Anyone who knows me very well knows I love the temple! I have missed being able to go to the temple so much! I found great comfort in something Elder Dale G. Renlund said in a video he posted on his social media a couple of weeks ago, “The fact that we can’t go to the temple doesn’t change the impact that the temple can have on us in our lives. … Keeping covenants will bring the power of godliness in our lives whether we’re able to physically go to the temple or not.”1 I loved this tender reminder!
In his closing remarks in general conference in April, President Russell M. Nelson said something much the same, “During times of our distress when temples are closed, you can still draw upon the power of your temple covenants and endowment as you honor your covenants.”2 I remember hearing the prophet say this (and I loved it because it he said it just after he shared a part of President Wilford Woodruff’s dedicatory prayer of the Salt Lake Temple asking for Heavenly Father to bless us if a time should come when we were unable to attend the temple), but those encouraging words didn’t have quite the same impact on me when I heard them in April as it did when I read them the other day. In April, the temples had only been closed for a couple of weeks. Now we are getting close to six months!
It’s amazing what time and perspective do for us!
I remember when I heard D. Todd Christofferson say, “In times of distress, let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact.”3 He said that only three months after Adrianne had passed away. Never before had I felt the power of godliness flow into my life with such power as I did during that time in my life! It wasn’t necessary for me to be in the temple to be able to draw upon the power of my temple covenants. Oh, how I needed and cherished that power!
Drawing upon the power of godliness is imperative in times of distress, but we need to be able to access that power every day. A definition I recently read that I especially like said that “the power of godliness is the power of righteousness, by which we come to know God and become like Him.”4 Elder Christofferson describes the power of godliness as Heavenly Father’s divine influence. He said that by keeping our covenants, that divine influence will “flow into our lives.”3
President Nelson once said, “Obedience allows God’s blessings to flow without constraint.”5 Remember what Elder Christofferson said about our covenants being paramount and our obedience being exact. I believe the two go hand in hand. When our covenants mean everything to us, being obedient will be an active part of our daily striving. Obedience is keeping covenants and keeping covenants is being obedient.
Imagine God’s influence and His blessings flowing into our lives! When I think about flowing without constraint, I visualize a mighty and powerful river. During the winters here in Utah, we usually get quite a lot of snow. As winter turns to spring, all that snow melts. The reservoirs fill up and the rivers and streams begin to flow. Some years we get so much snow that the runoff fills our rivers and streams to overflowing. (That’s as close to a mighty and powerful river as it gets here in the desert!) These last several months of being unable to go to the temple have felt a bit like the cold winter months to me. But spring will come! I’m not suggesting that while the temples are closed I cannot feel God’s influence or blessings in my life. Quite the contrary. I have felt inspired to research my family history. I have had new and exciting opportunities to study the gospel with some very dear friends. Those are just two things I would not otherwise have done during these past several months. And my life has been so blessed because of them! Most likely we are all being blessed more than we realize. But I do think that when the temples reopen, it will be like a beautiful warm spring after an unusually snowy winter. We will feel an undeniable outpouring of His influence and His blessings.
I absolutely miss attending the temple! But gratefully, as Elder Renlund reminded us, “keeping covenants will bring the power of godliness in our lives whether we’re able to physically go to the temple or not.” 1 May we always be obedient and keep our covenants so God’s influence and blessings can flow into our lives without constraint.
1. August 3, 2020 Instagram Post – Dale G. Renlund
2. Go Forward in Faith – Russell M. Nelson
3. The Power of Covenants – D. Todd Christofferson
4. Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual – Chapter 31
5. Face the Future With Faith – Russell M. Nelson