“Rescued by My Brother,” New Era, August 2016, 20–22
I was almost 12 years old when the Twin Falls Idaho Temple was dedicated. I was so excited when my older sister asked me for the first time if I wanted to start going to the temple regularly with her and her friend.
I was happy when my younger brother Tanner turned 12 three years later because I could finally invite him to attend the temple with me.
Each morning that we went, we would help each other get up and go, and when we were tired Tanner would make jokes to help us wake up. After going to the temple, we would take some time to talk about how we’d felt in the temple and what we’d thought about.
Going to the temple with Tanner became the spiritual highlight of my week. Through our regular temple visits we became better friends, which strengthened me more than I would have imagined when some trials came my way. Our two older sisters had left for college and our ward had just been split, leaving Tanner and me as some of the only active youth in our ward.
Tanner and I spent hours calling and inviting less-active youth to church and Mutual. It often felt like a hopeless effort because no one ever came no matter how many girls I tried to befriend.
Our parents tried to help. They would bear testimony to us when we were discouraged, and they let us talk out our frustration when we came home upset. But even so, we didn’t suddenly have more friends at church, and wanting to go when I’d be the only young woman there was getting harder and harder. Our temple visits started becoming less frequent because of our busy school schedules.
I spent a lot of time reading my scriptures and pleading with the Lord to help me be strong. I was lonely and tired—tired of being alone, tired of my efforts not making a difference, tired of struggling spiritually and emotionally.
During this time, I worked as a lifeguard at the city pool. I liked being there a lot more than I liked being at church because my co-workers were my friends and were always excited to see me. One day I decided that I wouldn’t go back to Mutual since work was more fun and more helpful for me financially.
I didn’t think it was a big deal until I noticed myself lowering my standards. I didn’t say anything about my friends’ swearing, and one day I was shocked to hear myself accidentally swear when I never had before. I even watched an inappropriate movie one night at a party with my lifeguarding friends. I felt terrible and wondered what I was doing.
Meanwhile my parents had told me how much more lonely Tanner had become since I stopped attending Mutual. Every week he would ask me, “Hey, are you going to come to Mutual tonight?” When he would get home from Mutual, he would go straight to his room and read his scriptures for a long time. He wasn’t talking as much anymore, and when I asked if he was OK, he just said, “No,” and walked away.
One night he came home crying because he had felt so alone.
That’s when I decided that I needed to go back. It didn’t matter how hard being alone was for me; Tanner needed me.
Tanner had been taking a family history course at church, and I decided that I wanted to take it with him. We wanted to start going to the temple more regularly again, and now we would be able to find names ourselves.
We enjoyed taking the class together on Sundays. After church, we’d search for names together. The coolest thing about taking our own names to the temple was that we had found them together, and even better, we were able to support each other at church and even enjoy church because we were doing the Lord’s work.
Tanner’s diligence in attending church and Mutual was a powerful example to me. I had a testimony of the gospel, but he helped me gain a testimony of attending church meetings and activities.
Together we were able to comfort one another and use our testimonies of the temple to help each other be strong in the Church. Youth attendance at church and Mutual never really got better, but Tanner and I became stronger and more able to bear our burdens as we helped each other press forward.
I’m so glad that I invited him to come to the temple with me. While I’m sure it helped him, I know it rescued me.