The closure of temples hit me hard. It wasn’t just the ability to be in the temple and to participate in the sacred work therein. It was the loss of a stable, important part of my life. I’ve worked in the Provo City Center Temple since it opened in the spring of 2016. That’s every Saturday (give or take a holiday) for four years.
In the blink of an eye, my constant, busy, blessed service was abruptly halted. I know I’m not the only one who felt and continues to feel this loss.
So, when the opportunity came because of my age and experience as a shift coordinator to resume my work in the temple, I was excited. My first day back inside brought me to tears. But it also brought on a tinge of sadness. I could picture the temple, active and busy, full of the sisters I loved so much. It’s brought on many fervent prayers that we may be able to resume the work of the temple soon.
I know so many are eagerly looking forward to entering the temple again and I’ve been full of gratitude that I am able to work there during this unique time. To help spread the spirit of the temple to others, I wanted to offer some insights on what the experience has been like.
There are a lot of safety protocols to help ensure everyone is safe during their time in the temple. Everyone’s temperature is taken before entering and new automatic hand sanitizer machines have been placed throughout the temple, including in the endowment rooms. Groups are also asked to stay together, moving as one unit from the recommend desk to the locker rooms and beyond.
Limits are placed on how many people can be inside the temple at any given time. For example, only one person is allowed to receive their endowments with a limited number of guests. At the Provo City Center, this means keeping the number of people in the room below twenty. Where I used to lead a shift of nearly 40 sisters, I now only have one other working alongside me.
A Sweet Spirit
At first, there is a sense of loss that we can’t enjoy these special experiences as we normally would. However, it’s been so tender to have such personal interactions making sacred covenants. Seeing a small family bond in the quiet calm of the celestial room has been a tender experience. A sweet spirit of gratitude for Jesus Christ and the opportunity to be in the temple pervades.
A Sacred Opportunity
More than any other feeling I’ve had as a temple worker during COVID-19, I’ve felt that we have a sacred opportunity to show the Lord what the temple truly means to us. Are we doing everything within our power to live and work so that temples may be open again? That is the question I now ask myself each week. What am I willing to sacrifice so proxy ordinances can begin again? This will look different for each of us, but I’ve learned a little bit better just how precious temples are. Now, it is time to show God what I’ve learned.