Area Presidency Message

    Sacred Places and Holy Habits

    A family studying the scriptures

    Two of the most sacred places on earth are temples and our homes. Both have eternal significance for a family. Whether your family is made up of young children, teenagers, adults, father, mother, one parent, no children, or just you- alone, it is important for us to strengthen ourselves and our family spiritually.

    During my primary days, I learned the song: “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man” ¹ and I have never forgotten it. Over the years, I learned that it was not only a fun action song, it also teaches us a very important lesson. Most of us know that a good foundation is critical for every house. Especially in our country, it is sure protection from the many typhoons, flooding, and earthquakes that come very often. The same is true for our spiritual homes- our personal testimonies and conversion. Let us consider the scriptural foundation for this primary song:
    “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” ²

    And so, it is with our families and individual testimonies, not only do we have to build upon a rock- we also have to dig deep. Now, that means hard work but the deeper the foundation, the stronger the house. To add depth to our understanding, let’s consider this oft quoted passage:

    “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” ³


    Our testimony of Jesus Christ and His atonement is the most important thing in our life.


    In terms of our spiritual foundation, our testimonies and deepening conversion, we just do not build upon any rock. We build upon the rock of Christ- a sure foundation. Simply put, we need to have faith in and strive to follow Jesus Christ. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:

    “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.” 

    Our testimony of Jesus Christ and His atonement is the most important thing in our life. I am grateful to the insightful description of Luke on how the storms of life can sometimes come. It can beat upon our faith “vehemently” ⁵ or with such tremendous force that if we are not properly founded upon Christ, we will fall.

    Youth at the Cebu Cuty Temple

    The following passage from the Book of Mormon describes a simple strategy employed by the Nephites that preserved their lives. It frustrated the intent and design of the Lamanites. I have found this approach very applicable to us today:

    “…because of the greatness of their numbers…and they had also prepared themselves with shields, and with breastplates…with garments of skins, yea, very thick garments to cover their nakedness.

    And being thus prepared they supposed that they should easily overpower and subject their brethren to the yoke of bondage or slay and massacre them according to their pleasure. But behold, to their uttermost astonishment, they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known among the children of Lehi. Now they were prepared for the Lamanites, to battle after the manner of the instructions of Moroni.” 

    First, we need to sacrifice and be willing to do things we have never done before. Second, we need to heed the counsel and admonition of our living prophet. I recall during one of our studies of “Come, Follow Me for Individuals and Families”, one of the suggested discussions was on preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We simply asked the question: “what can we do now to prepare.” One of the simplest yet most profound answers given was: “Always make sure that you have a current temple recommend and that you are worthy of it.” It is a privilege to be able to declare to the Lord through his anointed servants that we are worthy in every way to enter His house and participate in sacred ordinances. Having a current temple recommend signifies to the Lord that we are trying our best to obey His commandments and keep our sacred covenants. It is a reminder that we are disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    The following invitation from President Russell M. Nelson on how we should regard the temple in our lives is a good reminder:

    “My dear brothers and sisters, the assaults of the adversary are increasing exponentially, in intensity and in variety. Our need to be in the temple on a regular basis has never been greater. I plead with you to take a prayerful look at how you spend your time. Invest time in your future and in that of your family. If you have reasonable access to a temple, I urge you to find a way to make an appointment regularly with the Lord—to be in His holy house—then keep that appointment with exactness and joy. I promise you that the Lord will bring the miracles He knows you need as you make sacrifices to serve and worship in His temples.” ⁷ ◼︎

    Notes:

    1. Children’s Songbook, 281
    2. Luke 6:47-48 (Matthew 7:24)
    3. Helaman 5:12
    4. Teachings of the Presidents- Joseph Smith, page 50
    5. Luke 6:48
    6. Alma 49:6-8
    7. October 2018 General Conference, “Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints”