The temple is for everyone
I just want everyone to know ~ the blessings of the temple are for YOU, no matter your age or circumstance. The temple is for ALL of God’s children! If, for any reason, you don’t have a temple recommend at this time, you can still experience blessings of the temple simply by putting yourself near it and believing (or even hoping) in the light that each temple emanates. The grounds around all temples of the restored gospel are not only beautiful, they are sacred and holy.
I can testify that Elder Ballard's words are true. About a week after Elder Ballard posted this quote on Facebook, I decided my family needed extra help and holiness so my husband and I took Sam, my then 4-year-old, and Chloe my then 10-year-old daughter with special needs, to the Salt Lake temple grounds. Watching Chloe go from discomfort to peace and joy and watching her talk in her very sacred and special way at the Christus were experiences I will never, ever forget. But as sacred and special was when Sam stopped when it was time to leave. He just stopped. “What’s wrong, buddy?” With tears in his eyes he said, “I don’t want to leave.” I said, “Oh, bud, I know. This is a special place, isn’t it?” “Yes, Mom. It makes me want to just hug everyone.” I was able to explain that he was feeling the Holy Ghost. What a teaching moment! I hope he learned something as well. ;)
I was grateful to speak about this topic on January 20th. It was exactly 15 years ago, January 20, 2004, that I received my endowment in the Salt Lake temple. It could just be a coincidence, but I am glad I noticed and have been thinking about what led me to that choice at that time.
I had been considering going through the temple for awhile, but I just wasn’t confident in myself… I guess I just wasn’t certain if I understood enough to do so. But something significant swayed my decision to go through. A friend in my singles ward at the time had been converted to the restored gospel in her early 20’s. She had been raised by a minister in another Christian denomination, attended private Christian schools, and was pursuing an education in Theology. She was a true expert on the Bible. But the deeper she got in her study of the Bible, there was one thing that kept nagging at her. ‘Where is our temple? We need a temple!’ She was a woman of great faith and sought her answers from correct sources: on her knees in prayer and stillness and studying the scriptures. The more she did so, the more she knew that no matter how much truth and light she already had, there was more promised in the Bible. And not just something small, but something critically important. When she sought the temple, she found the fulness of the gospel. When she chose to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, her entire family, all of her friends, and all of her teachers and professors disowned her. Though her heart was broken, she pressed forward in faith. She knew that the temple would bless not only her in this life, but had the power to bless ALL OF THEM if they would receive those blessings in eternity. And she was willing to sacrifice those earthly relationships for the hope and promise of eternity.
Her knowledge and powerful testimony of the temple was like a lighthouse to me, shining bright and leading me home. I am forever grateful. Never underestimate your potential to influence the lives of others.
President Nelson’s Quote
President Nelson had this to say in the April 2018 conference (and he repeated this quote almost word for word in October):
My bishop asked me to give a sacrament talk to answer how time in the temple can change lives. This post is a result of my preparation for that talk. I'm not attempting to make an all-inclusive list, but I will share a few things I have experienced that truly have changed my life.
We live in a fallen world. Not one of us is perfect and not one of us is without significant trials and heartaches, but I can personally testify that the house of the Lord truly can bring relief. His Spirit dwells there and can fill the empty spaces in our minds, bodies, and spirits. His Spirit and the accompanying divine influences can and do create a healing balm to the unseen wounds of souls in pain.
The temple projects our brief moment in mortality onto the wide screen of eternity. -Neil L. Andersen
Even just looking at a temple provides perspective. It points to the sky. It is filled with light. It is beautiful. There are many symbols in the architecture of each unique building with deep eternal truths attached (I highly recommend this book to study that more in depth).
Even deeper learning is available as we ponder the ordinances, covenants, and symbols within the temple. Our souls know that time is an illusion and our divine nature is at home in the celestial air. We are flooded with reminders of our divine identity, heritage, and destiny. We are taught and reminded that this is not the beginning nor is it the end. Our lives and our relationships, especially family relationships sealed in the covenant of the holy priesthood, are eternal.
As we look at each moment with an eternal perspective, problems minimize, priorities become clear, minutia becomes irrelevant, hope becomes an anchor, and healing begins.
The spirit seems to flow much more freely in the temple, but it can only flow in us when we are open! I find that entering the temple with a specific question almost always results in specific answers or direction that eventually leads to the answer.
“Revelation almost always comes in response to a question. Usually an urgent question.” -Jeffrey R. Holland
It’s important to note, though, that God’s ways certainly are not our ways. Let me give one example.
One specific visit to the temple, I carried some thoughts and a question in my heart: ’Lord, you have promised that if we ask, we will receive.. You have promised that all things are possible through Christ. Yet I have requested healing of my loved ones and have not received the blessings. Why are they not being healed?’ I left the temple that time discouraged that I didn’t have an answer. I paused to look at the temple one last time before I drove out of the parking lot. I was still searching for guidance when I saw angel Moroni. As I contemplated what would occur when that trump really does sound, the answer distilled upon me:
'Complete physical healing will occur for ALL in my time frame. Though miraculous physical healing is possible for many, it is not what needs to be healed in your family at this time. The emotional, mental, and spiritual healing that is necessary is possible through these physical hardships.'
This was NOT the answer I was seeking and most definitely not the answer I thought I wanted. But as I documented it and started looking from His higher and holier perspective, my plea turned to gratitude, for I could see that souls were being stretched, hearts softened, and faith profoundly increased.
4-Protection & Power
"If you accept [the challenge to bring names to the temple], blessings will begin to flow to you and your family…
I have experienced miracles I would associate with temple covenants more than once, but one particular experience stands out and keeps coming to mind recently. I share this sacred experience solely to testify of Jesus Christ, His atonement, and the blessings associated with covenants made in the Lord's house.
In August of 2017, my then 3-year-old son and I were driving home to Salt Lake City after a visit with my brother's family in Montana. We stopped in Pocatello to grab a bite to eat and ended up in an area I had never been before, near the university. I noticed that the streets were one-way, but didn't think too much about it. We enjoyed a break for a half hour or so, then got back in the car. My son was busy asking for a snack, even though we just ate and we weren't even out of the parking lot yet, so my attention was partially focused on him as I exited the parking lot onto the street (a different side of the parking lot than I had entered, so this was a street I had never been on). If there was a sign reminding drivers that the street went one direction only, I didn't see it. I turned north onto a south-only street and immediately saw that I was facing a large pickup truck. It was a split second, so I don't know if I slammed on my brakes or let off the gas or if I did anything at all, but I do remember gasping and anticipating a horrific impact. Instead, I experienced... nothing. I was just suddenly at a stop and saw a truck in my rear view mirror. I looked to my left to see a woman in a car facing southbound and she was also stopped. Both of our mouths were open. I do not know what she just saw, and I wanted to know, but I recognized that I was still facing north on a (thankfully not very busy) south-only one-way road. So I promptly drove to the next parking lot and exited the street. I waited in the parking lot for about 5 minutes, praying with overwhelming gratitude that my son, myself, and the driver of that truck had been spared from what could have been a horrible accident. I hoped the driver of the truck or the witness in the car might come so we could talk about what happened. I knew it wasn't likely, but I wanted to understand. After a few minutes, I was able to get back on a different road, going the correct direction, and resumed my journey home. As I drove, I cherished those 3-year-old conversations more than ever before. I kept replaying the moment over and over. I know I didn't swerve. I know the other driver didn't have time to swerve. I know the lady could not believe what she had seen. My heart was drawn out in prayer and I ultimately felt an assurance that we had been protected because of covenants.
If I hadn't experienced it, I wouldn't believe it or would probably think some exaggeration had occurred. But here's the thing: I did experience it. I know I'm not exaggerating. I know we were protected. I do not understand how, scientifically or logically speaking. But I do know that the Creator's creations obey His voice. I know that the atonement of Jesus Christ fills time and space. I know that light overcomes darkness. And I know that the work done in the house of the Lord covers His people with a promise and protection. And God keeps His promises.
So… how does your time in the temple actually change your life?
HOW do the peace, perspective, answers to prayer, protection, power, and other blessings available at the temple change your life? Well, the answer is…
It's up to YOU.
The principle most precious to our loving Heavenly Father is our freedom to choose, and the blessings of the temple and gifts of the spirit are no exception.
You can choose to go to the temple and just go through the motions (and there are blessings in that) or you can choose to let the spirit of the temple go through YOU and STAY with you.
If or when that spirit disappears, then you can ponder… what could I start, stop, or keep doing to keep that spirit a little longer next time? Is there something I think, say, watch, or read that is driving the spirit away? Is it worth it?
Just as we read ‘Holiness to the Lord’ as we enter the temple, we can remember that our body is a temple and develop patterns that invite holiness into our daily lives. This was a theme I noticed from the most recent conference and here are just a handful of those quotes that stood out:
Take more time to ponder and meditate on spiritual matters. -Henry B. Eyring
Seek spirituality in your daily life. -Ronald A. Rasband
Foster greater personal worship. -Russell M. Nelson
We must encourage spirituality in others as well as ourselves. -Ronald A. Rasband
Develop holy habits. -Gerrit W. Gong
As we clothe ourselves in the light available at the temple, we can reap the benefit of the truth that light cleaves to light. So if we take the light given to us in the temple with us, then it will attract additional light. This is possible through consistent efforts to make time for holiness, spirituality, personal worship, and stillness. A routine to create holiness will change the atmosphere of your home, creating a sacred space for the spirit to dwell. And as we create holy places, guess what… WE become a holy vessel where a portion of the spirit of the temple can dwell and shine a light for all those within their sphere of influence.
Our homes are sacred places where the spirit can abound - as much as, and sometimes even more than, in our formal places of worship. -Bishop Gerald Causse
WOW! Our homes can become holy! It is simply up to us! And as we stand in holy places, guess what… WE can become holy as well.
Let the people be holy, and the earth under their feet will be holy. -Brigham Young
So.. HOW does our time in the temple surely change our lives? It gives us access to the power that changes lives. It gives us access to the love that changes hearts. It gives access to the wisdom that inspires minds.
In short, the temple will give you access to Jesus Christ.
In Him and through Him, YOU can be lifted, healed, enabled, and delivered. The process of experiencing His saving grace and His redemptive love SURELY will change you. Come as you are, He always tells us, but, he adds, don’t plan to stay as you are. He sanctifies. He makes holy. He redeems. He will do it for you. Yet He invites all - on both sides of the veil! There is nothing more infinite or eternal. And we are invited to take part in that. It is amazing.
Repeat in your mind, ‘I am a child of God and He has sent me HERE.’ And think about that. He has sent you HERE. This place. 2019. There are dozens of temples just a short drive away from my home, accessible by automobile. With all the places in all the world and all the centuries since the beginning of the earth and YOU get to be HERE, NOW! I hope we recognize the gift that is and I hope we are eager to participate.
I pray we can receive the blessings petitioned in D&C 109:22 at the dedication of the Kirtland temple:
I pray that we may remember, seek, and prioritize these profound blessings.