“The Temple-Going Type,” New Era, Apr. 1998, 35
Who would have known that one decision made when I was 11 would touch the rest of my life?
At that time, my family seldom attended church. But my brother and I attended Primary. My teacher, in her lesson on temple marriage, told us, “You have to decide now that you’re going to be married in the temple. It can’t wait. Decide today.” It’s the first time I remember feeling touched by the Spirit, and I did decide, right then, that my goal was the temple.
For a few years, nothing changed. I still seldom attended church, but I thought differently. I believed I would someday go to the temple.
Eventually that one decision began to affect other decisions. When I was 14, I decided that a person planning to go to the temple needed to take seminary. I saw myself as a going-to-seminary kind of person.
My friends from seminary attended Young Women activities, so I started going too. I decided that someone who planned to receive temple blessings would be helped by earning her Young Womanhood Recognition award. It wasn’t easy because of my late start in church activity, but a great leader helped me set extra goals to catch up.
One of my goals was 100 percent attendance at church meetings for one month. It was hard to have my parents drop me off each week. Sometimes I coaxed my little sister into going with me so that I wouldn’t have to sit alone. Achieving that goal helped me see that I was a going-to-church kind of person.
I made mistakes, lots of them. Sometimes I became discouraged and thought my temple dream would never come true. A loving bishop guided me, taught me about repentance, and helped me find the determination that no matter how difficult, reaching the temple would be worth it.
Turning 16 brought more decisions. One of my Sunday School teachers warned, “You will marry someone you date. Make sure you date the kind of person you can marry in the temple.” I took his advice seriously and asked myself about each friendship, “Is this the kind of person I could go to the temple with?” Sometimes my judgment was off. Still I kept to my plan until I found the right person to marry in the right place.
My parents supported me in all my decisions. Mom and Dad stood with me on the stand in sacrament meeting the day I received my Young Womanhood medallion. They were there when I graduated from seminary. They were with me when I received my patriarchal blessing, and they supported me as I attended Ricks College.
They were both with me the day I walked to the doors of the temple. I had finally reached the day when I would enter the temple and receive the blessings I had learned about. The angel Moroni, glowing in the early morning sun on the temple spire, seemed to proclaim my joy to the world. I kissed my parents good-bye as I entered.
If I had waited to decide where to marry, it would have been too difficult to leave my parents outside and be married inside the temple. I wouldn’t have had a strong enough testimony of the gospel and the importance of the temple. I may not even have had the opportunity to decide. Leaders, bishops, and friends helped me. My family supported me. But I never would have made it if I hadn’t first decided that I was going to the temple.
In the temple I learned more about Heavenly Father’s plan for me. I hadn’t reached the end of my goal at all. I had only made one more step. So I decided right then to keep my temple promises, no matter how difficult. I decided I was someday going to return to my Heavenly Father.