The House of the Lord
Last week I spoke of eternal families and the blessings of knowing that families can be together forever. Today I want to discuss how families can be together forever. On LDS.org there is an article that tells why we build temples today, it says:
“From the days of the Old Testament, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples-sacred structures where He could teach, guide, and bless them. For example, the Lord told the Israelites to build a portable tabernacle that would be their temple while they traveled in the wilderness (see ; ). Additional Old Testament references to temples are found in ; (Temple of Solomon) and ; (Temple of Zerubbabel).
“When Jesus Christ was on the earth, the only existing temple was known as the Temple of Herod. Jesus was often found in this temple (see, for example, ; ).
“The earliest temples of the restored Church were built in Ohio, Illinois, and eventually in Utah. Today, the Church has 140 operating temples around the world. Regardless of the place or time period, temples are the most sacred place on earth-a place where earth and heaven meet and where we feel close to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. 1
Whenever the true Gospel of Jesus Christ has been on the earth, so have temples. Temples are a part of our worship and we go there to perform sacred ordinances for our ancestors and ourselves. Gordon B. Hinckley had this to say about our temples, shortly after the temple in Washington D.C. was built in 1974:
“Much of the work that goes on within temples is concerned with the family. Basic to an understanding of its meaning is recognition of the fact that even as we existed as children of God before we were born into this world, so also shall we continue to live after death, and the treasured and satisfying relationships of mortality, the most beautiful and meaningful of which are found in the family, may continue in the world to come.
“Marriage partners who come to the house of the Lord and partake of its blessings are joined not only for the period of their mortal lives but for all eternity, under authority not only of the law of the land that joins them until death parts them but also of the eternal priesthood of God, binding in heaven that which is bound on earth. The couple so married has the assurance of divine revelation that their relationship and that of their children will not end with death but will continue in eternity, provided they live worthy of that blessing.
“Was there ever a man who truly loved a woman, or a woman who truly loved a man, who did not pray that their relationship might continue beyond the grave? Has a child ever been buried by parents who did not long for the assurance that their loved one would again be theirs in a world to come? Can anyone believing in eternal life doubt that the God of heaven would grant his sons and daughters that most precious attribute of life, the love that finds its most meaningful expression in family relationships? No, reason demands that the family relationship shall continue after death. The human heart longs for it. The God of heaven has revealed a way whereby it may be secured. The sacred ordinances of the house of the Lord provide for it.” 2
My wife and I were married in the Washington D.C. temple on July 9, 1975. That was 37 years ago and we still love going to the temple together. We know that the covenants we made together as we knelt at one of the alters will last beyond death and into the eternities if we keep those covenants. We also know that our children and their families, if they live worthy can also be with us.
We live in a world today that is hostile to the family in many ways. Governments are surrendering proven values that have been the basis for civilization since Adam and Eve were commanded by God to multiply and replenish the earth. The family has been the foundation upon which all governments have been founded. Today, the traditional two-parent family consisting of a father and mother is becoming an exception instead of the norm. In many countries of the world the birth rate is so low that it is not enough to sustain the growth needed for the country to last. The last statement in “The Family A Proclamation to the World” includes this warning to all:
that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.” 3
Elder Gary E. Stevenson tells of a time when he and his sons went for a ride in Gary’s father’s truck. They lived in Logan, Utah and they drove out of Logan into an area where Gary’s sons had not been. His father stopped the truck and asked his grandsons if they thought they were lost. One of Gary’s sons responded:
“Look,” he said, pointing his finger. “Grandpa, you are never lost when you can see the temple.” Our eyes turned, focusing with his, seeing the sun glistening off the spires of the Logan Temple, far across the valley.” 4
One of the first things that our family looks for when we enter Cache Valley from the Canyon is the temple spires and at night it stands out, as if calling us to come to the temple. It is a beautiful sight to see and it is a reminder of the covenants we make in the temple and the importance of the family in Heavenly Father’s plan for his children.
On each of the temples is found the inscription: “The House of the Lord – Holiness to the Lord” Latter-day Saints believe that the temple is truly the House of the Lord and that it is a holy place where we are instructed in the purpose of this life and where ordinances bind us beyond death and seal families for eternity. It is my testimony that not only is my family a “forever family”, but yours can be too. I ask that you follow the links below in the references and it will provide you with the answers to any questions you may have about the purpose of the House of the Lord.
Your questions and comments are welcome.
2. “WhyThese Temples,” Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, August 1974
4. “SacredHomes, Sacred Temples”, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, General Conference, April 2009