“Making Time for the Temple,” Ensign, Oct. 2013, 20–23
Ryan Elmer of Texas, USA, was struggling to balance his responsibilities as a spouse, parent, and employee—not to mention the duties associated with a time-consuming Church calling. When he heard Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak in the April 2009 general conference about temple worship,1 Brother Elmer decided to follow Elder Scott’s counsel to set a goal to participate in temple ordinances with a specific frequency. However, he wasn’t sure how he could fit one more thing into his life.
“My work travel seemed to increase after making the goal,” says Brother Elmer, “and evenings home with my family were precious. I did not feel I could justify leaving them very often, even for something as positive as attending the temple.”
With a new resolve to make the temple a priority, Brother Elmer began to see how he could make better use of some of his travel time. “I decided to utilize the nights away from home,” he explains, “and rather than spending endless hours with clients in the evening, visiting sites in those cities, or working from the hotel room, I would attend the temple as often as my schedule allowed.”
Since that time, Brother Elmer has been able to worship in the temple on multiple occasions in Alabama, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Utah, Arizona, and California.
“It has been a great blessing to follow Elder Scott’s counsel,” he says. “The Spirit has been able to highlight the importance of my role as a father and as a husband. As I’ve gone to the temple more, it always seems to draw me home into my roles in family relationships.”
Making time for consistent temple worship can be a challenge. It requires finding proper balance among our various responsibilities. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has observed: “There are many tasks to be performed in temple and family history work. We should encourage our members to make prayerful selection of the things they can do in their individual circumstances and in view of their current Church callings.”2
The experiences of Ryan Elmer and others show that the Lord will bless our efforts. Planning and commitment—and not letting anything get in the way of that commitment—are key elements for success.
Matthew and Stacie Dalebout of Michigan, USA, are the parents of three young children. In order to attend the Detroit Michigan Temple, located 45 minutes from their home, the Dalebouts have to plan in advance.
“When our appointed time to visit the temple comes, we have to prepare our children and home for the babysitter and prepare ourselves spiritually for the experience,” Sister Dalebout says. “It is amazing how the busyness of life gets in the way of our goal. If we have not properly planned, our visit to the temple can easily fall by the wayside.”
When the Dalebouts do not have as much time or an endowment session is full, they have meaningful experiences by participating in other ordinance work. While the planning can become complicated, the blessings they receive for their efforts to get to the temple far outweigh the sacrifice.
“We feel it is meaningful to participate in those sacred ordinances as husband and wife,” Sister Dalebout says. “Our marriage is strengthened as we are reminded of our covenants. We receive an increase of the Spirit into our lives and home, and we are more patient and loving with our children. We know that any sacrifices we make to regularly worship at the temple are made up to us and our lives become richer and more fulfilling.”
Traveling to the temple can also present a challenge to those trying to be consistent in their temple worship.
In 2003 it became apparent to Todd Bosen, a counselor in a stake presidency in Arizona, USA, that many senior members in his stake were having a hard time attending the Snowflake Arizona Temple, which was a drive of about an hour and 15 minutes away. One widow, for example, hadn’t been to the temple in 20 years because she couldn’t drive by herself.
President Bosen felt inspired to issue a call to Nedra LeSueur, a member of the stake, to help these members get to the temple.
“I considered this challenge a calling from the Lord and wanted to help the fellow members of my stake to get to the temple more frequently,” says Sister LeSueur. “I knew that this would only be possible with the Lord’s inspiration.”
Inspiration came as Sister LeSueur devised a plan to organize a monthly caravan to the temple for the senior members of the stake. As part of the plan, a member of each ward was designated to contact and invite all the senior ward members and arrange rides.
“When we first started, we would have over 30 people,” Sister LeSueur explains. “Some used walkers, and some moved with halting steps, just needing an arm to steady them. It had been so long since some of the seniors had been to the temple that they had to be helped and were embarrassed, but I told them that this is what it is all about—helping each other.”
Typically, participating in the ordinances of the temple is an individual’s act of service to others. In Sister LeSueur’s case, her temple-related service also includes helping dozens of additional members get to the temple to offer service.
“What a great blessing this has been for the senior members of our stake,” she says. “We all look forward to this trip every month. What a joy this experience is!”
Whatever the circumstances may be, each Church member who holds a temple recommend can find his or her own way to make time for the temple. In the talk that prompted Ryan Elmer to act, Elder Scott counseled: “I encourage you to establish your own goal of how frequently you will avail yourself of the ordinances offered in our operating temples. What is there that is more important than attending and participating in the ordinances of the temple? What activity could have a greater impact and provide more joy and profound happiness for a couple than worshipping together in the temple?”3
As many temple-going Saints can testify, making temple worship a regular part of our lives can indeed bring blessings of joy and spiritual growth.