In the temple Latter-day Saints can find peace, said President Thomas S. Monson, offering an address titled, “Blessings of the Temple.”
“My brothers and sisters, in our lives we will have temptations; we will have trials and challenges,” he said. “As we go to the temple, as we remember the covenants we make there, we will be better able to overcome those temptations and to bear our trials.”
Speaking during the Sunday morning session of general conference, President Monson called the blessings of the temple priceless.
At the beginning of his remarks, President Monson announced plans for the Church to build new temples in Bangkok, Thailand; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; and Port Au Prince, Haiti.
“For the past two years as we have concentrated our efforts on completing previously announced temples, we have held in abeyance plans for any additional temples,” President Monson explained. “This morning, however, I am very pleased to announce three new temples. ... What marvelous blessings are in store for members in these areas and indeed wherever temples are located throughout the world.”
He said the building of temples is a clear indication of the growth of the Church. There are currently 144 temples in operation worldwide, with five being renovated and 13 more under construction, he explained. In addition, 13 temples, which were previously announced, are in various stages of preparation before construction begins.
This year Church leaders anticipate rededicating two temples and dedicating five new temples that are scheduled for completion.
President Monson said the process of determining needs and finding locations for additional temples is ongoing, “for we desire that as many members as possible have an opportunity to attend the temple without great sacrifices of time and resources. As we have done in the past, we will keep you informed as decisions are made in this regard.”
Thinking about temples, he said, turns his thoughts to the blessings Church members receive from temples.
“As we enter through the doors of the temple, we leave behind us the distractions and confusion of the world,” he explained. “Inside this sacred sanctuary we find beauty and order. There is rest for our souls and a respite from the cares of our lives.”
Further, he said, as members attend the temple, there can come to them a dimension of spirituality and a feeling of peace “which will transcend any other feeling which could come into the human heart.
“Such peace can permeate any heart — hearts that are troubled, hearts that are burdened down with grief, hearts that feel confusion, hearts that plead for help.”
President Monson related an account that he learned firsthand of a young man who attended the temple with a heart pleading for help.
“Many months earlier he had received his call to serve in a mission in South America. However, his visa was delayed for such a lengthy period that he was reassigned to a mission in the United States. Although disappointed that he could not serve in the area of his original call, he nonetheless worked hard in his new assignment, determined to serve to the best of his ability. He became discouraged, however, because of negative experiences he had with missionaries who seemed to him to be more interested in having a good time than in sharing the gospel.”
A few short months later this young man suffered a very serious health challenge that left him partially paralyzed, and so he was sent home on a medical leave.
Months later the young man had healed completely and was informed that he would return to the same mission he had left, where he felt the behaviors and attitudes of some missionaries were less than they should be. The young man went to the temple to seek comfort and confirmation that he could have a good experience as a missionary.
As the young man entered the celestial room following the session, he sat in a chair and began to pray for guidance from his Heavenly Father. Another man, Landon, also entered the celestial room and felt inspired to talk to the missionary.
“As they began to converse, the young man poured out his heart to Landon, explaining his circumstances and ending with his desire to receive some comfort and encouragement concerning his mission,” said President Monson. “Landon, who had returned from a successful mission just a year earlier, told of his own mission experiences, the challenges and concerns he had faced, the manner in which he had turned to the Lord for help, and the blessings he had received. His words were comforting and reassuring, and his enthusiasm for his mission was contagious. Eventually, as his fears subsided, a feeling of peace came to the young man. He felt deep gratitude as he realized his prayer had been answered.”
After the two young men prayed together and prepared to part ways, they discovered for the first time that Landon had served in the very mission to which the young man would be returning.
President Monson related: “In a recent letter to me, Landon shared with me the young man’s parting words to him: ‘I had faith Heavenly Father would bless me, but I never could have imagined that He would send someone to help me who had served in my own mission. I know now that all will be well.’ The humble prayer of a sincere heart had been heard and answered.”
He said the blessings of the temple are priceless. “One [blessing] for which I am grateful every day of my life is that which my beloved wife, Frances, and I received as we knelt at a sacred altar and made covenants binding us together for all eternity. There is no blessing more precious to me than the peace and comfort I receive from the knowledge I have that she and I will be together again,” he said.
“May our Heavenly Father bless us that we may have the spirit of temple worship, that we may be obedient to His commandments, and that we may follow carefully the steps of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”