The first chapter of this book mentions a young woman who was terrified of the Second Coming. Her biggest fear was that flies would get her, so she wanted to go someplace safe where she could get away from them. Well, I hope I've made it clear that the horrible events that are to come are reserved for the wicked. The righteous will be affected to some degree by the coming events, but there's no promise of safety at all for the wicked.
As we prepare for the Second Coming, many of us want to know what to do to prepare for that day. And just like my student, we'll need to find safe places where we can go to find protection. But where are those places? Will we be able to get there in time? Let's answer those questions.
Last year my oldest daughter, Amber, turned twelve. She was so excited to finally graduate from Primary and go into the Young Women program. But the thing she was most excited about was the opportunity to go to the temple for the first time. My wife and I decided we would take her to the temple for her birthday to do baptisms for the dead. When the special day came, we dressed up and made our way to the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple in American Fork. We had a great time together. Amber was nervous but felt the Spirit of the Lord.
While we were there, we met a young woman in her twenties. She and a friend were also doing baptisms for the dead. She was kind and took a few minutes to share a personal story with our daughter. She said she had had a hard time in high school. She didn't have a lot of friends and struggled with the atmosphere at her school. One day she had an idea. She would go to the temple once a week to do baptisms for the dead. And she did. For the last two years of high school, she went to the temple every week.
After sharing her story, she bore her testimony to my daughter. "Coming to the temple during that challenging time gave me courage to endure," she said. We were grateful that she took the time to share that experience with us.
You too can prepare for the challenges to come by going to the holiest place on earththe temple. Just because you're young doesn't mean you can't go. Get a temple recommend from your bishop and attend the temple as often as you can. In the temple you'll find peace and the courage you need to face life's challenges.
President Ezra Taft Benson said, "In the peace of these lovely temples, sometimes we find solutions to the serious problems of life. Under the influence of the Spirit, sometimes pure knowledge flows to us there. Temples are places of personal revelation. When I have been weighted down by a problem or a difficulty, I have gone to the house of the Lord with a prayer in my heart for answers. These answers have come in clear and unmistakable ways" ("What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children about the Temple," Ensign, August 1985, 8).
There are other holy places where we can stand, including our homes. Our homes can also help prepare us for the Second Coming. Look what the Bible Dictionary says about homes: "[The temple] is the most holy of any place of worship on earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness" (781; emphasis added).
Homes can be places where we find strength and courage. Homes are where family prayers are given, family home evening is held, and blessings are given to children. Just having the priesthood in your home can be a blessing. Allowing your father to give you a blessing when you need one can bring peace to your life and help you find answers to your prayers.
So what if you live in a home where these things don't occur? You can still encourage your parents to do righteous things, and you can offer to give a home evening lesson yourself or encourage your family to have prayer together. You can work hard to limit contention, obey your parents, and live in such a way that the Spirit will come and dwell there because you are doing your best. Making your home like a temple can be hard work, but it's worth it to create another holy place where you can stand.
What about Church? Obviously, Church can be a holy place too provided you make it one. Let's suppose you're out late Saturday night on a date. Because you don't get up on time the next morning, you have to rush around trying to find your clothes and scriptures. In your rush you get irritated with other family members. Then you wolf down your breakfast and run out the door, hoping to get to Church on time. Is it worth it, or are you better off sleeping in and skipping Church?
Of course it's worth it. We go to Church for several good reasons. We go to learn gospel principles, be with our friends and neighbors, think about good things, sing, and pray. But as important as those things are, they're not the primary reason we go. We go primarily to partake of the sacrament, renew our covenants, and remember the Savior. As we partake of the sacrament, we can be forgiven of our sins and receive the blessing of having the Spirit with us alwaysnot just on Sunday. We need the Holy Ghost in our lives. When he is with us constantly, we're better able to make good choices that will prepare us for the Second Coming.
What about association with friends? Can being in their presence be like standing in a holy place? Yes, if we have the right friends. We usually become like our friends, so if our friends have good attitudes about the gospel and are trying to do what's right, they can be a great blessing to us. On the other hand, if our friends are negative about spiritual things and mock the Lord and his Church, we may want to find other friends.
Remember, there's only one person responsible to prepare you for the Second Coming, and that's you. Don't take a chance on having unrighteous friends and still think you'll be all right. Peer pressure is a powerful tool Satan can use against you. "Choose your friends carefully," the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet tells us. "They will greatly influence how you think and act, and even help determine the person you will become. Choose friends who share your values so you can strengthen and encourage each other in living high standards. A true friend will encourage you to be your best self " (12).
The last holy place isn't a building or a place or a friend. It's you. Your own life can be a holy place. As you keep yourself free from sin and remain humble enough to repent when you make mistakes, the Lord will bless you, and you will find great satisfaction in knowing that you are prepared for his coming. One of my favorite scriptures tells us how to make our lives a holy place.
"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a life, even a life of prayer, a life of fasting, a life of faith, a life of learning, a life of glory, a life of order, a life of God" (D&C 88:119; emphasis added). Okay, I replaced the word "house" with "life," but think about that scripture. Your life can be a holy place. By focusing on simple things like prayer and fasting, you can prepare for the Lord to come. Great personal protection comes from living a godly life.
The scriptures tell us to stand in holy places and not be moved. Part of creating a holy place is standing up for what we believe. Though the world may pressure you to change your values and beliefs, stand up for what you know is right. Don't allow yourself to be moved by what's wrong, even if it's popular or cool. I know you can do it!