I love to see the temple ( Rosh Hashanah and psalm 27)

Today was a very interesting and rather eclectic day on the whole. We were able to attend the wonderful regional stake conference at the Marriott Center and were able to hear the words of Elder Dallin H. Oaks as well as Elders Walker and Maynes of the Quorum of the 70. I got a ton of great revelation from their remarks.

There was in particular a pronounced focus on the temple and temple work especially on bringing to the temple the names of our own kindred dead. I thought about the incredible spiritual experiences I’ve had doing the work for a select few of my ancestors in the temple. I long for the day when I will be able to do the work and help the rest of my ancestors, though that day will have to wait a bit longer because of opposition to the temple work from my relatives.

My family of course is Jewish and so today I decided to go to Rosh Hasannah Services in Salt Lake City. We went to a conservative/reform synagogue called Kol Ami because I went with my girlfriend Jessica and wanted her to feel comfortable and knew that she would not in an orthodox service. The service was pleasant enough and some of the beautiful melodies stirred in me a certain feeling of nostalgia for the faith of my ancestors and my childhood. For a second I found myself wondering if I could have found spiritual fulfillment in the Judaism of my youth.

And then, we recited the lyrics of a psalm that became so deeply and personally meaningful to me on my mission, and I realized that this could never be.

“1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? theLord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I beconfident.

4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lordwill take me up.

11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for falsewitnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe outcruelty.

13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of theLord in the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”

(Psalm 27)

This psalm means so much to me because on one of the most emotionally difficult days of my whole mission, it gave me such comfort. As those that have served missions know, every missionary eegerly waits for the two times a year when they can call their parents. In May of 2011 however, my father had decided not long before then that he would not be talking to me–In large part relating to ordinance work of the temple– and I didn’t have plans to talk to him. My sisters were supposed to call me instead, but I told the wrong time zone and so one ended up calling me at 4 am. At first, my companion picked up and hung up on her accidentally and then when I finally talked to her, she was very harsh and critical of me and threatened to also never speak to me again! I think it was one of the most draining experiences mentally and spiritually, and afterwards I got on my knees and began to turn to the lord. In that moment of despair I opened up the scriptures and almost immediately came upon these words:

“10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lordwill take me up.”

As I read, I was filled with the spirit and a sense of calm. I knew that the inspired words of David (or the psalmist) were true

” 1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? theLord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Furthermore, I knew at that moment that all the sacrifice was worth it, and that I had and would receive the supernal blessings of the lord. Because my family was essentially mad at me for doing essential work in the temple, I took great comfort in the words

 

4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

 

6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.”

 

Today hearing these words recited in synagogue had a similar effect on me. I realized that I can not look back and can not consider Judaism a viable alternative despite how much I enjoy the tradition, holidays and melodies for two major reasons.

 

First of all, those first words hit me “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” I know without a shadow of a doubt that Salvation can be found under no name save the name of Jesus Christ. I have felt his redeeming love so fully. At the synagogue today there was a sermon on repentance which was pretty solid except for the absence of the savior. Instead, the focus was on our own actions such as good deeds and charity that we can do to change and be redeemed. The only problem is that this does not work in the long run. Even if we try to do good all the time, if our inner natures are not changed by Christ we can not achieve the change we desire. Simply put, I can never get where I want to go ( back to god’s presence with my family for eternity) or become whom I want to become ( a celestial being) without the atonement of Christ and his grace. I can not find that anywhere else.

 

Secondly of course is the temple of the Lord. I love the temple and the blessings I receive there so much! I know without a doubt that it is the Lord’s house. More than anything else, I have found my nature slowly change over time through regular temple attendance. When I attend I receive so much revelation and feel the spirit transforming me.

 

 

 

 

Today, I felt my soul once again stir, and my resolve strengthened to declare as the Psalmist “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.”

Even if I face the desertion of friends or family or those I care deeply about, my most important goal should be to be worth to enter into the Lord’s house and continue to receive the mercy and atoning sacrifice of Christ in my life! These things are worth sacrificing everything else for!

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2 thoughts on “I love to see the temple ( Rosh Hashanah and psalm 27)

  1. This parental abandonment happened to me as well. I am so sorry that you have experienced this. But I have marked this psalm as comfort. Thank you.

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