote from Elder Russell M. Nelson:
Each temple is symbolic of our faith in God and an evidence of our faith in life after death. The temple is the object of every activity, every lesson, every progressive step in the Church. All of our efforts in proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead lead to the holy temple. President Hinckley declared that “these unique and wonderful buildings, and the ordinances administered therein, represent the ultimate in our worship. These ordinances become the most profound expressions of our theology.” Ordinances of the temple are absolutely crucial. We cannot return to God’s glory without them.
As I thought about that quote, I realized how true it is that the temple has been a part of my life through every single stage. As a child I can remember lessons taught, both at home and at church, about the temple. I remember singing “I Love to see the Temple” in primary and how happy it made me feel to think of going there someday. I remember how happy I was to know that my parents had sacrificed much to make it out to the Logan Temple in Utah to be sealed. I think that knowing that my family was an eternal one, gave me so much more confidence in life to pursue the things that I knew were right. Because in doing those things that I knew were right, I was taking steps to ensure that my family would always be an eternal one.
Entering Young Women, I was finally given the wonderful opportunity of actually going to the temple myself. I loved those trips to Atlanta, and later to Orlando. It was a beautiful thing to be one in purpose with friends that I loved in serving the Lord. It was also during this stage of my life that both of my grandmothers served missions in the Atlanta Temple. Their sacrifice of their time showed me in way that nothing else could, how important they knew the ordinances of the temple are. Their testimony of active service was the greatest testimony of temple work I could ever be given. It is their selfless service of the Lord that inspired me to want to the serve a mission for the Lord as well.
So as a young adult, I prepared to go on a mission and in so doing, received my endowments in the Orlando Temple. What a special day that was, to be surrounded by family, as I learned of the great blessings that Heavenly Father had for me. How grateful I have been since then to have the strength of the covenants that I made that day help me through everything that has happen in my life. I love this quote about the endowment from President Joseph Fielding Smith:
“If we go into the temple we raise our hands and covenant that we will serve the Lord and observe his commandments and keep ourselves unspotted from the world. If we realize what we are doing, then the endowment will be a protection to us all our lives—a protection which a man who does not go to the temple does not have.
“I have heard my father say that in the hour of trial, in the hour of temptation, he would think of the promises, the covenants that he made in the House of the Lord, and they were a protection to him. … This protection is what these ceremonies are for, in part. They save us now and exalt us hereafter, if we will honor them. I know that this protection is given for I, too, have realized it, as have thousands of others who have remembered their obligations”
To endow is to enrich, to give to another something long-lasting and of much worth. To a Latter-day Saint, the blessings of the endowment are like a pearl of great price in his or her life, giving endless support and strength, unlimited inspiration and motivation.
It truly has given me endless support and strength.
While out at the MTC, as missionaries we were allowed to visit the Provo Temple across the street once a week. Oddly enough, my most special experience during those weekly temple visits for the 9 weeks that I was there was in the laundry room. One week, as we entered the temple, one of the Sisters there asked if my companion and I would mind working in the Laundry room because they were short on workers that day. It was such a sweet experience to fold the mounds and mounds of temple clothing that came out of the huge industrial sized dryers. As I folded each piece of clothing, I thought of how each of these items had helped someone today on the other side of the veil receive all of the blessings that the Lord had prepared for them. It was the one and only time, I was actually grateful to be doing laundry.
After my mission, the next stage of my temple progression began. Not long after moving to Jacksonville, I met Nathan. One of our first outings together was a trip with the Young Single Adults to the Orlando Temple. Knowing and learning of his love of the temple, of our Father in Heaven, and of our Savior Jesus Christ is one of the main reasons I fell in love with him. The day we were sealed in the temple was one of excitement and calm all in the same breath. Excitement to be starting a life with someone that I loved so completely and calm that I knew that I was making the right decision and following the Lord’s plan for me.
And now here I am in the latest stage of my existence – parenthood. Things have now come full circle. Just as I was taught as a child, I now have the opportunity to teach my children of the temple and what it means to have an eternal family. I love this quote from Elder Mark E. Petersen:
God is love. He preserves love. Our family relationships are built upon love. He who established such ties will preserve them in his kingdom.
As I sit and hold Layton in my lap while he smiles up at me, or Mandy whispers in my ear for 10th time that day that she loves me, or I hear Dallin sounding out words from the scriptures my heart is so full of love for them that I can’t imagine not having them as a part of me for eternity. Life would not be worth living if at the end we had to give up everything that we loved. It is through the temple that these blessings of eternity are realized. Heavenly Father’s plan truly is perfect in every way.
I would like to express my love and gratitude to the Lord for providing the temple ordinances for us to give us so much hope for this life and the one to come. Going to the temple regularly is so important for us to not only remind us of our covenants with our Father in Heaven and the blessings attached to those covenants, but also to help others receive these same blessings. President Monson said:
We have built temples throughout the world and will continue to do so. To you who are worthy and able to attend the temple, I would admonish you to go often. The temple is a place where we can find peace. There we receive a renewed dedication to the gospel and a strengthened resolve to keep the commandments.
What a privilege it is to be able to go to the temple, where we may experience the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of the Lord. Great service is given when we perform vicarious ordinances for those who have gone beyond the veil. In many cases we do not know those for whom we perform the work. We expect no thanks, nor do we have the assurance that they will accept that which we offer. However, we serve, and in that process we attain that which comes of no other effort: we literally become saviors on Mount Zion. As our Savior gave His life as a vicarious sacrifice for us, so we, in some small measure, do the same when we perform proxy work in the temple for those who have no means of moving forward unless something is done for them by those of us here on the earth.
I love that through service in the temple, we can truly become like unto our Savior. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven. I am so grateful for all that they have done for me.