“What the Temple Means to Me,” Liahona, October 2021
My husband and I live in Tasmania, the island state south of mainland Australia. Our “local” temple is the Melbourne Australia Temple, about 300 miles (480 km) away.
We were fortunate to attend the Melbourne Temple in November 2019 for a few days. Little did we realise it would be our last trip for a significant amount of time. Before the pandemic, my husband and I would attend the temple anywhere between one and four times a year. To get there we would either take a flight or a ferry. Some years that has been hard financially, so we made the trip less often. Some of those trips were day trips; others lasted a few days.
I am a temple ordinance worker, so those few days that I attended the temple were a precious opportunity to reconnect with my calling, to learn more about Heavenly Father’s plan, and to serve others and see them experience joy and happiness in the temple.
When the temple and our state borders closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, I wondered how I would keep the temple as a meaningful part of my life. I felt strengthened by feelings of the Holy Ghost that even though the temple was closed, the blessings of my temple covenants were not closed to me. I felt an added closeness to the Lord, particularly when I focussed on serving others, whether in my own family or those I minister to.
I spent time reviewing in my mind the covenants I have made, the feelings I have experienced in the temple, and the knowledge I have gained. I reviewed in my mind the wording of the ordinances. I continued researching my family history, entering names and sources into FamilySearch, and sharing those names with the temple. I look forward to seeing the list of shared names start to be completed when the temples reopen.
Years ago a dear sister in our ward shared with me that because an endowment session took roughly two hours and because she lived so far from the temple, she had decided to commit a minimum of two hours a week to family history work. She wanted to show the Lord that she was committed to temple work, even though it was challenging for her to get to the temple. Her goal really touched me, so I set the same goal for myself.
The October 2020 general conference talk given by Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reminded me of that long-held goal. He said: “We do temple work when we search for our ancestors and submit their names for ordinances. While our temples have been closed, we have still been able to research our families. With the Spirit of God in our hearts, we are, by proxy, standing in for them to be ‘recommended to the Lord.’”1
The 20th anniversary of the Melbourne Temple dedication occurred in 2020, bringing with it a flood of tender remembrances of the blessings our family had received in attending this and other temples since that dedication in 2000. The temple has been a foundation of our family’s strength and testimony. With our four children, we have attended several temples throughout mainland Australia to see our children perform baptisms, receive their endowments, and be sealed to their spouses.
Having a current temple recommend helps to ensure that my enthusiasm for living the gospel of Jesus Christ remains current. My recommend renewal interviews have been times of reflection. They have provided me with the opportunity to express my testimony. They have allowed me to strengthen my conviction to remain true and faithful to the “multiplicity of blessings” (Doctrine and Covenants 104:2) promised by the Lord that I and my family have received and been strengthened by.
Having a current temple recommend is about my faith, my commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, my joy, my hope, my gratitude, my obedience, and my love for my Saviour Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father.