Sunday, August 14, 2011

:::I Love to See the Temple:::

We were going through some old things today, hence the baby pictures, and my mom pulled out these two items.

The first is my ticket to a satellite dedicatary session of the Nauvoo temple. I clearly remember the day that I went in for this interview and received my ticket. I was so proud, and participating in the session was a great experience.

The second is my sister's escort card from the day I took out my endowments. My mom was there as well, but my sister was my escort since she was a temple worker in DC and my mom was super nervous! Hee, hee.

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Each time I am in a city with a temple, I have to see that temple. When I lived in Provo I would go out of my way to drive past the temple on my way to and from errands. Even if I was going to Macey's from my apartment in south campus, I would drive home past the temple.

When I was a youth, each year after the Christmas season, all of the wards in the Los Angeles Temple District would be asked to come to the temple to help take down the millions of lights that had been painstakingly wound around the hundreds of trees and bushes on the temple grounds. This was my favorite church activity every year. I loved that I was able to spend so much time on the temple grounds and work beside that beautiful building all day long.

As I unwound strands of lights from row upon row of bushes, I would look up to the temple and imagine the day that I would finally be able to go inside. I could feel it in my heart that one day I would be there, up in the top rooms of the temple as a fully endowed member of the Church. I could not wait for that day to come. I felt such an urgent burning in my chest and I wished that I fast forward through the years to the particular moment when I would finally go inside.

The day I went to the temple was the best day of my life. I was so, so happy and honored to be there. At that point the Provo temple had become my temple, and after years and years of sitting in the parking lot and staring at the temple while thinking about every aspect of my life, I could not believe that I was finally going to be inside and learning the sacred teachings that I had waited my whole life to hear. When I presented my recommend at the front desk and was taken back to the little office area where my information was confirmed, I was completely overwhelmed with joy at finally making it to a point in my life that I had been looking forward to and dreaming about for years.

When I left the temple that day I could not wait to go back. I felt so much closer to the Savior, and I felt like my mind had finally arrived at the place where my spirit felt naturally at home. The best piece of advice that my sister gave me was to go back as soon as I could, and as often as I could for the first month. I went through on a Saturday, and that Monday we went to an early morning session at the Provo Temple before it closed for the day. I didn't have a job at the time, so I went back to the temple every day for two weeks. I wanted to absorb every bit of the temple while my first experience was still fresh in my mind. That way I knew that I would never feel uncomfortable about going back and I would always feel at home there. It was the best thing I could have done. What great advice.

I have been present as a few friends went through the temple for the first time, and it was always such an honor and happy pleasure to be there. It thrilled me to watch them and to know what an important step they were taking.

In 2007 my middle sister Elizabeth was married in the LA Temple. Going inside the temple that day was a really special thing for me, not just I was able to witness my sister being married. I couldn't believe that what I had dreamed of so many years before was finally happening. I was finally there! I was finally walking down the hall, not to the stairs down to the baptistery, but beyond that. I was finally looking out from the frosted windows that I had longingly looked at when I was a youth. I was in the sacred rooms of the temple, walking through the hallways, and dressed all in white. It was a great feeling.

I think there are so many things in life that we want to accomplish but may never have the chance to. This was definitely a time when I had wanted something so badly for so long, and it had finally come to pass. It was a proud, humbly, and thrilling moment for me. The temple holds so much promise for everyone, even if you are not sealed to your family or spouse (as I am not).

I love the temple. It is my favorite place on earth. The second reason that I decided to move back West was that I could afford to keep a car and get myself to the temple whenever I wanted to. I'm so excited to live near the temple again!


Jill said...

Oh my goodness, what a contrast to my feelings about the first time I went to the temple! I wish I had been better prepared and I wish someone had advised me to go back often. I didn't go back for a really long time and then only for my siblings' sealings. It took me years to go back to do another session. I'm trying hard to cultivate an attitude like yours!

michelle said...

I love this, Rebekah. I wish that everyone could have this same experience with the temple.

Erin said...

Oh heavens, I'm so jealous. I want to visit the Nauvoo Temple so badly. I was there the year before it was dedicated so I did get to see it partially.