A Taste of Heaven in the Mormon Temple

By Valerie Fulmer.

Many years ago I had an experience in the St. Louis Missouri Mormon Temple that changed my perspective on life in an extraordinary and unforgettable way.  Before I share this story with you, I would like to explain a little about temples.  Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed Mormons) believe temples are sacred places where we make promises to God and perform sacred ordinances pertaining to our salvation as individuals and as families.  As stated on www.mormon.org,

“Anciently, the Lord directed Solomon to build a temple (1 Chronicles 28:1-6). This temple was a place where God could dwell, was a place of prayer, was a place of sacrifice and was a place where the principle and covenant of sacrifice was fundamental to worship.”

St. Louis Mormon TempleMormons continue to believe in the need for temples as directed by the Lord today.  We go to the temple to learn, to receive sacred ordinances, to get married for time and for eternity, to be sealed to our families forever, to renew our covenants, and to do temple work for and in behalf of deceased family members such as baptisms by proxy.

Now to my story, which I have received permission from my father to share.  Several years ago, my husband, our young son and I were visiting family in Missouri.  One evening, we were planning to go to the St. Louis Mormon Temple together.  Sadly, at the time, my father was in a manic state due to his bipolar disorder.  His doctors had yet to find the best medication or set of medications to help keep it under control.  It was the worst I had ever seen him.  My heart was broken for him.  That evening as I went to bed, my pillow became soaked in tears.  I was frightened.  I was afraid for my father, and what could happen if this manic state was not treated properly.

The next morning as we drove to the temple together as a family, there was a palpable anxiety in the air as we were all concerned for my dad.   In the past, I always knew that the moment I walked inside those temple doors, I would feel some measure of peace, because I always have, even on those not-so-good days.  But I wasn’t sure about this time.  Not under these circumstances.  I was wrong.  This time that feeling of serenity when walking through the doors was unbelievable.  I literally looked down at the floor to see if my feet were touching the ground.  The Spirit of the Lord was so strong.  Right away I felt at peace and knew that somehow, my father was going to be alright.

After performing a sacred temple endowment on behalf of deceased family members, my mother and I were waiting for the men to come out of their changing room so that we could leave.  She and I were walking around the interior of the temple admiring the beautiful paintings of the Savior Jesus Christ and His ministry.  The thought of my father and wondering what he had been doing was also on my mind.  I knew things were going to be alright, but I didn’t know how.  Then it happened.

It was not a vision, or a dream.  But for the briefest moment, I received an indelible impression in my mind and heart.  It was as if I had a split-second visit to Heaven.  I had a taste of what Heaven was like.  It was unbelievable.  It was beyond description.  It was a feeling of Joy and Love to a degree that I had never felt before.  At that moment, there was no worry, no fear, no pain.  Only complete, pure and utter joy and peace.  The experience lasted a moment or two, but the result changed my perspective on life from that day on.

I learned that no matter what happened to my father, everything was going to be alright.  I learned this applied to me and my life as well.  The strong impression I received was this:  If I stay close to my Father in Heaven by sincerely repenting of my sins and striving to live in harmony with the teachings of the gospel, I would be able to endure (and learn from) any trial and find a greater measure of happiness in my life.  Because with the Lord, all things are possible.

The other impression I received was just as powerful.  If I had a perfect knowledge of how wonderful heaven will be like, I would be able to pass through any and all of my trials almost effortlessly.  The incomprehensible joy, peace and love I will have in heaven (should I be worthy of spending eternity there) would far outweigh the suffering, pain, anguish, and uncertainty I experience here in mortality.  This was the impression I received.  Through the years I’ve come to realize there is a reason we do not have a perfect knowledge of the glory of heaven.  If we did, we would not have the opportunity to develop faith.  And developing faith in Jesus Christ is one of the purposes of life.  And so, this would explain why my experience was so brief.   I was only given a small taste of heaven, just enough to give me hope.  But how bright that hope was, and is!  Oh how Glorious it will be to live with God again, worlds without end, should I be found worthy of it.

This is what the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about.  There is hope.  There is a way to overcome my tribulations and my faults here on earth.  There is a way I can find a measure of joy, peace and happiness here, today, now.  That way is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, my Savior.  When I am striving to live the way God has commanded me to, He will not forsake me.  He is there to heal the broken hearted and bring hope to all; for my father, mother, all of my loved ones, and for everyone.

Jesus Christ not only suffered for my sins, He took upon Himself all of my pains, worries, heartaches and sicknesses (Mosiah 15:9), so that He could succor me in my time of need (Alma 7:12), if I come unto Him.  I don’t have to go it alone.  And if sickness brings me to deaths’ door, if I am living the best I can, I need not fear.  I will be, I hope to be, welcomed with open arms on the other side of the veil, and my passing will be sweeter than I can imagine.

Today my father is doing well.  He has been stable for years.  With a combination of medication, love and support from family and friends including my angelic, patient and loving mother, my father’s Faith in Jesus Christ, and due to the tender mercies of the Lord, my father is doing well enough to work full time.    He is a loving husband, father and grand-father.  He is always helping others.  He has blessed the lives of many.  He has a special place in his heart for those with physical and/or emotional handicaps.  He truly is a Good Samaritan, in word and in deed.  The Lord knew this would happen.  He knew everything was going to be alright.

Valerie Fulmer is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To learn more about the LDS Church, try the following links:

Basic beliefs and real Mormons

Jesus Christ in Mormonism

Mormon News

The Mormon Temple Endowment

Memormon-temple-Curitiba-Brazilmbers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often called Mormons by those of other faiths, believe in holy temples. Mormon temples are being built all over the world to bring their blessings to members of the “Mormon Church” who may otherwise not be able to attend due to distance and expense. Those who have not heard much about Mormon temples sometimes accuse Latter-day Saints of being very secretive about them, but if you ask any Latter-day Saint about the temple, he will tell you it is not secret, but sacred. This accusation comes because Mormon temples are not open to everyone, and, in fact, not even to all Latter-day Saints. Only members of The Church of Jesus Christ who are in good standing (meaning they are obeying the commandments of Jesus Christ they have received) and who are spiritually mature are permitted to enter Mormon temples. Those who receive their endowment for the first time are typically getting married or are preparing to serve a mission for the LDS Church, though some single adults to receive their endowment on their own.

The Mormon temple endowment, sometimes referred to as the Mormon temple ritual, is one of the ordinances which is received in a Mormon temple. The endowment ordinance is preceded by the initiatory ordinance, which is referred to in the Old Testament in Exodus 40:12–13, “And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him.” This washing and anointing is done only symbolically in temples today. Wild accusations that Latter-day Saints are ever naked or perform any unclean acts in the temple are absolutely false. All temple ordinances are sacred and teach participants to be reverent and respectful.

In the Mormon temple endowment, participants learn more about their true relationship to God. Each temple ordinance requires the participant to make certain covenants with God. These covenants demand an extremely high moral standard of living, and there are severe consequences for breaking these covenants. This is why Mormon temples are not open to just anyone. It would be very unfair for a person who was unprepared to live such a high moral standard to make these covenants and then to be punished when they failed to keep them. The seeming secrecy is really to protect those who are unprepared. There is no covenant made in the temple that is not already given as a commandment in the scriptures. The difference is, the person who enters the covenant agrees to more severe consequences for breaking that commandment. Though all commandments are eternal, and anyone who breaks a commandment will suffer a consequence, those who have more knowledge are held to a higher standard (Doctrine and Covenants 82:3).

mormon-temple-endowment-roomSo, why would anyone take on more responsibility and more severe consequences? Because the blessings promised for obedience are equal in relation to the severity of the consequences for breaking those same commandments. The blessings promised in Mormon temples for keeping covenants made with God are eternal and incomprehensible to our finite minds. They are so vast in scope that it is overwhelming and brings great joy and peace into the lives of the faithful, no matter what other trials they are suffering through in their lives.

The Mormon temple endowment is a huge milestone in a person’s eternal progression. The Mormon temple ritual gives participants an eternal perspective and infinite hope about the love of God and our Savior. It is a beautiful lesson to learn, and another blessing is that a person can return to the temple and participate in the ordinance again and again by standing in as a proxy for a person who died without the opportunity to receive that same ordinance. Mormon family history work allows Latter-day Saints to perform the temple ordinances for their ancestors who did not have the chance to go to the temple for themselves. Doing this work by proxy allows living participants to be reminded of the covenants they have made and of the blessings promised for obedience, while the deceased people for whom the work is being done will still have the ability to choose in the spirit world whether they want to accept that work or not.

Mormon Wedding

by Jessica

“Till death do you part . . . ” A common statement made by pastors and priests of Christian religions, when they conduct a wedding ceremony. Because those words are used, and taught so often amongst the congregations of different religions, most brides and grooms don’t know that there is something far greater, than a marriage ‘till death. The priesthood authority of Jesus Christ found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, can perform eternally-binding ordinances.mormon-temple

There is such a thing as marriage for eternity, a bond with the one you love that lasts for the duration of this lifetime and beyond into eternity. Marriage on earth is a difficult journey even for the most loving of couples. On earth in our mortal state, we are fraught with physical, mental, and emotional handicaps that are part of mortality. We all have faults. For the loving and patient couple that has forged a life-time bond despite their frailties, the prospect of an eternal marriage should be exciting. Beyond this life, we are resurrected, and most of our weaknesses drop away. We can enjoy marriage without the challenges of illness, the baggage of unhappy childhoods or prior abuse, without the misconceptions that keep us from understanding what is real, without the flaring temper, without the handicap of pride or depression.

A Mormon temple wedding, or celestial marriage, is a bond of both the body and the spirit of a man and a woman. Breaking the chains of death through the grace of the Savior, temple marriage goes beyond the grave and into the eternity that is the afterlife. To be a part of a celestial marriage, there is a process that must be followed. The man and woman, must be sealed together by a worth member who holds the authority to perform sealings. Another step to a celestial marriage is that both man and wife, as individuals and as a couple, must strive to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ all their lives (repentance helps when they stumble). And more importantly, the sealing must me confirmed by God through his Spirit.

As the Bible says, Jesus ordained his apostles, giving them the power to heal the sick and cast out devils. But to his apostle Peter, he gave a higher power.

“…whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt 16:19)

mormon-weddingThis sacred power, known as the sealing power, is what’s used to bind a man and a woman together for not only this life, but also the next. The sealing power was lost when the early apostles passed away, but was restored to Joseph Smith when the ancient church of Christ was re-established in these latter days. Because the power was not available to most of our ancestors, we have the opportunity to do “sealings” for the dead in the same room of the temple, called a “sealing room,” in which earthly couples are sealed.

Once you’re sealed in the temple and pronounced as man and wife, it doesn’t mean that everything has been done and you no longer have anything to work for. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. After a couple is married, it is important that they continue to keep God’s commandments, and strive to live worthily, as individuals and more importantly as an eternal couple.

After going through the first two steps of a celestial marriage, the last step is something that can come during or after this life. A confirming of the sealing between a couple, is given to them and only them, by God’s Holy Spirit. It’s God’s way of confirming that He knows that the union between the couple is an eternal one. This is called “being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.” This is the promise of eternal life, which is exaltation into God’s presence forever.

Couples who have entered into the sacred ordinance of eternal marriage work hard to sanctify their unions. Forgiveness, patience, centering the family on Christ, and exercising charity in the home are ways to overcome inside and outside challenges to the family.

 


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