By Lauren Madsen
Sometimes it is difficult to write about spiritual things. The belief is deep, but the right words don’t seem to exist. As I walked away from the temple the last time I served there, I experienced a familiar feeling. It’s a feeling I often have when I come to the temple, but if someone had approached me in the parking lot to ask, “How do you feel?,” I think I would have hesitated and maybe even tripped over some words as I tried to articulate it.
My answer would have been more than an “I feel good.” It definitely would have needed to include the word “peaceful,” but also so much more than that. If given time, I likely would have arrived at words like “Connected. Confident. Helped. Hopeful.” We are taught in D&C 84:20, “in the ordinances [of the priesthood] the power of godliness is manifest.” As we perform ordinances and are true to covenants, Elder Gong tells us that the power of godliness will “sanctify inner intent and outward action.”
As I sit here now, thinking about my temple experiences, an unexpected (and perhaps a bit silly) connection comes to mind. When I was young, my brother and I would spend hours playing Super Mario Bros. 3 together. In the game, you play as Mario or his brother Luigi, with the goal of getting through each level by collecting coins without being touched by things that could kill you, or plummeting to your death. When one level is completed, you move on to the next. Once in a while, in between regular levels, you arrive at a coveted mushroom house. There you get to choose between three different treasure chests and each chest holds something that can help you through subsequent levels of the game.
Perhaps in a small way, this can be likened to what it is like for me after visiting the temple. Each time, I have come away with something that will help me in my journey. Sometimes that thing is hard to put words to. Perhaps I am given an increase of faith in the Lord’s timing. Perhaps I am empowered to make a wise decision. Perhaps I am given strength to resist the adversary. Perhaps I am given a new insight or an answer to a question. Or perhaps I am given courage to move forward with something that feels daunting. I suppose unlike the Mario game, which gives you these treasure chest “helps” randomly, my temple experience gives me gifts that are tailor-made for me and my current situation, and I walk away seeing the power of God in my life more clearly.
Life is much more complicated than any video game, and ordinances and covenants hold eternal significance (unlike Mario defeating King Bowser), but our need for power beyond our own to overcome, conquer, and come out victorious are actually pretty similar. If we want to increase God’s power in our lives, we need only look as far as the temple. The sacred ordinances performed and the covenants made there allow us to leave with what President Nelson calls our “highest spiritual treasures.” If we want to attain these highest treasures, we would do well to make time in the temple our highest priority.