“The people gathered themselves together throughout all the land, that they might go up to the temple to hear the words…And they also took of the firstlings of their flocks, that they might offer sacrifice and burnt offerings according to the law of Moses; And also that they might give thanks to the Lord their God…when they came up to the temple, they pitched their tents round about, every man according to his family…And they pitched their tents round about the temple, every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple, that thereby they might remain in their tents and hear the words which king Benjamin should speak unto them;” (Mosiah 2:1-6)
When King Benjamin sent out the proclamation to his people he desired them to come up to the temple to hear his words. He desired to give them a new name. He desired to teach them the things of eternity, most importantly the grace of their Savior Jesus Christ. As they came up to the temple they came as families with a willingness to learn and to sacrifice. Their focus was towards the temple and what they would learn there.
Recently, we have received council to make the temple a greater part of our lives. In the most recent General Conference, our beloved prophet counseled us to make the temple a part of our lives even though we are unable to enter them because of their current closures. He pleaded with us to do the family history work needed to bring our kindred dead to the alters of the temple and serve for them. It is still all about coming to the temple as families.
It is one thing for us to attend the temple once for our own work and then maybe even hang a picture of the temple in our home but that is not enough. We live in a day and age when almost anywhere in the world we can get to a temple with relative ease. Temples are already announced for Russia, the Arabian Peninsula, and even mainland China. Temples literally dot the earth. By frequently visiting the temple, living worthy of a temple recommend and the covenants associated, and searching for our deceased ancestors we are pointing the doors of our tents to the temple.
Pointing Our Doors to the Temple
There are many ways that we can point the doors of our tents to the temple. First off, I would like to expound a little bit on the term tent. The tent represents a portable dwelling place. It is a place often used by a nomadic people in the wilderness. Nephi relates to us a few different times of the use of his father’s tent. We learn that many things transpired as his father dwelt in a tent. I believe that Nephi is sure to record this detail to show to us both the nomadic nature of their travels as well as the importance to note that they had a place of spiritual centering just as Moses constructed a tent in the wilderness.
Our homes are a place that “can compare with the temple in sacredness.” We are advised to dedicate our homes. It is within the walls of our homes that we seek personal revelation from God. It is here that we instruct our families of things of an eternal nature. It is here that we are preparing our children to enter into sacred covenants.
These doors must be pointed to heaven, and the temple is a place on earth that represents heaven. Temples are truly the mountains of the Lord’s House.
Now I am not advocating for us to construct our homes with the doors pointed directly at the nearest temple obviously. In today’s world, this is certainly metaphorical, but there are some key things that we can do as families to more adequately point our doors and align our lives with the temple and Jesus Christ.
Family History Work
This is an area that I have lacked, but I am working on being better at it. I have a family that stretches back multiple generations in the church. I have great aunts that have done great work in the realms of family history. Much of the temple work for my known ancestors has been completed. This is not fully the case on my wife’s side, but it is close. However, I know that there is much more work to be done.
Sometimes we just need to begin. We find all that we can on FamilySearch.org and through family records. Then, we discuss with our living family members about missing information. We work to discover. As we do this then we are assisted by those that are waiting on the other side of the veil.
“The seen and the unseen worlds are closely connected. One assists the other. Those who fail to partake of the privileges and blessings of temple work deprive themselves of some of the choicest gifts within the keeping of the Church.” (Elder John A. Widstoe, The Urgency of Temple Service, The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, January 1937)
Just the other night I was diving through my great-grandfather’s siblings and I noticed that there were spouses whose information was missing. I am sure that this is not the only case. This is just one example of work that I can pursue.
Now that I have found these gaps it is up to me to get my family involved in the process of learning, finding, and discovering who these people were and what further information we need to find to help them and their families receive the covenants of the holy temple. There is a lot of work to do. As we engage ourselves in this work then we are able to have our doors pointed to the temple.
Maintain a Current Temple Recommend
We should all worthily maintain a current temple recommend. As we can attest to our witness of our own personal testimony and worthiness we are ready, willing, and able to enter into and keep the covenants of the temple. These covenants will in turn align us with our Savior Jesus Christ.
By exemplifying this personal worthiness we are showing our Heavenly Parents that we desire to dwell in their presence. We are showing that our “incomings may be in the name of the Lord, that [our] outgoings may be in the name of the Lord, that all [our] salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High” (D&C 109:9) In so doing, our lives are in order and prepared to enter His holy house.
Keep the Covenants that We Have Made
“Rather, the covenants received and the ordinances performed in temples are essential to the sanctifying of our hearts and for the ultimate exaltation of God’s sons and daughters.” (President Eyering, General Conference April 2020)
Every individual that enters the doors of the temple enters into sacred covenants. Even the youth that comes into the baptistry has made a sacred covenant to be willing to take His name upon them. This and the other covenants associated with Baptism, the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood, and other temple covenants are sources of power to all who will willingly partake of these sacred promises made with God.
We come to the temple to receive further light and knowledge. This is the power that leads us to become like our Savior. We are aligning ourselves with Him to do His will. He has promised “that all people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord’s house may feel [His] power, and feel constrained to acknowledge that [He} hast sanctified it, and that it is [His] house, a place of [His] holiness…And that they may grow up in [Him], and receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost, and be organized according to [His] laws, and be prepared to obtain every needful thing;” (D&C 109:13,15) This acknowledgment informs us of His blessings that are available to us through the temple.
Elder Eyering further taught that
“The most sacred covenants and priesthood ordinances are received only in a temple—the house of the Lord. Everything that is learned and all that is done in the temple emphasize the divinity of Jesus Christ and His role in Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness…
“we come to the temple to conquer the world of evil. As we invite into our lives the “power of godliness” by receiving priesthood ordinances and making and keeping sacred covenants, we are blessed with strength beyond our own to overcome the temptations and challenges of mortality and to do and become good…
“our primary focus should be on the covenants and ordinances that can change our hearts and deepen our devotion to the Savior and not simply on the location or beauty of the building.”
(President Eyering, General Conference April 2020)
Covenants give us power. They bind us to God and His Son. They empower us with the strength to overcome the world and the natural tendencies that are so prevalent in the world. They help us along that path of becoming saints through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
It was at the temple that King Benjamin helped his people to enter into a covenant that required a willingness to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ. So too, it is for us as we covenant in the temple and return often to help others make those same convents.
Sacrifice of Our Time
Just as in times of old we are to give offerings to the Lord. Ae He told the Nephites after He fulfilled the work that the Father had for Him and completed the Atonement, “ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (3 Nephi 9:20) A sign of contrition is the offering of our time and talents to the work of the Lord. He has asked that we come to the temple often. By making time to attend the temple we are most literally pointing our doors to the temple.
As we show our children from a young age that it is important to attend the temple then they get a glimpse of heaven and the work involved with the salvation of all of God’s children. This work is a work that requires saviors. As we give of our time we are becoming like Christ as we are vicariously doing something for someone else that they cannot do for themselves. This is what He did for us in Gethsemane and upon Golgotha.
Our time is one of our most valuable resources. As we willingly give of it we are showing God that His work is of the most important. This time can be given inside the temple, or by taking our youngsters to the grounds of the temples, or by taking our children of age into the baptistry, or by searching for our kindred dead to be able to perform their work vicariously.
Let us liberally give of our time to bless those on both sides of the veil.
Understand That The Temple is a Symbol of The Christ
When in the wilderness Moses was commanded to build a tabernacle as a place where they could offer their offerings to Jehovah. It was a place where Moses could commune with God. It was where the priests were washed and anointed. It was directly symbolic of Christ as Savior, Healer, and God. It signified His power and the opportunity to unite mankind to that power through specific ordinances that kept in remembrance the atoning grace of Jesus Christ and His future sacrifice.
Our tents represent us in this wilderness of mortality. The temple represents the Savior and His saving power. We must constantly have our thoughts and actions pointed in a direction looking to Christ for life eternal. In the temple, we gain intelligence, or in other words light and truth. It is this light and truth that forsake the evil one. The temple empowers us to better hold to the iron rod. It is experiencing the fruit of the tree and remaining faithful to it.
It is in the temple that we grow up in the Lord. It is in the temple that we learn of the sacrifice of the Son of God and the key role that plays in our eternal progress. We are lost without Christ. He is the only way. By attending the temple and pointing our doors to the temple we keep our eye on Jesus Christ and we are better capable to believe the things that He says. We are better able to understand that He is the source of all mercy to satisfy the demands of justice.
It is only through the grace of Jesus Christ that we might be saved. It is through entering into sacred covenants, sharing the gospel, and redeeming our kindred dead that we work with Christ to become perfect. The temple is the place that reveals to us the process and helps to align us with Christ that we may grow grace to grace until we receive of a fullness. Or, in the words of the prophet Moroni,
“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of “God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.” (Moroni 10:32-33)