THE LORD'S HOUSE
WARRENTON, VA STAKE YOUTH CONFERENCE
IN KIRTLAND, OHIO
As soon as President Phipps asked me to give this talk, the Holy Ghost led
me over to my word processor and sat me down. The Holy Ghost wrote this talk
for me as I sat there. I pray that the Holy Ghost will return this morning,
so we can receive the message our Father in Heaven intended. If any of us
feel inspired or edified by what I have to say this morning, you will know
that it is the Spirit, and not me, speaking to you. I am but a messenger,
and Glory be to The Father. I am humbled and honored to be allowed to speak
from the same pulpit used by the Prophet of the Restoration. I thank my Heavenly
Father for this opportunity.
II. DEDICATORY PRAYER
Let us all please turn to I Kings 8:23. This records the very first words of the prayer that Solomon offered, when he dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem. Please follow along as I read.
1 Kings 8:23 - And he (Solomon) said, LORD God of Israel, [there is] no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:
Put your finger there, because we will return to it. Now let us turn to DC 109:1. This records the very first words of the prayer that Joseph Smith offered, when he dedicated the Temple in Kirtland (from this very pulpit). Please follow along as I read.
D&C 109:1 - THANKS be to thy name, O Lord God of Israel, who keepest covenant and showest mercy unto thy servants who walk uprightly before thee, with all their hearts--
I would like you to flip back and forth between those two verses and make sure you understand what is the same between them. What is the message?
III. THREE DOCTRINES
These two prophets, as they dedicated these two temples, three millennia apart, began with three basic doctrines of Temple worship.
The first doctrine is that the Temple is a place of covenants. In Temples we make promises to Heavenly Father, and He in return makes promises to us. These Temple covenants are Priesthood Ordinances. In conjunction with this doctrine of making covenants, we also learn that Heavenly Father keeps perfectly His side of the covenants.
The second doctrine is that the Temple is a vehicle for Heavenly Father to be merciful to us. The very act of providing for us a Temple as a place of worship is an act of mercy. Each and every blessing we receive through Temple worship is an act of mercy from our Father in Heaven. Moreover, in this very Temple, on nearly this exact spot, Heavenly Father showed mercy to all of creation by sending Elijah the prophet to Joseph and Oliver, so that the whole earth would not be utterly wasted. DC section 2 reads:
D&C 2:1-3 - Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
To not waste the whole earth is certainly an act of mercy. Temple ordinances make this mercy possible.
The third doctrine is that the Temple reminds us that we, as servants of our Heavenly Father, must walk uprightly before Him with all our hearts. Keeping our part of the Temple covenants is to walk uprightly. To walk uprightly is a prerequisite for worshipping in modern-day temples. The Temple is the Lord's House. It is a sacred place. We help keep it sacred when we enter, by being clean through walking uprightly.
By now, most of you should have received your "The Lord in Our Midst" card. If you have your card with you, please take it out. Read along with me from the back of the card. It says:
I commit to:
- Uphold the word of wisdom at all times
- Keep myself morally clean and chaste
- Be honest with others and myself
- Provide frequent service to those in need
- Willingly obey the Law of Tithing
- Attend my church meetings and activities
- Strive to obey all other commandments of God
- Obtain forgiveness by repentance through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ
Let me suggest that these eight principles are a perfect vehicle to apply the three Temple doctrines we have just discussed, namely, making covenants, receiving mercy, and walking uprightly.
While you sit here in this Temple, I encourage you to make a silent covenant with your Heavenly Father to live by these eight principles. You could call this covenant your Kirtland Temple Covenant, if you wanted. You may even want to sign your name across the back of the card as a token of this covenant. If you make these eight principles part of your way of life, you will walk uprightly. And as you walk uprightly, you will find Heavenly Father being merciful to you. We all could use a little more mercy in our lives, and He will be merciful to you in the specific ways you need His mercy.
If you make such a covenant--and keep it--it will be a great opportunity to practice a covenant-based relationship with your Father in Heaven. And as you practice living this covenant, it will be a thorough preparation for the time when you will take on the sacred covenants administered in the modern Temples.
Finally, let me bear you my testimony. I have personally made sacred covenants in the Temple. I have attempted to walk uprightly in my life by living in accordance with those Temple covenants. Heavenly Father has been very merciful to me because of those Temple covenants. He has given me more blessings than I can count, including my son, who is here with us this morning.
These three doctrines--of making covenants, of receiving mercy, and of walking uprightly are true. I leave my testimony with you in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.