The Salt Lake Temple as the
Symbol of Our Membership
Howard W. Hunter, 14th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called all temples the great symbols of our membership. He explained,
"When I contemplate the temple, I think of these words: 'The temple is a place of instruction where profound truths pertaining to the Kingdom of God are unfolded. It is a place of peace where minds can be centered upon things of the spirit and the worries of the world can be laid aside. In the temple we take covenants to obey the laws of God, and promises are made to us, conditioned always on our faithfulness, which extend into eternity' ...
"But to have the temple indeed be a symbol unto us, we must desire it to be so. We must live worthy to enter the temple. We must keep the commandments of our Lord. If we can pattern our life after the Master, and take his teaching and example as the supreme pattern for our own, we will not find it difficult to be temple worthy, to be consistent and loyal in every walk of life, for we will be committed to a single, sacred standard of conduct and belief. Whether at home or in the marketplace, whether at school or long after school is behind us, whether we are acting totally alone or in concert with a host of other people, our course will be clear and our standards will be obvious.
"The ability to stand by one's principles, to live with integrity and faith according to one's belief—that is what matters. That devotion to true principle—in our individual lives, in our homes and families, and in all places that we meet and influence other people—that devotion is what God is ultimately requesting of us. It requires commitment—whole-souled, deeply held, eternally cherished commitment to the principles we know to be true in the commandments God has given. If we will be true and faithful to the Lord's principles, then we will always be temple worthy, and the Lord and his holy temples will be the great symbols of our discipleship with him." (Ensign Magazine: November 1994)
Symbols have various subjective meanings for people, and the temple is no different. Seeing the temple means different things for different people. For me the temple, particularly the Salt Lake Temple, embodies my spiritual progress in this life. So long as I'm worthy to enter the temple, I know that I'm prepared to face God and Jesus when I die. The Salt Lake Temple has special significance for me because I was sealed to my wife there in 1994. This temple is a symbol of my covenants and commitment to my wife, to my children and to Heavenly Father and Jesus; and it is a visual reminder of the blessings associated with those covenants. The temple attests that my family and I matter to God, and that He wants our eternal happiness. God wants us to be together with Him in His Kingdom; not as friends, not as acquaintances, not as neighbors floating around on separate clouds, but as the united family we are, and should be.
To learn more about these symbols, as well as other temple symbols, check out the following sources I used:
"Symbols in Stone: Symbolism on the Early Temples of the Restoration", by Matthew B. Brown, Paul Thomas Smith
"Sacred Walls: Learning From Temple Symbols", by Gerald E. Hansen
"The Salt Lake Temple; A Monument to a People", by C. Nina Cutrubus
"The House of the Lord", by James E. Talmage
"Every Window, Every Spire 'Speaks of the Things of God'", by Richard Neitzel Holzapfel; Ensign Magazine, March 1993
"The Salt Lake Temple", by Dean R. Zimmerman; Ensign Magazine, June 1978
"The Great Symbol of Our Membership", by President Howard W. Hunter; Ensign Magazine, November 1994