This is a pretty low key week. The featured image for this post is the only photo I took this week (minus a picture of salt I sent to my friend to see if she needed me to pick some up for her from the store lol). I had a great low key week though. Andy went to work two days this week, so I really can’t complain. He was going to go in Thursday and Friday to work on his elective, but did some studying and lecture preparing from home instead. We have caught up on so much this month with him having so much time off. He’s tackled his office closet (no easy feat), the garage, and a lot of odds and ends of honey doos that had compiled over the last couple of years. Not to mention we’ve gotten to watch the Hobbit trilogy together and have started Lord of the Rings. Not exactly a Christmas movie, but they came out around Christmas and have so much Christianity symbolism that they make for some nostalgic good times. Andy and I were able to celebrate Christmas by attending His temple this Friday evening and we did baptisms for the dead, something I haven’t done since we were dating. It took me a second to remember how to stand when being baptized. A man in our ward brought over 100 family names for us to do proxy baptisms for and there were only three of us females doing baptisms, so it made for a lot of dunking! I was glad to do it though! The spirit in the temple is so peaceful and such a refuge from this tumultuous world. For those of you who read this blog who are not a member of my faith, proxy baptisms can be a weird, foreign idea, so I’m just going to explain it a little in the next paragraph.

Our temples are often described as secret or exclusive because we don’t allow members of other faiths to come inside the temple once they have been dedicated. I want to clarify this a little about why that is and what we do in the temple. The temple is designed to be a refuge from the world. While you do have to be a member to enter a dedicated temple, not all members can. Only members who have met with their local leaders and declared their faith in Christ and his restored church along with their willingness to follow His commandments can enter the temple. These commandments include paying a tithe to the church (*see note at the end of this blog about what we do with tithes in our church), keeping sexual relations between a husband and wife along with keeping our thoughts chaste, keeping the word of wisdom (**again, see note below for an explanation of what this is), being honest in all your dealings, and believing in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. There are a few more questions (that I can’t think of off the top of my head) but the ones mentioned are the big ones.

Once we can enter the temple there are two types of work done there. Work for those who have passed on to the next life and work for those living. The work done for the living must be done by the living individual by their own free will and choice. The work done for the dead, though done by a living proxy member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is still presented to the deceased individual in what we call “the spirit world” to accept or reject. They have just as much agency there to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ as we do, but can no longer do the work for themselves. This provides a way for those who never had the chance to hear about the gospel, or maybe even hear the name Jesus Christ in their lives, to accept or reject the message for themselves. The work of Salvation that is done in the temple is a process of making covenants, or promises with the lord with promises given to us from God in return. In the temple we do baptisms for the dead (the living baptisms are done in regular churches), and further covenant making ordinances. There is a lot of learning done in the temple as we make these processes and a lot of peaceful and private places to pray and connect with God. If you want to see pictures of the inside of temples all you have to do is google or look at for walk throughs and more. They are gorgeous. We make our temples with the most care and detail because we believe they are symbols of our connection with God.

If you have any other questions about the church please feel free to reach out to me. I love my Savior. I know there are many Christian denominations with some valiant, amazing Christ-like individuals (some people I aspire to be like!). The restored gospel of Jesus Christ offers an additional knowledge to the foundation of basic Christianity. I have drawn nearer to my Savior as I have listened to his living prophets and believe that he has always used prophets through the ages to communicate with His children. The knowledge I’ve gained as brought me so much peace and joy that it is impossible for me to not want to share it with others. So please don’t feel offended if I’ve invited you to learn more, it is only because I love you and I love this gospel so much! And if I haven’t extended a personal invitation to you (shame on me), but know that it is there and all you have to do is say, “Hey, Elise tell me more about ____” And with that I’ll leave this blog till next week. Hoping y’all continue to have a wonderful Christmas season.

*Tithes are “a tenth part of a person’s annual increase given to the Lord through the Church. Tithing funds are used to build churches and temples, sustain missionary work, and to build the kingdom of God on earth.” I want to add that all local ministers, pastors, bishops, etc in our churches are volunteers. That’s right. I minister to the women in my area for free ;). But it has blessed me more than I’ve probably blessed others by the things I’ve learned and the relationships I’ve gained. The general leaders are also called to the work and don’t get paid for it. The apostles and prophets have their needs provided for since they do the work 24/7, but it is a modest compensation and does not give them above what they need to live.

**The word of wisdom came from a revelation Joseph Smith received in regards to a question he had about the care of our bodies. It wasn’t instituted as a temple recommend question until later on, but was initially issued as a word of warning against substances that can harm you not only physically, but spiritually as well. This commandment was accompanied with promised blessings. You can read this revelation in its entirety here.

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