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When a Prompting to Go to the Temple Didn't Turn Out at All How I Expected


Excuses That Keep Us from the Temple

What if he had dismissed the prompting? What if he felt weary in well-doing? What if he’d thought, “Maybe next week. I’ll make time next week. Right now I just want to relax a bit”? In our world, this could look like, “Today is my only free day when I don’t have quite as many obligations hanging over me. I’d rather just have some quiet time by myself and not add another appointment.” Or maybe Nephi thought, “I really should go up to the mountain, but I also really want to talk to my father more about those dreams with the tree.” In our world, this could look like, “I really do want to go to the temple, but I have so much I need to do for my calling. I still need to figure out a lesson for Sunday and prepare a talk.” Or Nephi could have responded, “I’d love to go to the mountain, but I do really need to make more time for Laman, Lemuel ,and Sam so that I can build a relationship of trust and share my testimony with them.” In our world, and changing the family relationships a bit, this could sound like, “With my work obligations and my kids’ school obligations, I hardly see them. Why would I want to give up a good chunk of my only family-fun day – Saturday – to be away from them even more – even if it is at the temple?”

Thankfully, Nephi followed through, went up to the mountain, and received inspiration and direction from the Lord. What types of inspiration and direction do we miss out on when we don’t follow the prompting? We may not be instructed to construct a ship but we can be instructed how to construct a family. And, I know that I am probably more clueless about how to make the tools to construct a family than Nephi was about constructing the ship. (If I could just have a sit-still-during-prayer tool, that would be great!)

Prioritizing the Temple in My Life

About a month ago, we were struggling a bit. My husband and I weren’t working and our kids hadn’t started the school year yet. We had a lot of free time and needed some inspiration so we made a goal to greatly increase our temple attendance. We did good at making time for the temple during that time of struggle.

Now, my husband is working, I’m working, and the kids are busy with school and extra-curricular activities. It is significantly more difficult to make time for the temple and we haven’t attended as frequently. I have felt the Spirit say, “So now that you aren’t in such a desperate need for help and guidance, you don’t take time for us anymore? Dude, what’s up with that? Just because you have your problem figured out doesn’t mean we don’t have more to teach you.” (*It may not seem reverent to some for the Spirit to say “dude,” but the Spirit speaks in our language and I use the word “dude.” Disclaimer— I grew up in the 1980s.)

He has a valid point there and I’m trying to get things back on track and increase my attendance again. I know that, as I prioritize the temple, I will be given insights and guidance that will help me in my day-to-day activities and I will be blessed to be able to accomplish that which is needful for me and my family.  In a talk at 2010 BYU Women’s Conference, Sister Julie B. Beck, said, “What things must be taken care of, and if I don’t take care of them, the blessings of eternal life won’t be mine nor will they be my family’s. I wrote at the top of the essential list revelation. I have to be able to know the mind and will of God. Therefore, I have to do the things in my life that put me in a position to hear His voice.” Reading this quote I realize, as I prioritize the temple, I will be prioritizing my family.

Your Savior loves you. He cares deeply about you and the details of your lives. Sometimes it is impossible for Him to get His messages to us over the noise and busyness of the world. He needs us to come to His House to learn from Him and feel the Spirit in more abundance. Think of it as “Home Teaching in His house.” Go up to the mountain, feel of His love, and learn His word.

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Anne Maxson

Anne Maxson joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 2002 and her life has been full of unexpected (and sometimes difficult to recognize) blessings ever since. She chronicles her experiences at annemaxson.com. She served as a missionary in the Virginia Richmond Mission. She has a doctorate degree in pharmacy and has written medical articles for livestrong.com. She has also contributed to the Ensign/Liahona magazine and has taught at BYU-Idaho's Education Week. She and her husband, Doug, have two children. Find her on Instagram @annemaxson.

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