Wednesday, July 7, 2010

RS Lesson: The Temple is a Place of Refuge by Bonnie

The Temple Is A Place Of Refuge

Why do we have temples? To make covenants, receive our endowment, do work for the dead. Is our only purpose in returning to the temple to do vicarious work for our dead? “So often we relate the temples to the vicarious ordinances that are performed there for those who are deceased. Certainly this is a vital part of temple work. But there is another aspect of temple activity that has great importance for living members. . . . the spiritually uplifting, strengthening influence in [our] lives that results from regular temple attendance.” [ Elder Dean L. Larsen, Of the Presidency of the Seventy, Ensign, Apr. 1993]

We are told in D&C 88:119 “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.”

Lets add to that what we learn in the 4th chapter of Isaiah which tells us of the protecting power of the Lord’s house. Isaiah tells to us that in our day the Lord promises to

5 ‘create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night : for upon all the glory shall be a defense.

6 ‘And there shall be a tabernacle for . . . a place of refuge”

Isaiah is telling us that in the last days we will have the promised protection of the Lord day and night over our homes and our stakes if we are worthy by our faithfulness to our covenants made in His Temple and that the temple will be a place of refuge for us.

So –we know that the Temple is a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, house of glory, a house of order, a house of God and a place of refuge.

D&C 101: 22 tells us we that when the problems of the last days are upon us, we should “stand in holy places.’ What if we read the word “stand” to mean ‘make a stand’ or defend a position. If we read this verse in this manner then we see that the Lord is telling us “Latter-day Saints, make your stand against evil in holy places.”

Three of those holy places are our homes, stakes and the temple. “In these places we can defeat Satan. These positions we must defend. In them we will make our stand. We can triumph over the adversary only if we protect the home, the stake, and the temple. They, in turn, will give us protection. Here we will have the Lord’s glory to defend and help us. We simply cannot allow the forces of the world to invade these three sacred places. If we do, the battle, indeed the war, will be lost.” [S. Michael Wilcox, House of Glory, p. 58]

Do we need refuge? Aren’t we engaged daily in a battle with forces of evil and temptation? How do we keep our children and grandchildren from being overcome by the forces of evil?

Do you ever feel as though you are about to be swept away by the powerful forces of the adversary. At those times, wouldn’t it be comforting to have the Lord say: Come to my place of refuge and rest. The enemy cannot enter here. Let your fears subside. Be strengthened and rejuvenated. The battle does not rage within these walls. The righteous can seek safety here. When you return to the battle you can wield your sword with renewed strength and assurance of victory.

Look at the temple—it looks like a fortress. Our modern day Apostles and leaders of the church have counseled us about the protecting powers of Temple worship. Elder Boyd K. Packer taught, “No work is more of a protection to this Church than temple work. . . . No work is more spiritually refining. No work we do gives us more power. . . . Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection, both individually and as a people.” [The Holy Temple, p 265] Elder John A. Widtsoe testified that, “Men grow mighty under the results of temple service, women grow strong under it; the community increases in power; until the devil has less influence than he ever had before.” President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “If we go into the temple, we raise our hands and covenant that we will serve the Lord and observe his commandments and keep ourselves unspotted from the world. If we realize what we are doing then the endowment will be a protection to us all our lives—a protection which a man who does not go to the temple does not have.” [“The Pearl of Great Price,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, July 1930, p 103] Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone promised, “that all who faithfully attend to temple work [will have] unseen angels watch over [their] loved ones when satanic forces tempt them.” [In Royden G. Derrick, Temples in the Last Days, p. 103]

Sister Beck tells us, “I would suggest that each of us go to the temple and pay attention. Pay attention in the temple to what is happening, how things happen, the blessings that are given, who are they given by, and the powers that come to you. Listen to the words of the temple ordinances and learn the powers that the Lord has given you through His priesthood.”

We have studied numerous examples of the protecting powers of the temple in the Old Testament this year. In 2 Chronicles king Hezekiah opened the doors of the Temple, he brought back the priests. He invited the northern tribes back to the Temple. [2 Chron. 30:1-9] Under Hezekiah, the tribe of Judah was protected from attack by the Assyrian army while the northern tribes were captured and lost.

The simple act of returning to service in the temple can offer protection against danger. Our families face an invading army of evil just as dangerous as the Assyrians—if we ask the Lord for protection and we enter into his sanctuary we can also expect His blessings and His protection.

Joseph Smith made reference to the spiritual strength that can come from temple activity in the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple which is recorded in D&C 109. He petitions the Father for blessings to come to the Saints from temple worship. Some of those requested blessings were that the Saints who enter the Temple will feel the Lord’s power [vs. 12]; the Saints would go forth from the Temple armed with power, with angels to watch over them [vs. 22]; that no weapons formed against them could prosper [vs. 25]; that no combination of wickedness would prevail over the Saints [vs. 26]; that the Lord would fight the battles for His people and deliver them from the hands of their enemies [vs. 28]; that the Lord would deliver the Saints from calamity [vs. 46].

What we need to do to qualify for those blessings is to seek diligently, teach one another out of the best books [vs.7]; we must organize and prepare every needful thing [vs.8]; we must act as the Lord’s people at all times [vs.9]; we must be clean to enter the Temple [vs.20]; and, we must hold a recommend to enter [vs.24]. Look at how little we must do to receive such great blessings. Don’t you think that the Lord’s protection alone is sufficient repayment for our efforts in going to the Temple?

Do we understand, as a people, the protection we obtain by attending the temple and worshipping there? Do we understand that we have a place of refuge from the world in the Temple? Do we underestimate the protecting power of the Temple? Are we attending the Temple often enough to obtain the promised blessings of the Lord’s protection? I testify that if we will trust in the Lord’s promises, the temple will play an increasingly important role in our lives and our families.

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