Making Room for Holy Places

    “Making Room for Holy Places,” New Era, Nov. 2014, 36–37

    Making Room for Holy Places

    No matter where you live, you can stand in a holy place.

    young women and leaders

    Photographs by Josef B. Guðnason, Karolina G., and Kurt A. Larupay Brillantes

    So, how many young men or young women would fit in your classroom? 10? 20? How about 5?

    What if you didn’t even have a room to meet in for Sunday classes? That’s the situation some young women from Iceland found themselves in a few years ago. The Church rents rooms in a building there, and at first the young women had to meet in the foyer. That wasn’t the best environment for a class, so after some renovations they turned a closet into a classroom.

    Still, “the room was tiny and empty. It was impersonal,” recalls Karolina G., 18. “We decided as a class that we wanted to make the room our room. We wanted to feel the Spirit just by being there, to make it a holy place. So we did. We picked pictures and made our own poster with the Young Women theme on it.”

    The result? The room may be small—the five youth and their two leaders barely fit—and it may be cold in the winter and very hot in the summer, but “the room is now a place where you can feel the Spirit,” Karolina says. “I’ve had many spiritual experiences in there. We’re squeezed in, but we’ve become closer. We’ve become a little family. I love this room!”


    These young women made their classroom a holy place. But that’s not the only way they’ve tried to “stand in holy places, and be not moved” (D&C 87:8). Their advice? You can make any place holy. It has to do with what you do, how you live, and how much effort you put into it. Here are ideas that have worked for them.

    First, they make an effort at home. “I try to make our home beautiful so the Spirit can dwell among us,” Karolina says. “We have pictures of the temple in almost every room. One I made myself. It’s a reminder of what my highest goal is.”

    “Home is where we can teach and love one another by small and simple things,” says Karolina’s sister, Elin, 16. “Doing so invites the Spirit, which brings peace and love.”

    They also study the scriptures. “The Book of Mormon is the one book I can read and feel peace immediately,” Karolina says. “I can feel the truth behind the words as I study them.”

    “The Book of Mormon is my favorite book,” says Berglind, 14, Karolina’s and Elin’s youngest sister. “I try to read it every day. I know it’s true.”

    Angelica W., 15, adds, “The Book of Mormon has helped me through a lot of hard times. I know it’s true and that if you truly search it, you’ll come to know that it’s true also.”

    How these young women live when they’re not at home is just as important. Elin says, “My friends often try to get me to swear or wear dresses that are too short or do other things that are against my standards. But I know if we do our best, the Lord will do the rest. You need good experiences to stand tall in the light of Christ.”

    “I know why we have those standards,” Karolina adds, “and I got a testimony of them a long time ago. I keep the standards because I know they help me.” When her friends challenge her, “I remind myself of the reason for the standards. Then it’s no problem to keep them.”

    “I keep the standards with the help of other members,” says Elisabeth W., 13. “When I make mistakes, my older sister, Angelica, helps me through them.”

    Of course, no effort to stand in holy places would be complete without a focus on the temple. “The temple is a very special place for me,” Elin explains. “I’m so grateful for the things I can do in the temple. I know how important it is, and it makes me happy to know that I can help others who have passed away by doing baptisms and confirmations for them.”

    “The temple is a holy place where everyone can go and feel peace in their hearts,” Berglind says.

    “The Spirit is so strong there, and it’s a peaceful place,” Angelica says. “The temple shows us how much our Father in Heaven loves us.”