A common teaching in the LDS Church is that We become "saviors on Mount Zion" as we build temples and perform saving ordinances in behalf of the dead. For example, LDS prophet Wilford Woodruff stated:
it takes just as much to save a dead man who never received the Gospel as a living man. And all those who have passed away without the Gospel have the right to expect somebody in the flesh to perform this work for them.
Do what you can in this respect, so that when you pass to the other side of the veil your fathers, mothers, relatives and friends will bless you for what you have done, and inasmuch as you have been instruments in the hands of God in procuring their redemption, you will be recognized as Saviors upon Mount Zion.
To Latter-day Saints, this is an extremely noble pursuit, but can pursuing this noble cause crowd out a cause more noble--that of helping those here and now who need our temporal assistance, of which there are so many?
I think that both forms of service are equally noble. Better yet, as we perform work in the temple for the dead, work which they can't do for themselves, we are naturally drawn toward serving other people--the living ones all around us. This kind of service is as much being a savior as temple work is.
Elder Orson Hyde said, for example:
I will tell you what a savior is; if I see a family who are starving for want of bread; and are thirsting and fainting for water, and an individual should give them bread and water, he has saved them.
Adam Smith, in his second masterpiece,The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, reminded us that:
No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.(Smith's first masterpiece was The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which was published in 1759.)
Similarly, LDS Prophet Lorenzo snow said that the purpose of this earth life is
to live together as brethren...so that there shall be no poor found in the midst of the Latter-day Saints, and no monied aristocracy in the midst of the people of God. There is nothing more elevating to ourselves and pleasing to God than those things that pertain to the accomplishment of a brotherhood [of unity].
We most certainly can be saviors on Mount Zion by performing temple work. But we can also be such saviors by performing "temporal work" as well. Let us provide temple service more often, so that we might more clearly see the temporal needs of those around us.