The Importance of the Temple by Melanie Brown


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

song.


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

answers.


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

power.”


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

little ones.”


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.


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