Chapter 1 - Through Temple Eyes

Mount Timpanogos Temple.jpg

On a recent visit to the Mount Timpanogos Temple, I became aware of the many different people attending that day.  There were several young people who were attending the temple for the first time.  There were many who appeared, from their age, to have attended the temple for many years, including the elderly gentleman who sat next to me.  The session was nearly full, and all had come for a purpose and a reason.

I briefly talked to one young man after the session, who was leaving soon for a mission in Pennsylvania.  He had a wonderful spirit about him, and I felt he would serve the Lord well, harvesting in that part of the Lord’s vineyard.  Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, “Do you understand why our missionaries go to the temple before they are set apart for their mission fields?  This is a requirement made of them no matter what their age, because the Lord has said it should be done. . . . He said this was so that they could go out with greater power from on high and with greater protection” (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 2, p. 255-256).  This soon-to-be missionary to Pennsylvania was wide eyed and appeared a bit overwhelmed with the events of the morning, but now had an even greater spirit to perform the labors of a missionary as he dedicates two years of his life to the building up of the kingdom of God on earth and the establishment of Zion.

The elderly gentleman who sat next to me during the session joined me at a table in the temple cafeteria shortly after the session ended.  Together we enjoyed the lunch and the conversation.  I learned he was ninety years in age and lived in northwest Orem.  He drove to the temple nearly every day and did at least two sessions during each visit.  The most he had done was seven sessions in one day, but that was a few years ago and his age was somewhat slowing him down.  Here was a man who has truly found a pearl of great price and who will never be without friends in the world to come.  I sat in awe of this man and admired his love for this great work of the Lord.

Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, “If we go into the temple we raise our hands and covenant that we will serve the Lord and observe his commandments and keep ourselves unspotted from the world.  If we realize what we are doing, then the endowment will be a protection to us all our lives – a protection which a man who does not go to the temple does not have.  I have heard my father say that in the hour of trial, in the hours of temptation, he would think of the promises, the covenants that he made in the house of the Lord and they were a protection to him.  The protection is what these ceremonies are for, in part.  They save us now and exalt us hereafter, if we will honor them.  I know that this protection is given, for I too, have realized it, as have thousands of others who have remembered their obligations” (Utah Genealogy Magazine, 21:97-104; quoted in An Endowment For The Faithful, p. 28).

The Prophet Joseph taught that the temple was “where the Saints will come to worship the God of their fathers, according to the order of His house and the powers of the Holy Priesthood, and will be so constructed as to enable all the functions of the Priesthood to be duly exercised, and where instructions from the Most High will be received” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 182).  Elder James E. Talmage wrote, “The ordinances of the endowment embody certain obligations on the part of the individual, such as covenant and promise to observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth and the uplifting of the race; to maintain devotion to the cause of truth; and to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King, –the Lord Jesus Christ” (The House of the Lord, p. 100).

The challenge to each of us is to look at our lives through temple eyes.  Our thoughts and actions, how we use our time and talents, should be tied irrevocably to the covenants made in the House of the Lord.  Even the reading of the scriptures brings greater understanding as we read through temple eyes.  A simple example is Jacob 2:17-19.  “Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you. But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.  And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.”  These verses gather greater power when seen through the eyes of consecration. 

Hugh Nibley has written, “The supreme test was, in ancient as in modern times, an economic one.  Every Israelite made his token sacrifice at the temple once a year, but at the same time he brought his basket, and consecrated all his property. . . . the beginning and ending of the law is not legalism or ritualism but grace and truth; the whole teaching of the law is to be fair, compassionate, magnanimous, with heavy emphasis on equality.  The first two commandments tell it all: If you really love God and your neighbor, there is no need to be commanded not to steal or lie, or do any contemptible thing. . . . The last of the covenants and promises is fittingly the hardest.  The story of the rich young man shows that this is the breaking point: he was faithful in his prayers, tithes, and alms, but when the Lord said, ‘There is yet one thing remaining’ (cf. Mark 10:21), namely the law of consecration, the young man could not take it.  Many latter-day Saints, also, are pure Teflon where this principle is concerned” (Temple and Cosmos, p. 83-84).

The young man leaving soon to Pennsylvania has dedicated the next two years of his life in consecration to the Lord, the elderly gentleman spends nearly every day performing work for those who can not perform it themselves.  While at different ends of this earthly experience, both are aspiring to live more fully the covenants made beginning at baptism and continued at the alters of the temple.  Each of us must look through temple eyes at our own lives and strive to make the changes needed that each of us may live up to the covenants we have made and avoid being placed under the power of Satan.  Regular temple attendance will help remind us of the covenants we have made and will help us, as President Hinckley has taught, “be better people, we will be better fathers and husbands, we will be better wives and mothers.  I know your lives are busy.  I know that you have much to do.  But I will make you a promise that if you will go to the house of the Lord, you will be blessed, life will be better for you.”

May each of us more often look at our lives and the world around us through temple eyes.  May we more fully live our covenants and do our part to build up the kingdom of God and establish Zion.