Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Elder Eldred G. Smith on the importance of temple ordinances

Elder Eldred G. Smith (1907-2013) served as "Patriarch to the Church" from 1947 to 1979, during which time he was sustained as a prophet, seer, and revelator along with the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. He was then released and designated an emeritus general authority; he was not replaced as presiding patriarch. Elder Smith passed away on April 4, 2013 at age 106.
"Thus it is necessary to build temples, houses of the Lord, sacred edifices in which may be performed the ordinance of baptism and other sacred ordinances vicariously for our dead ancestors.
"Elijah brought the keys to perform all the sacred ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God. All these most sacred ordinances necessary for man’s exaltation in the life to come, even eternal life, are accepted by God only when they are performed in his sacred house, a temple of God....
"To receive the fullness of the blessings of exaltation, even eternal life, man must receive all the law and the ordinances of God’s kingdom.
"Another requirement to fulfill all the law is people. We, as members of the Church, must so live as to be worthy to go into the house of the Lord to perform these most sacred ordinances, first for ourselves, then for our dead ancestors.
"The living come first. It is necessary for us to receive these ordinances first; then we may be privileged to do this work for our ancestors, to whom the promise was made that we would come to earth in this the dispensation of the fulness of times to do this work for them.
"The time must come when temples will be found all over the earth, in many nations. This is most necessary for the salvation, exaltation, and eternal life of man. Then we should all be very diligent in gathering the family records and so live to be worthy of taking part in this work."
- Eldred G. Smith, "Why Do Latter-day Saints Build Temples?," General Conference October 1972
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Elder Smith shares with us the perspective of the crucial nature of temple ordinances, for the living first, and then as a redemptive action for those who have passed on. Truly, in our time, we must so live to be worthy to partake of the blessings of the house of the Lord. Performing temple work is one of the crucial duties of the dispensation of the fulness of times.

When Elder Smith shared these thoughts in 1972, there were 15 temples dedicated and functioning, with only four outside the United States: Canada, England, Switzerland, and New Zealand. As of this writing, there are 161 dedicated temples (150 operating and 11 being renovated), with another 40 under construction or announced. Truly temples may be found "all over the earth, in many nations" in ways that most of us could little envision in 1972.

Now more than ever, the time has come when we should truly "be very diligent" in our efforts of family history research, and be worthy to attend the temple frequently.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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