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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Scriptures Teach that My Body Is a Temple

            A month or two into 2019 I felt prompted to do my scripture study electronically. I had often read the scriptures on my cell phone, but I had not learned how to use the available tools provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Even though I did not know much about the tools that are available in the LDS Library app, I did recognize that Heavenly Father wanted me to develop new skills and knowledge. 

I was obedient to the prompting and began studying the scriptures on my iPad. I slowly learned how to use the various tools, learning first how to mark the scriptures. Then I learned how to add notes and how to file them under different topics. I eventually learned to link various scriptures and notes to other references in the library.

I recently felt prompted to write a blog post on a gospel topic. I do not remember the subject, but I do remember the feeling of not wanting to do the research for it. The Holy Ghost reminded me that I had already done it and could find it in my electronic scripture base. I was ecstatic! I quickly wrote the essay and posted it to my blog.

Today I had another confirmation of the importance of using technology to study the scriptures. I was doing my “Come, Follow Me” studies for this week and felt impressed to do some extra studying. I later felt prompted to use material from my studies to write this blog post about the importance of our physical bodies. I was happy once again to have numerous quotes in my personal library to include in my essay.

Today’s studies covered Romans 12:1 where Paul urges the Romans to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” I went to the New Testament Student Manual – Religion 211-212 (p. 357) for additional information and found the following quote by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “As our body is the instrument of our spirit, it is vital that we care for it as best we can. We should consecrate its powers to serve and further the work of Christ” (“Reflections on a Consecrated Life,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 17). 

            The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that our bodies are temples. If we keep our bodies physically and spiritually clean and worthy of His presence, the Holy Spirit will dwell within us and will guide us in our lives. This quote from Elder Christofferson says that we should consecrate our bodies to service in the work of God, and the Holy Ghost will help us. 

The accompanying information in the student manual explains that Paul drew a parallel between making our bodies “a living sacrifice” and the Old Testament practice of sacrificing animals. It also included this quote from then-Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

We are still commanded to sacrifice, but not by shedding the blood of animals. Our highest sense of sacrifice is achieved as we make ourselves more sacred or holy. This we do by our obedience to the commandments of God. Thus, the laws of obedience and sacrifice are indelibly intertwined…. As we comply with these and other commandments, something wonderful happens to us. We become disciplined! We become more sacred and holy – like our Lord! (“Lessons from Eve,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 88). 

            After I read the above quotes and added them to my notes, they seemed vaguely familiar. I sensed that I had recently read something else about caring for our physical bodies. I remembered after a few moments that the August 2019 Ensign came yesterday, and I read a few articles in it about the importance of our physical bodies in Heavenly Father’s plan for our happiness. I quickly obtained the magazine and turned to the pages I had read. After looking them over, I added them to my personal library. The first one was a statement from President Russell M. Nelson to the youth of the Church.

The gift of our physical bodies is a transcendent miracle. A unique body is given to each of us by our loving Heavenly Father. He created it as a tabernacle for our spirit, to assist each of us in our quest to fulfill the full measure of our creation. Our bodies allow each of us to experience the great plan of salvation that He has designed for all His precious children. He wants us eventually to become more like Him and return to live with Him. That great blessing would not be possible without our first receiving a physical body in this probationary estate (“Your Body: A Magnificent Gift to Cherish,” New Era, Aug. 2019, 2). 

This is not the first time that President Nelson spoke about our physical bodies as being part of God’s plan for our happiness. When he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, then-Elder Nelson said the following. 

With your body being such a vital part of God’s eternal plan, it is little wonder that the Apostle Paul described it as a ‘temple of God’ [1 Cor. 3:26; see also 6:19]. Each time you look in the mirror, see your body as your temple. That truth – refreshed gratefully each day – can positively influence your decisions about how you will care for your body and how you will use it (“Decisions for Eternity,” Ensign, Nov. 2013, 107). 

            We show respect and reverence for great cathedrals and temples dedicated to God. We should show the same type of respect and reverence for our physical bodies because they are our personal temples and are essential for our eternal salvation. Just as we would not write on the walls of the temples or make holes in them, the prophets and apostles tell us that we should not have tattoos on our body or extra holes in it. 

            I have shared with you only a few of the quotes that I found in my gospel study and included in my personal gospel library today. I have quick access to these quotes whenever I need them because I listened to the Lord’s prompting to move my scripture study to a higher spiritual level. 

I still feel more comfortable with my paper copy of the scriptures. I often return to them when searching for a specific verse because I know where the verse is located on the page. However, I am learning that there is great value in using the electronic scriptures. I am grateful for the prompting I received so many months ago and for the blessings that are coming to me as I follow that counsel.

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