“My Father and the Temple,” Liahona, June 2022.
My family joined the Church when I was a boy. A few weeks after our baptism, my father had a dream. He was walking on a beautiful street. In the distance he saw a magnificent white house. He had never seen such an inspiring building.
He shared his dream with our family the next morning. He also shared it with the senior missionary couple who taught our family the gospel. The senior missionaries told him that the house in his dream was a symbol. It stood for the temple.
They showed him pictures of some of the Church’s temples around the world. They said that one day a temple would be built where we lived, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For the rest of his life, my father prayed that a temple would come to our country.
After 25 years, the dream came true. In the October 2011 general conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced plans to build the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple. The announcement made my father the happiest man on earth! He was overjoyed to be present on February 12, 2016, when Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presided over the groundbreaking ceremony.
Unfortunately, my father passed away in December 2016, before the completion of the temple. In June 2018, I was in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. In the Jordan River Utah Temple I was able to perform the sacred temple ordinances in behalf of my father. That night, my father visited me in a dream. He was shining with light. I knew that he had accepted what I did for him.
We thought of my father fondly when Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the completed Kinshasa temple on April 14, 2019. A short time later my family performed ordinances to seal my father and mother to each other. Then their children were sealed to them. Our family will remember that day forever. We shed tears of joy. We knew that if we obeyed God’s laws and commandments and lived faithful to our covenants, our family could be together forever.
My father’s dream of a beautiful white house reminds me that the temple should always be a focus of our lives. Some have traveled great distances and made great sacrifices to go to the house of the Lord. But even if we can’t go to the temple because it is far away, or we are waiting as a temple is built, or we are rejoicing because a temple is now nearby, the temple should constantly be in our thoughts and in our hearts.
The prophet Isaiah taught, “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths” (Isaiah 2:3).
As members of the Church, we must always keep in mind the eternal perspective taught in the temple—who we are and why we are here on earth. We must remember that our goal is to return to our Heavenly Father, to dwell with Him throughout eternity. That is the reason temples are built. They are a place for us, His sons and daughters, to learn more fully about our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They are a place where we can learn what we need to do to live with Them again.
Having the temple is a sign of God’s love for us. The temple is a sacred place where individuals and families can receive the most sacred ordinances of the gospel for their own salvation and exaltation. The temple is also a place where they can perform sacred ordinances in behalf of their ancestors and others who lived here on earth without the opportunity to receive those ordinances. We thus provide for those on the other side of the veil the opportunity to receive that which they did not receive in this life. (See Hebrews 11:40; Doctrine and Covenants 128:15.)
President Russell M. Nelson taught:
“These surely are the latter days, and the Lord is hastening His work to gather Israel. That gathering is the most important thing taking place on earth today. …
“When we speak of the gathering, we are simply saying this fundamental truth: every one of our Heavenly Father’s children, on both sides of the veil, deserves to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They decide for themselves if they want to know more. …
“Every child of our Heavenly Father deserves the opportunity to choose to follow Jesus Christ, to accept and receive His gospel with all of its blessings.”1
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as latter-day covenant Israel, we have the responsibility to assist our Heavenly Father in this great work. How do we do it?
President Nelson answered this question when he said: “When we speak of gathering Israel on both sides of the veil, we are referring, of course, to missionary, temple, and family history work. We are also referring to building faith and testimony in the hearts of those with whom we live, work, and serve. Anytime we do anything that helps anyone—on either side of the veil—to make and keep their covenants with God, we are helping to gather Israel”2
In other words, we seek out the righteous, those who will “let God prevail”3 in their lives, and we support them as the Spirit guides them to the covenant path, to the temple, and on to eternal life.
Just as Solomon of old “built [a] house for the name of the Lord God of Israel” (1 Kings 8:20), from the earliest days of the Restoration members of the Church were commanded to build a temple (see, for example, Doctrine and Covenants 57:3; 84:3–5; 124:31). This was part of the fulfillment of the dream interpreted by Daniel, where he saw that God would set up a latter-day kingdom that will never be destroyed. The kingdom will grow, spread, and prosper until it fills the whole earth. (See Daniel 2:35, 44–45.) Joseph Smith said, “This Church will fill North and South America—it will fill the world.”4
The Lord described our day as “a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth” (Doctrine and Covenants 27:13). Important parts of that gathering of things in heaven and on earth take place in the temple.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on earth today. The purpose of the Church is to prepare people to live forever in the celestial kingdom. (See Doctrine and Covenants 65.) The Church is established when God’s sons and daughters who have testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ:
Are baptized and confirmed.
Receive temple ordinances.
Keep their covenants.
This dispensation of the fulness of times is established in order to gather scattered Israel, as a prelude to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
I know that the kingdom of God has been established on earth to help us learn and understand the marvelous plan that our Heavenly Father has for us. The gospel and the temple help us remember who we are, why we are here in mortality, and where we will go after this life. I know that the sacred ordinances and covenants of the temple will help us qualify for eternal life and exaltation if we remain faithful to the covenants we make. They will strengthen our marriages and families, and they will help us increase our personal capacity to resist the attacks of the adversary as we prepare daily to meet our Maker.