My Experience as an Ordinance Worker in the Salt Lake Temple

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By Anne Maxson

After joining the church in 2002, and serving a mission in 2004-2005, I had the opportunity to serve as an ordinance worker in the Salt Lake Temple in 2006. Being an ordinance worker was somewhat unexpected since I planned to serve as a volunteer in the laundry or to help with cleaning.

As a young convert and recently returned missionary, my singles ward bishop was enthusiastic about my goal. He coordinated for me to meet with a member of the temple presidency. When I met with the member of the temple presidency, I mentioned that I would be interested in volunteering in cleaning or laundry. He thought for a moment and then said that he felt that instead, I should consider serving as an ordinance worker. As he said that, I felt confirmation that his invitation was inspired. Looking back, I am so grateful for his invitation and for the confirmation I felt to adjust my plan.

However, it would require working two shifts per week. This was complicated by my work schedule - an evening swing shift on Tuesdays through Saturdays - which inconveniently conflicted up with temple scheduling. However, I felt the sacrifice would be worth it. I worked at the temple on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, requiring at wakeup call before 4 am. Tuesday mornings were easy enough because I could go to bed early on Monday but Wednesday mornings were tricky since I didn’t get home from work until after 11 pm. I would need to leave straight from my shift to go to work Wednesday night.

Some of those Wednesday mornings I wanted to just go back to sleep. After I pushed through the tiredness and made my way to the temple, I would always end up thinking “This is worth the lack of sleep!” Those quiet moments in the temple would carry me through the following week when it was time to do it all over again. 

Within a few months, my work schedule changed to a daytime shift on Tuesday - Saturday. My ability to work at the temple was gone. I remember being in tears while talking with my shift coordinator and trying to determine how I could make it work. She took my hand in hers and told me that there are seasons in life and that for this season it may not be possible to work at the temple and that I should be grateful for the opportunity and experiences I’d had over the previous few months. 

Countless blessings came through my experience as an ordinance worker in the Salt Lake Temple. Some were superficial - like knowing shortcuts around the temple, being able to see the room where Elder Jame E. Talmage worked on writing “Jesus the Christ,” or having frequent opportunities to get a delicious slice of pie from the cafeteria. 

Having joined the church in my 20’s, I had only attended singles wards and, during my mission, some small Spanish branches. Working in the temple on shifts with so many amazing people, was my first experience having a lot of interaction with older members of the church. I learned so much from their experience and example and I was grateful for the love they had for me and the interest they showed in my life. 

I hadn’t had the opportunity to attend the temple a lot before my mission and not at all during my mission. Having the opportunity to spend many hours in the temple regularly, developed a love and desire to be in the temple as often as I could that has carried on all these years later.

1 comment

  • Michael K

    I love this, I just starting my shifts in January of this year and I love being in the temple early mornings as a RDA and my other shift is working in the baptistry.

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