ONE || I'm always amazed when we are given the chance to look back on history and see the hand of the Lord throughout seemingly simple events. The temple was built to stand the test of time: in the best way possible *for that time*. As we have grown and learned, more updates and renovations have followed. Line upon line, God gives us enough for now—but He has the master plans. I wish I could have peeked at His plans for my 2020. I could have glimpsed what "major renovations" my soul would experience— what areas of my life were being torn down to make way for...I'm not sure what. I'm still learning. This is no happy-go-lucky HGTV episode, that's for sure. But just as He has a plan in place for something as simple as a building—albeit a beautiful and sacred building—I trust He has a plan in place for my life. And I'll trust the master builder's plan.
TWO || Our Father in Heaven is so aware of everything, past, present and future. When it was first announced that the iconic Salt Lake Temple would be closed for *FOUR YEARS*, we all marveled. I currently live in Salt Lake—the Salt Lake temple is our assigned temple. We all thought, "What a long time to be without the Salt Lake Temple!" The City of Salt Lake was even concerned about losing tourism with Temple Square being closed. But how interesting that the Salt Lake Temple's closure would come at a time when so many other temples are closed! I see wisdom in His timing. It was again a reminder to me of how, in Heavenly Father's hands, "all these things are done in wisdom" (Mosiah 4:27).
THREE || I loved Elder Stevenson's questions about our foundations. When our house feels like it's leaning and creaking in the wind, it's important to take a step back and look at what our house is really built on. As Elder Stevenson put it: "An introspective look may reveal that we too and our families could benefit from our doing some needed maintenance and renovation work, even a seismic upgrade!" After listening to this talk, I tried to visualize my foundation. I walked around my home, inspecting the cracks. Some were small, others larger than I thought. But overall, the foundation was in tact: my house was strong. It was just a little...dusty. Taken for granted. A little de-prioritized. And I wondered how I've let that happen when it's what everything else is built on! Our foundation is not just important, it's vital for our houses to be able to weather the storms of life. It made me examine my priorities. It made me "pull out my broom" and start clearing away the dust—and ultimately make a few changes to show how much I truly value the truths my foundation is built from.
As I contemplate the next four years of the life of this beautiful, noble, exalted, and awe-inspiring Salt Lake Temple, I envision it more as a time of renewal rather than a time of closure! In a similar way, we might ask ourselves, "How could this extensive renewal of the Salt Lake Temple inspire us to undergo our own spiritual renewal, reconstruction, rebirth, revitalization, or restoration?"
GARY E. STEVENSON
"What are the foundational elements of my spiritual and emotional character that will allow me and my family to remain steadfast and immovable, even to withstand the earthshaking and tumultuous seismic events that will surely take place in our lives?"
GARY E. STEVENSON
THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE
Try to picture a foundation: *your* foundation. Close your eyes and imagine walking around and inspecting it. What does it look like? Does it have a few cracks? Is it crumbling? Is it in pretty good shape? Is it missing entirely?
Use Elder Stevenson's inspired questions as a guide, especially the first four questions from the temple recommend interviews.
1. Do you have faith in and a testimony of God, the Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost?
2. Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and of His role as your Savior and Redeemer?
3. Do you have a testimony of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
4. Do you sustain the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator and as the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?
After visualizing, map out your current foundation. What are the current cornerstones? What does your testimony rest on? Create a master plan (make a list, write a journal entry, draw a picture—whatever helps it stick for you!) for any foundational renovations you or your family might need.
Artwork provided by Patti Christensen - @pattic.art