Thursday, 13 November 2014

Blessings of the Temple

I'm writing this at almost midnight having returned from my first ever trip to the Preston Temple! I have been literally blown away!!! I cannot explain the level of spiritual calm and spiritual peace that I am feeling at the moment and that I've felt ever since I set foot in the Temple earlier this evening. 

LDS Temple in Chorley, near Preston, England
I received my Limited-Use Temple Recommend from the Bishop this last Sunday and was very excited as a result. Our Stake President, President Marshall, set Liverpool Stake the challenge of indexing at least one batch of names and to work on our family histories and take at least one name to the temple with us during this week; our Stake Temple Week.

I have been doing some indexing since I joined the Church and try to do a couple of batches each week but I had hit a brick wall with my family history. I realised that I didn't really know what I was doing and I mentioned this to one of my companions from the church when we were manning the local Poppy Appeal table last week. Sister Kopecna generously offered to help me with my Family History work and help me she did! With her assistance, I was able to track down 14 people from my family to add to my Family Tree and for whom Temple work could be completed, where appropriate.

I didn't realise how much this meant to me, but before I left for the Temple this evening, I prayed to Heavenly Father to ask His help at the Temple tonight and I asked for His guidance and to for me to act in the way that He wants me to act and what He wanted me to do. I was overcome with emotion and ended up sobbing my heart out. It was entirely unexpected. Then, I was suddenly embraced by a feeling of warmth and the tears stopped as quickly as they started. I had to go to the Temple and do what I was asked. So I did and I feel so so blessed as a result. Both when I was being baptised and when I was being confirmed, I felt the Spirit with me very strongly and I was again overcome with emotion. It was as though I could hear my ancestors. I could feel them. It was a beautiful and very moving experience and I was pretty sad when we had to leave. I didn't want the feeling of peace to end - and it hasn't.

I have a testimony of the peace of the temple and I'm looking forward to doing more work on my family tree and reconnecting with my ancestors. I now understand what President Monson meant when he said:

"As we go to the holy house, as we remember the covenants we make therein, we will be able to bear every trial and overcome each temptation. The temple provides purpose for our lives. It brings peace to our souls - not the peace provided by men but the peace promised by the Son of God when He said, 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid'".

In 1995, President Boyd K Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, counseled:

"The Lord will bless us as we attend to the sacred ordinance work of the temples. Blessings there will not be limited to our temple service. We will be blessed in all our affairs" (The Holy Temple, Ensign, February 1995).

I always want to have a valid Temple Recommend because I do not want to never be able to experience the peace that I'm feeling now. I want this peace to be with me always. How about you?

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Finding Joy Through Loving Service

The Church pamphlet "For the Strength of Youth" counsels us that "Service to others is an important characteristic of a disciple of Jesus Christ". I want to be a good disciple of Jesus Christ, after all, when I was baptised at the end of August, I covenanted with Heavenly Father to take upon myself the name of Jesus Christ, to always remember Him, keep His commandments and to serve Him to the end. Regardless of all that, I also really enjoy helping people, so I'm keen to perform acts of service whenever I can. 

Today, I have another opportunity to serve in my local community - helping the Royal British Legion to raise money for the 2014 Poppy Appeal. The Legion are aiming to raise £40,000,000 for the Armed Forces through this year's appeal. You can read the story of the poppy here.

Church members have been helping our contact at the Royal British Legion sell paper poppies (donation only), commemorative wooden crosses (donations only), wristbands, car stickers, car bumper poppies, money boxes, etc at our local Tesco Supermarket for a couple of each hours each day for the past week. It's really not a difficult task - if you consider the number of men and women who gave their lives in both World War I and World War II, to allow us to now live in peacetime, you realise what little sacrifice a couple of hours once a year really is. 

There are so many ways to help out! You can volunteer and give a couple of hours of your time to the Royal British Legion, raising money to support their welfare work for the families of the armed forces past and present, or you can make a one-off or a regular donation. You can even donate online. There really are plenty of way to help out. 

Remember the commandment we were given in John 13:34-35:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.