Saturday, June 20, 2015

Blessings of the Temple and Amy's Temple Poem

Troy and Ember 2014
This is from a talk I gave in June of 2015 in Sacrament Meeting in Maui Hawaii, Makawao Ward.

Blessings of the Temple

Aloha brothers and sisters. It is my privilege today to talk on the blessings of the temple. On Easter Sunday this year President Monson gave a beautiful talk on the blessings of the temple, he spoke of how many new temples are being built, how many were dedicated, But the most impressive thing that he spoke about was the every day comfort that he has knowing that he and his wife Frances are sealed together and that he will be reunited with her again.

I think this is a common thread of comfort that weaves us together as members of the church. I think it is also one of the glowing doctrines of the church that brings so many into the Gospel. The idea that we can be with those that we love throughout this life and in the next brings immeasurable consolation.

I know that personally whenever I have a friend who loses someone dear to them and they do not have the gospel, their lack of knowledge in this principle increases their pain and loss tenfold.

The ability to be sealed to our family is probably my favorite part to share about the gospel.  Working as a nurse I have shared it at many bedsides and I have shared it with those that are about to pass on. I have witnessed the calming influence that this knowledge can bestow up on someone in their last hours of life. The simple words of it's okay to go, you will see your family again, and everything will be alright, is often all it takes to take fear out of someone's eyes and bring comfort to their hearts.

My words to these patients are true, but proxy work is required for these people to receive their ordinances. How long will they have to wait?

I believe in simple things. I believe that life is simple. I also believe that we complicate life by not choosing the simple and sure path that Jesus Christ has prepared for us.

The first and most basic covenant of the gospel is baptism.  It is offered as a cleansing, as a gift, as in entrance onto the pathway to eternal life.  At eight years old we can choose to enter onto this path. For those of us lucky enough to have been raised in the church it is a simple and logical step forward. For those of us who learn about the gospel later in life, giving up things that we have chosen, that complicate our lives, baptism becomes a more difficult choice but nonetheless worthy or important.

And if we stay on the gospel path, the next covenant choices that we will make come at a time when we are just being blessed with many worldly freedoms. Adulthood, all of its glory and all of its responsibilities. We live in a world where there is much criticism of those who choose to stay on a moral and clean path. It takes a strong individual to firmly grasp the rod and not look back. The covenants that come next are those of the temple endowment.  They are bold and beautiful. They are simple yet sweet. They hold many promises and bestow many blessings.

I can see the wisdom of the Lord in the council from our prophet to give Our missionaries the opportunity to serve at a younger age.  These youth have Less time to become entrapped in the snares of satan and more time to employ the blessings of the endowment.

Parents this is a wake up call to us. We already have an awesome responsibility to teach the gospel to our children but now we have to have them temple ready almost by the time that they graduate from high school. The council that we hear over and over in stake conference, General conference, and even in our relief society and priesthood meetings to:
1. Hold family prayer
2. Have family scripture study
3. Hold regular FHE
Needs to be implemented and regarded as sacred responsibilities.

I would like to add to that counsel a 4th and 5th bit of advice:

4. We need to demonstrate a love for the temple and the covenants that we make there.
5. We need to love our husbands and our wives unconditionally. We need to treat our marriages with a divine attitude striving to see them as eternal works of art. Molding, creating, changing and adapting.

Our children need to See us striving to keep our temple covenants so that they will have the courage and the strength to do the same.

I have 2 nephews and one niece that are at the missionary service age.  One of my nephews has been called to England and my niece was just called to the Philippines.  I am grateful for their examples.  My nephew Griffin took 6 months to muster up the courage to press submit.  He has a sweet girlfriend who told him that in order for her to accept his hand in marriage, he needed to serve a mission!  She is the catalyst for his spiritual growth and I am grateful for her encouragement.  Young woman, you know that I love you and I am very aware of your influence for good in this world. Do not under estimate your influence for good with the young men that you date.  You too can be a catalyst. I took my nephews girlfriend to dinner last time I was in Oahu and told her how grateful I was for her steadfastness.  I believe that in about two years they will be ready to start exploring the path to a temple marriage. 

My other nephew needs the same kind of girl friend.  He has not yet found his path, but he has good parents and a good foundation to build on. 

My niece has just finished her 1st year of college and as she was preparing to pick out classes for her next year she found that she was suffering from a stupor of thought.  She recognized the sign and decided to explore another path.  Prayerfully she sought the lord and although she had never considered serving a mission, she felt the promptings to go, and obediently submitted her papers.  She leaves in August!

What do missionaries  have to do with the blessings of the temple?  The missionaries are sent out to actively search for and teach those ready and willing to accept the gospel. 

In Matthew chapter 28 it is recorded:

19 ¶Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

We are missionaries too. Each one of us. We have a great work to do because there are so many friends and loved ones on the other side of the veil, waiting for you to prepare their names and take them to the temple. You May not know them yet, you may not even know they exist, but they know you and they are waiting for you to find them.

“For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6.)

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that -
There is no work connected with the gospel that is of a more unselfish nature than the work in the House of the Lord, for our dead. Those who work for the dead do not expect to receive any earthly remuneration or reward. It is, above all, a work of love, which is begotten in the heart of man through faithful and constant labor in these saving ordinances. There are no financial returns, but there shall be great joy in heaven with those souls whom we have helped to their salvation. It is a work that enlarges the soul of man, broadens his views regarding the welfare of his fellowman, and plants in his heart a love for all the children of our Heavenly Father. There is no work equal to that in the temple for the dead in teaching a man to love his neighbor as himself. Jesus so loved the world that he was willing to offer himself as a sacrifice for sin that the world might be saved. We also have the privilege, in a small degree, of showing our great love for Him and our fellow beings by helping them to the blessings of the gospel which now they cannot receive without our assistance.

So why is baptism the third principle and first ordinance of the gospel?

(1) It is in the similitude of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and of all others who received the resurrection.

(2) Baptism is also a birth and in the similitude of the birth of a child into this world.
                                    (3) Baptism is literally, as well as a figure of the resurrection, a transplanting, or resurrection from one life to another--the life of sin to the life of spiritual life.

When we are baptized Each person, as he enters the waters of baptism, takes upon himself a covenant.

In the waters of baptism we covenanted that we would keep these commandments; that we would serve the Lord; that we would keep this first and greatest of all the commandments, and love the Lord our God; that we would keep the next great commandment, we would love our neighbor as ourselves; and with all the might that we have, with all the strength, with all our hearts we would prove to Him that we would “live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God;” [D&C 84:44] that we would be obedient and humble, diligent in His service, willing to obey, to hearken to the counsels of those who preside over us and do all things with an eye single to the glory of God.
So as you ponder upon this baptismal covenant which we have made and we remember the parts to love our neighbor and to consecrate our time and our talents to building the kingdom of God, it should be easy for us to take some of that consecrated time and spend it in doing temple work. Not just going to the temple but of finding the names of those Lost family members and friends that are anxiously and happily waiting for you to do their work on the other side of the veil.
Brothers and sisters this is now going to sound like an infomercial because I have recently been called as a new family history worker. I have dabbled in family history for many years and never has family history been as fun and rewarding as it is now. The church has a web site program called family search and is a collaborated effort between anyone out there who is doing family history. So that means that can watch your family tree grow with just a few entries. It is wonderful, it is humbling and in so many ways it seems magical. I would love to help you get started,there's more than one of me out there - family history workers that is, and any of us would be happy to watch the spirit of Elijah touch your heart and fill you with joy.

Then, you will see that you will always have friends waiting to go to the temple with you because they will be the friends on the other side of the veil.
I had the opportunity to do a temple session last month and as I was waiting for the endowment session to start, I took a mental inventory of myself. My thoughts and my feelings, I realized that I had been carrying some sort of weight, a sadness to some degree.  I remembered that the sadness of been there but the reason it came to my mind as I took my personal inventory was that the weight or the sadness was gone.

In trouble there,
I go to seek,
A Peaceful calm,
a healing psalm,
The ancient hand,
To dry my cheek,
Words familiar,
A hymn of rest,
This mortal life,
To give my best.
Soft shoes upon,
The carpet tread,
Bringing new hope,
To those now dead.
The peaceful calm,
It fills my soul.
The healing Grace,
quiets the offending toll,
Of time not spent,
With charity.
Forgive me Lord,
I pray to thee.
With my whole heart,
I now can see,
The joy we seek,
Our one desire,
Is waiting under the temple spire.

Amy K Anderson

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