August 2010 Visiting Teaching Message

Our Responsibility to Be Worthy of Temple Worship
(click above link to see full text of the Visiting Teaching Message)

This month’s message really hit home to me. I want to start, actually, by bearing my testimony of the Temple.

I know that the Temple is the House of the Lord. I’ve felt his power there. I first received my endowment when I was 19 – 12 years ago. I didn’t understand as much about the gospel, but I was about to be married in the temple, so I was as ready as possible to make this covenant.

Of course, there was much I didn’t understand during that specific temple trip. But I remember being overwhelmed by the niceness of the little ladies helping me. I felt peace. I knew I was doing the right thing.

While I was married, I lived in Utah. I had many opportunities to go to the temple. I sincerely tried to make temple attendance a priority in my life. I found that if I was attending the temple often, I was 1. Remembering my covenant 2. Filled with His Spirit. Even though there was still so much I didn’t understand about the temple, I still felt peace and I knew I was doing the right thing.

Throughout that time, I also had many opportunities to do the work for my kindred dead. It was a wonderful experience. I was adopted by my father when I was four. Even though I’ve always felt a part of the family, and I know my dad loves me, there was still a disconnect I felt – with my ancestry and roots. It wasn’t until I began to do temple work that I knew I was a part of this family. I knew that I was the only one able to do the work for them. I knew that many of my family members accepted the gospel, and that someday I’d come to know them.

After moving away from Utah, I was divorced. This was a hard trial for me; however, the peace and strength that comes from the temple helped me to navigate the turbulent times in my life.

Mesa, Arizona Temple – Painted by me!

I have to admit – going to the temple by myself was hard! It is hard to go – when you’ve been married and then you find yourself alone. But that feeling was fleeting. The first time I went to the temple after separating from my husband, I felt assured that at some point, I’d be able to look across the room and see a husband that would be true to me and true to our covenant. I just needed to be faithful and wait.

Because of consistent temple attendance, I had the peace of mind necessary for my life as a single, working mother. I remember talking to someone about dating. They were trying to match me up with someone who was not a member. I said, “You know, I only want to date Mormons. I have no intention of marrying someone who is not a member. And I don’t have the patience or time to do the converting. I need to date someone who is already a member and strong.”
To this, my friend said, and I believe she said this honestly, “You were married in the temple before. What good did it do you that time?” It was an interesting question, but I answered her honestly: “It wasn’t the temple that failed me. My (ex)husband did. In fact, it’s the temple that saved me. My covenants are still good. I will not give that up. If I marry again, it will be in the temple.”

I have been blessed enough to see this happen. I have been married again – in the temple. And for a while, my husband and I lived in close proximity to a temple. We went as a couple at least once a month. We were able to go separately more often. It has been a strength to us as a couple and as individuals.

And now…here I am…4 hours away from the temple. Last year, we had a discussion with our bishop – where he encouraged us to attend the temple once a quarter. My husband and I agreed – that’s doable.

Then, we got a message from our Stake Presidency – which included a challenge to go Once a Month…! I feel ashamed to admit, I wasn’t quick to follow this advice. I murmured. I stuck to my old resolution of once a quarter.

Things in life got hard. I realized I missed the peace of the temple. I missed the effect it had on my soul. I began to realize that my refusal to go monthly was not acting in faith. I spoke to my husband, and we repented, and have started going once a month instead. I feel bad that it took me 6 months to get on board – especially when I really knew better.

Sister Allred, in the Visiting Teaching message said, “Let us enjoy the spiritual strength and the revelation we receive as we attend the temple regularly.” (Sylvia H. Allred). We must exercise faith, but the blessing we receive in return far outweighs any sacrifice.

What We Can Do
1. As sisters, we can support one another. We can help our sisters prepare for the temple. This is done as we live righteous and faithful lives. We can serve one another. We can lift one another up. We can teach one another. If we want to help our sisters, then probably the best thing to do is pray, and have faith that Heavenly Father will direct our paths.

Perhaps we will be prompted to serve someone. Maybe we’ll be prompted to give someone a call and be their friend. We can talk about the temple. We might be prompted to offer babysitting – to make it possible for our sisters to attend the temple. The Lord will direct our paths if we let him. And we can be a blessing to our sisters if we go to Him for guidance.

2. We can exemplify the heritage of the early sisters who sacrificed so much for the temple by doing the same. Our sacrifices, of course, will be of a different nature, but we are still required to give sacrifice – this is an expression of our faith. Perhaps we must sacrifice money and time (and wear and tear on our cars) to get to a temple that is far away. We should make the sacrifice of doing the work for our own kindred dead – so that we can perform work in the temple. We can also make sacrifices by paying our tithing and doing that which helps to have new temples built. Finally, I think that we can be like the early sisters of the church by expressing faith through our prayers. We can express gratitude and pray for more temples to be built. These women are examples of faith, and there are many ways we can follow suit.

3. We can claim the blessings of the temple by going. You know – I feel like temple attendance is rarely a “singular” experience. There have been a few times in my life where I’ve had specific temple experiences. However, I’ve noticed that the blessings of the temple are cumulative in nature. I need to go often – as often as possible. Then, I feel the peace of the temple: I’m reminded of the covenants; I expose myself to a higher standard of spiritual learning.

In addition to going to the temple, I feel very strongly that our temple worship should be coupled with sincere scripture study. The scriptures will help us understand our temple covenants better. They will give everything meaning. I find that there are times when I’m in the temple, and a scripture comes to mind – Illuminating something either about the ordinance or a general revelation I need in my life. There are also times when I’m at home, studying the scriptures, and I think, “This is just like the temple…” Making my future temple attendance more meaningful as I’ve gained more insight and knowledge.

***
I hope that you can experience the wonderful blessing of the temple. I hope you get excited about visiting teaching. I have a new assignment. I’m excited to get out and meet my new sisters! So – yeah…That’s all…

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3 Comments

  1. Angela

     /  August 19, 2010

    Love the pic of my temple! I want a copy of it!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comments, Angela.

      I feel ashamed that it took me so long to get on board with the committment to go to the temple often. It has never been a problem for me before. Everywhere I’ve lived, I’ve made the committment to go often. When I lived in Utah and Arizona, the temple was always so close. The sacrifice wasn’t about distance/travel time, but there were a few little sacrifices to going often (finding babysitters and returning the favor 😉 ) But I loved going a lot. I found that because I took the time to go weekly – when it was close by – even though that was not always convenient – my life was infused with the spirit of the temple.
      When I lived in Philly, I was about 2.5 – 3 hours away from the Washington DC temple. It was a bit of a drive, but a day trip was doable. That was a sacrifice – in obvious ways – as I was a single mother, and would have to find child care for the day. I also often went alone, but I found that the drive time was enough time to listen to the entire Messiah Oratorio – which was a great way to get into the mindset of the temple. The drive wasn’t much longer for that, so I’d listen to the Messiah, go to the temple, be uplifted, then go home.

      OKC has its own challenges and blessings. I do love taking the kids with me to the temple. It is a family effort/event. I hope that they remember these trips, even though it is probably not a ton of fun for them to be cooped up in the car for so long. There is so much power that comes from the temple – which is why I’m so sad that I was being so stubborn.

      anyway – thanks for the comment, and I’ve noted your love of the picture I made. … 🙂

      Reply
  2. Angela

     /  August 19, 2010

    P.S. You won’t regret the sacrifice you will have to go through to make this happen in your life because of the amazing blessings/conversion that happens to you and your family as you follow through with this . Since we did this last year and have not been able to repeat this year due to my condition and my husband being in school, the kids have whined about not being able to go. Now tell me, please, who does not want their kids whining about not going to the temple. I will be grateful when we can come back to this one. There is amazing power that comes from it! ENJOY!

    Reply

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