Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Russell M. Nelson on the Temple and the Atonement

President Russell M. Nelson (1924- ) was an internationally-renowned heart surgeon when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He was set apart as president of the Quorum of Twelve on July 15, 2015.
"Under President Gordon B. Hinckley's inspired direction, temples are now more accessible than ever. Inscribed on each temple are the words 'Holiness to the Lord.' That statement designates both the temple and its purposes as holy. Those who enter the temple are also to bear the attribute of holiness. It may be easier to ascribe holiness to a building than it is to a people. We can acquire holiness only by enduring and persistent personal effort....
"The temple is the house of the Lord. The basis for every temple ordinance and covenant—the heart of the plan of salvation—is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Every activity, every lesson, all we do in the Church, point to the Lord and His holy house. Our efforts to proclaim the gospel, perfect the Saints, and redeem the dead all lead to the temple. Each holy temple stands as a symbol of our membership in the Church, as a sign of our faith in life after death, and as a sacred step toward eternal glory for us and our families."
- Russell M. Nelson, "Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings," Ensign, May 2001, pp. 32-35
Click here to read the full talk

President Nelson instructs us that the traditional inscription on our temples, "Holiness to the Lord," applies to the temple and its purpose. It is a holy place, wherein holy activities transpire. But that also means that those who enter and participate are expected "to bear the attribute of holiness." That's a significant challenge to us, and President Nelson notes that it's easier to make a building holy than a people.

The other wonderful insight is how profoundly the temple links us to the Savior: "The basis for every temple ordinance and covenant—the heart of the plan of salvation—is the Atonement of Jesus Christ." That's an interesting "seed" to ponder while participating in temple ordinances.

And then to watch and learn of the complementary aspect, how every aspect of the gospel and church activity point us "to the Lord and His holy house."

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