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Dedicatory prayer with picture of Christ in our living room

Transforming our bachelor pad into an extension of the temple: Home dedication ceremony

When Elder Richard G. Scott spoke last April about building a Christ-centered home, I was touched by his remarks and resolved to do my part to create such an environment. After pondering Elder Scott’s talk, I prayerfully considered how I could improve the living environment in my home.  I felt impressed to dedicate my home, which meant giving it a special blessing to set it apart as a sacred place.  In the same way that our chapels and temples are dedicated to set these buildings apart as a sacred place, the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as LDS or Mormon) have the opportunity to set apart their homes and invite the Lord’s blessings in their lives.

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As a single adult, I recognized that my situation was different from a traditional family.  I was renting a modest home with two other Mormon roommates, but I still felt it was important to bless our home to invite the Lord’s presence more fully into our lives. Around the time I felt prompted to dedicate my home, I was going through the transition of having my current two roommates move out.  One roommate was moving to China to teach English and the other roommate wanted to move to another part of town to be in the correct boundaries for the family ward he attended.

I felt impressed to wait until I found new roommates before I moved forward with the dedication ceremony.  I felt that if my new roommates and I had a common vision of what we wanted our home to be like, we could work together more effectively to build a gospel-centered home.  After finding two great roommates, Daniel and Erich, I suggested dedicating our home together and they were both supportive of the idea.  

Because we can request specific blessings when dedicating our homes, my roommates and I prayerfully discussed what values were important to us and the type of living environment we wanted to create.  As single adults, we wanted our home to be an uplifting place where we could prepare for eternal relationships with our future families. As part of this, we decided to specifically ask the Lord to help us to act unselfishly, show unconditional love, and strengthen each other in living the gospel.  After each person gave his input, we sat down together and wrote our final dedicatory prayer that detailed the specific blessings we would request from the Lord.

We wanted to have a special ceremony in our home that would help us capture the sacredness of the event.  We invited Jessica, Daniel’s friend who helped introduce him to the gospel more than a year ago.  We also invited my friend Marc, who generously agreed to take photos to remember this special day.  

"Hanging Out" scent

“Hanging Out” scent

As we prepared our home for our guests, Daniel set up his Scentsy candle burner and showed me the wide variety of candle scents we had to choose from.  One of the scents available was called “Hanging Out,” and had a picture that showed a group of young adults gathered close together.

 

I found this hilarious, since one of our church leaders, Elder Oaks, gave a talk several years ago that chastised single adults for “hanging out” when they should be paired off and dating.  I was tempted to use the “Hanging Out” scent, but we ended up going with another scent called, “Vanilla Twilight.”

Daniel teaches our lesson about the sacredness of the home

Daniel teaches our lesson about the sacredness of the home

Marc and Jessica arrived and after introductions and an opening prayer, I turned the time over to Daniel to share a short lesson about the sacredness of the home.  It was particularly meaningful to listen to Daniel share his thoughts and personal testimony about the sanctity of the home.

Before Daniel moved in, we were home teaching companions and he would often come over to visit.  Daniel would frequently comment on the peace he felt when coming over, which was one of the reasons he moved in when we had an opening.  Having Daniel share his thoughts and personal testimony of building a gospel-centered home meant a lot to me and he did a great job with his lesson.

Daniel read from the Bible Dictionary, which said, “Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.”  Because the hallowed ground of the temple is considered to be the most sacred place on earth, it’s a serious commitment to make our home a holy sanctuary comparable to the temple.  Making our home a sanctuary gives us a foundation to overcome the temptations and distractions of the outside world. 

Daniel explained that although we’re spiritually fortified each Sunday at church, it can become difficult when we experience situations during the week that can be stressful, tempting, and possibly degrading to the Spirit.  Making our home a sacred place helps us overcome these challenges.  Just like how the reverence and peaceful spirit we feel in the temple can uplift us throughout the week, creating a similar environment at home can also become a great source of strength.

Dedicating our home is important because it sets it apart as a sacred place, reaffirms our commitment to live gospel standards, and gives everyone who lives there motivation to work towards common goals.  Daniel said something I found particularly insightful:

“[Through our home dedication], we’re inviting another roommate into our home – we’re creating a place for the Lord to reside. He’s always been here, but we are now welcoming him completely.”

Daniel closed by sharing his personal testimony of how his life has been blessed through living in a gospel-centered home.  As a convert to the church, Daniel explained that he hasn’t always been in the best living environments and coming over to a place like our home was very different for him.  He bore sincere testimony of the peace he’s felt through coming home to a place where he can be fortified from the challenges of the outside world.

Malcolm, Jessica, Daniel, Erich around dedicatory prayer

Malcolm, Jessica, Daniel, Erich around dedicatory prayer

After Daniel’s lesson, we kneeled around our table and I had the privilege to give the dedicatory prayer.  After our ceremony, we had a closing prayer, blessed the refreshments, and placed our framed dedicatory prayer in our living room. Daniel said something particularly amusing after the lesson. He said: 

“Our home will now be a complete extension of the temple, BUT the only difference is you won’t hear Malcolm’s puns or Erich’s echoing laugh within the walls of the temple.”  

Given my fondness for puns and Erich’s distinctive laughter, I thought that was an excellent way of looking at it.  Even though the three of us have only been roommates for a relatively short time, we’ve already created many fond memories.  Having Daniel and Erich as roommates has been a blessing in my life and working together to dedicate our home was a sacred experience.   

Erich, Malcolm, and Daniel with dedicatory prayer

Erich, Malcolm, and Daniel with dedicatory prayer

I am grateful we had the opportunity to dedicate our home and invite the Lord’s blessings more fully into our lives. Dedicating our home doesn’t mean that our living environment will be perfect – that would be an unrealistic expectation, because we are imperfect human beings.  However, the dedication means we now have a common vision to work towards as we build a Christ-centered home.  

Whenever we look at our dedicatory prayer, we will be reminded that we’ve invited the Lord as our fourth roommate – and we will strive to act accordingly.