Note: Below is a rare paper that I found by Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, that he entitled “Holiness to the Lord.” Apparently it was prepared in response to an inquiry from an institute director. It was first written in June of 1987, and later revised in May of 1993. It is powerful in its vision of the future need of temples as a refuge from a wicked world. After being released from the seventy, Elder Featherstone served as the president of the Logan Utah Temple. (The emphasis is my own.)
The season of the world before us will be like no other in the history of mankind. Satan has and will unleash every evil, every scheme, every blatant vile perversion ever known to man in any generation. Just as this dispensation is the fullness of times, so it is also the dispensation of the fullness of evil. We and our wives and husbands, our children, and our members must find safety. There is no safety in the world; wealth cannot provide it, enforcement agencies cannot assure it, membership alone in this Church will not guarantee it.
As the evil night darkens upon this generation, we must come to the temple for light and safety. In our temples we find quiet, sacred havens where the storm cannot penetrate to us. Unseen sentinels often times watch over us. The Prophet Joseph plead with God during the dedicatory prayer at Kirtland: “And we ask Thee Holy Father that Thy servants may go forth from this house (temple) armed with Thy power and that Thy name may be upon them and Thine angels have charge over them.” The Lord has promised, “For I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88). Surely angelic attendants guard the temples of the most high God. It is my conviction as it was in the days of Elisha so it will be for us. “They that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kings 6:16).
Before the Savior comes the world will darken. There will come a time when even the elect will begin to lose hope if they do not come to the temples. The world will be so filled with evil that the righteous will only feel secure through their faith in Christ and within the temple walls. I believe the Saints will come to the temples not only to do vicarious work but to find a God-given haven of peace. The true and faithful Latter-day Saints will long to bring their children to our temples for safety’s sake.
I believe we may well have living on the earth today or will soon be born the boy or babe that will be the prophet when the Savior comes. (Author’s Note: This could take place deep into the 21st century or in a relatively few years. If a man lives to be 80 or 90 and is now a boy or not yet born, it could be many years after the turn of the century. There has been some who misunderstand my statement.) Of course there are many who will sit in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles living among us today. They will be continuously called over the years and many of us are walking with them not knowing that one day God will move his hand and the mantle of apostleship will rest upon them. Many others in our homes and communities throughout the world will receive apostolic callings. We must keep them sweet, clean and pure in an oh so wicked world. Mothers will cradle in their arms and nurse at their bosoms babes who have been foreordained to be the living oracles of God.
There will be greater hosts of unseen beings in the temple. Joseph told the brethren, “And I beheld that the temple was filled with angels” (History of the Church, vol. 2, page 428). I believe prophets of old as well as those in this dispensation will visit the temples. Those who attend the temples will feel their strength and companionship. We will not be alone in our temples.
Endowed faithful members of the Church who keep all their covenants including the sacred coverings will be safe as protected behind temple walls. The covenants and ordinances are filled with faith as a living fire. In a day of desolation sickness, scorched earth, barren wastes, sickening plagues, disease, destruction, and death, (See Joel 2:2-6; also D&C 29 and D&C 133) we as a people will rest in the shade of trees. We will drink from the cooling fountains. We will abide in places of refuge from the storm. We will mount up as on eagles wings, we will be lifted out of a wicked, insane and evil world. We will be as fair as the sun and clear as the moon.
The Savior will come and honor his people. Those who are spared and prepared for that glorious triumphal day will be a temple loving people. They will know him and see him in his “red apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat. The sun shall hide his face in shame, and the moon shall withhold its light, and the stars shall be hurled from their places.” And the “redeemed shall mention the loving kindness of their Lord, and all that he has bestowed upon them according to his goodness” (D&C 133:48-49, 52). They will cry out, “Blessed by the name of He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Thou art my God and I will bless thee, thou art my God and I will exalt thee.” Then we will all join in one grand “Hosannah” that will ring from one end of eternity to the other. A hosannah shout to God and the Lamb.
Those who live in that day, our children or children’s children, will bow down at His feet and worship Him as the Lord of lords, the King of kings. They will bathe His feet with their tears and He will weep and bless them for having suffered through the greatest trials ever known to man. His bowels will be filled with compassion and his heart will swell wide as eternity and he will love them. He will bring peace that will last a thousand years and they will dwell with him.
Let us prepare this special future generation with faith to surmount every trial and every condition. We will do it in our holy sacred temples. Come, come, oh, come up to the temples of the Lord and walk in his “holiness to the Lord” edifices.
The Lord’s temples stand as an ensign to the nations. They tower upward as a monument to our Master and Savior. All that we do in the temples ties us to the atonement. I thank God for grand and holy temples. I thank God for the light, knowledge and instruction that distills upon me and all who attend the temple. May we praise his holy name forever. May we always be inclined toward his holy purposes and may God watch over and have mercy on all who faithfully perform the glorious work as Saviors on Mount Zion. Oh, how beautiful are the feet, the robes, the countenances, the souls of those who come to the holy temples of God.
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