Have you ever thought about what spiritual truths you could learn from the ordinances of the gospel? Heavenly Father instituted priesthood ordinances and gospel covenants to teach us and to help us prepare to return to His presence and live with Him for eternity. Ordinances are sacred and formal acts performed under priesthood authority; they symbolize gospel truths and teach us about the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. They also help us to learn who we are and what our duty is to God. When we learn about the symbolism in the ordinances, we can better understand the gospel and strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ.
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated that a “careful reading of the scriptures reveals that the Lord did not tell all things to all people. There were some qualifications set that were prerequisite to receiving sacred information. Temple ceremonies fall within this category….
“The ordinances and ceremonies of the temple are simple. They are beautiful. They are sacred. They are kept confidential lest they be given to those who are unprepared. Curiosity is not a preparation. Deep interest itself is not a preparation. Preparation for the ordinances includes preliminary steps: faith, repentance, baptism, confirmation, worthiness, a maturity and dignity worthy of one who comes invited as a guest into the house of the Lord….
“Before going to the temple for the first time, or even after many times, it may help you to realize that the teaching in the temples is done in symbolic fashion. The Lord, the Master Teacher, gave much of His instruction in this way.
“The temple is a great school. It is a house of learning. In the temples the atmosphere is maintained so that it is ideal for instruction on matters that are deeply spiritual. The late Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was a distinguished university president and a world-renowned scholar. He had great reverence for temple work and said on one occasion:
“`The temple ordinances encompass the whole plan of salvation, as taught from time to time by the leaders of the Church, and elucidate matters difficult of understanding. There is no warping or twisting in fitting the temple teachings into the great scheme of salvation. The philosophical completeness of the endowment is one of the great arguments for the veracity of the temple ordinances. Moreover, this completeness of survey and expounding of the Gospel plan, makes temple worship one of the most effective methods of refreshing the memory concerning the whole structure of the Gospel’ (“Temple Worship,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Apr. 1921, 58).
“If you will go to the temple and remember that the teaching is symbolic, you will never go in the proper spirit without coming away with your vision extended, feeling a little more exalted, with your knowledge increased as to things that are spiritual. The teaching plan is superb. It is inspired. The Lord Himself, the Master Teacher, taught His disciples constantly in parables – a verbal way to represent symbolically things that might otherwise be difficult to understand.
“The temple itself becomes a symbol. If you have seen one of the temples at night, fully lighted, you know what an impressive sight that can be. The house of the Lord, bathed in light, standing out in the darkness, becomes symbolic of the power and the inspiration of the gospel of Jesus Christ standing as a beacon in a world that sinks ever further into spiritual darkness.
“Upon entering the temple, you exchange your street clothing for the white clothing of the temple. This change of clothing takes place in the dressing room, where each individual is provided a locker and a dressing space that is completely private. In the temple the ideal of modesty is carefully maintained. As you put your clothing in the locker, you leave your cares and concerns and distractions there with them. You step out of this private little dressing area dressed in white, and you feel a oneness and a sense of equality, for all around you are similarly dressed….
“Temples are the very center of the spiritual strength of the Church. We should expect that the adversary will try to interfere with us as a Church and with us individually as we seek to participate in this sacred and inspired work. Temple work brings so much resistance because it is the source of so much spiritual power to the Latter-day Saints and to the entire Church….
“No work is more of a protection to this Church than temple work and the family history research that supports it. No work is more spiritually refining. No work we do gives us more power. No work requires a higher standard of righteousness.
“Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection, both individually and as a people.
“So come to the temple – come and claim your blessings. It is a sacred work.”
I attend the temple every week and usually complete two sessions each time I go. I learn something new every time I go. I find it easy to learn in the temple because the ordinances are taught so simply and so beautifully there. I love to go to the temple!