Since the sustaining of President Russell M. Nelson in April 2018, he has consistently invited us to live in a higher and holier way and to extend our vision beyond this life’s challenges to eternal opportunities. He said, “Our message to the world is simple and sincere: we invite all of God’s children on both sides of the veil to come unto their Savior, receive the blessings of the holy temple, have enduring joy, and qualify for eternal life.”1
A year later in general conference he taught, “God’s objective should be our objective. He wants His children to choose to return to Him, prepared, qualified, endowed, sealed, and faithful to covenants made in holy temples.”2
Growing up in Australia our closest temple was Hamilton New Zealand. As a new missionary in January 1976, I received my endowment there. I still remember experiencing tranquility and peace in a house of the Lord. I also remember the distinct feeling that I needed a choice eternal companion to receive the full blessings the temple has to offer.
In January 1979 when I returned with Maxine Thatcher, a most beautiful and righteous girl from my home ward, we were sealed for time and eternity. We marveled and rejoiced in the covenants we made to each other and the Lord.
'Our message to the world is simple and sincere: we invite all of God’s children on both sides of the veil to come unto their Savior, receive the blessings of the holy temple, have enduring joy, and qualify for eternal life.'President Russell M. Nelson
How we rejoiced almost 6 years later when the Sydney Australia Temple was dedicated in September 1984. We drove 1100 km to attend the temple dedication. From then on faithful saints from Melbourne and Brisbane regularly participated in weekend bus trips (12 hours each way) to the Sydney Australia Temple – leaving after work on Friday, spending Saturday in the temple and then journeying back overnight on Saturday to arrive in time for church on Sunday.
In 1988 we relocated to Perth Australia for a new job opportunity. The Sydney Australia Temple was then 4000 km from our home. We made a family commitment to drive to the temple every two years. Once there we would spend a whole week participating in temple ordinances. My children still have fond memories of the mostly sacred time we had together in the car for three and a half days each way driving across Australia and back.
In Asia we are living through a historic period of temple building. In January 2019, the ground was broken and the site dedicated for the Bangkok Thailand Temple. In April 2018, President Nelson announced the Bengaluru India Temple. Six months later he announced the Cambodia Temple. In July 2019, the Hong Kong Temple closed for extensive renovations. This continued investment in temples is an ongoing witness of the importance of sacred temple ordinances and temple worship.
President Nelson also taught, “Building and maintaining temples may not change your life, but spending your time in the temple surely will. To those who have long been absent from the temple, I encourage you to prepare and return as soon as possible. Then I invite you to worship in the temple and pray to feel deeply the Savior’s infinite love for you, that each of you may gain your own testimony that He directs this sacred and ageless work.”3
In Asia, we urgently need to prepare for future temple blessing. Two significant ways that we can prepare include:
- Maintaining current Temple recommends.
President Nelson gave the whole church a gift when he shared the current temple recommend questions as part of his closing remarks at the October 2019 conference. These questions can help us to repent and prepare to have recommend interviews with our Branch/Ward or Stake/Mission leaders. We encourage all adult members including those who have already been to the temple to renew their temple recommends every year. Even if you don’t feel that you qualify, meet with your Branch President or Bishop who will be delighted to help you to prepare.
In the same closing remarks President Nelson said, “I would like to speak to our youth. We encourage you to qualify for limited-use temple recommends. You will be asked only those questions applicable to you in your preparation for the ordinances of proxy baptism and confirmation. We are very grateful for your worthiness and willingness to participate in that sacred temple work.”4
- Family History
President and Sister Nelson continue to set a great example in their personal family history work. President Nelson regularly reminds us of the importance of ministering to our families on both sides of the veil. I know from personal experience the joy of finding my ancestors, recording their details, submitting names through family search and then participating in performing sacred ordinances in the temple.
It’s my prayer that in our homes and in our ward and branch families that we prioritize temple recommends and finding and submitting our four generation family names, so that we can qualify for all the blessings that will come as new temples are dedicated across the beautiful lands of Asia. ■
1 Russell M. Nelson, “Let Us All Press On,” General Conference, April 2018.
2 Russell M. Nelson, “Closing Remarks,” General Conference, April 2019.
3 Russell M. Nelson, “Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,” General Conference, October 2018.
4 Russell M. Nelson, “Closing Remarks,” General Conference, April 2019.