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Understanding Gospel Principles That Lead Us to the Temple

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Elder Mabaya

The Creation

Have you ever wondered where this world came from?  It is well-organized with days and nights, waters and lands, plants and animals, fish and birds, and beautiful loving people who bring joy and harmony to life on earth. Have you ever wondered who created it all? From prophets, both ancient and modern, we learn of the purpose of creation, and that it was all planned in a premortal council where it was decided, 'We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them' (1).

The creation is an integral part of our Heavenly Father's plan of salvation. It not only shows us God’s wonderful creations, but gives us the opportunity to come to earth and receive a physical body and learn to act and not be acted upon, or in other words, to exercise our agency and choose to be obedient. Before we were born, we lived with our Heavenly Father, the Father of our spirits. All who are born in this life are literally spirit brothers and sisters in God’s family. Our happiness is secured with the knowledge of who we are, where we come from and where we can go. We are eternal beings, spirit children of an Eternal God. By divine decree, we have received gifts and unique talents that help us fulfill our divine destiny as spirit children of God. 

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God’s True Nature and Personality

God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, created this earth and everything upon it (2). The Father is the Supreme Being in whom we believe and whom we worship. He is a just God. He is omnipotent and omniscient. He sent His Son who is full of love, mercy, charity and compassion. The Father devised the plan of salvation for our happiness. Through the atonement, His Son became the Finisher of His plan. 

Knowledge of God’s divine nature allows us to know Him, to understand Him, to love Him, to be dependent on Him and to have a greater faith in His divinity. 'Modern revelation teaches us that God, the Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, have a tangible body of flesh and bones and that the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit, without flesh or bones' (3). 'If men do not understand God’s personality, they do not understand [them]selves' (4). 

First vision

If You Love Me, Keep My Commandments

An exact knowledge of God’s true nature and personality helps us to become like Him. Believing in His true nature strengthens a true faith in Him. Obedience to His laws by entering into and keeping covenants with Him through His ordinances, such as baptism and the endowment, also help us to know Him.

We are grateful to Him and serve Him as we journey along our chosen path. At our baptism, we also covenant to serve others.  It is a great blessing and opportunity to be called to serve in the Church. As we serve, we progress spiritually and feel joy in following the example of Jesus and keeping His commandments. 

baptism

Service to Others Makes Our Burdens Light

Bonds of friendship and love are created with the people whom we serve. As we reach out to others on the path of eternal life, we notice that our burdens become lighter and our determination to continue the journey increases.

Obedience Brings Blessings

God’s blessings have no feet to walk and come to us.  We should not sit idly by waiting for them, but exercise our faith to attract them to us through our obedience and firm commitment to the high principles of the Gospel. The search for lasting happiness on earth inspires the desire to work to obtain eternal life which is the greatest blessing that God has for His children.

Latter-day Saints strive to live eternally in the presence of God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. Here they will inherit celestial glory and will help others to also receive this great blessing.  To live in the presence of God is the result of a life of righteousness and firm determination.

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The Temple

Bookends on the path of eternal progression are baptism, which is the gate, and exaltation, or life with God, which should be the end goal of every Latter-day Saint.  Along the way is a sacred place we call the temple. We cannot bypass it if we want to achieve the goal. It is the sacred place in which saving ordinances are performed and covenants are made. “The Lord will bless us as we attend to the sacred ordinance work of the temples. Blessings there will not be limited to our temple service. We will be blessed in all of our affairs'(7). For God said, “And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God' (8).

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References:

1.      Abraham 3 :24-25

2.      Moses 2 :1

3.      D&C 130 :22-23

4.      Talk, April 7,1844, reported by Willard Richards

5.      John 14 :2

6.      D&C 76 :51 ; D&C 76 :74, 79,101

7.      'The Holy Temple', Ensign, February 1995

8.      D&C 14 :7