ELEVENTH IN LINE
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A blog about my life, universe, etc. At any given time you might find something endlessly interesting or just me ruminating on something else, which no one (not even myself) finds interesting. That's the way blogs go, I suppose. Anyway, I was eleventh in line, and you weren't. Hah!
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Sunday, September 19, 2004
Temple Blogging? Okay, okay, that sounds... well, kind of wrong, somehow. But I'm sitting here listening to KZion, and (finally) taking some time out to read about/contemplate the Temple, and I thought, 'Hey, why not blog this?' Now, sure, you all could up and give me a bunch of excellent and depressing answers to that question, but I'm going to trust you to not do so. In other words, if your first inclination upon reading this entry is to tell me I'm not really a Christian, that my faith isn't legitimate, that temple worship or Mormonism is the work of Satan, or what have you, please go somewhere else. Thanks.
Now, I want to let you know up front that the three articles I'm going through tonight are all on the Church website, here:
Go there and read them in their entirety; they explain a lot of different stuff about temples.
First out, there's the article by President Hinckley, "Why These Temples?" Some of the stuff that stuck with me, followed by my comments in italics, follows:
-- the answers to these questions are not found in the wisdom of the world.
This one is something I have to remind myself of a lot; I'm very academically minded, and I sometimes place too much emphasis on the powers of reason and logic, to the detriment of my spiritual health (and sometimes even common sense)
-- a place of holiness and peace shut apart from the world.
I'm a huge fan of peace, aren't you? ^_^ Seriously, I think this benefit of the temple on earth needs to be remembered more; the idea that there are places that literally not of this world -- places you can go and be at peace -- is terribly comforting at times, especially if you're like me and really stink at creating truly "out of this world" spaces in your daily life...
-- it is not a matter of secrecy. It is a matter of sanctity.
This is something that I think sets a lot of people off -- the notion that we're keeping things secret. That's probably part of why the rumors of idol worship and blood sacrifice still have traction amongst nonmembers; what you have to remember is that there are things that are too important to be discussed on the internet, or on TV, or even at your favorite restaraunt, and the temple ceremonies are just one of those things
-- the spirit within each of us is eternal.
Hey, this is one no one should ever forget... it's something I'm trying to work harder at remembering when things in my Daily Life threaten to overwhelm me...
-- earth life is part of an eternal journey.
this one, too, of course -- this life is a test, a lesson, a trial; whatever. The point is, it's not all there is; there was stuff before this life, and there will be a LOT more stuff after, and when we act like we don't know this, we can get our priorities really messed up...
-- parents are partners with God in bringing to pass His eternal purposes.
Something that I think I'll paste on all my kids' foreheads, when I get around to having kids -- certainly something you want to remember when Junior shrinks your favorite cashmere sweater and turns all the whites a nice dusty pink...
-- their relationship and that of their children will not end with death but will continue in eternity, provided they live worthy of that blessing.
So you'd better be nice to your parents, because eternity is a REALLY INSANELY LONG TIME...
-- the opportunity to come into the temple and partake of its blessings is open to all who will accept the gospel and be baptized into the Church.
Don't yell at me for the stuff after the word "all", you knew it was coming. Anyway, if you're really determined to find out what's going on inside the temple, please feel free to come unto Christ first.
-- there's no compulsion in the work of the Lord, but there must be opportunity.
In other words, if my deceased family members are really offended that I've had temple work done for them vicariously, they can feel free to tell Jesus that themselves... somehow I doubt that'll be what they decide to do, but the door is only open for them to make that choice because of those vicarious ordinances... heh...
-- Revel. 7:13-15
What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence come they?
Just a little telegram from our favorite New Testament Revelator...
-- here we set aside our own selfishness and serve for those who cannot serve themselves.
One of the biggest reasons for temple work is the welfare of the souls of mankind; ensuring that your grandparents and parents and spouse and children and grandchilren are able to partake of the blessings of an eternal family is exactly what temples are all about.
Next, the article from Pres. Boyd K. Packer (currently the acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve), "The Holy Temple":
-- we urge every soul to qualify and prepare for the temple experience.
See the above thing regarding coming unto Christ, please. Read the Book of Mormon. Pray. Really. Go on, go right now. This post will be here when you get back.
-- they are kept confidential lest they be given to those who are unprepared.
Something I've experienced more than a little of -- getting information I wasn't really ready for or willing to accept -- and can testify is a really crummy, confusing, self-defeating kind of experience. I'd rather wait a little longer than is necessary, to learn some major Eternal Truths, and be fully prepared when I do, than rush into deep and murky waters without so much as my bathing suit on... to use a metaphor that's not only somewhat confusing, but not entirely appropriate for the spirit of the conversation... heh.
-- faith, repentance, baptism, confirmation, worthiness, a maturity and dignity worthy of one who comes invited as a guest into the house of the Lord.
I'm working on it, I'm working on it! Seriously; the faith and repentance and worthiness things are sort of a continually-trying-to-improve, doing-this-one-day-at-a-time things. I don't know for sure if I'm worthy at this point, but I'm certain I'm better now than I was two months ago, and I was better then than five years ago, so that's good... you can probably see for yourselves how much I'm lacking in the maturity/dignity department; thankfully I've been baptized and confirmed already, or this would be a really depressing self-analysis.
-- no work we do gives us more power.
I just think this is a really powerful statement. No, the pun wasn't intended, it's just 5am here (as I finish this post).
And lastly, for tonight, is Elder James E. Talmage's "A History of Temples":
-- Beth Elohim
The name in Hebrew that translates most directly with the Latin ancestor of the word "Temple". Means "house of the Lord".
-- the best, if offered willingly and with pure intent, is always excellent in the sight of God.
I think I'm more susceptible than I should be to self-criticism and doubt; this is something I need to keep in mind when I get down, particularly about my own spiritual progress.
-- first temple, in Kirtland, OH, March 1836 (D&C 109)
and the next temple in OH was dedicated in September, 1999. Took a while to get back out here; are we living worthy of this blessing in this temple district? I know I need to be better about that... I remember when the Prophet announced the temple, in 1998; he asked us if we would use it and make sure we really deserved it. I think we should remember what that moment felt like (well, the 7,000 of us who were there) and try to keep that feeling with us when they remind us about temple sessions (that goes for unendowed members too, like me). I remember a youth temple trip in 1996; it was an eight hour drive to Washington, DC. We got to go about once a year. It was an incredible experience; we felt so lucky to be able to go to a temple at all. Now we have one practically in our backyard; we should be going all the time... and we're not.
-- the offering must have been called for, and both gift and giver must be worthy.
I think this is very important... it took some 160 years for enough worthy people to be in Ohio to warrant a temple here again, after the Saints were first driven out. We need to keep being worthy of this blessing... we know the temple itself is worthy, but is our service in the right spirit and all that? How about us? We were worthy then; was that just because we were in tribulations and having to work so hard to do the temple worship we could get done, because the temple was so far away? Are we letting the proximity to our temple here in Columbus make us weak? I hope not, but if we are, we know how to fix it...
Okay, I could write more, but I also need to sleep before Conference, and I can't really do both. Hopefully all that stuff will be of benefit to someone other than me -- but if it isn't, that's okay, because blogging it really helped me sort out some of my thoughts on this topic. Good night, all...
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