One of the most precious gifts my parents have shared with me during my childhood, was their love for the temple. Their desire to worship in the House of the Lord was constant and never wavering, despite the long distance and high cost of traveling to the closest temple.
In the late 80´s, during the renovation of the Bern Switzerland temple, our family traveled to Frankfurt, Germany. I still clearly remember the day we arrived at the temple. I was only nine years old and, even though my brother and I had accompanied our parents to the temple many times, this experience was different for me. As we stepped into the reception of the patron housing, I felt a sense of joy and belonging that I had never experienced before. I remember seating there with a sensation that was new to me, overwhelmed with embracing love. I remember my mother explaining that those feelings were given by the Spirit of the Lord, who was testifying to me that I was in His holy house. Even though I did not fully understand it then, it was clear to me that what I was feeling was a personal gift from the Lord.
In the 10th century BC, after many generations, the people of Israel had finally built a temple to the Lord. The book of Kings records the dedicatory prayer offered by king Salomon. The king had gathered the people to offer a dedicatory ceremony and a feast unto the Lord. After placing the ark of the covenant into the “most holy place” (1), a cloud descended on the temple and “the glory of the Lord…filled the house of the Lord” (2). Like for their fathers traveling in the desert, the Lord was offering to His people a clear manifestation of His own presence in the temple (3). The Lord had made no distinction between a temporary tabernacle of fabric and a precious one made of stone; both were accepted by Him, as they represented the best sacrifice the people had to offer at that time.
As part of the dedicatory prayer, king Salomon pleads several times to “hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant” (4) and to hear His people whenever they will repent and turn towards His house. As Salomon prays, he knows that the temple not only blesses peoples and nations, but especially individuals and families, and therefore adds “What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man…which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house. Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest” (5)
Over the years, the personal joy and love I felt that day in Frankfurt, have grown to become knowledge and greater understanding of our Father in Heaven, and provided me with the blessing of experiencing His love and tailored counsel. In the temple, I have come to know that the Lord knows “the plague of my own heart”, and that hears me when I turn to the temple with faith. Another thing I have learned is that building a personal relationship with and knowledge of Christ in the temple require sacrifice, faith and desire. In the words of Elder Bednar: “There is a difference between church-attending, tithe-paying members who occasionally rush into the temple to go through a session and those members who faithfully and consistently worship in the temple.” (6)
President Nelson also added “Building and maintaining temples may not change your life but spending your time in the temple surely will” (7). May we all discover the joy of worshiping in His holy house, where God knows “the plague of (our) own heart” (5) and will hearken to our supplications (4).
1. 1 Kings 8:6
2. 1 Kings 8:10-11
3. Exodus 33:7-11
4. 1 Kings 8:28-30
5. 1 Kings 8:38-40
6. Elder David A. Bednar, Honorably Hold a Name and Standing, General Conference April 2009
7. President Russell M. Nelson, Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints, General Conference Oct. 2018