This past Sunday I spoke in our ward's sacrament meeting. Here is a copy of my remarks. 😊
My dear ward family. I invite you to focus your minds to rest upon the Temple. Think of your favorite Temple. Take a tour in your mind. Envision the beautiful visage and grounds. See yourself walking through the doors. See the beautiful interior, the artwork, the smiling faces of the Temple workers.
Now I pray that the feelings of the spirit you felt as your thought of the temple will stay with each of us as we discuss the blessings of being in the Temple.
We know that the ordinances of the Temple are “saving ordinances.” In other words, the things that need to happen if we want to be saved – To return to live with our Heavenly Parents. Because of this knowledge, all of you here likely don’t need to be convinced there is value in going to the Temple to receive these ordinances. The real question is, why do we go back to the Temple?
In preparation for this talk I read 37 talks and articles on the Temple. I also asked 12 sisters within our ward family why they continue to go to the Temple. Through my reading and research, I created a list of 78 reasons why we should go back to the Temple after receiving our own ordinances. And I’m going to go through all 78 of them. So, strap in! We’re going to be here for a while.
I jest of course. I’m going to talk about 3.
#1 – Miracles!
Our ward vision is centered on the idea that increasing your faith will facilitate the moving of mountains in your life. Our prophet, President Russell M. Nelson has promised the same blessing from Temple attendance:
“Our need to be in the Temple on a regular basis has never been greater. . . . If you have reasonable access to a Temple, I urge you to find a way to make an appointment regularly with the Lord — to be in His holy house — then keep that appointment with exactness and joy. …I promise you that the Lord will bring the miracles He knows you need as you make sacrifices to serve and worship in His Temples.”
Let me repeat what a prophet of God has promised you and me when we sacrifice to be in the Temple: “I promise you that the Lord will bring the miracles He knows you need.”
Elder Boyd K. Packer, in his fantastic book “The Holy Temple” quoted Elder John A. Widtsoe: “those who give themselves with all their might and mind to this work [Temple work] receive help from the other side. Whoever seeks to help those on the other side receives help in return in all the affairs of life.”
Help in return in all the affairs of life!
I love the phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Obedience in one area of the gospel can bring unrelated blessings in other areas of our lives. I testify that being in the Temple will lead to miracles in your life.
That is one reason we must return to the Temple.
#2 – This world is tough, tough place
Why do we need the Temple so badly in our lives? Because, life is hard, and it’s not going to get easier.
President Nelson pled that “we each implement extraordinary measures—perhaps measures we have never taken before—to strengthen our personal spiritual foundations.” He continued, “The Temple lies at the center of strengthening our faith and spiritual fortitude … Then, as we keep our covenants, He endows us with His healing, strengthening power. And oh, how we will need His power in the days ahead.”
Anthony Sweat in an amazing talk at BYU called “We Need an Endowment,” tells the story of the Saints in 1835. I’ll paraphrase his remarks:
The church is growing, the Kirtland Temple was almost completed, and converts were flocking to Ohio. Sounds pretty great, right? Well, think again. Joseph Smith speaking of this time said that “darkness prevails at this time [the same] as it was at the time Jesus Christ was about to be crucified.”
So, Joseph Smith, their watchman on the tower, could see that despite some obviously good things occurring, there was a darkness coming. Joseph then taught them that in order to survive this time of trial, “You need an endowment...”
Quoting Brother Sweat, “That was the key for them, and I believe it can be the key for us. We need an endowment! We need the strength that comes through the Temple.”
This is one reason full-time missionaries go to the Temple before they serve. A 2-year mission can be brutal, and without the blessings the Temple can bring it would be near impossible. This is how those brave pioneers found the strength to hike a thousand miles across the country. Because they had the power the Temple brings.
But we do not get this endowment of spiritual power by going to the Temple once. When Joseph Smith said we need an endowment to overcome spiritual challenges, he wasn’t just saying we need a religious ceremony. He was saying that we need an endowment of spiritual power. Which will only come by going to the Temple again and again over a lifetime.
President Thomas S. Monson promised that “As we go to the holy house, as we remember the covenants we make therein, we will be able to bear every trial and overcome each temptation.”
That is another reason we must return to the Temple.
#3 – Godly Power
Doctrine and Covenants section 109 contains the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple. In verse 22, the prophet Joseph Smith asks God “that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them.”
Did you catch that? As you emerge from the House of God, you can be armed with the power of God and have angels to watch over you.
President Nelson said the same thing in a different way. He promised that “More regular time in the Temple will allow the Lord to teach you how to draw upon His priesthood power with which you have been endowed in His Temple.”
Do you want godly power / priesthood power in your life?
And they all cried with one voice, saying (Mosiah 5:2): “Yes, Bishop, we wany godly power.”
Why wouldn’t you?
Nah, I’ve got this under control.
Nah, my life’s super easy.
Nah, why would I possibly want the help of an all-knowing, all-powerful deity.
Of course, you want God’s power and help in your life. Well, the Temple is where you get it. And to get it you have to go back again and again.
I’m sorry to the bearer of bad news, but everything in the gospel of Jesus Christ is a doing thing. Every blessing promised by God comes from doing, comes from work, from sacrifice. You want a testimony; you’ve got to put the time into the scriptures and prayer. You want the blessings of paying tithing, well you’ve got to pay it. You want to feel part of the family of Christ, you’ve got to start serving. You want godly power in your life, you’ve got to go to the Temple.
In 2004, the First Presidency invited members to “visit the Temple more often. Where time and circumstances permit, members are encouraged to replace some leisure activities with Temple service. … As we redouble our efforts and our faithfulness in going to the Temple, the Lord will bless us.””
Every blessing in the gospel of Jesus Christ requires work and sacrifice.
If you don’t currently have Temple recommend, I’m currently the guy to talk to. If you’ve got some spiritual work to do before you can go to the Temple, again, I’m the guy to talk to. If you just haven’t been in a while, don’t come talk to me, just go. You can book right on your phone right now. I’ll wait.
One of our ward goals for 2023 is to “Have a "Temple experience" at least one per month.” I plead with you to make the Temple a part of your life. I promise it will change your life. We’ve looked at 3 blessings that come from regular Temple attendance – (1) Miracles!, (2) Strength to endure, (3) Godly power. But I found 78 more! If there is blessing you need, it can be found in the Temple.
And as our wise prophet promised us, “If you don’t yet love to attend the Temple, go more often—not less.” Let us show our Heavenly Parents that the Belmead ward family is a Temple loving people.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.