One of my favorite things about Utah is living in the shadow of the beautiful and majestic mountains. The Lord has often used mountains as a sacred place to teach His servants sacred things and reveal unto them His works and His will for His beloved children. The scriptures contain accounts of Nephi, Moses, the Brother of Jared and the Savior Himself going up to a mountain to commune with our Heavenly Father. Temples are the mountain of the Lord’s house in our day.
Mountain climbing requires physical and mental preparation. Who of us would dare to attempt a climb such as Mt. Everest without making meticulous preparations, perhaps even over an extended period of time in order to be in our best physical and mental condition possible to make such a climb? Are we as careful and intent about our preparation to “ascend into the hill of the Lord” (Psalm 24:3) in His Holy Temples?
When our children were very small, the Jordan River Temple was under construction and we would often pass the temple on our way to visit Grandma and Grandpa Burton. We couldn’t resist singing together the beloved Primary song, “I Love to See the Temple” each time we saw it. One line always jumped out at me — “I’ll prepare myself while I am young, this is my sacred duty.”
My husband is a stake president of a young single adult stake. He is constantly interviewing young people for temple recommends for temple marriages and first-time endowments. He has shared with me how thrilling it is for him to interview those who have carefully prepared and are spiritually mature enough to receive their own endowment. Occasionally, he is astonished at some who desire to enter the temple and yet have given little or no thought of preparation for this significant spiritual ascent.
Some have little or no spiritual support at home from non-member or less active parents. Others are unprepared because some who could help are unsure of what is appropriate to teach about temple preparation. Others simply fail to take advantage of temple preparation classes offered on a ward or stake level.
“One of the Lord’s purposes in organizing the Relief Society was to prepare His daughters for the greater blessings of the priesthood found in the ordinances of the temple” (Daughters in My Kingdom, pp. 131-32). Our purpose remains the same today. A few appropriate and helpful suggestions include:
• Believe in Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.
• Cultivate a testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the restored gospel.
• Sustain and follow the living prophet.
• Qualify for a temple recommend by being morally clean, keeping the Word of Wisdom, paying a full tithing and living in harmony with the teachings of the Church.
• Give time, talents, and means to help build the Lord’s kingdom.
• Participate in family history work.
• Be teachable and reverent.
• Dress modestly and be well groomed (Daughters in My Kingdom, the History and Work of Relief Society, p. 21).
Our greatest temple preparation begins in the home and in the example we set both of attitude and priority in our own temple attendance. I was deeply moved years ago when I heard the story told by Sister Anne Pingree of two Nigerian Relief Society sisters who had walked an 18-mile roundtrip “just to obtain a temple recommend they knew they would never have the privilege of using” (“Seeing the Promises Afar Off,” October 2003 general conference).
Why? They were trying to follow the counsel of the prophet, President Howard W. Hunter, who taught, “It would please the Lord for every adult member to be worthy of — and to carry — a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it” (“A Temple-Motivated People,” Liahona, May 1995, p. 5). Think of the impact their example must have had on their children! After hearing this story, I reflected on my own example and set a temple goal to do better and be better.
We have been reminded by our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson: “Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort” (“The Holy Temple — a Beacon to the World,” April 2011 general conference).
I add my witness of these truths. I invite each of us to more carefully prepare ourselves, our children and those who need our help to “arise and get ... into the mountain” (1 Nephi 17:7).