Making Our Homes Like the Temple

by Lauren Madsen

Recently I asked a youth group this question: “What do you love about the temple?” and then I followed up with another question: “How can we make our homes more like the temple?” They shared many insightful answers, including keeping our homes clean, making them a safe place, serving and working together, and feeling loved there. I pointed out that, while not perfect, temples are likely the most contention-less places on earth, and that is one reason why we feel so much peace there, and why we call it a place of revelation.

I remember well the day I opened up Sister Wendy Nelson’s book, The Heavens Are Open. She captured my attention with three words in the very first chapter: “Contention blocks revelation.” Sister Nelson continued, “Contention prevents the heavens from opening for us.” Her words reminded me of what President Nelson has warned, "In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost." Putting the two ideas together made so much sense and yet I had never really thought of it in that way before: If we want to survive spiritually through the influence of the Holy Ghost, we have to avoid contention. If we want to make our homes like the temple, we need to strive for a contention-free zone.

In relationships with those around us, differing approaches and opinions will inevitably arise, but contention (hostility and discord often fueled by anger) doesn’t have to. Yoked with the Savior, we have the power to overcome the pride and selfishness that so easily creeps into our thoughts and actions. Like the Anti-Nephi-Lehies in The Book of Mormon, we can seek for peace and refuse to contend with each other by burying our weapons. Here are some practical ideas to help us in this quest.


In 3 Nephi 11 we learn about Satan’s tactics when it comes to our relationships with others, “For verily, verily, I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth the hearts of men to content with anger, one with another.” Satan knows the effects of contention. He will stop at nothing to pit us against each other, trying to break up the kinds of eternal relationships he will never have. Acknowledging this reality is crucial in our commitment to fight contention.


When feeling enticed toward anger, we can ask ourselves: Are we tired? Hungry? (Yes, it’s true, feeling “hangry” can apply to adults just as much as kids.) Is there a better time to have an important conversation? What is the state of our home? Is it clean? Is it cluttered? For many people, clutter leads to stress and stress can lead to confrontation. Ask yourself if there is something you can do to change the atmosphere so that respectful communication can take place.


Even with our best intentions and commendable efforts, we as imperfect humans will slip up and let contention slip in. When conflict comes, we can choose to examine our expectations. We can put ourselves in others’ shoes. We can seek to understand them better before jumping to conclusions. We can honestly ask as Jesus’ disciples did: “Lord, is it I?” (Matthew 26:21-22). We can remember the words of President Hinckley, “Let us not partake of the negative spirit so rife in our times. There is so much of the sweet and the decent and the beautiful to build upon.”

If contention can be likened to the static we might experience when trying to listen to a radio, perhaps repentance is like tuning back to the desired channel and hearing the broadcast again, loud and clear. Through humble recognition, apologies, and forgiveness we can turn it all around by re-burying weapons and re-establishing peace in our relationships and in our home. 


We as covenant couples need revelation now more than ever to help us navigate these perilous times we live in. We need direction in where to live and which jobs to pursue. We need inspiration in raising sin-resistant kids to help us know when to listen and how to teach. We need increased clarity in discerning truth from error in a world where evil is being called good and good evil. We can’t afford to let the adversary stir up our hearts and block the heavens when there is so much at stake. Burying our weapons and inviting revelation into our homes is what our Heavenly Parents and Jesus Christ want for us and our families. Though avoiding contention may seem impossible, trust that They will make a way (see 1 Nephi 3:7) as They always do. Time in the temple is one of those ways. Elder Jonathan S. Scmitt promised, “Every time we worship in the temple, we leave endowed with greater power to make our homes places of holiness.” 

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