Temple building, worship secure eternal blessings

Be worthy

Gain understanding of eternal destiny- Maintain spiritual strength

Search out forebears

Temple building and temple worship were paramount reasons for the pioneers' willingness to suffer so greatly and endure so much in their remarkable exodus to the barren, isolated desert of the West, said President James E. Faust.

Speaking Saturday morning, President Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, said even before the Saints left on their trek West, the temple in Nauvoo was filled to overflowing by those "thirsting and hungering" to receive temple blessings - "the greatest blessings that can be received in mortality."

Then on the second day after the arrival of the first company of pioneers in the Great Salt Lake Valley on July 26, 1847, a temple was announced. "Brigham Young made this great proclamation before the Saints even had a roof over their heads and while they were still living in wagons or sleeping on the ground," said President Faust.

"The driving force of the pioneers in coming to the West was larger than escaping persecution," he explained. "They were seeking a place where none shall come to hurt or make afraid' wherethe Saints

wouldT be blessed.' Part of the spiritual pull that brought them to the Salt Lake Valley was their vision of a place where they could worship unmolested in a temple of God."

President Faust said the work of building temples has continued from that time to the present - when 49 operating temples grace the earth with more to be dedicated this year and others announced and planned.

"Why were these temples built at such cost and sacrifice? Why are they still being built at an ever-increasing pace?" asked President Faust. "It is because the deepest questions of our existence are answered in the temple. These answers tell us where we came from, why we are here, where we may go, and how we may cope with the matter of death. This life makes no logical sense unless we think in terms of the eternities."

He explained that the transcendent blessings of life and eternity are received within the sacred walls of the temple.

"A basic eternal truth of this Church is that families may, if they are worthy, have an eternal relationship, . . ." he said. "This union of families comes through the sealing power exercised within the hallowed walls of the temples under authorized priesthood authority."

President Faust said an eternal family begins when a young couple kneels at an altar in the holy temple and makes covenants with each other and with God and receives His greatest promises. This sealing is preceded, he continued, by each making and receiving covenants which, if they are worthy, will bless them in this life as well as in the life to come.

He said that part of the process of reaching into the eternities comes when Church members must deal with death. "This life is hollow without a belief in and an understanding of immortality."

"The Atonement and the Resurrection of the Savior are the grand keys that open the locks of immortality," explained President Faust. "The greatest fulfillment of these blessings, if we are worthy, comes to us in the holy temples of God. Within their sacred walls those who hold the power and authority bind in heaven that which is bound in earth."

He said fundamental to temple worship is the principle that God is no respecter of persons. "Within the hallowed walls of the temples, there is no preference of position, wealth, status, race or education. All dress in white. All receive the same instruction, all make the same covenants and promises, all receive the same transcendent, eternal blessings if they live worthy to claim them. All are equal before their Creator."

President Faust explained that the eternal blessings of the temple are for all who wish to receive them - both the living and the dead. He told members their duty is to "search out our forebears and give them the opportunity to accept and receive these blessings."

The opportunity to receive the blessings of the temple was given by God to the people of this earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith. "He was commissioned to restore the fullness of all things in our time," said President Faust. "This is why temple blessings were one of the last yearnings of President Brigham Young and the pioneers as they left Nauvoo. For the same reason, President Young's thoughts on arriving in the valley of the Great Salt Lake were to again secure these eternal blessings for God's children by building and operating temples."

As the pioneers had the larger vision in their daily challenge for survival, said President Faust, Church members today need to have a greater vision and understanding of their eternal destiny.

"Our challenges are more subtle, but equally hard. Maintaining our spiritual strength is also a daily challenge. The greatest source of that spiritual strength comes, as it did in their time, from our temples."

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