Our family enjoys hiking in the mountains. In fact, almost every summer for the past 35 years we have hiked to the top of Mount Timpanogos, an impressive and majestic mountain peak not too far from our home. The strenuous daylong experience is challenging and requires advance preparation, steadfast persistence and personal endurance. But reaching the summit is exhilarating and the perspective is expansive.
In the scriptures a mountaintop is often equated with the temple of God, a place of holiness and spiritual instruction. Prophets and true disciples of Christ worship and commune with the Lord on mountains and in temples, and they invite the Lord’s covenant people to come up to the temple. “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths” (Isaiah 2:3; 2 Nephi 12:3). The temple is the house of the Lord and His presence is there. And, as Moses instructed the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai, we must be clean and sanctified, worthy to enter the presence of the Lord (see Exodus 19:10-11).
“The purpose of the Young Women organization is to help each young woman be worthy to make and keep sacred covenants and receive the ordinances of the temple” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church , 1.1.1). Young Women leaders assist parents in helping their daughters prepare to receive temple blessings. Parents and leaders help young women understand that the temple is not just an event. We do not prepare young women simply to go to the temple. We prepare each young woman to live a covenant life that will guide her path in mortality and prepare her to return to the presence of God in purity and in glory.
By remembering and keeping the covenants made at baptism and in the weekly ordinance of the sacrament, young women look forward to and choose to be worthy of the temple. “As we stand in the waters of baptism, we look to the temple. As we partake of the sacrament, we look to the temple. We pledge to always remember the Savior and to keep His commandments as preparation to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple” (David A. Bednar, “Honorably Hold a Name and Standing,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 98).
There is nothing in this covenant that has anything to do with worldliness, fashion, fads, fame or fortune. This is a covenant to become a saint through the Atonement of Jesus Christ submissive, meek, humble, patient and full of love (see Mosiah 3:19).
Our sacred, weekly pledge to bear the name of Christ, to remember Him and keep His commandments is a promise that influences who we are and everything we do. The daily choices we make about the clothing we wear, the words we speak, the thoughts we think, the images we view, the music we hear, and the media we permit to enter our minds and hearts; and our behavior in public and in private reflect how well we honor our covenant. When we are true to the covenants we have made at baptism and in the sacrament, we are preparing to receive the blessings of the temple. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “When we make and keep covenants, we are coming out of the world and into the kingdom of God” (Robert D. Hales, “Modesty: Reverence for the Lord, Liahona, August 2008).
Our lessons and activities point to the Savior and to His holy house. Those who enter the temple are to bear the attribute of holiness (See Russell M. Nelson, “Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2001). Leaders and parents help young women understand that living the standards in For the Strength of Youth is choosing holiness. When they choose the Lord’s standards over the world’s standards, they will always be worthy of a temple recommend.
Participating in Personal Progress is choosing holiness. Improving in everything that is honorable and good builds faith in Christ and points their minds and hearts to the temple. Applying the gospel principles discussed in Sunday lessons is choosing holiness. Daily prayer, consistent scripture study, weekly Sabbath day observance and Christlike service in the home and family are temple preparations.
Our beloved prophet has taught the youth, “Always have the temple in your sights. Do nothing which will keep you from entering its doors and partaking of the sacred and eternal blessings there” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Holy Temple — a Beacon to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, April 2011).
Like climbing a mountain, the journey to the temple may be challenging. But it is our hope that each of us will walk with our precious daughters with steadfast faith in Christ, that they may be prepared to make and keep sacred covenants and receive the ordinances of the temple.