I received this quote today in my inbox by Elder Christofferson, our newest apostle, in a talk he gave to the CES on November 7, 2004:
The importance of having a sense of the sacred is simply this–if one does not appreciate holy things, he will lose them. Absent a feeling of reverence, he will grow increasingly casual in attitude and lax in conduct. He will drift from the moorings that his covenants with God could provide. His feeling of accountability to God will diminish and then be forgotten. Thereafter, he will care only about his own comfort and satisfying his uncontrolled appetites. Finally, he will come to despise sacred things, even God, and then he will despise himself.
On the other hand, with a sense of the sacred, one grows in understanding and truth. The Holy Spirit becomes his frequent and then constant companion. More and more he will stand in holy places and be entrusted with holy things. Just the opposite of cynicism and despair, his end is eternal life.1
In fact, the entire talk is good. In referencing the sanctity of the physical body he said:
Whatever the rationalizations, you will often find that the real motivation underlying immodesty is someone’s desire to profit from titillation, someone’s lust for money. The body is a temple of God, and pornography and revealing clothes are evidence that moneychangers are again desecrating the temple.2
And in regard to sacred places:
Let’s now consider for a moment the matter of sacred places and events. Speaking through the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord criticized Israel’s priests for failing to teach respect for the sacred nature of certain activities and places:
“Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them” (Ezekiel 22:26).
Much of what the Lord was talking about had to do with the temple. There is also reference to the Sabbath. We are used to thinking of our temples and meetinghouses, as dedicated to the Lord, as sacred space. On each temple building are found, as a sober reminder, the words Holiness to the Lord—the House of the Lord. A sense of the sacred should lead us to act and speak with reverence in and around these buildings. It would lead us to dress a certain way when we are there.3
And on sacred things generally, referring to the scriptures on casting pearls before swine:
Always remember, however, as holiness grows within and you are entrusted with greater knowledge and understanding that you must treat these things with care. We read earlier the scripture affirming that that which comes from above is sacred and must be spoken with care and by constraint of the Spirit. The Lord also commanded, rather bluntly, that we must not cast pearls before swine or give that which is holy to dogs (see 3 Nephi 14:6; D&C 41:6), meaning sacred things should not be disclosed or discussed with those who are not prepared to appreciate their value and who may even attack rather than appreciate them.
- (D. Todd Christofferson, “A Sense of the Sacred,” CES fireside for young adults, Nov. 7, 2004 [↩]
- ibid. [↩]
- ibid. [↩]