Friday, February 13, 2009

Welcome Home!

I went to the Temple tonight. My wife and I were supposed to attend a sealing session tonight. However, she came down with a severe headache, and couldn't come.

She was in no condition to cook dinner, so I ordered some Chinese take out from the Magic Wok on my way home from work.

I had a decision to make: should I go to the Temple alone, or stay home. I felt a real responsibility to be there tonight. I felt that my presence would be helpful at the temple, even if my sweetheart could not come with me. So I decided to go anyway. The Chinese food would have to wait until I got home.

As it turned out, I was the only one from our Ward to be at the session. I was a bit disappointed that we were not in full attendance. However, the Lord blesses His people, sometimes in unexpected ways.

They canceled our session, and I was put with another group that needed an extra brother to complete their needs. However a few minutes later, our regular sealer came and asked me to come back to his room.

In place of our group, a family had come to the Temple to do names for their immediate kindred dead. These were not far distant relatives extracted from a census record from the 1820's, but rather, these were family members that many of the people in attendance had personally known in their own lifetimes.

Sometimes the Lord works in mysterious ways. Since the group from our ward was not in attendance, the Sealer was freed up to help this family become bound together for all eternity.

This family needed an extra brother to complete their group. For a little while, I got to be a part of their family. The sealer took extra time with them explaining what was happening and explained the doctrines behind the ordinances. He treated them with such kindness and love. I realized that in many ways, the Sealer was representing the Lord. It was inspiring to witness these eternal blessings being bestowed on this family.

I will never have the opportunity to do temple work for ancestors who I have known in my lifetime. All of my ancestors that I personally knew in my lifetime have already received their temple blessings while they were living. This is a great and treasured heritage that I have -- but I do miss out on the wonderful kind of experience that I saw this family have together tonight. I really appreciate the opportunity to help (and in a way, join) their family for a short time. What a wonderful opportunity.

After the session was over, I felt such peace in my heart, I did not want to leave. I walked around in the hallway for a minute, and then poked my head back into the doorway of the sealing room again, as the next session was starting. I was hoping to have a private word with the Sealer. He will be going to the new Draper Temple next month, and I may never see him again. I have so appreciated participating in his sealing sessions over the last few years. As I poked my head in the doorway, the sealer waved me in, and asked if I would help him with some paperwork. I ran the errand for him, and returned to the sealing room. He thanked me, and was about to say goodbye, when I asked if I might stay and help out for the next session. Of course, he let me stay.

The words of the song, "Abide With Me, 'Tis Eventide" went through my mind:
Abide with me;'tis eventide.
Thy walk today with me
Has made my heart within me burn,
As I communed with thee.
Thy earnest words have filled my soul
And kept me near they side.

O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
(LDS Hymns, No. 165)
As it turned out, this was a family group too, although they were doing regular temple provided names instead of family file names. This group consisted of two sisters (and their husbands), and each of the sisters had one of their daughters there. One daughter was married, and the other was single (a returned missionary, I would later learn).

This family has a regular sealing session that they attend together. We have been doing it as a ward, but you can do it as a family like this -- or even just a group of friends can have a regular monthly session too. That would be nice to be in a group with family and friends.

Anyway, they had more sisters there than brethren, and I helped even out the numbers. My heart went out to the single sister there. I could tell that the deepest desire of her heart was to one day experience these ordinances for herself, with a worthy man as her eternal companion. I prayed on her behalf. I am particularly sensitive to the plight of single adults in the church. I was one myself. My wife and I were not married until we were in our mid-30's. I know the feelings of loneliness and longing. The desire to have these eternal blessings for yourself. As I prayed and pondered there, I felt assured that this Sister would receive every blessing in the Temple -- in the Lord's own due time. I have relatives who are single, and are now in their 40's, my heart and prayers went out toward them as well.

I needed some time to think and pray as well. After leaving the temple, I just sat in my car for a while, looking upon the beautiful temple, all lit up at night, and pouring out my heart in prayer.

As I did so, some burdens that I had been carrying were lifted from me. It's not that the problems have gone away, but the pain and burden of them were lifted off my heart and soul.

This is the second time in a week that I have been to the temple. Last week, I took Thursday off for our Stake Temple Day. I was able to spend a large portion of the day in the Temple, doing most of activities that are available there.

I can see the beneficial effect that going to the Temple has had on me. I need to go more often. We have been going once every couple of months, but I can seen that I need to go there more often.

A member of our stake presidency is currently serving as a temple worker once a week on Thursday mornings. He has to be there 4:00 in the morning. Maybe I should follow his example -- if not being a temple worker, at least being a temple patron once a week. I need that good influence on me. I need the sustenance that the Temple can provide, that my spirit hungers for.
The Savior said: "And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost." (3 Nephi 12:6)
My soul was an hungered, and it was filled. I stood on holy ground, and I did not want to leave -- for I was at home -- in His Holy House.

This is perhaps my favorite scripture:
27 Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name.
28 Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—
30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out. (Helaman 3:27-30)
One day we won't have to leave to go home at all. For his home will be our home, for always and forever -- to go no more out.


Tigersue said...

Michael and I went to the temple on Saturday, part of our Valentine's date, and preparation for our Stake Conference with Elder Ballard attending the conference.

I have had the oppportunity to observe the temple work for my Grandpa Bourne, the only ancestor I knew that was not a memeber, but I have also had the opportunity to do so much more work for those I never knew in this life.
Several months ago, we did sealings for a group of them, and I think I had tears the entire session, there was and is nothing like the feeling of doing the work for family.

I am so glad that you were able to have that opportunity to help a family and be part of that experience.

T. F. Stern said...

Happy for you and the opportunity which presented itself for you. There are no such thing as coincidence, people and situations are all placed there for us to come upon and recognize later, with the help of the Spirit, as gifts from above.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Dear David,

This evening I was reading blogs that I follow, and skipping around reading others posts. I clicked the "next blog" at the top of the page, and this post popped up. I see that the post is over a year old, but I wanted to say I am also LDS and this post has touched my heart. Today for me has been one that I've been alone and have been troubled by some of lifes challenges, and this post, has reminded me of what's important--Thank-you for that.