Okay, here's my talk (see post before this), although you'd be better off not reading it and just reading the McConkie talk I posted below.
Stake Conference talk: Worship
Elder Bednar, in his talk, “Honorably Hold a Name and a Standing,” discusses the power we have access to through our temple covenants. At one point in his talk he summarizes the thoughts of several temples presidents as follows:
“I have come to understand better the protection available through our temple covenants and what it means to make an acceptable offering of temple worship. There is a difference between church-attending, tithe-paying members who occasionally rush into the temple to go through a session and those members who faithfully and consistently worship in the temple.”
I’ve thought for a long time about what that meant—an “acceptable offering of temple worship.”
In his talk, “Sunday Worship Service,” Elder W. Mack Lawrence defined worship this way: “to reverently show love and allegiance” to the Savior, “to think about him, to honor him, to remember his sacrifice for each of us, and to thank him.”
The first part of that is to be reverent. Many of us have felt the indescribable feeling in the temple and recognized reverence. Hopefully, we bring a feeling of reverence with us when we enter the temple.
President McKay said that “reverence is profound respect mingled with love.” He also said that “[T]he greatest manifestation of spirituality is reverence; indeed, reverence is spirituality.”
Most interestingly, President McKay states that “reverence indicates . . . true faith in deity” and that “inseparable from the acceptance of the existence of God is an attitude of reverence.” Elder McConkie stated: “A knowledge of the truth is essential to true worship. There is no salvation in worshipping a false God.” John 4:24 states: “And they who worship Him, must worship in spirit and truth.”
Therefore, to truly worship in the temple we must know and understand the plan of salvation and, most importantly, know our Savior and believe that He has provided salvation for us. As our knowledge of the gospel grows, and our relationship with our Savior deepens, our ability to worship will increase. Temple attendance helps us increase our understanding of the gospel and helps us grow closer to our Savior. Worshipping in the temple often will help us learn to worship better—more completely and more fully.
The church website states: “Worship not only shows our love for God and commitment to Him, it gives us strength to keep his commandments. Through worship we grow in knowledge and faithfulness. If we place any person or thing above the love of God, we worship that thing or person. This is called idolatry.” That refers back to our definition of worship: to reverently show love and allegiance to our Savior. We show our allegiance by making Christ the center of our lives and avoiding any idolatry. President McConkie said, “To worship the Lord is to put first in our lives the things of his kingdom, to live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, to center our whole hearts upon Christ and that salvation which comes because of him.”
As we enter the temple in an attitude of reverence with a testimony of the Savior, without any competing thoughts or priorities, we will be ready to make “an acceptable offering of temple worship.”
Elder Lawrence’s definition reminds us that to worship we need to think of the Savior. To worship the Savior fully we need to learn how to meditate as defined by President McKay, who said meditation is a “form of private devotion, or spiritual exercise, consisting in deep, continued reflection on some religious theme.” President McKay also said that “meditation is one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord.”
Trying to learn the art of meditation while in the temple is leaving it too late. We need to practice meditating each day as we read our scriptures. Then, when we go to the temple, it will be easier for us to keep our minds on the things we’re learning instead of worldly things. We’ll also have an increased ability to discern the spiritual tutelage of the Spirit if it is a feeling with which we are familiar.
Elder Lawrence’s definition of worship includes the injunction to “honor the Savior.” Consider how the word honor is used in 1 Nephi 17:55—“. . . honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land.” I think two words could be easily substituted for “honor” in that passage. First, obey. Obey thy father and thy mother. Second, emulate. Emulate thy father and thy mother. To truly worship we need to honor the Savior by obeying and emulating him.
President McConkie stated: “. . . true and perfect worship consists in following in the steps of the Son of God; it consists in keeping the commandments and obeying the will of the Father to that degree that we advance from grace to grace until we are glorified in Christ as he is in the Father. It is far more than prayer and sermon and song. It is living and doing and obeying. It is emulating the life of the great Exemplar. . . . It is living the whole law of the whole gospel.” We demonstrate a desire and willingness to be obedient by our very presence in the temple. Once we are in the temple, we need to make an acceptable offering of worship by being humble and desiring to become more obedient—to have our understanding of the doctrine increased so we can more fully live it and having our relationship with the Savior deepened so we can become more like Him.
Elder Lawrence pointed out that to truly worship, a person needs to “remember” Christ’s “sacrifice for each of us.” The sacrament prayers remind us of our obligation to always remember the Savior’s sacrifice for us. 3 Nephi 18:7 reads: “And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my spirit to be with you.” Remembering the Atonement and crucifixion is so important that Heavenly Father made it the focus of our only weekly ordinance.
President McKay said, “. . . there is nothing of an extraneous nature so important as remembering our lord and Savior, nothing so worthy of attention as considering the value of the promise we are making.” President McKay was referring to the sacrament but it applies equally well to temple ordinances.
A promise is attached to our remembering the Savior—that we will have the Spirit with us. Certainly we cannot give an acceptable offering of temple worship without the Holy Ghost in attendance. President McKay said, “Let the Holy Ghost, to which we are entitled, lead us into [Christ’s] presence, and may we sense that nearness, and have a prayer in our hearts which he will hear.”
Elder Lawrence concluded his definition of worship by reminding us of the integral part gratitude plays in true worship. Through worship we demonstrate the profound gratitude we have for our Father and our Savior. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reads: “In everything give thanks.” This idea of having a gratitude attitude reminds me of the scripture D&C 59:21, “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things.” The topical guide correlates that scripture to the topic of ingratitude. Surely an acceptable offering of temple worship includes our expressing gratitude to the Lord for everything we have been given—including our Savior’s sacrifice for us.
In summary, we need to attend the temple to worship the Savior and the Father. We do this by entering the temple with an attitude of reverence, with our minds centered on spiritual things and prepared to meditate and learn more about God so we can become more obedient and more like Him. As we participate in temple ordinances we need to pay attention and express our gratitude for and to our Savior.
As Elder Lawrence said, “It should be a time of true worship for the Savior, a time when we desire to be close to him, to convey our love to him, to feel his Spirit. Our attitudes help determine how meaningful” our temple attendance “is for each of us.”
2 Nephi 25:29 states: “The right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy one of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul.”