When I left work the other day, I hurried home and ate dinner. I was meeting my best friend at the temple and did not want to be late. At the same time, she also got off of work, went home to change, and drove to meet me at the temple.
We had planned to go to a 5 o’ clock session and didn’t want to miss it. It was 4:50. We were told by one of the sisters in the temple that we probably would not make it, but we tried anyways. We were led straight into the session room and were the last two to be seated. We looked at each other in relief and slowly began to relax into the peaceful atmosphere of the temple.
I was grateful that we did not have to wait an hour for another session. Yes, we could have done other ordinances such as baptisms, but I really wanted to attend an endowment session, and I wanted to attend one at the most convenient time.
Moreover, it was like the temple workers knew we were coming. They held the doors open just long enough for us to come in and sit down. My best friend commented that it seemed as if the Lord knew we were coming.
At the same time though, I felt some remorse. I was so rushed on getting to the temple that I didn’t have the chance to truly appreciate that I was in the temple.
An endowment session is one of the longer ordinances in the temple, so we already had to set aside about two hours for it. Could we not have simply stayed one hour longer and gone to a later session? We would have had a vast amount of time to change, to enjoy the paintings in the temple, and to simply sit and think quietly in the chapel. Instead, we went so quickly from work to the endowment room that our bodies were still warm from the hot summer day. We were out of breath and exhausted from a long work-day and rush into the temple.
It made it hard to truly enjoy the session.
That wasn’t my first time rushing into the temple. When I have gone with my family, we have often done the same thing—rushing to get changed and into the session, without the time to even think about the importance of taking it slow.
I know it is important to go to the temple, and that sometimes tight schedules require a bit of a hurry to go into the temple.
But is going to the temple with only minutes to spare really showing the Lord that you’re there to do His work?
We should have known better. It was almost as if our determination to get to a certain session surpassed our determination to be at one with the atmosphere of the temple.
I don’t want it to be that way. I don’t want my temple experiences to feel so rushed and squeezed into my schedule.
Although life outside of the temple may be stressful, I want to be able to walk into the temple, to enjoy the scenery outside and the slow walk through the hallways inside. I want to feel my day slip away as I step, with no rush, into the temple, ready to commit my time and focus to the Lord.
I think that’s how the Lord wants it to be also.
In Luke 19:46, it says, “My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
I think my rush into the temple made me a thief myself, a thief of peace and calm.
As I pondered this, I realized that the same is true for attending the temple for the first time.
Often times, we go to the temple in preparation for a mission or for marriage, with some other ultimate goal in mind. It can be as if going to the temple is simply a check on a list.
Attending the temple is its own goal though. It requires preparation and slow steps.
Going to the temple for the first time must be done with the same attitude as going to the temple on a day after work: with no rush, ready to commit time and focus to the Lord.
Ezra Taft Benson said, “It is in the temples that we obtain God’s greatest blessings pertaining to eternal life. Temples are really the gateways to heaven.”
If we truly believe that, then we should sincerely consider how we enter the temple. We do not want to feel as the five virgins who did not have enough oil to meet the bridegroom.
Marvin J. Ashton said, “The wise and foolish virgins, all of them, had been invited to the wedding supper; they had knowledge of the importance of the occasion. They were not pagans, heathens, or gentiles, nor were they known as corrupt or lost, but rather they were informed people who had the saving, exalting gospel in their possession, but had not made it the center of their lives. They knew the way, but were foolishly unprepared for the coming of the bridegroom. All, even the foolish ones, trimmed their lamps at his coming, but their oil was used up. In the most needed moment there was none available to refill their lamps. All had been warned their entire lives.”
We should be prepared and calm as we enter the Lord’s House. We are warned often, but are we still unfoolish?
Let us not be rushed in going to the temple. It is a place of many blessings and sincere worship, but we must earn it. We should fill our lamps and enter the temple with time to spare, and ease in our footsteps. It is the Lord’s House.