I still remember when I was a newly baptized young man and had the opportunity to meet with Elder Gordon B. Hinckley in early 1976. At one point, he looked me straight in the eyes and prophesied that I would be married and sealed in the House of the Lord. Back in those days, it seemed impossible because we did not have a temple in our area. Nevertheless, after exercising my faith and working hard for many years, I eventually saved enough money and took my wife and my little daughter to be sealed in the Manila Philippines Temple in late 1984. It took eight years for this to happen.
After receiving the temple ordinances and making covenants with God, I found that eight years was not such a long time, and it was totally worth the wait and effort. The ongoing challenge since then is how I can keep those blessings throughout my entire life.
In the 39 years since I received my temple ordinances and was sealed with my family, I have learned much that has helped me to prepare for the lifelong blessings of temple covenants. These are my suggestions:
“Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings.”Thomas S. Monson
- Invite the Holy Ghost into our lives and into our family to the greatest extent possible. (see Henry B. Eyring, “Families Under Covenant,” Ensign or Liahona, April 2012, 62)
- Fathers, fulfill your duties as the head of your family; Mother provide strong support. “It is the will of the Lord to strengthen and preserve the family unit. We plead with fathers to take their rightful place as the head of the house. We ask mothers to sustain and support their husbands and to be lights to their children.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, “Counsel to the Saints and to the World,” Ensign, July 1972, 27)
- Enlist the entire family to love each other. “In an eternal sense, salvation is a family affair. … Above all else, children need to know and feel they are loved, wanted, and appreciated. They need to be assured of that often. Obviously, this is a role parents should fill, and most often the mother can do it best” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Salvation—a Family Affair,” Ensign, July 1992, 2, 4).
- As our spiritual desires increase, we become spiritually self-reliant. Then, we can help others, ourselves, and our families increase our desire to follow the Savior and live His gospel. The prophet Alma taught, “Even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you” (Alma 32:27).
- Come to Church every week and partake of the sacrament. “To worthily partake of the sacrament, we remember that we are renewing the covenants we made at baptism. For the sacrament to be a spiritually cleansing experience each week, we need to prepare ourselves before coming to sacrament meeting.” (Robert D. Hales, “Coming to Ourselves: The Sacrament, the Temple, and Sacrifice in Service”, Ensign, May 2012, 34)
- Hold a current temple recommend and set goals and specifically prepare ourselves to go back to the temple as often as we can. What are the standards for recommend holders? The Psalmist reminds us: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? “He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart” (Psalms 24:3–4).
- Sacrifice and serve. In General Conference April 2011, President Thomas S. Monson shared an example of sacrifice in connection with temple service. A faithful Latter-day Saint father on a remote island in the Pacific did heavy physical work in a faraway place for six years to earn the money necessary to take his wife and 10 children to be sealed for eternity in the New Zealand Temple. President Monson explained, “Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings.” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2011, 91–92.)
We now have a temple in Thailand and will soon have more of these sacred buildings in many countries in Asia. We no longer need to wait very long to receive temple ordinances and to make covenants with God. However, it does not really matter how long we wait. What truly matters is how we honor those covenants and maintain the attendant blessings of the temple throughout our lives.