Beth-El

As Jacob followed his parents’ guidance and traveled to Padan-Aram, he stopped for the night at a place called Luz. While he slept, he had a spiritual dream in which he saw angels ascending and descending on a ladder. The Lord Himself stood at the top and reaffirmed to Jacob the promises He had made to his grandfather, Abraham, and to his father, Isaac. (See Genesis 28:10-15.) When Jacob awoke, he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not” (Genesis 28:16). From that time forth, he referred to that location as Beth-El, which means “the house of God” (Genesis 28:19).

As we seek to draw closer to God and to receive revelation from Him, we are drawn to holy places. While Nephi and his family camped in a land called Bountiful, he found such a place:

I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things.

1 Nephi 18:3

When they arrived in the promised land, Nephi led his people in building a temple (2 Nephi 5:16). Some of the most significant spiritual events in the Book of Mormon happened at temples, including the conversion of the people in response to King Benjamin’s sermon (Mosiah 2:1-7) and the ministry of Jesus Christ following His death and resurrection (3 Nephi 11:1-11).

In our day, we also build and dedicate holy buildings to help us connect with God. President Henry B. Eyring said, “The temple is a holy place where revelation comes to us easily if our hearts are open to it and we are worthy of it” (“I Love to See the Temple,” General Conference, April 2021, italics in original). And President Russell M. Nelson has encouraged us to “make time for the Lord in His holy house.” He added, “Nothing will strengthen your spiritual foundation like temple service and temple worship” (“Make Time for the Lord,” General Conference, October 2021).

My aunt, Lavina Fielding Anderson, wrote this beautiful description of what it’s like to pray in a holy place:

Is there a special virtue to the prayers uttered in a temple? Perhaps. My prayers this morning concern most of the same issues I prayed about last night, but surely I pray differently in a temple. in this place where the air seems aglow with presence, where even the act of praying is a promise that it will be heard.

Mercy without End, Signature Books, 2020, page 263

Today, I will schedule my next visit to the temple. I will remember that holy places can bring us closer to God and strengthen our spiritual foundation.

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