Monday, March 02, 2015

The Blessings I Have Found In Frequent Temple Worship

A friend that is a contractor was recently asked to bid on some work that will be done on an operating LDS temple. Having found much joy in temple worship, he was excited about this prospect.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints considers its temples to be especially sacred edifices where eternally binding ordinances are performed. Unlike regular chapels, only church members that have received a temple recommend following worthiness interviews with authorized church leaders are permitted beyond the foyer of the church's temples.

The Church takes this rule quite seriously. It's part of how church members go about making the space sacred to them. So the rule applies to everyone, including contractors that work on dedicated temples.

All of my friend's employees at the present time happen to be members of the Church. He privately asked each one the delicate question of whether they had a valid temple recommend or could qualify to get one. (Recommends expire after two years.)

My contractor friend was somewhat shocked to discover that the number of employees that answered affirmatively was so low that he could not muster a crew large enough to bid on the temple job. The loss of the job opportunity didn't bother him nearly as much as the faulty spiritual state of some of his employees. He cares about them and knows that they could be happier.

A number of years ago our stake president issued a couple of challenges: 1) take the necessary steps to qualify for, get, and maintain a valid temple recommend; and 2) serve in the temple weekly or as often as personal circumstances permit. He noted that many common moral and spiritual problems dissipate when people worthily attend the temple frequently.

Prior to that time I had considered myself to be a faithful temple attender. I made it to the temple at least monthly and I often went twice a month. But weekly? How was I going to fit that into my schedule? I tried to go more frequently than I had in past, but I frankly didn't have a very good attitude about it.

Our stake president hasn't backed down on his challenge over the years. In fact, he has regularly added challenges to do our own family history work and to do temple ordinances for our ancestors. But he has also regularly promised blessings that I feel are very valuable. Just doing the simple things it takes to honestly receive a temple recommend prevents a world of trouble.

Elder David A. Bednar has said that among the blessings that come to those that "honorably hold a name and standing in this thy house" (meaning the temple) are increased protection from the storms of life and from the wickedness of the world, greater spiritual strength and ability to handle adversity, and having the fire of the covenant burn in their hearts. These sound like blessings I want.

So after a couple of years of halfhearted efforts to improve my temple attendance, I earnestly began working on going to the temple weekly, and I started to see blessings come from it. It's a very good thing I began that committed effort when I did, because after a while they shut down our local temple for 3½ years of major renovation. Had I not been committed, I doubt I would have been very keen on adding 90 minutes to my weekly temple commute.

How grateful we were when our local temple was rededicated last autumn. We had taken it for granted for so many years that I doubt we'd feel nearly as much gratitude had we not been without the convenience of a temple close by for that extended period.

I think I can safely say that we have seen the blessings promised by Elder Bednar and by our stake president demonstrated in our lives. This doesn't mean that we've been free from adversity. But we have found the temple to be a refuge from the storms of life. (See for example my May 2014 post on job loss.)

We have also seen other blessings come that I believe flow from our weekly temple attendance effort, including breakthroughs in our family history research. This means that each week we are almost always doing ordinance work for deceased relatives. This adds a richness to temple worship that goes beyond what I feel when simply doing temple names, although, those people need ordinances too.

I have long had a testimony of temple worship. Now I can add that I have a testimony of frequent temple worship. The resulting blessings are so grand that I want others to enjoy them as well. Like my contractor friend, I ache inside for loved ones that are currently foregoing these blessings. I'd do almost anything to help them receive this joy.

I encourage all that do not currently qualify for a temple recommend to do what it takes to worthily receive one. I further encourage anyone that has a temple recommend to worship in the temple as frequently as personal circumstances permit. I know that those that do this will receive many blessings in this life and greater joy in the life to come.

1 comment:

Tom Hartley said...

Wow, interesting story about your contractor friend and his crew. That is too bad. Thanks for the post.