Temples: A House of Revelation

By Hollie Wells

“We say that the scriptures contain the answers to every question because the scriptures can lead us to every answer. They (the scriptures) will put us in a position where we can obtain inspiration to answer any doctrinal or personal question, whether or not that question directly concerns the subject we’re studying in the scriptures. That is a grand truth not understood by many.” -Dallin H. Oaks 

Sometimes, I go to the temple with questions in mind, or find myself pondering on some subject or life situation. Other times, I am at a total loss of what to think about or focus on. I want to be intentional and find answers to questions, but sometimes I don’t have a specific question or problem in mind. I know that God can speak to me in His holy house, but what do I need to hear? How is He saying it? Sometimes I don’t feel like anything said out loud was specifically for me or really helped or lifted me or resonated with me. 

This last week, I found myself in the temple with more of the second mindset mentioned above. I was led by the Spirit to pray and ask God to just guide my thoughts. I asked Him to help certain words or phrases stick out and to help me think of the things He would want me to think of. When I was done participating in the ordinances and was changing back into my street clothes, I couldn’t think of one thing that I had heard that resonated with me. I felt a little disappointed, but then I remembered that I had had a really charitable thought for one of the temple workers. I remembered I had been comforted about upcoming changes and challenges in my life. None of this came from the actual spoken words, but just from being in the environment of the temple. 

I find this similar to scripture study. Sometimes, I set up my scripture study perfectly. I pray, I am in a dedicated spot in the house, I’ve got my notebook and pen, my highlighters and sticky notes ready for action. Yet, even in these circumstances, I sometimes find my eyes glaze a whole page over and I flip the pages and think “what did I just read…? I have no idea…” 

But that whole time I was glazing over the page, I would have been thinking about a particular person or a situation in my life or in the life of someone close to me. I find that I will have been turning these things over, pondering. Sometimes the inspiration comes to reach out to someone or engage in some kind of service. It has taken me a while to realize that these thoughts are not distractions! 

These are the whisperings of the Spirit that I was praying so earnestly to be with me.

This is also true of temple attendance! Sometimes our minds wander and we feel frustrated that we missed something important or we might even feel guilty that we weren't actively listening the whole time. 

At different times, different parts will stand out. Sometimes the answers we seek are explicitly in the words of the ordinances or in a particular symbol that we ponder over. But sometimes, the words of the ordinances serve as a catalyst for other thoughts and inspiration that the Lord wants to share with us, sometimes completely unrelated to your attendance in the temple that day or a specific question you brought with you! 

Sometimes, we truly are distracted and let our minds wander. I don’t want this to come across as saying it’s okay not to pay attention and to give no intention to our thoughts while we participate in these sacred ordinances. But it is okay when we have set our minds up with prayer and diligence to let other thoughts in, to embrace what the Spirit might want to be teaching us in that moment. This is especially true if the temple is very close and we can attend often. It’s okay to not catch every word of the ordinance if you can come back the next month or next week and hear it again. It is about putting yourself in the temple to be susceptible to temple-like thoughts. 

Being in the temple puts us in an environment for revelation! Pray to recognize that revelation in whatever form it may come.

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