Sunday, July 12, 2015

Temple Blessings for the Dead

So, I always post my talks on here. Not sure why. But, here is the talk I gave today:

President Howard W. Hunter said, “The gospel proclaimed to the world by the Latter-day Saints is the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored to the earth in this dispensation and is for the redemption of all mankind. The Lord himself has revealed what is essential for the salvation and exaltation of his children. One of these essentials is that temples are to be erected for the performance of ordinances that cannot be performed in any other place.”
In 1 Corinthians 15:29 we read, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if that dead not rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?

In answer to that questions, obviously, the dead will rise again, so it’s our responsibility to make sure the temple work is done for them now so when the time comes they will be ready for the resurrection.
My father died when I was 2 years old. We weren’t members of the church yet. My mom joined the church about a year later. Eventually, we had the temple work done. This worked by having the temple work for my dad done by proxy. This means that we chose a man, our home teacher, to go into the temple for my dad. My little sister and I even got to go in to the temple and be sealed to my parents. The work was done for my father even after his death. He now has all the blessings available that anyone else has.
In Doctrine and Covenants 137:7-10 we read, “Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom; For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts. And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.
I love these scriptures. They show that we truly do have a just God and that he loves us and wants to give us every opportunity to be with him again.
Story time! Once upon a time, 12 years and 5 days ago, a beautiful little boy was born. His parents were married in the temple just seven months prior. That math may not make sense to you, but the problem was that this little boy was a micro-preemie. He was born at 23 weeks gestation (that’s 17 weeks too early). He brought so much joy to this young couple, but his entire life was spent in the hospital. After 20 weeks of ups and downs, he passed away in his mother’s arms, in my arms. While Paul’s and my hearts were completely shattered, we knew we’d see him again. We knew that since he has the blessings of the temple, he would be okay and we would be okay. We knew we would be with him again one day because of the blessings of the temple.
In Doctrine and Covenants 138:12 we find, “And there were gathered together in one place an innumerable company of the spirits of the just, who had been faithful in the testimony of Jesus while they lived in mortality; All these had departed the mortal life, firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection, through the grace of God the Father and his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. I beheld that they were filled with joy and gladness, and were rejoicing together because the day of their deliverance was at hand.”
All these spirits are joyfully waiting for us to do the temple work before the “day of their deliverance”. What can we do to help these spirits?
1.       Be temple worthy: It will help us to have the spirit with us so we can be guided in the right places to find the information for these spirits. It also gives us the privilege to go to the temple and stand in proxy for these spirits so they, too, can be with their families for eternity.
Howard W. Hunter said, “It would please the Lord for every adult member to be worthy of – and to carry – a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it. The things that we must do and not do to be worthy of a temple recommend are the very things that ensure we will be happy as individuals and as families.”
2.       Work on genealogy: This seemed like the dullest thing ever to me until a few years ago. When I was in Young Women’s and working on my Personal Progress, I did a project where I created this huge notebook full of my family history. I gathered pictures, stories, and organized the book by families and included several generations. I enjoyed looking at the pictures and imagining these people. Then, it went back far enough that there were no more pictures. The dates went back to the late 1700s but the pictures only went back to my great-great-great grandparents. I lost interest after that as a young woman. I just completed the project and moved on with my life. It wasn’t until a few years ago, there was a talk in conference about how important temple work is and my grandpa (who had recently died) popped in my head and I felt this undeniable desire to complete his temple work. The bug bit me. I am busy right now with my college, homeschooling children, being a wife and mom, and serving in my church callings, but I hope to one day be able to really dive into it. Until then, if I get a chance, I work on indexing. So, if you are like I was, pray for that desire to do family history work. Then it won’t feel like such a burden, but be an exciting adventure.
Howard W. Hunter said this, “…the dead are anxiously waiting for the Latter-day Saints to search out their names… that they may be liberated from their prison house in the spirit world. All of us should find joy in this magnificent labor of love.”
3.       Go to the temple: You need to actually get to the temple. If you are unable to do family history work then try to devote a Saturday so you can get to the temple. Then, you can still go through the temple for someone else. I like to imagine about the person I’m going through. What her age was, what life was like in the time period she lived in and so on. It makes her seem more real.
Howard W Hunter recalled this story, “At the close of a fast and testimony meeting, the bishop remarked, ‘We have had a spiritual experience today listening to the testimonies borne by each other. This is because we have come fasting according to the law of the Lord. But let us never forget that the law consists of two parts: that we fast by abstaining from food and drink and that we contribute what we have thereby saved to the bishop’s storehouse for the benefit of those who are less fortunate.’ Then he added: ‘I hope no one of us will leave today with only half a blessing.’
“I have learned that those who engage in family history research and then perform the temple ordinance work for those whose names they have found will know the additional joy of receiving both halves of the blessing.”
I love that through the promises of the temple we can be with those who died, whether they were sealed to us before or after death, whether they accepted the gospel in this life or after. I love that we have the opportunity to help those people who died before us and that have the technology and the support to find out so much about these people from our own homes. This Gospel is real and we are so blessed to have it in our lives and to have a temple less than two hours from our homes. 
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