Saturday, April 18, 2015
Standing Outside the Temple Doors!
There's an experience I don't want to forget. It should have been added in the last post because it happened in March but I forgot.
Four weeks ago we had a ward temple day that included one of the girls we had taught at Temple Prep, Annick, going to receive her endowment. She had asked that we attend. It's ALWAYS a very big deal when one of our kids gets endowed. We were thrilled for Annick, a convert and one of our girls since the beginning of our mission, getting the opportunity to go through the temple.
Most the group from Britannia took the train. Jim and I were blessed to be invited by Ionut, a YSA that serves as a counselor in our Bishopric and also a professional taxi driver, if we wanted to drive with him in his taxi to the temple. We accepted and had a wonderful visit with Ionut, our dear Romanian friend.
Upon arriving at the temple we saw many of our kids entering in to do baptisms and some going to do endowments. We quickly went up to the desk to enter and as I pulled out my recommend my eye caught the number 2013. In that instant I KNEW!!! I always renewed my recommend in February and it was now the middle of March. The man at the desk, seeing my missionary badge and the long line behind us, was motioning me through when I stopped him and asked him to check the date. He looked, got a surprised expression on his face and then informed me that yes, my recommend had expired two weeks previous.
He went to get someone that would talk to me. It was the President of the temple. He took Jim and I back into his office and feeling horrible informed us that just a few weeks previous he had received counsel from the Brethren informing him that he could scramble on a recommend left at home, or a recommend not digitally scanned but there could be NO EXCEPTION to an expired recommend. I was NOT entering that temple that day!!!
The YSA went in. Elder Phillips went in to help with the baptisms and there I stood, all alone, outside the doors of the temple.
I reflected back to the day that Amanda Kjar got married. It was 9/11, the day the towers came down. Jim and I had driven up to Salt Lake Temple listening to the radio describing the horror. We kept looking at each other in despair, overwhelmed at the devastation, enveloped in the darkness and despair that comes from the adversary of all righteousness.
When we arrived at the temple they were closing it down. Amanda's sealing would be the last ordinance of the day.
We walked through the temple that was virtually empty. The peace and quiet was in stark contrast to chaos that was happening outside the temple walls. It almost took our breath away.
We entered the sealing room where some of our dearest friends stood. Elder Lynn Robbins of the Seventy and former neighbor was acting as sealer that day. The spirit was profound. Elder Robbins voiced how we were all feeling, describing the contrast of the darkness of the world and the peace and light found in the Lord's temple. The peace was palatable.
As Elder Robbins counseled this precious couple he said something I will never forget. He told them that growing up in Primary the letters CTR always stood for Choose the Right, but from this moment on he wanted to change the meaning. He told them that, as endowed and sealed members, from now on the letters CTR was to symbolize "Current Temple Recommend"!
I had always remembered that. In all my years since being endowed I had NEVER let my recommend lapse.
So there I stood, outside the temple ! Of course you all know what I was feeling. I stood there imagining how this would feel if, at the end of my earthly probation, the choices I made would keep me from entering God's presence and I would stand there watching as all those I loved entered in. It was such a sick feeling, one I never want to experience. It also made me even more determined to be worthy and to do all that I could as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a parent, and a friend to influence and ensure there are no empty chairs in heaven. My deepest desire is to sit down in heaven with all those who are precious to me. Heaven simply will never be Heaven if the people I love and cherish are not there with me.
A powerful lesson learned.