Sister Burton: Prepare for the Temple
Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor
- The Lord blesses those who prepare themselves to worthily enter the temple and are faithful to temple covenants.
“Those who wish to qualify for exaltation in the celestial kingdom are expected to live a higher standard of obedience that comes by practicing the virtue of obedience day by day and drop by drop.” —Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president
As Latter-day Saint women prepare themselves to worthily enter the temple and are faithful to temple covenants, the Lord will bestow “a multiplicity of blessings” upon them, said Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president.
“It is my prayer that for us, going to the temple will be much more than a one-time event,” she said. “May we prepare to worthily receive saving ordinances drop by drop and keep the associated covenants wholeheartedly. As we do so, I know we will qualify to receive the promised blessings of a fulness of the Holy Ghost and the power of the Lord in our homes and individual lives.”
Speaking during the Church’s general women’s meeting on September 27, Sister Burton addressed the topic “Prepared in a Manner That Never Had Been Known.”
She recalled the first day of school for her youngest daughter, Brynne. The day went fine. However, when she woke the little girl up for school the following day, the child firmly stated, “I already went to school!”
“Apparently I had not prepared her or explained that going to school was not a one-time event but that she was expected to go to school five days a week for many, many years,” explained Sister Burton.
Speaking of the principle of being prepared, Sister Buton asked the congregation to imagine seeing a new bride in the celestial room of the temple. “Her demeanor seems to say, ‘How grateful I am to be in the Lord’s house today, ready to begin an eternal journey with a beloved eternal companion.’”
Sister Burton said the bride seems “prepared for much more than just an event.”
She said Latter-day Saints can receive inspiration and revelation in the temple―and also power to cope with the adversities of life.
Reading a note she received from her teenage granddaughter, Sister Burton said as this young woman takes her own family names to do temple baptisms and confirmations, she is preparing to receive additional temple ordinances, covenants, and blessings.
Quoting Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles she said, “As temples are prepared for the people, the people need to prepare themselves for the temple.”
Sister Burton said Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon prepared the Nephites to withstand the frightening Lamanite army.
“Behold, to [the Lamanites’] uttermost astonishment, [the Nephites] were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known” (Alma 49:8; italics added), she said. “How can we better prepare for sacred temple blessings?”
Sister Burton asked the congregation to consider a spiritual pattern to help them prepare well for the temple.
“Moroni’s preparation for the enemy took consistent and faithful diligence, and this pattern will require the same,” she said.
She spoke of the parable of the 10 virgins told by the Savior.
“Though this parable refers to being prepared for the Second Coming of our Savior, we could also liken it to being prepared for temple blessings, which can be like a spiritual feast for those who are well prepared.”
The parable, found in Matthew 25, recounts the story of five wise virgins and five foolish ones. The wise took oil in their vessels. The foolish had no oil and could not meet the bridegroom when he came.
“I don’t think there is anyone, especially among those with tender hearts, who doesn’t feel sad for the foolish young women,” said Sister Burton. “And some of us just want to say to the others, ‘Can’t you just share so everyone can be happy?’ But think about it. This is a story the Savior told, and He is the one who calls five of them wise and five of them foolish.”
Sister Burton told the congregation that as they consider the parable as a pattern for temple preparation, they must also consider the words of a latter-day prophet, who taught that the oil of spiritual preparedness cannot be shared.
“President Spencer W. Kimball helped clarify why the five wise young women could not share the oil in their lamps with those who were foolish when he said, ‘Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures—each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thought and actions … these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps.’”
Sister Burton added, “Can you see the pattern of preparedness—drop by drop—that can help us as we think how we might be more diligent in our preparation to receive sacred ordinances for ourselves and others? What other small and simple things might we do to add precious spiritual drops of oil to our lamps of preparation?”
She said personal worthiness is an essential requirement to enjoy the blessings of the temple.
“We are reminded in the Bible Dictionary, ‘Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness,’” she said. “Do our homes or apartments fit that description? … It may be worthwhile for us to check ourselves now and then to make sure our homes are places we are prepared to feel the Spirit. As we prepare our homes to be places where the Spirit is welcome, we will be prepared to feel more at home when we enter the house of the Lord.”
Sister Burton said because Latter-day Saints come to the temple to receive eternal blessings, it should not surprise them that a higher standard is required to qualify for those blessings.
“World-class athletes and university doctoral students spend hours and days and weeks and months and even years of preparation,” she said. “Daily drops of preparation are required of them to come out on top. Likewise, those who wish to qualify for exaltation in the celestial kingdom are expected to live a higher standard of obedience that comes by practicing the virtue of obedience day by day and drop by drop.”