(I don't know how many of you have actually been reading these ... it's okay, I just wanted to make the information available. Coming soon ... wedding fun updates!)
Why These Temples: Part Three
The blessings of the temple are available to all
But all of this would appear to be unfair indeed if the blessings of these ordinances were available only to those who are now members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The fact is that 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. For this reason, the Church carries forward an extensive missionary program in much of the world and will continue to expand this program as widely as possible, for it has the responsibility, under divine revelation, to teach the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.
But there are uncounted millions who have walked the earth and who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel. Shall they be denied such blessings as are offered in the temples of the Lord?
Through living proxies who stand in behalf of the dead, the same ordinances are available to those who have passed from mortality. In the spirit world these same individuals are then free to accept or reject those earthly ordinances performed for them, including baptism, marriage, and the sealing of family relationships. There’s no compulsion in the work of the Lord, but there must be opportunity.
Work in the temple is a labor of love on the part of the living in behalf of the dead
This vicarious work constitutes an unprecedented labor of love on the part of the living in behalf of the dead. It makes necessary a vast undertaking of family history research to find and identify those who have gone before. To assist in this research, the Church coordinates a family history program and maintains research facilities unmatched in all the world. Its archives are open to the public and have been used by many who are not members of the Church in tracing their forebears. This program has been praised by genealogists throughout the world and has been utilized by various nations as a safeguard of their own records. But its primary purpose is to afford members of the Church the resources needed to identify their ancestors that they might extend to them the blessings that they themselves enjoy. They in effect say to themselves, “If I love my wife and children so dearly that I want them for all eternity, then should not my deceased grandfather and great-grandfather and other forebears have opportunity to receive the same eternal blessings?”
Temples offer the opportunity to learn of the truly meaningful things of life
And so these sacred buildings are scenes of tremendous activity, quietly and reverently carried forward. They call to mind a part of the vision of John the Revelator wherein are recorded this question and this answer: “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? …
“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple” (Revelation 7:13–15).
Those who come to these holy houses are arrayed in white as they participate therein. They come only on recommendation of their local ecclesiastical authorities, having been certified as to their worthiness. They are expected to come clean in thought, clean in body, and clean in dress to enter the temple of God. As they enter they are expected to leave the world behind them and concentrate on things divine.
This very exercise, if such it may be called, carries with it a reward of its own, for who in these times of stress would not welcome an opportunity to shut out the world and enter into the Lord’s house, there to ponder quietly the eternal things of God? These sacred precincts offer the opportunity, available nowhere else, to learn of and reflect on the truly meaningful things of life—our relationship to Deity and our eternal journey from a premortal state into this life and on to a future estate where we shall know and associate one with another, including our own loved ones and our forebears who have preceded us and from whom has come our inheritance of things of the body, mind, and spirit.