Claire is going to the temple soon to receive her endowment. I love that word – endowment – which implies a bestowal of divine gifts and power. It’s the word we use for an important temple ritual wherein we participate in a microcosmic life-journey experience. The Endowment is a 90-minute chance to see and feel our life in its totality, from the very first creative spark to the final glorious end, which of course isn’t really an end at all, but rather the beginning of new creation, new life. It’s the story of growth, of expansion, of creation, of Love.
And it’s OUR story, every single one of us, individually. I love that, too, about the temple rituals, the fact that we perform them one by one, one precious soul at a time, one name, one spirit. We are each of us on our own journey, endowed with gifts and powers both universal and unique. We are saved by the grace of God one by one. We are loved and cherished, fought for and bought with the blood of the Lamb, one by one. We can’t claim the gifts of salvation and exaltation except we do it through our own will and desire. No one can say YES for another. And finally, when our call to glory is made sure, our election to the kingdom secure, we are welcomed into that mysterious Oneness that is God.
I love the temple – any temple – because I feel most at home there. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like the only one who is out of place here on earth. The world has never felt quite right to me, though I don’t spend much energy trying to identify and name every ill of the world. The earth itself, however, I love. I love its stony places, its arid, hot regions, its soft greenness. I love the seas and the clouds and the fish and the fowls. And in the temple, I learn why my connection to the earth is so strong. Its destiny matches mine.
I love the temple because God shows up for me most reliably within its hallowed walls. He answers my questions, clearly and undeniably, as I sit in the celestial room – sometimes for hours. He asks me pertinent questions and gently demands response. We talk, me and God, there in His house, and I emerge most blessed.
I often feel purged, cleansed of the world’s stain, by spending time in the temple. I am not always alert and attentive; they turn the lights out for the filmed part of the endowment session. Sometimes I simply rest. And I am cradled and comforted in the peace and security of Home. I’m not trying to be literary. It really feels like that.
I describe the temple to non-LDS friends as a portal to heaven. Like a stargate. There is power there, both in the ordinances and in us, that transcends all limitation. I don’t profess to be able to explain or even access it all. I just know it’s real. And I hunger for it, because it is a power that has nothing to do with the world’s ideas of power. It’s the real thing. And like love, you’ve got to experience it to know it.
I believe there is a divinely-orchestrated reason that we are building more and more temples. We, the people of God, need that power. You can feel it even if you can’t yet participate in the temple ordinances. I have received important revelation on the freeway as I drove toward the temple. And in the parking lot. And in the lobby. Even the dressing room. It’s as if the temple exudes power and truth, like God is seeking the seekers.
It’s just a building, the temple, but one that is dedicated, consecrated to the Lord. And maybe that’s why what goes on inside has such power to sanctify both the building and us. We are made holy through our consecration to the Lord. No matter where we are in our spiritual journey – which is what the temple ordinances are all about – it’s our daily commitment to Christ that moves us Home, one step at a time.
Claire, welcome home.
How has the temple blessed your life?
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