(Note: Our presidency decided a few months ago to take turns writing a monthly message to our stake members. Since it is only accessible to stake members logged in to the LDS,org website, I thought I'd also post it here for a broader audience, should there be anyone out there interested :-)
While growing up in Oregon, I took a high school radio broadcasting class that included being an on-the-air disc jockey. In a time before digital music audio files existed, I would play music using vinyl albums on turntables. On occasion, while attempting to entertain myself while waiting for a long news story to be broadcast, I would place various objects on one of the turntables to see how quickly it would fly off the edge, depending on how fast the turntable was spinning.
I also discovered an interesting phenomenon. If I placed something right next to the spindle and then turned on the turntable, the object wouldn’t move; even if the record was spinning at very high speeds. Although I didn’t understand the significance of this at the time, I’ve since come to realize how this experience relates to an important gospel truth:
The closer we are to the Savior, the less likely we are to be pulled away from Him, even when the world may be spinning out of control all around us.
This has led me to a question I often ask myself, and which I now share with you:
What do you do to restore and retain quiet when the world is loud all around you?
You likely have more than one answer to this question, as do I. It has been my experience, however, that there is one especially powerful way for me to restore inner calm and “centeredness” when I feel my life spinning out of control - I go to the temple.
Only in the House of the Lord can I draw spiritual peace, power and strength sufficient to help me not only “get through” my challenges, but I can also receive specific direction in the temple regarding how to overcome those challenges. This is because the temple is not only for the dead, but for the living.
Without discussing sacred temple covenants and ordinances, I want to share three simple ways that the temple is intended to help each of us in our personal and family challenges and responsibilities.
Personal Revelation - In the temple we are invited to bring our questions and concerns with the promise that we will be “taught from on high.” President Ezra Taft Benson testified that "Temples are places of personal revelation. When I have been weighed down by a problem or a difficulty, I have gone to the House of the Lord with a prayer in my heart for answers. The answers have come in clear and unmistakable ways." (“What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children about the Temple,” Ensign, Aug. 1985, p. 8 - http://www.lds.org/ensign/1985/08/what-i-hope-you-will-teach-your-children-about-the-temple?lang=eng).
I have discovered that if I come to the temple in a spirit of humble worship and earnest prayer, he will speak to me in quiet but unmistakable ways and will reveal to me the things I should do to either overcome problems or instead to better endure them. I know the temple is a place of personal revelation. I invite you to bring your personal questions and concerns to the temple. I testify you will find heavenly help in the House of the Lord.
Personal Instruction - One of my favorite passages of scripture in The Book of Mormon is found in the first chapter of the Book of Jacob. As Nephi’s younger brother began his prophetic ministry, he shared the following insight about his preparation for service: “Wherefore I, Jacob, gave unto them these words as I taught them in the temple, having first obtained mine errand from the Lord” (Jacob 1:19, emphasis added).
I know that we can be taught from on high regarding our callings, no matter how humble or insignificant we think our callings may be. Elder Henry B. Eyring taught the following regarding our right to receive revelation in our callings: “You must ask in faith for revelation to know what you are to do. With your call comes the promise that answers will come. But that guidance will come only when the Lord is sure you will obey. To know His will you must be committed to do it. The words “Thy will be done,” written in the heart, are the window to revelation” (Rise to Your Call, October 2002, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2002/10/rise-to-your-call?lang=eng).
The Savior has invited us to come to the temple to receive our “errand” from him, with the promise that in his house we can both learn our duty and also how to fulfill it. He taught that the temple is “a place of thanksgiving for all saints, and for a place of instruction for all those who are called to the work of the ministry in all their several callings and offices;
“That they may be perfected in the understanding of their ministry, in theory, in principle, and in doctrine, in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God on the earth, the keys of which kingdom have been conferred upon you” (Doctrine & Covenants 97:13-14).
I invite you to come to the temple to receive your “errand from the Lord.” I promise you that in the temple you’ll be told what to do and also be shown how to better do what you have been called by God to do in the building up and establishing of his kingdom upon the earth.
Personal Peace -
We live in a noisy and often-irreverent world. Finding quiet places can sometimes be difficult. I return to my previous question - What do you do to restore and retain quiet when the world is loud all around you? I know of no better response than this: Come to the temple.
Help is waiting for you there. Do you have challenges in your marriage, your family, or in your personal life? Come to the temple. Are you struggling to find employment, to help a wayward child, or overcome a personal weakness? Come to the temple. Are you burdened with a secret wound, a troubled heart, or a wearied, worn-out spirit? Come to the temple.
In the ordinances and covenants of the temple we both discover and, over time, become "Holiness to The Lord." In the sacred temple covenants, ordinances and patterns we draw power and doctrine that are applicable to our everyday experiences and challenges.
Elder David B. Haight made the following promises to those that seek for peace in the temple: "You will come to know our Lord there. As your relationship with Him grows and deepens, you will grow increasingly confident in His love, in His compassion for your difficulties, in His power to bear you up and bring you back into His presence. As you avail yourself of that divine assistance, you will come to know that there can be no challenge, no difficulty, no obstacle in your life which you and He together cannot overcome." (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1992/04/come-to-the-house-of-the-lord?lang=eng)
I testify that the temple is for the living. I pray we will seek with greater diligence to first qualify for and to then receive the blessings of the House of the Lord. Come to the temple. Come to the temple. Come to the temple.