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“Look to the Temple”. He looked me in the eyes across from the clammy table and I looked back. After a moment he promised me special blessings as I did so.
Shortly after I returned home from my mission, I pondered how his words were going to impact me as I went throughout my life. I ended up buying a necklace to remind me of those special last moments with him. It’s a simple necklace; a miniature Salt Lake Temple encompassed by a golden hoop, a small pearl dangling beside it. It is an accessory I wear often.
To get this temple necklace, visit Deseret Book’s website!
Almost two years ago I arrived on my mission without a huge testimony of the temple. I knew a few basic things, but besides that, there wasn’t much knowledge. It just didn’t have a huge impact on me. I remember entering the Florida Orlando Temple for the first time and felt a familiar peace I had felt before in the temple in Las Vegas. It was very comforting to me and I liked being there. This was the temple that I would eventually perform sacred ordinances for my grammie (grandmother) in. It became a special temple for me after that!
I’m grateful I went to the temple as often as I did on my mission because those experiences kept it in my view.
One of those experiences was doing baptisms for the dead with a recently baptized friend of mine named Henry and my then companion, Sister Jensen. Henry was seriously the best. He had so much faith and took this step in stride as he adjusted to life in a new religion.
Henry was one of the best examples of faith I’ve ever seen!
We performed proxy baptisms for several of those that had passed, including my grammie. I felt so much love and gratitude in my heart for the privilege of helping my grammie have a chance to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I could feel her there, thanking me, happy. My personal testimony of the Lord’s temple and its blessings grew stronger that day.
Like I said before, I didn’t have a huge testimony of the temple like others seemed to have. After that temple trip early in the spring, I began to ponder this and study it.
I’m nowhere near where I want to be now, but I’ve learned a lot since then. I’ve learned that there are promised blessings there that I would never be able to attain anywhere else in any other circumstance. I’ve also learned that true peace is found within or even on temple grounds. Real peace. Not rest, but peace. I would describe it as a stable comfort deep within your soul; kind of like a hug, but inside.
In Las Vegas (where I’ve lived for years), there is a temple on a hill. It isn’t too far away from the noise and disorder of Nellis, Charleston, or Flamingo, and yet it is completely still inside. If you were to look out the windows of the temple at night, you’d see the Las Vegas Strip glowing brilliantly, strobe lights colliding with the haze overhead.
Looking back, I realize that my mood improved every time I went to the temple while living there. Every morning for 5 days a week I would go and volunteer in the temple as a worker. And while I was there, it felt as if I were in another place. Truly, I felt like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz sometimes.
I remember my temple Matron telling me to never forget how important the temple is. She served a senior mission herself a few years back. Every day she would bear a simple but strong testimony to me of why she knew the Temple was a sacred place. I think this was a huge aid in my growth.
One day we were speaking about my mission call with the other sisters and I marveled at how I would be leaving in only a few short months. This sister, although I don’t remember her name, gave me advice in order to help me prepare for my 18-month mission. She instructed this for my friends specifically:
I remembered that advice all 18 months of my time serving.
It was very impactful for me as an individual to hear those words because I began to think to myself, “Well, shouldn’t I have the same testimony as those I’m teaching? Is the temple important for me? What power does the temple truly hold?”
And although I’m still seeking answers for these questions of my soul, I invite you all to do the same. Ponder, dig deep, question what value the temple has for you. Do you value it as much as my Temple Matron did? As your parents or Church leaders do?
Let me offer some resources as an additional study that may help:
- Most of the Old Testament is riddled with Temple doctrine. Look for it in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers
- The Pearl of Great Price holds precious temple doctrine
- Hebrews 10
- 1 Corinthians 13
- Matthew 19
- Doctrine and Covenants 88 and 138
There are also plenty of General Conference addresses given by apostles and prophets, as well as on the BYU Speeches website.
I would take these additional resources and run with it! Take some time to expand on your understanding of unknown words, unfamiliar doctrines, and new insight. Try more cross-reference and reference techniques. Anything to get the most out of this precious knowledge!
I hope that y’all can gain a more personal testimony of the Temple that will prepare you to be ready when the doors open again!