I love to see the temple
I’m going there some day
To feel the Holy Spirit
To listen and to pray
For the temple is a house of God
A place of love and beauty
I’ll prepare myself while I am young
This is my sacred duty
LDS children throughout the world are taught this song to help them learn about the temple and the sacred ordinances performed there, and the children of Durban South Africa have recently come much closer to being able to see the temple on a regular basis, following the groundbreaking for the Durban temple on Saturday 9 April.
While awaiting the commencement of the service young Ethan De Wet said, “I can’t wait. I just can’t wait. When it gets finished I will be old enough to go inside.”
The following the exchange was held with brothers Minenhle (12 years) and Khumo Tshabalala (10 years):
Minenhle: We are here for the groundbreaking of the temple.
Q: What are temples for?
Minenhle: For making covenants and sealing husbands to wives....
Khumo: And for baptisms for the dead.
Q: Have you ever done baptisms for the dead?
Minenhle: Yes! It was nice.
All of these children will be blessed to be growing up in close proximity to a temple of the Lord, and by the sacrifices of so many who came before them. As Elder Cook said in the dedicatory prayer at the groundbreaking service: “We are grateful for our predecessors who helped lay a foundation for what is happening today. We pray that the veil may be thin, and that they may share in the joy of this moment“.
Brother Colin Bricknell, a former stake president in the Durban area, said that “the members in Durban were very faithful temple goers”.
One of these faithful saints is Sister Vera Bell of the Durban Stake who will soon be 85 years old. She has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1963 and was sealed to her husband in the London temple in 1968. For many years the London temple was the closest temple to South Africa and many members made great financial sacrifices to take their families to be sealed there.
The temple is where we are filled with the Spirit of Elijah, but children too can experience this, and have their hearts turned to those who have gone before and sacrificed for them. Even before they are old enough to attend the temple they can be taken to visit the grounds and feel the spirit that prevails there.
In a recent General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson shared the experience of a grandfather who took his small granddaughter on a birthday visit—not to the zoo or to the movies, but to the temple grounds. The two walked to the large doors of the temple. He suggested that she place her hand on the sturdy wall and then on the massive door. He said to her, “Remember that this day you touched the temple. One day you will go inside.” His gift to the little one was not sweets or ice cream but an experience far more significant and everlasting—an appreciation of the house of the Lord. She had touched the temple, and the temple had touched her. (Church News: “Three Ways You Can Prepare Your Children for the Temple”)
Children can also be involved with family history work: James Hamilton was only 10 years old when he began doing family history work. His mother heard Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles invite the youth and children to participate in family history and felt inspired to help her children get started. She wanted the blessings for her children that Elder Bednar had promised when he said: “Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives”. James found the names of more than 200 ancestors who needed temple ordinances. His whole family got involved in doing the temple work. Just a few days after his 12th birthday, James entered the temple for the first time to participate in the baptisms himself. It was a spiritual experience he had looked forward to as he was baptized for eight of his deceased ancestors that day. (“The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” Oct. 2011 General conference).
Preparing children to enter the temple and participate in sacred ordinances is a vital part of the Lord’s work of salvation. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reminds us: “The temple is the object of every activity, every lesson, every progressive step in the Church. All of our efforts in proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead lead to the holy temple. Ordinances of the temple are absolutely crucial. We cannot return to God’s glory without them” (“Prepare for the Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, Oct. 2010).
Helping children to love and enter the temple is worth every effort and sacrifice. It holds the key to one of our greatest hopes and joys—a family that is forever.