Sunday, August 16, 2009

Friends and More Thoughts on the Temple

"We are only the product of our associations with other people. We should never be proud our haughty about what happens to us. The credit really belongs to someone else…We should always remember that." –Elder L. Tom Perry

This past week, and more particularly last night, the reality of my friends leaving to their various colleges and universities has hit me hard. It is a sad thing, to me, that they have to leave, learn, grow up, and do adult things without me. At the same time, I am proud of each of them and the choices they are making.

I am convinced that not many people in the world associate daily with the type of friends that I have, friends who have committed themselves to live by a high, moral standard, and for that I am grateful!

At this time of parting, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has influenced me for the better; there are a lot of you. We have shared stories, experiences, and testimonies. We have labored together to help others. We have joined in prayer for each other. We have confided in each other. We have mourned with each other. We have played together. We have biked, hiked, camped, cooked, and played racquetball together. And we have taken joy in each other's successes!

There is a light in your eyes. I am better because I knew you.

Thank you!

More thoughts on the temple:

I have been to the temple a total of three times. Since the first time, I have participated again in the endowment secession and also in a sealing secession. Each experience has been unique and special. I love the temple!

I have noticed some other effects of the temple that I didn't mention in my last post. These include subdued passions, a sense of freedom from worldly influences, and an increased desire to choose the right.

I would like to share with you a scripture that I found in my Book of Mormon study that conveys the effects I feel from the temple. (This scripture more particularly expresses those feelings of 'freedom from worldly influences' that I mentioned in my last post.)

The scripture is found in 2 Nephi 10:23-24:

23 Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.

24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

There is a great work going on in the temple, which thing I had never fully understood before I attended. I am surprised by the magnitude of temple workers and patrons that are in the temple; at every turn there are people, each one engaged in the service of the deceased. Daily, the prayers of thousands of temple patrons are offered in behalf of the missionaries, the youth, and for the names of people on the prayer-role in the temple.

It is no longer a wonder to me why there is so much stress placed on temple worthiness and temple-attendance. Just imagine the kind of world we would live in if all members of the Church lived with the temple as a focus in their life—living worthy to go to the temple, keeping the covenants they've made in the temple, returning to the temple often to seek divine inspiration concerning their struggles.

Blessings await those who attend the temple and who strive to live, with full purpose of heart, the standards and covenants of the temple.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Temple

Yesterday I went to the temple to receive my own endowment.

In the hours leading up to my temple trip, I became nervous, but when we entered the temple, I felt a certain assurance. My guide, Brother Brown, took me here and there with little instruction and no explanation. Eventually he took me over to the initiatory ordinance rooms where two other brethren who officiated in the ordinance took me back and began. As soon as the Washing and Anointing started, I felt the Spirit so strongly that any feelings of anxiety or nervousness were expelled. I knew in that moment that the temple and all the ordinances therein were sacred and that I was participating in events vital to my salvation.

As counseled by my Stake President, I listened very closely to the instructions and blessings that were being pronounced. The Spirit continued throughout the ordinance, and I was filled with wonder at the many marvelous blessings God grants unto all His children who receive the sacred ordinances and covenants of the temple and remain obedient. As I left the ordinance room, I was filled with gratitude.

After the initiatory, a member of the temple presidency gave me additional instruction and talked about the endowment secession a little bit. The endowment secession is very cool, but there is a lot of information. Most of the insights I’ve received about the endowment have come afterward. I cannot wait to go back and soak up all that I missed. And then go back again.

The most noticeable effects of the temple for me, both immediate and lasting, are clarity of thought and a more-defined purpose.

I understand now part of the reason why there is so much emphasis placed on temple-worthiness and temple-attendance.

The church is true: Temples are awesome!

Mormon Messages: Why Mormons Build Temples
Mormon Messages: The Blessings of the Temple

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Email to Family

Hi all,

This is Spencer.

You may have already heard through the grapevine about my mission call, but I wanted to tell all of you about it personally:

On Wednesday, July 29, I received and opened my mission call. The call is to the Taiwan Taichung Mission, and I report on November 11, 2009. This mission comprises the same area my mom served her mission (though it had a different name at the time) and is the same area that I lived while I was on my foreign exchange there. I'm very excited to go!

It's interesting how the Lord directs our lives huh? I thought my previous time in Taiwan was just a fun experience to look back on, but now with the perspective the mission call brings, I can see that God was preparing me to serve the people there. I have an understanding of the culture, I love the food, and I have a basic language-foundation to build on. What a blessing!

I'll keep all of you posted about the farewell date, addresses, etc.

Thank you for your love and support.