Archive for the ‘temples’ Tag

Strength Through Temple Worship

Reading: “Honorably Hold a Name and a Standing,” Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, April 2009 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session

Before being called as an apostle Elder Bednar was able to speak to many temple presidents and ask them what they had learned from their service.  They consistently said that consistent temple worship blesses people with strength.  Elder Bednar explains,

As I listened to their answers, I discovered a consistent theme that I would summarize as follows: “I have come to understand better the protection available through our temple covenants and what it means to make an acceptable offering of temple worship. There is a difference between church-attending, tithe-paying members who occasionally rush into the temple to go through a session and those members who faithfully and consistently worship in the temple.”

Each of us is asked to worship in the temple regularly.  Sometimes it can be a challenge to consistently go to the temple.  All of us have commitments and restraints on our time. However, when we make the effort needed to go to the temple regularly we will be blessed.

Today I am going to call and arrange for a babysitter so my husband and I can go to the temple sometime this week.

How have you been blessed by going to the temple? What do you do to make regular temple worship work?

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Going to the Temple

Reading: “Temple Worship: The Source of Strength and Power in Times of Need,” Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, April 2009 General Conference, Saturday Afternoon Session

Making time to attend the temple can be a challenge.  Recently my husband and I moved from being in the same city as a temple to being in a city that took an hour travel time each way.  Ironically, however, this distance helped us to get more serious about our temple attendance.  For us the biggest difference was that a temple trip took much more planning, and so once it was planned you would go through with it no matter what.  With a temple in the same city it was too easy to put off a planned trip because some little thing came up, and keep putting it off until it was longer than we liked.

Elder Scott also talked about this phenomenon in the talk I read today.  He said,

I have seen that many times individuals have made great sacrifices to go to a distant temple. But when a temple is built close by, within a short time, many do not visit it regularly. I have a suggestion: When a temple is conveniently nearby, small things may interrupt your plans to go to the temple. Set specific goals, considering your circumstances, of when you can and will participate in temple ordinances. Then do not allow anything to interfere with that plan. This pattern will guarantee that those who live in the shadow of a temple will be as blessed as are those who plan far ahead and make a long trip to the temple.

Another thing I have noticed is that sacrifice in temple attendance also helps engender greater respect for the temple.  As a youth in California a temple trip was a big ordeal.  The temple was three hours away, so we usually would leave very early in the morning on a Saturday to do some baptisms and then do some other activity as a group in the area of the temple before coming home that evening.  Because temple trips were a big deal we learned to be extremely respectful as we attended the temple.  Later when I had the opportunity to attend the temple with a group of youth in the same city as a temple, for whom a temple trip was just another midweek activity, I was shocked at the amount of talking, laughing, and silliness that went on inside the temple.  It made me grateful for the sacrifices we made and the lesson it taught me about the sacredness of the temple.

Having a temple far away forces you to sacrifice to visit, but regular attendance at a close temple also can be a sacrifice as you strive to make attendance a higher priority than other seemingly important things.  I have often repeated the phrase that what sacrifice for you love, and I have certainly found that to be true with temples.

Today I am going to get in touch with a babysitter to plan our next temple trip.

Do you have a temple attendance goal?  What keeps you from attending the temple as much as you would like? What has helped you reach your temple attendance goal?

Covenants – Promises Made and Kept

Reading: “The Power of Covenants,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, April 2009 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

Yesterday I focused on one scripture in Elder Christofferson’s talk, so today I wanted to get to his real topic before I moved on.  (By the way, after I prayed yesterday things went much better – I was even able to take a mini-nap!)

A big feature of the LDS religion is that we believe in making covenants with God. The first covenant we make is baptism.  In this covenant we promise to obey God’s commandments and in exchange we are blessed with the Holy Ghost.  Each covenant we make involves promising God that we will obey and behave in some way, and God likewise promises to bless us in some way. Elder Christofferson explains:

We enter into covenants by priesthood ordinances, sacred rituals that God has ordained for us to manifest our commitment. Our foundational covenant, for example, the one in which we first pledge our willingness to take upon us the name of Christ, is confirmed by the ordinance of baptism. It is done individually, by name. By this ordinance, we become part of the covenant people of the Lord and heirs of the celestial kingdom of God.

Other sacred ordinances are performed in temples built for that very purpose. If we are faithful to the covenants made there, we become inheritors not only of the celestial kingdom but of exaltation, the highest glory within the heavenly kingdom, and we obtain all the divine possibilities God can give.

When you understand what a covenant means, you can see that it can be a great source of stength in our lives.  However, in order to gain that strength we must live up to the promises that we have made.

When I have tried to make a special effort to live up to the promises that I have made, I definitely find greater strength to deal with problems in my life.  Going to the temple especially helps me remember my covenants and live up to them.

Today I am going to write a list in my journal about the different covenants I have made, and then think about how I am doing at keeping those promises.

What helps you to honor your covenants?

General Conference Review

Reading: “Welcome to Conference,” President Monson, April 2009 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

In my last post I told you how much I hate moving.  I haven’t posted since then because we’ve been busy doing just that – moving.  We ended up moving much quicker than anticipated because we were able to sell the last two months of our contract to someone who needed to move in immediately.  We are currently staying with family until we are able to move into the apartment in Provo we have rented for the summer. I will do my best to get back into the routine of posting every day while we are here.

I still hate moving, by the way. Although the move did go very well, so I probably shouldn’t complain.

And thus begins my review of the April 2009 general conference.  Today I read President Monson’s review of the things he has done since the last session of conference, particularly the dedication of several temples.  He says,

Now, my brothers and sisters, I am pleased to report that the Church is doing very well. The work of the Lord continues to move forward uninterrupted.

I think it is wonderful that temples are continuing to be built across the globe.  When I think of the incredible sacrifice that our ancestors went through in order to build the early temples, it makes me happy to wonder what they would think of what we have been able to do today.

Today I am going to get in touch with my brother in Rexburg and see if he would like to go to a session at the new Rexburg temple with me while we are staying up here.

What else has happened over the past year that shows that the work of the Lord continues to move forward?  Anything big? Anything small that means something to you?

Celestial Marriage

Reading: “Celestial Marriage,” Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, October 2008 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints families are important.  Families are, quite literally, what it’s all about.  As Elder Nelson says in the talk I read today,

All Church activities, advancements, quorums, and classes are means to the end of an exalted family.

The foundation of any family is a marriage.  God would like for us to be married in the temple.  As Elder Nelson says,

Only those who are married in the temple and whose marriage is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise will continue as spouses after death and receive the highest degree of celestial glory, or exaltation.

When we go through the temple we make covenants with God.  When we keep those covenants we become worthy of the greatest blessings God has to give.

A true celestial marriage takes two worthy people.  Sometimes worthy people are unable to find a good relationship with another worthy person.  Or, sometimes only one member of the marriage remains true to the covenants they made.  It is clear that God will bless us according to the desires of our own hearts, and not punish those who are truly trying to live his commandments.  Elder Ballard says,

Be we all reminded that, in the Lord’s own way and time, no blessings will be withheld from His faithful Saints.The Lord will judge and reward each individual according to heartfelt desire as well as deed.

However, we should not mistake this mercy of God for laxness in his commandments.  It is clear that those who have the opportunity to marry in the temple but who choose not to will not gain the blessings either in this life or the next.  Elder Ballard says,

On occasion, I read in a newspaper obituary of an expectation that a recent death has reunited that person with a deceased spouse, when, in fact, they did not choose the eternal option. Instead, they opted for a marriage that was valid only as long as they both should live. Heavenly Father had offered them a supernal gift, but they refused it.

When I was younger I did not understand the importance of the temple of covenant of marriage.  Perhaps because they did not want to offend members who were not married in the temple, or perhaps because they did not understand themselves the importance, the teachers I had never explained that being married in the temple is a commandment and that if I was not married in the temple that I would never be able to obtain the highest degree of glory.  I really wish they had, because if I had made the wrong choices as a teenager it would have affected me for the rest of eternity.  Luckily, I did resolve to marry in the temple and my resolve carried me through even with an incomplete understanding of why those choices were important.

The part of this talk that pertains most to me right now is Elder Nelson’s comments on how we should honor our marriage.  He says,

Harmony in marriage comes only when one esteems the welfare of his or her spouse among the highest of priorities. When that really happens, a celestial marriage becomes a reality, bringing great joy in this life and in the life to come.

I believe very strongly that the true measure of love comes not in the strength of feeling, but in the level of sacrifice you are willing to make for that person.  When I put the relationship of my husband and I as my highest priority, we are so much happier.  When I put other things ahead, such as my comfort or pride or happiness, then we are less happy.  It’s pretty much that simple.

An important thing I only fully understood recently was that when you put the relationship first, it is different than putting your spouse first.  If you put your spouse first you may feel like you should never tell them when you disagree or when your feelings are hurt.  If you put yourself first you will use hurtful, angry language when you are hurt or angry.  The highest action, and the hardest, is to find ways to talk peacefully and respectfully even when you are both angry and hurt.

Today I am going to tell my husband how grateful I am that we are married and both work so hard to keep our relationship as our first priority. We are certainly not perfect and sometimes we both do things that we shouldn’t, but we are certainly both working on it, and I am very very grateful for that.

This was a really long post as there were so many things I felt were important to write about, thing I wish I had known before, things I am grateful I did know, and things that have made my life what it is today.

How do you keep your marriage on the right course? If you are not married, how are you preparing for a temple marriage?

New Temples

Reading: President Thomas S. Monson’s Saturday Morning Address, October 2008 General Conference

Today I listened to the audio of President Monson’s introduction to the General Conference last Saturday.  In his short blurb he first talked about temples.  He talked about the programs that have been put together in celebration of new temples, and how he supports that as a great opportunity for you to participate in “something they will never forget.”  He then announced several new temples that were organized.

Recently I read someone questioning whether having all of these temples around lessens the specialness of the temples.  On a superficial level, I think this is definitely the case.  In my ward in California the time and effort it took to plan and take a trip to the temple taught us to respect the temple greatly.  When I later had the opportunity to go on a youth temple trip with a ward in Idaho Falls, where they see the temple every day, I was shocked at the lack of respect and irreverence the youth had in the temple.  It is true that familiarity can lead us to lack respect.

At the same time, though, I think that this is a small price to pay for the opportunity of having a temple nearby.  When you do not have to go so far to visit a temple, it relieves a great burden, especially for those who are disabled or poor, or who have very little time.  It is up to us to maintain our respect for the temples despite the fact that we do not have to sacrifice so much to go.  If we grow careless in our temple worship, we should blame ourselves, not the church’s new policy on temple building.

Another thing that President Monson talked about in his introduction is an appeal to members to pray for missionary work.  He said that when the church prayed for missionary work to be extended at the behest of President Kimball (I think) the work made great leaps and bounds.

So, today, I am going to pray for missionary work to be extended into lands where it is now not possible for the church to go.  And, try to make it a habit, since President Monson requested it.

What do you think about the new temples?  Did you have any other thoughts about President Monson’s address?

Just fyi, I am going to wait until the transcripts are available to write about any more conference adresses.  Until then I feel the need to study Preach My Gospel.

Temple Worship

Reading: “Holy Temples, Sacred Covenants,” Syliva H. Allred, First Counsellor in the General Relief Society Presidency, General Relief Society Meeting, Sept 28, 2008

I am so glad to be married in the temple.  It is wonderful to know that my husband and I are sealed together for eternity.  And, through that covenant we are eligible (so far as we are worthy) for God’s greatest blessings.

Sister Allred’s talk was a great overview about the purpose of temples and the need for us to go to the temple regularly.

Most of what I read were things that I had heard before, although I could understand the importance of making sure all sisters understand this important information.  One thing, though, stood out to me especially.  That is that when we go to the temple we learn through the spirit.  She says,

The temple is a house of learning. Much of the instruction imparted in the temple is symbolic and learned by the Spirit. This means we are taught from on high. Temple covenants and ordinances are a powerful symbol of Christ and His atonement. We all receive the same instruction, but our understanding of the meaning of the ordinances and covenants will increase as we return to the temple often with the attitude of learning and contemplating the eternal truths taught.

It is important to listen to the Spirit when go to the temple.  That is the best way to learn what God would like us to learn.

Lately I have been trying to figure out how we can go to the temple now that our little girl doesn’t need to be nursed every 2-3 hours.  It is a new challenge to arrange a time to go to the temple.  However, I found that in the past it was often easy for us to put off going to the temple because the time never seemed right.  Now that we have to arrange a time before hand it may be better because we will not be able to put it off so lightly.

How do you make time to go to the temple when you also need to take care of little children, and don’t have much money for a babysitter?  Really, I would love to know your secrets.