Last Saturday, after a long day of shopping for a Homecoming dress (but that's another story for another day), my oldest daughter and I attended the General Women's Meeting.
art by Walter Rane
In that meeting, Sister Linda Burton, General Relief Society President, shared her thoughts on being prepared to enter the temple and keep our temple covenants. She quoted Alma 49:8
"Behold, to [the Lamanites’] uttermost astonishment, [the Nephites] were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known.” She followed up the sciputre with the question
"How can we better prepare ourselves for temple blessings today?"
Sister Burton likened the parable of the 10 Virgins to being prepared for temple blessings.
Just last week I had my own "Virgin" experience.
Last Sunday members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah were invited to attend the dedication of the Ogden, UT temple. I with #2 and #4 decided to attend the 10:00 am session and Clint and the two other boys would attend the 1:00 pm session so someone could be home with the two little girls who are not old enough to attend yet. The three of us were ready and arrived at the church (in the pouring rain, no less) 10 minutes early to find all the doors locked. WHAT?! No one was in sight. The chapel doors were shut, the cultural hall doors were too. By this time there were a few other people attempting to get in too. I decided to check my ticket just to make sure we had the right time. That's when I noticed the Attendance Instructions on the back that stated, "Please be in your seat at least 30 minutes before the session begins. No one will be admitted after the designated hour." After explaining this to the others, one gentleman exclaimed, "Well, at least now we know how the 5 foolish virgins felt." Yes, we did, And it did not feel very good, having the doors locked, being turned away and having to go home spiritually empty. Thank goodness, unlike the 5 Virgins, we had two other chances.
Sister Burton pointed out that "Sometimes we feel sad for the five unwise virgins. Can’t we just be kind and share our oil with them?" Her answer was simple: No, "The oil of spiritual preparedness cannot be shared."
Just like the 5 foolish Virgins, no one could share their obedience of following the Attendance Instructions, nor their punctuality. That was only something I could do myself.
President Spencer W. Kimball explained why it is impossible to “share oil” with others when he said, “Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures – each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thought and actions … these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps.”
Sister Burton closed her talk by encouraging us to prepare to receive oil drop by drop and be prepared to keep sacred covenants made in Temples. Doing this will empower us and bless our lives.
Be Prepared. Add Oil to Your Lamps. You do not want to be left out! Trust me, I know!