A year and a half before I went to the Washington D.C. Temple to receive my own endowment, I had never heard of the Book of Mormon or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But when I met the missionaries and began learning about the Church, I couldn’t help but feel that the gospel was true.
I was baptized halfway through my senior year of high school, while preparing to attend Georgetown University. Shortly after I got baptized, some members in my home ward and even the missionaries serving in the area asked if I had thought about serving a mission. I always responded with an emphatic no. How could I teach people about a religion and lifestyle that I was just beginning to adopt myself?
I received my patriarchal blessing a few weeks before moving to Georgetown, and that experience offered a lot of perspective about my future. Prior to joining the Church, I felt that my life always seemed to go as planned, and suddenly that pattern was dramatically disrupted. The content of my patriarchal blessing did not reflect how I had always pictured my life. One of the most immediate truths I took away was the undeniable counsel that I should serve a mission.
Soon I found myself considering, although reluctantly, starting my mission papers.
I understood that it was common for members to receive their temple endowment before entering the mission field, so I started preparing to enter. I knew that one of the changes that would occur in my life would be committing to wear the temple garment. I hadn’t thought much about garments before I started to prepare for the temple, so I didn’t have any preconceived notions about wearing them.
After moving to college, I worked with my bishop and went to institute every week. My institute instructor was kind enough to offer tailored temple preparation instruction for several weeks up until my endowment date. This was a tender mercy, considering that I was away from my home ward and didn’t have any family in the Church to guide me. Eventually I received my mission call to Paraguay, and I was ready to go to the temple for the first time.
Going to the temple felt like returning home. Even putting on garments for the first time felt like the missing piece to a puzzle I was trying to solve. I understood that my covenant to wear the garment was an important step in my spiritual progression, and although this decision is sacred and personal, I made it happily because I knew that the knowledge I would gain about my divinity as a daughter of God was above anything the world could offer me.
After I received my endowment, the biggest adjustment was not in how I felt when wearing garments but in the new wardrobe I had to build up thereafter. I purged a lot of clothes in my closet that wouldn’t cover my garments.
However, making those changes in my life felt right. Because I put in the time to prepare for the temple, the adjustment to my wardrobe was a happy, easy experience. And as I strived to learn more, I deepened my testimony that committing to wear the temple garment is more than just an adjustment in wardrobe—it is a symbol of my devotion to my Savior, Jesus Christ, and my choice to follow Him. It is also a gift—a tangible reminder of my temple covenants and the power, protection, and blessings available to me through the Savior’s atoning sacrifice.
My only expectation going into the temple the day of my endowment was to feel God’s love for me. I was able to feel that in the temple more abundantly than ever, and I was determined to keep my covenants and wear my garments because I never wanted that feeling to go away.
During the loneliest and most treacherous times of my life, my testimony of simple, bedrock gospel principles has nudged me to wear my garments always and intentionally while striving to keep the covenants I made in the temple.
I find great comfort in these words from President Russell M. Nelson:
“Whenever any kind of upheaval occurs in your life, the safest place to be spiritually is living inside your temple covenants!
“Please believe me when I say that when your spiritual foundation is built solidly upon Jesus Christ, you have no need to fear. As you are true to your covenants made in the temple, you will be strengthened by His power. Then, when spiritual earthquakes occur, you will be able to stand strong because your spiritual foundation is solid and immovable.”1
My life has not become easier since joining the Church. In fact, the most trying times of my life occurred after my baptism. However, I know that my knowledge of the restored gospel and the strength from the covenants I made in the temple have made these challenges bearable, and the outcomes would have been drastically different without my faith in Jesus Christ.
It’s challenging to live intentionally as a disciple of Christ when the world seems to be at odds with the standards that I strive to keep. But as President Nelson stated, the best refuge for me is living within my temple covenants, including wearing my garments the way I promised to. And as I continue to do so and stay on the covenant path, I know I will experience joy.