(Grandson James Skola viewing Salt Lake Temple)
Upon entry one is greeted by the words over the door to the temple, “Holiness to the Lord, the House of the Lord.” The key to entry is a standard which cannot be compromised, as exemplified in the following scripture: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart: who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” (Psalms 24:3, 4)
Those who enter here are taught those things which will prepare them for eternity, through even a greater knowledge of God and Jesus Christ than is taught in the world outside. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3
Here, in this sacred building, covenants are entered into to live a more Christ like life. Such covenants cannot be entered into lightly, for God will not be mocked. This can come not just through simple proclamation of love for Jesus, but rather by letting our very lives reflect that love, through a determined and steadfast desire to follow and keep His commandments, ALL of them, every day, for the remainder of our lives.
In the world marriages, (and marriage is to be sought after) are solemnized with the words, “till death do you part.” In the House of the Lord, we hear instead “for time and all eternity,” for indeed, the scripture the reads, “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11: 11) That which the Lord has ordained transcends time and eternity.
What man, loving his wife, or woman loving her husband, can desire less than that their union last beyond this life? For what is Heaven without family? And what are the tender mercies of a loving God if He will not grant the heart’s noblest desires, of family and home?
So sacred a ceremony can be performed only within the walls of the temple, and only by those with the divine authority to bind or seal on earth that which will be bound in Heaven.
We believe that Christ was foreordained and set apart to be a Savior unto both the living and the dead, and we read that Christ, “who hath…suffered for our sins” (1 Peter 3: 18-20) went and preached the Gospel to those who were dead, “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6)
In the House of the Lord is performed an ordinance which was practiced during the time of Paul, for he wrote to the Saints of Corinth: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15: 29) This ordinance has no validity save those for whom the ordinance is performed are accepting of it. In the spirit beyond the grave they may be, but their moral agency is not taken from them.
The ordinances and covenants entered into the House of the Lord testify of how kind, how loving, and how merciful indeed is the Lord Jesus Christ, for His salvation is unto all, not only for the living, but also for those beyond the grave! Indeed, they bear witness of the reality and His atonement for the sins of the living and the dead, and of His resurrection. They testify of His glorious labor, of which He proclaimed anciently, “…for behold this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” ( The Pearl of Great Price, Moses 1:39)
As we consider the sacredness of the labors performed therein, how significant then, and how true, the words over the portal of the temple, “Holiness to the Lord, the House of the Lord.”