I’m a very visual learner. When I was young, I dreamt about going to Jerusalem to walk where the Savior walked. I went to Jerusalem with BYU’s study abroad program and loved exploring the places I’d read about in the scriptures. That experience of walking where Jesus Christ walked became an important foundation stone in my faith and knowledge that Jesus Christ lives.
One day while sitting on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple Mount, the Holy Ghost nudged me that while it’s nice to walk where Jesus walked, it’s even better to walk as Jesus walked. Because of that direction, I began focusing on learning about Jesus Christ, His characteristics, and His nature. And while I walk imperfectly and fail often, trying to walk as Christ would walk has helped me keep Him more central in my mind and life.
As my conversion deepened, the Holy Ghost prompted me to walk with Jesus Christ. I learned that ordinances and covenants directed me how to do that.
Last year, in a Come Follow Him podcast, Matthew Bowen gave me a new way to think about walking with Jesus Christ.
Sometimes we think of the rod of iron in Lehi’s dream as a kind of railing with little posts going down into the ground like the railings that we see outside of buildings. But it’s never really described as that. It’s just described as extending along, and it can be grasped. I sort of wondered whether the idea is that the Christ is holding the rod and he’s extending it to us. Then we choose to grasp it, to lay hold on it.
Suddenly my mental image of the iron rod as something stretching miles away from me switched to a scepter-like rod that the Savior holds out to me at arm’s length. I can choose to grasp it or not. So instead of holding onto an iron rod and squinting to see if I can see the Tree of Life somewhere way out there, I can choose to grasp an iron rod and walk with Jesus Christ to the Tree of Life. That image made the option to walk with Jesus Christ more real and visual for me.
The Holy Ghost next nudged me to seek to abide in Christ so that He can abide in me. For me, this is a blessing of the Second Comforter and the ultimate hope in the promises of the plan of salvation.
My prayer is that during these next few moments as you read this, through the Holy Ghost, you will identify and remember ways you know Jesus lives, ways you’ve applied His characteristics, ways you’ve found Him through ordinances and covenants, and that you will consider the depth of your hope in Christ.
One of the most meaningful characteristics of Jesus Christ to me is that He is a Revelator, and He reveals Himself.
He revealed Himself with the Father to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove.
He revealed Himself through Hannah.
He revealed Himself to two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
He revealed Himself to Elisabeth and John.
He revealed Himself to Alma the Younger as Alma wrestled with repentance and caught hold on faith.
When did He reveal Himself to you? How does He reveal Himself to you? If you feel like He hasn’t revealed Himself to you, what needs to happen so that He can reveal Himself to you?
Ordinances and Covenants
Recently, I watched my twin niece and nephew’s baptism and confirmation ordinances. They were so happy and excited to take that first covenant step. We talk a lot about how the baptismal ordinance changes us and make us new creatures. Those few seconds immersed in water deeply impact our spiritual journey.
How does the endowment ordinance change us?
In the temple, we are immersed in sacred space for much longer than a few seconds. Do we emerge from that ordinance changed? Do we find the Savior in that ordinance?
I asked a few folks how they find the Savior in the endowment.
My mom said,
In the temple, I close my eyes and imagine that it really is Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ talking to us. I put myself alone in front of them so they are talking to me! – Darla Bushman
I go to the Savior’s house to perform His ordinances through His power to remember the plan He and Heavenly Father made possible so we can return to them. – Becky Greene
I love that Adam and Eve leave the garden with skins prepared for them. That means innocence was shed to protect them as they went into the wilderness. This is symbolic of what Christ has done for us. His innocence was shed for our protection, hope, life, and as a reminder as we journey through this life, we must continually show up at our altars, sacrifice, endure, and wait for our personal revelation (light and knowledge) from our Heavenly Father. – Jill Barton
My brother Donovan said,
I see Christ as the Veil who we go through to get back to God. In the temple, there is the plan of salvation. And Jesus Christ is every part of the plan of salvation. The covenants we make are us promising to live like Jesus. – Donovan Bushman
My nephew Austin returned from his mission in December. He had only gone to the temple a couple of times before he left on his mission. He now attends the temple regularly.
I think since coming home, as I have gone to the temple, I have found Christ in every part of the Temple Endowment. I am able to recognize His role in the creation and plan of salvation as a whole and that helps me to then recognize him in my personal plan of salvation just for my life. I think going to the Temple has helped me to recognize the peace that He brings and now when I feel that peace, I know He is there. – Austin Bushman
Endowment of Power
In Doctrine and Covenants 95 right after Jesus identifies Himself as the creator of the first day, the beginning and the end, He says,
I gave unto you a commandment that you should build a house, in the which house I design to endow those whom I have chosen with power from on high; For this is the promise of the Father unto you.
How are we endowed with power?
Enabling power of Jesus Christ
I contracted a debilitating disease on my mission that ultimately sent me home a transfer and a half early. I was so devastated. I couldn’t walk. My mother had to help carry me to the bathroom. It wreaked havoc on every aspect of my life.
My father gave me a Priesthood blessing commanding me to walk again and promised that I could return to BYU. I felt like I should make a personal covenant with the Lord that I would go to the temple every day and in return asked that He would strengthen me. This was personal revelation for my life. You can receive personal direction for your life.
That experience was the first time I really called on Jesus Christ’s enabling power. I didn’t really know what “enabling power” was then but followed the Holy Ghost’s prompting as it came to me. I’d only gone to the temple a few times before my mission, but I had this confidence that the temple really was the House of the Lord and was filled with His power, and I wanted Him to infuse His power into my mind and body.
I went to BYU. I attended the Provo Temple daily. I began to feel a physical change as I “plugged” into the temple every day. My body grew stronger and stronger as I fulfilled my part of the covenant. I graduated from BYU.
I still rely on that connection to the temple. I can still feel a physical decline if I don’t attend regularly. The power of Jesus Christ through the temple recharges me physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Power of Jesus Christ to answer prayer
Another aspect of the disease is that I can’t carry a pregnancy full-term. After a devastating miscarriage, I was working in Portland, Oregon, and went to the temple there one day after work. Sitting in an alcove alone, I poured out my soul to God, trying to think of something I could sacrifice in exchange for His enabling grace to heal me like He did before. I felt His answer: No.
In desperation, I asked what I was supposed to do with my life if I couldn’t have children. He told me what my purpose was. I wasn’t very happy about the answer and it took many, many trips to the temple to submit my will to His. I believe that only the sanctifying power of Jesus Christ found in the temple could change my heart to submit to His will.
But in that experience, I recognized that the Lord answered my anguished prayer in real time! That experience gave me confidence to pray and ask and know that an answer would come – for prayers in and out of the temple. Now instead just thinking of questions and wondering what the answer could be, I find that if I ask a specific question and then I am still and listen with an open heart and mind for an answer, one often comes.
Power to receive messengers and messages
This past year has been quite the opportunity for growth. On one hand, I’ve been blessed abundantly with light and knowledge. On the other hand, I’ve experienced some of the most bitter opposition in body and spirit that I can remember. It’s the paradox of mortality’s opposition in all things. The pendulum swings both ways.
Two weeks ago, while in Utah for the spiritual feast of my sister and brother-in-law’s temple sealing to their children, I received a very disappointing rejection about something I had been anticipating. I knew the Lord had commanded me to prepare for that event, and I felt confused by the rejection. Because of the circumstances, I felt the rejection was a total rejection of me as a person. I went to the Mount Timpanogas Temple the next morning seeking comfort and a heavenly hug. The Lord sent a messenger, someone I knew and loved, whose message filled me with clarity and peace. To me, the power to receive the messenger and the message was another fulfillment of God’s promised endowment of power.
The Lord’s promises are real and sure
The dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple in Doctrine and Covenants 109 lists multiple ways that God endows us with power. Each of these promised blessings is also a characteristic of Jesus Christ. He is each of these things and because He has these glorious attributes, He can share them with us.
Highlighting a few of the promises:
- The temple gives the Son of Man a place to manifest Himself to His people
- Assist us with His grace
- His glory may rest down upon us
- All who enter the temple may feel His power and acknowledge that He has sanctified it
- Be taught words of wisdom
- Grow up in Him and receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost
- We can be organized according to His laws and be prepared to obtain every living thing
- All incomings, outgoings, and salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted holy hands
- When we transgress, we may speedily repent and return and be restored to blessings He has ordained
- Go forth armed with power, with His name upon us, and His glory round about us
- Angels have charge over us
- Bear great and glorious tidings to the ends of the earth and know this is His work, fulfilling prophecy
- Established, hold a name and standing to all generations and for eternity
- No weapon formed against us shall prosper
- No combination of wickedness shall have power to rise up and prevail
- Delivered from the yoke of bondage
- Sins blotted out forever
- Anointings are sealed with power from on high
- Promised the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues
- Testimony of the covenant so we can seal up the law and prepare the hearts for the coming judgments
- Not faint in the day of trouble
- All scattered Israel come to a knowledge of the truth, believe in the Messiah, be redeemed, and rejoice
- Caught up in the cloud when the trump shall sound
- That our garments may be pure, that we may be clothed upon with robes of righteousness, with palms in our hands, and crowns of glory upon our heads, and reap eternal joy
- O hear, O hear, O hear us, O Lord!
- Help us by the power of Thy Spirit, that we may mingle our voices with those bright, shining seraphs around Thy throne, with acclamations of praise, singing Hosanna to God and the Lamb!
- Let these, Thine anointed ones, be clothed with salvation, and thy saints shout aloud for joy.
What amazing gifts and promises the Lord promises through the ordinances and covenants of His holy house! We can walk with Jesus Christ, endowed with power in this life!
Jesus Christ’s atoning grace makes it possible to walk where He walked, as He walked, with Him, and to ultimately abide in Him. I know His promises are real and apply to each of us, not just the prophet or the “extra spiritual” people we admire. His desire and promise is that each of us can return to His presence.
In fact, that is His only desire—His work and glory is to bring to pass your immortality and eternal life. And Hallelujah! He loves you enough to do it!