The temple and its ordinances were the pinnacles of Joseph Smith’s revelatory teachings and prophetic career, desiring each member to be “endowed with power from on high” (D&C 38:38). Your endowment is to receive the power and capacity to one day enter the presence of God and receive a fullness of his blessings. The presentation of the endowment ceremony replicates a metaphorical journey. It takes a fallen person and cleanses them, blesses them, teaches them, and brings them to a celestial redemption in the presence of God. Whether you are going for the first time or hundredth, how can you get the most out of this wondrous and unique temple experience? How do you make the endowment ceremony personally meaningful and spiritually impactful? How do you let it teach you how to come unto God’s exalting presence through his divine Son? One approach that can help is based on a divine pattern of spiritual learning summarized as KNOW, FEEL, and DO.
Gaining the things of God requires our mind (KNOW), our heart (FEEL) and our actions (DO). This divine learning pattern is repeated often in scripture. “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me” (D&C 19:23). Learn [Know], Listen [Feel], and Walk [Do]. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). Seek [Know], Ask [Feel], Knock [Do].
The holy temple also uses these three aspects to teach. Each time you participate in the endowment ordinances three great questions to ask yourself are: “What does the Lord want me to KNOW from this experience?” “What does the Lord want me to FEEL from this experience?” and “What does the Lord want me to DO because of this experience?” When you ask these questions in meekness and humility, great insights flow from God’s house of revelation.
The temple uses symbol, imagery, and ritual to communicate spiritual knowledge. As mystery transports you to unknown realms, ask God questions about his teaching methods. Why are we doing this? What does that setting suggest? What does this room symbolize? What could this phrase mean? What might this clothing imply? We simply cannot be mentally passive in the temple and expect to learn the mysteries of God.
As you enter the temple to participate in the endowment ordinances, pay attention to how you feel, and to what is designed in the temple experience that may help you feel this way. What does the temple’s orderliness and cleanliness help you feel? What does the clothing help you feel? What does the instruction help you feel? What helps you feel clean, pure, or worthy? What helps you to feel God’s love? You may feel that you need to repent. You may feel a profound trust in God. You may feel a surge of optimism or hope. The Spirit can deliver these divine gifts, and many more, to you in the temple.
When you enter the holy temple, continually ask yourself, “What would God have me do because of what I am learning or feeling? What would he have me become?” The answers may be wide and varied according to your personal circumstances, but directives from God will come that lead you, “to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously” (D&C 11:12). In the temple, you will make sacred covenants. The ultimate purpose of these holy covenants is to help us learn about and, through the grace of God, attain a sanctified celestial character so that we can abide in a celestial glory. As you attend the temple, ask yourself, “What can I do to better live my covenants?” or “What can I act upon, today, to live this divine law?”
Whatever your level of current understanding of the endowment, be both patient and excited for further insights. The temple ordinances may take a lifetime of dedicated worship to fully decode, but you too will get revelatory dots bit-by-bit that eventually come together into a grand heavenly image. Ultimately, whether in this life or the next, if we are faithful to what we learn and re-learn as we take the Lord’s holy invitation to visit his house, the image that will unfold to each of us will be the face and presence of God.
Lead image from lds.org
You may feel a little intimidated when you're preparing to enter the temple for the first time. Fortunately, this book can help. It offers answers about the endowment by providing a frame for you to understand the purposes and procedures of its ordinances.
Explore the temple endowment from three different vantage points: the why, the what, and the how, so that when you go to the temple—whether for the first time or the hundredth—you can more fully absorb the learning and truth the Lord has in store for you.
The Lord has extended to each one of us a holy invitation: an invitation to enter His house, to learn of Him and His ways, and to prepare to return to His presence and receive a fullness of His exalting blessings. Learn how you can accept the invitation the Lord has extended to you personally and find profound meaning in the sacred temple endowment.