The Mount Timpanogos Temple looked radiant in the sunlight, surrounded by a feeling of serenity and peace. We were there to attend the marriage of a young couple, whose family of the groom we home teach. After the ceremony, we were among the first to leave. As we walked out the door, into the temple foyer their young teenage daughter hurried to us and excitedly asked, “How was it?”

We replied with equal excitement, “It was beautiful and wonderful.” Then hugged her and whispered in her ear, “Don’t ever be married anywhere but in the temple.” She smiled and said, “Why would I want to when I can be married in a castle.”

It was a fitting analogy because we had just witnessed the creation of a potential king and queen by one having authority to seal them together for eternity to become exactly that. So grand and glorious is the sealing ceremony that it warrants taking place in a grand and glorious place like unto a castle, but far superior because of the sacred ordinances that take place within its walls.

Prophets Make It Clear

President Spencer W. Kimball clarified this truth. He wrote,

“Moses said in the fifth chapter of Genesis: In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him.’ (Gen. 5:1.) And that is no idle thought either, that you and I are made in the image of God, to become gods and queens and kings eventually. Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam.’ (Gen. 5:2.) Adam was their name. The Lord has said that in order to obtain the highest of the three heavens or degrees of glory in the celestial kingdom, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.’ (D&C 131:2-3.) This is the proper way.” (Gospel Library, Magazines, Ensign, October 1975)

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Teaching our children to seek this “proper way” is a constant, gradual process. The charming cover of the October Friend magazine catches the simplicity of how it can happen line upon line, or block upon block. As children build their simple temple structures they can at the same time be building their desire to be endowed and married there.

The building blocks that prepare our children to enter His holy house are clear and simple. As parents, our presentation of these principles needs to be likewise, clear and simple, and often.

Building Block 1: Understand Why It’s so Important

Help them understand that being married in the temple is the Lord’s plan for their happiness now and eternally. That it isn’t just a wedding that takes place in the temple, it’s a sealing for all eternity performed by one who has the power from God to perform such a sealing.

We’re reminded of another wedding we attended some years ago. This one was performed in a court house by a justice of the peace. She was lovely and did a good job in helping this couple understand that marriage is important. Wanting so much to encourage them to make their marriage be a lasting one she said, “I pronounce you husband and wife for time and eternity and beyond.”(It brought to our minds the lines from the movie Toy Story, “to infinity and beyond.”) It was obvious she wanted to make this marriage last beyond this life. However, she did not have the authority to do so, no matter what words she used.

President Hinckley made this point perfectly clear when he said:

“Speaking many years ago, President Joseph F. Smith (1838-1918) said: The house of the Lord is a house of order and not a house of confusion; and that means … that there is no union for time and eternity that can be perfected outside of the law of God, and the order of his house. Men may desire it, they may go through the form of it, in this life, but it will be of no effect except it be done and sanctioned by divine authority, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.’
“In conclusion may I leave you a story. It is fiction, but in principle it is true. Can you imagine two young people at a time when the moon is full and the roses are in bloom and a sacred love has matured between them? Johnny says to Mary, Mary, I love you. I want you for my wife and the mother of our children. But I don’t want you or them forever. Just for a season and then good-bye.’ And she, looking at him through tears in the moonlight, says, Johnny, you’re wonderful. There’s nobody else in all the world like you. I love you, and I want you for my husband and the father of our children, but only for a time and then farewell.’

“That sounds foolish, doesn’t it? And yet isn’t that in effect what a man says to a woman and a woman says to a man in a proposal of marriage when given the opportunity of eternal union under “the new and everlasting covenant” (D&C 132:19), but, rather, they choose to set it aside for a substitute that can last only until death comes?” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Marriage That Endures,” Ensign, Jul 2003, 2-7)

Your children need to hear your testimony of the importance of eternal marriage. The next time you and they are near a temple or are looking at a picture of a temple, take that opportunity to bear your testimony about temple marriage. If you are a divorced parent you can still be an example of the love you have for the temple by attending as often as possible. Living your life worthy of a temple marriage is indisputable evidence that you believe in this sacred doctrine. Whatever your situation, let them feel your love for the temple. It’s catching.

Block #2: Live worthy to go to the temple.

This block will take more time and detail, so bear with us. To begin, we suggest you review the questions asked by the bishop to those interviewing for a temple recommend. Teach these questions to your children and then prayerfully follow through in helping them live them. As parents it’s our obligation to not only teach them but to keep track of how our children our doing in these areas. Private interviews with each child provides an excellent opportunity for this.

In the Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders (Part A, 93) the following counsel is given:

“It is wonderful when a father or a mother will sit down with a son or a daughter and discuss a personal problem (and they have their problems, which, if we are wise, we will not minimize). There are pressures, and enticements, and even unjust accusations against which our sons and daughters need to be fortified. … In such heart-to-heart talks, parents will help to set objectives for their children” (ElRay L. Christiansen, Ensign, July 1972, 55).

Sometimes youth, who are faithful in paying tithing, attending church meetings, living the Word of Wisdom, and other requirements find these fairly easy to follow, especially if they have grown up with them. Nevertheless, we can’t underestimate the importance of continually teaching these requirements with consistency and clarity.

However, there is another vitally important requirement that is much more difficult for some youth to live: staying morally clean. As a young child they didn’t have to deal with raging hormones, and when they are suddenly faced with these feelings it can be difficult unless they are well prepared and forewarned. As they approach puberty let them know of these feelings, and that they are normal and created by God for a sacred purpose.


What they do with these feelings will make all the difference. It’s your job to help them understand the importance of controlling them.

Take advantage of every opportunity to prepare them for the temple. Be specific in your teaching. There is no time for beating around the bush in this day and age. Satan is blatantly in their faces, and so must we be, but with gentleness and love.

A father of teenage children told his mother that, when he was a teenager himself he used to get tired of her reminding him about the importance of staying clean and pure before leaving on every date. He said, “I used to get sick of hearing it, but the hearing of it helped me stay worthy to go to the temple.” Now as a father he said to his mother, “Thanks, Mom, for doing what you did, even though I acted like I didn’t want to hear it. I know now how important your reminders were.”

Children are faced with far more temptations than we were. Pornography is only a click away (you can block what comes into your computers, but not all their friends’computers). Immoral TV programs and movies may be acceptable to many of their peers. Offensive music is constantly available. Being involved in immoral activity is so easily accessible that we must teach them with clarity and protect them with rules of conduct regarding dating, the computer, video games, etc.

There can’t be enough said about the terrible dangers pornography presents. We must do everything in our power to teach our children that this is a tool of Satan to keep them from the happiness the Lord has for them. They must know that it is an addictive poison that can ruin their lives if they watch it. Some talks at every General Conference for the past few years have focused on the terrible effects of pornography-spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Talks on the subjects are readily available in the Ensign conference issues.

To show the sorrow this terrible sin can bring we quote an excerpt from a letter a young adult man wrote regarding his battle with pornography.

“The fact is, when I was 18-19 it was time to quit the addictions I had developed. Leaving drugs and alcohol was much, much, much easier than pornography. The strength and pull of pornography is intensely powerful and dwarfs that of drugs and alcohol. Pornography is like poison. Young men need to stay away from it. They need to look at it like rat poison mixed with cocaine, and realize it will bring them down. Please plead with them to fight against it. And get help if they are losing the fight.

“Talking about pornography with a group of men at church is awkward and embarrassing. The devil loves that. Many more men will lose the fight if they fight it alone. Pornography and masturbation are two things that can bring a young man down, but it is uncomfortable coming to grips with it himself or telling close friends, let alone a bishop who knows his parents. It is so hard for young men to confess these things, because confessing sins is hard enough by itself, but confessing sins that are personally embarrassing is infinitely harder. Let your young men know that the bishop loves them, that he won’t judge them, and that what they say to him is confidential. Fear and embarrassment are two tools of the devil in keeping men from dealing with these problems.”

It is important to note here that Church leaders are finding that young women are also being caught up in this terrible addiction. Parents need to teach both their sons and their daughters of the dangers of pornography.

As noted in a previous Meridian Magazine article, “According to Dr. Jill Manning, the type of porn viewed today, by both adults and children, is deviant, vile and graphic. Young people are witnessing rape, torture, and all kinds of degrading material.’ Why would anyone gravitate to such horrible inhumane depictions? Dr. Reisman has carefully studied and documented the effects that exposure to pornography has on the brain – it acts like a drug and can easily capture the casual observer’ and result in serious addiction, causing the user to crave greater quantities of ever more perverse images.” Click here for entire article.
for pornography effect.

We must lovingly teach that repentance is real. The atonement can be activated in anyone’s life who is willing to ask for and accept the Savior’s help, which comes in great measure through the journey of repentance with his or her bishop. It is then that any sincere person can be washed clean and become worthy of the temple.

Our children need to understand there are serious consequences to violating the laws of chastity. When we are clear in the reasons for protecting them, they are much more likely to be obedient. They need to know the realities of sin.

An unwed teenage mother, who reported that they “used condoms most of the time,” said, “Girls need to picture their life with a screaming newborn baby and then think before they have sex. Think about the consequences.” Then she added emphatically, “If girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex. Trust me, nobody.” That’s a strong statement from the voice of experience.

Youth need to realize that unwanted pregnancy is only one of the problems of immoral behavior. Sexually transmitted diseases are a huge concern because they often have life-time consequences. To know more about this you may click here https://www.garyjoylundberg.com/2009/08/20/boldly-teaching-your-children-about-consequences-of-immoral-behavior/.

In teaching this building block of living worthy to enter the temple, we need to understand that some teens think certain types of sexual relations are okay, as long as they don’t have sexual intercourse. Elder Richard C. Scott clarifies this, making the job easier for us. Quoting prophets and apostles of the Church says “this is what Jesus wants you to know.” They can’t refute that.

Elder Scott said:

Any sexual intimacy outside of the bonds of marriage-I mean any intentional contact with the sacred, private parts of another’s body, with or without clothing-is a sin and is forbidden by God. It is also a transgression to intentionally stimulate these emotions within your own body. Satan tempts one to believe that there are allowable levels of physical contact between consenting individuals who seek the powerful stimulation of emotions they produce, and if kept within bounds, no harm will result. As a witness of Jesus Christ, I testify that is absolutely false. Satan particularly seeks to tempt one who has lived a pure, clean life to experiment through magazines, videocassettes, or movies with powerful images of a woman’s body. He wants to stimulate appetite to cause experimentation that quickly results in intimacies and defilement. Powerful habits are formed which are difficult to break. Mental and emotional scars result.”
(Richard G. Scott, “Making the Right Choices,” Ensign, Nov 1994, 37)

We need to teach the proper time for intimate expressions of love. Teach them the positive side, as found in For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, p. 26:

“Physical intimacy between husband and wife is beautiful and sacred. It is ordained of God for the creation of children and the expression of love between husband and wife. God has commanded that sexual intimacy be reserved for marriage.”

Sister Elaine S. Dalton, General Young Women President counseled:

“To the youth of the noble birthright, look into the windows of eternity! See yourselves in the Lord’s holy temples. See yourselves living worthy and pure lives. Generations are depending on you! I testify that worthiness is possible because of the redeeming and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I pray that it may be said of each one of us, “They shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.


” (Elaine S. Dalton, “Look toward Eternity!,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 31-32)

She was referring to Revelations 3:4, and then to verse 5, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”

Sister Dalton also stated:

“The Lord has said, “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God.”_ When we do this, we can confidently enter the holy temples of God with a knowledge that we are worthy to go where the Lord Himself goes. When we are worthy, we can not only enter the temple, the temple can enter us. The Lord’s promises of salvation and happiness become ours-and our earthly mission becomes His.

In an effort to help youth make righteous choices regarding morality Janice Kapp Perry and Joy wrote a new song for Young Women, about being morally clean and temple worthy, titled The Value of Virtue, based on Sister Dalton’s talk when she introduced the new value. Final rewriting and edits on the song were completed last week. It is now available to download free at https://www.garyjoylundberg.com/store/the-value-of-virtue/.
For more help you may be interested in the small book for youth, On Guard: Seven Safeguard to Protect Your Sexual Purity, available at reduced prices at https://www.garyjoylundberg.com/store. Some families have been using it during family home evenings to teach their teens, and found it to be a fun and helpful way to engage their kids in discussions about the subject.

Block # 3: Be Their Example

Finally, one of the great blessing to children is to see their parents expressing love and tenderness toward each other, then seeing them attending the temple regularly. It shows them that marriage can be joyful and fulfilling in this life and forever. A father teaches what it means to be a man and a husband and a mother teaches what it means to be a woman and a wife. It shows them that the temple is very important to you.

At the temple wedding we spoke of in the beginning of this article, the sealer very tenderly taught this young couple how a king treats his queen and how a queen treats her king. He assured them that if they continued to show this kindness, respect and faithfulness to each other and the Lord throughout their life together they would be able to enjoy all the blessings of celestial marriage. That is the glorious gift that is available to us and our children.

“Because temple marriage is central to the happiness and eternal progression of every Latter-day Saint family, the importance of teaching children to be prepared for this ordinance cannot be overemphasized. Unless children are taught from an early age to properly value a temple marriage, they may not seek this holy, eternal union when the time comes for them to marry.” (“Teaching Children about Temple Marriage,” Ensign, Apr 1987, 47)

May the Lord bless you in this sacred calling to teach and prepare your children to be worthy and ready to enter His holy house. One of the greatest feelings of joy in this life will come to you when you sit in the temple with your children. After being with her son and his bride in the temple, the mother of the groom spoken of earlier in this article, bore her testimony in Church the following day expressing gratitude for this sacred event. With a smile and happy tears, she said, “This is pay day!”

[We express appreciation to Jeff and Christina Broberg for the statements of the unwed mother and the letter from the man dealing with pornography, from their talk on moral purity.]