As of January 2024, I will have served as an ordinance worker in Latter-day Saint temples for a decade. It has been both a humbling and a fulfilling ten years, and I’ve learned a lot about the Lord’s holy house.
One thing that has been on my mind recently is how our temple experience goes beyond the physical walls of a temple itself. The covenants we make include gifts of power from the Lord; this power is meant to impact every aspect of our daily lives.
How can we gain greater access to this power and use it to enlighten and embolden our walk as disciples of Jesus Christ? From my experience, there is one important thing we often miss from our temple worship—how we leave.
Most don’t think about the mechanics of how they leave the temple. While a feeling of joy and peace pervade, we can be more diligent to walk out of the temple with intention.
Working in the temple, I have the opportunity to watch over and direct patrons throughout their time in the temple. Recently, I’ve noticed that the time right before patrons leave has become very casual. Many scroll through their phones or chat with their friends. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that! But we miss an opportunity when we don’t strive to take the temple with us when we leave.
I love the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Ohio Temple, as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 109. There are a few verses in particular that point us to the power of our temple exit.
Verse 18 asks the Lord to bless the people “that all their outgoings from this house may be in the name of the Lord.” Later in verse 22, the prayer continues to say, “We ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thymay be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine have charge over them.”
This is something I want to experience more of! However, I’m all too ready to get back into the world sometimes after my temple visits. I can’t wait to check my notifications. My brain is already planning the next thing I have to do. I believe the Lord wants us to slow down a little and hold onto the power of His house as we go back into the world.
But how do we do it? Here are a few simple ideas:
- Keep your phone off. Turn your phone off before entering the temple and don’t turn it back on until you leave temple grounds. If you need to check your phone, do so outside of the temple building itself. This simple action helps us keep our minds free from the distractions of the world and show our respect for God’s house.
- Say a prayer of thanks as you leave the temple. As you walk out of the temple, offer up a simple prayer of gratitude for the experience. Thank the Lord for the temple, your covenants, and anything else placed on your heart.
- Record the visit in writing. Keep a small journal with you or make a separate note in your phone. As soon as you can after leaving the temple, record the visit and what it was like. Write down the questions you may have gone inside with, the feelings and thoughts you had, and any revelation received.
- Talk about your experience. We often worry about what we can and cannot say outside of the temple. However, it is entirely appropriate to talk about your experience with those you care about. If you’re with a group, considering asking everyone what they learned or something they felt as you leave.
- Testify of your experience. Many like to take photos at the temple when they visit. Consider using this as an opportunity to share the temple with others on social media or other platforms. Testify of God’s love and why the temple is important to you.
President Jeffrey R. Holland once shared, “When you leave the temple, remember the symbols you take with you, never to be set aside or forgotten.”
Anthony Sweat, a Latter-day Saint author and teacher, also said, “When you leave the temple, be a diligent student and consciously strive to practice those covenants and concepts in everyday life. Put in the work—practice, start again, realign, increase in your precision—and don’t you ever give up. God does not give up on you. Don’t you give up on Him.”
By taking a little extra care in how we leave the temple, we can better transform our experience in the House of the Lord and partake of His love and power.