By Elder Jeffrey D. Cummings
One of the pivotal blessings we have received from the restoration of the gospel in its fullness in this the dispensation of the fullness of times is the establishment once more of holy temples with all the ordinances, covenants and blessings that are performed within their walls.
Elder Russell M Nelson taught: 1
“In the temple we receive an endowment, which is, literally speaking, a gift. In receiving this gift, we should remember its significance and the importance of keeping sacred covenants. Each temple ordinance “is not a ritual to go through, it is an act of solemn promising.” 2
The temple endowment was given by revelation. Thus it is best understood by revelation, prayerfully sought with a sincere heart. 3 President Brigham Young said, “Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father….and gain your eternal exaltation.” 4
In our temples we learn of the significant and eternal truths of the gospel. We receive teaching and understanding of the way and means whereby joy and happiness can be found on earth and heavenly exaltation can be received.
The knowledge we gain from the temple endowment gives us power…..power to act. To act and live our lives in such a way as to be able to achieve our divine destiny. The verses found in Doctrine & Covenants 130 are relevant:
“Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much more the advantage in the world to come.
There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated----
And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” 5
By coming to the temple to receive our own endowment and then returning regularly to receive the endowment vicariously for those who have passed on we have the opportunity to have this continual stream of enlightenment and understanding that will bless us in finding answers to our questions and making decisions about how we will live our lives. Although the actual teaching of the endowment won’t change, the enlightenment or personal revelation we receive will change as our lives and circumstances change over the years and we receive what we need for that particular time.
John A. Widstoe wrote: “I believe that the busy person on the farm, in the shop, in the office, or in the household, who has his worries and troubles, can solve his problems better and more quickly in the house of the Lord than anywhere else. If he will … [do] the temple work for himself and for his dead, he will confer a mighty blessing upon those who have gone before, and … a blessing will come to him, for at the most unexpected moments, in or out of the temple will come to him, as a revelation, the solution of the problems that vex his life. That is the gift that comes to those who enter the temple properly.” 6
The temple is not only a place where we can come to receive this continual enlightenment through the endowment but it is also a place of refuge and peace. Elder David B Haight taught:
“The moment we step into the house of the Lord, the atmosphere changes from the worldly to the heavenly, where respite from the normal activities of life is found, and where peace of mind and spirit is received. It is a refuge from the ills of life and a protection from the temptations that are contrary to our spiritual well-being.” 7
We are all, therefore, encouraged to live and conduct ourselves in such a way that we can be worthy of having a current temple recommend so we can enter the holy temple to receive this continual flow of personal revelation through the endowment, find continual peace and safety…. a refuge from the world.
Finally, can I quote from the opening chapter to Vaughn J. Featherstone’s book, The Incomparable Christ, Our Master and Model:
“The season of the world before us will be like no other in the history of mankind. Satan will unleash every evil scheme, every vile perversion ever known to man in any generation. Just as this dispensation of the fulness of times brought the restoration of all that is good and holy, so also did it bring the fulness of evil. As parents, spouses, children, and members of Christ’s church, we must find safety. Unfortunately, many will struggle mightily before recognizing this bitter truth: there is no safety in this world—wealth cannot provide it, enforcement agencies cannot ensure it, even membership in the Church will not guarantee it.
As the evil night darkens on this generation, we must come to the temple for light and safety. Only in the house of the Lord will we find quiet, sacred havens where the storm cannot penetrate. There unseen sentinels watch over us. So it was that the Prophet Joseph pled with God during the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple: “And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house [temple] armed with thy power and that thy name may be upon them . . . and thine angels have charge over them.” (D&C 109:22.) The Lord has promised: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” (D&C 84:88.) Surely angelic attendants guard the temples of the Most High God. It is my conviction that as it was in the days of Elisha, so it will be for us: “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” (2 Kings 6:16.)
Before the Savior comes the world will darken. The time will come when even the elect will begin to lose hope if they do not come often to the temples. I believe that the Saints will come to the temples not only to do vicarious work but also to find a God-given haven of peace. True and faithful Latter-day Saints the world over will long to bring their children to the temple for service and for safety.” 8
1. Russell M. Nelson April 2001 General Conference
2. Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley (1997), pp. 638
3. See Moroni 10:4-5
4. Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widstoe (1941), pp. 416
5. See D&C 130:18-21
6. “Temple Worship,” The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Apr. 1921, pp. 63-64
7. David B. Haight October 1990 General Conference
8. Vaughn J. Featherstone, The Incomparable Christ, Our Master and Model (1995) pp.