Sunday, January 31, 2016

John A. Widtsoe on the sacred blessings of the temple

Elder John A. Widtsoe (January 31, 1872-November 29, 1952) was born in Norway. He was raised by his widowed mother who immigrated to Utah when John was 11. He was educated at Harvard and in Europe, and had formative roles in programs in several Utah universities including BYU. He served as an apostle from 1921 to his death in 1952.
"The temple is a place of instruction. Here the principles of the gospel are reviewed, and profound truths of the kingdom of God are unfolded. If we enter the temple in the right spirit and are attentive, we go out enriched in gospel knowledge and wisdom.
"The temple is a place of peace. Here we may lay aside the cares and worries of the outside, turbulent world. Here our minds should be centered upon spiritual realities, since here we are concerned only with things of the spirit.
"The temple is a place of covenants, which will help us live righteously. Here we declare that we will obey the laws of God and promise to use the precious knowledge of the gospel for our own blessing and the good of man. The simple ceremonies help us to go out from the temple with the high resolve to lead lives worthy of the gifts of the gospel.
"The temple is a place of blessing. Promises are made to us, conditioned only upon our faithfulness, which extend from time to eternity. They will help us to understand the nearness of our heavenly parents. The power of the priesthood is thus given us in new and large measures....
"The temple is a place of revelation. The Lord may here give revelation, and every person may receive revelation to assist him in life. All knowledge, all help come from the Lord, directly or indirectly. Though He may not be there in person, He is there by His Holy Spirit and by earthly men holding the priesthood. By that Spirit they direct the Lord's work here on earth. Every person who enters this sacred place in faith and prayer will find help in the solution of life's problems.
"It is good to be in the temple, the house of the Lord, a place of priesthood instruction, of peace, of covenants, of blessings, and of revelation. Gratitude for this privilege and an eager desire to possess the spirit of the occasion should overflow in our hearts."
- John A. Widtsoe, "Looking toward the Temple," Improvement Era, October 1962; see Ensign, Feb. 2010, pp. 36-38
Click here to read the full article

Elder Widtsoe loved the temples and understood their potential to bless; he wrote several profound articles about their significance and power in the lives of saints. I love the purposes and blessings of the temples he lays out in this excerpt; he truly had personal insight into the benefits that come from devoted temple worship.

It's good to note the stated and implied conditions to receiving all the blessings of the temple:

  • we must go in the right spirit and be attentive
  • we should focus our minds on "spiritual realities" and leave the world behind
  • we are invited to live lives in accordance with covenants made
  • we receive blessings "conditioned only upon our faithfulness"
  • revelation will come to those who are open and worthy
That's a good list for self-evaluation in our personal temple experiences.

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