This young man expressed his desire to be worthy when he stands before God and Jesus Christ, and when he enters the temple. Participating in temple ordinances is motivating him to keep the commandments, as well as preparing him to return to live with his Father in Heaven. Worshipping in the temple can motivate each of us in similar ways.
30 Year Anniversary
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the dedication of the Johannesburg South Africa Temple. Thousands of lives have been blessed by preparing for and participating in saving ordinances in this wonderful temple. One of the lives blessed by the Johannesburg Temple is my own. When I look out my office window and see the spires of the temple and the majestic statue of Angel Moroni, it beckons me to improve my life and draw nearer to God and my loved ones. I have a similar feeling when I view beautiful artwork that features temples. I see why our prophets encourage us to display pictures of temples in our homes.
I also receive great comfort and strength as I participate in temple ordinances. President Thomas S. Monson has invited all of us to attend the temple. He said, “If you have not yet been to the temple or if you have been but currently do not qualify for a recommend, there is no more important goal for you to work toward than being worthy to go to the temple” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World,” Ensign, May 2011).
Along with other prophets, President Monson also encourages all members of the Church to obtain a temple recommend, even if circumstances prevent us from worshipping in the temple. He said, “Secure a temple recommend and regard it as a precious possession, for such it is… .The all-important and crowning blessings of membership in the Church are those blessings which we receive in the temples of God” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Holy Temple”).
President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Johannesburg South Africa Temple on August 24, 1985. He petitioned our Heavenly Father for special blessings for those who worship in the temple. Following are a few excerpts from the dedicatory prayer:
“Wilt Thou whisper peace to Thy people by the power of Thy spirit when they come here with burdened hearts to seek direction in their perplexities. Wilt Thou comfort and sustain them when they come in times of sorrow. Wilt Thou give them courage, direction, and faith when they gather, as to a refuge, from the turmoil of the world. Wilt Thou reassure them of Thy reality and divinity, and of the reality and divinity of Thy resurrected Son. Wilt Thou endow them with love in their hearts for their ancestors who have gone before and with a great desire to labor in behalf of these their forebears….
“Prosper Thy faithful people as they contribute their tithes and offerings to the storehouse of the Lord. May they and the generations who follow them be preserved in peace and security by Thine encircling arm, for so long as they worship Thee in spirit and in truth. Shield them against the forces of evil which otherwise would overtake them….”
“Shed knowledge and understanding upon Thy saints that they may be guided to do those things which will preserve them from bondage and ensure freedom for themselves and their posterity. Bless the youth, the young men and the young women that they may walk in virtue and yearn for truth” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Johannesburg South Africa Temple Dedicatory Prayer, August 24, 1985).
I would like to repeat an invitation extended by President Hinckley in his dedicatory prayer. He said, “There is a temple in our midst. It is beautiful and much appreciated. May we visit it frequently….” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Johannesburg South Africa Temple Dedicatory Prayer).
Blessings Await Us
The 30 year anniversary of the dedication of the Johannesburg Temple provides each of us as individuals an opportunity to consider our temple worthiness, our temple attendance, and the blessings that await each of us in the temple.
It is an opportunity for families to counsel together and consider ways to demonstrate gratitude for temple ordinances by preparing names for temple work, worshipping in the temple, or participating in other related activities. Stakes, districts, wards, and branches may also elect to celebrate the anniversary in similar ways.
President Monson has said, “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. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Holy Temple”).
May each of us consider how we might demonstrate our appreciation for the temple and the many blessings available to us because of temple ordinances, and may we do all in our power to have a temple recommend and worship in the temple as frequently as possible, for blessings await us.