Keep the Temple in Sight
“Come on!” Stacy yelled out the jeep window, honking the horn.
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” I called, running out the front door with my arms full of treats for the road.
Stacy and I had been best friends since the sixth grade. We loved doing all of the same things, which led us to take the same digital photography class that year in high school. For one of our assignments, we decided to drive to San Francisco and take pictures of all the amazing buildings there.
The first part of the road trip was a blast. We listened to music and chatted. Suddenly Stacy pointed to a sign along the freeway that read, “Oakland: 10 miles.” Her eyes went wide. “Hey, should we visit the temple?”
The closest temple to where we lived was in Oakland, a two-hour commute from our town. “I guess we should, since we’re so close,” I replied. Excited, we took the exit off the freeway.
At the end of the ramp, Stacy asked, “Which way now?” We looked around. We had no idea which road the temple was actually on! We just assumed we would see it right off the freeway sitting on a hill. All we knew was that the temple was in the town of Oakland, and we were slowly realizing what a big town it was.
Stacy drove up and down random streets, hoping to see something that we would recognize, but we only found ourselves getting more confused and lost. “This was a bad idea,” Stacy muttered grumpily.
I was about to agree with her, when all of a sudden, I saw it: the golden tip of the temple! “Up there! On top of that hill. Do you see it?” I exclaimed.
“Yeah!” Stacy started to head in the direction of the spire.
We began the process of finding the temple simply by keeping it in sight. We drove up hills, only to come to a dead-end. But instead of getting frustrated like before, we simply reversed and backed up, keeping the temple on the hill in sight. Then, we would start down another path, hoping it would eventually lead us to our goal.
The feeling of hope that we had just by keeping the temple in sight was amazing.
We knew we were at least headed in the right direction, and that filled us with comfort. Eventually we found ourselves in front of the temple gate.
I think of that experience a lot in my life. When I find myself at a dark path and I feel lost or unsure of which way to turn, I remember that if I keep my destination in view, I can eventually reach my goal.
Recently one summer I traveled with my family to the East Coast to visit Palmyra, New York. Ever since I was little, I loved listening to the story of Joseph Smith. My family and I went through the visitors’ center near the Hill Cumorah, Grandin’s Print Shop in Palmyra, the Sacred Grove, and the Smith homes. We watched a video about Joseph Smith and the First Vision. While watching, I felt the Spirit telling me that the Church was indeed true. I more strongly came to realize that when Joseph prayed in the Sacred Grove, he wasn’t the prophet yet. He was just a farm boy who knew nothing about talking with angels or the writings of the inhabitants of ancient America. If more people only knew that Joseph Smith started as a confused person in this world, then maybe they would understand the power of the First Vision and Joseph’s seed of faith that turned into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that these things are true and that with faith like that of Joseph Smith, we can receive powerful revelation and answers to our prayers. If we just “ask of God … it shall be given [us]” (James 1:5). I love the gospel, and I love the story of Joseph Smith, who had the courage to ask a simple question.
Following the Feeling
One of my friends, Andrew, is a member of the Church. I have known him since kindergarten. I always knew he was a member of the Mormon Church, but I didn’t really know what the Church was about.
In ninth grade a girl, Katie, sat next to me in ceramics. I found out she was a member of the Church also. I became interested in the Church because of my two member friends. I began to ask Katie and Andrew questions every single day. Of course they were glad to answer my questions because they got to share their testimonies.
One day Katie offered me a Book of Mormon and told me that if I read it, I would get a really good feeling. I declined the book because I was really busy and didn’t think I had time to read it. But then in 10th grade I started thinking about the Church again, and whenever I thought about the Church, I would always get this really good feeling inside of me, which I later learned was the Holy Ghost.
I called Katie and told her I would like to get that Book of Mormon. She told me that she had a better idea and invited me to meet with the missionaries. I knew there was something very special about the Church, because I got that good feeling, so I agreed to meet with them.
Those lessons were the best thing I have ever done. I looked forward to them every week because of the feeling I got inside when I was being taught. When the missionaries invited me to get baptized, I gladly accepted. My baptism was the best event I have ever had in my life. Katie and Andrew spoke, as well as some other member friends I made at church. Ever since I joined the Church I have been very happy. It is my favorite place to be in the entire world.
Illustrations by Sam Lawlor; The Desires of My Heart (Joseph Smith—History 1:15) by Walter Rane, courtesy of Church History Museum