My nonmember friends have talked to me about things that go on in the temple. How do they know about them, and what should I say about them?

First of all, don’t let your friends’ questions bother you. Temple symbols and ordinances have reached the public in various ways over the years, primarily by people who have left the Church. But just because these things are known to people outside the Church does not mean that they are any less sacred. What’s important is that we continue to hold them sacred and show our commitment to the Lord.

Second, if people ask you about temple ceremonies, you can truthfully say that you don’t know much about them because you haven’t experienced them yet. However, to clear up misunderstandings, you could explain that we go to the temple to make covenants with Heavenly Father and that it “helps us focus on the Savior, His role in our Heavenly Father’s plan, and our commitment to follow Him” (True to the Faith [2004], 171). Temple symbols and ceremonies are sacred and should not be discussed publicly, nor can they be properly understood or appreciated outside the context of the temple.

To learn more, you can read the following resources, both of which are available in some languages on LDS.org :

  • The booklet Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple (2004).

  • The “Temples” entry in True to the Faith, pages 170–74.

Is it all right to call Church leaders by their first names?

Sometimes we get so close to our leaders that we are tempted to become casual in our relationships with them. While it is good to be friendly, it is also important to show proper respect for them and their callings. In the Church it is customary to refer to adults as “Brother” or “Sister,” a greeting that both shows respect and reminds us that we are children of Heavenly Father. Other more formal titles, such as elder, bishop, or president, are also used as signs of respect. Full-time missionaries set a good example of this by referring to each other as “Elder” or “Sister.”

It is important to be respectful to our Church leaders and remember that although they are our friends, in a Church setting we should honor their callings and show respect by referring to them as “Brother” or “Sister.”

President Monson said that serving a full-time mission is a priesthood responsibility. What does that mean?

Last general conference President Thomas S. Monson said: “To young men of the Aaronic Priesthood and to you young men who are becoming elders: I repeat what prophets have long taught—that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. 1

Part of receiving the priesthood is agreeing to take upon yourself the responsibilities and duties that come with it. As with any gift that Heavenly Father gives, He expects you to use the priesthood to bless others. “For of him unto whom much is given much is required” (D&C 82:3).

Holders of the Aaronic Priesthood are “to warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ” (D&C 20:59). As President Monson stated, serving a full-time mission is a duty of priesthood holders. On a mission you will devote all of your energy, time, and focus to fulfilling that duty: serving, preaching the gospel, and inviting all to come unto Christ. Of course, fulfilling your duty always comes with blessings. Your mission will be a time of great joy and spiritual growth.

    Note

  1.   1.

    Thomas S. Monson, “As We Meet Together Again,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2010, 5–6; emphasis added.

From left: photo illustrations by David Stoker, Steve Bunderson, and Robert Casey