Video and audio versions of this devotional address:
I am grateful to be with you on another great day at BYU-Idaho. To all of you, I extend my love and best wishes.
In a few days we will witness the dedication and opening of the Rexburg Temple. The temple is glorious! It will be a great blessing to us all.
The Rexburg Temple comes at a marvelous time, but also at a time of commotion and darkness. There are wars and rumors of wars in many nations. The wars of men are fought with terrible instruments of destruction, and they bring devastation and heartache and death.
But there is another war, a larger even more destructive war all around us. I speak of the Great War - the war that began in pre-mortality and continues on earth, the war between good and evil, the war for the hearts and souls of men.
The Great War is a central part of the testing and refining experience of mortal life. It is a spiritual war in which there can be much anxiety and worry, much suffering and pain, much despair and fear. I know that some of you are worried about what might come, and some of you are struggling even now in the battles of the Great War.
I want to provide a voice of invitation and hope: Come to the temple! Put your life in order and prepare to enter the holy temple. Come and receive the supernal blessings the Lord has prepared for you.
To those of you who are not yet endowed, I say, "Prepare now to attend the temple when the time is right. Live the commandments." As you do so, you will feel growing strength and spiritual power until the day comes when you are prepared and worthy and ready to receive your temple blessings.
To you who have been endowed, I say, "Come to the temple often." Make sure your recommend is current, and use it often. Come to receive all the blessings the Lord desires to give you.
When we speak of temple blessings, we speak of the powers of heaven given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. I will highlight three kinds of blessings and three sources of power we receive in the temple: knowledge, sacred covenants and promises, and the blessing of an eternal family.
The temple is a house of learning, especially about the plan of salvation. We learn many wonderful things in the temple about our Heavenly Father, about His Only Begotten Son, about the plan of redemption, and about our divine nature and destiny. We learn about our purpose here on earth, about the Great War, and about what we must do to return home to our Father. In this sacred knowledge there is power against the deception, the attacks, and the distractions of the Enemy.
Covenants and Promises
In the temple we take upon ourselves sacred obligations of obedience, virtue, and dedication that bind us to the Lord. There is great power in those personal covenants. When they are written in our hearts, they become our deepest desires and our most precious and sacred commitments.
These covenants also come with great promises, promises so magnificent and so full of power that our brothers and sisters in many parts of the world travel many, many days and sell all they possess in order to receive these promises.
The temple is the place on earth where we may go to start a new eternal family. In the Lord's house, the ordinance of sealing binds us to our eternal companion and to the Lord and establishes an eternal family. Every sealing ordinance is one more welding link in the great chain of the generations, one more thread in the tapestry of heaven.
The creation of an eternal family in the holy temple carries with it the supernal promises and blessings of eternity. If we are true and faithful to our covenants, we will be "sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true" (Doctrine and Covenants 76:53). We will be joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), and He will seal us His.
When we attend the holy temple, we experience the presence of the Lord and feel His power. Going to the temple, therefore, is a spiritual experience full of power that inspires, edifies, lifts, and strengthens.
Come to the temple! Come to learn the blessed truths of salvation; come to partake of sacred ordinances and enter into eternal covenants; come to be sealed in an eternal family; come to receive glorious promises and blessings of capacity and protection and strength; come for peace; come to serve and love; come for the Savior - to be in His presence, to feel of His love and His power.
Come and be endowed with power from on high. It is the power that is in Christ and in His holy house that will help us resist temptation, overcome evil, reach out to love and help the wounded, serve and obey, and be valiant in a time of war.
I give you my witness that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I know the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove and launched the Restoration of the gospel, including the power and authority to administer all the blessings of the holy temple. That power has been handed down in an unbroken chain from Joseph Smith to [Thomas S. Monson]. I so testify.
I know the temple is the house of the Lord. And I know the blessings of the temple are worth everything it takes to get there. I hope and pray that all of you will receive all your temple blessings, including the blessing of an eternal family. I bless you that you will have the righteous desires of your hearts. Those blessings will come in the Lord's time and in His way, but I bless you they will come. Please let those desires and this personal blessing work in you and point you to the House of the Lord.
Look to the temple, to heaven on earth. Let this magnificent temple on the hill draw you to Christ and give you hope, and strength, and power. The Rexburg Temple stands as a glorious invitation to come unto Christ, that we might put our trust in Him and prevail through Him and with Him now and forever.
I leave you this blessing and my witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.