Sunday, August 23, 2009

Temples- Holiness to the Lord, The House of the Lord

Today, throughout the state of Utah, no sacrament meetings or other regular Sunday meetings were held. Something rather unique happened instead; a temple was dedicated.

In the Salt Lake valley is located the newest temple in the Church; the Oquirrh (pronounced O'-kur) Mountain temple. Each time a temple is built, the public is invited to an open house, or a tour of the temple where they can learn about why we build temples and can see the beauty of the temples. I had the opportunity to go to the open house of the Oquirrh Mountian temple a couple times which was wonderful experience. Each temple is so beautiful and yet so simple. Nothing gaudy or excessively elaborate, yet so completely exquisite and perfect. Such detail and care are taken so that the each temple is truly the house of the Lord. Here is the link to a media tour that has pictures of the inside of the Oquirrh Mountian temple.

If you have a temple near you then you understand how unique each of these buildings are. Often times I hear comments about how each temple stands out wherever it is situated. I recently had a discussion with a good friend about the Washington D.C. temple and how beautiful and prominent it is. I'm from Rexburg, Idaho and the temple that was just recently dedicated there is built on the hill overlooking the valley and can be seen from miles and miles away (pictured right). It looks much like the Oquirrh temple, just bigger and the exterior is white rather than tan.

The interior of temples is also quite beautiful. Although there are many rooms inside a temple, I wish to highlight three that are especially important to me. Each temple has a baptismal font, where vicarious baptisms for the dead are performed. Members of the church come and can be baptized in behalf of their ancectors who never had the opportunity. The revelation of this ordinance shows God's mercy and grace since baptism is essential to salvation not all who have lived on the earth have that opportunity.

Another room in the temple is the sealing room, where couples are married and sealed for time and all eternity. Some of you may have friends or family who are members of the LDS church and who have chosen to be married in the temple. You may wonder why being married in the temple was so important to them and even been frustrated that they chose to be married in a place that you were not allowed to go. I'm sure your friend or family member was very grateful when you were patient with their decision and supported them despite their decision to do something that you didn't understand. If a couple is sealed in the temple, they make a covenant with God and are married not "until death do you part" but for time and all eternity. This means that they can live with each other and their children forever, not just until they die. What a wonderful blessing! When you find the one you truly love and desire to spend you life with, you can know that you are married for eternity and you can live with the knowledge that your spouse and your children will be with you forever despite death.

The third and final room in the temple that I wish to highlight is called the Celestial room. The Celestial room is kind of the crowning room of the temple in a way. Everything in the temple is incredibly and deeply symbolic. As you go through the temple, you pass through a series of rooms representing the different kingdoms of glory (from the plan of salvation; I realize this may be a new concept and that we need to talk about this more.) The last room is the Celestial room, representing the highest kingdom, the place where God Himself dwells and the place we are striving to be after this life. It represents heaven, in a sense. In the Celestial room, we can simply sit in peace and quiet. The world is so stressful, so pressing, and we are bombarded by temptations and trials on every side. But in the temple and especially in the Celestial room, we are reminded why we are experiencing all of these trying things. If we do the things our Heavenly Father asks of us and hold out faithful to the end, we shall receive the peace that our Heavenly Father experiences, eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God (see D&C 14:7).

Temples are not only important, but essential to our salvation and exaltation. The reason that not everyone is allowed inside is not because the things inside are secret, but because they are sacred. Before the temple is dedicated, the world may pass through because the temple is merely a pretty building. But after the temple is dedicated by a prophet of God, as the Oquirrh Mountain temple was dedicated today by President Thomas S. Monson, it becomes a sacred house of the Lord. In order to preserve the sacredness, those who wish to go inside the temple must be worthy. Anyone may enter the temple, if they have gone through the preparation necessary to meet the standards the Lord has set. So my invitaiton to you is to come to the temple! Come see what is so wonderful about temples and learn for yourself why the Lord commands us to build temples! To those of you who are members, I remind you of the admonition of the prophets to get a temple recommend and go to the temple often. The blessings are just too great to miss simply because worldly things get in the way.

I love the temple. For me the temple is a sanctuary, a place that I may go to leave the pressures of the world for a while. I feel closer to God in the temple and I feel that in the temple answers to prayers come easier and more freely. The temple is the house of God, a place of love and beauty.