In his Sunday morning session remarks in general conference, President Monson told stories of great sacrifice offered to reach temples for sacred ordinances. He told of those in the Amazon who travel thousands of miles to the temple in Brazil. He told of the dedicated Tahitian man who — with his two sons — spent a total of six years, living away from the family, working in nickel mines to earn the money to get the family to the New Zealand temple.
Given the recent local emphasis from the church on keeping families together, I was surprised to hear a story of a father and two sons leaving the mother and eight other children alone for six years being presented as a good thing. I had to wonder if there wasn’t a better way.
President Monson said:
No sacrifice is too great, no price is too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to over come, or too much discomfort to endure.
I understand the sentiment. If there were no other choice, then sacrificing our lives to have eternal life would be the reasonable choice. But the stories led to a discussion about “temple doctrine” and, to be honest, I’m not sure what our doctrine about ordinance geography is.
The early saints performed ordinances in all sorts of places, like spare bedrooms. Ancient Israelites had a portable tabernacle. Adam and Eve had, apparently, a place in the woods.
While the church is building more temples every year, there are still many who cannot attend readily. While President Monson indicated that sacrifice is always part of temple building and attendance — and we all know that sacrifice can be beneficial — he also said:
Our desire is to make the temple as accessible at possible to members.
Requiring inordinate amounts of sacrifice to members who live amidst lower LDS populations isn’t the goal, accessibility is. Given that, I wonder — rather than waiting years or decades until we can build everywhere or, alternatively, requiring some geographically-challenged members to give their entire lives to the cause of the temple pilgrimage — why doesn’t the church create a kind of traveling or portable temporary temple? What if, just once a year, someone in authority took the temple to remote areas to perform needed ordinances?
No, I don’t expect to get any traction with this idea and I realize I have no authority to make suggestions about temple procedure. In thinking about the plight of those who want the temple blessings in this life and who have no reasonable way to attain them, alternative means of providing them (that could, for example, keep families together) became after conference conversation at my home.
Do you have some out-of-the-box ideas about how this or other logistical problems in the church could be solved?