Cover image via ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
The Temple Is . . .
- The temple is a house of God. “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119).
- The temple is built on a piece of ground chosen by God. “I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house, and the priesthood thereof, and the place whereon it shall be built” (D&C 124:42).
- The temple is a place of restoration. The early Saints were commanded: “For there is not a place found on earth that [the Most High] may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood. For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead” (D&C 124:28-29).
- The temple fulfills prophecy: “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths” (Isaiah 2:3).
- The temple fulfills prophecy: “The Prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers, foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead” (D&C 138:47-48). (Elijah came to the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836.)
- The temple is “consecrated to be holy.” Joseph Smith prayed: “That thy holy presence may be continually in this house” (D&C 109:12).
- The temple is a house of glory: “And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it; yea, and my presence shall be there” (D&C 97:15-16).
- The temple is a place “to behold the beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27:4).
- “The temple is a great school. It is a house of learning. In the temples the atmosphere is maintained so that it is ideal for instruction on matters that are deeply spiritual” (www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2010/10/the-holy-temple?lang=eng).
- The temple is a place to desire: “One thing have I desired of the Lord… that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life” (Psalm 27:4).
- The temple is a place to worship: “I will worship toward thy holy temple” (Psalms 138:2).
- The temple requires a current temple recommend. “I would hope that every adult member would be worthy of—and carry—a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it” President Howard W. Hunter (www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1994/10/the-great-symbol-of-our-membership?lang=eng).
- The temple is a place to ask questions of the Lord, “to enquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).
- The “temples are places of personal revelation. When I have been weighed down by a problem or a difficulty, I have gone to the house of the Lord with a prayer in my heart for answers. These answers have come in clear and unmistakable ways” President Ezra Taft Benson (www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/liahona/1992/06/the-temple-is-a-sacred-place?lang=eng).
- The temple is for the pure in heart to see God: “Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God” (D&C 97:15-16).
- The temple is the birthplace of eternal families.
- The temple is where the covenants of obedience, sacrifice, the gospel, chastity, and consecration are offered and accepted (www.churchofjesuschrist.org/temples/what-is-temple-endowment?lang=eng).
- “The supreme benefits of membership in the Church can only be realized only through the exalting ordinances of the temple. These blessings qualify us for “thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers” in the celestial kingdom” (Elder Russell M. Nelson, www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/1997/04/endure-and-be-lifted-up?lang=eng).
- The temple opens spirit prison. “Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free” (D&C 128:22).
- The “temples are the very center of the spiritual strength of the Church” President Elder Boyd K. Packer (www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2010/10/the-holy-temple?lang=eng).
- The temple is for those who are worthy: “Because the temple is the house of the Lord, standards for admission are set by Him. One enters as His guest. To hold a temple recommend is a priceless privilege and a tangible sign of obedience to God and His prophets” Russell M. Nelson (churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2001/04/personal-preparation-for-temple-blessings?lang=eng).
- The temple is a place the Lord will come. “The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple” (Malachi 3:1).
- The temple is an opportunity to learn, to commune, to reflect, to pray, to return to often, and to become like unto. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you” (1 Corinthians 3:16).
And right now, due to the pandemic, all but a few temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are closed. For most temples, no baptisms for the dead are opening spirit prison doors. No marriages for living or dead are uniting families forever. No covenants are being offered and accepted in sacred ordinances. No names are being written with love and faith on prayer rolls. No pondering is taking place in the quiet solitude of celestial rooms.
Yet memories of temple baptisms, sealings, covenants, prayer rolls, and the reverence of celestial rooms can open panoramically in minds and hearts for all who have experienced temple blessings. Though we cannot go inside the temple, the temple can reside in us.
For homechurch we sang, “Redeemer of Israel.” The fifth verse reads:
“Restore, my dear Savior,
The light of thy face;
Thy soul-cheering comfort impart;
And let the sweet longing
For thy holy place
Bring hope to my desolate heart”
“O Lord, wilt thou… cause that this famine [from the temple] may cease in this land”