Divine Temple Experiences

By Kerry Griffin Smith

One of the blessings of attending the temple is the opportunity to sit and ponder in a quiet, undisturbed setting. It’s serene to be surrounded by the light-colored carpet and walls with beautiful decor and furniture, well-organized everything, and patrons dressed all in white. The chaos and competition of life seem to disappear the moment you settle in for temple work. For some temple patrons, the experience is even more profound. At times, the veil between this life and the next is very thin.

My personal experiences in attending the temple are varied. At the very least, I always feel nice inside and am very glad I’ve made the effort to schedule the visit. A few times, I’ve needed deep comfort from life’s incredible challenges. Once, it became very apparent to me during my temple session that the man I had been dating was wrong for me. Now after almost 25 years of being married to my sweetheart, I’m especially grateful I received those profound promptings in a space where I couldn’t deny their reality.

Other family members have shared a bit of their temple experiences with me, and their stories have bolstered my testimony: Promptings to seek medical attention for an unborn baby while attending a temple sealing. Comforting words from a deceased mother to her daughter who had just been rediagnosed with breast cancer, this time terminal. More comforting words from a deceased husband to his widow, who has missed him every day for 25 years. Knowing how to help another patron who was struggling . . . 

I realize that profound personal experiences in the temple are sacred. Some are too sacred to share here, but some are testimony builders. I hope to do them justice as I share a few with you.

Should We Do This?

In the 1980s, members participating in family history research were instructed not to stray from their family lines. But was a second cousin twice removed too far? my friend Sue, her sister Sandy, and her mother Laurel wondered. Feeling impressed to do so, they decided to submit the name of a daughter they’d found. Her surname was different from the rest of the family as she was born from a prior marriage. Her mother had remarried and raised a second family; sadly, this first daughter had died as a young woman.

They were worried this daughter would be missed by genealogists not as familiar with the lineage. Thankfully, they were granted permission to proceed with the family history and temple work.

Both sides of the veil were working to unite. While performing the proxy baptisms, Laurel shared she had experienced an “overwhelmingly amazing feeling,” especially as she participated on behalf of the mother.

Soon after, Sue did the proxy endowment for the young daughter: “I could feel her excitement and anticipation.” At one point, “I could hear her speak to me” in response to the endowment questions, she recalls. “I had never had anything like that happen before. It was so incredible.” While in the celestial room, the special witness of acceptance continued.

During the sealing of the family, Laurel again felt a connection to the mother, who told her, “Now I have my daughter the same way you have your daughter and your daughter has her daughter.” A little perplexed because her daughter Sandy, who was pregnant, had two sons, In the 80s ultrasounds were not often done to determine an unborn child’s sex. But the premonition proved true when three months later, Sandy delivered a baby daughter to join those two sons.

Who Needs My Help?

“When I was a temple worker, I just loved it when someone needed my help,” says friend Heather. “I often felt an overwhelming love for them” and wanted to help with anything, little or big.

One time, a sister patron had experienced a nose bleed and accidentally gotten some blood on her white temple dress, Heather recalls. The sister had special family names she was trying to do and really wanted to be there, but she was embarrassed about the blood and didn’t feel she was clean enough to stay for the rest of the ordinances. “Could someone else do the names?” she asked with disappointment.

Quickly, Heather and other temple workers reassured this sister she was absolutely presentable to do the work. They spot cleaned the dress the best they could and didn’t worry about a smudge or two.

No matter who is attending, there is always help in the temple. “There’s no hierarchy of men and women,” Heather adds. “There’s no trendiness. We’re just all there in white—united in purpose.”

I’m Stuck! What Do I Do Next?

When her 8 children were young, 14 and under, Heather relished the quiet nights when they  were tucked in bed and she could have quiet time to work on her family’s history. She recalls one particular time when she hit a roadblock on her lineage. “I was stuck!” she says. So she decided to head to bed too, though her husband was still working at the hospital.

As she was lying in bed, pondering the situation, she all of a sudden knew she wasn’t alone in the room. Her great-great-great-grandmother was there. 

“We had just adopted our five girls,” Heather recalls, and my grandmother comforted me, saying, “I want you to know your family in heaven is cheering you.”

She went on to tell me about her husband, how he’d been in a war. She told me details about how he had protected her town: Walkara. At one point, he was shot by an arrow, but the situation was so dangerous, no one would go out to rescue him. Not about to leave him for dead, she thwarted danger and was able to bring him home safely.

From the details her grandmother shared that night, Heather researched online and was able to find what had been missing information on her family tree. That sacred experience years ago is one she recalls with vividness to this day, bringing her renewed courage and feelings of love when family challenges arise.

What If I Don’t Go?

That’s a question we all might ask ourselves when deciding whether to attend the temple. It’s not a question meant to pile on the guilt. Instead, it’s a reminder of the beautiful blessings and promises that await us inside the Holy Temple.

Maybe not every experience inside will become a keepsake journal entry for you. But if you attend frequently and are consistent, you will have experiences unique to you.

If you don’t yet love to attend the temple, go more often—not less, “ President Russell M. Nelson invites us. “Let the Lord, through His Spirit, teach and inspire you there. I promise you that over time, the temple will become a place of safety, solace, and revelation” (The Temple and Your Spiritual Foundation).

Kerry Griffin Smith is a former editor for the Ensign Magazine who loves to spend time in the temple and enjoys family history work. Discover her digital educational printables and articles at MrsLadyWordsmith.com

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