Wednesday, April 27, 2016

7 Truths to Teach Your Children about the Temple



Earlier this month, my wife and I took our oldest child to the temple for the first time. She had just turned 12 years old. It was a sacred and joyous occasion, one we had looked forward to for many years with great anticipation. Our experience at the temple with our daughter exceeded even our highest expectations and was a highlight of our 12 years of parenting. There are few things I hope for more as a father than that my children will cherish the temple and always remain worthy to enter and learn within its sacred walls.

I have reflected this month on the truths our children need to understand about the temple. I believe they need to understand these truths at a younger and younger age, well before they reach the age of 12 and can enter the temple for the first time to perform baptisms on behalf of their own ancestors. As parents, we must take the time to teach our children plain and simple truths about the temple that will help them look to the temple as a beacon that will guide them safely back to our Father in Heaven’s presence. Here are 7 truths we can all teach our children about the temple today:





1.     Temples Are a Declaration that the Resurrection Is Real and Life Is Eternal

Last week, as my wife and I sat with our daughter in the baptistry of the Washington DC Temple, a member of the temple presidency came down to visit with us. He asked a simple but profound question that left an impression on us and prepared us for the experiences we would have that morning. “Why does the Church care so much about building temples?” he asked. After pausing for a few moments, he offered an answer: “The Church is focused on building temples because the resurrection is real and because life is eternal.”

His answer reminded me of what Paul taught the members of the ancient church in one of the most beautiful chapters on the resurrection in all scripture, 1 Corinthians chapter 15: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead. If the dead rise not at all, why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Cor 15:29). In other words, without the conviction we have concerning the reality of the resurrection, there would be no reason to do baptisms on behalf of our deceased ancestors. We must teach our children that temples across the earth are a powerful declaration that the resurrection is real and life is eternal.



2.     Temples Teach Us to Love Our Ancestors

At a time when it can be easy for all of us to focus too much on ourselves, our wants and wishes, I am grateful that the temple invites us to search for our ancestors and study their lives. I appreciate even more that the temple can teach our children to love and cherish the individuals that constitute the fabric of their personal heritage. I have always loved Isaac Newton’s statement: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” We and our children are so blessed by the ability to stand on the shoulders of ancestors and loved ones who came before us. I am thankful the temple can teach us and our children to honor our ancestors, to look to those ancestors for examples of faith and strength, and to bind ourselves to them through sacred ordinances performed by priesthood authority in temples.



3.     Temples Promise that Our Family Relationships Can Last Forever

From their first days as Sunbeams in a Primary class, our children are taught to sing, “Families can be together forever, through Heavenly Father’s plan.” Could there be a more reassuring and comforting promise for a child to learn than that? As parents, our responsibility is to teach our children the central role of the temple in that promise. If we can help our children understand that in the gospel of Jesus Christ, temples and temple ordinances are the keys to being sealed together—eternally—as families, they will look to the temple for the fulfillment of their noblest desires.




4.     The Standards for Temple Worthiness Are a Gift from Heavenly Father

Some of the loudest voices our children will hear in the world today suggest that any standard of behavior is acceptable. As societies around the world become increasingly indifferent about standards of morality, the boundaries that defined appropriate behavior for generations are crumbling. Against this backdrop, we must teach our children that the standards for temple worthiness are a gift from Heavenly Father. These standards include faith in Jesus Christ, personal integrity, and obedience to the commandments of God. Temple worthiness standards will set our children on a path that leads to lasting happiness and joy in life.



5.     Temples Are a Refuge from the Storm

For Latter-day Saints in Texas, last week delivered an indelible image of the temple that none of us will forget. Following powerful storms that dumped up to 16 inches of rain in a single day in Houston, severe flooding spread throughout the area and largely shut down the city. More than 1,000 homes were flooded and property damage in the Houston area is estimated to have exceeded $5 billion. In the midst of the chaos from the storm, a remarkable photograph of the Houston Temple began circulating on social media. A local member of the church, Robert Boyd, took the photograph during the evening and captured a stunning image of the temple set back against the flood waters that had taken over all the roads surrounding the temple. Brother Boyd’s photograph is a powerful reminder to all of us that the temple is a refuge from the storm, a lesson we must teach our children at an early age.



6.     The Temple Reminds Us that We All Need More Peace and Holiness in Our Lives

For me, one of the most valuable lessons I learn every time I visit the temple is simply the power of inviting peace and holiness into my life. Life can become busy and chaotic so easily; the temple invites us to slow down and make time for sacred things. No one speaks above a whisper in the temple, and the peace and quiet can renew our spirits. We need to teach our children that the temple provides an invaluable source of peace and holiness we can invite into our lives.



7.     Everything in the Temple Points Us to the Lord Jesus Christ

I believe the most important thing we can teach our children about the temple is that everything in the temple points us to the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything we say and do in the temple is a witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His role as our Savior and Redeemer. Visiting the temple and participating in temple ordinances will strengthen our children’s faith in Christ and will teach them to rely on the Savior and come unto Him for the peace that only he can provide.



Nate Sharp is an associate professor in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University and currently serves as bishop of the College Station 3rd ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He grew up in Holladay, Utah, served a full-time mission for the Church in the Korea Seoul West mission from 1996-1998, and later graduated from Brigham Young University and the University of Texas at Austin. He married Holly Carroll in 2003, and they are the proud parents of five beautiful children.

12 comments:

  1. Thank you, very much for this spiritual incite. I needed to be reminded that the temple is a refuge from the chaos in the world

    ReplyDelete
  2. This was a good read. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such a wonderful message. In May my granddaughter turns 12 and she will be doing baptisms for my ancestors. What a wonderful message to share with her.

    ReplyDelete
  4. A very well put together read. Good for adults as well as children!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What simplicity of why we go to and need our temple attendance. Only place on earth I can be closest to my daughter who has already passed on.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Beautiful photos, even more beautiful message. Many thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete