Our Temple Marriage Was Worth Any Price
It wasn’t until after my first business venture broke down and my second one burned to the ground that I wondered if I would be able to take my fiancée, Beny, to the temple. We had heard that getting there would be a trial of faith, but when we made temple marriage our goal, we had no idea how thoroughly our faith would be tested.
Beny and I met in our native Panama after serving missions. Because of the laws in Panama, couples who wanted to start their married lives in the temple were married civilly just before traveling to the nearest temple, the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple. It would be an expensive and difficult trip, but being sealed was a blessing we did not want to live without.
The day after I proposed, I lost my job. Undaunted, I decided to earn money by giving bus tours. My bus broke down the first night. Concerned but determined, I next decided to sell T-shirts. The morning I went to pick up the shirts from the manufacturer, I found that the building had burned to the ground the night before. It seemed that my hopes had gone up in smoke too.
It was only a few months before the next scheduled temple trip, yet to this point, every effort I had made to raise money had ended in abrupt failure. I left the smoldering rubble and went to find Beny.
“I have nothing,” I told her. “Maybe you shouldn’t marry me.”
“If I were marrying for money, I’d be married already,” she said. “But I’m not marrying for money. I’m marrying you because I love you.”
That was a turning point. We felt that we had passed an important test. As we pushed ahead with faith, doors began opening. I found work making furniture, though the pay wasn’t enough to meet our needs. Then a kind bishop offered to help us with our bus fare. As exciting as his offer was, it didn’t feel right. We were intent on being self-sufficient. But seeing that he truly desired to help, we asked him if he could give Beny a job instead. He did.
After earning enough money to travel to the temple, we married civilly and were at last on our way to Guatemala with 10 other Church members. But our test wasn’t over yet.
Widespread transportation strikes stopped us at the border of Costa Rica. After waiting at the border for two days, our driver decided to turn back. But Beny and I, along with two brothers and one other couple, decided not to give up. After watching our bus turn around and leave us, we walked into Costa Rica. We kept walking, sleeping in roadside shelters, until we reached the Nicaraguan border. From there we managed to take a taxi to the capital city, where we purchased a bus ticket to the Honduran border. Two days—and two more buses—later we finally arrived at the temple. We were dirty and tired, and we had spent far more than we had planned, but we were happy.
The next day, after all our trials and delays, we were finally sealed eternally as husband and wife. Our joy—worth the working, the waiting, and the worrying—was full!
Not everyone getting married in the temple will face such challenges, but for Beny and me (and the others who went to the temple with us), these experiences were a refining process. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
If our goal to marry in the temple had been only for worldly love, we wouldn’t have made it. But because we believed in the sealing power of the priesthood restored in our day, we didn’t give up, knowing that our temple marriage—for time and all eternity—was worth whatever sacrifice we had to make.
How the Temple Helps
Every parent knows that rearing children brings unexpected challenges and blessings. My husband and I have discovered that when we consider the eternal perspective of the role of parenting, we feel a great weight of responsibility along with great hope.
Of course, the Lord has given us spiritual rewards to ease our burdens. For our family, the greatest of those spiritual rewards has been going to the house of the Lord to receive His help as our children have grown and life has become more complicated. We have discovered that we can take very specific problems to the Lord in His temple.
As our children became teenagers we realized they had the potential to make serious mistakes. Probably the most frightening realization was that we had basically done all we knew how to do, yet danger signs loomed before us.
Then we discovered that temple worship could be an important element in our efforts to help our children choose the right. We have found great strength and blessing from attending the temple in the spirit of fasting and prayer for our children. We pray for a feeling of personal preparation, for the appropriate thoughts and attitudes prior to entering the temple. When appropriate, our meditations while inside the temple are about our role as parents and about the needs of that particular child.
Sometimes answers have come rapidly and clearly. The first time it happened, we perhaps considered it a coincidence. But soon it was obvious that we indeed were engaging in a process that was bringing down the blessings of heaven.
Answers sometimes came in the form of people who influenced our children’s lives, such as a loving bishop who helped our college-age daughter through a difficult crisis. Other children have been similarly blessed. Each has his or her agency, and they may choose not to respond the way we hope, but we feel that our service in the temple has brought heaven’s help in our children’s lives.
Our benefits from worship in the temple have extended beyond blessing our children. On one occasion, my husband faced a very perplexing employment problem that he decided to take to the temple. On that day, the Lord blessed him with the impression that a particular scripture was the answer to his question.
Upon arriving home, he anxiously opened the scriptures and, to his delight, found help for his problem. This experience opened up a whole new application of the scriptures. The Lord can speak to His children by reminding us of scriptures that contain answers to our challenges. We appreciate this principle we learned in the temple.
In a world where evil abounds and where Satan has unleashed his powers to destroy homes, it is comforting to know that we can go to the house of the Lord and seek guidance. Regardless of what challenges we face as we care for our families, we find joy when we seek the sanctuary and solace of the temple.
Guatemala City Guatemala Temple. Dedicated Dec. 14, 1984.