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I Love to See the Temple

I Love to See the Temple

A few months ago my wife took our three children to the temple grounds and they walked around and took some photographs. As I talked to my children about this experience, I was reminded of the words of the song, “I Love to See the Temple,” found in the Children’s Songbook (95). Part of the first verse reads:

Children’s Songbook

I love to see the temple.

I’m going there someday

To feel the Holy Spirit,

To listen and to pray.    

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My children were filled with a deep longing to go inside the temple someday. The simple truths taught in this song are profound. The holy temple is a House of God, and we feel the Holy Spirit when we prepare ourselves, go there, and listen and pray to Heavenly Father.

In this and other dispensations, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples so that He could dwell among them. Moses was told, “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8).  Joseph Smith was instructed, “It is my will that a house should be built unto me in the land of Zion…” (D&C 97:10), and then the Lord gave this special promise: “My glory shall rest upon it… and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it…” (D&C 97:15-16).

Soon after separating themselves from the Lamanites, the Nephites “did build a temple” (2 Nephi 5:16) and worshipped their God. Nephi knew very well that with a temple among them, God would be with them. Throughout the Book of Mormon, we see people gathered at the temple and having wonderful spiritual experiences. King Benjamin addressed his people at the temple, and they made covenants with the Lord. “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ…” (Mosiah 5:7). Is it any wonder then that when the Lord appeared to the Nephites, He chose to appear to those who were gathered at the temple in the land Bountiful?

Concerning the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, Elder Orson Pratt wrote the following in  his journal: “God was there, his angels were there, the Holy Ghost was in the midst of the people, the visions of the Almighty were opened to the minds of the servants of the living God; the veil was taken off from the minds of man; they saw the heavens opened; they beheld the angels of God; they heard the voice of the Lord, and they were filled from the crown of their heads to the soles of their feet with the power and inspiration of the Holy Ghost. . . . In that temple, set apart by the servants of God, and dedicated by a prayer that was written by inspiration, the people were blessed as they never had been blessed for generations and generations.'[1] Such are the blessings of regular temple worship and service.

When the Prophet Joseph Smith was in Carthage jail, knowing the challenges which were waiting for the Saints, he said to them, “Go to and finish the temple, and God will fill it with power, and you will then receive more knowledge concerning this priesthood” (HC 5:555). Indeed the Saints finished constructing the Nauvoo Temple, received their endowments, and were sealed to their families. They were then driven away from their homes. During the long and difficult journey West, many lost their family members along the way. They did not give up, knowing that death was not the end, because they had been sealed in the temple for all eternity. Their participation in the ordinances of the temple was essential to their testimonies as they faced these hardships. Elder Robert D. Hales said, “The ordinances and covenants of the temple are the protection for us in our trials and tribulations in our day and for what we will face in the future. It is our heritage. It is who we are.”[2]

The Saviour is the ultimate example to all of us. In the scriptures we see Him going again and again to the temple. John recorded that, “Jesus went up into the temple, and taught” (John 7:14). He would go to the temple early in the morning, and the people would also come early in the morning to be taught by Him. “And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat them down, and taught them (John 8:2). Luke recorded that the Saviour taught daily in the temple (Luke 19:47) and also that “…all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him” (Luke 21:38).

Members who live far from the temple and cannot attend it often can still “see” the temple every day by being worthy, possessing a current temple recommend, and displaying a picture of the temple in their homes. Despite being far away from the temple, which can limit regular attendance, you and I can still connect to the temple by engaging in the work of gathering and submitting the names of our deceased loved ones to the temple.

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I think among other things Isaiah was referring to the blessings of the temple when he made this passionate plea: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1).

Elder John A.  Widtsoe explained that “spiritual power is generated within temple walls, and sent out to bless the world. Light from the house of the Lord illuminates every home within the Church fitted for its reception by participation in temple privileges. The path from the temple to the home of man is divinely brilliant. Every home penetrated by the temple spirit enlightens, cheers, and comforts every member of the household. The peace we covet is found in such homes. Indeed, when temples are on earth, the whole world shares measurably in the issuing light.” [3]

Of temple work President Boyd K. Packer wrote, “No work is more spiritually refining. No work we do gives us more power. No work requires a higher standard of righteousness. Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection, both individually and as a people.”[4] Consider the question, “How far do I live from the temple?” The answer is not in kilometres, minutes, hours, or days, because someone living thousands of kilometres from a temple who honours the covenants made in the temple may live “closer” than someone who lives across the street. At the end of the day, the distance to the temple is not measured in kilometres or minutes, but in priorities, commitment, and preparation.

May we reflect upon the words of the Primary song, “I Love to See the Temple,” and share our love and commitment to the Saviour and His gospel by making temple worship our priority. Let us take our children there in our conversations and in our prayers so that we may attend with them when their special “someday” comes, is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

 


[1] Orson Pratt, in Journal of Discourses, 18:132

[2] Temple Blessings, Speeches 2005 -2006, BYU, November 21 2005,  Robert D. Hales

[3] Richard O. Cowan, Temples to Dot the Earth, 1989, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, Utah, 222

[4] Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980,  265