When I was seven years old, I had one of the best experiences of my life—I went to the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple to be sealed to my parents. My mom had grown up without the Church, and my dad had been inactive, but one day they decided to commit themselves to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
They started making changes—my mom joined the Church, my dad quit smoking, and we started having family home evening and family prayer. But nothing captured their commitment more than being sealed in the temple. That affected our family in more ways than I can count! Because of my parents’ commitment, I became the first person in my family in over 100 years to serve a mission. I’m grateful for that binding, eternal relationship with my parents and siblings, and now with my wife and children.
The temple changed the course of my life, and I’ve seen it bless the lives of youth as well. Today, temples and the blessings of temple ordinances are much more available to you. This is a very exciting time! Young people are participating in temple work more than they ever have before.
In the temple, we have one foot on earth and the other in heaven. We can feel what heaven and holiness are like. I recently heard a young man describe how when he was in the temple, he felt safe and as if he were in heaven. He testified that the temple is God’s house and that he loved being there.
This young man was experiencing the holiness of the temple. The inscription on every temple reads, “Holiness to the Lord: The House of the Lord.” We show holiness to the Lord as we keep the commandments, honor our covenants, and keep the Holy Ghost as our guide.1 The temple certainly is a place where we can do those things and invite holiness into our lives.
Holiness is one of the chief characteristics of the Savior and our Father in Heaven. In the Book of Moses, the Lord proclaims, “Man of Holiness is my name” (Moses 7:35). The name illustrates the essence of Godhood. As you attend the temple and strive to be holy, you become more like Him.
Doctrine and Covenants 46:33 also mentions holiness: “Practice virtue and holiness before me continually.” One way you can practice holiness is by attending the temple. “Practice” doesn’t mean you’re perfect—but it does mean you are trying to improve. It’s going to take a lot of practice to achieve holiness. When you fall short, keep repenting and striving to follow the Savior. You will find that you’ll continually move toward holiness.
It’s easy to feel the holiness of the temple while you’re there. But how do you keep that holiness once you leave? In the world, there are many influences swirling around you. Look closely at the influences you can control, and make sure you have as much good as you can in your life. Evaluate your choices about media, entertainment, friends, the places you go, and the activities you do. Then, “chase darkness from among you” (D&C 50:25) by eliminating anything that is leaving a bad impact.
The temple helps you step back, see what influences surround you, keep the good ones, and erase the bad ones. There are plenty of uplifting sources all around you. There are also plenty of evil sources. You can choose which influences to invite into your life. The more you reinforce positive influences when you leave the temple, the more you maintain closeness with God and become holy, even outside the temple.
It is a blessing to attend the temple—don’t lose sight of that blessing! For some of us, temples are not too far away, and when we’ve been attending for a while, we might begin to take it for granted. Now is the time for you to be in the Lord’s house and gain the blessings that come from temple worship.
We can feel holiness as we continue to attend the Lord’s house and do His work. There is no greater benefit from attending the temple than inviting God’s presence into your life and gaining spiritual understanding.