My LAST Relief Society Lesson in the Wu Chuan 2nd Branch. (I think I managed to get rid of all the typos...)
The Holy Temple —A Beacon
to the World
Thomas S. Monson
April 2011 Sunday
Morning Session of General Conference
And I will agive
unto thee the bkeys
of the ckingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou
on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth
shall be loosed in heaven.
It may seem to some to be a very bold
doctrine that we talk of—a power which records or binds on earth and binds in
heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a adispensation
of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power
has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in bauthority, in the name of
the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful
record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be
annulled, according to the decrees of the great cJehovah.
This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it?
Why do you think that temples are important?
and crowning blessings of membership in the Church are those blessings which we
receive in the temples of God.
What are some of the blessings that we
receive by going to the temple?
Elder Robert D.
Hales said, “The ordinances and covenants of the temple are theprotection for us in our trials and
our day and for what we will face in the future. Temples are the greatest
university of learning known to man,giving us knowledge and
wisdom about the creation of the world.Washings and anointingstell us who we are. Endowment
instructions give guidanceas
to how we should conduct our lives here in mortality.”
Some degree of sacrifice has ever been
associated with temple building and with temple attendance. Countless are those who have labored and
struggled in order to obtain for themselves and for their families the
blessings which are found in the temples of God.
My brothers and
sisters, temples are more than stone and mortar. They are filled with faith and
fasting. They are built of trials and testimonies. They are sanctified by
sacrifice and service.
What are some examples of sacrifice that you
can think of?
The first temple to
be built in this dispensation was the temple at Kirtland, Ohio. The Saints at
the time were impoverished, and yet the Lord had commanded that a temple be
built, so build it they did. Wrote Elder Heber C. Kimball of the experience,
“The Lord only knows the scenes of poverty, tribulation and distress which we
passed through to accomplish it.” And then, after all that had been
painstakingly completed, the Saints were forced to leave Ohio and their beloved
temple. They eventually found refuge —although it would be temporary— on the
banks of the Mississippi River in the state of Illinois. They named their
settlement Nauvoo, and willing to give their all once again and with their
faith intact, they erected another temple to their God. Persecutions raged,
however, and with the Nauvoo Temple barely completed, they were driven from
their homes once again, seeking refuge in a desert.
The struggle and the
sacrifice began once again as they labored for 40 years to erect the Salt Lake
One of the temples
currently under construction is in Manaus, Brazil. Many years ago I read of a
group of over a hundred members who left Manaus, located in the heart of the
Amazon rain forest, to travel to what was then the closest temple, located in
São Paulo, Brazil—nearly 2,500 miles (4,000 km) from Manaus. Those faithful
Saints journeyed by boat for four days on the Amazon River and its tributaries.
After completing this journey by water, they boarded buses for another three
days of travel—over bumpy roads, with very little to eat, and with nowhere
comfortable to sleep. After seven days and nights, they arrived at the temple
in São Paulo, where ordinances eternal in nature were performed. Of course
their return journey was just as difficult. However, they had received the
ordinances and blessings of the temple, and although their purses were empty,
they themselves were filled with the spirit of the temple and with gratitude for the blessings
they had received. Now, many years later, our members in Manaus are rejoicing
as they watch their own temple take shape on the banks of the Rio Negro.
Temples bring joy to our faithful members wherever they are built.
Why are so many
willing to give so much in order to receive the blessings of the temple? Those
who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no
sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order
to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many
obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that
the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return
to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with
blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort.
If you have been to
the temple for yourselves and if you live within a relatively close proximity
to a temple, your sacrifice could be setting aside the time in your busy lives
to visit the temple regularly. There is much to be done in our temples in
behalf of those who wait beyond the veil. As we do the work for them, we will know
that we have accomplished what they cannot do for themselves. President Joseph
F. Smith, in a mighty declaration stated, “Through our efforts in their behalf
their chains of bondage will fall from them, and the darkness surrounding them
will clear away, that light may shine upon them and they shall hear in the
spirit world of their work that has been done for them by their children here,
and will rejoice with you in your performance of these duties.” My brothers and
sisters, the work is ours to do.
If you have not yet
been to the temple or if you have
been but currently do not qualify for a recommend, there is no more important
goal for you to work toward than being worthy to go to the temple. Your
sacrifice may be bringing your life into compliance with what is required to
receive a recommend, perhaps by forsaking long-held habits which disqualify
you. It may be having the faith and the discipline to pay your tithing.
Whatever it is, qualify to enter the temple of God. Secure a temple recommend
and regard it as a precious possession, for such it is.
Until you have
entered the house of the Lord and have received all the blessings which await
you there, you have not obtained everything the Church has to offer. The
all-important and crowning blessings or membership in the Church are those
blessings which we receive in the temples of God.
… Do nothing which
will keep you from entering [the temple’s] doors and partaking of the sacred
and eternal blessings there.
Great personal preparation is required for us to receive the
spiritual benefit of standing in holy places. Holy places and sacred space are
also distinguished by the sacrifice they require. Elder M. Russell Ballard has
taught that “the word sacrifice means literally ‘to make sacred,’ or
‘to render sacred’” (“The Law of Sacrifice,” Ensign, Oct. 1998,
8; Liahona, Mar. 2002, 13). The
words sacred and sacrifice come from the same root. One may
not have the sacred without first sacrificing something for it. There can be no
sacredness without personal sacrifice. Sacrifice sanctifies the sacred.
… To you parents, …
may I share with you some sage advice from President Spencer W. Kimball. Said
he: “It would be a fine thing if… parents would have in every bedroom in their
house a picture of the temple so [their children] from the time [they are]
infant[s] could look at the picture every day [until] it becomes a part of
[their lives]. When [they reach] the age that [they need] to make [the] very
important decision [concerning going to the temple], it will have already been
Ask for experiences, ideas on how to be
prepared to enter the temple either for the first time or for each reoccurring
The world can be a
challenging and difficult place in which to live. We are often surrounded by
that which would drag us down. As you and I go to the holy houses of God, as we
remember the covenants we make within, we will be more able to bear every trial
and to overcome each temptation. In this sacred sanctuary we will find peace;
we will be renewed and fortified.
“The temples, with “Holiness to the Lord” inscribed on them,
are among the most sacred of all places on the earth. They stand as evidence of
God’s love to all His children, past and present. The blessings of the temple
are intertwined and inseparable from significant sacrifice. The ordinances
performed therein provide access to the full expression of the Savior’s atoning
sacrifice. This alone would qualify the temple as holy and sacred. However,
personal sacrifice is also required. We sacrifice time in search for our
ancestors and time to attend to our temple responsibilities. We also strive to
live the highest standards of personal worthiness, which qualify us to enter
the sacred space of this most holy place. In holy places and in sacred space we
find spiritual refuge, renewal, hope, and peace. Are these not worth every
necessary personal sacrifice? My brethren and sisters, may each of us revere
and respect the holy and sacred in our lives. May we teach our children
likewise. Let us all stand in holy and sacred places of spiritual peace.” Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander
What does the temple mean to you?
I express my undying
gratitude to my Heavenly Father for… all of our temples, wherever they are.
Each one stands as a beacon to the world, an expression of our testimony that
God, our Eternal Father, lives, that He desires to bless us and, indeed, to
bless His sons and daughters of all generations. Each of our temples is an
expression of our testimony that life beyond the grave is as real and as
certain as is our life here on earth. I so testify.
My brothers and
sisters, may we make whatever sacrifices are necessary to attend the temple and
to have the spirit of the temple in our hearts and in our homes. May we follow
in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who made the ultimate
sacrifice for us, that we might have eternal live and exaltation in our
Heavenly Father’s kingdom.
19 Now, what do we hear in the gospel which
we have received? A voice of agladness!
A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of btruth
out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living
and the dead; glad tidings of great cjoy. How
beautiful upon the mountains are the dfeet
of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion:
Behold, thy God reigneth! As the edews of
Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!
shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. aCourage,
brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be
exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into bsinging.
Let the cdead
speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the dKing
Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us
to eredeem them out of their fprison;
for the prisoners shall go free.
23 Let the amountains shout for
joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the
wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down
with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord;
and ye solid brocks
weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the cmorning
stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the
eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how
glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and
salvation, and honor, and dimmortality, and eternal life; kingdoms,
principalities, and powers!