The promised blessings of the temple fulfill the highest purposes of life. As we help ministering families focus on those, everything that matters in their lives will fall into place.
An open letter to elders quorum leaders and ministering brothers regarding ministering and interviews. Garden Ridge Ward, San Antonio Cibolo Valley Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
Invitation: Point Ministering Interviews Towards The Temple
As we hold ministering interviews, I hope we will invite our ministering brothers to point their families continually to the temple.
We and they should always do this through kindness, pure knowledge, personal testimony, and invitation. It should always be done patiently—but as quickly as they are able to bear it—never by coercion and never as a “program.”
Pointing them towards the temple will help everything else in their lives
- As we fully receive and rely on all the promised blessings of the temple, it fulfills our highest purposes of mortality.
- As someone’s eyes are firmly focused on the temple, everything else will follow. They will qualify for and receive inspiration and revelation, receive divine help to overcome obstacles, yearn for and do missionary work, serve, sacrifice, accept and magnify callings, etc.
This is easy for ministering companionships to do
Ministering brothers (and sisters) can:
- Teach doctrines, principles, and blessings of temple and family history work.
- Share their own experiences of doing this work.
- Help families find a simple way forward. Simple next steps. Small and simple things. See the possible list below.
- Invite and encourage them to act. Do they have a goal? Would they like to set one? A new one?
- Let the families and individuals decide if, how, and when they act. (The Lord persuades and inspires and invites. He never forces, and the full blessings of the temple are only received when we act of our own volition, not when coerced.)
- Invite the families to share and testify of their experiences as they act. If they set goals and act, they will have spiritual experiences. There are MANY promises from modern prophets and apostles on this, including in last general conference.
(I mention the sisters in parentheses only because I am the Elders Quorum President, not the Relief Society President, and not authorized to direct the sisters in their duties. 😉 )
Even when families/individuals are not ready, we can keep that goal in mind
- If they can’t pay their bills, they first need strengthening physically.
- If they have social or emotional needs, they need strengthening socially/emotionally.
- When those most basic needs are in place, they are most receptive to spiritual strengthening.
But remember that “problems will yield to a spiritual solution, for the higher laws involve the spiritual.” (James E. Faust.)
We invite you to ask the following in your ministering interviews as they are ready
- “Do your ministering families and family members have temple-related goals or needs?”
- “How can you help your ministering families reach those goals or needs? How can the quorum help them?”
- “Are they having experiences that they can share to inspire others?”
Regularly discussing the doctrines, principles, blessings, and steps of temple service can invite them to set those goals.
Sharing blessings and experiences as appropriate moves hearts, invites the witness of the Holy Ghost, and inspires others to act. (“Faith comes from human testimony.” —Joseph Smith.)
“Faith comes from human testimony.”
—Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith
“Small and Simple Things” Lead to a Fullness of Temple Blessings
There are MANY more temple goals than we might first think. Each goal is higher than the next, with a rough progression something like this:
- Stabilize basic family needs so temple attendance is possible (physical, social/emotional)
- Learn (more) about the temple and its blessings, promises
- Assist others to attend (babysitting for them, etc.)
- Start simple family history research (FH)
- Visit the temple physically (outside)
- Overcome one obstacle to obtaining a temple recommend
- Live the full requirements for obtaining a recommend
- Get/renew baptisms for the dead recommend
- Do baptisms for the dead
- Attend temple preparation class for endowments/sealing
- Get/renew recommend for endowments and sealing
- Receive your own endowments
- Be sealed in the temple to your family
- Do ordinances from the ward/stake temple file
- Take your own family names to temple
- Complete FH 4-generations on FamilySearch.org
- Attend more often, regularly (how often does the Spirit inspire you that you should attend?)
- Regular, deep FH research commitment, maybe including indexing
- Actively ask for inspiration/revelation/help re: who needs their ordinance work done next?
- Obey spiritual promptings as they come
- Begin to understand what the Lord is offering us in the temples (they are symbolic, for examples and hints see Marion G. Romney)
- Receive a fulness of the promises and gifts the Lord is offering us there (see Holy Spirit of Promise in Preach My Gospel)
- Help others desire and receive full temple blessings
- Further steps as we are led by the Holy Spirit
- “And that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” (DC 50:24.)
I’ve missed many. No matter where we are now, there is another step ahead of us! Do you see where this path will lead your families?
Let’s teach this in our ministering interviews
Your ministering brothers may also feel inspired to teach these principles (or the related scriptures and talks) to their families in their visits or elsewhere.
My Own Testimony of This Path
I have seen and felt the results of this path, in the lives of individuals and entire wards. With perfect knowledge I attest that it leads to blessings and inspiration that is poured down upon the heads of members, their families, and others—so fast, so great, that there isn’t room enough to receive it. Spiritual helps, gifts, and experiences are all part of this path—including those so sacred that they are unspeakable, as the scriptures say.
That’s what awaits us if we will move down this path. I trust that many examples will follow soon as we share Priesthood Moments as well as a fireside on these principles.
Elders Quorum President
Garden Ridge Ward
Kevin Crenshaw is a Mormon who has served as a teacher and leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for more than 40 years. Although he makes every effort to be a careful student of LDS theology and history, the opinions expressed are his own. He is not authorized to speak officially on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.