Today in church our Bishop reminded us of the need to stand in holy places. Below is an excerpt of an article by Sharon G. Larsen printed in July 2002 in the Liahona magazine. Even though holy places can obviously be a church, synagogue, or temple, Mrs. Larsen points out the less obvious holy places in which we should be standing.
"Standing in holy places is all about being in good company, whether you are alone or with others. It’s being where the Holy Ghost is our companion—alone or in a crowd. When we determine within ourselves that we will control our thoughts and our actions and be the best we can possibly be, the best of life will come to us.
"A holy place is where we feel safe, secure, loved, and comforted. That’s how it was in our heavenly home. Standing in holy places and being in good company bring feelings of how it must have been in that home we left behind, the home that seems so far away at times.
"In holy places we are protected from the almost overwhelming commotion of the world. Angels can be our companions and support. The Holy Ghost can take away the gnawing, aching feeling of loneliness or isolation or rejection and fill us with peace. He is called the Comforter—and He is that!
"It is possible the loneliest times are when we are surrounded by people, even friends, who are making wrong choices, and we have to stand alone. There are some places it would not be safe for you to go even to help someone in need. The Lord said to stand in holy places. There are places where the Spirit would never be. You know where those places are. Stay away from them. Pay attention to what you are feeling so you will know when you are feeling unsure or uneasy.
"Standing in holy places helps us to become holy, but that is an acquired virtue that takes practice. Practice listening to the Spirit and being obedient. Practice being morally pure. Practice being reverent about sacred things. The Lord has told us to come unto Him and He can make us holy. Let Him envelop you in love and forgiveness and peace. Regardless of what is going on around you, you can practice creating an environment of your own, filled with the Spirit of the Lord.
"Holy places can be wherever you are—alone, in a crowd, with strangers, with friends. There is a great wealth of intelligence and guidance and safety available to you through regular, thoughtful prayer and scripture study.
"Holiness is quiet and gentle, easily missed if we aren’t paying attention. The resurrected Lord walked to Emmaus with two men who were so caught up in the events of His Crucifixion and Resurrection that they did not know it was the Lord Himself who was their walking companion.
"Once you understand what holy places are, then you know where to be. It may take sacrifice of our worldly tastes or popularity. It may require humility and forgiveness or complete repentance. It does require 'clean hands, and a pure heart' (Ps. 24:4). Do whatever you have to do to be able to stand in holy places and be not moved, to stand for truth and righteousness, regardless of shallow enticements and evils and designs of conspiring people (see D&C 89:4) and media. In the words of President Hinckley, 'Stand a little higher and let the nobility of good character shine through [your] lives' (“A Time of New Beginnings,” Liahona, July 2000, 107)."