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Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley Lesson 23: "The Blessings of the Holy Temple"

by | Jun. 08, 2017

Lesson Helps

There are those who cannot find a suitable companion in this life and have to wait until the hereafter to get married. There are those who long for children in this life, but will have to wait for that promised blessing until after the resurrection. Just so, the bulk of humanity has had to trust that the blessings available only in a temple of God would be available to them in the next life. Such blessings were just not available in this life.

We are so fortunate that the ultimate blessings of the gospel of Christ are not only available somewhere on the planet, but are becoming more and more readily accessible to all worthy members of the Church. Temple building is proceeding at an accelerated pace around the globe, and the ultimate blessings of the Atonement of Christ are being made available in mortality to the peoples of the earth.

This is the only time in the history of the earth that these blessings have been so readily available to all of God’s children. It is a great privilege to be able to experience the joys of eternal marriage, sealings of family members to each other, and vicarious works of salvation for the dead while still in mortality. It is also a great responsibility.

This work is a prelude to the work that will consume society during the millennium. This is why it is so vital that we routinely remind ourselves how important temple work is, and how critical the temple covenants are, both to us and to those who have already gone through the veil.

Fulfillment of a promise

In the premortal world, we were all promised that our Savior’s work would not be complete until every last child of God had received the opportunity to receive every blessing available to all the children of God. The fulfillment of that promise is accomplished through the work we do in the temples.

Every soul-saving ordinance is performed in the temple. The names we find through our searching out our ancestors is what is used to fuel the work of our temples. We begin where we are at and are working backward through the generations. It is a literal fulfillment of the prophecies that the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

The temple is a physical symbol of our belief that we are eternal beings. The temples stand as monuments to our commitment that this life is only a passing phase, that we are planning ahead for our future progress and happiness in the hereafter.

... The temple becomes, as I have indicated, the bridge from this life to the next. The temple is concerned with things of immortality.

A continuation of the Atonement

These temples, which now dot the earth, are necessary to the total fulfillment of the Savior’s Atonement.

Have you thought of this before, that the temple is a necessary part of the Savior’s Atonement? I hadn’t. I had assumed the Atonement was a package deal that was completed 2000 years ago. But if the Atonement includes everything that is required for salvation and exaltation then yes, the work that is done in the temple is a continuation of the work of the Atonement. And we get to assist in this sacred work!

This is what makes us saviors on Mt. Zion. Just as Jesus performed a vicarious work for all of us that we could not perform for ourselves, so too do we perform a vicarious work in the temple for those who cannot perform the work for themselves. This makes doing temple work a special kind of selfless offering since we cannot expect any kind of thanks or reward from those whom we assist with these ordinances. This is a work of charity and pure love.

The blessings of the temple for both men and women who are worthy to enter therein … include our washings and anointings that we may be clean before the Lord. They include the instruction service in which we are given an endowment of obligations and blessings that motivate us to behavior compatible with the principles of the gospel. They include the sealing ordinances by which that which is bound on earth is bound in heaven, providing for the continuity of the family.

Our obligation, our blessing

As part of our temple privileges, we are all expected to remain worthy of entering the temple as often as our lives permit. The expectation of having temple privileges is that we will continue to use those privileges to come back time after time and do the work of salvation that needs to be done for our kindred dead. Just having a worthily acquired recommend reminds us of our privileges and our responsibilities before the Lord to assist in His great work of redemption.

Service in the temple is the best place for us to begin to grasp the joy that pure, unadulterated service can bring. This is the same joy experienced by Christ in His sacrifices for all of us. It is a selfless act of pure charity that is given freely, and without expectation of compensation. Temple service is holy service.

Since all blessings are based on the laws that bring those blessings, the higher the law we live, the greater the opportunities we have for higher blessings. All the highest blessings are obtained through the making and keeping of covenants with God. These highest of covenants are only had in the temple. Therefore, the temples are our best source for achieving lasting happiness.

The temple is also a sacred place of revelation and peace. When we go fasting and in an attitude of prayer to serve in His house, our hearts will find the peace we seek. Our minds will be moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and inspiration will follow our attendance at the temple. Many a prayer and desire for direction in life has been fulfilled and given because of worthy temple attendance and temple service.

A key to successful temple worship is gratitude. When pondering on current needs, be sure to spend time in the temple contemplating the blessings God has already given. The swelling of our hearts in gratitude to God seems to open the doors for answers to flow the other direction into our lives.

There is no blessing that has ever been available to the world since the days of Adam that can compare with the blessings of the temple. The covenants we make in these sacred edifices are eternal in nature. They require the highest priesthood given to men on earth, and offer the blessings of eternity.

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