Turn away from world; stand on holy ground

One of the most sacred sites of the Old Testament was a placed called Bethel.

It was at Bethel that Abraham built his altar on his first arrival in Canaan. (See Gen. 12:8, 13.) And it was at Bethel that Jacob saw in vision a ladder reaching up into heaven, after which he built a pillar. Until that time, the place was called Luz. Jacob renamed it Bethel, which means "house of God." (See Gen. 28:12-19.)In Genesis 35 is an account of Jacob having taken his family back to this sacred place. Before setting out on the journey, Jacob instructed his household and all that were with him: "Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments." (Gen. 35:2.)

At Bethel, Jacob built an altar unto God. (Gen. 35:3, 7.)

Latter-day Saints know that a "house of God" today is a temple. Just as Jacob instructed his household to put aside their gods, members today need to lay aside the things of the world as they prepare to stand on holy ground.

President Spencer W. Kimball said: "The Lord has blessed us as a people with a prosperity unequaled in times past. The resources that have been placed in our power are good, and necessary to our work here on the earth. But I am afraid that many of us have been surfeited with flocks and herds and acres and barns and wealth and have begun to worship them as false gods, and they have power over us. Do we have more of these good things than our faith can stand? . . .

"In spite of our delight in defining ourselves as modern, and our tendency to think we possess a sophistication that no other people in the past ever had - in spite of these things, we are, on the whole, an idolatrous people - a condition most repugnant to the Lord." (Ensign, June 1976, pp. 4, 6.)

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