|Current map of temples for the announced temples|
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. [emphasis added]
Those verses tell any Christian who will read the New Testament that in the last days, the Lord will reveal Himself as God in His temple. Temples are to be a signature of the Lord's hand in the latter days--a reflection of His authority--and are precursory to the return of Jesus Christ. For Christ's people to be without temples in the latter days is impossible if one believes the teachings of the Bible to be true.
Temples are, as we say in the Church, a sign of the times. They are a sign that the latter days are upon us, and that Christ's authority has returned to the earth. That authority exists still with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Christ Himself said no less to His people in 1832 when He commanded through the Prophet Joseph Smith:
"Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen." D&C 87: 8 [emphasis added]
How quickly is "quickly"? I wanted to know. And seeing as the rate at which our temples are being built is a reliable (and measurable) latter day indicator, I did what anyone would do to grasp a change over time.
I made a graph. You see here displayed the number of unique temples to date which have been dedicated in this dispensation. The data begins with the temple dedicated in Kirtland, Ohio on March 27, 1836. Also note, with the 5 temples which were just announced in General Conference, this graph is already 23 temples behind because those temples have not yet been dedicated. They have been announced, however, and the work on each of them commences according to the will and blessing of the Lord.
Latter-day Saints have a long history of building temples. Early in our history, the command to build them divided many families and cost many lives. No impostor, no one who is unauthorized by Christ Himself, could triumph over the hell we face to build these temples all over the world. Every time we build another one, the way becomes more treacherous for Saints everywhere. The only protection against the hardship the temples bring are the temples themselves--to worship in them, to praise God for them, to perform the work that takes place within their sanctified walls, and to bring the spirit out through our personal righteousness, and share that goodness with the world.
When Saints fail in that work--when they reject the temple, or do not live up to their responsibilities and covenants related to the temple--they are not the only ones who suffer. The world and everyone in it suffers. We must remember that as we pray and strive to take the gospel into the furthest reaches of the globe. There is no turning back, and there is no calling it quits.
I know that the work of the temple unites families, because my family has been united and strengthened by the ordinances performed vicariously on their behalf in the temple. I love the temple because it blesses my life and unburdens my soul. I have come closer to Christ through the work of the temple, and I look forward to the day when all that I still long for--those choicest blessings that are inseparably tied to the temple--are finally bestowed in my own life. I endure in faith because I know they will be. I have trusted God with my happiness, and I know He will deliver me to the Promised Land. Truly that Promised Land has been restored to us once more. It exists inside every dedicated temple on the earth.
I love my Savior. I know that He lives, and that He loves us. I bear this witness in His name, even Jesus Christ. Amen.