The most holy places on earth are the temples, said Sister Silvia H. Allred.
"In the temple, worthy members of the Church receive the greatest blessings anyone can aspire to as we make sacred covenants with God. We also help make those same blessings available to our ancestors who died without receiving the necessary ordinances of salvation."
Speaking in the General Relief Society Meeting Sept. 27, Sister Allred, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, addressed the deep significance of building temples, why the ordinances performed in temples are essential to salvation, and how to prepare to enter the temple.
Sister Allred recalled helping to organize the first excursion from Costa Rica to the Mesa Arizona Temple while living in that country in 1976. "I have never forgotten the great outpouring of the Spirit we experienced during the three days we spent at the Mesa temple," she said. "I was deeply touched as I watched family members embrace each other with tears streaming down their faces after being sealed for the eternities."
The Lord has always asked His people to build temples, she said, speaking of Moses and King Solomon. During His earthly ministry, the Lord regarded the temple as a sacred place and taught reverence for it, she added.
The Nephites also built temples to the Lord in the Americas, she continued. And soon after the Church was restored in this dispensation, the Lord commanded the Saints to build a temple. There are 128 temples in operation throughout the world and many more are being built.
"We have been instructed to build temples so that holy ordinances may be performed for both the living and the dead," she said. "These ordinances include initiatory ordinances, endowments, marriages, sealings, baptisms for the dead and ordinations."
The temple, she said, is a house of learning.
"Much of the instruction imparted in the temple is symbolic and learned by the Spirit. This means we are taught from on high. Temple covenants and ordinances are a powerful symbol of Christ and His atonement. We all receive the same instruction, but our understanding of the meaning of the ordinances and covenants will increase as we return to the temple often with the attitude of learning and contemplating the eternal truths taught."
The temple is a House of the Lord, she said. "He directs the conditions under which it may be used, the ordinances that should be administered and the standards that qualify us to enter and participate in temple worship."
Sister Allred said personal worthiness is an essential requirement to enjoy the blessings of the temple.
"Let us be worthy to have a current temple recommend. Let us go to the temple to seal our families eternally. Let us return to the temple as often as our circumstances will permit. Let us give our kindred dead the opportunity to receive the ordinances of exaltation. Let us enjoy the spiritual strength and the revelation we receive as we attend the temple regularly. Let us be faithful and make and keep temple covenants to receive the full blessings of the Atonement.
"I testify to you that the temples are sacred, holy places. They are a source of spiritual power and strength. They are a place of revelation. They are the House of the Lord."
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