Five years ago I made the best decision of my life: I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was sixteen years old, insecure, and ready to take the next step in my life and invite Christ to it. When people realize that I am a convert they often ask me, “What made you convert to the church?” Many of things made me want to join the church, mostly the overwhelming feeling that it was completely true. However, if I have to give a more specific answer it would be the temple, plain and simple.
I remember the first time that I attended church. After getting through sacrament meeting and Sunday school, I made my way to Young Women’s where I had the lesson that changed my life. Leaders as well as some of the young women in the ward were nervous since the temple can be a hard thing to explain to non-members, but really Heavenly Father knew exactly what he was doing when he decided I should go to church on the day that they were teaching about the temple.
It was taught that through temple ordinances families can be together forever and because of that we will live through the eternities, but we can only reach that fullness by being sealed to our husbands/wives in the temple. This was all I needed to hear to know that this was the church for me. I come from a family with layer upon layers of divorce. In addition to that, there are even some family members I have been told not to see because it could be more hurtful than good for me to engage with them. I love my family–every sector of it. However, I have always wanted something more concrete. Something that would make me feel like I wasn’t going to lose the people in my family and the temple was that answer. Through the temple I knew that I would have my own family that would always be connected.
As I have continued with my membership in the church, I have tried to make temple attendance a number one priority in my life, and the times that I have maintained that priority are the times that I have had the major blessings in my life. President Thomas S. Monson states…
“As we go to the holy house, as we remember the covenants we make therein, we will be able to bear every trial and overcome each temptation. The temple provides purpose for our lives. It brings peace to our souls—not the peace provided by men but the peace promised by the Son of God when He said, ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’”
When I am thinking about maintaining my temple recommend, I find myself better applying the gospel in my life and refraining from any circumstance that might allow me to fall into temptation. Having a temple recommend means keeping the covenants that I have made. That means keeping the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, being charitable, living a Christlike life, and so much more. As I have gone to the temple every week I have had a more positive attitude, have better maintained my scripture study, and have been an all around better person to be around. Going to the temple reminds me of my purpose and what I am striving for.
Before, and even during, my membership with the church I was completely and utterly insecure. I still have my moments of insecurity today, but I found myself anxious and depressed all of the time. I never understood why I was so sad, and I think it was because I was doing so many things: trying to maintain my GPA, working two jobs, having key positions on a variety of film shoots, that I was forgetting to look at things from an eternal perspective. I was so stressed about these worldly things that didn’t necessarily matter as much as I thought that they did on the larger scale. However, when I learned just what the temple could do for me was when everything started to work out. President Boyd K. Packer said…
“Sometimes our minds are so beset with problems, and there are so many things clamoring for attention at once that we just cannot think clearly and see clearly. At the temple the dust of distraction seems to settle out, the fog and the haze seem to lift, and we can ‘see’ things that we were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known.”
There is nothing but truth to that statement for me. When going to the temple the things of the world that often make me feel so overwhelmed, don’t seem to matter anymore. I feel more put together and at ease after my temple attendance.
Last November I made the decision to go through the temple to receive my endowment and ever since I have felt the want and need to be in the temple at all times. By continuing to sacrifice two hours out of my week to provide service and go to the temple, I have received millions of blessings.
The temple has helped me grow. It has helped me realize the important things in life. It has helped me become more confident and has helped me know of my real goal: to have an eternal family and to continue to strive to be more like Christ. I am grateful for the temple and if any one of you are struggling my best advice is that you work your hardest to have a current temple recommend and attend the temple–you will receive so many blessings from it, I promise.