This week's Talk of the Week is Elder Bednar's April 2009 Conference Talk "Honorably Hold a Name and Standing." ThisConference talk is one I frequently reflect on. What does it mean to honorably hold a name and standing? What does it mean to worship as we attend the temple? As I have pondered and sought teaching on these ideas, it has been interesting the insights that have come and the increase in love and appreciation for temples and for our Heavenly Father and our Savior. I love the words of Hymn 70 and the insights that have come as I have pondered and sung this wonderful hymn.
I am grateful for Elder Bednar's teaching about the significance of temples and the opportunities and blessings that come as we allow the "fire of the covenant" to burn within us. I am grateful for the protection and the power that come to us as we attend the temple and ponder on the covenants and blessings we receive there. I think there is much for us to understand about the protections and blessings that come that we do not yet grasp. At the BYU Women's Conference, Sister Beck counseled us to attend the temple more frequently and to PAY ATTENTION to who blessings are given by and what powers are given each of us. I have found it helpful to consider 3 Nephi 17:3 in light of temple attendance:
1/ Go unto your homes
4/ prepare minds for the morrow
5/ come again
I testify that great blessings come from committing to attend and attending the temple as frequently as we are able. I know that our abilities to complete necessary tasks and be more efficient with our time is a blessing that comes as we commit to attend the temple more often. I have increased patience and greater insights into the responsibilities and challenges I face as I increase my temple attendance. The temple is the place we can come to know the Savior better and understand more fully our relationship to Him. It truly is the House of the Lord. How grateful I am to be a witness of this marvelous season of accelerated temple building! It is magnificent to see the work of the Lord rolling forward in significant ways.
Shortly after I was called to serve as a stake president in 1987, I talked with a good friend who recently had been released as a stake president. During our conversation I asked him what he would teach me about becoming an effective stake president. His answer to my question had a profound impact upon my subsequent service and ministry.
My friend indicated he had been called to serve as a temple worker soon after his release. He then said: “I wish I had been a temple worker before I was a stake president. If I had served in the temple before my call to serve as a stake president, I would have been a very different stake president.”
I was intrigued by his answer and asked him to explain further. He responded: “I believe I was a good stake president. The programs in our stake ran well, and our statistics were above average. But serving in the temple has expanded my vision. If I were called today to serve as a stake president, my primary focus would be on worthiness to receive and honor temple covenants. I would strive to make temple preparation the center of all that we did. I would do a better job of shepherding the Saints to the house of the Lord.”
That brief conversation with my friend helped me as a stake president to teach relentlessly about and testify of the eternal importance of temple ordinances, temple covenants, and temple worship. The deepest desire of our presidency was for every member of the stake to receive the blessings of the temple, to be worthy of and to use frequently a temple recommend.
My message today focuses upon the blessings of the temple, and I pray the Holy Ghost will illuminate our minds, penetrate our hearts, and bear witness of truth to each of us.
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