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The Temple is a Fortress of the Lord

Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone

Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone

Note: Below is an excerpt from a book entitled “The Incomparable Christ: Our Master and Model” by Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, that he entitled “Holiness to the Lord.”  The book was published in 1995.  It is powerful in its vision of the future need of temples as a refuge from a wicked world.  After being released from the Seventy, Elder Featherstone served as the president of the Logan Utah Temple. (The emphasis below is my own.)

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 overthem.” ( 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.

The Lord has promised that He will “suddenly come to [His] temple.” (D&C 36:8.) “The day or the hour no man knoweth; but it surely shall come.” (D&C 39:21.) We need to prepare for that day.

There are those among our youth today who will be someday called to the holy apostleship. The rest of us are walking with them daily, unaware that one day God will move His hand and the mantle of apostleship will rest upon them. We must keep those who have been so foreordained sweet, clean, and pure in our wicked world. Mothers will cradle in their arms and nurse at their bosoms babes who will yet become God’s living oracles.

There are great unseen hosts in the temple. Joseph told the brethren, “And I beheld the temple was filled with angels.” (History of the Church, 2:428.) I believe deceased prophets of all dispensations visit the temples. Those who attend the temple will feel their strength and companionship. We will not be alone in the house of the Lord.

Faithful, endowed members of the Church who keep all their covenants and properly wear their sacred coverings will be safe as if protected behind temple walls. The covenants and ordinances are filled with faith as a living fire. In a day of desolating sickness,scorched earth, barren wastes, sickening plagues, disease, destruction, and death (see Joel 2:2-6; also D&C 29 and 133), we as a people will rest in the shade of trees. We will drink from the cooling fountains. We will abide in places of refuge from the storm. We will mount up as on eagles’ wings; we will be lifted out of a wicked, insane, and evil world. We will be as fair as the sun and clear as the moon.

The Savior will come and honor His people. Those who are prepared and therefore spared on that glorious, triumphant day will be a temple-loving people. They will know Him and see Him “red in his apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat. . . . The sun shall hide his face in shame, and the moon shall withhold its light, and the stars shall be hurled from their places.” The redeemed “shall mention the loving kindness of their Lord, and all that he has bestowed upon them according to his goodness.” (D&C 133:48-49, 52.) They will cry out, “Blessed be the name of he that cometh in the name of the Lord. . . . Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.” (Psalm 118:26, 28.) Then we will all join in one grand hosanna that will ring from one end of eternity to the other, a hosanna shout to God and the Lamb.

Those who live in that day—whether that be us, our children, our children’s children, or some future generation—will bow down at His feet and worship Him as the Lord of lords, King of kings. They will bathe His feet with their tears, and He will weep and bless them for having suffered through some of the greatest trials ever known to man. His bowels will be filled with compassion, His heart will swell wide as eternity, and He will love them as no mortal can love. He will bring peace that will last a thousand years, and they who have become his children of the covenant will dwell with Him.

Let us prepare this special future generation with faith to surmount every trial and every condition. We will do it in our holy, sacred temples. Come, oh, come up to the temples of the Lord and walk in His edifices wherein there is truly “holiness to the Lord.”