Sunday, December 25, 2011

Temples a Place of Thanksgiving, of Learning and of God

Gilbert Arizona Mormon Temple
Gilbert Arizona Temple
Through all gospel dispensations, God has commanded men to build temples. From the mobile tabernacle of Moses' time to Solomon's gold-furnished temple to the temples of ancient America and the dozens of temples on the earth today, this commandment has been consistent throughout all of time.

In our own dispensation, the Lord has accompanied the command to build with an explanation of why we build temples and how we will be rewarded building and frequenting these sacred structures.

Speaking of why we have temples, the Lord teaches they are built:

For a place of thanksgiving for all saints, and for a place of instruction... That [we] may be perfected in the understanding of [our] ministry, in theory, in principle, and in doctrine, in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God on the earth. ~D&C 97:13-14

The Lord gives two reasons for temples: first, as a place of thanksgiving; and second, for a place of instruction. How often do you visit the temple to give thanks for an experience, something you have learned or a blessing you have been given? Do you seek to learn more about your life's mission, about gospel doctrine or about the Lord's earthly kingdom while participating in temple ordinances?

If we build temples in the name of the Lord and keep it holy, the Lord promises:

My glory shall rest upon it; Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God. ~D&C 97:15-16

The spirit of God is present in the temple. We progress toward exaltation, toward returning to the presence of God, as we participate in temple ordinances. As we attend the temple with pure hearts, we will also see God in temple; we will recognize the spirit, the divinity and the authority where a proud or impure heart may find only religious rituals of debatable value.

The Lord has commanded the Saint of His Church to build temples around the world. In so doing, the Lord extends an opportunity to express gratitute, to understand His plan for us, to feel of His spirit and to see God. If we are worthy, we should take advantage of the opportunity extended to us by attending the temple. If unworthy, we should strive to become worthy. As we strive to do what is asked of us, we will be accepted of Him:

Verily I say unto you, all amoung [you] who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice--yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command--they are accepted of me. ~D&C 97:8

No sacrifice is so great that it isn't worth trading for the blessings the Lord has in store for us. Those blessings, including exaltation, await as we worthily attend the Lord's temple.

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