Ye Are the Temple of God

Provo Utah Temple. © 2003, Rick Satterfield. Used with permission. (Click for a larger view)

Provo Utah Temple. © 2003, Rick Satterfield. Used with permission. (Click for a larger view)

When I attended the FAIR Conference a couple months ago I was privileged to meet Hannah Rebekah, who is a reader here and also among many forums and blogs in the Bloggernacle.  This morning she was kind enough to forward me some thoughtful words about the temple, written by Tom Kelly in the Ensign a number of years ago, that have greatly impacted her throughout her life, and which she has shared with many.  My post about how we should make our homes a temple reminded her of these words, that we should also strive to make ourselves into temples.  As Hannah remarked about the author, “I think [he] was really inspired in his views and his comparisons and I love how he wove everything together so beautifully…”

Ye Are the Temple of God

Last winter I was facing some deep challenges. Wanting to get close to the Lord, I walked up to the Provo Temple one evening. As I gazed at that lovely, sacred edifice, I reflected upon the words of Paul: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?” (1 Cor. 3:16.) I found myself pondering the significance of these words. In what sense is a person like a temple? What changes would I need to make in myself to be worthy to be called a temple of God?

A temple becomes a temple when it is dedicated. It is not the house of the Lord until it is given unto Him.

A temple is beautiful. Looking at it lifts and edifies. It is spotless and dignified.

A temple is calm and still. Peace and quietness reign within.

A temple is a place of worthiness—no unclean thing may enter therein.

Engraved deeply into the wall of the temple are the words, “Holiness to the Lord.”

A temple is a house of service. Its whole purpose is to provide those things that are truly essential for the happiness of God’s children.

The spire of the temple rises skyward. The righteous, on seeing the temple, lift their eyes to heaven.

A temple is built by sacrifice, by diligent and patient labor.

A temple is, above all, a home for God the Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. The house of the Lord is a sacred place, worthy of their presence.

With such thoughts in my heart, I look at the temple and then at my own life:

Am I dedicated to the Lord?

Does my appearance lift and edify?

Am I peaceful and calm within?

Are my mind and heart open only to worthy thoughts and feelings?

Is “holiness to the Lord” engraved upon my soul?

Am I engaged in vital service to God’s children?

Do I lift my eyes toward heaven?

Am I willing to build myself by sacrifice, toil, and patience?

Does the Spirit of God dwell in me?

In short, am I becoming a temple of the Most High God?

(Tom Kelly, Brigham Young University Sixteenth Branch, BYU Fifth Stake, “Ye Are the Temple of God,” Ensign, Dec. 1976, 59, link.)


  1. Posted October 2, 2008 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I think more important than asking,
    “Is “holiness to the Lord” engraved upon my soul?”
    We should ask, is it engraven in such a manner that it can be seen from the outside, not just on our inside.
    Holiness to the Lord is a message to ALL who look at the Temple. Is it carved on our bodies so that everyone who looks at us knows?

  2. Hannah Rebekah
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Just to add some more imagery to Tom Kelly’s and Justin’s remarks regarding, “Holiness to the Lord” and how it should be engraved upon our souls by being visible on the outside for all to see…consider another scripture that admonishes us to”…stand ye in holy places, and be not moved…” and add this to the scripture that we “are a Temple of God.” Living righteously we can in all reality “stand in holy places”…”in our Temple moment to moment…day in and day out. We can all stand as a Temple of God and be that light on a hill….much like our beautiful Temples that stand out day and night as a light on a hill for all to see.

  3. Posted October 3, 2008 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Wasn’t it Pres. Ronald Reagan who said that this country stands “as a light on a hill” and “as a beacon of hope” to the rest of the world?
    Interesting thoughts indeed.

  4. Posted October 3, 2008 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    John Winthrop said that about 300 years before Reagan did.

  5. Posted October 3, 2008 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, but if he said it 300 years ago, he wouldn’t have been referring to our country like Reagan was.

  6. Posted October 3, 2008 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    But he was talking about the future of the Massachusetts Bay Colony which would become part of the United States.

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