Lenae Crandall and her family didn’t realize how much the temple blessed their lives until their mom died.
“You don’t really think about being sealed until someone you love is gone,” says Lenae, 17. “But it’s okay my mom died, because we’ll be together again, thanks to the temple.”
Now Lenae, Brandallyn, Bethany, and Seth go to the Jordan River Utah Temple with their father almost every Friday—just like their mother did.
“After my mom died, we started doing baptisms for the dead,” says Lenae. “It’s nice. My mom taught us by example how going to the temple can bless your life.”
The Crandalls aren’t alone. While not everyone can go as often as the Crandalls, youth all over the world are discovering that preparing for the temple and attending regularly can change your life.
Jonathan Ware had been studying all night for four tests the next day. By 4:00 A.M. the 16-year-old was struggling to stay awake.
“Our quorum was meeting at 4:15 A.M. to do baptisms for the dead,” he remembers. “I had to choose between trying to keep studying or going to the temple. I went to the temple.”
And he passed his tests. “I knew I was being blessed for going.”
Almost 10 years ago, the deacons in Jonathan’s ward, the Draper Sixth Ward, Sandy Utah Hidden Valley Stake, started going to the temple twice a month before school. As those deacons got older, they continued the tradition until almost all of the 50-plus young men in the ward were performing baptisms for the dead sometime during every month.
So far, almost every one of them has served, or is preparing to serve, a full-time mission. And like Jonathan, all of them have stories about how they’ve been blessed by the temple.
“In one week,” recalls Dave Nielsen, 19, “I contracted Bell’s palsy, I blew out my knee, and two of my friends died. I was feeling really low.” Dave decided to go to the temple. “It was like taking a breather from the trials of life,” he says. “Doing temple work pulled me out of the dark feeling that had come over me. There’s a power in the temple. It helps you see what’s really important in life.”
While the Crandalls and the young men of the Draper Sixth Ward have each had meaningful temple experiences, all of them agree there are specific blessings every young member of the Church can receive from going regularly. The blessings mentioned most often are how peaceful it is in the temple and how well they can feel the Holy Ghost.
“The Spirit hits you like a ton of bricks when you walk in,” says Casey Hatch. “And you don’t have to worry about blocking things out like you do at school. You don’t have to worry about what other people are wearing or the words they’re using.”
“It’s calm,” says Bethany Crandall, 15. “There’s no pressure. You feel free. You feel peace.”
The teens named many other blessings as well (see accompanying photos and captions), from small blessings that brighten their day to blessings that have changed their lives. But they all recognize that receiving blessings isn’t the most important reason to go to the temple.
“You’re there to serve God and help people who weren’t able to be baptized on earth,” Ryan Shurtleff, 17, says. “It’s a gift that allows them to live with Heavenly Father.”
“It’s about the most important work on earth,” says Dan Nielsen, 19. “There are so many who haven’t received those blessings. What if a family member couldn’t be with you forever because you didn’t do the work for them?”
Every teenager in the Church can do temple work and receive these blessings if they will prepare themselves and go worthily when the opportunity arises. But whether you can go frequently or not, just being prepared is one of the blessings.
“If you’re worthy to go to the temple, you know you’re on the right path,” says Dave Nielsen. “If you’re worthy of a recommend, you’re doing the right things and setting the right example. The temple keeps your life focused. It helps you realize what’s really important.”
“Being worthy to go to the temple keeps me from wandering,” says Brandallyn Crandall, 19. “When you’re doing what’s right, you know where you’re going. It gives life more meaning.”
Part of making sure you’re worthy is interviewing with the bishop to receive a recommend. Many youth are nervous about talking with their bishops.
“I knew I was worthy and trying to live right,” Brandallyn says of her first recommend interview, “but I was still afraid he might see something I didn’t.”
Jonathan Ware says, “It’s like a reality check. It makes you ask yourself, ‘Am I okay?’”
But the bishop’s job isn’t to keep you out of the temple; it’s to help you be able to go.
“He wasn’t as scary as I thought,” Brandallyn admits.
“I love going for my interview now,” Jonathan says. “It’s reassuring to know I’m on the right path. The great thing about a recommend is, as I walk through school, I know I have it. I know the Lord trusts me in His house.”
Preparing to go to the temple doesn’t end with being worthy; you need to prepare yourself mentally and spiritually each time.
“You have to clear your mind of worldly things and focus on spiritual things,” Bethany says. (For more on preparing to do baptisms for the dead, see “Baptisms for the Dead: What to Know Before You Go” on page 34.)
The only bad part about going to the temple is having to leave.
“When you’re in the temple, there’s a totally different feeling from what’s in the halls at school,” says Ryan Shurtleff. “It’s a feeling you don’t want to let go.”
But because you can’t stay in the temple forever, learning to keep the Spirit with you can be just as important as preparing to feel it.
“If you want to feel the same outside the temple as you do inside, you should try to do the same things,” Brandallyn says. “Some people change the music they listen to on days they go to the temple. But if you have to stop listening to it before you go so you can feel the Spirit, doesn’t that mean when you go back to it the Spirit will leave? Why live a higher standard only on days you go to the temple? Our goal should be to live that way every day.”
It’s a challenging goal. Fortunately, one of the greatest temple blessings is that you’re always welcome back where you can feel that way again.
The temple is a sacred place where we can serve the Lord, feel the Spirit, receive essential ordinances, and receive answers to our prayers. “A place where the Lord may come, it is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness” (Bible Dictionary, “Temple,” 781).
The Crandall family made a list of things that make the temple special. Applying these things to your home could help make it more special, too.
The people there are worthy. Are you living worthy of inviting the Spirit into your home? Are you helping your family members keep the commandments?
It’s reverent. Are you helping provide a reverent atmosphere by avoiding arguments and turning down the volume?
People are serving others. Do you look for ways to help family members?
People are thinking good thoughts. What do you think about at home? Do you entertain temptations or kick them out as soon as they enter your head?
There’s no foul or unkind language. What words do you use, and how do you use them?
You listen to hymns and other uplifting music. Would you be uncomfortable if the Lord looked through the music you listen to?
Everyone is dressed nicely and modestly. Do you dress appropriately at home as well as in public?
There is a lot of praying. Do you pray enough with your family and by yourself?
It’s clean. Clutter and filth can keep you from feeling the Spirit. Do you help keep your home clean?