Mission calls and engagement rings are exciting, but sometimes the hustle and bustle of preparing for a mission or a wedding can overshadow a vital, saving ordinance that occurs around the same time: the temple endowment. The endowment is a bestowal of heavenly power and knowledge.1 It is literally a “gift.”2 It gives us strength and allows us to “gain a glimpse of what it will be like to live in [God’s] presence as we feel the peaceful atmosphere of the temple.”3 The endowment is not just a step to take before a mission or marriage; it’s a vital and glorious part of our eternal journey.
If your endowment “is to be the great blessing in your mission and life that it is intended to be, then it must be more than just another item on a checklist of things to do before you enter the mission field”4 or marry in the temple. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) said that each temple ordinance “is not just a ritual to go through, it is an act of solemn promising.”5
Here’s what three people had to say about their special experience receiving their temple endowment.
I received my mission call in January to the Cape Verde Praia Mission! I’m really excited about my mission, but I was just as excited to be able to go through the temple and receive my endowment.
Both my bishop and my stake president reminded me that the temple is not merely a stepping-stone to the mission. The covenants I make in the temple are literally vital for my salvation; a mission is not.
I prepared to go to the temple by focusing on my baptismal covenants, reading the booklet Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple, reading my scriptures daily, and praying a lot. I felt like I was about as prepared as I could have been, without actually knowing specifically what was going to happen.
I feel like I’ve been preparing for my endowment my whole life. I wasn’t really nervous about it, even though I still didn’t know what to expect. I had my parents, other family members, and temple workers escorting me the whole time, so I was never alone.
Before I went to the temple, I got the same advice from a lot of people: Don’t worry about trying to learn or remember it all the first time, don’t stress about the symbolism, and don’t worry if you don’t understand everything; just focus on feeling the Spirit. That’s just what I did, and my first time in the temple was a very good experience. The Spirit was so strong.
The things that happen in the temple are different from the way we worship outside the temple. But the Spirit is the same, and that’s the most important thing. When we’re worthy and prepared to be there, we can truly feel God’s presence in His house. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to receive my endowment and make those important covenants. I look forward to going back again and again.
Allie Bradford, 20, Utah, USA
Receiving my endowment was the most meaningful experience I’ve had thus far in my life. As I entered the celestial room, I was overcome with a sense of happiness. My parents are divorced, but when I entered the celestial room, they were both able to be there with me. I felt Heavenly Father’s love for me and for my parents.
The endowment session itself was unforgettable. I’ve come to understand that Christ is central to everything we do. The covenants we make in the temple are focused on Him. The endowment ceremony is focused on Him. Even the temple structure and decor are designed to teach us about Christ. Symbols of Him are everywhere in the house of the Lord.
It’s not a coincidence that we’re instructed to take upon ourselves the name of Christ and include Him in our everyday lives. Becoming a Christlike individual is our goal here in this mortal, trial-filled world. The temple is a place to exhibit Christlike love, learn about Him, and more fully become the Christ-centered person He hopes and longs for us to become.
The endowment, aside from being one of the most beautiful experiences in my life, is a necessity in order to fully comprehend how we can return to our Father in Heaven. The endowment has given me the power and knowledge essential to partake of eternal blessings.
Ryan Montgomery, 18, Oregon, USA
Before I went through the temple, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I read the booklet Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple and took a temple preparation class. That helped me be more prepared for receiving my own endowment. When I went to the temple for the first time, I was not nervous like I thought I would be, because I felt peace. The temple workers were all very friendly and made sure I knew where to go the whole time I was at the temple.
During the endowment, I made covenants with my Father in Heaven and in return was promised many beautiful blessings and gifts of knowledge. Like other ordinances, including baptism, the endowment ordinance is very symbolic. Before I went through the endowment session, a temple worker told me that I may have many questions by the end of the session. Because there are so many symbols, it’s impossible to understand everything at once. That’s why I think it’s so important to return to the temple as often as possible.
Since I’ve been to the temple, I’ve felt the Spirit more abundantly in my life. I’ve felt the words that I heard in the temple sink into my heart, and I know that if I do all that I covenanted with my Heavenly Father to do, then I will be blessed. This ordinance has helped me understand how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love each individual person, because we are taught in the temple how to be happy.
Ashley Tuft, 20, Texas, USA