Friend to Friend


Elder Marion D. Hanks

A group of young members of the Church with recommends were going to the Salt Lake Temple to be baptized for the dead. One of them was hesitant because she felt that she didn’t really understand what temples were about. Her teacher said, “If you don’t feel that you’re ready for this experience, maybe you’d be willing to help a young lady in a wheelchair. Would you go with her, help her dress, help her into the font, and take care of her?” The girl said that she would.

In helping the young lady in the wheelchair, whom she hadn’t even known before, this girl became close to the Spirit of the Lord. She was so touched that she asked for the privilege of doing baptisms herself.

One of the things Heavenly Father requires of us, if we are to return to him someday, is that we be baptized. If our parents are members of the Church, this usually happens when we eight years of age and are capable of understanding and being responsible.

But many people across the face of the earth have not been baptized because they haven’t had a chance to be. So we send missionaries all over the world to teach them the gospel.

And what about the people who have died without a chance to be baptized? Heavenly Father has said that we who are in the world now must help those who are dead by being baptized for them. So people go to the temple and are baptized for their ancestors or others who could not do it for themselves. These people’s spirits are still alive; only their bodies have died. The gospel is preached to them in the spirit world, and they may choose to accept or reject the work that is done for them.

One of the wonderful blessings of the temple is that a man and woman may be married there for all eternity. Then they and any children they have will be sealed, or bound together, forever, as a family if they continue to live righteously.

A man and woman who have not been married in the temple can, if worthy, go to the temple later with their children and be sealed to each other by one with Heavenly Father’s authority to perform this sacred act. It is a wonderful thing to see a mother and father kneeling with their children at an altar in the Lord’s house, being sealed as a family. They’re all dressed in white, and sometimes the younger children are a little bewildered, but they feel the Spirit and are excited.

One of the sweetest experiences I had in the temple was working with children who were being sealed to their parents. I once asked a little boy, “What are you doing here in the temple?”

He said, “I came with my parents to be sealed.”

I asked, “What does that mean?”

He said, “We will be a family forever.”

I said, “That’s a wonderful answer. You must have a good family if you want to be with them forever.”

His eyes lit up, and he said, “Yes, I do.” Children can feel the sacredness and seriousness of the temple.

Heavenly Father is the Father of all the people who have ever lived. He wants all his children to have all of these blessings, but he doesn’t force them on anyone. He has established his church and revealed his gospel and restored his priesthood and then said to us who are members of his church, “You are the instruments, or agents, of my love. You are to find my other children who are seeking me and teach them and help them.”

Through his atoning love, Christ provided an opportunity for us to enjoy all these blessings. After the pattern of the Savior, we can help others. That is why we’re here. God so loved us that he gave his Son. And his Son so loved us that he gave his life. We’re here to learn how to love as they do.

That’s what the temple is all about. It’s a place to learn about Jesus Christ and follow the principles that he taught. Adults can go to the temple and receive what is called an endowment. They learn very simple, basic principles and make covenants about them. These principles are the same ones taught by the life of the Savior—to do the will of Heavenly Father, to serve, to share, and to be totally unselfish with everything we have. We go to the temple not only to do work for the dead, but also to rededicate our own lives to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

[photo] Photograph by Welden Andersen; copyright by the Corporation of the President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; no reproduction authorized or permitted.

[illustration] Jesus Christ, by Del Parson