Saturday, February 12, 2022

Elder Gary E. Stevenson on blessings of temples for families and individuals

Elder Gary E. Stevenson (b. 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.
"You are never lost when you can see the temple. The temple will provide direction for you and your family in a world filled with chaos. It is an eternal guidepost which will help you from getting lost in the 'mist of darkness' (1 Nephi 8:24). It is the house of the Lord. It is a place where covenants are made and eternal ordinances are performed.
"In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin directed the Saints of his time and place to gather, 'every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple' (Mosiah 2:6). As Church members, we have recently received counsel from modern-day prophets which, if followed, will turn the doors of our homes more fully towards the temple.
"The First Presidency has invited 'adult members to have a current temple recommend and visit the temple more often' where time and circumstance permit and encouraged members 'to replace some leisure activities with temple service.' They also encouraged 'newer members and youth of the Church who are 12 years of age and older to live worthy to assist in this great work by serving as proxies for baptisms and confirmations.' (First Presidency letter, Mar. 11, 2003.) Even our young children have been encouraged to visit the temple grounds and touch the temple. (See Thomas S. Monson, 'Finding Peace,' Ensign, Mar. 2004, 5–6.) President Thomas S. Monson once counseled, 'As we touch the temple, the temple will touch us.'
"We are blessed to live in a temple-building dispensation in which 146 temples have been dedicated or announced. Under the definition of 'Temple' in the Bible Dictionary, we read the following: 'It is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth,' followed by this insightful statement: 'Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.' For me this suggests a sacred relationship between the temple and the home. Not only can we turn the doors of our homes to the temple, or the house of the Lord; we can make our homes a 'house of the Lord.' ...
"There exists a righteous unity between the temple and the home. Understanding the eternal nature of the temple will draw you to your family; understanding the eternal nature of the family will draw you to the temple."
- Gary E. Stevenson, "Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples," Ensign, May 2009, pp. 101-103
Click here to read the full talk

Elder Stevenson told the story of a child who said he was not lost because he could see the temple. He applied the principle to being "lost" in symbolic or spiritual ways, teaching that the temple always helps provide the orientation to help us find our way. The key, again symbolically, is to have the doors of our tents or homes facing towards the temple. We should be thinking about the temple and looking to receive the blessings it offers to us.

Homes and temples are sacred places. I was touched by Elder Stevenson's linkage between the two. Homes are strengthened as the temple is allowed to bless them.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2022)
December 6, 2015

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