Temple worship for Latter-day Saints has been impacted severely by the COVID-19 pandemic. Temples were temporarily closed on March 25, 2020, and while some temples have reopened for live sealings, proxy work has yet to resume. How can members of the Church continue to enjoy the spirit of the temple until they are able to reopen? Here are six powerful ideas.
…are you doing it? The spirit of the temple is replicated when we seek to find our ancestors so their temple work can be completed. If you haven’t spent time lately on your genealogy, try to do so. Even if you don’t feel confident in finding names, there are a lot of other options to “do your family history.” These include:
- Recording your own thoughts and feelings, especially about COVID-19, for future generations.
- Interviewing family members about their lives.
- Fixing standard places on FamilySearch. This is a new volunteer opportunity similar to indexing but can be even easier.
- Studying talks about the importance of family history.
Here are just some of the promises the Lord has made to us if we’ll do our family history work, as taught by Elder Dale G. Renlund:
- Increased understanding of the Savior and His atoning sacrifice;
- Increased influence of the Holy Ghost to feel strength and direction for our own lives;
- Increased faith, so that conversion to the Savior becomes deep and abiding;
- Increased ability and motivation to learn and repent because of an understanding of who we are, where we come from, and a clearer vision of where we are going;
- Increased refining, sanctifying, and moderating influences in our hearts;
- Increased joy through an increased ability to feel the love of the Lord;
- Increased family blessings, no matter our current, past, or future family situation or how imperfect our family tree may be;
- Increased love and appreciation for ancestors and living relatives, so we no longer feel alone;
- Increased power to discern that which needs healing and thus, with the Lord’s help, serve others;
- Increased protection from temptations and the intensifying influence of the adversary; and
- Increased assistance to mend troubled, broken, or anxious hearts and make the wounded whole.
Doesn’t that sound like something we can all use right now?
Record Sacred Experiences
Have you ever had an experience in the temple you would want your children or grandchildren to know? Keeping in mind the sacred nature of the temple, consider recording specific times in your life when the temple has been a safe haven or a place of guidance. If you haven’t already, write down when you when to the temple for the first time and what it was like. How has your view of the temple changed since that first day? As you ponder on these experiences, you will find a great appreciation for the role of the temple in your life and will be excited to get back. You may even feel prompted to use your testimony of the temple to invite others to learn more about the gospel.
Study the Temple in the Scriptures
Temples have always played an important role in worship and the scriptures are full of teachings about connecting with God through the temple. Read through the Topical Guide and other Church resources on temples. Connect the experiences of our scriptural ancestors to your own. Write down the things you’ve learned and keep note of any new questions that arise. This way, you can go to the temple seeking new light.
Review the Temple Recommend Interview Questions
In October 2019, the Church updated their temple recommend interview questions. You can read them all here. Ponder on each question as if you were being interviewed by the Lord. See if there are any areas of your life that you’d like to improve and make goals to act on those things. Even though most members cannot physically enter a temple right now, remaining worthy to do so will invite a special spirit into our lives.
Bring the Temple Into Your Home
Our homes are the places on earth that can most be like the temple. Do you have photos of the temple in your home? If not, consider getting some. From fully framed pieces to coloring pages children and youth can color and hang up on their walls, any visual representation of the temple in your home can make it feel more holy and special.
Fast for the Reopening of Temples
Petition the Lord for in fasting and prayer that temple work can resume as quickly and as safely as possible. Pray for Church leaders to be continually guided on how to reopen temples so both patrons and workers can be protected. As we pray to the Lord, our sincere willingness to do whatever it takes so temples can reopen will be honored in both seen and unseen ways.
How have you invited the spirit of the temple into your life during the pandemic?