Focus on the path toward the temple, Young Women general presidency advises

In the Book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, we read about King Benjamin, a righteous leader nearing the end of his life. The king desired to deliver a final sermon to the people of Zarahemla and confer his kingdom on his son, Mosiah. 

A proclamation went out throughout the land inviting people to gather around the temple the next day and hear the last address from their beloved king. King Benjamin’s followers came in great numbers. We read that there were, ”even so many that they did not number them …” (Mosiah 2:2).

We also learn that when the people arrived, they came as family groups consisting of husbands, wives, daughters and sons, from the oldest down to the youngest. Many young women would certainly have been part of the multitude of people who trekked to the temple to hear their leader’s message. Mosiah explains that the people placed their tents round about the temple, with each family having their tent with the door toward the temple, so they would be able to hear the advice and testimony of their king one last time.

Men and women gather to listen to King Benjamin on the tower in the Land of Zarahemla in this scene from the Book of Mormon Videos.
Men and women gather to listen to King Benjamin on the tower in the Land of Zarahemla in this scene from the Book of Mormon Videos. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In these few short verses from more than 2,000 years ago, there are many lessons and examples that are significant for young women who want to be disciples of Christ today in the 21st century. The sermon itself remains among the most instructive and inspiring discourses contained in the holy scriptures, with divine guidance on the ways for all people to live and understand their true identity as children of God.

The act of placing our tents with the doors facing the temple is a powerful metaphor for our day. This simple sentence communicates something of the sense of purpose and faith the people of Zarahemla demonstrated as they had all made the trip with their families and tents, then positioned them carefully so they could hear the words of their prophet and king. 

What a difference from today when all we have to do is find the nearest radio, television or device and listen from wherever we are, whenever we like, to the words of prophets. 

How can we figuratively place our tents toward the temple each day and focus on our purpose, whether or not there is an actual temple in our view? In our day, we are blessed with many opportunities and options that can be powerful reminders of who we are meant to be and how we can, like the youth of Zarahemla, demonstrate our faith in Jesus Christ.

Seeking and keeping a limited-use recommend while we are in Young Women will put us on the path toward the temple and bring peace into our lives. When we seek and keep a recommend, we signify to the Lord that we love Him and want to follow Him and be in His holy house. Even while many temples remain closed due to the pandemic, obtaining a temple recommend enables us to assess our spirituality, our choices and our commitment to the covenants we made at baptism.  It allows us to use the cherished gift of repentance and align our will with God’s.

The Young Women general presidency: from left, Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor; President Bonnie H. Cordon; and Sister Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor.
The Young Women general presidency: from left, Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor; President Bonnie H. Cordon; and Sister Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Caroline Faust, a 16-year-old young woman from Oakton, Virginia, has expanded her view of temple worship during the pandemic. She explained: “I missed the peace of the temple during the COVID-19 closing, but I started to understand that the best way to uphold my standards is to always make sure I am temple worthy, whether I can attend a temple or not. Just because we are physically unable to enter such a holy place doesn’t mean we shouldn’t always be prepared and worthy.”

In October 2020 general conference, Elder Ronald A. Rasband spoke about temple recommends in his talk “Recommended to the Lord.” He reminded us: “Whether for youth or adults, your temple recommend interview is not about do’s and don’ts. A recommend is not a checklist, a hall pass, or a ticket for special seating. It has a much higher and holier purpose. To qualify for the honor of a temple recommend, you must live in harmony with the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

When we receive a recommend, and carry it with us in our purse, pocket or wallet, it serves as a constant reminder that we are more than invited — we are recommended to enter the holy temples where we can participate in the sacred work of salvation and exaltation and feel the peace of those sacred spaces.

It is a great blessing to have the opportunity in one’s youth to become worthy to obtain and keep a limited-use recommend until the time one is able get a temple recommend. It is in God’s temples where we can leave the commotion of the world behind and find sanctuary and a closer connection and sense of belonging to our heavenly home.