Like the paying of tithes and offerings, temple attendance is a deeply sacred and personal action which brings divine blessings to us and our families. As such, our leaders have counseled us to go to the temple as often as our circumstances allow. However, because we don’t always recognize when we’ve received these blessings, being more like the righteous Lamanites who were “baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost and they knew it not (3 Nephi 9:20),” we might wonder if we are attending often enough to secure them.Each of us must answer that question for ourselves, taking into consideration our available time, abilities and family situations, but I have learned there are some common “signs” (the fruits of the devoted temple attendee’s labors) or blessings—we can use as a gauge:
1. Strengthened family relations, even with less active or non-member relatives. There are
several examples of this in the Ensign, but I also want to go on record as stating that due to my own and some of my other relatives’ temple attendance, I have seen marked improvement in my relationship with a less-active family member. Those miracles have come gradually, almost imperceptibly, but they have come.
2. A testimony of the temple burns inside them like an ever-present flame. Under the term, “Tabernacle,” the Bible Dictionary describes the portable temple the Israelites carried with them as they wandered through the wilderness. Inside it, the Holy of Holies “contained only one piece of furniture: the Ark of the Covenant, or the Ark of the Testimony” which housed sacred objects, like the two tables of stone. As I read this description, I immediately thought of a friend of mine. She, a mother with children ranging in ages between grade school and college, attends the temple every week so she can “stay sane.” In consequence, whenever we discuss problems we have with our families or our callings, she immediately says, “we need to go to the temple.” She, like the Ark of the Testimony, carries inside her bodily temple an ever-present testimony of the powerful priesthood blessings which come through temple attendance.
In her 1999 conference talk, Carol B. Thomas, then the First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, noted these additional blessings:
1. “Going to the temple often provides balance in our lives. After returning home, we have an increased sense of well-being; the influence of the Spirit can shield us from the frustrations of the world. Listen to this promise by President Hinckley: “If there were more temple work done in the Church, there would be less … selfishness, less … contention, less … demeaning [of] others. The whole Church would increasingly be lifted to greater heights of spirituality, love for one another, and obedience to the commandments of God” (Teachings, 622).”
2. “The spiritual atmosphere of the temple curbs our appetite for worldly things. When we attend frequently, we no longer have such a need to wear the latest fashion, and we are not so easily drawn to the entertainment of the world.”
3. “The temple is a place of revelation. Many years ago I was walking into the temple and in my mind I heard the words, Learn public speaking. I thought to myself, When will I ever have need for public speaking? Over several months’ period of time I tried very inadequately to conjure up some enthusiasm to obey the prompting I had received. I even checked out a tape from the local library by a public speaker who admitted that his goal was to someday speak in the Mormon Tabernacle. I thought at the time, I’ll never be speaking in the Tabernacle!"
4. “In the temple the Spirit of the Lord provides comfort and peace, especially during moments of despair. Recently I met a 35-year-old woman in the temple. As we visited, I asked if her husband was with her. With a look of tenderness in her eyes, she shared with me that he had died of a brain tumor three months ago. The temple is her anchor; the Spirit found in the temple gives her comfort and peace, and perhaps her husband was there.”
Finally, the October 2010, special issue of the Ensign on Temples beautifully testifies of their purposes and importance, but what I most love about this issue is its testimony of the temple’s power. It’s no secret that we live in a troubled, almost upside-down world, where Satan is working beyond overtime to destroy God’s work and His children. But what we members of Christ’s church sometimes forget is that God has not left us alone or without protection. The temple covenants and the lessons we learn there are the fortifications we and our children need. Thankfully, my children encourage me to attend the temple, so I know they have acquired testimonies of it, but whether our children say anything to us about the temple or not, or whether or not they know of the blessings they’ve received through our attendance, is not the most important thing. What matters is we have gone to the temple, and we continue to go to the temple, thereby securing the crucial priesthood strength and power we need in our families as we struggle to withstand the evils of these last days. President Boyd K. Packer describes this principle this way:
"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.”