“Questions and Answers,” Ensign, June 2014, 72–75
A few years ago, my dear husband passed away after a courageous battle with kidney cancer. Although I had a little over three years after his diagnosis to adjust to the possibility of his passing, I was still not remotely prepared for life without him. I felt overwhelmed with grief and anxiety. I couldn’t face life without the man I had cherished for 43 years.
After three sleepless nights, I found myself awake early one morning with a strong prompting to go to the temple. While I waited for the temple to open, I was inspired to read my scriptures to prepare myself to receive the revelation, understanding, and peace I was desperately seeking. I distinctly remember reading, “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10).
During that morning’s temple session, an overwhelming feeling of comfort filled me. I understood the words of the ordinances better than I ever had before. In the celestial room, the Spirit impressed upon me that only through my obedience to my covenants would I be able to live with my eternal sweetheart again. I could no longer live life in a daze, for I was wasting precious time!
The trial of losing my spouse has given me a fresh perspective on the ordinances of the temple. With each visit, I want to make sure I understand the importance of every commandment I must follow to be worthy to live with my husband again.
Although the sting of my husband’s absence has not lessened, I become stronger each day as I continue my earthly test and remember the Savior’s promise of peace (see John 14:27). For me, that promise is fulfilled in the temple, where my trials have helped me receive deeper understanding of the plan of salvation.
Donna P. Edwards, Utah, USA
I always try to go to the temple after fasting and then focus on being completely open so that I can be taught by the Spirit.
I try to have open eyes, to look for things I haven’t noticed before. I try to notice the symbols and think about what they represent, searching the scriptures for insights or asking questions in the temple when appropriate.
I try to have open ears, to listen to what’s being taught during sessions. I try to remember that I’m there as a proxy, usually for a family member. I like to look at the information I have on the person I’m there for, even if it’s just the name and birth or death date. I like to pray that the person will be receptive to what’s being done in that person’s behalf.
I also try to have an open mind, to learn something new or to remember what I haven’t thought about for some time. I try to take in everything around me and see things in a new light.
Finally, I try to have an open heart, to love and to receive love. I try to be grateful for everyone and everything the Lord has blessed my life with. I feel privileged to worship in the temple, a place where the Lord resides. I find that when I have a grateful heart and am full of love, the powers of heaven are with me and I feel true happiness.
When I leave the temple, I break my fast with a prayer and then eat, giving thanks for the blessing of being spiritually and physically fed. As I think about the blessings of temple worship, I am reminded of the words “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
Sherrie Ruegsegger, Wisconsin, USA
My husband and I have tried to make temple attendance and learning a priority. Here are a few things we have learned that help enrich our temple experience:
Focus on covenants. One thing we try to do as we listen and participate in the temple work is to be active learners. We try to listen closely to the specific covenants we make and think about how we live them each day or how we can improve our observance of them.
Go with a question. The temple is a wonderful place to receive personal revelation. We often go with a question in mind and search for the answer. We have tried to hear the Lord’s voice as He speaks to us through the Spirit. We have found that taking a moment in the celestial room after a session is a wonderful time to think and pray. By the end of the session, our minds are more focused on what is truly important and we are able to review our problems, concerns, and questions more clearly.
Participate in all kinds of temple work. When we do not have enough time for a session, we take the opportunity to perform sealing or initiatory ordinances. We try to listen closely to the words of the covenants made and blessings promised. We find that we get a more complete picture of the way each ordinance fits into the others when we participate in all of them.
Allison Anderson, Georgia, USA
It takes extra effort to have my temple experience be a learning experience. Before I go, I take the time to pray for understanding. I seek the companionship of the Spirit to help me make important connections between the temple instruction and my desire to be more like the Savior and overcome the world. Studying the scriptures faithfully every day also helps prepare me for temple learning.
I have realized that when I attend the temple more often, I can remember and ponder important concepts, including my covenants and the potential blessings I can receive. Every visit is another opportunity to practice active listening and thinking.
I have also learned to be patient if I don’t understand something right away and to wait upon the Lord for answers to my questions. I know the temple is a “house of learning” (D&C 109:8), and I cherish the spiritual maturity and insight I gain as I seek learning in the house of the Lord.
Cindy Woodbury, Arizona, USA
Each time I go to the temple, I say a little prayer beforehand. I thank Heavenly Father for the opportunity to feast on spiritual nourishment and ask Him to help the experience strengthen my spirit. I also ask that my mind will be open to His teaching so that I may learn the things He would have me learn at that time.
Then, when I reach the celestial room, I always make sure to take the time to pray some more. I try to focus on not just silently talking to Heavenly Father but also listening to Him. I rarely leave the celestial room without spending time in the scriptures, where I can do more listening by reading the words of the Lord. I love to dive deeper into cross-references, and I learn a lot by searching the Topical Guide for subjects that were on my mind during the endowment.
Mandy Bell, Utah, USA
The revelation I receive through my participation in temple ordinances depends on how I prepare my heart for a temple learning experience.
The night before going to the temple, I pray to my Heavenly Father to teach me something that I have questions about or that I need in my life at that time. Some of the greatest learning comes when I am in the greatest need—when I have challenges and problems and am seeking answers. As I pay close attention while in the temple, I am impressed with thoughts that not only point out answers to questions or solutions to challenges in my life but also teach me about Heavenly Father’s ways.
During one period in my life, I felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually weak. When I went to the temple I felt deeply the spiritual power that is there. It blessed me, lifted me, strengthened me, and brought me peace and joy during that challenging time of my life. Not only did I feel peace, but I also received a deeper understanding of the purpose of my trials.
Yvonne Mughal, Utah, USA