Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Honorably Hold a Name and Standing

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Honorably Hold a Name and Standing, by Elder David A. Bednar
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Some time ago, we were asked to help a friend by preparing a video on baptism. Our time in Texas has been spiced with frequent baptisms which we've enjoyed attending as a family (some of which show the film we arranged as an intermission, of sorts). At the most recent one a few weeks ago, one of the speakers mentioned that it was the first baptism she had attended in the maybe twenty years since her own baptism. I'm grateful for the opportunities that we have as a family to witness and prepare for baptisms.

As I reflected on Elder Bednar's address, I was reminded of my service as a missionary. The first person I taught as a new missionary was Becky Williams. I loved meeting with her; she had a loving smile and a thirst for the truth. It was fun to learn the discussions as she was taught (I was still learning the material, just as she was!). I remember the focus that the stake mission had for recent converts: Help recent converts move from the baptismal font to the temple. This mantra was accompanied by impressive statistics on retention. Some missionaries would say to picture those you teach in white—the white of baptism clothes; this stake taught something deeper—the white of the temple.

I naturally recalled these emphases as Elder Bednar taught the following:

The baptismal covenant clearly contemplates a future event or events and looks forward to the temple. ... the process of taking upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ that is commenced in the waters of baptism is continued and enlarged in the house of the Lord. As we stand in the waters of baptism, we look to the temple. As we partake of the sacrament, we look to the temple. We pledge to always remember the Savior and to keep His commandments as preparation to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple and receive the highest blessings available through the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, in the ordinances of the holy temple we more completely and fully take upon us the name of Jesus Christ.

A little over a year after I left my first area of assignment, I received an invitation from Becky Williams to join her in the temple. She had prepared herself and was ready to "more completely and fully take upon [herself] the name of Jesus Christ." This was one of the major highlights of my missionary service: to once again be dressed in white with Becky, this time in the temple.

I am convinced of the power that accompanies faithful preparation for, and keeping of temple covenants. I like the illustrative power of Brigham Young's words, "Let the fire of the covenant burn in your hearts, like flame unquenchable."

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