A co-worker just began serving as an ordinance worker at the Salt Lake Temple. She began this service very excited but more than a little apprehensive. Today I asked her how it was going. She was so overwhelmed with emotion that she could hardly talk. Finally she said, "I will never leave the temple."
In these few six words, spoken simply and reverently, can be found lessons for people of all ages:
Children: You haven't been into the temple yet, but maybe you've been to the temple grounds. Did you touch the temple building? The prophet has said that we should touch the temple so that the temple can touch us. The feelings we get while we are on the grounds of the House of the Lord are the feelings that we should try to keep with us all the time, because that is the best kind of happiness there is. A young friend from some years ago, Jason, said, "I just wanted to hug the temple." I never want to leave that feeling!
Teens: Some of you have been into the temple. You've seen the beginning ordinance, as performed by someone holding the proper authority. You know the beauty of the building. I hope you realize that that beauty is not just "skin deep." The temple is a beautiful edifice, built to glorify God; but its construction is just its appearance. The real beauty of the temple is what happens inside. The temple--the ordinances performed in the temple--strengthens, helps, leads, and blesses people. Should we not try to emulate that? What if we strengthened someone today? Helped them? Blessed them? Serving others is a way to never leave the temple.
Adults: To quote my friend--Life is hard. And then it gets harder. This doesn't mean that life is unhappy. In fact, I think as it gets harder, it also becomes more rewarding. Temple ceremonies symbolize this. We take baby steps (line upon line, precept upon precept) back to God. We can take them quickly or slowly, depending on our choices. We can even step backward. But if we never leave the temple, we will progress forward. Sometimes baby steps might include finding the strength to do yet another load of laundry, make it out of bed an into work, or NOT yell when we really want to. But if we never leave the temple we are given the power to do exactly that. And more. Daily. Hourly, if necessary.
I will never leave the temple.
I believe that will be my new motto.