Church history and doctrine professor Anthony Sweat emphasized the importance of receiving the temple endowment and participating in the Restoration during his April 5 devotional address.
Sweat talked about his love for teaching Foundations of the Restoration course at BYU. He shared a “call-and-answer” exercise he does with his students as they exit the class.
“As they get ready to leave, I call out to them, ‘The Restoration continues…’ and as I point to them, they answer back in unison, ‘Let us continue in it!'” he said.
Sweat said continuing the ongoing Restoration is easier said than done. He looked at a recent study done by the Pew Research Center that found 16% of Americans did not have a religious affiliation in 2007, and today it’s 30%.
“In fact, the fastest growing religious affiliation in America is no religious affiliation at all,” he said. “How do we meet the spiritual challenges of our day and continue in the ongoing Restoration?”
Sweat shared a story about the year 1835 in Kirtland, Ohio. The Prophet Joseph Smith recorded remarks of a sermon to the Quorum of the Twelve, noting darkness prevailing.
Conquering spiritual challenges of their day was not easy and the prophet told the Saints they needed an endowment that would allow them to be prepared and to overcome all things. “That was the key for them, and I believe it can be the key for us also,” Sweat said. “We need an endowment.”
This means an endowment of spiritual power, or a heavenly gift of divine knowledge, capacity and ability that can be maintained through righteous living, Sweat said.
“Through receiving and living temple ordinances and covenants, we can have greater power to receive revelation; to call upon the heavens and have them hear us; to have the promised ministering of angels to help us; and to truly come to know our Savior, Jesus Christ,” Sweat said.
Sweat said one’s motives can be tainted in the desire to be someone else in the eyes of others, causing an individual to miss their true life’s mission.
“There is power in living the higher teachings of Jesus Christ as taught in his marvelous gospel — to not judge or revile, to love, to pray for, to forgive, to extend mercy and to make peace,” he said.
Sweat encouraged attendees to make the choice today that they will continue the Restoration.
“You will need an endowment of spiritual power and capacity to do this,” he said. “The temple endowment ceremony communicates the concepts and covenants to facilitate this greater power.”
Sweat ended with a final question asking, “are you willing and ready to continue in the ongoing Restoration?”