One night as a heavy snowstorm darkened the sky above the Manti Utah Temple, President Harold B. Lee and a local stake president gazed upon the beautifully illuminated, magnificent house of the Lord.
Turning to the prophet, the stake president said words to this effect: “The temple is never more beautiful than during a storm!” (“A Blessing for the Saints,” Ensign, Nov. 1972, 133).
When I first heard this story, thoughts of our children and their friends shining forth in a darkening world filled my mind. And while I pondered, this powerful verse of pure doctrine touched me: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). I was reminded that each child is, in very truth, God’s holy temple. All these years later, when gathered with our children and now our grandchildren, Jill and I see the Lord’s noble youth of the rising generation as spectacular lights shining in vivid and brilliant contrast against the darkening backdrop of opposing forces and moral decay.
With a fervent desire that each of your lights continue to grow brighter and brighter, I invite you to undertake three very doable activities. You can begin today on each one. Each carries with it powerful promises and great blessings from the Lord and His living prophet, President Russell M. Nelson—especially as you face your own challenging storms of life.
As You Prepare to and Serve in the Lord’s Holy Temples, Your Light Grows Stronger
Our living prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, once encouraged us to prepare ourselves to make covenants in the temple. He then asked, “In this world smitten with spiritual decay, can individuals prepared for temple blessings make a difference?” His emphatic response: “Yes!” President Nelson went on to explain that as we attend the Lord’s holy house, we are strengthened in the storms of life by the power we gain there; we are “armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory” (1 Nephi 14:14). Essentially, he reminded us that to strengthen our own temples, we must spend time in God’s. And, if a temple is not located in your area, then you grow stronger as you accept President Nelson’s invitation to continue to prepare yourself to make temple covenants (“Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings,” Ensign, May 2001, 39).
More recently, President Nelson has explained that “construction of … temples may not change your life, but your time in the temple surely will,” inviting all to “identify those things you can set aside so you can spend more time in the temple.” (“Let Us All Press On,” Ensign, May 2018, 119). As we spend more time in the temple, we both strengthen and fill with goodness our own temples and we prepare ourselves to shine forth as God’s radiant lights during the storms to come.
As You Thank the Lord in All Things, Your Light Becomes Holier
In preparing to be swallowed up physically in fierce watery tempests, the brother of Jared received protective assurances from the Lord. “I prepare you against these things;” the Lord told him, “for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come” (Ether 2:25). Of significant note, in Ether 6:9 we learn of a key attribute, gratitude, that the brother of Jared and his people expressed without ceasing: “He did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, [he and his people] did not cease to praise the Lord” (Ether 6:9).
The Jaredites were never more beautiful—or more holy—than during a storm, even for the 344 days they spent on their ocean crossing. We can be likewise as we show our great faith in Jesus Christ by expressing thankfulness in the midst of our own “trials and troubles of every kind” (Alma 36:27).
President Nelson taught us that “each day, ours is the challenge to access the power of the Atonement so that we can truly change, become more Christlike, and qualify for the gift of exaltation and live eternally with God, Jesus Christ, and our families.” And then he encouraged us to be grateful for the opportunity to rely on our Savior in our quest for holiness. “For these powers, privileges, and gospel gifts, thanks be to God!” (“Thanks Be to God,” Ensign, May 2012, 79).
I testify that our prophet’s words are true and the Lord will bless us beyond our fondest hopes as we strive to be thankful in all things. Jesus Christ, who is well pleased with our thankfulness, promised, “He [or she] who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious” (Doctrine and Covenants 78:19).
As You Use the Correct Name of the Church, You Help the Light of Jesus Christ Shine Forth More Brightly
Do you associate “shining forth” with the correct name of the Church? Both the Lord and His living prophet do!
In Doctrine and Covenants 115:4, the Lord tells us that His Church shall be called “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” And then in the very next verse—verse 5—He invites us to “arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations.”
When President Nelson taught the importance of the name of the Church, he promised that if you do your best to restore the correct name, you will receive power and blessings, “the likes of which [you] have never seen.” A specific blessing he described is having “the knowledge and power of God to help [you] take the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord” (“The Correct Name of the Church,” Ensign, Nov. 2018, 89).
Isn’t this a wonderful invitation from God’s living prophet? He asks you to arise and shine forth by using the correct name of the Church. As you hearken to President Nelson’s clarion call and proclaim the name of Jesus Christ, your light will illuminate the landscape and your strength will help others, even as “a refuge from the storm” (Doctrine and Covenants 115:6). Your light will be a standard and clearly point others to Jesus Christ! The Savior’s light will shine through you to provide courage for you and for others whom your example will bless as they face their own significant challenges.
The story of the storm at the Manti Temple has become very meaningful to our family. In fact, our daughter Brighton and I often send text messages to one another, especially when one of us is wrestling with a difficult challenge. The text reads, “NMBTDAS.” Seven capital letters, sent from one of us to the other, remind us that, as God’s temples, we are “Never More Beautiful Than During A Storm.” We don’t have to say more because we know that those letters mean, “I know you can do this. With the Lord, you can stand tall and beautiful during this storm and as you respond to this challenge.”
NMBTDAS, to you, the youth battalion of the Lord, you who are helping the Lord gather Israel in this tempest-tossed world. My friends, no need to wait! I hope that as you read each invitation, you said to yourself, “I can do that” or even, “I am doing that.” I know and testify, even promise you, that your commitment to serve in the Lord’s temples, to thank Him in all things, and to arise and shine forth by using the correct name of the Church will not only help get you through whatever storms may rage but will enable you to rise victoriously above those storms as a stronger, holier, and brighter light, even as one of God’s most precious temples! For He has promised, “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (Doctrine and Covenants 50:24). In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.