|"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."|
Reverenceby Lynn A. McKinlay
Latter-day Saints share with other religious people an inner yearning or inclination to venerate that which is holy. President David O. McKay emphasized this principle by saying, "The greatest manifestation of spirituality is reverence; indeed, reverence is spirituality. Reverence is profound respect mingled with love" (Instructor 101 [Oct. 1966]:371). The supreme object of reverence is God the Father; his son Jesus Christ did the will of the Father by effecting the infinite Atonement; and Latter-day Saints also equally revere him. They revere not only his personage but his name as well, for as Peter said, "there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12; cf. 2 Ne. 25:20). Taking the name of the Lord, or of the Father, in vain is therefore a serious form of irreverence.
While taking pains to avoid any semblance of idolatry, Latter-day Saints revere or venerate all that proceeds from God. Knowledge that "the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof" (Ps. 24:1) and his "very handiwork" (D&C 104:14) impels the Latter-day Saint to respect it. The meek, or the reverent, shall inherit it (Ps. 37:11; Matt. 5:5; D&C 88:17-18).
Certain buildings are set apart as places of worship, and in those places the attitude of reverence is particularly fostered. Written on the eastern facade of the most important of these edifices, the temples, are the words "Holiness to the LordThe House of the Lord." Howard W. Hunter, an apostle, noted that "the temple where Jesus taught and worshipped in Jerusalem was built in such a way as to establish respect for and devotion to the Father. Its very architecture taught a silent but constant lesson of reverence . It was intended to be a place of solace for men's woes and troubles, the very gate of heaven" (Ensign 7 [Nov. 1977]:52-53). Within the temple are revealed sacred symbols that intimately tie the Latter-day Saint to Christ and his Atonement. Because of these vital links, the temple ordinances are valued and revered and become treasures to be discussed only within the sacred walls. Indeed, only Latter-day Saints who are faithful may participate in temple worship.
Reverence is expected to pervade public places of worship as well. Because Latter-day Saints tend to be vibrant and sociable and because they often worship with their children, the Church leaders periodically emphasize the importance of reverence. Addressing the issue, President Gordon B. Hinckley stated, "We encourage the cultivation of friends with happy conversations among our people. However, these should take place in the foyer, and when we enter the chapel we should understand that we are in sacred precincts . All who come into the Lord's house should have a feeling they are walking and standing on holy ground" (Ensign 17 [May 1987]:45).
Latter-day Saints hold as inimical to reverence the tendency of modern society to cynicism and lightmindedness. They believe that honoring the sacred is necessary to ensure a stable relationship with God.
Handy, Linda Lee. "Helping Children Listen." Ensign 12 (Mar. 1982):46-47.
"Reverence." Seek to Obtain My Word (Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guide), pp. 139-44. Salt Lake City, 1989.
Romney, Marion G. "Reverence." Ensign 12 (Sept. 1982):3-5.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 3, Reverence
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company