Preparing to enter the Temple - and Blessings of Regular attendance
What should we do to prepare spiritually to go to the temple for the first time? (Getting ready to go to the temple)
Review the importance of symbolism and the reason it is used when the Savior taught.
The Temple is a place of learning - however the method of teaching is highly symbolic. An understanding of symbolism and the methods and reasons for using it can be very helpful.
What is a symbol?
Why are symbols used when teaching individuals the gospel. They both provide insight and protection to those who hear the message. Insight into a clearer understanding of the doctrine, or protection in that the individual who does not understand is not condemned for what they don't understand. Thus the compassion, and mercy of the principle of using symbols.
Examples of symbols used in ordinances:
Water: washing, cleansing, purification from sin
White clothes: purity (“there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white … [and] purified … through the blood of [Christ]” [Alma 5:21]); equality (whether rich or poor, all wear the same clothing at baptism, for “all are alike unto God” [2 Nephi 26:33])
Laying on of hands: physical touch by those representing God, transferring blessings from God to others
Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost: called “baptism of fire” (see 2 Nephi 31:13); cleansing and spiritual rebirth in Christ
Placing bread and water before the congregation: emblems of Christ’s sacrifice, which ended sacrifice by the shedding of blood (see Alma 34:13–14); we now bring a “sacrifice unto the Lord … of a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (D&C 59:8)
Breaking bread: Christ’s bodily suffering on our behalf, His physical death, His Resurrection so that we might live again
Kneeling to pray: humility, submitting to God’s will; a token of the everlasting covenant (see D&C 88:131)
Eating bread: remembering the body of Jesus Christ (see Matthew 26:26–29), the bread of life (“he that cometh to me shall never hunger” [John 6:35], “he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever” [John 6:58])
Drinking water (originally wine): the blood of Christ (shed in Gethsemane, during His sufferings at the hands of the soldiers, and on the cross), which “cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7) and “is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of [our] sins” (Moroni 10:33); blood as “the seat of life or vital energy of all flesh” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Blood”) and that which atones for sins through sacrifice (see Leviticus 17:11); living water (see John 4:14)
Review the purpose of the plan of salvation and how this plan is revealed to men.
Moses 1:39 Gods work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of mankind.
He does this through specific ways and means that do not, nor cannot impact our agency.
Every ordinance, every covenant, and every action that we perform while in his service is to fulfill this goal. To assist him in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. To assist him to bring men/women unto Jesus Christ, have them receive a remission of sins, and be saved in a kingdom of God.
Each individual is saved based upon the principles of the atonement and the knowledge that they were willing to receive. All individuals will be saved (except sons of perdition), and will receive a remission of their sins and live in a kingdom of Glory. What kingdom they will receive is based upon their obedience, and the ordinances that they received. It is also based upon what rejection of these principles were manifest in their life. Thus each individual is blessed or condemned through their own agency and choice, and all are provided access to the ONE way and means by which a remission of sins is obtained.
The principles and doctrines of the priesthood are not given all at once - they are given to us line upon line precept upon precept.
Does the lord provide doctrine to his children in it's complete form?
In every case the answer is NO.
I'll say it again in every case the answer is NO, there is always and will always be a clarification, and perfection of the principles of the Gospel over time until we all come to a perfect knowledge and comprehend all things.
Do we have a perfect understanding of the doctrines of the kingdom today? NO - for we believe that there are yet many great and marvelous things that will be revealed to the world and the Church.
The Doctrine of Christ - Ensign April 2012 Todd Christofferson
"As the policies and procedures of the Church are refined by continuing revelation and inspiration, there are those who become disturbed by any changes. Some literally hunt for situations where earlier Church leaders or members made statements which are not in complete harmony with our understanding and practices today. The mind-set of some is that anything coming from an earlier time must be more correct."
2 Nephi 28:30
30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
The means by which the Lord provides his doctrine and principles of his kingdom to the world, and the church is based upon this principle. The church is a living church - powered by the Holy Ghost and the revelations to the members as well as to the President and Prophet by which new revelation is provided to the church that they may grow to a perfection of the knowledge of God.
30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.
31 Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.
32 And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.
Each and every one of us has the opportunity to receive light and truth as it is presented to us. We come under condemnation when we do not live by the truth and light that we know, or when we reject truth when it is presented to us. Notice that by definition this is a step by step process, line by line, principle by principle, doctrine by doctrine until we come to a perfect knowledge of God.
21 Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?
22 Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.
23 And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.
24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
67 And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.
68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.
These scriptures plainly point out that a coming to an understanding of the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a step by step, line upon line process. Have any of us come to a perfect understanding of the gospel? NO
Consider the following examples of this principle:
Math 5:17-48 - Wherever you see the words "Ye have heard that it hath been said", what he means by that is your scriptures teach this! This is what is said in the law of Moses and it is the Law through which you believe you are saved. Then he says unto them "But I say unto you" meaning that he is giving them a different doctrine, a different commandment, a different law that they should lead their lives by. This was new doctrine to them and was difficult for them to accept.
The Word of Wisdom, Blacks and the Priesthood, and our understanding of many other doctrines have changed and grown through time as we learn and grow in our knowledge of the gospel. Doctrine can our understanding of it change?
Thus as we regularly attend the temple we should not be surprised and even expect our understanding of the ordinances of the temple to deepen, and become more complete as we prayerfully ponder, study, and with patience wait for the mysteries of the kingdom to distill upon us as the dews of heaven. D&C 121:45-46
Review the council in heaven and the reason for how Satan became Lucifer - any individual can fall...
What happened in the council of heaven before the world was?
Who is Satan?
He is a son of God an angel in heaven - who rebelled against God and sought the destruction of the agency of mankind. Moses 4:1-4 Moses 5:13
How did he fall? Through his own choice...
His desire was to setup the situation because of God's knowledge and Power so that each individual would always choose good and never choose evil. Thus destroying the agency of mankind - not because he removed their choices - but rather because he made the choices something that was not enticing, and thus no one would choose it. This is in direct opposition to the plan of salvation - wherein an individual was to be enticed by good and evil - and then choose. Thus proving themselves if they will obey or not.
Thus he fell and great was his fall. As with all of us the greater the light, the greater the knowledge, the greater the responsibility an individual may receive is also the degree by which an individual may fall. Those as Satan become vessels of wrath - who are consumed with anger and will never even attempt to repent. They become enemies of God and attempt to destroy his plan in all respects - consenting even to the death of Jesus Christ.
The Opposition of Cain: Moses 5:28-32 - Notice the use of Covenants, rituals, and symbolism in the implementation of Satan's plan and Cain his follower, notice also that Cain had no remorse - he gloried in what he had done. He reviled in the fact that through the use of Satan and his angels he could murder in the dark, not be found out, and get gain. Thus he with absolute knowledge rejected the greater council and knowing God, and Jesus Christ rebelled against them.
So also in our life will we be tempted, tried, and be enticed by the evil of the world - in direct opposition to the greater light and knowledge we have received. For he who has received the greater light and knowledge will receive the greater temptation, and possible blessings and condemnation. 2 Nephi 31:14 Alma 24:30, Alma 47:36 Helaman 7:24
It is possible for each of us to fall - as any who have gone before, or will come after. We must watch ourselves:
29 And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.
30 But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not yourselves, and your , and your , and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.
As we receive the greater blessings of the temple - we may receive greater temptations in opposition to those greater blessings. As one receives more and more spiritual gifts in the process of being perfected they should expect and be prepared for greater temptations and paradoxes to be placed before them to perfect them in their test of this life.
What do we need to do to prepare physically for the first temple visit?
#1 - Temple Recommend. Obtain a temple recommend. Be sure to carry your recommend with you to the temple, since only those with valid recommends may enter. As you live worthily, the recommend will allow you to enter any temple of the Church as often as you wish during the next two years. To renew your temple recommend, you must be interviewed by a member of your bishopric or your branch president and a member of your stake presidency or the mission president.
#2 - Planning and Scheduling the Visit. Before you go to the temple to receive the endowment or the sealing ordinance, call the temple to make an appointment. Find out when you need to arrive at the temple, how long you should plan to stay, and what you should take with you. Ask for translation assistance if necessary.
#3 - Dress. Plan to dress as you would when attending Sunday meetings. Women should not wear pants to the temple.
#4 - Escorts. All who are going to the temple for the first time may have an escort to accompany them. This can be a relative or friend of the same gender who has previously been to the temple, or one of the temple workers may assist. Workers in the temple will offer friendly guidance at all times.
#5 - Sealing Work. If you plan to do sealing work for your deceased ancestors, you should take completed family group records with you to the temple. If you and your spouse are to be sealed or if you are going to have children sealed to you, you must have your own family group record. If you are going to be married, you will need to comply with all local civil laws and bring a valid marriage license with you. Read carefully the Member’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work (34697) for more detailed information about how to provide temple ordinances for both the living and the dead. You may also contact the temple recorder at the temple you are planning to visit.
#6 - Care of Children. If children are coming to the temple to participate in a sealing ceremony, they will be cared for in the temple youth center until it is time for them to join you in the sealing room. White clothing for the ceremony will be provided for the children. After the sealing ceremony is completed, they will return to the center to wait for you. No care is provided at the temple for children not involved in a sealing.
#7 - Temple Garments. You will need to buy one or two pairs of temple garments before you enter the temple. You can get these garments at the distribution center but you will need a temple recommend to do so. Do not put them on before you go to the temple. After receiving your endowment and when you are satisfied that you have identified the desirable size and fabric, you can purchase additional pairs of garments. Some people like to wash their initial pair of garments to make sure they fit comfortably before purchasing others. (information about garments and temple clothing)
#8 - Temple Clothing. The First Presidency has encouraged members to purchase and use their own temple clothing. In some temples it is possible to rent temple clothing for a small fee, but it is preferable for members to own and maintain their own temple clothing. This can also be purchased from the church distribution center. The articles of clothing are shown in the video and are: (hat or veil, apron, robe, sash, and slippers information about garments and temple clothing)
Sisters may wear their wedding dresses for their temple wedding, but the dress must be white, have long sleeves, be modest in design and fabric, have no train, and be free from elaborate ornamentation.
How often should we go to the temple?
"To you who are worthy and able to attend the temple, I would admonish you to go often. The temple is a place where we can find peace. There we receive a renewed dedication to the gospel and a strengthened resolve to keep the commandments."
"President Monson also made this promise to those who will face toward the house of the Lord: “The world can be a challenging and difficult place in which to live. We are often surrounded by that which would drag us down. As you and I go to the holy houses of God, as we remember the covenants we make within, we will be more able to bear every trial and to overcome each temptation. In this sacred sanctuary we will find peace; we will be renewed and fortified.” -- Thomas S. Monson
Suggestions and things to remember about temple worship and temple ordinances:
- Before you go - prepare your mind, body, heart, and spirit to be edified. Try and leave behind the things of the world - and consider and ponder the things of a better world.
- As you attend - let the Lord speak to you - listen, and feel for how the ordinances apply to you today.
- Consider the symbolism - the method and means by which covenants are made, the people involved in the ordinances and their role.
- Reflect and ponder on the covenants and blessings that are enumerated in each ordinance.
- Remember that your understanding of the symbolism of the ordinances of the temple is given to you - line upon line, precept upon precept. Learn for yourself what they mean... to you.
- Ask for and work for the receipt of that spiritual gift that will perfect you the most - council with the Lord on which gift you should seek and desire...
- Consider how your spiritual gifts can through the temple perfect you - how can and does the Holy Ghost influence your life - now - and how it changes over time. Remember - Receive the Holy Ghost is the exhortation to us it doesn't just happen...
"The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken. As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live that we indeed “receive the Holy Ghost” and its attendant spiritual gifts. “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift” (D&C 88:33)." Oct 2010, Ensign Elder David A. Bednar
- Be patient - the dews of heaven do not appear fast, or suddenly but rather - slowly over time... so also is an understanding of the temple ordinances.
- Invite others to participate with you - go with your family and friends to the temple.
- Remember, remember be worthy ... what more can I say...
36 That the of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be nor handled only upon the of righteousness.
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to our , or to gratify our , our vain ambition, or to exercise control or or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man."
So... also our spiritual gifts - they can be given, and they can be taken away...
I hope that these lessons and the experiences you have in the temple will broaden your understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and lead you to more fully be perfected in him. For that is my intent, that you learn and prepare to go to the temple and are not surprised by the rituals and ordinances performed there, but rather are edified by them over time.
Remember the words of Moroni as written in the Book of Mormon
32 Yea, unto Christ, and be in him, and yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your , that ye become , without spot