We Are Still Here
We are still here in spite of some doomsayers. I appreciate the announcement that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued about why they stress preparedness… and it had nothing to do with 9/27/2015. I had a chance to look at some of the news stories from the weekend today, as well as all of the moon photos people posted on social media over the last couple of days. (Whew! I think if I see one more blood-moon photo I’m going to vomit.)
One such doomsday supporter has decided to set away from the public eye (understandably so). I just think of the scriptures that tell us no man knows the hour. I find it odd that so many Christians would buy in to someone “predicting” such events when the scriptures are very clear on the subject. I admit, the scriptures tell us to watch for the signs, but I think we need to be careful how we react to the signs.
It’s been a day of doing paper work (uhg). Now, I enjoy writing, but I hate dealing with red-tape. Needless to say, I got through all my red-tape dealings for the day just in time for a relaxing evening at the temple.
The temple has been closed for two weeks for its semi-annual cleaning. I’ve missed it. I hungered to get inside and bask in that feeling of safety and peace. The feeling is indescribable. Imagine, if you would, the security gate at the airport. Now, image that metal scanner as having some high-tech ability to remove all your worries and cares when you pass through it. Well, that’s kind of what I feel when I enter the temple.
Speaking of which, there was a cute story in Meridian Magazine about temples contributing to the leading cause of death in Utah. (You can read the story by clicking here.) And, to the author’s comments, I’ll add that while sitting quietly in the Oakland temple about nine years ago, I memorized the entire 36th chapter of Alma. It was kind of a self-challenge that if I ever became a temple ordinance worker, I’d have to be able to remember a LOT. Well, I did it and it was a boost to my confidence that I could memorize the temple ordinances.
I’ve already mentioned the feeling of peace and safety. Years ago, I recall going to the Oakland Temple and I had so much on my mind. I walked in the entrance, showed my recommend, and as I passed the recommend desk and started heading down the hall, it was as though I knew everything was going to be okay. (Again, going back to my analogy about the metal detector.) It wasn’t gradual, it was an immediate feeling.
To quote Janice Kapp Perry:
I love to see the temple.
I’m going there someday
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God,
A place of love and beauty.
I’ll prepare myself while I am young;
This is my sacred duty.
I love to see the temple.
I’ll go inside someday.
I’ll cov’nant with my Father;
I’ll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I’ve learned this truth:
A fam’ly is forever.
My first love of the temple came when my family moved to Fair Oaks, California, and we drove to see the Oakland Temple one weekend. At that time, there were only 9 temples in the world. I thought, of those nine, the Oakland Temple was the most beautiful.
A few years later, when I was 12, I remember going with all of the young men and young women from our ward to do proxy baptisms. I think we each did 35 names that day. It was an all-day affair. But what I remember most of all, is the feeling I had when we entered the temple. At 12 years old, I didn’t have a lot of cares and worries, but I remember the feeling of peace.
Provo City Center Temple
Today, there are close to 175 temples operating, under construction, or announced. Many people in the world live within a couple of hours of a House of the Lord (another name for a temple). These sacred edifices are attended by worthy Latter-day Saints. (By worthy, attendees must go through two interviews (two witnesses) and attest to there having kept certain commandments (namely moral cleanliness, abstaining from illegal drugs and not abusing other drugs, abstaining from family/spousal abuse, being honest in their business dealings, just to name a few) and obtain a written document signed by themselves and the two interviewers. We call it a “temple recommend”.)
Temples are not our “meeting houses” where we hold church on Sunday. Like Solomon’s Temple of old, it is a place where sacred ordinances take place. Now, Jesus’ atoning sacrifice put an end to the killing of an unblemished lamb. No, there are no blood sacrifices that take place in the temple. Instead, the temple is where we receive instruction. We come with a broken heart and contrite spirit, and we covenant with God to keep his commandments. In return, specific blessings are promised to us. And, it is no surprise to me that those 90-year olds talked about in that Meridian Magazine story have made it to 90.
It was also nice to enter the temple and be greeted by friends. One of our summer (soon to be going home) missionaries came up to me, shook my hand, and said, “I am so glad to see you.” His smile warmed my heart and I though how we only met a few months ago, and we only see each other at the temple, but I can call this man friend. Later I learned that his grandson had been seriously injured. As I took notice of him and his wife during the evening I learned that their presence in the temple was bringing them them same sort of peace I feel when I’m there too.
I love the spirit that resides in the temple. I look forward to my next visit.