As I sat up here on the stand today, I was able to look out and see so many
of my primary children’s faces. I’m so grateful for my calling as primary
chorister which has allowed me to get to know these amazing kids. In
preparing for our Sunday singing time each week, I spend time throughout
the week repeating unfamiliar songs over and over again, and sometimes
re-learning more familiar primary songs. I then get to teach them the
simple and pure messages about our Savior and His teachings that are
found within these songs. Nothing is as powerful, and brings the Spirit more
quickly than these children testifying of the Savior and His truths through
I remember when I was in primary and teachers would teach me these
same songs. One of the songs I loved to sing and to now hear our primary
kids sing, is the song I Love to see the Temple. Primary kids, since you
know the words, I want you to think about them as I say them.
I love to see the temple.
I’m going there someday
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God,
A place of love and beauty.
I’ll prepare myself while I am young;
This is my sacred duty.
When I was little, this song made me appreciate the beauty of the temple.
How pure and clean it was. How the most pristine and exquisite materials
were used to build it. How beautiful it was when it was lit up at night. And
how it looked different than any other buildings.
As this song clearly teaches, the temple is a house of God. It points us to
our Savior, Jesus Christ. In temples, we participate in sacred ordinances
and make covenants with Heavenly Father that bind us to Him and to our
Savior. These covenants and ordinances prepare us to return to Heavenly
Father’s presence and to be sealed together as families for eternity.
Some Sundays as I’m jumping up and down during a primary wiggle song
with junior primary, or singing a song standing on one foot with senior
primary, I’m often reminded that I’m definitely not as young as I used to be!
But with these extra years between youth and now, I’ve had many
occasions (as in the second verse of I love to see the temple says) “to go
inside (someday).” And inside His Holy House, “I’ll Cov’nant with my
Father, I’ll promise to obey.”
So we go inside, to make covenants with our Father. But what is a
covenant? I know if I asked the primary kids, they would tell me it’s a two-
way promise. Which is true! The bible dictionary describes a covenant as
an agreement between……God and man; but….it is important to notice
that the two parties to the agreement do not stand in the relation of
independence and equal contractors. God in his good pleasure fixes the
terms, which man accepts.
So a covenant is an agreement between God and man, but they do not act
as equals in the agreement. God gives the conditions for the covenant, and
men agree to do what He asks them to do. God then promises men certain
blessings for their obedience.
I have come to understand covenants as a gift from God that holds positive
and negative consequences depending upon obedience to the covenant
made. My Father loves me and I feel that love through the covenants he
extends to me.
Some of my most cherished and sacred experiences have come inside of
the temple. I’ve been able to participate in temple baptisms when I was a
young woman and more recently to attend as a family and be baptized with
my girls. I’ve kneeled across the alter from Chris to be sealed to him for
time and all eternity. I’ve been able to be a part of friends and loved ones
weddings and sealings. And I’ve been able to take deceased family
members names to the temple to do their work.
To this point in my talk, it sounds like I have only ever had revelatory
experiences in the temple. While that is mostly true today, that has not
always been the case. The first time that I entered the temple to receive
my own endowment, I left feeling very overwhelmed. I had not really
prepared myself for the endowment. I left a bit confused and wanted
For the next few years, that is how the temple was for me. I attended, but
did not fully understand the covenants I had made or why certain things
were taught. I attended purely out of duty. My testimony of the gospel of
Jesus Christ was firm. I knew that God lived, He is my Father and that the
Book of Mormon was true. I knew that Joseph Smith was the prophet of
the restoration and that the priesthood was restored through him. I had felt
the power of the priesthood on numerous occasions in my life to that point.
I knew the stories of Jesus. I felt loved by Him and had a testimony of His
sacrifice. Like any good kid who grows up in Tempe, Arizona, I attended
the Easter pageant each year and would watch the New Testament come
to life right before my very eyes.
It wasn’t until several years later, as our family began to grow, that Chris
and I began to attend the temple weekly. By this time, we had moved to
Sugarhouse in downtown Salt Lake City and were far from family. We
were young and we were broke. Since we were first married we have
always set aside Friday evening as date night. It is a time for us to catch
up and be together in a way the rest of the week doesn’t allow. Well, when
you’re broke and far from family, our budget would only stretch far enough
to get a babysitter for the evening. So, Friday date night became temple
night. Each Friday after the babysitter would arrive, we’d drive the 19
blocks north and 4 blocks east to Salt Lake Temple Square, where we
would participate in an endowment session.
After each session we would linger in the celestial room. I began to ask
Chris questions. Sometimes he would have answers and it would help me
to understand certain parts of the endowment more fully. Other times he
did not have the answer and would reply, “That’s a really good question.
We should study and ponder that and come back next week to try and
understand more fully what that means.” Through this practice, my
understanding increased. But, I was also noticing that Chris and I were not
only growing in understanding but were growing closer to each other.
My testimony, the one that had sprouted as a child, felt like it was building a
stronger root system than ever before.
In his October general conference address President Russell M. Nelson
taught the following:
“The temple lies at the center of strengthening our faith and spiritual
fortitude because the Savior and His doctrine are the very heart of the
temple. Everything taught in the temple, through instruction and through the
Spirit, increases our understanding of Jesus Christ. His essential
ordinances bind us to Him through sacred priesthood covenants. Then, as
we keep our covenants, He endows us with His healing, strengthening
When I first attended the temple I had heard that the Savior, as President
Nelson said, was at the heart of the temple. But, I hadn’t really understood
how. The answer came as I studied the covenants I had made.
Specifically, the law of sacrifice, where we promise to sacrifice to support
the Lord’s work and repent with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
The law of sacrifice through the lens of the temple provided clarity for what
was laid out in the scriptures. But, had become even more clear. The
saviors sacrifice which he freely gave fulfilled my obligation to give an
offering of the “firstlings of my flocks”. The Savior directed and I have
covenanted with the Lord in the temple, my requirement was a broken
heart and a contrite spirit. I had made this covenant with the Lord
previously. When I was eight years old and baptized. Each Sabbath day I
have the opportunity to renew that covenant to take the Saviors name upon
me, to always remember him and keep his commandments. From my
baptism to the sacrament to the temple these covenants have kept me on
the path to return to him. As I strive to understand these covenants even
further and the sacrifice the Savior made for me more fully, my sight has
shifted from something I did not understand to the tremendous gift that the
temple and my covenants are. “The word endowment means “a gift.” The temple endowment is literally a gift from God through which He blesses His children.
I want to share an experience I recently had. Chris and I have always loved road trips together. Time where we can be on the open road, see beautiful scenery, and have time to talk and be together. Adding kids to those drives, however, has definitely changed the
rides from taking our time and actually enjoying the journey, to seeing how
quickly we can get to our destination! On one of our recent car trips to Yosemite, we were on a remote, curvy road and had pulled over to the side for a short break. Soon, another car appeared and pulled over next to us. The driver, clearly concerned and
frustrated, approached us to ask for directions. Because of our remote
location, our phones had no cell signal, and we were wishing we were back
in the good old days with our trusty atlas to guide our way. After speaking
with this couple, we realized they had missed a turn and needed to head
back the direction they originally came from. I remember saying to Chris a
few hours later, that I hoped that couple found their turn and were on the
correct path to their desired destination.
I reflect on this simple experience and the predicament this couple found
themselves in. They had been traveling the correct roads but then lost their
connection to the GPS system. Without this connection to their navigation
system, they felt lost. After discussing their route with us, we confirmed
that they were off of the route that they had desired.
This makes me think of the times I have felt lost or have become distracted
in life. So many times I have let my busy daily routine swallow me up and
cloud my purpose and distract me from what’s the most important. Now as
I attend the temple, I look forward to being there as it refocuses my desires
and my intentions. It reminds me of what’s important and what to put first
in my life, but also what I may need to prune from it. The temple brings my
focus to the Savior and His Spirit, which is the connection needed to stay
on the covenant path.
The world is a confusing and tumultuous place. Sure and true directions,
with a constant connection to the Spirit, are essential in our journey through
life to reach our desired destination. President Nelson reminded us of the promises which have been made to us, specifically that “if [we] are prepared [we] shall not fear.” He reiterated that this assurance has profound implications today. The Lord has
declared that despite today’s unprecedented challenges, those who build
their foundations upon Jesus Christ, and have learned how to draw upon
His power, need not succumb to the unique anxieties of this era.”
The world will continue to become more dark as the second coming draws
near. Heavenly Father has sent three of his precious daughter to my care
and given me the charge to “teach them in all things.” The Savior set the
example on how to do so when he visited the Nephites. “He took their little
children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for
them. … And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your
I lose a lot of sleep trying to fill my role as a mother to my 3 daughters.
Many times I fall short. More than anything, I want them to know who they
are, to learn where to turn for peace and how to find answers to their
questions. I want the temple to always be a refuge and a place they want to
come to again and again.
As I reflect on the covenants I have made in the temple to sacrifice and to
support the Lord’s work, I feel a similar love and devotion to the children I
serve in the primary. I want each of you primary children to know that I
love you, and I think of you often. I pray to Heavenly Father on your behalf.
I ask him for direction on what or how to teach you and guess what? He
answers my prayers! Which further solidifies my testimony of his love for
each of you.
I know my Savior lives. I’m grateful to be a member of his restored church.
I know that He is in the very heart of the temple. I know the covenants we
make in the temple bind us to Him. As a little girl, I thought I knew how
beautiful the temple was, but now that I’ve gone inside and made
covenants with my Father, I truly begin to understand just how beautiful
and eternal the temple actually is. I love my Savior and His Gospel. In the
name of Jesus Christ, amen.