You’re Invited: The Opportunities of Temple Attendance

By Lauren Madsen

We’ve been in the teenage phase with our oldest for a few years now. It is interesting and sometimes a little painful to watch how kids choose to include or exclude each other. Feelings get hurt. Relationships and self-esteem are damaged. I have noticed a couple of things about this phase. First, getting invited is a big deal, whether or not a person chooses to go. Second, getting invited is just the first part of having a good experience. Once an invite has been accepted, a person’s motives and attitude can make for a meaningful or mediocre experience.

As I walked into the temple this week I thought about how so much of what Heavenly Father has in store for us comes by way of invitation. We are not coerced. We have the chance to choose. The way I think about the temple is changing as I study the invitations I accept when I go there. We are all invited. True, we have to qualify. But God doesn’t have an exclusive guest list of his favorites. He wants all of His children in His house.

So while we need not worry about being invited (because we are!), we can shape our time in the temple by understanding the many invitations being offered. It is easy to let our temple attendance become that couple of hours we can check off our to-do list, but we can make it so much more than that. We have been taught that through our temple attendance we are invited to:

  • COME TO KNOW CHRIST: “Everything taught in the temple, through instruction and through the Spirit, increases our understanding of Jesus Christ.” (President Russell M. Nelson)
  • EXPERIENCE PEACE: “Go to the house of the Lord and there feel of His Spirit and community with Him and you will know a peace that you will find nowhere else.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley)
  • GAIN CLARITY THROUGH PERSONAL REVELATION: “[Christ] wants you to comprehend your privileges, promises, and responsibilities. He wants you to have spiritual insights and awakenings you’ve never had before.” (President Russell M. Nelson)
  • LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND: “We should leave our worldly thoughts behind and focus on the sacred responsibilities that are ours.”(Elder L. Lionel Kendrick)
  • BE PART OF A SANCTUARY OF SERVICE: “Most of the work done in this sacred house is performed vicariously in behalf of those who have passed beyond the veil of death. I know of no other work to compare with it. It more nearly approaches the vicarious sacrifice of the Son of God in behalf of all mankind than any other work of which I am aware.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley)
  • REFINE OUR NATURES: “[Going to the house of the Lord] will peel off the selfish shell in which most of us live. It will literally bring a sanctifying element into our lives and make us better men and women.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley)
  • INCREASE THE POWER OF GOD (AND DECREASE THE POWER OF SATAN) IN OUR LIVES: “Satan certainly does not want you to understand that every time you worthily serve and worship in the temple, you leave armed with God’s power and with His angels having ‘charge over’ you.” (President Russell M. Nelson)

Though this is not a complete list, remembering these invitations (and others) can enhance our experience every time we enter the temple. It becomes a priceless privilege that all are invited to participate in. I love what President Nelson said in the Sunday afternoon session of October Conference that really puts the invitations of temple attendance in perspective: “I promise that increased time in the temple will bless your life in ways nothing else can. May you focus on the temple in ways you never have before.”

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