It had not even been a month since I had completely uprooted my life and followed the direction of the Spirit to, in my opinion, a hopeless place. It seemed to me that my move could never yield the fruit that I desperately wanted. But I trusted Heavenly Father and luckily had long ago given up the idea that when something is right, it is not hard. I had faith in His ultimate plan for me, but struggled with His timing and, in this case, wisdom. It seemed that the righteous desires I wanted, and that He had told me through the Spirit I could have, were completely at odds with my new set of circumstances. I felt stuck, very stuck and I knew that something extraordinary would be required to change these circumstances. It reminded me of a poem quoted by President Monson:
“Father, where shall I work today?”
and my love flowed warm and free.
Then he pointed out a tiny spot
And said, “Tend that for me.”
I answered quickly, “Oh no, not that!
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done.
Not that little place for me.”
And the word he spoke, it was not stern; …
“Art thou working for them or for me?
Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galiliee.”
(Meade MacGuire, “Father, Where Shall I Work Today?”)
During a conversation with my sister, I “came to myself” and remembered a few things. I remembered that Heavenly Father had directed me to this “tiny spot”, and that I had readily agreed to co-create this spot with Him. For whatever reason, this was to be where I was to stay for a season. I realized that He had already provided inspiration for how it needed to be tended, and reserved the right to provide more inspiration and plot twists as needed (not as a way to be mean or string me along, but to continue to facilitate my growth). I was struggling to find the meaning of this experience. My sister also reminded me of the words of a past priesthood blessing. The counsel was simple and straightforward, “Go to the temple often and do the work of your ancestors.” Mercifully, Heavenly Father had already planned for this portion of my life and had greater blessings in store than I could have imagined. Continue reading →
When the Provo City Center Temple was announced, by Pres. Monson, on Oct 1, 2011, a gasp could be heard in the Conference Center. A fire had destroyed this beautiful, and beloved building and to turn it into a temple was a merciful revelation from the Lord.
I sang in Christmas concerts many times in that building, and even attended stake conference there, as a married student at BYU. This building was most certainly beloved by all who knew firsthand of the beauty, and history, within its walls.
There is a sweet history that goes along with this building. Richard O. Cowan (retired professor of Religion at BYU) has been a member of the stake presidency, as this building has been renovated, and has had the privilege of watching it be born again. He gave a presentation on the remarkable circumstances that surround the rebirth.
“The temple endowment was given by revelation. Thus, it is best understood by revelation, prayerfully sought with a sincere heart”. (Russell M Nelson, April 2001 General Conference)
The word endowment means gift. As we take out our endowments and return each time to do the work for the dead, we ought to be seeking for the knowledge offered there. Diligently keeping our temple covenants, asking, seeking, and knocking will open our minds and bring us to a firm understanding of our Heavenly Father and His plan for us.
Many of us go to the Temple seeking answers to personal questions and help in our daily lives. Certainly, we can and should look for those answers within those sacred walls, but we should not let those questions keep us from the spiritual knowledge the Lord intends to impart to us. Continue reading →
Another beautiful representation of LDS temple symbolism is that every temple has a water feature of some kind around it. Ezekiel saw the temple of the Lord, and the Lord said,
“And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to my judgments” (Ezekiel 44:23-24).
The temple makes the world more clear in the misty murk of life. Our world today offers us no hope, no light, and no redeeming goodness on which to rely. It is only through the Lord Jesus Christ that we have any hope of salvation as we hang on to the mighty path. We need to be able to judge between good and evil in order to value and choose the good. We must pray for the gift of discernment as we listen to the Spirit whisper to us the direction we should go. And we must attend the temple regularly, and often, to be taught the ways of God and all that He longs to impart to us. We know, from Lehi’s Dream, that there are dangerous waters in the mist that will lead us to destruction. But we also know that Jesus Christ is Living Water. We must be able to tell the difference in order to choose the good.
This is part three of a four-part series on LDS temple symbolism. Click links to first read parts one and two.
All LDS temples have symbolism on the structure itself, but you may not have noticed it before. On the central west tower of the Salt Lake Temple, on the upper section, is the constellation of Ursa Major, or the Big Dipper. These celestial symbols are reminders of the vision of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price.
In Abraham 3:1-13 we hear names of stars like Kolob, Shinehah, and Kokaubeam. We learn that stars are people, even children. The chief star closest to the Father is Kolob or Jesus Christ. The Big Dipper is famous for pointing to Polaris, or the North Star, the one star in the heavens that never moves and all the other stars revolve around. Therefore, the North Star is like Kolob of which Abraham spoke. The Egyptians called the North Star “The Nail”, which for us has a very strong reference to the crucifixion and atonement of Jesus Christ.
All the stars which are sons and daughters of God revolve around Christ because of His atonement. All His creations revolve around Him. The Nail, or The Atonement, is the central doctrine to the entire plan of salvation. Everything else is an appendage. It is a marvelous symbol and orientation to have the Salt Lake Temple resting on the earth with the Big Dipper carved into the central western tower pointing to Jesus Christ (Kolob or the North Star) for which the temple ordinances are only possible because of His resurrection and atonement. It is another wonderful symbol that the heavens and the earth are connected only through the temple. Christ connects Heaven and Earth. A reminder that the way back is through keeping the temple covenants we have made with Him.
This is part two in a four-part series on LDS temple symbolism. Read part one here.
Earth stones on the Salt Lake Temple
There is much symbolism in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament is a book full of eastern symbolic language, which makes it hard for us western people to interpret, but when the symbolism is understood, the gospel comes to life in a whole new level. Our temples are full of this symbolism. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) has temples that teach of Heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation, which is a plan that returns His family, us, back to Him.
Moon stones on the Salt Lake Temple
On the outside walls of the Salt Lake Temple, at the ground level, and ascending along the exterior walls, you will find earthstones, moonstones, and sunstones, in that order. Upward, into the towers you can see starstones. One interpretation of these stones is of kingdoms. The sun represents the
Sun stones on the Nauvoo Temple
Celestial, the moon represents the Terrestrial, and the stars represent the Telestial. The earthstone would be a repeat representation of the Telestial Kingdom, or the world in which we currently live. Symbols tend to have multiple meanings though, which is why they were used so often by Jesus Christ. Continue reading →
This is part one of a four-part series on LDS Temple symbolism.
We have been commanded to build a temple to our God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) has 141 operating LDS temples, throughout the world, calling all of them The House of the Lord. The symbolism found outside of these temples, as well as in every detail inside, teaches members of the Church the ways of God and allows us to make covenants with Him to live a good life. We believe Heavenly Father, who loves us, laid out a perfect way to return to Him. It is through LDS temple covenants and obedience to those covenants, and it is through His Son, Jesus Christ.
It is to our benefit to gain knowledge through the symbols provided that we may come to know of God’s great love and His desire to grant us eternal life. Some of the most seemingly “boring” parts of the Old Testament hold the most symbolic language that teaches us about God’s plan for His children. Exodus and Leviticus, in particular, explain to us God’s law that hold the keys necessary to return to Him. His prophets, throughout all the dispensations, have been commanded to preach and teach for the benefit of all mankind. What does it tell the Lord if we are too afraid, or disinterested, to discover what is in these books?
This is Part 1 of two-part post on sustaining Church leaders. Click here to read Part 2.
During the past year or so, I’ve noticed a number of members of the Church who, for some reason or another, have publicly vented frustrations about the Church’s doctrine, its leaders, or other goings-on. While I am never happy when someone is frustrated, I think there are better ways to deal with this kind of frustration as Latter-day Saints besides jumping online to share them with the world.
In a previous post, I brought up specific examples of Church leaders who had every worldly reason to be offended at doctrine being taught because of their personal situations, but instead of offense or softening the doctrine, have stood for it boldly. This two-part post will explore what it means to “cling to our covenants” in the social realm when we are tempted to break them. We’ll address covenant-appropriate ways to deal with our “beef” and why dealing with frustrations within the Church should be inherently different than how we deal with them in other settings.
Before I jump into my commentary, let me share with you a powerful parable written by a friend of mine that illustrates some great points about our covenant relationship with the Lord’s Church. Though it is written about marriage, it’s not primarily about our marriage covenants. Like most parables, the main message the author hopes to get across is not explicitly mentioned in the story. I’ll explain the meaning below, but here’s a hint:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently posted a video explaining why members of the Church wear garments (a.k.a. Mormon underwear) and temple robes. At one point, the video shows what these articles of clothing look like, which is fairly unprecedented for an official Church-produced video. Because this clothing is sacred to Mormons, we typically don’t show them to others, much less film them and distribute the images to the world. This was a great decision from Church leaders that has the potential not only to provide the curious with a credible source for answers to their questions, but also do it in a way that provides the correct tone and reverent context.