The Temple is a Beacon Unto Others
By Anne Maxson
A few years ago, I brought my kids to an indoor jungle gym to help them burn off some energy. It was quite busy and seating for parents was limited. A woman came and asked if there was space next to me for her to sit. As she sat down, the Spirit whispered to me, “Talk to her, listen to her, bless her life.” I was a bit taken aback and doubted my ability to bless someone’s life in that type of circumstance but felt I needed to follow through on that prompting.
I asked her about her daughter. With tears welling up in her eyes, she explained that it had been one of those mornings where she knew she needed to get out of the house in order to avoid crying all day. I started to understand the why of that prompting to bless her life. Now, I just needed to figure out the how.
We talked some more and discussed many aspects of parenthood, trying to find comic relief in the more emotionally-trying days. As we continued talking, the Spirit prompted, “Invite her to the Meridian (Idaho) temple open house.” I started to feel hesitant and shy. I planned to hold off bringing up the temple open house until the conversation went in that direction.
Our conversation expanded to other topics and we talked about what our husbands did for work. Her husband was a youth pastor at a local church. That caused me to become more hesitant to bring up the temple – what if she and her husband already had negative ideas about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Still, I felt an urging, almost as if from family members from the other side of the veil, to do what I could to invite this woman to the open house. I figured the sooner I brought it up, the less time I would spend stressing about it. (Besides, with 4-year-old kids in charge of the departure time, one of us could have to leave at any moment and the opportunity would be lost.)
We started discussing the need for road improvements in certain areas around Boise due to increased traffic volume. (Who knew that of all things, a conversation about civil engineering would provide my opportunity to discuss the temple.) I said, “In addition to those new stores, there is also the new temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in that area and that will increase traffic too.”
My new friend took it from there – she said, “That building is so beautiful. I just love it.” I explained that there was an open house starting up in a couple of weeks and that she should check it out. She said, “I’ve always wanted to go inside a Mormon temple!” I helped her find the website to reserve tickets and got her set up.
We continued chatting about a variety of topics until I left. As I was leaving she said, “Thank you for being my friend today.” I will likely never see her again but I am grateful for the short interaction that we did have.
I certainly feel like I was able to witness both miracles and angels in our time together. I wonder which angel it was that helped us to meet and discuss eternal principles. She mentioned that her grandmother had been an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Was she reaching beyond the veil to help her granddaughter to feel a touch of heaven while attending the temple open house? I don’t know that for certain but I do know that as we strive to find and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost that we will be able to witness (and be a part of) miracles and act as instruments in the Lord’s hands. I know that the temple buildings can act as beacons to others, they will want to know why the building feels special.
I gave tiny temples too all those on my Christmas list this past year, in hopes that having the temple in many homes would inspire the youth to have going to the temple as their top goal.
I think it’s interesting that your article “The Temple is a Beacon Unto Others” has a picture of the Oakland, California, Temple. That is the only temple that I know of that has been recognized by the US Coast Guard as an Aid to Navigation, a lighthouse that helps ocean ships get safely into San Francisco Bay. In the 1960s and ’70s, before GPS had been invented to assist navigators, mariners used the bright light of the Oakland Temple, which is visible for miles out into the ocean, to find their way safely through the Golden Gate and into the bay.
This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
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