Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Purpose of Temples . . . and Libraries

My grandsons listening to me read from The Hobbit this morning
My Mom & Dad read to us to the extent that I seem to remember it vaguely. I don't recall either of my grandfathers ever reading to me. And good guys that they were in many ways, I don't see that as very likely for either of them. My kids will remember me reading to them when they were young. I read all of LOTR at least a couple of times, the Oz books, and all of Harry Potter out loud at least once. Well, maybe our youngest was old enough to read the last one or two on his own. I would love nothing more than to have those moments back or this scene above to continue forever.

This is the ideal. And I don't know how I even got here. Many people don't have these opportunities, not even all the faithful Saints. And even I would love to be able to sit with my two grandfathers, or my grandmothers even more, and have them read to me. There must be some hope that it will be made right in the eternities.

This is the principle of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that is found nowhere else on earth - the doctrine of eternal families. So much is hurtful and unobtainable in this world of turmoil. The hope for Peace and Family is what keeps me going. The only way I know how to get there is through sacred priesthood ordinances in the Temples that seal families together beyond the grave for all the eternities. This doctrine is enough for me. I will strive to do everything required to have these eternal blessings and to help provide it for others 

The picture above and my spiritual feelings that follow both came as a result of the dedication of the Brigham City, Utah Temple today. All Temple-worthy members throughout Utah were able to attend the dedication by electronic transmission to local meeting houses. Today, all LDS church houses in Utah required a Temple recommend to enter for this special service. The Lord requires certain standards of behavior and faithfulness to participate in sacred events much like in the Old Testament or time of Christ when he certainly expressed concern about the sanctity of the Temple and exhibited some enforcement measures. We don't have to be perfect to obtain a recommend, but we have to try in meeting some basic requirements.

Yesterday, my wife and I also helped make our chapel a clean and sacred place. Our Ward assigns days for members to "volunteer" when we go in for tithing settlement with the Bishop at the end of each year. We happened to get the Saturday before the Temple Dedication so it had to be done extra nice. Fortunately, with three wards in the building, we only had to clean the Primary area downstairs. We went down early in the morning with my only child still at home, but there were people gathering for a Scout Leader training so we had to come back in the late afternoon. And because my wife (the Uniform Mom) was at the band competition with my son, I had it all about done before she came to help finish up the nursery room. I did save the worst 'til last. Except I had already done the bathrooms. My son was able to escape entirely. 

 My daughter and son-in-law dropped off their boys with us so they could go to the first session of the dedication at 9 a.m. Only baptized children eight-years-old and up with a card from their Bishop were able to attend (it helps a little with reverence). It was while their Mom and Dad were at the first session that my wife snapped the picture. My wife, son, and I went at noon. 

It is the Temple where all this connects. There were multiple references in the talks before the dedicatory prayer as to this idea of the eternal family as  the purpose of Temples - including a reference to the Prophet Joseph:
It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect. Neither can they nor we be made perfect without those who have died in the gospel also; for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fullness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. D&C 128:18.
There is a "welding link" in the Priesthood Sealing power - the literal binding on earth and in heaven. And there are Temples to bring the names of our kindred dead that we search out in libraries and other places of records to perform vicarious ordinances - baptize, ordain, endow, and seal them together so that the whole purpose of the earth will not be wasted.

Find me a religious tradition anywhere else that offers these promises and I will give it some consideration. Until then, I will look to the Mountains of the the Lord, His sacred Temples.

Brigham City, Utah, Temple, Dedicated September 23, 2012


  1. The only dedication I have been to was when the Portland temple was dedicated. I guess I hadn't realized that the dedications were transmitted. What is the reasoning behind it? Is there a reason that only Utah would be included?

    I love seeing you read with your grandkids!

    1. I don't know why they only included Utah and all of Utah at that. This one went well beyond the Temple District which goes from Malad, Idaho to Willard just north of Ogden. I am aware that in Temple Districts where not all are able to fit in a reasonable series of dedication sessions, they will broadcast to certain chapels in the area requiring them to be restricted that day to recommend holders. That happened with the dedication of the Albuquerque Temple when we lived there. And there have been a few dedications of church-wide significance that were broadcast to chapels throughout the US at least, maybe foreign? - Palmyra, Nauvoo, Winter Quarters.

      In Davis County, we are in the Bountiful Temple District - 10 minutes from our house. With Ogden closed, the Temple has been pretty full. We are hoping Brigham City lessens the crowds at Bountiful. Of course if it does, and certainly when Ogden reopens, they will just call us in for more assignments, which is fine too.

  2. In regards to your first paragraph about reading to us, I love sharing with all of my classmates in my early childhood literacy class that I have fond and distinct memories of my dad reading one of this favorite books, The Hobbit, to me when I was just 7 years old. (Ok, I'm not really sure how old I was, but it had to be between 6 and 9) I forgot about the Oz books! Those were great, too. I'm not sure if I'll read The Hobbit to my kids (I'll let you do that) but I might slip in a Jane Austen or two.


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