If you have not yet been to the temple, you can prepare to receive sacred temple ordinances by
- Believing in Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
- Cultivating a testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the restored gospel.
- Sustaining and following the living prophet.
- Qualifying for a temple recommend by paying tithing, being morally clean, being honest, keeping the Word of Wisdom, and living in harmony with the teachings of the Church.
- Giving time, talents, and means to help build the Lord’s kingdom.
- Participating in family history work.
When I was a young adult I was anxious to receive a “real” temple recommend. I had been taught of the great peace and joy that comes from serving in the temple, and I was ready for it. I was determined to not take those blessings for granted, but to attend the temple routinely. The temple was going to be a central part of my life – I would be awesome and enlightened. I wouldn’t be like so many of the adults I knew who went to the temple only occasionally, if ever.
I was naive. I hadn’t yet experienced the difficulty of sitting through a session while I was eight months pregnant. I hadn’t learned what it was like to try to sneak away for a few hours from a nursing baby. I hadn’t realized that scheduling a babysitter is sometimes the easy part (which isn’t to say it is always easy)- but that paying for it can be the bigger struggle in those early years. I hadn’t lived in the adult world with the exhausting responsibilities and discovered that sometimes, when you are exhausted from all the housework and childcare and your husband has been gone non-stop at work and school that maybe, just maybe, you might rather go to a movie for your rare night out.
Ignorant of these obstacles, I remember pondering my temple goals one day as I was walking along. The sun was shining, but I was too busy coveting my perfect temple-attending future to notice what a beautiful day it was. And then it dawned on me. If I wasn’t living up to the fullness of my current blessings, what in the world made me believe that I would be different when I was older? I needed to establish a habit. If I wasn’t willing to go to the temple regularly as a single, fairly free from responsibility young adult, why did I think I would go later, when life became more demanding?
At that point I decided to pay more attention to where I was and allow the where I was going to naturally unfold.
“I do have a temple recommend,” I realized! The recommend given to youth and new converts is called a “limited use” recommend. My focus had been on the limited part of that term. But I resolved that instead of being held back by what I didn’t have, I would live up to my privileges. At that point I began to consistently attend the temple, and I was blessed.
When the time came for me to receive my endowment in the temple, the feelings in that sacred building were familiar to me. I felt at home, even as I was experiencing new and unfamiliar things.
Now I am at a phase of life where I am anxiously waiting for my children to be old enough to attend the temple with me. I have grand visions of taking my 12 year old son to the temple every week. I picture family temple tours as we travel from temple to temple once both of my children are old enough for a recommend.
And then I pause. I need to remind myself of that lesson I learned more than a decade ago. What am I doing now, to live up to my privilege? Am I going to the temple as frequently as I can? Am I learning to do <groan> family history? Am I teaching my children about why the temple is important to me, and showing them with my example as well as my words?
It is so easy to wish for different circumstances and dream about how perfectly we will invite the temple into our lives later. But instead, let’s focus on the now. Being realistic about your current situation in life, what is one thing you can do now to increase your commitment to the temple?