And What Have You Learned?
    Footnotes

    “And What Have You Learned?” Ensign, Jan. 2000, 65–66

    “And What Have You Learned?”

    Her question didn’t exactly startle me, but it was unexpected. While waiting for others to join us to perform temple sealings, we spoke of this and that—about the snow, the crystal chandelier—and then, after a moment, the young woman turned to me and asked, “How long have you been a sealing officiator?”

    “I’m beginning my 19th year,” I said.

    “And what have you learned?”

    I had no reply at first. I’d never thought that question through.

    I searched my mind for possible answers. I thought of saying, “I’ve learned how perfect people can seem to be here in the temple.”

    I thought of answering, “I’ve learned to appreciate the ordinances themselves—their simplicity, their antiquity, their profundity.”

    But I knew that she was asking for the essence of my experience. And suddenly I found the words to express what I knew.

    “When all is said and done, the basis of eternity is the family. That’s what I’ve learned,” I said. “The essential purpose of the Church and all that we do is to make it possible for families to be together forever.”

    She sat motionless, her brown eyes staring at me.

    “The ordinances performed in the temple empower people,” I said. “They make eternal family relationships possible. In the temple, I find that family and love are synonymous. That’s what I’ve learned.”

    Sensing a need, I turned the question back to her. “What have you learned?” I asked.

    Her lip trembled for a moment. “I’ve learned that what you are saying is true,” she said finally. “Family is what the Church—and the temple—are all about. That’s why I’m here—for my family.”

    “What do you mean?” I asked.

    “My father was good to me, but my mother died when I was tiny,” she said. “They were never married. As I was growing up, it was hard not knowing who I really was. But the temple gave myself to me. When I was 13, my father died. And then I found the gospel, or it found me.”

    Her face brightened. “A few months ago I got back from my mission and began the temple work for my father and mother. I was sealed to them for eternity. For the first time, I am whole. Knowing I am sealed to my family gives me a place to be. The day I was sealed to my parents was, for me, the beginning of eternity. I feel so happy when I am here in the temple.”

    I looked into her smiling face. Through my tears, I could see hers. Each time I go to the temple I think of that sweet sister’s face and of the eternal blessing it is to be sealed to our families forever.

    • Lael J. Woodbury is a member of the Oak Hills Seventh Ward, Provo Utah Oak Hills Stake.