Saturday, February 22, 2014

Temples Bless Us with Power from on High

Temples Bless Us with Power from on High

It once was said that all roads lead to Rome. But the Roman Empire has since fallen. Today some people think that all road lead to the temple. While we know that the Lord’s Kingdom will not fail, not all roads lead to the temple. In fact, most roads will lead us away from the temple. Temples certainly do dot the earth, and we can even see the Redlands Temple from our own backyard; but, the real road to the temple is discipleship. When we comply to the principles, ordinances, and commandments found in the gospel of Jesus Christ, then we are on the road to the temple.

How do we begin?

We must become acquainted with our Heavenly Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. This is the most important thing we can so. As mothers especially, I feel that it is important to teach our children very young that they are children of God, that He loves them, and that He has expectations for them. 

In the Lord’s Mission Statement, we read, 

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39).”  

The day that the Prophet Joseph Smith spoke about will soon be here: 

 “If any man does not know God, . . . he will realize that he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle” (
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 344).  

So it is important to make these things known unto the children of men (2 Nephi 2:8). 

It is interesting to note, that many in the world today think that knowing about God is enough. If they acknowledge that He exists, they think that they have done their part and all will be well with them. They do not realize that like any loving parent, God has expectations for them and of them. Remember, that even Laman and Lemuel believed in God; they knew He existed; they were visited and reprimanded by an angel. But when they expressed unbelief or resentment towards Nephi for his understanding and his relationship with God, 

Nephi asked them, Have ye inquired of the Lord?” 

And their response was, “We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us (See 2 Nephi 15:8-9 ).”  

You see, they failed to become acquainted with God, and they failed to see their relationship to Him. In essence, even though they believed in God, they did not believe in themselves or in God’s love for them.

Satan perpetuates this lie: that none of us can know God. Why? Because, if he can divert us from the path back to our Heavenly Father, he feels that he’s won. Yet we know that because of God’s Plan for us and our Savior’s Atonement for us, They won a long time ago. It is just up to us to choose to be on the winning team, and to invite others to be as well; and as parents, we must begin with our own families.

There are others who have abandoned any belief in God. They claim superiority to those who have faith, saying that we are childish. There are many examples of this type in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Basically, this group does not want to live by the teachings of the gospel, so it becomes more convenient for them to deny God than to deny themselves of their godlessness.

Also, we live in a day when diversity is the thing to be prized and celebrated. Even though diversity abounds and can add richness to society, I prefer to celebrate our commonality—that we are all children of God, that we have a common parentage through Adam and Eve, and that we have unlimited potential if we make and keep covenants with our Father. I feel it is a shame that there is so much pride in belonging to a special interest group. Our Father and our Savior have invested greater interest in all of us than any special interest group ever will, and They have so much more to offer. Some celebrate their individual struggles as making them more special or more blessed. In Ether 12:27, we learn that God gives unto men weaknesses that they may be humble, and then if they turn to Him in humility and faith, he will make weak things become strong unto them.

So it isn't our weaknesses or our diversity that we should celebrate most; but, we should celebrate the grace of the Lord, that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can become stronger, and better, and be made whole.  

I have chosen to give this background information to this talk, because it is of paramount importance that we become acquainted with God; that we help our children to become acquainted through reading, study, prayer, service, devotion, meditation, work, and genuine love and kindness. We cannot maintain a relationship with our Heavenly Father if we become too casual in our devotion.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been restored in our day, and all the Priesthood power along with it, that can bind us as families for eternity and deliver us to God’s throne spotless, where we can receive a full extension of His grace, and move forward in our progression to become like Him. That is powerful. That is merciful. That is brilliant. And Satan knows it. We live in a time where we can go to the temples and be endowed with power from on high. Why would Satan and his minions allow that? No, he will do all in his power to thwart that from happening. And that is why we see the confusion over the family unit, gender identity, and proper use of priesthood power

Did God know this would happen? Of course He did, and that is why He had the prophet and the apostles issue The Family: A Proclamation to the World nearly 19 years ago. As we study that document, we can equip ourselves and our family with the necessary knowledge to combat both personal doubts and assaults from within and without the church. In saying this, I am not suggesting that we argue, fight, or force our opinions down anyone’s throats. That has never been the Lord’s way, and it isn't today. But we do need to have the boldness NOW to hasten the work
  • As mothers and fathers, there is no better way to hasten the work than to teach our children and to be an example to them. 
  • Second to that, let’s hasten the work by being more valiant home and visiting teachers and by magnifying our callings. 
The souls of all around us are in danger, and we have the means to help them. 

Let’s point them in the direction of our Heavenly Father, of His Son’s Atonement, of access to their mercy and grace through the first principles and ordinance of the gospel, which are Faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for remission of sins by proper priesthood authority, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost (See Article of Faith 1:4). And we cannot stop there. 

Let’s point them to the temple, and let’s develop the faith to take them there! 

I feel that too many of us are more worried about our rights of worship, and the rites performed in our temples, being taken away from us than we are in making it known that these blessings are available to all and inviting them to join us.

As a young mother, I felt it was important to read the scriptures and the Friend magazine with my children. It was important to teach them to share and to get along, and to rejoice in each other’s accomplishments. It was important for Bob and me to read with them, play with them, and teach them. Bob was very involved in all of this. He made sure that the children always had a good supply of books and music and that our family had wonderful daycations together.

Mother and Father need to work together as a team. This is especially true as the children grow older. Parents offer many prayers on behalf of their children, because they love them and want the best for them. And we point them in the right direction; but, we cannot coerce them or break them like a horse. They are sons and daughters of God, and they will learn to love Him more easily if their earthly parents love them. I would never purport to say that Bob and I were perfect parents, and our children may be quick to agree with that. But I know as they grow older in years and experiences with their own children, they will realize that we did the best we could. (And so did their grandparents.)

Our children were taught the gospel in our home through prayer, scripture study, Family Home Evening, and service to one another. They were prepared to enter the waters of baptism, and each had the personal desire to do so. It is a commandment to parents in the church to teach their children the first principles and ordinances of the gospel so that they will be prepared to be baptized when they are eight-years-old (Doctrine and Covenants 68:25).

Since the Gift of the Holy Ghost will be such a blessing in every facet of their lives, we should never adopt the worldly philosophy to not teach them and let them decide when they are older if they want to learn and convert or not. We can have the greatest influence on them for good while they are still young. And we should not want to deny them the privilege of the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Besides the family nights and church attendance and teaching our children the importance of the gospel, how can we help them feel the Savior’s love and know how special they are to Him and their Heavenly Father? I won’t answer that question fully, and I really can’t. But The Family: A Proclamation to the World is a great starting point. Plus, the parents in each family unit can pray for direction on how they can most fully implement the teachings of the gospel in their home, what experiences will best help to invite the Spirit, and how they can help their children learn how to recognize the Spirit in their lives. The truer that we become in our own discipleship, the more our children will recognize the importance of developing their own relationships with God.

One of the most important things we can do is teach them about revelation
  • As children of God we are all born with the Light of Christ and the ability to discern good from evil (See John 1). 
  • Also, as children of God, even before being members of the church, we are all entitled to being influenced through the power of the Holy Ghost, which will lead us to truth (See 1 Nephi 10:17 and 2 Nephi 26:13).

  • We should teach them that everyone is entitled to seek personal revelation, and if they are humble and faithful, and are seeking truth, they can expect to receive it.

  • They should understand that only the prophet can receive revelation for the church and for the world; the stake president for the stake; the Bishop for the ward; parents for their families; and individuals for themselves. (We only receive revelation over that which we have stewardship.)
We need to teach them that those things that deny the Christ, or that deny the scriptures and the prophets, or that make all beliefs relative and equal are false doctrines. Truth is eternal; it is what God has established, and it is not what each individual person or civilization redefines it to be. Once we have the Gift of the Holy Ghost, we should seek our Father’s direction continually so that we can be led by truth and chart a proper course in our lives, and lovingly help others to do so as well.

In the temples, we will receive even more light and knowledge, and the personal revelation that we are prepared to receive. In the temples, we are endowed with power from on high. Yet we are not exempt from the struggles of our present-day world, and we will yet fall if we do not cleave unto the truths that we know, and if we do not follow the prophet. We will fall if we embrace the things of the world and let go of the things of God. What an amazing gift we have been given. We don’t just get to go to the temple once for ourselves and then stop. We can and should go back often. That way as we help our kindred dead receive their endowment, so that they can be blessed with power from on high, and so that they can be sealed eternally with their loved ones; as we go back ourselves, our own endowment is renewed in our lives, and we gain more power to resist evil and to pursue good. We also become a blessing to our family and friends, because we are enlightened by the Spirit of Truth, and we are carriers and keepers of the covenant

Our family has been blessed bountifully through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the gifts poured out to us in the temple. What a comfort it is to know that our son Robby has gained eternal life, that he is sealed to our family, and we can all be together after this life if we live worthily. As Bob and I grow older, it’s a comfort to us to know that our marriage was performed by the correct authority in the temple of God, and that it will be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise if we keep our covenants to God and to each other. We have been blessed that, so far, four of our children have been endowed and served missions; and that Christine is preparing to do the same. We are blessed that our children have decided to marry in the temple, and that three of them have already had that opportunity; that our grandson Jacob could be sealed to Tom and Whitney on their wedding day, and that our granddaughter Amanda was born in the covenant. Great are the blessings to our family because of the temple; and greater will be the blessings if each family member chooses to remain faithful to their covenants. Agency is paramount in our Father’s plan. But without proper teaching and guidance, there is not proper agency. We need to make known the benefits of the gospel of Jesus Christ to our own children, our own family, and to the world. We have been called upon to hasten the work. Let us do so. Let us take the high road of true discipleship which leads to the temple and back to our Heavenly Father's presence; and, let us invite all to come unto Christ, so that they can do the same.

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