Today there was a great post on Times & Seasons about President Beck’s talk at the last General Conference called “Mothers Who Know“, and specifically focusing on how to make our homes as a temple. Julie Smith makes some good points about how we can integrate temple teachings into our home environment.
But I also thought a comment from Anita made an interesting point about how the temple can be a model for raising and teaching our children:
…in their initial years they are given a name and learn about the importance of bodies, body parts, about clothing and modesty, the nature of this world, creation, and opposites. As they are baptized and accountable, they learn to recognize Satan and his half-truths, and as they become teenagers, we focus on morality and chastity, and preparation for marriage. The temple can be a map through mortality and guide us in raising our children if we look at it that way.
On a related note, in some cultures the initiation of adolescents into adulthood only takes place by the sacred rites and ceremonies (i.e. the Hopi).
President Hinckley loved temples. He loved speaking about them, building them, dedicating them, visiting them, and doing the work therein performed. Here are some of his words and counsel:
“Every temple that this church has built has in effect stood as a monument to our belief in the immortality of the human soul, that this phase of mortal life through which we pass is part of a continuous upward climb, so to speak. And that as certain as there is life here, there will be life there,” he said in a 1999 interview. The temple, he said, “is concerned with things of immortality,” in particular the eternity of the family. “All of the ordinances which take place in the house of the Lord become expressions of our belief in that fundamental and basic doctrine,” he said. “The temple, therefore, becomes the ultimate in our system of worship. And, therefore, is of great and significant importance to us.” (Deseret News, “Mark Left on Temples, Ordinances”, January 27, 2008)
“I wish to say to everyone here, come to the temple. Live worthy to come to the temple. Live the commandments of God so that you may come to the temple. Do those things which will make you eligible to serve in the house of the Lord. It has been built for you, my brothers and sisters, that you might have the opportunity of coming here and receiving the wonderful blessings that can be had nowhere else in all the world, except in other temples, where you may be sealed together as husband and wife, where your children may be sealed to you, where you may work in behalf of your forebears, who have gone beyond. That great and marvelous and wonderfully unselfish work occurs in the house of the Lord. Come to the temple” (meeting, Aba, Nigeria, Aug. 6, 2005).
President Hinckley often spoke or wrote about the temple, in General Conference and in the Church’s magazines. Here are some links to more of his counsel regarding them:
The most remarkable temple builder who has ever lived passed away this evening at the age of 97 – the Prophet of God on earth, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and our beloved friend and exemplar, Gordon Bitner Hinckley.
In the 165 years before he was called to the office of president and prophet of the Church 47 temples to God were erected on the earth. During President Hinckley’s 13 years as God’s anointed servant, 77 temples were built up to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 124 temples are now operating around the world, with another 13 temples under construction or announced, nearly tripling the number that existed previously. From an average of constructing a temple every 3.5 years, President Hinckley produced a near 21 fold increase in the rate to every 2 months! In the year 2000 alone, 34 temples were dedicated and given the exalted and holy status of the House of the Lord. During his lifetime he dedicated 85 temples, more than any other man who has ever lived. We might even say that President Hinckley has done more, save Jesus and Joseph Smith only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it, by extending the saving blessings and ordinances of the temple to countless millions of God’s children around the world (see D&C 135:3). Other members believe similarly.
Many prophets and apostles, ancient and modern, have envisioned this day and prophesied of the inspired and prophetic work of President Hinckley:
Elder Bruce R. McConkie –
We expect to see the day when temples will dot the earth, each one a house of the Lord; each one built in the mountains of the lord; each one a sacred sanctuary to which Israel and the Gentiles shall gather to receive the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Perhaps they will number in the hundreds, or even in the thousands, before the Lord returns. [Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1982), 277.]
President Brigham Young –
To accomplish this work there will have to be not only one temple but thousands of them, and thousands and tens of thousands of men and women will go into those temples and officiate for people who have lived as far back as the Lord shall reveal. [JD 3:372]
Even Isaiah of old foretold this time, and likely saw the ministry of President Hinckley,
Enlarge the place of thy tent, and . . . stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations . . . (Isaiah 54:2)
Elder Merrill J. Bateman has explained Isaiah’s scripture thus,
I suddenly realized that the phrase “the curtains of thine habitations” refers to temples, to houses of the Lord. In looking at the last days, Isaiah saw that a key feature of Church growth would be the building of temples. Temples will spread across the earth. (The Dawn of a New Millenium, Jan. 11, 2000)
Many others have also prophesied of the time when temples would “dot the earth.” President Hinckley saw that era and gave us the realization of that prophecy and vision. Glory be to God for the inspired work of this remarkable man of God! Indeed, we thank thee, O God, for a prophet!
Said the prophet,
I believe that no member of the Church has received the ultimate which this Church has to give until he or she has received his or her temple blessings in the house of the Lord. Accordingly, we are doing all that we know how to do to expedite the construction of these sacred buildings and make the blessings received therein more generally available. . . . We are determined, brethren, to take the temples to the people and afford them every opportunity for the very precious blessings that come of temple worship. (Some Thoughts on Temples, Retention of Converts, and Missionary Service, Oct. 1997)
Let it be known to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people that Gordon B. Hinckley was a chosen prophet of God, that he spoke the word of the Lord, and was a first hand witness of the Savior Jesus Christ! He was God’s prophet, seer, and revelator on the earth. He set in motion the accelerated building up of the most sacred spaces on earth, the holy temples of the Lord, in the most spectacular way this world has ever seen, and in them the saints have worshiped God and performed saving gospel ordinances in and to His name. The world will forever remember the legacy of our beloved prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley!
Some critics of the Church claim that the LDS temple practices are hidden from those investigating the Church until they are already baptized and confirmed members of the Church, and only then are they introduced to the ordinances, doctrines, and practices that are found in the temple, as if the Church springs something upon new converts that they have never heard of previously. While there are sacred aspects of the temple that are only to be experienced by attending the temple, this claim largely has no basis whatsoever. Missionaries of the Church introduce investigators to the doctrines, principles, and ordinances of the temple before their baptism. The following is from the “Preach My Gospel” instruction book, lesson 5 on “Laws and Ordinances,” which missionaries are to teach investigators before their baptism: [Read more…]