No earthly pleasure can compare to the peace and joy of the temple.

Recently, on a family holiday at a game park north of our home in South Africa, my family decided we would spend a few nights in Johannesburg and visit the temple.

The hotel in Johannesburg was incredible. I mean, it was the kind of hotel you see in the movies. My bedroom suite was bigger than the kitchen and family room at home combined, the tiles in the bathroom were heated, and the television came out of a box when we pressed a button. The staff was there to take care of our every whim.

I was impressed. This, I thought, was how my life was meant to be: swanning around, acting like royalty. In fact, I was so caught up in the luxury of the hotel that I forgot why we were there in the first place.

The only opportunity my brother, sister, and I would have to attend the temple to do baptisms for the dead was Saturday morning. But instead of thinking about the temple, all I was thinking about was how nice it would be to sleep late on Saturday, spend the day in this beautiful hotel, and then leave for home.

Still, we decided to go to the temple. As I walked through the temple doors and saw and felt the holiness and beauty of that place, my perspective changed, and I realized what was really important. The hotel may have been beautiful, but it couldn’t compare to the temple. The feelings I had as I did baptisms for the dead brought such peace and joy to me, greater than any worldly pleasure.

I am so grateful for this lesson. It is easy to become caught up in the things of the world. These things are attractive, but the pleasure they bring doesn’t last. Now I more clearly understand that real joy and peace can be found only through obeying and honoring Heavenly Father’s commandments.

[illustration] Illustrated by Steve Kropp

Emma Withers is a member of the Cambridge University Second Ward, Cambridge Massachusetts Stake.