Week 44 is scheduled for study Oct. 25-31, 2021. This week we look at some of the principles behind why we have temples, and what temples are supposed to accomplish.

Day 1

As you read Doctrine and Covenants 124, ponder the blessings the Lord invited the Saints in Nauvoo to receive and the blessings He offers you.

Doctrine and Covenants 124:12-21 – I can be a disciple whom the Lord trusts.

Here are some of the things we can learn from these verses.

  • 13 Being faithful and true to the responsibilities we are given make us great in God’s eyes.
  • 14 The Lord will require an accounting for any stewardship we are given.
  • 15 The Lord loves those who are filled with integrity, and those who love that which is right before Him.
  • 16 God promises to those who support His prophet and receive counsel at his hands a reward that shall not fail.
  • 17 Those who love the prophet (that is, keep his counsel and obey him in all things) shall be God’s. God will accept the work of such people and crown us with blessings and great glory.
  • 18 To those doing missionary work in the spirit of meekness, “confessing me before the world,” “I will bear him up as on eagles’ wings; and he shall beget glory and honor to himself and unto my name.”
  • 19 God promises to receive the obedient unto Himself when our mortal work is over.
  • 20 God loves those who are without guile, for they may be trusted because of the integrity of their heart; and for the love which they have to my testimony I, the Lord, love them. (That sentence is one big paraphrase)

These bullet points are the main statements and promises made by the Lord concerning those who were/are faithful to Him. We don’t have to be a Church leader to qualify for these descriptions to be said about us. Any of us can achieve any of the blessings and accolades from God listed above. The only requirement is a willing mind and heart.

Day 2

As you read Doctrine and Covenants 124, ponder the blessings the Lord invited the Saints in Nauvoo to receive and the blessings He offers you.

Doctrine and Covenants 124:22-24, 60-61 – The Lord wants me to welcome and accept others.

As you read these verses, what do you think the underlying principles are as to why the Lord would want a guest house for weary travelers? And why would He say repeatedly that it must be a house that remains unpolluted, so that God can dwell there, and must be a place of rest and contemplation? I find the question in the manual to be almost comical. Afterall, what is the mission and purpose of the Church? And do you think it is possible to accomplish that goal if we create in our homes an atmosphere of unholiness, chaos, and a lack of thought and consideration for others?

If our own homes, be that a house or a bedroom, are to become holy places for the refuge of Zion from the storms of life, we must be concerned enough to create holy spaces where others are, and can feel safe coming to. These safe places are places in which the Spirit, with His still small voice, can talk to those who come and teach them what is right. In other words, we must become facilitators for the teaching opportunities of the Spirit to all those with whom we come in contact.

Day 3

As you read Doctrine and Covenants 124, ponder the blessings the Lord invited the Saints in Nauvoo to receive and the blessings He offers you.

Doctrine and Covenants 124:25-45, 55 – The Lord commands us to build temples so we can receive sacred ordinances.

All of these verses are built around a principle that is at the core of the plan of salvation. Those things that exalt are more sacred than anything else on the earth. There is only one place exalting priesthood ordinances can be practiced, and that is in a house built specifically to the Lord for that purpose. This requirement separates that which is sacred from that which is profane by giving the sacred things a special dedicated space in which to be performed.

Have you noticed that the Lord never reveals the ordinances of the higher priesthood in any other place other than in a house built to His name, one that is holy and set apart for only that purpose? This requirement was set up in the pre-earth life, before the world was even created. That means this concept isn’t just some whim on the part of the Savior. This is a requirement given us by the Father. It is built into His plan for our salvation. I’ll let you decide why you think He thought it to be so important that the ordinances of the temple are not performed anywhere but in a temple.

Here is one idea for you. This world is fallen, and is filled with increasingly wicked people and practices. But what happens in temples is sacred and celestial in nature. Think of temples as being little celestial bubbles, glimpses into the atmosphere and lifestyle of those who will live with God one day. Temples are pockets of exaltation in a fallen world. They give us a taste of the Spirit and promises reserved for those who keep themselves unspotted from the world. Therefore, doesn’t it make sense that the Lord would only reveal and allow to be practiced within the temple those sacred and exalting ordinances that lead us home to God? By building and dedicating a house specifically for this purpose, the Spirit’s influence can flow unrestrained, and Christ can feel free to visit those whom he needs to speak to about the things of his kingdom.

Day 4

As you read Doctrine and Covenants 124, ponder the blessings the Lord invited the Saints in Nauvoo to receive and the blessings He offers you.

Doctrine and Covenants 124:84-118 – The Lord desires to give me specific counsel for my life.

The purpose of today’s lesson is to remind us to listen to the Spirit and follow His counsel. The verses in this lesson are directed at specific individuals, but since we are supposed to liken the scriptures to our own situation, are there any pieces of advice given to these brethren that can apply to you? The manual also points out that all of us have already received pointed directions from the Lord. These come in the form of Church directives and counsel from the prophets in Conference and in Church policies. We also receive invitations to act from our rank and file leaders, like when our Bishop asks us to come and help clean the chapel or participate in a service project.

What are one or more of the reasons you can discern from what you have read in this lesson as to why the Lord gives us specific counsel? For example, if you have already gotten your patriarchal blessing you have most likely got a ready list of things to be aware of or to do during this life. When was the last timed you looked at your blessing to review the Lord’s personal instructions for your life? Are you on track to fulfill His promises to you because you are making the needed changes in your life?

Even if you haven’t already received your patriarchal blessing, you have access to the Spirit in your prayers. How did your last prompting turn out? Did you follow it with enthusiasm and humility? If not, do you think the results of His prompting might have been different if you had obeyed with a more willing and open heart?

The principles of the gospel are universal in their application. There are special circumstances where advice to one cannot be applied to another, but most of what we read in the scriptures or hear from the Spirit can be used for learning and edification in spiritual things by others. As you read the scriptures, especially today’s verses, look for the Lord’s counsel to these men. How often does the Lord tell them they need to strip themselves of undesirable behaviors and habits? At one point He even says that someone has built a golden calf to lead people astray. And as we know, the golden calf in the biblical story was a return to false traditions that led people away from the Lord. What those traditions were is not the point. The mere fact that golden calves lead people away from the truths given from God is condemnation enough. Are we being careful in our doctrine? Are we comparing it with what the prophets are currently teaching about that doctrinal point? My mother used to say that a little guilt never hurt anyone. In that same spirit, a little fear of preaching and believing false doctrine never hurt anyone. If that fear of believing or teaching doctrines that lead us away from Christ’s truths help us to be cautious and stay on the covenant path then it can be a helpful thing.

FHE/Personal Study

Doctrine and Covenants 124:28-29, 40-41, 55 – Why do we build temples?

Sorry, but I feel I need to point out the obvious, even though I, myself, have read and reread these verses all my life and the import of their statements has passed me right by.

Verses 28-29 – God has decreed that baptisms for the dead must be done in a font within the confines of a house built to His name, wherein the ordinances of salvation and exaltation are made available to His children. Few exceptions to this requirement have ever been granted, and then only long enough for a temple to be built that has a font in it. This demonstrates to us how seriously our Father in Heaven takes all covenants, even the most basic ones.

I find it interesting that the living can be baptised almost anywhere, but when you want to participate in the redemptive process for another soul, there is only one place allowed by the Lord for that to happen, and that is in a holy temple.

Verses 40-41 – The Lord states clearly that the temple is a place of revelations. He wants temples to be built so He can reveal to His children things which have been hidden from the beginning of the world. But besides His revelations to the prophets, temples are also places of revelation for each of us individually. There is much that needs to happen through individual revelation in this dispensation of time, and the Lord has prepared for us temples for places of refuge. Temples are places of spiritual protection and advancement. They are places of personal enlightenment.

Verse 55 – In the early years of this dispensation, each temple was built through great individual sacrifice. The Saints couldn’t just pay someone to build the temple for them. They had to build the walls, hand craft the furnishings and furniture, and paint and make all the artwork that adorned the temple. Each piece was a sacrifice of many weeks and months of toil that came on top of their personal work to provide for their family farm or business.

Now, it is through the personal financial sacrifices of millions of Saints together that the Church is able to build all the Temples that are being announced. It is because people are paying their tithing and other offerings that there is money to pay for each of these temples. And remember that there are no mortgages. Each building the church builds is paid for in cash, and has a reserve set aside for its perpetual maintenance. The Church was not in a position to do this during its first one hundred years of existence. This is something that had to evolve over time as the members became more faithful in keeping the commandments.

So what is the purpose of building temples, houses to the Lord? According to the Lord it is so “that you may prove yourselves unto me that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever I command you, that I may bless you, and crown you with honor, immortality, and eternal life.”

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A House Unto My Name

Week 44