Children and the temple

During 1993, Primary teachers and leaders in wards and branches throughout the Church have been teaching children about the temple. The objective of the yearlong focus is to help each child gain a desire to obtain the blessings of the House of the Lord.

What a worthwhile objective.Through the work of the Primary this year, children have learned what a temple is, why we go there, and how we can be worthy to enter the Lord's house. They have learned the meanings of such words as covenant, ordinance, recommend, endowment and sealing. They have sung songs about the temple to increase their understanding.

The children will have a chance to share with their parents and other ward members what they have learned as they participate in the annual Children's Sacrament Meeting Presentation in September or October.

The groundwork to prepare the children of the Church for the temple has been laid. But it should not end there. It's so important that the children's desire to receive sacred temple ordinances doesn't fade after the sacrament meeting presentation or after this year's focus in Primary.

And that, of course, is the responsibility of parents. Parents have the major role of teaching their children. Parents can do much to prepare their children to be ready and worthy to enter God's holy house when the time comes.

On many occasions, President Ezra Taft Benson has told his experience of coming in from the fields as a young boy growing up in southern Idaho, not far from the Logan Temple, and observing his mother ironing temple clothes. He has related how his mother put the old flatiron on the stove and sat down with him to explain the importance of participating in the sacred ordinances.

At the Logan Temple centennial commemoration service on May 17, 1984, President Benson said: "These sweet memories about the spirit of temple work were a blessing in our farm home. . . . These are choice memories to me, and I have often reflected on them."

Continuing, President Benson declared: "The temple is a sacred place, and the ordinances in the temple are of a sacred character. Because of its sacredness we are sometimes reluctant to say anything about the temple to our children and grandchildren.

"As a consequence, many do not develop a real desire to go to the temple, or when they go there, they do so without much background to prepare them for the obligations and covenants they enter into.

"I believe a proper understanding or backing will immeasurably help prepare our youth for the temple. This understanding, I believe, will foster within them a desire to seek their priesthood blessings just as Abraham sought his."

With this in mind, we as parents can do much to teach our children about the temple, without detracting from the sacredness of the Lord's holy house.

We should establish in our homes a spirit of temple work.

We should talk about the purpose of temples and the importance of worthiness in family home evenings and in family councils, and express thanks in family prayers for the blessings that come from the temple.

We should continually encourage our children to be married in the temple and receive the other ordinances of salvation.

We should attend the temple regularly. In addition to the other blessings that come, we are also setting the proper example for our children. President Benson has said if we will do this, our children "will better understand the importance of temple marriage, temple vows and the eternal family unit." (October 1987 general conference.)

As we prepare to leave for the temple, we should talk to our children about why we're going and what a great blessing it is. When we return home we should share with our children the love and peace we felt while serving in the House of the Lord. By doing this, our children can see the joy and satisfaction of our temple service.

"It seems to me," said President Spencer W. Kimball, "it would be a fine thing if every set of parents would have in every bedroom in their house a picture of the temple so the boy or girl from the time [they areT infants could look at the picture every day and it becomes a part of [theirT life. When [theyT reach the age that [theyT need to make this very important decision, it will have already been made." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 301.)

The decision to go to the temple is so important it shouldn't be left to chance. That's why the Primary for nearly a year has focused on preparing children for the temple. That's why we need to help our children fully understand it is in God's holy house that we receive the ordinances that carry us into eternity and enable us to return to Him.

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