Cover Story: 'Crowning blessings' received in temples

The temple ordinances become the crowning blessings the Church has to offer — President Gordon B. Hinckley, April 1998 general conference.

This declaration by President Hinckley last spring came moments after he announced in general conference a program to build 30 smaller temples "immediately" throughout the world.

"If temple ordinances are an essential part of the restored gospel, and I testify that they are, then we must provide the means by which they can be accomplished," he added.

Since the early days of the Church, temple worship has been central in the lives of Latter-day Saints — a place where they could go not only for the necessary ordinances for the living and the dead, but also for a place of spiritual refuge and revelation.

The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith in 1833: "And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it; Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God." (D&C 97:15-16.)

The foregoing also illustrates the importance of worthiness to enter the temple and the seriousness of the covenants made therein. Before members can receive a temple recommend, they are interviewed by their bishop or branch president and then by their stake president.

President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, explained in the April 1995 general conference: "The requirements of temple attendance do not change from place to place. Where a temple is available, priesthood authority gives no greater or lesser blessings in one place than another.

"Temple worship is a perfect example of our unity as Church members. All of us answer the same questions of worthiness to enter the temple. All the men dress alike. All the women dress alike. We leave the cares of the world behind us as we enter the temple. Everyone receives the same blessings. All make the same covenants. All are alike before the Lord."

The blessings of temple worship are many and apply at different times and in different ways according to the circumstances of one's life. The following are explanations of some of these blessings in the words of Church leaders:

Expounding on these blessings six months previously during the April 1995 general conference address, Elder J Ballard Washburn, then of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, declared: "The greatest blessings of eternity come to us through the temple. God's greatest gift, eternal life, can only come to a man and woman together."

Continuing, he explained: "I am grateful for temples, where we can go to be sealed together as families for eternity. I am grateful for temples where we can go to pray and to worship, where we can call down the blessings of heaven upon our families. I am grateful for temples where we can go as families to strengthen the eternal bonds that will make us forever families. . . ."

This work for the dead includes baptism, endowments and sealings, for as Paul said in 1 Cor. 15:29: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?"

In this same address, President Hinckley declared, "These unique and wonderful buildings, and the ordinances administered therein, represent the ultimate in our worship."

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