Finding God in Mormon Temples
As a youngster, the first time I ever watched ‘The Sound of Music’ was when I knew right away that I wanted to be a nun. I don’t think I really understood that a nun was Catholic, and I definitely didn’t understand that nuns didn’t get to have boyfriends. But the dedicated women who lived in far away European places among breathtaking architecture seemed powerful to me and I wanted to be part of it.
Growing older, other forms of monasticism never ceased to be interesting to me. Being naturally rambunctious, hyper and bubbly, I sometimes imagined myself taking vows of silence on tops of lush green mountains in Asia. Raking sand gardens and spending hours in deep meditation would be the main activities of each day; I planned out the agenda in my head. I’m sure the background for this scene would look something like the setting in the Himalayan Mountains of the Utopian novel, Lost Horizon.
I think there is something appealing in every human heart to want to leave the world behind, shed his or her skin, and find out what is really inside.
For some, that means a weekend wilderness retreat, others, a pilgrimage to Mecca, and still others a life dedicated to seeking Nirvana.
For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, temple worship is a lifelong pursuit, but it is also part of our everyday lives.
We build temples all over the world, and 83% of members of The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter–day Saints lives within 200 miles of a temple. They are separate places of worship outside of our regular meetinghouses (where we hold our regular church meetings on Sunday) and are places for learning, worship, and sealing families together forever.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ invites all who are worthy to come to the temple and receive all the blessings that the Lord has to give His children.
Going to the temple has been what I have looked forward to the most in my life. It is what I have prepared for years in advance. With active anticipation, I waited for that day of heightened religious experience. I longed for those treasures of knowledge inside, for that closeness with God that was to be mine.
When I was married to my husband, it was then the time to receive the ordinances that are offered in the House of the Lord. I cherish the promises and blessings and things I learned there. They are simple and pure and are basic truths about who we are, where we came from, and where we are going.
I recently was able to visit the temple with my husband. Our local temple has been closed for renovations and we have not been able to go for a while. We were in another town visiting family, and I jumped on the chance to attend the temple.
Having only gone to the temple for the first time three years ago – it seems like I am still having new experiences every time I go. This trip with my husband was no different. We had come to the temple, each with particular questions on our mind to meditate over while we worshiped. I felt the peace and joy that always comes when I pray at the temple, but I had other feelings I had never before felt inside or outside the temple walls.
During the temple session , I felt it – I had it. I had that burning religious experience I waited my whole life to feel. It was there waiting for me all along, I just had to be prepared for it. It really was like a “fire burning.” I could feel the flame of faith alight in my chest and the power of religion and God in my lungs. I knew in that moment that God mattered, that temples mattered, that I mattered to God, and that it very much mattered that God’s children worship Him and seek His will. Above all, I learned that he loves us. I am so grateful for this moment I was given, so that I can know even a little bit how aware our Heavenly Father is of each of our lives, and how much I think we mean to Him.
I felt quiet when I left the temple. Life seems so much more simplified every time I come back to it from a temple session. That is what the temple brings: simplicity, perspective, and peace.
By Livi Whitaker
Livi Whitaker is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (ʺMormonʺ woman). She is a freelance writer and authors the positive blog for all things lovely at the bright bit.