by Hollie Ogden
There are countless ways one can prepare for the temple: whether going for the first time, for the first time in a long time (that’s most of us, right?), or for your four hundredth time on a consistent basis.
Some ways are more obvious and talked about, and then others are perhaps overlooked. In this article is a short list of meaningful things I have done, heard of, and tried to incorporate into my personal preparation for when I attend the temple.
Attend a Temple Preparation Class
This one seems obvious, and rightfully so. It is widely available and teaches essential doctrine and principles that will help a new patron experience the temple in an enlightening way as well as ensure readiness and maturity.
Ask What the Temple Means
Recently I was asked what the temple means to me and the answer that came out of my mouth surprised me! I talked about the role of the Savior in the Plan of Salvation and how grateful I was to have such clear knowledge of where I’m going and what God expects of me. I then took to asking some trusted people around me what the temple means to them or what they have learned there. Thus, a gorgeous view has been painted before my eyes of things that have not stood out to me before. My eyes were opened and my view expanded, and there are new things I will be looking for and channeling in to as I return to the temple.
Read passages from Genesis, Exodus, and Moses
Your eyes will be opened. It is amazing how much of temple ceremonies and language the Lord has made available in the scriptures. Read before and after you are endowed! The scriptures are flooded with the temple! In addition to these passages, Russell M. Nelson recommends, “...that members going to the temple for the first time read short explanatory paragraphs in the Bible Dictionary, listed under seven topics: Anoint, Atonement, Christ, Covenant, Fall of Adam, Sacrifices, and Temple.” These topics highlight the focal principles of our temple worship.
Keep the Commandments
Alright you may be thinking, “Seriously? This is obvious!” But hear me out!
In the April 2019 conference, David A. Bednar said, “Vital temple preparation classes occur in our homes; important but secondary temple preparation classes also may be conducted periodically in our meetinghouses.” So, in my life, more temple preparation was going on in my everyday life and decisions and in the examples of my parents and leaders than any temple preparation class I ever took.
Each Sunday as a young women, reciting the old Young Women Theme, I always wondered about the line “As we accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to... make and keep sacred covenants.” I thought I was missing something! I didn’t see how I was being prepared to go to the temple! I thought there were special and specific things I was supposed to be taught, or certain rites of passage I had to clear before being ready. But when I was endowed and made covenants to live the associated laws, I was blessed with understanding to see how living the standards I was taught from my childhood were preparing me the whole time.
At temples.ChurchofJesusChrist.org we can read about the laws we pledge to live in the temple- laws of obedience, sacrifice, the gospel, chastity, and consecration. After I was endowed, I was blown away by how simple the covenants were and how I’d truly been preparing to make them my entire life. Everything from the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet to Sunday school lessons were essentially a temple preparation guide to live by each day. The pieces began to be put together when I was endowed of why it was so critical for me to learn and accept those standards in my youth: so I would naturally live them when I entered under covenant with God.
Other simple ideas include pondering and living the covenants made at baptism, reading or listening to General Conference addresses about the temple, reading and pondering temple interview questions, visiting temple grounds, and searching for family names.
He invites all to come unto Him and receive of His ordinances. The gate is narrow and the path straight, but it is open to all. Prepare now and continually to enter the Lord’s house as His guest- both the first time and every time. There is nothing you have to change or lay down that is not worth the price of worthiness to be in God’s holy temples and receive of the eternal blessings there.