By Alexis Tanner Lane
One of the hardest parts of the pandemic for me has been the closing of the temples. When the pandemic first hit the US and they announced the closing of the temples, I ran to do one last session. And it’s been hard to drive by the temple and see it from my home, knowing that I can’t go inside. I’ve felt the pull to go in so many times during this pandemic especially when the burden of it all felt too heavy.
Whether we live near a temple or not, there are ways to access the blessings of the temple even without being able to go inside. We can still access temple blessings no matter where we are or what is happening in the world.
Make Your Home a Sacred Place
The temple is my favorite place to receive revelation and feel close to the Spirit. I love the peace and calm I feel there that I often don’t feel anywhere else. In a series of counsel from the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, Elder David A. Bednar said, “We should return to our homes from the temple and bring with us what we have learned and implement and apply those teachings. There can be an equivalent spiritual power in our own homes as we strive to remember the principles and patterns taught in the temple and live them.”
This can seem challenging, especially as many of us have a house full of children. The calm and quiet are only moments in a full day of parenting. I have found that when I seek out those quiet moments throughout the day, I am better able to focus and listen to what the Spirit wants me to know. Sometimes I have to create those moments and hide in my closet or wait until the kids are in bed, but I am better able to hear the Spirit when I intentionally make that time each day.
Honor Your Covenants
The temple is a house of learning, but luckily we can take those things we learn with us. Elder David A. Bednar also said, “Obviously, the Spirit is not available only in the house of the Lord. If we are honoring the covenants, then we can have that same Spirit with us always.” The covenants we make in the temple allow us to focus on an eternal perspective and to have hope for the future. Our covenants point us to the Savior and help keep Him in the center of our lives. When we strive to be obedient, the Spirit can remain with us.
In August 2020, Elder Ronald A. Rasband spoke about how the temple can still impact our lives even when we can’t be there physically. He said that we have access to the power of godliness from the covenants we’ve made. I can’t think of a much better promise that having God’s power with us at all times.
Keep a Current Temple Recommend
Even though we can’t use our temple recommend at the moment, when the time comes, I want to be ready to be able to enter the temple. There are many scriptures and stories that talk about procrastinating. The parable of the 10 virgins comes to mind. I don’t want to be one of the 5 virgins who has to go back to meet with her leaders to get an interview for a temple recommend. I want to be ready with the women who’s lamps are full and they are prepared to enter with a current temple recommend in hand.
Do Family History Work
I love doing family history work! My mother is a convert and my father’s side hasn’t been in the church long, so I have lots of family history work to do. I have had multiple experiences where I’ve felt the guidance of my ancestors as I research their names and families. Even though I can’t take their names to the temple just yet, I’m still researching my family tree and gathering their names for when the temple opens again.
You may be like my husband whose family work has pretty much all been done to the point of getting professional help. Or you may not know how to find your ancestors, but there are still other ways to connect families besides taking names to the temple. You can do indexing on familysearch.org, write your own personal history for your posterity, interview living relatives and get to know their stories, or learn about your ancestors as you explore your own tree. Knowing our past helps our entire family. Studies have shown that children who know about their ancestors have higher self esteem and are better able to deal with the effects of stress.
Talk About the Temple
Whenever we drive by a temple, I make sure to point it out to my children. We talk about where my husband and I were married and how we feel when we’re at the temple. We point out how beautiful they are and the important work that’s done there.
In our own home, we try to have pictures of the temple in each room. President Spencer W. Kimball said, “It seems to me it would be a fine thing if every set of parents would have in every bedroom in their house a picture of the temple so the [child] from the time he is an infant could look at the picture every day and it becomes a part of his life. When he reaches the age that he needs to make this very important decision, it will already have been made.” My oldest daughter is 10 years old, so she is close to the age of when she can also enter the temple. As we talk about it with her, we hope that she will be excited to go when the time comes.
Our homes are the only place that can compare to the temple in sacredness. Although I can’t wait for the temples to be open again, it’s comforting to know we can still have the blessings, peace, and revelation that we would receive in the temple in our own homes.
Alexis Tanner is a mother of five, podcaster, and writer. She loves reading, family history work, taking her kids on adventures, and podcasting with her husband at the Parenting In Real Life Podcast. You can find Alexis on Instagram @alexistannerlane.