By Lauren Madsen
It has been just over a month since I began my journey as an ordinance worker at the temple near my home. There is so much I have learned, and I know there is much more to come. Procedures are in place for every area of the temple, some of which continue to be adjusted in order to create the best experience possible for those who come to worship and serve there. Even with organization and great attention to detail, things come up that were not foreseen, and we are trained to solve problems in loving and Christlike ways.
President Russell M. Nelson taught in the October 2023 General Conference that serving and worshiping in the temple will help us “think celestial.” I personally have noticed in the past few weeks that I feel greater compassion and the ability to withhold judgment while I work in the temple. It is as if I have been gifted with a new heart and fresh eyes, both influencing how I see other ordinance workers and how I see temple patrons. My patience and understanding have miraculously increased. It is becoming natural for me to give someone the benefit of the doubt, to refrain from making assumptions, to recognize all are loved by Heavenly Father and are doing the best they can.
President Nelson taught that thinking celestial means being spiritually minded. As we think celestial we see the bigger picture, the eternal picture, rather than just the immediate and present picture. One day recently, as I was serving in the temple as a patron, I sat in the celestial room and said a prayer that my frazzled mind would calm and that I would be able to prioritize my mental to-do list. I prayed to know what was most critical, and for energy to do what needed to be done. As soon as I parked my car in the driveway at home, our elderly neighbor called out to me that he needed help assembling something that had just been delivered. This was not part of my plan, not on my already established to-do list, and yet I recognized it immediately as an answer to my prayer about what was most important that day. I thought of our Savior Jesus Christ in the scriptures, and the many times he treated interruptions as opportunities to bless.
My relationships at home have also been affected by my increased time in the temple. The kingdom of God is a kingdom free of contention, and working in the temple has helped me think celestial as I try to guide my family toward Christlike interactions with each other. I have experienced what President Gordon B. Hinckley described as the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of the Lord in the temple, “It will refine your natures. It will peel off the selfish shell in which most of us live. It will literally bring a sanctifying element into our lives and make us better men and women.”
As President Nelson has said, the Lord is hastening His work by “accelerating the pace at which we are building temples”and “the Lord is directing us to build these temples to help us think celestial.” May we treasure the privilege of entering The House of the Lord and may we allow it to shape our lives in infinite, celestial ways.