I Didn’t Have a Temple Recommend

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“I Didn’t Have a Temple Recommend,” Liahona, Jan. 2010, 41

I Didn’t Have a Temple Recommend

Anne-Mette Howland, Utah, USA

When I was 17 years old, I had a strong desire to see a Latter-day Saint temple. I lived in Denmark with my family, where at that time there was no temple. For Saints living in Denmark, the closest temples were in Switzerland and England. I didn’t know anyone in those nations, so traveling to either country by myself was out of the question.

But because I had family in Utah, I decided to save money so I could visit and do baptisms for the dead in the Salt Lake Temple. I wrote my aunt and cousins in Utah to see if it was all right if I came for a visit. They were excited to hear of my plans.

A year later I had finally saved enough money for my long-awaited trip. A few days after I arrived in Utah, my aunt drove me to the Salt Lake Temple. I was thrilled to see it in person and excited to do baptisms for the dead. When I got to the entrance, however, a temple worker asked to see my temple recommend. No one had ever told me about a temple recommend! The worker kindly explained what a temple recommend is and told me that I could get one from my bishop.

My heart sank. I would have to be content with visiting relatives and seeing the temple from the outside.

During fast and testimony meeting the following Sunday, I felt the need to share my testimony, telling the congregation how blessed they were to live so close to a temple. I also said I would have loved to have gone inside but couldn’t because I didn’t have a recommend, though I had always been taught to live worthily. I closed my testimony by encouraging the members to attend the temple as often as they could.

After church, my relatives’ bishop approached me and said he would try to help me get a temple recommend, and we set up an interview. During the interview, he asked me if my bishop spoke English. I said no. He replied, “And I don’t speak Danish.” My heart sank again.

But the bishop said, “You have come this far; let’s not give up just yet. I know the Lord will help us. We just have to have faith.”

He then asked for my bishop’s phone number in Denmark, which I happened to have with me. I was surprised to hear my bishop’s son answer the phone. He told me he had just returned from his mission to England. When I told the American bishop, he said, “Perfect. He can translate for us.”

Soon all four of us were on the phone—my bishop giving me a recommend interview, his son translating for the American bishop. Before long I had my recommend and was finally able to enter the temple! I cannot put into words the joy I felt knowing that the Lord had opened the way for me.

I was later married in the temple and have been blessed with four beautiful children. I am so thankful Heavenly Father has given us temples, and I’m grateful to know that I am sealed to my family and that, if we live righteously, we can be together forever.