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The inability to attend the temple has hit worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent interview with Elder David A. Bednar, he said:
“Perhaps for a little longer we cannot be physically in the temple, but is the temple in us? Are the covenants and ordinances in us? I think we have been compelled to reflect on, remember, and cherish temple covenants and ordinances in ways we may not have otherwise appreciated.”
In his new book, God's Formula For Success, Randy Bott writes:
The temple is specifically designated for the “salvation of Zion.” If we know what we are looking for, it is much easier to identify it. Just attending the temple provides a very visually pleasing experience in a surreal environment— but there is much, much more.
First, it is a place of thanksgiving. Quietly sitting in the celestial room, without any distractions, one is able to mentally review blessings that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Second, the temple is a place of instruction in all of our callings. At first glance, one may think that refers to the bishop or Relief Society president or Sunday School teacher, which it does. However, those are all callings from which we will be released. The most important (and eternal) callings from which we will never be released are husband, wife, father, mother, and grandparents.
Third, the temple is a “perfecting place” for every aspect of our lives because everything we do pertains to the kingdom of God on the earth. Whether we are working on personal perfection, family issues, employment challenges, Church callings, or understanding gospel principles and doctrine, the temple is “the Lord’s university.”
The gospel is only a blessing (in fact the greatest of all blessings) if we learn and live the commandments. If we embrace it and subsequently fail to live those saving principles, the gospel becomes the “heaviest of all cursings.”
The same principle exists regarding the temple. It is the supernal blessing of God to His spirit children if we enter, learn, and live the covenants we make. However, just “going through the temple” without the “temple going through you” is not a blessing.
Preparing people for the temple is an ongoing challenge. When the age limit was lowered for missionary service, it was seen by all as a great blessing. However, it has also opened the doors of the temples to young men and women who need much more preparation to be able to understand and live the covenants they make. Isaiah saw the problem and proffered the solution:
“Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:9–10).
Thankfully that is the way understanding of the temple ordinances occurs—line upon line and precept upon precept. Unfortunately, in today’s hurry-up, throw-away world, far too many temple goers’ first time through is also their last time through. What a tragedy.
The key to growing in understanding of the temple is given by the Lord: “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you” (D&C 50:24–25).
It seems the keys to getting the most of our temple experience is to go worthily, to go often, and to go with an open mind willing to let the Spirit teach you. As you patiently fulfill your duty in the family and the Church, the Lord will magnify you until you evolve into a perfect, exalted being.
Elder Bednar ended his interview stating: “When it is safe, we will be able to move forward. It may also necessitate some adjustments to how we do things. One of the great blessings of the pandemic is that we are finding even better ways in the Church to accomplish the Lord’s work.”
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!
You can read Randy Bott's new book, God's Formula for Success, currently on sale at cedarfort.com.