You understand that this life is really all about making and keeping covenants.
Certainly, the path that heads to the Temple leads on to a happy reunion with Heavenly Father and with your family.
But, the challenge is instilling that same hope in your children’s tender hearts.
Read on to help your children follow the Covenant Path.
The Covenant Path leads your children to the Temple
“Let us share with our children the spiritual feelings we have in the temple.
And let us teach them more earnestly and more comfortably
the things we can appropriately say about the purposes of the house of the Lord.
Have them plan from their earliest years to go there and to remain worthy of that blessing.”
President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95),
“A Temple-Motivated People,” Ensign, Feb. 1995, 5.
What a an opportunity!
As your children make covenant after covenant with Heavenly Father,
you have many chances to help them understand that each covenant is a step along the path leading to the Temple.
Whether it’s taking the sacrament each week or preparing for their own baptism,
you can help them understand that each time they make a covenant
it helps them prepare to enter the Temple.
Prepare them for the journey through the Temple
Think about the step-by-step progressive patterns found in the Temple.
Is there a way you can use the pattern that the Lord has set up
to help you set patterns for your family to follow the Covenant Path?
Jacob’s ladder of covenants
Do you remember the story of
Jacob (later named Israel)?
This beautiful Old Testament
account illustrates how the Lord
led His son Jacob along the Covenant Path.
Jacob’s parents, Isaac and Rebecca, sent Jacob to a place where he would be more likely to
find a covenant keeping woman to marry.
Jacob diligently traveled many difficult days.
And one night, just as the blistering sun was setting,
Jacob laid his head on the harsh stones that strewed the ground because he had no pillow.
He fell an exhausted asleep and started to dream.
In the dream he saw a ladder set on the earth.
The ladder was so long that it reached all the way to heaven.
Significantly, angels were climbing up and down the ladder.
Meanwhile, Jacob realized that the Lord was standing next to him and he heard the Lord say,
“I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac.” (Genesis 28:13)
The Lord further promised Jacob, “I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest,
and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee,
until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” (Genesis 28:15)
Jacob’s covenant path is a pattern for your family
Jacob woke up early in the morning and took the stones that he had used for a pillow, and poured oil on them.
In prayer, he covenanted with God that he would always love and obey Him.
He decided that this place where he had the sacred dream should be called Beth-el which means “house of God”.
He felt that Beth-el was truly like the gate of heaven.
It isn’t difficult to compare Jacob’s experience to the ladder-like progression of the ordinances and covenants in the Temple,
and to the lifelong, and eternity long, covenant path.
The step-by-step form of ordinances found in the Temple
are clearly being “likened” to the ladder in Jacob’s beautiful dream.
Baptism, confirmation and ordination
Your children will experience the steps of baptism, confirmation (and possibly ordination) before they enter the Temple the for first time.
These first experiences with covenants and ordinances will make it possible for them to continue on the Covenant path.
But, serving in the Temple to help other people step up onto the first rung of the ladder can serve a second purpose.
The beauty and importance of these beginning steps can sink deep into their own hearts because of the repetition.
How can you use your experiences in the Temple baptistry to bless your family?
The Initiatory Ordinance & the Endowment Ceremony
As you move from the baptistry, located below ground, in the lowest level of the Temple,
and climb to the next level to participate in the initiatory and endowment ordinances,
compare the beautiful symbolism found in the Temple, such as rising from beneath the earth to a higher level of ordinances and covenants.
Think about how you feel when you receive these ordinances.
Have you told your children about your feelings to show that you value the covenant path?
What words would work best to describe what happens in your heart during those sweet experiences?
Sealing to spouse & sealing to parents
Can you picture in your mind rising to the top of the ladder, to the highest level of the Temple?
In that highest place in the physical structure of the House of the Lord,
you and your family are offered the highest and greatest of blessings.
Do your children know that the Lord has structured the Temple building itself to help us understand things like:
- The ordinances build upon each other and prepare us to have the strength and understanding necessary to keep the covenants we make with Him.
- Truly, the covenants and ordinances bring us progressively closer to Him.
- The path to become like Heavenly Father is on an incline. It was not meant to be easy, but the Lord has provided a ladder for us to make it possible if we will just continue to climb.
- You are constantly moving upward as you make successive covenants with God
The covenant path started long before birth and will continue long after death.
To be sure, the patterns in the Temple give you and your children glimpses of that eternal nature.
But, here on earth, you can prepare your family before, during and after they attend the Temple.
Show your children how the Temple is preparing you
Let us remember the concept of “good, better, and best” as we teach.
It is good to teach our children about the temple.
It is better to prepare and expect them to make and keep covenants.
It is best to show them by example that we cheerfully cleave to our own baptismal and temple covenants!
Do we realize our vital role in the work of salvation
as we nurture, teach, and prepare children to progress along the covenant path?
The power to do so will come as we honor and keep our covenants.Linda K. Burton
Sister Burton’s wise words can help you.
Certainly, it takes courage to open your mouth and tell them how you feel in the Temple and about the Temple.
But take time to tell them appropriate details and discuss the beautiful symbolism so prevalent in the House of the Lord.
In other words, talk about the eternal covenant path that the Lord has prepared for them.
Just as Jacob’s life and the life of his family was deeply affected and directed by his dream of the ladder,
the progressive nature of the Temple can be a road map for your family as it leads along the covenant path.
In short, help your children follow the challenging but wonderful covenant path.
“The ordinances of the temple and the covenants you make there,
are key to strengthening your life, your marriage and family, and your ability to resist the attacks of the adversary.President Russell M. Nelson