Sunday, November 8, 2020

Elder Gary E. Stevenson on temple foundations and personal foundations

Elder Gary E. Stevenson (born August 5, 1955) was called as a Seventy in 2008, then as Presiding Bishop in 2012. He was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2015.
"As I contemplate the next four years of the life of this beautiful, noble, exalted, and awe-inspiring Salt Lake Temple, I envision it more as a time of renewal rather than a time of closure! In a similar way, we might ask ourselves, 'How could this extensive renewal of the Salt Lake Temple inspire us to undergo our own spiritual renewal, reconstruction, rebirth, revitalization, or restoration?'

"An introspective look may reveal that we too and our families could benefit from our doing some needed maintenance and renovation work, even a seismic upgrade! We might start such a process by asking:

"'What does my foundation look like?'

"'What comprises the thick-walled, stable, strong cornerstones that are part of my personal foundation, upon which my testimony rests?'

"'What are the foundational elements of my spiritual and emotional character that will allow me and my family to remain steadfast and immovable, even to withstand the earthshaking and tumultuous seismic events that will surely take place in our lives?'

"These events, similar to an earthquake, are often difficult to predict and come in various levels of intensity—wrestling with questions or doubt, facing affliction or adversity, working through personal offenses with Church leaders, members, doctrine, or policy. The best defense against these lies in our spiritual foundation."

- Gary E. Stevenson, "A Good Foundation against the Time to Come," General Conference April 2020, Saturday afternoon

Elder Stevenson reviewed the history of the construction of the Salt Lake temple, including the importance of the foundation stones. He then described the extensive project underway this year to provide reinforcement to the temple to ensure its stability and endurance. It was fascinating to me a number of years ago to have the chance to frequently watch similar work that was done on the Provo Tabernacle in preparation for its becoming a temple.

That provides the opportunity to present an analogy to consider: are there modifications in our personal and family situations that could provide greater strength, stability, or safety from the challenges of our time?
Elder Stevenson suggests that we will all have "earthshaking and tumultuous seismic events that will surely take place in our lives" in the future. So are there items of "maintenance and renovation work" in our lives that would help provide the strength to endure and thrive, come what may? "The best defense against these lies in our spiritual foundation." In the talk, he goes on to suggest some things that could help strengthen that foundation. We should each consider our personal situation and look for ways to improve.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2020)

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