ON

THE LORD'S HOUSE

(Part Three)


A Talk Given To The

LEESBURG WARD
WARRENTON, VA STAKE

By

D. Calvin Andrus
16 August 1998


I. INTRODUCTION

Good morning, brothers and sisters. My name is Calvin Andrus. I am from the Sterling Park Ward, with a calling on the Stake High Council. The Stake President has assigned me to speak to you today. He loves this ward. He is grateful for the service you render to one another. He has great confidence in your ward leaders. I am humbled to be his emissary here today.

"I Love To See The Temple." What a beautiful song! Singing that song reminds me of a day last fall when I took my two girls, then aged 7 and 12, and a friend to the beach. Do we have any girls here aged 7 or 12? The water was too cold to go swimming, but it was a warm day. There were very few people on the beach, so I could still keep an eye on the girls, even if they wandered a little way off. I took my garden shovel and we had fun building a big sand fort. We also dug sand crabs and kept them as pets in our sand fort. At the end of the day we let the the sand crabs go.

We left about 5 pm and stopped to have dinner about 6:30. By the time we got to the beltway, it was dark. When we rounded the curve approaching Connecticut Avenue, the Temple leaped into view. It was a brilliant white against the dark sky. It was so striking that the whole carload broke into singing,

I love to see the temple, I'm going there some day,
to feel the Holy Spirit, to listen and to pray.
For the temple is the House of God,
a place of love and beauty.
I'll prepare myself while I am young.
It is my sacred duty.

(Copyright 1980, Janice Kapp Perry, Chilren's Songbook, pg. 95.)

I am grateful we sang that song today. Maybe some of you primary children can take your parents to the Temple grounds and sing that song.

II. DEDICATORY PRAYER

About three weeks ago our Stake held a youth conference in Kirtland, Ohio. We had two sessions in the temple. On Friday night we had a testimony meeting, and a number of the young men and young women from this ward bore their testimonies. There was a strong spirit present. When we excused the young people to go to the buses, they lingered on the front porch of the Temple, reveling in the Spirit.

On Saturday morning, we returned to the temple. In that meeting, we read the first part of the dedicatory prayer that Solomon offered, when he dedicated the Great Temple in Jerusalem.

Let us all please turn to I Kings 8:23. This passage records the very first words of Solomon's prayer. 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. 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. There are three important points that Solomon and Joseph Smith were trying to make. Can you see what they are?

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. See how they both mention covenants in the first half of the first sentence of those prayers 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 perfectly keeps 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. Please hold this thought--that temples let Heavenly Father be merciful to us. Let's go on a little detour and we will come back in a moment.

Do you remember the time when the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph three times in one night? One of the things Moroni repeated three times to Joseph was a slight rephrasing of the words of the Old Testament Prophet, Malachi. Moroni's words are recorded in DC Section 2. Please turn to Section 2, and let us read it together.

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.

Let me tell you what I would like. I would like the whole earth not to be wasted. If Heavenly Father decided not to waste the whole earth, that would be an act of mercy. So what does it say has to happen for the earth not to be wasted? The first sentence says Elijah has to reveal the priesthood.

You might ask, what does this have to do with Temples? DC Section 110 records something that happened in the Kirtland temple. Please turn to Section 110 and read with me verses 13, 14, 15, and 16.

D&C 110:13-16 - After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said: Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi--testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come--To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse--Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.

So it was in a Temple, that 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. Moreover, it is through Temple ordinances make that this mercy is made possible, because in the temple the hearts of children and parents are turned toward each other as they are sealed to each other.

Let me take another detour. Are there any children who are eight or nine here today? When I was about eight or nine, I got to go into the Salt Lake Temple to be sealed to my parents. We arrived in the morning and I went with my brother and two sisters in to a play room. I remember a rocking horse on springs, books, other toys, and tables with paper and crayons. I remember that the temple workers first fed us some breakfast and then later a snack. When it was time, we changed into white clothes like the kind we use for baptisms. We were led up a big spiral staircase. There were lady temple workers all along the staircase. They were dressed in white. At first I thought they were angels, but the temple worker who was leading me told me they weren't angels. We went into a room where my mom and dad and a whole bunch of other people were. We all kneeled around a table and held hands on top of the table. Someone said a prayer and my mom was crying. She said she was crying because she was so happy. She said we were now sealed as a family forever. This is the kind of mercy Heavenly Father shows us in the temple. It was made possible because Elijah visited the Kirtland Temple.

OK, now I will get back on track. Let's read DC 109:1 again.

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--

The last part of the sentence identifies the third doctrine. It is that the Temple reminds us that we, as servants of our Heavenly Father, must walk uprightly before Him with all our hearts. To walk uprightly is a prerequisite for worshiping in modern-day temples. Keeping our part of the Temple covenants is to walk uprightly. 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.

IV. APPLICATION

Do we have any scouts here today? I was the Scoutmaster in our ward for almost 5 years. I used up a lot of my vacation time taking off one Friday afternoon a month to go on campouts and one week off every summer to go to scout camp. After about 4 years as scoutmaster, my employer instituted flex schedules. I started working four 10-hour days with Friday as my flex day. That way I could go camping with the scouts without having to use up so much of my vacation time.

About that same time, a call went out in our Stake for people to become restricted ordinance workers at the temple. A restricted ordinance worker is a local member that can work one or two shifts a month at the temple. This was the Fall of 1996. At that time our Stake had just gotten an assignment that, beginning January 1997, our Stake was to staff the temple one Friday night a month. They gave us a few months warning so our Stake could get a bunch of people trained.

I was already spending one Friday night a month not sleeping in a tent, and didn't think I could take on another Friday night a month not sleeping in the temple. Well, behind my back, my wife submitted our names to the Bishop to become restricted ordinance workers, or R.O.W.'s as we call them. You can imagine my surprise when I was called to work a shift a month as an ROW.

Well, I accepted the call. I quickly found out it was not so easy to become a qualified ordinance worker. I decided that I would take one flex day a month to go over and learn and practice being an ordinance worker. I then also spent one night a month at our Stake ROW assignment.

After about four months of this schedule something happened to me. I felt a significant boost in the amount of time the Holy Ghost spent as my companion. I also felt a significant increase in the depth of feeling the Holy Ghost bestowed upon me. I seemed to be happy all the time. Problems at work stopped bothering me. I would just deal with them and go on. While my outward life did not change much, stress left my inward life and a calm peace took its place.

I have two teenage boys at home, so you know our house is anything but calm. Do we have any teenage boys here? Do we have parents of teenage boys here? My teenage boys would do dumb stuff that would just send me over the edge. Do you young men send your parents over the edge? I bet you do. I used to get so angry with my boys. But after spending concentrated time at the temple, when my teenage boys would provoke me, I was shocked at how calmly and peacefully I could respond. Not only that, I could feel the Holy Ghost helping me through these moments. And you know what? My two boys picked up on this change and started responding to me in a calm fashion. It was not quite miraculous, but it was close to it. It was certainly merciful.

Others in our Stake who have been faithful ROWs have had similar experiences--tailored to fit the needs of their life. The stake needs more restricted ordinance workers. If you need a boost in your spirituality, an assignment as an ROW may be just the thing for you. Please see Bishop Tagg to work out the details.

IV. CONCLUSION

(If have time, read excerpts of Washington, DC Temple dedication.) Let me summarize by reading excerpts from the prayer that President Spencer W. Kimball gave to dedicate the Washington Temple. He mentions mercy in his first sentence:

Our Holy Father in Heaven, Thou who has created our spirits and the heavens and the earth and all things therein, Thou most glorious One, perfect in mercy and love and truth . . .

Later, he refers to the covenants and ordinances:

Bless the people who come into this building for their sealings, marriages, annointings, and other ordinances.

Which is followed by a reference to walking uprightly.

Bless those who come here, that their hands may be holy as they lift them high and that no unclean thing shall ever be permitted to come into this, Thy house, to pollute it.

(If not read excerpts, recontinue here.) 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 wife, who is here with me 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 sacred Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


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