A House of Learning

By Hollie Wells

“So what’d you learn?” 

My father-in-law often asks this question after we report an experience to him. My husband said this was usually his dad’s only reply when he came to him with the troubles of a teenaged-choice-gone-wrong. 

In my previous article, I explored how temples are portrayed in the Book of Mormon. The Nephite temples were mainly a place of public gathering, somewhere for the people to go and hear the word of the Lord being taught. 

Although now we do most of our preaching and teaching in our homes and chapels, God Himself calls His house “a house of learning” in iconic Doctrine & Covenants 88:119. So how is the temple still a house of learning if there are no formal lessons or teachers there? 

How is the temple a house of learning? 

A central part of our individual temple experience is receiving the endowment. Brigham Young said, “your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father” 

In essence, receiving temple ordinances is about gaining specific knowledge to allow us to reenter the presence of God through Christ. In fact, the rooms where the endowment is presented are called instruction rooms! What we obtain in those rooms is some of the most important knowledge we gain in this life. It is a large reason why the temple ceremonies are kept so sacred and talked about so carefully. 

Knowledge is a very real power, and I believe the knowledge we obtain in the endowment is what it really means to be “endowed with power from on high” (Doctrine & Covenants 38:32) 

The temple is also a place where we learn about Christ and His Atonement. There is no better way to learn about the Savior than to be a “savior on Mount Zion” yourself (Obadiah 1:21). When you do work to enable others to enter God’s presence, it is hard not to remember the One who did something for you to enable you that same eternal blessing. The House of the Lord is the best place to learn the character of the Lord.

How can I focus more on learning when I worship in the temple? 

So there are a lot of things we can learn in the temple, but how can we make learning and knowledge a more integral part of regular temple worship? Here are a few suggestions: 

Look for Christ 

This gets repeated a lot because it cannot be overstated. He is why we are there. It is His house. You can often learn a lot about a new acquaintance or an old friend by visiting their house. Try to see what He sees, love what He loves. 

Bring a question 

Pray that you can find the specific answer to your question, whether doctrinal or personal. Search the scriptures as you wait or ponder in moments of silence. Be teachable and open to the Spirit. 

Make a list 

My husband and I made lists of everything we have learned from the temple. This came to include so many things, including: how to enter God’s presence, the concept of eternity, my purpose on earth, the details of creation, what a covenant is, how men and women work together, and much more. The list is expansive and so sacred to me. I hope to keep adding to it. 

As I’ve been thinking about these things, I couldn’t help but hear my father-in-law echoing in my head 

“So what’d you learn?” 

Maybe my Father is hoping I’ll ask the same question to myself each time I go to His house, and that I’ll keep learning each time I go.

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