'My Father's house'

With the nearest relative living more than a thousand miles away, a single adult member of the Church felt very much alone, seemingly “having no place to go where I really belong.” From time to time, friends, fellow Church members and work associates extended invitations to dinner in their homes. Although the invitations came out of sincerity and friendship, the single member never felt “at home” in someone else’s house, surrounded by someone else’s family. Conversations often alluded to some events no one outside the family could understand; everyone except the visitor laughed at inside family jokes.

“I yearned for a home to go to where I knew I really fit in, a place where I could go without special invitation and still have a sense of not being in anyone’s way, of not intruding upon anybody’s personal time or some family event,” this single member said. “I craved the feeling of knowing that I would be welcomed and that my presence would bring joy. I longed to know that there was a house where my absence would be regarded as a void.

“One day, this thought suddenly came to my mind: ‘There is such a house. There is a house in which I am always welcomed warmly, I am really needed, my presence brings tremendous joy to others, and in which my absence creates a void. I can go to my Father’s house.’”

Since then, this member has attended the temple with a feeling of acceptance and belonging, and an assurance that, in the house of the Lord, no one is an unexpected guest but that each who enters is a valued member of the family, a brother or sister in the household of God.

Church leaders encourage members to be worthy to obtain temple recommends and attend the temple often. While couples can find the temple helps deepen the bonds of marriage, all members ought to realize that temple covenants are made one by one.

One temple president said, “The temple is a marvelous place for single members to feel needed. We welcome all worthy members, including those who are single. We encourage worthy and sufficiently mature single adult members who have not yet come to the temple to make appointments with their bishops and begin in earnest their preparations for the temple experience. We hope that those who have already been to the temple will return as patrons as often as possible.

“Single members, through their faithfulness, may participate in the sacred ordinances in the house of the Lord, including sealing ordinances. As they participate in ordinances, they become more familiar with the promised blessings and associated covenants that are made in temples. We like to see single members accept callings to serve in the temple.”

He noted that every service in the temple is important. In temples that have cafeterias and laundry rooms, single members might be assigned to serve food or wash pots and pans, or to mend or fold clothing. Single members might play the organ in temple chapels, look after young children who have been brought to the temple for sealings and assist patrons in a variety of ways. Also, they may serve as ordinance workers.

“No position in the temple is unnecessary,” the temple president said. “Each act of service is needed. It would be hard to imagine anything on earth that a single member can do that will bring greater feelings of peace, joy, satisfaction, self-esteem and belonging than coming to and serving in the house of the Lord” (Church News Sept. 6, 1997, p. 16).

The temple serves as a place of safety when we are beset by life’s storms. During the first night of a cruise, as a hurricane brewed some distance away, a ship rolled and pitched in swells 20- to 30-feet high. Passengers made themselves as comfortable as possible and endured the night. The next morning, they discovered their ship was in a harbor that was not on their itinerary. Anchored nearby were other cruise ships that, like theirs, had changed course to find a safe harbor.

Most people encounter events that bring unrest into their lives. Temples of the Lord serve as safe harbors during life’s voyage. While their challenges and concerns might differ, single members can find as much comfort and solace in temples as do those who are married.

President Gordon B. Hinckley said of temples: “These unique and wonderful buildings, and the ordinances administered therein, represent the ultimate in our worship. These ordinances become the most profound expressions of our theology. I urge our people everywhere, with all the persuasiveness of which I am capable, to live worthy to hold a temple recommend, to secure one and regard it as a precious asset, and to make a greater effort to go to the house of the Lord and partake of the spirit and the blessings to be had therein. I am satisfied that every man or woman who goes to the temple in a spirit of sincerity and faith leaves the house of the Lord a better man or woman. There is need for constant improvement in all of our lives. There is need occasionally to leave the noise and the tumult of the world and step within the walls of a sacred house of God, there to feel His Spirit in an environment of holiness and peace” (October 1995 general conference).

Pertaining to the building of the Kirtland Temple, the Lord instructed Joseph Smith that it was to be “a place of thanksgiving for all saints. …” (Doctrine and Covenants 97:13; italics added).

Single adult members of the Church, along with those who are married, are encouraged to be worthy and to go to the house of the Lord, to their Father’s house. There, as they join others in thanksgiving, they will realize that they are always welcomed warmly, that they, indeed, have a place in which they belong. In the temples of the Lord, they will find the joy, edification and assurance that the Lord desires to pour out upon His faithful sons and daughters.

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