Preparing for the Temple


Preparing for the Temple

Objective: To encourage sisters to be worthy to receive the ordinances of the temple and to help redeem the dead.

“The House of the Lord.” These words are on the outside of every temple. Within its sacred walls, the Lord may dwell—literally or in Spirit—and may give revelation to his people. (See Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966, pp. 779–81.)

The temple is a place of instruction, commitment, service, and communion. It is the holiest place on earth. It is there that we receive many of the ordinances necessary for salvation. In the endowment and temple sealing ordinances, we make sacred covenants to the Lord and receive the promises of eternal life. In the temple, we also perform those ordinances for the dead.

Whether or not we have received the ordinances of the temple, we can all contribute to the work of the temple. Sisters who have not yet received their endowments may attend the temple and perform baptisms for the dead. Single sisters may receive their own endowments or make plans to do so in the future. Sisters who have married outside the temple may go to the temple if they are recommended by their bishop or branch president and obtain their husbands’ approval. They can also encourage their families to go to the temple to be sealed. Those who have already received their temple ordinances should strive to honor the covenants they have made.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks says there are other ways we can participate in temple work. Ward family history consultants; workers in libraries, data entry, and name extraction; and ordinance workers all help in the work of redeeming the dead. In addition, he adds, “There are the unsung people who work behind the scenes in the kitchens and laundries and nurseries. Behind all of these are the family members and friends who facilitate the service of others by support and encouragement. …

“Some of the most important temple and family history work is done at home. … We can keep our journals and gather pictures and data for the books of remembrances of our family members. We can gather and record information available through living relatives. We can write family histories.” (Ensign, June 1989, p. 7.)

How often should we attend the temple? That depends. For some, attending the temple may require great financial or personal sacrifice. One couple in Indonesia determined that it would take them fifty-five years to save enough money to go to the temple—and it would likely be their one and only opportunity.

But Church members who live closer to a temple may be able to attend on a regular basis. “All members should participate [in temple work] by prayerfully selecting those ways that fit their personal circumstances,” Elder Oaks has said. (Ibid., p. 6.)

Parents of young children ought not to feel guilty if they are not attending the temple as frequently as their parents who are retired, Elder Oaks added. “Leaders should encourage members to determine, according to the promptings of the Spirit, what temple and family history work they can do ‘in wisdom and order,’ consistent with their own strength and means,” he said. (Ibid., p. 7.)

If we prepare to attend the temple with a humble spirit, we will be blessed with strong testimonies and will be able to feel the Lord’s Spirit. Those who have yet to receive the ordinances of the temple can still participate in temple worship through activities related to redeeming the dead, and through living worthily of receiving the ordinances in the future.

Suggestions for Visiting Teachers

  1. 1.

    You or the sister you visit may want to share your feelings about attending the temple (if you or she has done so) or about preparing to attend.

  2. 2.

    Lovingly invite the sister you visit to live to be worthy of a temple recommend.

(See Family Home Evening Resource Book, pp. 48–51, 84–88, 189–90, 205–7, 216–18 for related materials.)

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth Maryon Whittaker