Come to the Temple! Come to the Temple!
Contributed by Colin Mangham of the Abbotsford British Columbia Stake
"The temple is a place of peace and a school for learning eternal things for which our spirits hunger."
- President Gordon B. Hinckley
A few Sundays ago as we were leaving church, our three-year-old grandson exclaimed as he looked at the temple, “Mom, I know what the angel Moroni is doing at the top of the temple! He’s blowing his horn and saying, ‘Come to the temple, come to the temple!’” He had picked this up in his Sunbeam class and was eager to tell us. We laughed at this innocent exclamation. But as I thought about it and the scripture in Revelation 14:6 that we associate with Moroni -- “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” – I realized that in a very real way, our grandson was right. All roads in the gospel lead ultimately to the temple. My experience with the temple is probably similar to that of many church members who remember a time when there was no temple close by. I knew the temple was important, but because of distance my attendance was not as regular as it should have been.
In 2010 when the Vancouver Temple opened, my wife and I were called to be ordinance workers. It was then that it began to sink in that the temple is not just a part of our church or a part of our beliefs or faith; it is absolutely central to our faith, our beliefs and our eternal salvation. I have learned some things that help me make the temple central to my membership and to my daily life.
First, the temple is a place of peace and a school for learning eternal things for which our spirits hunger. President Gordon B. Hinckley writes that the temple..“becomes a school of instruction in the sweet and sacred things of God. ” [Endowed from on High, p. 2].
To be able to learn and be taught in the temple “school” requires humility, patience, reverence, and letting go of outside concerns.
“Sometimes our minds are so beset with problems, and there are so many things clamoring for attention at once, that we just cannot think clearly and see clearly. At the temple, the dust of distraction seems to settle out, the fog and the haze seem to lift, and we can “see” things that we were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known.” [Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple, p. 36, 2002.]
It is important for me to stop for a moment before going into the temple and to mentally put aside cares and anxieties so that I might devote myself to the things of the Lord. We can be taught by the Spirit as we clear our minds and focus on what we are doing and why. My spirit yearns for the peace and eternal perspective the temple offers.
Second, I have come to understand that it takes steady temple attendance for me to learn and understand the eternal things of the temple and their application to me and my family. It takes time and reinforcement to develop the deeper understanding and perspective I need to serve my family and others more effectively.
Third, in my experience, attendance at the temple is of such profound spiritual worth that the adversary is always on hand to distract us from going. I have found the following to be true:
“Temples are the very center of the spiritual strength of the Church. We should expect that the adversary will try to interfere with us as a Church and with us individually as we seek to participate in this sacred and inspired work …Temple work brings so much resistance because it is the source of so much spiritual power to the Latter-day Saints, and to the entire Church.” [Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple, p. 35, 2002.]
I have learned that setting a specific time to go to the temple is essential. By setting aside a specific time, we can keep from letting other things interfere.
A fourth principle is the meaning of the scripture from Malachi quoted by Moroni to Joseph Smith:
D&C 2:1 Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
2 And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
We have committed to help our ancestors by going to the temple and performing the ordinances for them that they are unable to do for themselves. I have also learned that it is not important to know whether any of those individuals has accepted the gospel. As President Hinckley said:
“In most cases, we do not know those for whom we work. We expect no thanks. We have no assurance that they will accept that which we offer. But we go, and in that process we attain to a state that comes of no other effort. We literally become saviors on Mount Zion.” [Closing Remarks, October 2004 General Conference]
Finally, and most important to me, I have learned that, as with any gospel principle, only by actually going to the temple and serving can we really gain a testimony and understanding of its truth and importance. The temple nourishes us spiritually as nothing else can.
I love the statue of Moroni and what it represents, especially with my little grandson’s words forever etched in my mind, “Come to the temple, come to the temple!”