Be worthy of temple blessings, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve advised young adults during a Church Educational System fireside Sunday evening, May 3.
"To each young adult, I emphasize that the temple can bless you — even before you enter it," he said. "By maintaining a standard of moral conduct high enough to qualify for a temple recommend, you will find inner peace and spiritual strength. Now is the time to cleanse your lives of anything that is displeasing to the Lord. Now is the time to eliminate feelings of envy or enmity and seek forgiveness for any offense."
Elder Nelson addressed about 4,000 young single adults at the Salt Lake University Institute adjacent to the University of Utah campus and, by satellite broadcast, tens of thousands more gathered in meetinghouses in other parts of the world.
Elder Nelson reminded the young adults that a First Presidency letter of November 2002 said that single members in their late teens or early twenties who do not have a mission call or who are not engaged to be married in the temple should not go to the temple for their own endowment.
"Please note that this instruction applies to singles in their 'late teens and early twenties,' " Elder Nelson said. "We hope that a few years later, the younger will become older — married and/or established in a stable manner — that will allow temple worship to be a high priority all throughout life."
He said those preparing to go should take advantage of a ward temple preparation seminar and read the booklet "Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple."
"These will help you to understand the magnificence of the ordinances and covenants of the temple," he said.
"Plan now to be married in the temple and conduct your courtship with the temple in mind. When you kneel with your companion at the altar of a holy temple, you do so as equal partners. You become an eternal family unit. Anything that might erode the spirituality, love and sense of true partnership is contrary to the will of the Lord. Fidelity to these sacred ordinances and covenants will bring eternal blessings to you and to generations yet unborn."
He told the young adults, "You and other elect spirit children were chosen to establish and direct His work among people upon the earth.
"And before the foundation of the world, provision was made for the redemption of those who should die without a knowledge of the gospel. This work was to be done in temples of the Lord during this dispensation of the fulness of times."
He said, "The best known biblical temple was built in Jerusalem in the days of Solomon. President Hinckley recently told us that Solomon's temple was about 7,200 square feet in size — smaller than any of our temples today. The Lord personally accepted that holy house."
The history of that temple was traced by Elder Nelson, including its destruction in 600 B.C. and restoration about 100 years later by Zerubbabel; it was again "damaged by fire in 37 B.C., and subsequently reconstructed by Herod. He enlarged and leveled the Temple Mount and rebuilt the Second Temple.
"This was the temple known by Jesus. He was here as a child when His anxious mother could not find Him.
"At the first cleansing of the temple, Jesus called it 'my Father's house.' (John 2:13-16.)
"At the second cleansing, Jesus called it "My house.' (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17.)
"Finally, as the temple was further desecrated, Jesus called it 'your house . . . left unto you desolate' (Luke 13:35) — a prophecy fulfilled when it was destroyed in A.D. 70."
Elder Nelson quoted from the Bible Dictionary entry "Temple": "From Adam to the time of Jesus, ordinances were performed in temples only for the living. After Jesus opened the way for the gospel to be preached in the world of spirits, . . . work for the dead, as well as for the living, has been done in temples."
He said, "In our holy temples, we literally receive those blessings once promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."
The members of the Church were told to build a temple in Nauvoo, Elder Nelson said. "The saints obeyed. They built the temple in Nauvoo. You know the history of that monumental and matchless undertaking. Some 6,000 saints received endowments and sealings before they had to leave and lose their temple. Now it stands again — rebuilt in all its majesty — as a very busy temple. More than 375,000 ordinances were performed there between July and December 2002."
Elder Nelson noted: "Some 30 years after the exodus from Nauvoo, the St. George Temple was finished. It was the first temple in which vicarious ordinances for the dead were carried out on an organized scale."
He quoted President Howard W. Hunter: "I . . . invite the members of the Church to establish the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of their membership and the supernal setting for their most sacred covenants. . . . I would hope that every adult member would be worthy of — and carry — a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it." (Ensign, July 1994, p. 5.)
And finally, Elder Nelson spoke of President Gordon B. Hinckley's interest in temple work and the fact that there were 19 temples when President Hinckley was first called into the First Presidency in 1981 and that now there are 114. President Hinckley also launched the FamilySearch Internet service in 1999, Elder Nelson said. "From the Pedigree Resource File, a part of that Internet endeavor, we are receiving an income of more than a million names per month, all lineage-linked."
Concluding, Elder Nelson said: "My beloved brothers and sisters, our day was foreseen by our Master: 'This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; . . . saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.' (Jeremiah 31:33.)
"And as we are His people, we may 'inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, . . . powers, dominions, . . . exaltation and glory in all things.' " (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19.)