Drawn to the Temple

Temples have always fascinated me. As a little girl, I was awed by the Idaho Falls Temple as it stood on the banks of the Snake River. And I remember Temple Square in Salt Lake City lit up at Christmastime like a fairyland. As I watched my mother carefully press her white temple clothing, I longed for the day when I could go with her to the temple.

However, adulthood brought inactivity. I let the Church slip far away, and many years passed before I realized how important my membership was. Finally, I started to work my way back, and with sincere repentance came an intense desire to know the Lord better and to enter his temple.

After many months, my bishop assured me that I had done all possible to earn a temple recommend. As the day slowly approached, I became more and more excited. But as I opened my eyes that morning and realized that by nightfall I would receive my endowment, it seemed to have come too quickly. Was I really worthy? Would I be able to live up to the covenants I would make?

I spent much of the day preparing for the session that evening, ironing each piece of temple clothing, carefully smoothing the wrinkles. Later I called my aunt again to make sure she hadn’t forgotten her promise to meet me there.

“Now listen, Sharon, don’t be disappointed,” she cautioned. “I’ve been through the temple many times, and I still don’t understand everything.”

“Don’t worry. I won’t be disappointed,” I assured her. After the years of painful, lonely inactivity, how could I feel disappointed upon entering my Father’s house? It would be like coming home. I was tingling inside and felt that perhaps angels knew I was coming.

And maybe they did. Because upon entering the temple that day, I felt a tangible warmth and comfort. My loneliness eased away because I felt that many seen and unseen sisters and brothers stood near.

“Good evening, sister,” a white-haired man greeted me as I came through the door. Tears filled my eyes as feelings of uneasiness and unworthiness slipped away. “I’m finally here. This is my Father’s house.” Everything felt right and clean and light, and, most of all, familiar. I looked around eagerly, almost expecting to see him walking toward me. I had been away from home so long that I knew he’d be glad to see me.

I did not see the Lord that day, but I felt he was near and I knew I walked on holy ground. Tears continued to fall until I walked out the front doors. I had learned this day of my past and future—that it is endless and eternal. I had sensed the nobility of my own soul: I am literally a daughter of God!

Deep within each of us is a longing to return and live in his presence again; we can’t help it. We brought this feeling with us. We are drawn to temples because our Father’s Spirit is there.

Sharon M. Hawkinson Provo, Utah

[photo] Photography by Marty Mayo

Still Singing by My Side

During the last few years of my mother’s life, my sisters and I took turns caring for her, and I learned to love and appreciate her more than ever before. What a dedicated, faithful mother, teacher, and example of living the gospel she was! When she passed away, I missed her greatly.

One Sunday several months later, I was sitting in sacrament meeting singing the hymn, “Do What Is Right.” I suddenly heard my mother’s voice clearly singing in my ear. I couldn’t mistake the strong, clear voice that had sung so many songs near my side. As we started the second chorus, “Do what is right; let the consequence follow,” my heart seemed to stop. I put my hands to my cheeks and looked around me. My husband, who sat at my side, hadn’t heard anything; I could tell by looking at his face.

I was so overcome that I couldn’t control my emotions. I covered my face as my pounding heart seemed to repeat, “Do what is right; let the consequence follow”—just that, nothing more. But I felt such a glorious feeling! My mother was counseling me to live righteously, at all costs.

Sometimes the right decisions still don’t come easily, but this experience has strengthened my testimony. I will always remember feeling my mother’s presence counseling me to stay firm in keeping the commandments of our Lord.

Alice Washburn Monroe, Utah