Viewpoint: Temples Are a “Beacon to the World”
Contributed By the Church News
- Saints from around the world describe the temple as a refuge and eternal investment.
- As worthy members attend the temple, they will feel spirituality and peace.
- One can enter the temple by being obedient to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.
“[Temples] are filled with faith and fasting. They are built of trials and testimonies. They are sanctified by sacrifice and service.” —President Thomas S. Monson
Latter-day Saints in Suva, Fiji, refer to their temple as a “refuge.” The temple was first dedicated amid political turmoil and rededicated as Cyclone Winston struck their nation.
Church members in Sapporo, Japan, say their temple stands as an “investment.” The size of the temple district, which has 8,000 members, is small when compared to the size of the 48,480-square-foot temple. But the Lord knows of the growth that will occur in the area.
In Freiberg, Germany, Latter-day Saints speak of their temple as a tribute to “reverence and resilience.” Despite being essentially blocked from the Church by the Iron Curtain of communism three decades ago, the faithful members in the city came to have a temple of their own.
And when members speak of the Provo City Center Temple, they use words such as “rebirth” or “beauty for ashes,” because the temple was constructed inside the historic Provo Tabernacle, which was gutted by fire.
These are just four of the seven temples dedicated or rededicated this year. Even though members around the world use different words to describe the temples in their cities, each edifice stands as a sacred place where heaven and earth meet and where members can draw closer to their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and learn of Them.
As worthy members attend the temple, they will feel spirituality and peace, said President Thomas S. Monson during his April 2015 general conference address. “As I think of temples, my thoughts turn to the many blessings we receive therein,” President Monson explained. “As we enter through the doors of the temple, we leave behind us the distractions and confusion of the world. Inside this sacred sanctuary, we find beauty and order. There is rest for our souls and a respite from the cares of our lives.
“As we attend the temple, there can come to us a dimension of spirituality and a feeling of peace which will transcend any other feeling which could come into the human heart. …
“Such peace can permeate any heart—hearts that are troubled, hearts that are burdened down with grief, hearts that feel confusion, hearts that plead for help” (“Blessings of the Temple”).
The Bible Dictionary defines temples as a literal “house of the Lord, a holy sanctuary in which sacred ceremonies and ordinances of the gospel are performed by and for the living and also in behalf of the dead. A place where the Lord may come, it is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley said in his April 1990 general conference address that everything that occurs in the temple is eternal in its consequences. “We there deal with matters of immortality, with things of eternity, with things of man and his relationship to his Divine Parent and his Redeemer. Hands must be clean and hearts must be pure and thoughts concerned with the solemnities of eternity when in these sacred premises.
“Here is taught the great plan of man’s eternal journey. Here are solemnized covenants sacred and everlasting. Entering the temple is a privilege to be earned and not a right that automatically goes with Church membership.
“How does one earn that privilege? By obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” (“Keeping the Temple Holy”).
This weekend, leaders will dedicate the Church’s 154th temple worldwide in Star Valley, Wyoming. Members there reference their pioneer heritage when they talk about their new temple—the first in the state where early handcart pioneers established a legacy of tragedy and triumph.
Latter-day Saints in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, call their temple a monument to the United States history and Church history that come together in that city.
And Church members in Fort Collins, Colorado, call their temple a “fortress of faith.” Just as weary travelers found strength and respite in the early forts of the area, Church members today will find respite in the temple.
But regardless of the connection local members feel with their temples, every temple has one thing in common, said President Monson during his April 2011 general conference address. Every temple is a “beacon to the world.” Every temple “is a house of God, filling the same functions and with identical blessings and ordinances.” The sacred buildings, he continued, are more than stone and mortar. “They are filled with faith and fasting. They are built of trials and testimonies. They are sanctified by sacrifice and service.”
President Monson spoke of the first temples built in this dispensation in Kirtland, Ohio, and Nauvoo, Illinois. In both cases the Saints were driven from their homes and left their temples behind.
“Some degree of sacrifice has ever been associated with temple building and with temple attendance,” he said. “Countless are those who have labored and struggled in order to obtain for themselves and for their families the blessings which are found in the temples of God.
“Why are so many willing to give so much in order to receive the blessings of the temple? Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort” (“The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World”).