My name is Kathryn Fifield, and I live in Moscow, Idaho. I’m eleven years old, and I think temples are wonderful! I know a little bit about them because when I was eight, I got to go inside the Portland Oregon Temple.
When the Church leaders announced that a new temple would be built nearby, everyone was very excited. My parents were especially happy because they knew that they could go to the temple more often.
We drove to Portland when the temple was being built. It was standing in the middle of a grove of fir trees. The trees were so tall that I had to lean way back to see the tops. But the temple spires were just as tall! The spires were only metal cages then, but to me they looked like arms reaching to heaven, and I knew that this temple would be a holy place.
Finally the workers finished putting marble on the outside, and it really looked like a temple. My mom and dad said that when it was all finished, we would get to go inside. There would be an open house so that anyone who wanted to could see the inside of the temple. After that, there would be a special meeting called a dedication that worthy members were invited to. After the dedication, only members of the Church who had recommends from their bishop/branch president and stake/district president could go inside.
I felt really special to be able to go to the open house. My family drove to the temple on Saturday morning. When we arrived there, we had to stand in a long line that went halfway around the building! I guess a lot of people wanted to see the temple. I know that most of those people in line didn’t know what a temple was, because I heard them asking each other questions. Some of them thought that we went to church every Sunday at the temple.
It wasn’t too hard to wait in line, because all along the way there were television screens set up for us to see. A program on them told about what temples are and how we use them. I guess those people learned that we don’t use the temple for our Sunday meetings.
When we finally reached the door, some helpers put white paper booties over our shoes. That was to keep the new carpets clean and to show respect.
Inside the temple it was very quiet. Nobody talked or even whispered. There were special guides to show us where to go, but they didn’t talk to us. They just smiled as we walked by. We looked, and we read the information on the signs that explained what each room was, but we didn’t say anything.
When we walked through the big chapel, we heard soft music being played on the organ. The tour included the baptismal font with the sculpture of twelve white oxen holding it up (that was my favorite). We also saw the sealing rooms, where people get married for eternity. Inside the sealing rooms were mirrors on opposite walls. When I looked in one mirror, I could see my family going on forever.
The most beautiful room was the celestial room. It was all white and gold, with pretty couches and chairs. In the middle of the ceiling was a huge, sparkling gold chandelier. It had gold “arms” with tiny light bulbs surrounded by pieces of crystal. I thought it looked like sunshine sparkling through icicles.
The thing I remember most about the inside of the temple is how reverent I felt. I didn’t want to go back outside, because it felt so nice to be in that beautiful, quiet place. It made me feel warm and happy to walk through the rooms of the temple. After we were outside again, I heard a man say it made him feel like he was already in heaven. I felt that way too.
A few weeks after the temple open house, Mom and Dad and I went to the dedication. I was eight years old, and I had been baptized, so I was old enough to go.
We sat on chairs in the hall right by the celestial room. There were people in nearly every room in the temple. Television screens were put in them so that the people could watch the meeting—we wouldn’t have all fit into the celestial room, where the prophet was seated. The choir sat in front of us, and when it was time for them to sing, they walked around a little wall and went into the celestial room, where President Benson was. It was exciting to think that President Benson was just on the other side of the wall from me!
I watched the meeting on the video screen and listened carefully to the talks. When the choir sang, the music made me happy all over. When President Benson talked, he told us that he loved all of us. I wanted to tell him that I loved him, too, but I didn’t say anything. I just smiled all over.
During this meeting, I felt even more reverent than I’d felt at the open house. After the special prayer, the temple was God’s house and not just a building anymore. I felt that Jesus and Heavenly Father were right there with us.
When I’m twelve, I’ll be able to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. I can hardly wait until then! But if I try really hard, I have that special reverent feeling in other places too. If I find a quiet place to pray and really think about Jesus and Heavenly Father, I feel that way. In church, when I try my hardest to listen to the speakers or to my teacher, I feel that way. I can even feel reverent when I walk in the forest or sit under the tree in my backyard. I’m practicing being reverent now so that when I go to the temple again, I’ll know just what to do.