Since March, I've heard lots of people tell me they miss the temple. It's currently open to those who are only making covenants for themselves, not vicariously. But I have a confession to make. I don't miss the temple at all.
Let me explain why I don't miss the temple. In order for me to miss something, it has to be gone from my life. And the temple is still a very active part of my life. Let me give just three of the many reasons as to why I don't miss the temple.
Reason #1 - Toothpicks and Q-tips
A couple years ago I was asked to help clean the Mt. Timpanogos temple. My assignment was to clean the doors. I was given a handful of toothpicks and q-tips so that I could do my job. My first thought was, "Am I being punished? I'm supposed to dust the temple doors with a toothpick and a q-tip? What's happening?" But I soon learned that the doors in that temple have lots of design elements and moulding that traps dust in tiny nooks and crannies. The only way to get the dust out is with tiny instruments that will fit in the cracks.
After 4 hours and 9 doors, I was feeling pretty good at my toothpick-dusting skills. I left the temple feeling like I had accomplished quite a bit. When I got home, I discovered that my fireplace had the EXACT SAME moulding as the doors inside the Mt. Timp temple! And sure enough, my dust cloth had been missing the dust trapped in the very same spots. I knew exactly what to do. I got a toothpick and a q-tip and soon my fireplace mantel was just as clean as the temple doors.
While I was scraping tiny bits of dust from the corners of my fireplace, I had a thought hit me. This is WHY we go to the temple, to learn what we must do at home. It was that very night that I set a goal to feel at home what I feel in the temple. The Bible Dictionary tells us,
Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.
And it's true. Whatever we feel in the temple: peace, comfort, quiet, inspiration, etc. we can also feel in our own homes. We do it by taking what we learn in the temple and like the oft-repeated prayer in Sunday School says, "apply it in our daily lives."
So I don't miss how I feel inside the temple because I feel that same way in my home.
Reason #2 - The Law of Sacrifice
When I received my endowment, I made a covenant that I would keep five laws. One of those laws is the Law of Sacrifice. When I keep my covenants, the Lord is bound to fulfill his promises. (See D&C 82:10) I have considered it to be a great privilege and honor to sacrifice not attending the temple this year so that those who want to receive their own endowment or be sealed to a living partner can do so safely.
As I have made this sacrifice, I have thought about so many others who also have made sacrifices concerning temple attendance. The Saints in Nauvoo gave up much to build their temple, only to go inside maybe once to make their covenants. Some never stepped foot inside a temple again in their lifetime. Even now we know of families that sell their possessions or save for years just to be able to attend the temple one time.
My sacrifice is tiny in comparison, but I too am enjoying the blessings that come from making such a sacrifice. I know that this too shall pass and one day I'll be able to enter the doors again, but for now, I'm grateful that I am allowed to make such an offering on the altar before the Lord.
Reason #3 - Outward Expression of an Inward Commitment
On May 20, 1992 at the Mesa Arizona temple, I received my own endowment. Part of that endowment was a gift of being authorized to wear the garment of the holy priesthood. Boyd K. Packer tells us in his book The Holy Temple, it is a shield and protection for the wearer. Every morning when I dress, I am literally putting on the armor of God. No temple closure can stop me from receiving the priesthood power I have as I remain worthy to wear the sacred garment.
To learn more about why endowed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wear a garment underneath their outer clothing, watch this 4-minute video.
Now don't misunderstand me. As soon as the temple becomes available for vicarious work again, I hope to be one of the first in line for the first session. I'll be like the woman from the old Mervyn's commercial "Open. Open. Open." But because of my home, my covenants, and my garment, I don't have to miss the temple at all!
Not an official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
All photos are of the Mt. Timpanogos temple in American Fork, Utah. Click here for the official photo gallery.