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How Will the Lord Manifest Himself to You in the Temple?

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In our most recent general conference, all three members of the First Presidency, and many Apostles, General Authorities, and General Officers spoke about temples and covenants. President Russell M. Nelson shared that when he was born in 1924, there were only six temples. [1] Going from six temples to 350 announced in 100 years is amazing! What is even more amazing to me is that in only the last six years, President Nelson has announced 168 of those 350 temples, [2] a staggering 48 percent!

This semester on June 1st, a temple groundbreaking will take place here in Rexburg for the Teton River Idaho Temple. It will be built only three miles down the same street from the Rexburg Idaho Temple and it will be nearly double the size!

Do we recognize what is happening and why it is happening? What is the Savior communicating both through His prophets and leaders and with the rapid proliferation of temple building? What can we learn from the Savior’s example regarding temples?

The first scriptural record of the Savior teaching was as a 12-year-old boy in the temple. [3] There are many accounts of Christ during His ministry, up until the last days of His mortal life, teaching in the temple.

Following His resurrection, He appeared to the Nephite people in the Americas to teach and bless them, at the temple. [4] At general conference, President Nelson drew our attention to April 3, 1836, when Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the newly dedicated Kirtland Temple.

President Nelson stated, “Jesus Christ then declared that He had accepted the temple as His house and made this stunning promise: ‘I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.’ This significant promise applies to every dedicated temple today. I invite you to ponder what the Lord’s promise means for you personally.” [5]

How will the Lord manifest Himself to you in the temple?

A dear friend recently mentioned a conversation with her full-time missionary daughter. After listening to her daughter’s challenging mission situation, my friend asked, “How did you know how to move forward?” Without hesitation and with absolute confidence, her daughter quickly responded, “Mom, I’ve received my endowment! I wish I had been endowed years ago! Of course I figured it out!”

This sister missionary understands at least in part what President Nelson invited us to study in Doctrine and Covenants section 109, the Kirkland Temple dedicatory prayer:

That dedicatory prayer, which was received by revelation, teaches that the temple is “a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.”

This list of attributes is much more than a description of a temple. It is a promise about what will happen to those who serve and worship in the house of the Lord. They can expect to receive answers to prayer, personal revelation, greater faith, strength, comfort, increased knowledge, and increased power. [6]

Most of you have seen this painting, Jesus Knocking on the Door by Del Parson, with the door knob on the inside, waiting for us to let Him in. I’m not an artist, but if I could, I would create a similar painting with Jesus on the inside of a temple door, waiting for us to open it. All are invited. The only requirement is a temple recommend.

In my personal experience, at times I have entered the temple with great joy and at other times with heaviness of heart, seeking guidance and direction. Wherever you are, the Lord wants to be with you.

When my husband and I were dating, there was a time that we chose to break up. I remember feeling so discouraged, and I wanted to feel close to Heavenly Father for His reassurance and guidance. So, I attended back-to-back endowment sessions. I did not hear any audible voices or see a vision, but after those two sessions, what I did feel was peace, and I received this clear thought: Jennifer, be patient, trust the Lord and His timing. I needed to press forward with my life and be open to future possibilities.

Walking out of the Jordan River Temple that day, I crossed paths with my former Stake Relief Society President, Sister Wendy Watson, who you may recognize as Sister Wendy Nelson. I had not seen her in years. She was my earthly angel and greeted me with a big smile and hug as genuinely as ever. She was a great example to me of living a faith-filled life. I do not know what she came to the temple pondering that day, and she did not know about my heartache, but that brief encounter was as if the Lord Himself was reassuring me that all would be well. Incidentally, the following year, I married President Meredith, and a few years later, she married President Nelson!

A few weeks ago, I passed a couple in the Idaho Falls airport who called out, “Hello Sister Meredith!” They had to be BYU-Idaho students. Mom had a baby securely fastened to her and Dad was carrying the bags. Both seemed a bit anxious but determined as they rushed by me toward security to begin their trip.

My mind immediately flashed back to our family’s experience 14 years ago. We had 6 children, ages 3 months to 10 years old. It was early August of 2010, and we were moving to Hong Kong. This move required months of planning for our family of eight. We even dressed our family in red shirts so if we lost a child we could point to the others to show people who to look for. Gratefully, we didn’t lose anyone, and our flight arrived in Hong Kong earlier than expected.

Because we were early, we had to wait for our landlord to bring our apartment key. After 28 hours of travel, we were exhausted and sprawled out in the apartment lobby with our 14 pieces of luggage, 10 carry-on bags, 3 strollers, and 6 children. Unfortunately, I was too tired to think of taking a photo, but you can imagine the concerned look on our new neighbors’ faces as they made their way out of the building to work and school that morning!

Despite jet lag, we stayed awake for as long as possible before collapsing early that evening. At 2 a.m. we were awakened by a T-8 level typhoon literally rattling our 16th floor apartment windows so violently that we truly thought they might shatter. When my husband entered the kitchen to get water and flipped on the light switch, cockroaches crawling on cabinets and countertops scattered. He confessed to me weeks later that the only coherent thought he had was, “What have I gotten my family into?!”

Though challenges were expected, there seemed to be a chasm between knowing it would be hard and living the hard. After a few weeks of adjusting to a new school and activities, public transportation with multiple strollers, a few homesick children, frequently translating directions into Cantonese, and even figuring out where to buy diapers, I was exhausted in every conceivable way. I told my husband that I needed to be in the temple. My spirit needed oxygen, and I knew being with the Savior in the temple would strengthen me.

With our three-month-old baby, we headed out for what became an almost two-hour journey to the temple, via taxi, trains, and a bit of walk, on a hot, humid Friday night, in August, in rush-hour traffic, in a city of seven million people.

It was loud and noisy outside, but as soon as we walked through those doors, I wanted to cry. I was home. Even though we were on the other side of the world, we were truly home.

My husband stayed with our baby in the temple foyer while I took the elevator up to participate in initiatory ordinances. Never in my life had I listened so intently to the words of the ordinance and promised blessings. Those words came to life. The Lord truly manifested Himself to me that night in the Hong Kong temple. Similar to what my young sister missionary friend already knows, here is what He taught me: Through my endowment, the Lord had already blessed me with literal power to do everything He needed me to do, and He would be with me on the journey. I felt tangible renewed strength.

How will the Lord manifest Himself to you in the temple? I don’t know the answer for you specifically, but He will, and He is anxious to do so. You just need to be there.

Much like our family moving to Hong Kong, we are all on a journey, learning and stretching through mortality. On that journey, our prophet reminded us that “the temple is the gateway to the greatest blessings God has in store for each of us, for the temple is the only place on earth where we may receive all of the blessings promised to Abraham.” [7]

I invite you to be in the temple so the Lord can manifest Himself to you. I add my witness to President Nelson’s that it truly is the gateway to the greatest blessings God has in store for each of us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


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

[2] Scott Taylor, “President Nelson announces locations of 15 new temples at conclusion of April 2024 general conference,” Church News, Apr. 7, 2024,

[3] See Luke 2:41–49.

[4] See 3 Nephi 11:1–10.

[5] Russell M. Nelson, “Rejoice in the Gift of Priesthood Keys.”

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.