Going to the temple is one of the greatest ways to escape the world, but sometimes, if we’re not careful, we can bring the world inside with us.
A few weeks ago, I had a very mediocre temple visit. I was stressed about all of the things on my “to do” list, and had a nasty headache, so needless to say, by the time I went inside, I felt frazzled. I drummed my fingers impatiently on my armrest, and when the session ended, zipped out as fast as I could. It wasn’t until I was in my car driving home that the remorse set in and I realized that I had spiritually wasted my trip.
I’ve tried to make a habit of going to the temple weekly, but every once in a while, I’ll have a week when my visit feels lackluster. I’ve realized that attending the temple is a lot like fasting, in that being inside and involved requires us to make certain sacrifices. Instead of giving up food, we give up time, which can sometimes be difficult. Also like fasting, attending the temple can be less fulfilling when we have the wrong attitude about it. Temple attendance, however, can be an edifying experience that blesses both the person doing the ordinances and the person we are doing them for.
In order to truly appreciate the spirit of the temple as well as the covenants we make there, we need to go into it prepared and, while inside, be more involved with the experience. With a greater effort on our part, our temple trips can be more consistently inspiring. Here are a few things you can do to improve your temple experience.
When it comes to Easter, I want our family traditions to have more than fun, sugar, and baby animal-themed memories attached to them. Here are a few simple tips on how you can make your Easter focused on while keeping it fun for all ages.
Easter traditions are part of the religious heritage I want my children to identify with, so I want them to matter. I love the Easter bunny, hiding baskets, dying eggs, and buying color-coordinated ties for my boys (they won't agree to matching anymore) and frilly dresses for the girls. Reese’s peanut butter eggs and Cadbury Mini Eggs are very important to me as well. Very important. But, like Christmas pastimes, I want these traditions to enhance—not detract—from the “reason for the season.”
If you have an emotional response to an experience, you’re more likely to remember it. (I’m a pretty emotional person, so you’d think I’d have a better memory, but maybe I’ve over flooded that particular theory. Anywho…) I’m driven to give my kids some good memories through traditions. I figure if we repeat the same traditions, I’m more likely to get them “right” in my kids’ minds when they are all smashed together in a collective memory spanning an entire childhood. That’s the idea, anyway.
Now that my family is getting older, I feel the need to deepen the traditions we observe around Easter. I remind myself that being effective is often being simple. (I also repeat that in my mind often while perusing Pinterest.)
After the death of a loved one by suicide, we experience a different kind of grief. But we can hope to find healing in the gospel.
Ganel-Lyn holds her new baby sister, Meggan.
Ben found our sister dead.
Meggan took her own life in our parents’ backyard. There was no more hiding from suicide.
It was my mom’s birthday. We finished the cake and presents, the candles and congratulations, and topped off a peaceful, lovely day of celebrating her life. After the festivities, everyone headed toward their individual rooms and settled down for the night. I went upstairs and turned out the lights, thinking I was the last until I heard movement in the kitchen and the sound of a door handle. I found my stepdad, Daddy Jim, coming in from the garage and knew instantly that something was wrong. It was like a bowling ball smashed into my heart, then fell with a thud to my stomach. “Dad?” I asked. “Dad? Dad?”
“He walked so slowly to me. It felt more like we were swimming toward each other through the thick kitchen air. Then he said, “Ben called; there has been an accident.”
I remember screaming, knowing already. “No! No, Dad! Bring her back! No, is she dead? Is it Meg?” But I didn’t need to ask. I already knew. He gently hugged me. “Yes, Meg’s gone. We can’t bring her back.”
Check out these 10 popular apps that could be used to make your church responsibilities easier.
Given the overwhelming number of apps being developed daily, chances are that there's always one that’s exactly what you need: an app for Visiting Teaching reminders, an app to help write your talk, or an app that will let you transfer your Gospel Doctrine lesson plans to a substitute when you’re out of town.
But is there really an app for everything?
From Sunday School to Mutual and more, check out these already popularly used apps you can repurpose to help you with your calling:
FamilySearch Tree: Great for family history consultants, area family history advisers, stake indexing directors, and family history center directors, this app is a must-have. Encourage those you teach to download FamilySearch Tree and guide them through mobile family history. This app automatically links up with your LDS account, so you’ll be able to do family history no matter where you are. Record conversations with your parents or grandparents and add photos right away to help make your ancestors’ stories come alive.
I used to think the Lord never answered the question, "Why me?" But I've begun to understand why He lets us suffer heartbreak.
If I had to pick the most universal and painful human experience, I’d probably say heartbreak. It’s something all of us understand, as it comes in many forms and degrees throughout our lives. There’s the heartbreak of divorce or a hard breakup, the heartbreak of losing a loved one or watching a loved one make wrong choices, the heartbreak of seeing our families hurting, or the heartbreak of our lives going in a direction we never wanted them to.
Sometimes, heartbreak is a bearable experience that we can move past fairly quickly. Too often, however, it leaves us burdened by deep despair and hurt that can last for weeks, months, or even years and cause us to wonder, “Why, Lord? Why?”
I used to think that the Lord never answered that question when I asked it, that He just left me hanging and struggling on my own. But over the past few months, I've begun to recognize what, to me, is the answer to my plea: in spite of the aching pain and the surge of insecurity that comes with it, having our hearts broken can be a blessing, and it can be a rare opportunity for personal growth.
Heartbreak gives us a greater appreciation for and understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Several weeks ago, I was talking with a good friend about a difficult break up. I was angry, because even months later, it brought me to tears and made me question my worth as a person. The pain I inflicted on myself was almost unbearable, and I felt so alone, even when talking to someone else. In the middle of this particular conversation, however, I found myself suddenly thinking of the Savior. I was humbled by a thought that came quietly, but powerfully to my mind: He gets this. He knows how this feels. And I knew it was true.