Skip to main content

The Temple, An Evidence of God’s Love

Audio: "The Temple, An Evidence of God’s Love"
0:00 / 0:00

Can I begin by telling you that Jennifer and I love you. We love being with you on this special and sacred and set-apart campus. [1] We stand in awe of the way that you live the gospel, the way you strive to keep your covenants, and the way that you build and lift those around you. Our mission at this hallowed university is to develop disciples of Jesus Christ. We feel your discipleship and goodness as we see you in the temple, on campus, at your performances, and at activities. Time and circumstance do not allow us to be with each of you individually, but please know that we love you.

More importantly, I hope today to emphasize that God loves you. He loves you purely, profoundly, and perfectly. [2] He loves you beyond measure and without condition. Of all truths in the grand universe, that is the primary one. God loves you! President Jeffrey R. Holland expressed it this way:

My brothers and sisters, the first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—that’s the first great commandment. But the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. That love is the foundation stone of eternity, and it should be the foundation stone of our daily life. [3]

There are many manifestations of the truth that God loves us, the greatest of which is that He sent His Son to earth to atone for each of us.

In last month’s general conference, President Russell M. Nelson invited us to consider some other manifestations or evidence of God's love. He said:

“I invite you to consider carefully the following three statements:

  1. The gathering of Israel is evidence that God loves all of His children everywhere.
  2. The gospel of Abraham is further evidence that God loves all of His children everywhere. He invites all to come unto Him—'black and white, bond and free, male and female; . . . all are alike unto God.’
  3. The sealing power is supernal evidence of how much God loves all of His children everywhere and wants each of them to choose to return home to Him.” [4]

You will note that the temple plays a significant part in each of those three pieces of evidence.

In light of what President Nelson invited us to ponder, and considering what Jennifer has beautifully shared with us today, I would invite you to consider this: the temple is evidence of God's matchless and eternal love for all of His children.

Temples are a physical reminder of God’s love for us. When the Salt Lake Temple was finished in the early days of the Church, President Wilford W. Woodruff said, "With the completion of the temple in Salt Lake City, whose very appearance is a symbol of purity and peace, whose existence is a witness of the favor and power of God, the work of temple-building by the Saints does not cease." [5]

He said that the existence of the temple is a witness of the favor and power of God.

The physical beauty of temples can remind us of God’s beautiful love for us, and the proliferation of temples throughout the world today can remind us of God’s boundless love for us.

And as beautiful as the temples are, and as exciting as it is to witness the growth in the number of temples, we will be blessed as we focus more on what happens inside the temple and inside the hearts of those who attend the temple. Elder Ulisses Soares said:

The ongoing and accelerating building of temples will continue to excite, inspire, and bless us. Yet more important, as we change our preparation to enter the temple, we will change our experience in the temple, which will transform our lives outside of the temple.

We can also feel God’s love as we go to the temple and receive power, peace, and divine direction. [6]

If you are like me, there are times in life when you just need an extra dose of divinity. Sometimes the tests of mortality just feel heavy. Some of you here today are dealing with weighty things, really difficult things. Please know that Jennifer and I are praying for you, and we love you. Also, know that the temple can be a place of refuge, a place to recharge, and a sacred place to feel God’s love.

Elder Neil L. Andersen recently asked, “Why is the Lord now bringing hundreds of His temples closer to us? One reason is that amid the turmoil and temptations of the world, He has promised to strengthen and bless His covenant Saints.” [7]

Years ago, one of our sons, who was in fourth grade at the time, came home from school and asked me, “Dad, how much money do you make?”

I replied, “That’s a very personal question. Your mom didn’t ask me that until the third date.” (I’m kidding of course. She asked me lots of questions, but not that one.)

I asked him, “Why do you want to know?”

He explained, “At school today, we learned about income. So what is yours?”

I said, “I tell you what. I will give you one guess, and I will tell you if my income is higher or lower than your guess.”

Without hesitation, he quickly responded, “OK, $47,000.”

I responded, “That’s a pretty specific guess. Why did you guess $47,000.”

He said, “Well, we learned that the average income is $45,000 . . . and I thought you were a little above average.”

There are times that I feel I do not even measure up to average, much less a little above average. Most of us experience, at some point, what could be called the Ds of the devil: doubt, discouragement, despair, despondency. If you ever feel those Ds of the devil, go to the temple. In the temple, we can be reminded of who we are, that we are children of a loving God. We are also taught that He has a plan of happiness for us. I find that the temple does not take away my challenges or feelings of inadequacy, but the sweet whisperings of the Spirit felt in the temple remind me that I am not alone and that God is anxious to bless me.

We can also receive loving, heavenly direction in the temple. President Nelson has repeatedly taught us that “the temple is a place of revelation.” [8] The temple has been referred to as the Lord’s university, so when you go, prepare to be taught.

When Jennifer and I are in the celestial room, she frequently asks me two questions. First, “What did you learn from the presentation of the endowment?” Second, “What impressions did you have, what revelation did you receive, about us and our family?” When we go to the temple with the intention to learn, we will be taught.

The opportunity to do work for our deceased ancestors in the temple is evidence of God’s love. While this type of work is mentioned in the New Testament, [9] in our day, this belief and practice is unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Early in the Savior’s ministry, He taught that ordinances were essential. He said to Nicodemus the Pharisee, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” [10] The teaching is clear: baptism is essential to the salvation of all who have lived on the earth.

Because He is a loving God, He has allowed for baptisms and other ordinances to be performed by proxy in the temple for those who have died.

Performing essential ordinances for deceased ancestors in the temple reflects the truth of God's love being extended to all His children, regardless of when or where they lived. As Elder Patrick Kearon said, “God is in relentless pursuit of you. He ‘wants all of His children to choose to return to Him,’ and He employs every possible measure to bring you back.” [11] The work for our kindred dead is an example of Him employing every possible measure to bring His children back to Him.

The blessings associated with our personal temple ordinances and covenants are also evidence of God’s love.

In the temple, we make covenants with God and in doing so, experience His love in unique ways. President Nelson said: “All those who have made a covenant with God have access to a special kind of love and mercy.” [12]

He went on to say: “Once you and I have made a covenant with God, our relationship with Him becomes much closer than before our covenant. Now, we are bound together. Because of our covenant with God, He will never tire in His efforts to help us, and we will never exhaust His merciful patience with us.”

I am particularly grateful for temple marriage. Men and women who are sealed in the temple make covenants with not only the Lord, but with each other as well. I am grateful for the knowledge of a God who loves us so much that He has made it possible for us to be together forever with the people we love so much.

I also witness of the eternal nature of our lives and what that means for those who may not marry in this life. Elder D. Todd Christofferson said: “We recognize that in the imperfect present, [a temple marriage] is not the reality or even a realistic possibility for some. But we have hope in Christ. While we wait upon the Lord, President M. Russell Ballard reminds us that ‘scriptures and latter-day prophets confirm that everyone who is faithful in keeping gospel covenants will have the opportunity for exaltation.’” [13] That is yet more evidence of God’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have eternal happiness.

Most importantly, the temple points us to Christ, who is the greatest manifestation of God’s love.

Scripture teaches, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [14]

President Nelson highlighted how the temple provides access to the enabling power of the Atonement of Christ and teaches us of Him. He said, “The temple lies at the center of strengthening our faith and spiritual fortitude because the Savior and His doctrine are the very heart of the temple. Everything taught in the temple, through instruction and through the Spirit, increases our understanding of Jesus Christ.” [15]

Elder Andersen said, “There are many different ways to see the face of Christ, and there is no better place than in His holy house.” [16]

As you go to the temple, look for Christ, and let Him and His Atonement be a reminder of God’s love for you.

I feel as Nephi did: “I do not know the meaning of all things, nevertheless I know that God loveth his children.” [17] I witness of that “first great truth of all eternity” that “God loves [you] with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength.” [18] I testify of His son, Jesus Christ. We are led by a living prophet in Russell M. Nelson. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


[1] Elder David A. Bednar referred to this campus as a “special and sacred and set apart place” (David A. Bednar, “Brigham Young University-Idaho: A Disciple Preparation Center,” BYU-Idaho Speeches, August 31, 2004).

[2] See D. Todd Christofferson, “The Love of God,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2021.

[3] Jeffrey R. Holland, “Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016.

[4] Russell M. Nelson, “Rejoice in the Gift of Priesthood Keys,” Liahona, May 2024.

[5] Wilford Woodruff, The Contributor, 1893.

[6] See General Handbook, 27.2.

[7] Neil L. Andersen, “Temples, Houses of the Lord Dotting the Earth,” Liahona, May 2024.

[8] Russell M. Nelson, “Think Celestial!,” Liahona, Nov. 2023.

[9] See 1 Corinthians 15:29.

[10] John 3:5.

[11] Patrick Kearon, “God’s Intent Is to Bring You Home,” Liahona, May 2024.

[12] Russell M. Nelson, “The Everlasting Covenant,” Liahona, Oct. 2022, 6.

[13] D. Todd Christofferson, “The Sealing Power,” Liahona, Nov. 2023.

[14] John 3:16

[15] Russell M. Nelson, “The Temple and Your Spiritual Foundation,” Liahona, Nov. 2021.

[16] Neil L. Andersen, “Temples, Houses of the Lord Dotting the Earth.”

[17] See 1 Nephi 11:17.

[18] Jeffrey R. Holland, “Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016.