“The Pure in Heart…Shall See God”

King David asked the following soul-searching question:

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?

Then, he provided the following answer:

He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

Psalm 24:3-4

The Savior taught the same principle as one of the Beautitudes:

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Matthew 5:8, 3 Nephi 12:8

In 1833, the Lord taught this principle once again to a group of believers in Missouri. He urged them to build a holy house to be used for thanksgiving and for instruction. Then, He gave them the following promise, using words reminiscent of the beatitude:

And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;

Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God.

Doctrine and Covenants 97:15-16

For some reason, I’ve always associated the “unclean things” that should not be allowed in the temple with people who were unworthy of the experience. However, today, I’m thinking about these verses very differently. If I want to receive the full blessings of the temple, I need to set aside any impurities in my heart and mind before entering. Any anger we may feel toward other people, any unwillingness to follow the guidance we’ve received from God or from His servants, any inappropriate thoughts or feelings of any kind—we need to set those aside with God’s help before entering His holy house. If we carry those unclean things into His house, they can impede our ability to receive the full blessings of temple worship.

President Russell M. Nelson provided the following explanation of what it means to “see God:”

We understand Him. We comprehend His work and His glory. And we begin to feel the infinite impact of His matchless life.

Teachings of Russell M. Nelson (2018), 369.

Commenting on this explanation, President Henry B. Eyring added:

If you or I should go to the temple insufficiently pure, we would not be able to see, by the power of the Holy Ghost, the spiritual teaching about the Savior that we can receive in the temple.

When we are worthy to receive such teaching, there can grow through our temple experience hope, joy, and optimism throughout our lives.

I Love to See the Temple,” General Conference, April 2021

Next week, my wife and I will have the opportunity to visit the temple. Today, I will let things go which might prevent me from receiving the full blessings of that experience. I will remember that if I want to see God in His temple, my heart must be pure.

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