I was asked a lot of questions by friends and family when I decided to receive my temple endowment:
Are things getting serious in your relationship?
Is this a wedding announcement?
Are you even allowed to receive your endowment if you’re not getting married or serving a mission?
Although I did have a boyfriend at the time and I’d seriously considered a mission, my decision to go to the temple had nothing to do with those things and everything to do with the fact that I felt inspired to more fully accept the Lord’s invitation to “take hold of my covenant” (Isaiah 56:4). It was a sacred, personal decision, and one that I truly felt was right.
Since then, young adults have been encouraged more and more to seek revelation about receiving their endowment regardless of what big life events may or may not be coming up. President Russell M. Nelson recently urged us “not to wait until marriage to be endowed in the house of the Lord. Begin now to learn and experience what it means to be armed with priesthood power.”1
As you consider receiving your endowment, it’s important to prepare for such a sacred and special experience. Here are three suggestions to help you prepare for your temple endowment:
If you’re not going on a mission or getting married soon, it can be hard to know when it’s the right time to receive your endowment. So how do you know you’re ready, or if you’re wanting to go for the right reasons?
President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) gave a helpful explanation: “Curiosity is not a preparation. Deep interest itself is not a preparation. Preparation for the ordinances includes preliminary steps: faith, repentance, baptism, confirmation, worthiness, a maturity and dignity worthy of one who comes invited as a guest into the house of the Lord.”2
In Isaiah 55, we also learn that the Lord invites “every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters …
“ … Come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you” (Isaiah 55:1, 3).
This idea of “thirsting” can help us know when we’re ready to make additional “everlasting covenant[s]” with the Lord. Instead of curiosity or interest, thirst is a want—even a need. If you feel the desire to grow closer to God and make and keep additional covenants, which are serious steps in your eternal progression, you might be ready to receive that “well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).
The temple endowment is a wonderful experience, and it’s also a very serious commitment. Taking the time to study and reflect on the decision to “join [our]selves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord,” can help us feel better prepared (Isaiah 56:6).
In order to prepare for the ancient and unfamiliar parts of the temple endowment, President Nelson counseled us to study the Old Testament: “I recommend that members … read entries in the Bible Dictionary that are related to the temple, such as ‘Anoint,’ ‘Covenant,’ ‘Sacrifices,’ and ‘Temple.’ One may also wish to read Exodus, chapters 26–29, and Leviticus, chapter 8. The Old Testament, as well as the books of Moses and Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, underscores the antiquity of temple work and the enduring nature of its ordinances.”3
The General Handbook also gives context and explanations for the covenants we will make, such as the law of obedience, the law of sacrifice, the law of the gospel, the law of chastity, and the law of consecration. 4 Covenants provide blessings and strength, and it’s important to make sure we understand them and know how to access those blessings.
As we prepare to make more covenants, it can be helpful to remember the covenants we have already made with God. We partake of the sacrament each week, a sacred ordinance in remembrance of the body and blood of Christ that reminds us of our promises to “take upon [us] the name of [Christ], and always remember him and keep his commandments” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77).
Our baptismal covenants, like temple covenants, also involve making promises to God and are full of symbols. Some of those symbols might feel strange at first, but their purpose, just like the bread and water in the sacrament ordinance, is to point us to Christ. It can also be helpful to remember that the temple ceremony is ancient, and therefore likely unfamiliar to our modern perspective. As President Nelson taught: “In the house of the Lord, we can make the same covenants with God that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob made. And we can receive the same blessings!”5
Soon after receiving my endowment, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and temples shut down. I was so grateful for the covenants I’d made and the greater understanding I’d gained in the temple, and I knew that my desire to go was inspired. Although your prompting might not have anything to do with a worldwide disaster, the Lord knows when you will need the sustaining power of covenants. He knows when He will need you in His “holy mountain,” so that He can “make [you] joyful in [His] house of prayer” (Isaiah 56:7).
The ordinances of the temple are truly among our greatest blessings on this earth and point us to Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. As President Nelson explained: “Everything we believe and every promise God has made to His covenant people come together in the temple. In every age, the temple has underscored the precious truth that those who make covenants with God and keep them are children of the covenant.”6