In June of 1986 I drove my mother to the Cardston Alberta Temple so she could receive her endowment. I had already received my endowment, but my nonmember husband and I lived in a remote part of British Columbia, and I had allowed my recommend to expire. Therefore, I was able to walk with my mother to the recommend desk but could follow her no farther. I went outside, leaned against the temple wall, and cried.
After that experience, I determined never to be left outside of the temple again. My husband supported me in my decision, and I was soon attending the temple as frequently as I could. There I learned principles that made a profound difference in my personal life and in relationships with family and friends.
Changes in My Life
First, I noticed a change in my patience level. I had spent years trying to keep my temper under control without much success. As my temple worship taught me about my relationship to my Heavenly Father and to other people, my attitude changed. I came to realize that my family and friends were people I knew before I came here. They were not in my life to thwart or annoy me but to work with me so I could learn life lessons. I gained understanding as I tried to learn what they were trying to teach me, and I gained patience to accept that they progressed at their own speed. I also realized that life was not a struggle to teach others to be perfect so that I could be happy; it is a happy journey toward perfection with people I love.
The second change was in my attitude toward my husband. Before our marriage, I had determined to place him as the head of the family and not to walk away from our relationship. Despite my resolution, I struggled with accepting his choices and sometimes allowed his habits to affect my happiness. In the temple I learned that together we had the potential to be perfect eternal companions. From my new observation point, I saw that when we worked together, we were whole. Our weaknesses and strengths, interests and talents complemented each other’s so well that we were stronger as a team than we were as individuals.
As I learned to accept my husband’s differences, I became less critical and adopted a spirit of cooperation and teamwork in our marriage. I found I was growing more quickly into the person I wanted to be. Moreover, when my husband felt more cooperation from me, he was more loving toward me as well.
The third area of improvement was finding faith that I could allow our four children, who are now grown, to live their lives without my feeling responsible to make them live a certain way. Some of them were less active in the Church, but I still wanted to influence them for good without infringing on their agency. On one particular visit to the temple, I put their names on the prayer roll and prayed long and sincerely in their behalf. I received a profoundly peaceful assurance that all would be well with them.
When meditating on the experience later, I realized that Heavenly Father loved them even more than I did because He understood them better. He wants to bless them and have them return to Him, and He will provide them with learning opportunities. Now when I begin to worry, I remember that experience and do what I can, knowing the Lord will do the rest.
A fourth alteration in my life came as a sense of general peace settled over me, resulting in part from my temple attendance giving me a better eternal perspective. I am confident that the Lord is in charge, that there are enough resources on this earth for us to live comfortably, that there will be oases of virtue within the desert of evil. I no longer think of myself as being alone. The Holy Ghost is my companion, and I can talk to my Heavenly Father in prayer throughout my day. I used to agonize over decisions; now I seek the Spirit’s promptings and act on them as I make choices. And since I no longer feel the need to require others to live the way I think they should, I have more time and energy to “work out [my] own salvation” (Mormon 9:27).
This new perspective lifted a great weight off my shoulders. The Lord meant it when He said:
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29–30).
Continued temple attendance would be essential for me if the only blessings I received were the personal ones of peace, assurance, and patience. But there have been other experiences—many others—that have blessed me and my family.
I have become involved in family history and have had many wonderful experiences involving family members, both mortal and those beyond the veil.
In November 1993 our second daughter married in the temple, and I was able to attend the sealing.
In May 2006, after 37 years of marriage, my husband joined the Church. In August 2007 he and I were sealed, and our second daughter was sealed to us. Our oldest daughter, who was sealed to her husband and daughter in November 2006, was sealed to us in August 2008.
I am forever grateful to a mother who led the way by being baptized when I was seven and who later inspired me to get my temple recommend again. Following her example has brought numerous personal blessings, and those blessings have extended to other members of my family.
Photo illustrations by Craig Dimond; photograph of Cardston Alberta Temple by Jed A. Clark