“We’re Here to See the Temple,” Ensign, Oct. 2009, 73–74
One autumn day during my shift as a worker in the Salt Lake Temple, a young man and his friends, clearly not dressed for temple worship, arrived.
“We’re here to see the temple,” the young man said.
“Do you have a recommend?” I asked.
The young man thought for a moment. Then he said, “Yes. My mother has a Mormon friend in Minnesota. She recommended that we come see the temple.”
I felt impressed to pull the young people aside and talk to them. The young man’s name was Lars. I explained to him that not only could he come to the temple but also that Heavenly Father wanted him to come. I told Lars that he first had to prepare, and I explained how.
At the time, I had been active in the Church only a short while. I had served a mission but later left the Church after getting caught up in the entertainment industry and using drugs and alcohol. I thought my family would be impressed with my career and wealth, but my mother didn’t care about any of that. Instead, she always put my name on the temple prayer roll, which angered me.
The woman I married had also left the Church. By the time our eight-year-old daughter, Tori, began asking questions about Jesus Christ, we had bottomed out spiritually. Despite my missionary service, I couldn’t remember anything about the Savior.
“There are people who are qualified to teach you about Jesus,” I told Tori. “Why don’t you talk to them?”
A few days later, two sister missionaries knocked on our door. Tori invited them in and began taking the discussions. Eavesdropping from another room, I heard the sisters teaching doctrines that I recognized to be true.
“Would you like to be baptized?” one of the sisters asked Tori after the third discussion.
“Yes,” she replied.
“Will your dad baptize you?”
I had not been to church for 20 years, but I knew my life was about to change. I sat in on the last few discussions, we started attending church, and my wife and I met with the bishop. As I repented, I decided that I must do everything possible to compensate for the years I had lost. I changed careers, magnified my Church callings, was sealed to my wife and daughter, and became a temple worker. That’s how I knew that a curious group of young people could become temple worthy.
The following spring, Lars wrote me a letter, thanking me for explaining the real meaning of a temple recommend. “I did learn more about a temple recommend,” he wrote. “Actually, I was baptized and received a recommend of my own last January!” My eyes filled with tears as I looked at the photograph he had enclosed of himself in his white baptismal clothes and of the missionaries who had taught him.
My journey back to the temple was remarkable, and learning of Lars’s journey was a wonderful blessing that reminded me how we can all touch lives for good.