Apparently someone else did :) My sweet friend Carol "chewed" him out (her word, not mine). So tonight's post is dedicated to her.
Yesterday was a very special Sunday for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormon Church) here in Utah. Now there's no way I can sit here and give you a lot of facts, like how many temples are here in Utah, but it doesn't matter. Every new temple built and dedicated is precious, eventful, and a sacred thing for each member of our church. It is a privilege to be a part of ushering in a new house of the Lord.
"Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred covenants with God. Because making covenants with God is such a solemn responsibility, individuals cannot enter the temple to receive their endowments or be sealed in marriage for eternity until they have fully prepared themselves and been members of the Church for at least a year. Throughout history, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. The Church is working to build temples all over the world to make temple blessings more available for a greater number of Heavenly Father's children" (lds.org, gospel topics, temples).
There are many extraordinary blessings that come from the temple. One of the foremost for our family is the sealing ordinance, which unites a husband and wife (marriage) or children to their parents. When the covenants made within the temple are kept throughout eternity, we firmly believe we will have the blessing of remaining a family throughout eternity.
"Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven" (Matthew 18:18).
Perhaps this truth (for we believe it to be true) becomes most vital to those of us who have lost someone we loved dearly to death. For us there is hope that not only will we be reunited in the heavens, but that we can continue to live on as a loving family unit.
Is it any wonder the idea of family is so important to us?
In the temple the family unit is one of the most central focuses of everything that is done there. Once work has been done for the individual, we look to doing work for those who have passed on in the hopes of tying our families together. Baptisms for the dead (or baptism by proxy) gives those who've died an opportunity to accept this gospel even after their mortal lives have passed.
(On a quick side note I do wish to say, for those who may not fully understand, we believe the gift to choose for ourselves what paths to take continues on even after we die. Just because someone who has died is baptized a member of our church doesn't mean they accept that baptism. We are only giving them the opportunity.)
Yesterday afternoon my oldest daughter, my husband, and I, as well as many other familiar and loved faces joined together with hundreds of other church members as the newest temple was dedicated here in Utah. We heard beautiful singing, inspirational talks regarding the wondrous blessings of temples as well as those who sacrifice so much to make it to a temple even once, and then, at last, the actual dedicatory prayer.
Our hearts were uplifted, our spirits fed. How blessed I feel not only to be a member of this church, but to live right here in Utah, where several temples are easily accessed. I was married in one of these precious buildings, for eternity. My children are sealed to me, for eternity. Through the promised blessings even my son who has passed before me is still mine - for eternity.
How truly blessed I am.