Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dedication of the Phoenix, AZ Temple

Photo Credit:  LDS.org

Today was the dedication of the new Phoenix, Arizona Temple.  Larry and I were able to view the ceremony remotely since they broadcast live to all the Stake Centers in the area.

I was particularly impressed by the talk given by Elder Richard J. Maynes, a member of the presidency of the Seventy.  He talked about the promise of Elijah and the Abrahamic Covenant:   "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.'"  (Malachi 4:5-6)  (See Talk "Hearts Bound Together" by Henry B. Eyring given April 2005)
As we prepare to begin our Family History Mission we will be very attuned to that promise.  It's great when people can learn stories about their families and have a better understanding of who their ancestors are.  But the driving reason behind all that we do is to make possible the sacred ordinances of the temple that bind families together in an eternal chain.

In an article on the Abrahamic Covenant by Kent Jackson, a professor of ancient scripture at BYU, it says:
The Lord has restored the gospel in modern times for the blessing of all people. Every faithful man and woman can receive its blessings to the fullest degree, by accepting baptismal and temple covenants and by living righteously. Privileged as we are to live when covenant blessings are available among the Lord’s Saints, we have a marvelous opportunity and a great responsibility to make those blessings available to all our Father’s children."  (Jackson, K. 1990.)

I was also reminded that prior to the dedication, this temple was just another pretty building built by men.  Once it was dedicated by our prophet, it became a consecrated House of the Lord.  Likewise I can dedicate my life to doing the work of Heavenly Father. 

In Oct 2010 D. Todd Christensen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

"To consecrate is to set apart or dedicate something as sacred, devoted to holy purposes. True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives—that is, our time and choices—to God’s purposes (see John 17:1, 4; D&C 19:19). In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny."

I have this image in my mind of when we take our car through the car wash back home.  As we drive in, we steer the car onto the metal frame that guides the car through the wash.  We are instructed to put the car in neutral and keep hands off the wheel, foot off the pedals.  We allow the car to be carried forward through the system of brushes and water and soap to exit out the end all shiny and clean.   Right now as we begin this mission we are learning to allow our lives to enter a period of being guided by our Priesthood leaders and the direction of the Holy Spirit.  We are not in charge of our priorities or our activities.   Truly, we will let "Jesus take the wheel".   I really do believe that as we consecrate our time, talents and resources for these next two years we will washing our inner vessel just as the car wash in Boise scrubbed our automobile.   We will be changed for the better. 

As we continue to make temple attendance a regular part of our lives we will better learn to recognize the instruction available to us by personal revelation.  We can learn to recognize God's purposes for us more fluently.   Particularly as we take part in completing the ordinances for our own family we will be more open to "both halves of the blessing" .  As Howard W. Hunter said in a February 1995 address: "...the temple is a place of beauty; it is a place of revelation; it is a place of peace. It is the house of the Lord. It is holy unto the Lord. It must be holy and important to us."

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