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Touch the Temple

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

One of our favorite accounts in the Savior’s mortal ministry is the story of the woman with an issue of blood who came to the Savior to be healed (see Mark 5:25-34; see also Matt. 9:20-22, Luke 8:43-48). We have a beautiful Kate Lee print depicting this tender scene in our home, which we love (“Faith to be Healed” © Kate Lee).

This woman’s life was most likely exceedingly difficult. Under the Law of Moses, someone with her condition was considered ceremonially unclean. Therefore, she would have lived in relative seclusion, avoiding contact with anyone else, including her family, because they would also be considered unclean if she made contact.

She had done all within her power to find healing through traditional means. She spent all she had seeking medical care, which she hoped would alleviate her condition and free her from the bondage of this plague. However, all her efforts were to no avail. Not only was she still sick, but she was also destitute from seeking a cure.

Is it any wonder that she became so hopeful when she heard that Jesus would be coming near? The stories of His miraculous healings had most assuredly preceded Him. She must have felt great anticipation as she discretely made her way closer and closer to the Savior.

Avoiding personal contact with people in the crowd and even wanting to avoid direct contact with the Master to keep Him from becoming unclean, she moved within reach of the hem of His garment. Then, she touched! And she was healed!

Despite her attempt to privately accomplish her goal, the Savior made known what had happened. He did not want to embarrass her but to teach her and others what had occurred to accomplish her healing. He stated to all, “Thy faith had made thee whole.”

This poor woman, who had suffered for twelve years, was finally physically, emotionally, and spiritually healed as she touched the hem of the Savior’s garment.

Touch the Savior Through the Temple

The path that allows us to reach out and touch the Savior is called the covenant path. The first covenant we make on this path occurs in the waters of baptism. Baptism is the “first fruits” of repentance (Moroni 8:25).

After baptism, other subsequent covenant “fruits” follow, including sacred temple ordinances. As we follow the covenant path, moving from baptism to the sacred temple endowment with its conferral of priesthood power on brothers and sisters and, finally, to the holy sealing ordinances in the temple for families, we make more significant and sacred covenants with our Heavenly Father.

In the same way that the woman with the issue of blood came to the Savior in faith to touch Him and receive healing and redemption, each of us can go to the house of the Lord and touch the Savior through the temple and its ordinances to have that same experience with Him.

The House of the Lord

The words “Holiness to the Lord. The House of the Lord” are inscribed outside of every modern-day temple. Let’s begin with the second of the two sentences, “The House of the Lord.”

Latter-day Saints believe temples are sacred spaces set apart to be the literal houses of God. While we do not worship the temple itself, we recognize it as a place where Jesus Christ, whom we worship and revere, can personally come to be among His covenant people.

Modern temples have their roots in the tabernacle and the temples of ancient Israel. The Lord commanded Moses to build a mobile tabernacle by saying, “Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Ex. 25:8, emphasis added). The tribes of Israel camped around the tabernacle, with their tent doors open in its direction as a constant reminder that the Lord should be at the center of their lives.

After Israel was established in the promised land, King Solomon built a permanent temple (see 2 Chr. 2-7). The Lord appeared to Solomon and said, “For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually” (2 Chr. 7:16). This building and His presence in it were to be a pattern for covenant Israel from that time onward.

The Lord again commanded His Saints to construct a house unto Him in the latter days. “And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me … my glory shall rest upon it; Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God” (D&C 97:15-16, emphasis added).

First in Kirtland, then in Nauvoo, and now in cities across the globe, temples are constructed to be the Houses of the Lord. They are dedicated as sacred spaces where the Lord can come and His people can go to commune and make covenants with Him. The Lord promised the saints at Kirtland, “I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house” (D&C 110:7).

All modern temples have this same blessing and promise: They are holy places where He can come to bless and sanctify His people. The temple is a great symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we come to a temple, we are essentially coming to the Savior—touching Him!

Holiness to the Lord

Let’s return to the first line inscribed on every modern temple, which reads “Holiness to the Lord.” Have you ever thought about the word ‘to’ in that phrase? The preposition ‘to’ suggests to the mind (1) that we are expected to bring our holiness with us to the temple and (2) that the construction and oversight of this sacred space is our holy offering to Him.

Purity and worthiness are the primary requirements for entering into the Lord’s house—for touching the temple. The Psalmist exclaimed, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart” (Ps. 24:3-4). The Lord commanded, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16; see also Lev. 11:45, 19:2, 20:7), and “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord” (D&C 38:42).

How do we obtain this holiness, which we must bring with us to the temple? First, we strive to keep the commandments with all our heart, might, mind and strength. Second, when we break any commandment, great or small, we quickly repent and seek the forgiveness of God and of those whom we may have offended or harmed. Finally, we repeat this process throughout our lives. In this way, we can continually keep the scriptural admonition to “keep thyself pure” (1 Tim. 5:22).

Being holy allows us to stand worthy in the Lord’s house and be in His presence. It allows the Holy Ghost to guide us, which will keep us safe from spiritual harm and provide us the guidance we need to traverse the dangers and trials of mortality. He enables us to bring our holiness with us and make any place holy by our presence and the Spirit we carry with us.

Let the Savior Touch You

When we touch the temple, we receive some of its precious holiness into our lives and character. The blessing of the temple is that as we touch His house, the Savior touches us!

In speaking of the various internal elements of the tabernacle, Moses was told, “And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy” (Ex. 30:29). The Israelites were encouraged to come to the tabernacle and be sanctified by receiving the holiness that emanated from it, even by just touching those items deemed holy.

In the Doctrine and Covenants, we are likewise promised, “Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power” (D&C 43:16). Later, during the dedication of the Kirtland temple, Joseph Smith petitioned, “We ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them” (D&C 109:22, emphasis added).

We are not only endowed with power in the specific ordinance called “the endowment” but we also receive this power any time that we touch the temple. That spiritual power is tangible in the lives of worthy, covenant people. It can be felt by all those around them. It allows us to do His work and, eventually, to feel comfortable and at peace in His presence.

President Russell M. Nelson spoke powerfully of the temple touching us at his first broadcast for Church members when the new First Presidency was announced five years ago. Said he,

“As a new presidency, we want to begin with the end in mind. For this reason, we’re speaking to you today from a temple. The end for which each of us strives is to be endowed with power in the house of the Lord, sealed as families, faithful to covenants made in a temple that qualify us for the greatest gift of God, that of eternal life.

“The ordinances of the temple and the covenants you make there are key to strengthening your life, your marriage and family, and your ability to resist the attacks of the adversary. Your worship in the temple and your service there for your ancestors will bless you with increased personal revelation and peace and will fortify your commitment to stay on the covenant path.” (Russell M. Nelson, Live broadcast to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, January 16, 2018, transcription from posted video).

Your joy will be full!

Touch the temple often. Most importantly, let the temple touch you often. Take the Spirit of that Holy House with you throughout your day and week. You will experience greater spirituality and have a greater desire to do good. You will become more holy and more refined. You will be spiritually healed.

When you touch the temple, you are touching the Savior, Jesus Christ, because the temple is a symbol of Him. You will feel the Savior’s power and presence when the temple touches you. As that occurs, you will experience the same joy that the woman with the issue of blood felt. Like her, you will become whole.

So, touch the temple, and let the Savior touch you. As you do, your joy will be full!

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