Visiting the Old Pioneer Cemetery in Nauvoo, Ill., a little more than a year ago, Sister Elaine S. Dalton wandered among the trees and read the names on gravestones.
"Why did they sacrifice all that they had to come to this place and build a temple?" she said she asked herself. "They hardly had shelter, and yet they were building a temple! . . . As I sat silently contemplating this scene, the answer came forcefully yet softly to my mind and heart, 'We did this for you.' "
Speaking Sunday afternoon, Sister Dalton, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, said of those pioneers, "They knew the importance of this work, and they were willing to give all that they had in order to provide a house acceptable to the Lord wherein this holy work could be performed."
Continuing, Sister Dalton quoted Doctrine and Covenants 2:1-3 and asked: "How can the promises made to the fathers be planted in the hearts of the children? How can the hearts of the children be turned to their fathers? This can only happen when we understand our identity and roles in this work, and remain worthy and prepared to enter the temple and act on behalf of those who have gone before."
In order to perform this work, she continued, "we must be worthy. No wonder we are surrounded on every side with things designed to discourage, distract or disqualify us. We must keep our focus, and we must remember that the temple is the reason for everything we do in the Church."
Youth programs, such as Personal Progress and Duty to God, encourage youth to be worthy. "These programs are designed to help youth make and keep commitments, thus preparing them to make and keep covenants."
The "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet, Sister Dalton added, "teaches doctrine and principles that, if understood and lived, will help youth be worthy to attend the temple."
Youth do not have to wait until marriage or a mission to visit the temple, she explained. They can do baptisms and confirmations. "Great blessings will literally 'be poured out upon the heads' of those who are endowed in the temples, and a portion of these blessings will come to our youth as they live worthily to participate in the House of the Lord."
Youth have "a great work to do. And not only do they have a great work to do, but the temple will be a refuge for them that will protect them from worldly pressures and influences."