“Am I really worthy to enter His house?”
August 26, 2011 2 Comments
Like many who have the priesthood, I’ve had the responsibility to interview members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to determine worthiness to enter what we refer to as “the House of the Lord” or Temples.
It is a brief interview with a series of questions inquiring about strength of beliefs and faith, honesty, support of leaders, adherence to laws and commandments among other questions. It represents the bare minimum of faithfulness one needs to enter the temple and participate in sacred ceremonies. (To find out more about temples, how they are different from standard chapels, who can enter, and other info, click here.)
The last question goes something like this: “Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s House and participate in temple ordinances?” By far, it is this question that brings the most hesitation, ho-hums, questions and doubts. Our reluctance to answer this question is born of either a desire to be humble or an inability to believe that Christ can atone for us personally. Unfortunately, the LDS culture has created some feelings that we have to save ourselves. It is a totally false notion and I think church leaders have done a wonderful job to teach that in fact, Christ has the power to save all…even me.
When members hesitate on this last question, I am very quick to attempt to teach. I simply review with them the second question of the interview: “Do you have faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His role as Savior and Redeemer?” No one hesitates on this question. It is always a resounding “yes” often through tears. If we can say “yes” to this question, then we can say, with confidence, “yes” to the last question. We ARE fully worthy to enter the Lord’s House. If we are in a covenant relationship with the Savior and we believe Him, we may enter His house.
For those members who are determined to save themselves, I turn to a few a scriptures. First to Alma 7:11-13.
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
He paid for EVERYTHING so that we don’t have to. As Paul beautifully put it:
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Because of what He did, we can go “boldly” through the temple, through church, through school, through life. This is the message of every prophet; that Christ lives and He is able to save.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5, italics added)
When I start forgetting His power to atone – not that He can’t atone for others, but certainly not for me – I try to remember to ask myself this question: “Am I really more powerful to mess up than Christ is to redeem?” The answer is obvious. It is not a finite atonement. It is an “infinite atonement.” (2 Nephi 9:6-8)
As members of the Church, we have the opportunity to sit with our Priesthood leader and answer these questions. When that last question is asked, we should remember what Christ did and that it was for each of us personally. We can say with complete faith and confident humility that, “Yes. Yes, I am worth to enter His house.”