What Does “Worthy” Mean?

family at temple

Illustrations by Joel Castillo

When I was young, my family visited the Los Angeles California Temple. I was caught up in its beauty as my father explained that it was the house of the Lord. When he said that I wondered to myself, “Then why are we outside, and not inside with the Lord?” So I left my family and darted for the entrance at full speed. As I reached up to grab the doorknob to the temple, my father stopped me. He said, “Sorry, son, you’ve got to wait until you’re 12 to go in. And you’ll need to make sure you’re worthy at that time.”

From then on, I looked forward to my 12th birthday with great anticipation. I also thought a lot about worthiness. What exactly did worthy mean? Did my father mean my worth? Surely Heavenly Father valued me as His child and wouldn’t deny me any blessing I sought. So what exactly did this mean? I studied it and learned that to be worthy is to be acceptable before the Lord. It didn’t mean being perfect. It meant obeying the Lord’s commandments and repenting if I made a mistake.

I’ll never forget the day I entered the temple. The Spirit filled my heart. Since then, I have been to the temple many times, but I’m still always learning new things every time I go. I believe it’s instructive to look at the life of the Savior and notice that at age 12, He was found preaching in the temple. He could have been anywhere else—but He was in the temple. He knew a place to go to “be about [His] Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). And so can each of us.

Christopher D., Florida, USA

Modesty Shout-Out

young woman in school

Every year the eighth graders in my middle school get to choose what their graduation colors, flowers, and theme will be. They also get to decide what the basic style of the girls’ and boys’ outfits will be so that pictures will look nice and consistent.

My year, when all the girls got together to discuss what style their dresses would be, I was a little nervous. I was concerned about how I could make the other girls understand that I’d chosen not to wear short skirts or spaghetti straps, even if that was the style chosen. I didn’t want to ruin the pictures, but I also wouldn’t choose to be immodest.

Then something amazing happened. Before I had an opportunity to express my concerns, a girl in my class shouted, “It has to have sleeves and go at least to our knees because Abby needs to dress that way.” Before I could blink, everyone decided on short-sleeved, knee-length dresses. I could hardly believe what had happened. I’m so thankful that I’ve always lived the standards and set a positive example for those around me. Because I chose to dress modestly, others noticed and were respectful of my decision.

Abby H., California, USA

“Father, How Do You See Me?”

young woman looking in mirror

For years I had asked Heavenly Father, “How do you see me?” I had struggled with being bullied, going to church, and losing my sick father. It wasn’t until I went to be sealed to my family in the temple that I finally got an answer.

Afterward, I was pondering my question when I was suddenly filled with warmth. I looked up into a large mirror and saw one of the most beautiful young women I had ever seen. Her eyes shone, and tears streamed down her rosy cheeks. Her countenance simply glowed. She wore a perfectly white dress.

I was filled with comfort as I felt the Spirit, and I spoke quietly to myself what I now know to be true: “I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father, who loves me. I was created for a divine purpose. I am virtuous and benevolent. I am, and have always been, loved and beautiful.”

If you have felt unloved, unwanted, or forgotten, know that you will never be alone. No matter how far we have fallen, no matter what sin we have committed, our Father and Jesus Christ are always there. They love us all individually, and They want us to return to Them. If it weren’t for Jesus Christ and His Atonement, loving family and friends, and the temple, I wouldn’t have learned these precious truths.

Renee C., Utah, USA