Testimonies of the Temple

In my Book of Mormon class, our teacher Brother Griffin has challenged us to undertake a 10-hour project that will allow us to take time each week to focus on the principles of the Book of Mormon. People get really creative with this stuff – artwork, movies, and even flash animation. I remember one of my friends trying to code his own adventure game for his New Testament class last semester.

I wanted to do something that let me be creative in a way that I’m good at, since I have no art class this semester. But I also wanted it to be something personal and relevant to my life right now.  Not only is the work done in temples a central – if not the central – focus of our church, but temple preparation is central to my life right now. My mom has been baptized for almost a year, and we are preparing to be sealed as a family in the temple. I am also preparing to receive my own endowment in preparation for my mission. (Both the endowment and sealing are ordinances that take place inside the temple. Individuals can receive their endowment, which provides personal strength and learning, before their missions, before marriage, or once they are grown and feel personally prepared to enter the temple. The sealing ordinance seals a husband and wife to each other and to their children. Through temple sealing, we can be with our families after we die and forever.)

I’ve recently become pretty excited about the wonderful service and collaboration opportunities on create.lds.org. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. People can share their talents for photography, video, music, and more and provide the files for the church and the public to use in creative projects. Here’s a slideshow of member-submitted pictures they recently released.

I knew I needed something I could submit to Create. I’ve always love the format of the Mormon Message video below, where they asked random people a question. I think it makes it very personal and accessible. My plan is to ask people walking on the grounds of various temples what the temple means to them and compile their responses into a video like this one.

We’re supposed to do our projects over several weeks, and my hope is that we could film each week at a new temple. There are tons in Utah and it’s my goal to go to every single one, so this should help. Of course, that would require a car, so we’ll see. At the very least, this project will give me a weekly opportunity to attend the temple to do baptisms for the dead, and appreciate it more fully.

Our professor had us fill out a SMARTS plan for our project, which I think was an awesome way of submitting a proposal. I think I’ll use the outline to create my own projects/goals.

S-Specific: What is your project? Be precise.

I want to make a Mormon Messages style video that will share testimonies of the temple and stories about its power for good and happiness.

M-Measurable: How are you going to measure your progress and know if you succeeded?

I plan to go to a different temple to film every Saturday. I am preparing a shooting schedule that will list the specific shots and quotes I’d like to get on each shoot. Since I’m creating a final product, my project is pretty measurable. It will be complete when I feel comfortable with submitting it to create.lds.org to be used by the Church.

A-Applicable :How applicable and relevant is your project at this time of your life?

This project is incredibly relevant. I am fascinated by temples and the strong testimonies members have of their divinity. My mother recently got baptized and we are currently preparing to go through the temple after her year-long waiting period is up. Not only am I preparing to be sealed to my family, I am preparing to receive my own endowment before my mission. I love the temple, and I think it should be a little more relevant in everyone’s lives. This project will ensure that I visit often. It is becoming more and more apparent to me that temple work is the center of the latter-day church and is essential for the progression of human kind. 

The final video will also be a great missionary tool – I can use it to help explain temples to my family that are nonmembers when we get sealed, and I can also encourage my friends to view a work that I put considerable time and effort into creating. Making the video will also help me develop my talents and get to know people’s stories and testimonies, which are both things I love doing.  I hope to develop my talents and my spirituality simultaneously in this project, as well as being able to share that with others.

R-Rigorous: How much is this project going to push you above and beyond what you normally do?

Quite a bit. I’ve been thinking of contributing to the site for a long time, but I never have gotten around to it. I normally don’t walk up to random strangers and ask them questions, so that alone will push me in becoming more social, friendly, and approachable (not bad missionary skills to work on). The project will require significant editing work as well. Another thing that I like about it is that it will hopefully create a weekly habit of temple attendance that will continue after I finish. 

T-Time: How much time are you going to spend on this project each week?

About an hour and a half or so of interviews. I’ll also have travel time and time inside the actual temple doing baptisms for the dead, but those don’t really count as part of the project. I’m thinking I’mm devote either my afternoon or morning to this every Saturday.

S-Scripture-based: What parts of the Book of Mormon form a foundation for your project?

This was a tougher one. The Book of Mormon, doesn’t talk a lot about temples specifically, but I am convinced that the testimony of temple principles found there is invaluable in preparing to enter the temple. 3 Nephi, in particular, deals with the doctrines of exhalation and God’s eternal plan, of which temples are an essential part. 

The Guide to the Scriptures says the following about Book of Mormon temples:

In the Book of Mormon, the righteous followers of God were led to build and worship in temples (2 Ne. 5:16Mosiah 1:183 Ne. 11:1). Building and using a temple properly are signs of the true Church in any dispensation, including the restored Church in our day.

Nephi built temples anciently in the Americas, modeled after the temples he knew from his homeland, the predecessors of the temples we know today:

 16 And I, Nephi, did abuild a btemple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of cSolomon save it were not built of so many dprecious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s etemple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple offSolomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.

The temple was an ancient gathering place and house of instruction and learning, like it is today:

 18 And now, it came to pass that Mosiah went and did as his father had commanded him, and proclaimed unto all the people who were in the land of Zarahemla that thereby they might gather themselves together, to go up to the atemple to hear the words which his father should speak unto them.

The people gathered at the temple before Christ’s visit to the Americas, just as we gather in temples today to prepare for Christ’s Second Coming:

 1 And now it came to pass that there were a great multitudeagathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land bBountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the cgreat and marvelous change which had taken place.

The Book of Mormon is also a key element in conversion stories, which are one type of story that I hope to share. A testimony of the Book of Mormon is also the foundation of a testimony of the Church and therefore its temples. Whether explicitly stated in the testimonies or not, I hope the power of this book can shine through.

I’m pretty excited about this project. It will be so cool to have a tangible finished product I can look back on after the class. Actually, that’s one of the reasons I enjoy having a blog to respond to m study. If I can look back at something to help me remember what I’ve learned, I am more motivated.

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