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How Attending the Temple Makes Us Better Missionaries

Editor’s Note: This is a missionary farewell talk given by Hemmert MacGyyver, who served in Argentina.

In the temple, we learn about many things our Father in Heaven wants us to learn, including His plan for us. He has also provided a way for us to help those children who have passed away without hearing the Gospel.

Each time we plan on going to the temple, we must prepare ourselves in a way that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father. There are many ways we can prepare to enter the temple, and each works in its own way.

Some common ways to prepare to enter into the temple are: diligent scripture studies; fasting; prayer; collecting family history information; seeking guidance from church leaders, family members and friends. As we prepare, we can become more spiritually in tune by praying for the Spirit to be with us throughout our experience.

When we go to the temple we usually go for specific reasons. The first time we go through the temple, we go to receive our own endowments, and we begin a new chapter in our spiritual growth. Experiencing the temple for the first time may be overwhelming for many people but with the help of family, friends, and church leaders, we can come to a full understanding of what is in store for us.

We can also gain a greater understanding when we return to the temple time and time again. After we are endowed, we have the opportunity to extend this great blessing to those who have passed on in our family. We can do this by participating in proxy ordinances that allow us to stand in on behalf of those whom the work is being done for. We perform these ordinances because those who have passed on might not have had the chance to learn of the Gospel in its fullness in their mortal lifetime.

Each time we go to the temple, we can gain a greater understanding and further knowledge of the covenants that we have made with our Heavenly Father. We can also create a closer bond with our friends and family that we are doing work for.

While inside the temple, we are taught of our Father’s love for us and the love that He has for all his children. It is this same love that we must have for each other, whether we are friends or foes. We don’t have to like each other or the things that others do, but we should still love them as the brothers and sisters that they are.

As we learn to love our brothers and sisters, we learn to love ourselves. It is through this love that we can share the gospel with those around us. It is with this love that we can turn to our Father and seek His guidance on how, what, and when we should teach.

It’s funny how some of the most difficult people to teach are those who we are closest to and love so dearly. It may seem harder to teach these people because we are opening ourselves in such a way that if it is not accepted, we may end up losing that friend or possibly offending them. Yet, even as this may be so, we have also been instructed to have faith that if we are doing according to the Lord’s will, He will guide us, and we can and will be told the very words to say even in the very minute that they are needed.

We may have many fears about sharing the gospel with close friends and even family, but when we have the Holy Ghost with us in our conversations, their hearts will be softened, and the message that they are in need of at that time will be revealed to us, and we will be able to share that with them. This is only possible if we have the Holy Ghost with us at all times because we never know when these conversations may arise.

One way that we can be sure to have to Holy Ghost with us is by attending the temple often so we can remember what we learned in the temple and hopefully be able to use that knowledge to teach others. As long as we have faith in the Lord and we are listening to the spirit, we can and will bring others unto Christ. While in the temple, we learn to listen to the spirit in such a way that prepares us to do this very thing.

Elder Richard G. Scott shares, “When we live righteously and have received the ordinances of the temple, everything else is in the hands of the Lord.”

“About sixteen years ago I decided to attend the temple and complete an ordinance at least once a week. When I am traveling I make up the missed visits in order to achieve that objective. I have kept that resolve, and it has changed my life profoundly. I strive to participate in all the different ordinances available in the temple.”

“I encourage you to establish your own goal of how frequently you will avail yourself of the ordinances offered in our operating temples. What is there that is more important than attending and participating in the ordinances of the temple? What activity could have a greater impact and provide more joy and profound happiness for a couple than worshiping together in the temple?” (“Temple Worship: The Source of Strength and Power in Times of Need,” Richard G. Scott, General Conference, April 2009)

I, for one, hope to follow as closely in Elder Scott’s footsteps, and if I should live close enough to a temple, I plan on going at least once a week. I know that if a temple were to be built here in the Pittsburgh area that many of you would do the same, if not more. It is with this same dedication that we must apply to the missionary work that goes on in this or any area where possible.

When we involve ourselves in temple work, everything else tends to fall into place. The temple gives us the strength we need to step out of our comfort zone and share the gospel with those individuals we never thought we would.

There are many times that I have seen the missionaries in our ward go out of their way to speak to someone on the street. Elder Neilson would literally run to catch up with and stay one-on-one with someone just to give them a pass-along card. I used to shake my head a bit and think that he was a bit odd, but now, I know at least a part of why he does this. He has so much love for the people out here that he just can’t wait to share what he knows with someone else.

The phrases and letters of o-y-m and t-t-e mean something to me. They say more than open your mouth and talk to everyone. To me, they have come to mean don’t be afraid, have faith, find a reason to love this person, and teach them. These 5 letters and others like them used in the mission field have so much more meaning than what they appear to have and certainly are more than just letters of the alphabet.

Once we have an understanding, and keep that understanding, of our Heavenly Father’s love and divine plan that comes only from the teaching within the temple, then we feel that we can and need to share this light and truth with others.

Elder Russel Nelson shares the sacredness of preparing to receive the celestial truth the temple provides us, “To enter the temple is a tremendous blessing. But first we must be worthy. We should not be rushed. We cannot cut corners of preparation and risk the breaking of covenants we were not prepared to make. That would be worse than not making them at all.” (“Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings,” Elder Russel Nelson, General Conference, April 2001).

Just as we prepare to enter the temple, we must also prepare ourselves to preach the gospel. One cannot remove the mote from their brother’s eye until the beam is removed from their own. If one is worthy to enter into one of the holy temples here on the earth today, they are worthy to teach the word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And to do so with the gift of the Holy Ghost that they may be guided as to whom to teach, what to teach, and when to teach it.

There are many in the world today that, just as was said to Joseph Smith, draw near to God with their words but are from him in their hearts. We have all been saved for these very days that we live in. As such, we have been given the task of bringing the children of our father back to him. This is not a Church where we come for a few hours each week and call it good. This is a church that is constantly growing, receiving direct revelation from our Heavenly Father as to what and how the affairs of the church are to be carried out.

These revelations have and still do come not just for the big details but for even the smallest of points in our lives as well. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not just something put together with toothpicks and string or a card house; it is so much more. It is a house of order. Every detail is accounted for and planned out and has been since it has been on the earth.

The temple endowment was given by revelation. Thus, it is best understood by revelation, prayerfully sought with a sincere heart. This is the same as the invitations that missionaries bring to those they teach. One of these invitations that has been given to all of us is to read the Book of Mormon, to do so with an open and prayerful heart and mind, and then, just as Moroni has done, invite them to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if the Book of Mormon is true.

Those who do so will receive an answer, one like many, if not all of us, have, that the Book of Mormon is true and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true restored church of Jesus Christ on the earth again today. It is through this great test of faith that we are made stronger. Our faith is made stronger, strong enough that we will be made ready to enter into the temple and have the faith to keep and understand the covenants made in the temple.

The other day I was listening to some downloads on my computer, and a talk from Elder David A. Bednar from the Quorum of the Twelve began to play. It’s titled “The Tender Mercies of the Lord”. After looking up the talk from the April 2005 conference, I found something that I’d like to quote from him, “Since last October I have reflected repeatedly upon the phrase “the tender mercies of the Lord.” Through personal study, observation, pondering, and prayer, I believe I have come to better understand that the Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits “his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men”(D&C 46:15)”. (“The Tender Mercies of the Lord,” David A. Bednar, General Conference, April 2005)

After reading this, it hit me that having temples here on the earth today and having missionary work being what it is, these are the Lord’s tender mercies that He has given to us. It is through the temple that we can and do prepare for missionary work, and it is by this work that others are able to get to the temple.

Missionary work and temples go hand in hand, just as so many aspects of the Church do. To even try to use one without the other just doesn’t work. They aren’t meant to.

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