Latter-day Saint temples are sacred places where members of the church make sacred covenants, receive revelation, and seek after God. For the past eight years, I have had the joy of working as an ordinance worker in the temple; I get to officiate in the ordinances and help those who visit the temple have a good experience.
There is a lot I have learned about working in the temple in those eight years, and some of it has been surprising. Before, I saw temple workers differently. They were always so on top of things and perfect!
I think understanding the perspective of a temple worker can benefit anyone’s time in the temple. So, here are six things temple workers want you to know!
We’re here to help.
Our number one goal is to help patrons have a positive experience. While one of our important jobs is to be stewards of the sacred temple ordinances (more on that later), helping you feel comfortable and connected to God is our highest priority. So, don’t be scared to ask for things you may need to have a better temple experience.
Whether it is sitting in a different place in the endowment room, needing help getting dressed in ceremonial clothing, or even wanting a cup of water, we want to help. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
We don’t expect you to be perfect…
Many people experience anxiety in the temple because they want to get every part of every ordinance exactly right. It is important to do our best, but temple workers don’t want you to feel judged or nervous. It’s ok to make mistakes, ask questions, and learn. Our temple matron reminds us often that it takes A LOT to invalidate an ordinance. You just need to focus on Jesus Christ and what the purpose of the temple is all about, and the rest will follow.
And we’re not perfect either!
Temple workers make mistakes! Just like patrons, we forget words or do something incorrectly. We forget to pay attention or become so rote we speed through without any thought or feeling. Know that when you come to the temple, the worker and the patron are meant to work together in the spirit of Christ to overcome our earthly limitations to reach something higher.
Also, it’s ok to correct us! If you know we said something wrong or even if we keep mispronouncing your name, feel free to speak up.
We correct out of love.
As stewards of the temple ordinances, temple workers help patrons strive for correctness throughout the temple. Sometimes, this means offering a correction or reminding you about a temple policy. A correction is never meant to embarrass or frustrate. Know all corrections are given in love. Temple workers are also instructed to be very careful not to OVER-correct.
It’s ok to ask questions.
We learn through questions and there is no better place to receive instruction than the temple. It is ok to ask temple workers questions, but it is important to remember two things if you do. First, there are certain times when asking a question might be disruptive to the ordinance. It is best to ask questions after an ordinance is over. Second, temple workers are not authorized to provide “official” statements on doctrines and interpretations. They are free to share their opinions, but it should not be taken as a church-wide doctrine.
You may also be guided to a recorder, temple matron, or temple presidency member, who may be able to talk with you if their schedule permits.
Temple workers come from all walks of life.
When people think of temple workers, they often think of elderly workers. While these sweet brothers and sisters make up an important part of the temple work force, those working in the temple come from all backgrounds and walks of life. Anyone who is endowed and found worthy can become a temple worker. Some have worked in the temple for years. Some have just started. Some are young, some are old. Some are ordinance workers, who volunteer, while others are paid employees to keep the temple operating safely and smoothly.
So, don’t be surprised to see all sorts of people working in the temple.
The bottom line…
We love you coming to the temple! We want to help you and we couldn’t do this great work without you.