Because of the dedicated and loving members of the Sunset Valley Ward, where I have had the blessed opportunity of serving, I have been able to have dinner every night with many different families. There are all sorts of families as diverse as people in this world. Regardless of the differences observed in these families, I have been able to see that eternal truths never change and these truths apply to every situation. I have also noticed that the surest foundation upon which any family and any person can build is the temple. On Mormonchannel.org there is a video titled “Why Mormons Build Temples” which I invite you all to watch. This video informs those who don’t know, and reminds those who do, about the importance of these sacred buildings.
The sacred and holy house of the Lord is given to us as a tool through which we all can return again to our Heavenly Father. In temples, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perform ordinances, or sacred acts, in behalf of ancestors who have died. These members are baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost for and in behalf of relatives who have passed on. These acts are not done to force the deceased to be members of our Church. We believe that all peoples, past, present, and future, are given the opportunity to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We do these ordinances so that all are provided that opportunity; they still have the choice to reject or accept the work done.
Temples are also used to allow couples to be married and sealed for time and all eternity. Heavenly Father has blessed each of us with a family. He did not intend for that family to be destroyed by the bonds of death. The Atonement of Jesus Christ redeemed not only each of us personally from physical and spiritual death, but it also provided a way for families to be everlasting and united on an infinite basis. This work is also done for the deceased, allowing familial ties to extend for innumerable generations beyond the grave.
As Krister Stendahl stated in the video, temple work “[extends] the blessings which have come [to us] in and through Jesus Christ. That’s a beautiful way of letting the eternal mix into the temple which, in a way, is what Christianity is all about.” The atoning sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father is to bless the lives of all who are born into this world. Temples allow us to ensure that the eternal plan of salvation for the children of Heavenly Father is carried out.
This Sunday the Sunset Valley ward had its Ward Conference. We had the blessing of listening to and learning from the Presidency of the Austin Oak Hills Stake. During the various meetings I receive a personal witness from the Holy Ghost that the Lord Jesus Christ is hastening His work. Modern-day prophets have declared that the work is hastening and we must all heed the call to assist the Lord in this effort. I invite you all to visit the website: Hastening the Work of Salvation.
It is difficult for me to describe in this email the thoughts and inspirations I have had through the Spirit but I am going to try. I pray that despite my inadequate method of communication the Spirit will help you all understand the following.
I had a realization this week as I was sharing a message after a dinner with an active family. The symbol for infinity is made of two spheres crossing at a single point. During the conference I noted that the work of the Church is now one. Past, present, and future are being united in this effort and all three are our focus. Thinking of the infinity symbol through the lens of the plan of salvation, I see life in a different order than usual. Rather than life being past, present, and future I see it as future, present, and past.
Let’s look at the symbol. The point of infinity is seen in my mind as the temple and the veil. In the Church we refer to death as a veil that separates us from our ancestors. I see the left sphere as our life on Earth and the lives of our children. The right sphere would be the Spirit World where the deceased are learning, resting, and waiting for the time of resurrection. With me so far?
The left sphere begins at the temple, the point of infinity, as a family is sealed under covenant with Heavenly Father for time and all eternity. Children born under this covenant learn and grow in a gospel-centered home. They learn to have faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. They are taught to repent. When they are of age, the children are baptized and begin making covenants, or promises, with God. To complete baptism, they receive the Holy Ghost which enables them to endure to the end. Through trials and difficulty, they continuously grow and progress repeating the cycle of faith, repentance, and making covenants. Eventually, these children, now men and women, arrive at the temple and are able to be sealed for time and all eternity to spouses of their own. The cycle of the left sphere repeats.
The right sphere begins at the veil, the point of infinity, as others pass on. These individuals were either unable to or did not accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lifetime. In the spirit realm they are given the opportunity to learn and to grow. They are taught about Jesus Christ and His Atonement. They build faith in Him. They learn about repentance. They are taught about the importance of baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost. They are able to prepare to accept the work that has been done by proxy for them in the temple, bringing us once again to the middle.
We are in the middle. It is our responsibility to be living our lives worthily that we can frequently enter the temple and perform these sacred ordinances. We raise our families teaching them the vital importance of temples and help them gain desires of their own to have eternal families. As we continue returning again and again to the house of the Lord, the point of infinity, we strengthen lives on both sides of the veil and keep the two spheres growing and progressing.
For me, this is my view of Hastening the Work of Salvation. The ultimate goal for everyone should be continuous temple attendance. We should be reaching out to every one in our lives. Through encouragement and strengthening, we can help less-active members, those not of our faith, and our families build their lives on the unshakable foundation of the temple.
Pondering the hastening of the work I began studying the final chapters of Jesus the Christ by Elder James E. Talmage. Elder Talmage speaks of preparing the world for the second coming of the Savior. This urging by the prophets and apostles is not a gimmick to inspire more activity in the Church or to get more people interested. The way is being prepared for the second coming and we should all look joyfully forward to that day. In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord speaks of this hastening. He tells us in Section 68:23&25 :
“Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; …Wherefore, if ye believe me, ye will labor while it is called today.”