During the Saturday morning session of this month’s General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LDS apostle Elder Richard G. Scott addressed the subject of Temple Worship. This talk has had a significant impact upon our family. When we heard the following words, the message sank deep into our souls, and spurred us to action:
“Because I love you, I am going to speak to you heart to heart, without mincing words. 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.”
Our family falls under the category of “living in the shadow of the temple”. Literally. A glorious LDS temple is within a 20 minute walk from our home, or a 5 minute car ride. Thus, Elder Scott’s words took on a personal meaning, and bore deep into our hearts. First, we felt the great need to repent for not attending the temple as often as we possibly could. Second, we felt a deep desire to make changes, and follow Elder Scott’s counsel.
CONSIDERING OUR CIRCUMSTANCES
As a family, we first considered our specific circumstances. Both my husband and I are endowed temple recommend holders. Which means, we are eligible to perform all ordinances within the temple on behalf of deceased ancestors. Both of our children are now old enough to hold youth temple recommends. Which means, they are eligible to perform temple baptisms and confirmations on behalf of deceased ancestors.
Therefore, our personal circumstance allows for us to attend the temple together as a family.
A SPECIFIC GOAL
When visiting LDS Temples.com we discovered that there are currently thirteen operating temples within a three hour travel radius of our home! When expanding the travel time incrementally by hour, the tally of temples rises.
What a marvelous time we live in, when temples dot the earth!
Therefore, our family set the specific goal that we would arise early on Saturday mornings and travel to a different temple each week on the list we had compiled.
LET NOTHING INTERFERE
Elder Scott wisely cautioned that conflicts will naturally arise to potentially sway us from meeting our goal. We looked ahead on our calendar and noticed a few conflicts on Saturday mornings which had the potential to derail our goal. Therefore, we resolved that the most important part of our goal was to attend the temple weekly. No matter which temple, or day. If attending on a Saturday is impossible, we have resolved to schedule our temple trip on a different evening of that particular week.
BLESSINGS FROM HEAVEN
Today marks our second “Family Temple Day”, and we have already experienced many blessings. On our Temple Day, prior to leaving our home, we kneel in prayer thanking our Father in Heaven for the blessing of being able to attend the temple. We ask for a safe journey, and for the holy spirit to touch our hearts. We also pray for those deseased ancestors whom we will be performing sacred ordinances for that day. Traveling to and from the temple we play sacred music, and we read historical facts about the temple we are attending, including portions of the dedicatory prayer (easily found online). Upon our arrival, we take some time to enjoy the sacred temple grounds and beautiful landscaping. We find someone to take our family photo in order to commemorate our temple visit. Then, we enter the temple reverently, prepared to serve with joyful hearts. If the temple has a cafeteria, we enjoy eating a meal together. Doing so not only allows us to spend extra time within the temple as a family, but the food is also priced reasonably.
As my family and I traveled home from the temple today, we took the time to share our experience and impressions with each other. Many recalled the names of those whom we performed vicarious work for, the date or location of their birth. This morning for example, my daughter shared how touching it was to be proxy for a woman born in 1575. We reflected upon how long that sweet sister had been waiting for her baptism day!
TEMPLE IN OUR HEARTS
Every Latter-day Saint has a different situation. On one end of the spectrum are members who still live such a long distance away from a temple that they must save for many years in order to travel for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. On the opposite spectrum are members who have multiple temples within their daily reach. The majority of members have circumstances which lie somewhere inbetween. No matter what our situation may be, great blessings await us as we strive to set specific goals to go to the House of The Lord, to receive His blessings, and to keep the temple forever in our hearts. - MoSop
“…when we keep the temple covenants we have made and when we live righteously in order to maintain the blessings promised by those ordinances, then come what may, we have no reason to worry or to feel despondent…the Lord has restored His gospel in its fulness, including the ordinances that are required for us to be happy in the world and to live everlastingly happy lives in the hereafter.”
- Elder Richard G. Scott