By Alexis Tanner
I was recently at the eye doctor for a routine eye exam. My vision isn’t terrible, but I do have astigmatism which makes things a bit blurry without contacts or glasses. I was talking with my eye doctor about how astigmatism works and he told me that if I ever didn’t have my contacts or glasses and needed to be able to see, all I needed to do was to poke a small hole in a piece of paper and to look through that hole and I would be able to see clearly. I tried it and I was blown away! I could see clearly just by looking through a small hole. By focusing my vision to one point, it allowed me to see.
I love to think of the temple as that small point. A point to focus on that helps elevate our perspective. President Russell M. Nelson said, “The temple is the object of every activity, every lesson, every progressive step in the Church.” One of my favorite things about going to the temple is how I feel when I leave the temple. My perspective to see things changes a bit as I learn more about why we are here on Earth and how we can return to our Heavenly Parents.
When my husband and I were first dating, we had the opportunity to attend the open house of the Oquirrh Mountain temple. We took in the absolute beauty and detail as we walked the halls and went to the different rooms. As we walked into one of the sealing rooms, we looked into large mirrors on each side. As we stood in front of them, hand in hand, we could see our repeating reflection going forward. We wondered if this could be our future together as those who are dating often do. We were married in the Bountiful Temple just a few months later.
I love that imagery that the temple provides in the sealing rooms. Each time I’m in the temple, I get a better glimpse of an eternal perspective. In her talk titled “The Temple Gives Us Higher Vision,” Sister Joy B. Bingham said, “Being in the temple reminds us of the span of eternity, both looking back at our ancestors and forward to our children.” As we do the work for our ancestors, we are connected to generations and are reminded that in Heaven, we will not be alone.
Perspective of Others
My friend Amy recently shared a story with me about an experience she had in the temple. She gave me permission to share it with you.
A few years ago, I was in the baptistry in the San Antonio temple. It was a “family name” night, and while I was waiting to be baptized, a teenage boy came and sat next to me on the pew. He was at that awkward age with arms that were too long for his body. He had acne and he fidgeted while he waited. I immediately took pity on the young man of the struggles of puberty, and even thought to myself, “I really hope none of my boys are ever this awkward.” Within a few minutes, the baptistry patron asked if he was a priest, to which he said yes. The patron asked if he could be the one to administer baptism in the font. He jumped up, and went down in the font, and I watched him baptize four different proxies, me included. What a difference in perspective! Just a few minutes ago, I felt sorry for him, but the Lord, through the temple ordinances, had elevated my perspective to see what Heavenly Father felt this young man was capable of. He was an essential instrument in dozens of Heavenly Father’s children receiving the blessings of baptism that day.
I also recently had an opportunity to attend the temple with the youth in my ward. It was so tender to see the priests baptizing the youth and seeing how the Lord gives the youth an opportunity to do such important work. My oldest daughter will be 12 years old next year and I can’t help feeling so much joy for her to be able to come to the temple soon. It helps shift my perspective of what she is able to do and what opportunities the Lord will give her even at the young age of 12.
Greater Self Perspective
When we enter the temple, we aren’t just doing the work for others, we are also benefiting from the blessings of the temple. Sister Bingham also said, “Every bit of time we spend in the temple results in some personal increase.” As we attend the temple, we are reminded of the covenants we’ve made, we’re strengthened, and we are blessed for the sacrifices we are making. In a world where it is so hard to recognize our own self worth, the temple gives us a fresh perspective. It isn’t competitive; all can return to our Heavenly Parents. It isn’t divided into classes; we all wear white and do the same work. All are welcome; I have never been to a place where I have seen more smiling faces.
I hope that as you leave the temple, you are able to leave with a better sense of self worth, you are able to feel immense love from your Heavenly Parents, and that your perspective is more elevated as you “seek for things of a better” in the temple.
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 @parentingIRLpodcast.