“Let’s prepare ourselves to go to the temple” were the words uttered by my husband when I was washing the dishes. I was astonished. Being in the Church for almost two decades and like every other young women, I too dreamt of getting married to an active, worthy, temple-loving returned missionary.
My husband and I knew each other for almost 12 years, and on September 2009, we decided to get married. I had a strong desire to get married in the temple, and when I shared my feelings, my husband insisted that we work together to be strong enough to enter into His holy place. We committed ourselves that we would go to the temple and get sealed in the house of the Lord in three months. The initial days were blissful. But life wasn’t like something that floats around and lands on you like a lucky butterfly. It needs to be tended, like a fire in your heart, by breathing life into a spark over and over again.
Years came and went in a blur of working hard and spinning our wheels. We filled our days with what we thought we had to do. We were careless with our love, sending out sharp words and criticisms and then rushing out the door to our next obligation. We thought we were building a life for our future. But we didn’t see the cracks in what we were building.
Whenever we thought of going to the temple, we became conscious of our failings and felt uncomfortable at the thought of approaching the Lord. We felt unworthy of the Lord’s love and were fearful of His disapproval. We knew that preparation to enter the temple and covenant-making doesn’t happen quickly. It began with baptism, confirmation of the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then it has to grow every day with prayer, scripture study, obedience, repentance, partaking of the sacrament, keeping the commandments, etc.
The day dawned when my husband was called by Bishop Daniel Michael and stake president Nithyakumar to be the second counsellor in the Convent Road Branch. That puzzled us greatly, for we had supposed that someone called to such an office would have an unusual, different, and greatly enlarged testimony and spiritual power than my husband.
My husband denied initially and said he is not worthy enough to accept the call. It was a great challenge, and after two months he made up his mind. A few days later, my husband felt something strong in his heart that we must prepare ourselves to go to the temple. Temple ordinances are the most exalted ordinances that have been revealed to mankind. We wanted to receive the temple ordinances, make solemn covenants with our Father, feel His Spirit, and receive additional revelation and understanding. As we have heard many temple-returned members bear their testimonies, we wanted to experience that same understanding and assurance of the eternal existence and the unending power of the covenants made. If we are not eternal beings, the temple would have no significance. We wanted to enter the temple and make covenants because we know that we will exist eternally, and we wanted to be with our Heavenly Father and our family in “never-ending happiness.”
We slowly started to resolve our marital differences and felt that it was worth our best efforts. We started to prepare wisely and foresaw the need for adjustment. We started listening to each other and each moment of listening piled up until we could start climbing right up and out of our hole. We added laughter and that made the climbing lighter. We let things go, saw with new eyes, and stood in the each other’s shoes. Serving family, Church members, and friends became enjoyable. All these years we were trying to find happiness by hunting for it, not realising that we will find it as the old woman did her lost spectacles, safe on her nose all the time.
Our understanding of our eternal perspective helped us both to love and respect each other and overcome selfishness as we worked through our differences together. We partook of the sacrament, sought for forgiveness, strived to keep the Lord’s standards, and felt proud to worthily carry a temple recommend. The more we stood for true principles, the more we felt the Lord’s help to overcome temptation.
We started preparing spiritually, mentally, and financially. We worked on our family tree. We knew that our ancestors were waiting and praying for hundreds of years for their ordinances to be performed. We felt great and awesome to do that part of work for them. We were able to collect 42 names. On May 14, 2017, we went to the temple. We did not understand much when we did our own endowments and got sealed. I was taken in disbelief when I saw my dream come true where I dreamt of sitting in a room on a chair and a person with white dress speaking to me. I saw the same room, the same chair in which I was sitting during my initiatory and a person in white dress speaking to me. I went back to the patron house and reflected on my dream as though it happened just few days back. When we did baptisms for our ancestors and began to seal them, we felt the Spirit so strong in us. My husband didn’t serve his mission but was blessed to baptize nearly 60 people who are dead. When we did endowments for our ancestors and as we entered into the celestial room, we both held our hands together, prayed for few minutes. There were scriptures lying next to us. When we randomly opened the page, it turned to Doctrine and Covenants 38:7–15. We were overjoyed to see the promised blessings.
I know that Heavenly Father wants to bless us. His greatest blessings come when we enter the temple to receive sacred ordinances and when we make and keep sacred covenants. We feel we have reformed ourselves. Our hearts are full of thanks for the Saviour’s Atonement that assures us that ‘though [our] sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). I am grateful for my family. We are really blessed to live in a time when the Lord has inspired His prophets to provide significantly increased accessibility to the holy temples worldwide and invite each of you to have a current temple recommend and visit the temple more often. All of the ordinances which take place in the house of the Lord become expressions of our belief in that fundamental and basic doctrine of the immortality of the human soul. As we redouble our efforts and our faithfulness in going to the temple, the Lord will bless us. We leave you this testimony that when you prepare, “set specific goals, considering your circumstances, of when you can and will participate in temple ordinances. Then do not allow anything to interfere with that plan. This pattern will guarantee that those who live in the shadow of a temple will be as blessed as are those who plan far ahead and make a long trip to the temple” (Richard G. Scott, “Temple Worship: The Source of Strength and Power in Times of Need,” Liahona, May 2009, 43).
Finally, I quote from President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95): “Let us be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow. Let us go not only for our kindred dead, but let us also go for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety which are provided within those hallowed and consecrated walls. The temple is a place of beauty; it is a place of revelation; it is a place of peace. It is the house of the Lord. It is holy unto the Lord. It should be holy unto us” (“The Great Symbol of Our Membership,” Ensign, July 1994, 5).
May the Lord continue to bless you and your families when you prepare to enter his holy House as He did ours. I strongly bear this testimony in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, amen.