Visiting teaching is the Lord's work
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Each month, the Church News publishes a message to complement the Relief Society visiting teaching message found in the Ensign magazine. The article on this page is based on the July 2011 message, "Come to the Temple and Claim Your Blessings."
Members of the Church are taught to live worthily of a temple recommend and to attend the temple regularly, when available. It is through attending the temple, individuals are able to receive blessings from their Father in Heaven.
One sister shares her story of the powerful impact visiting teaching has had in her life, specifically in preparing to go to the temple.
"I was searching the LDS website for the visiting teaching message. I'm in a singles ward and [visiting teaching] is the area our ward struggles in accomplishing, so my partner and I have decided to really try and get it done this month.
"As I read about President Monson asking all of us to strive toward being temple worthy, I realized how far from that goal of going into the temple I actually am. At the bottom of the message it asked how I was preparing. ... I am still afraid to admit to many around me that I cannot enter the Lord's House at this time, [but] I am making a promise ... and I am making it my top goal now. I have a bishop's interview today, and I will talk and counsel, I will start and read some scripture daily, I will take small steps in the right direction and as I do this I will take of the sacrament again and I will enter into the temple.
"This message has changed me — not by another sister visiting me — but because of a faithful partner who wanted to go teach our girls this month.
"I am taking my first step towards better progression. I will be with [all] in our Father's kingdom, through the powerful gift of the Atonement."
From the building of the first temple in Kirtland, Ohio in 1836, to the 134 dedicated and operating temples today, the focus on getting to the temple to participate in saving ordinances is an important message prophets have shared continually.
In the most recent general conference, President Thomas S. Monson said, "The all-important and crowning blessings of membership in the Church are those blessings which we receive in the temples of God."
Visiting teaching is one way sisters in the Church are able to help one another prepare for and keep their temple covenants with their Heavenly Father. Sisters lift, strengthen and encourage one another by sharing personal insights and experiences. Visiting teaching is a way to share with others — in a more personal setting — an individual's testimony of the blessings of the temple, and how their experience of living the gospel brings immeasurable joy.
Words of the living prophet
"My brothers and sisters, temples are more than stone and mortar. They are filled with faith and fasting. They are built of trials and testimonies. They are sanctified by sacrifice and service. ... Some degree of sacrifice has ever been associated with temple building and with temple attendance. Countless are those who have labored and struggled in order to obtain for themselves and for their families the blessings which are found in the temples of God.
"Why are so many willing to give so much in order to receive the blessings of the temple? Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort.
"Today most of us do not have to suffer great hardships in order to attend the temple. Eighty-five percent of the membership of the Church now live within 200 miles (320 km) of a temple, and for a great many of us, that distance is much shorter.
"If you have been to the temple for yourselves and if you live within relatively close proximity to a temple, your sacrifice could be setting aside the time in your busy lives to visit the temple regularly. ...
"If you have not yet been to the temple or if you have been but currently do not qualify for a recommend, there is no more important goal for you to work toward than being worthy to go to the temple. Your sacrifice may be bringing your life into compliance with what is required to receive a recommend, perhaps by forsaking long-held habits which disqualify you. It may be having the faith and the discipline to pay your tithing. Whatever it is, qualify to enter the temple of God. Secure a temple recommend and regard it as a precious possession, for such it is. ...
"Until you have entered the house of the Lord and have received all the blessings which await you there, you have not obtained everything the Church has to offer. The all-important and crowning blessings of membership in the Church are those blessings which we receive in the temples of God."
— President Thomas S. Monson, "The Holy Temple — A Beacon to the World," April 2011 general conference