One evening while performing proxy sealings in the temple, the sealer interrupted the flow of names and ordinances in beautifully unexpected ways.
Everything about my time in the temple that night had been ordinary and typical up to that point. I was at the temple at my ordinary time on a typical weekday. As usual, my brain fogged over as I tried to fight away the fatigue setting in and focus on the words buzzing around the calm, quiet, and comfortable room.
But then, the first pause came in the flow of temple work as our sealer stopped to ask a rhetorical question. Throughout the evening, he continued to pause and ask questions about the words he spake, their meaning, and how they applied to us, allowing us to ponder as he then continued on with the work.
Each of these questions provided moments of reflection and wonder, but what I remember the most about that night in the temple is the advice and promise the sealer gave to us in parting.
He told us that if we wanted to make our next trip to the temple more meaningful, to peer beyond the veil and truly experience something divine, then we needed to make the endowment a continual conversation.
The next time we received one of those blue or pink temple cards, we needed to concentrate long and hard on that name printed in black at the top. We needed to understand that name represents a living soul, one of our brothers and sisters. The sealer told us that if we wanted to deepen our temple experience, we needed to thank the person on that card for allowing us to be in the temple performing their work. We needed to tell them at every step, "This is for you." We needed to speak and feel their name at every turn, to truly converse with those on the other side of the veil. If we did, the temple would become more meaningful to us.
That simple advice transformed how I experience the temple. Before that night, I would often study the names on my card, the dates, and the places and would think over what was occurring in history during that time. I would imagine what the person had lived through, the sacrifices and hardships they may have faced. I did this to draw some kind of connection to those black lines on a flimsy piece of paper, to put some life into that simple name. But it hadn't occurred to me that I didn't need to imagine or force a connection. They were present. Angels were near and I could communicate with them.
In addition, his advice transformed the way I think of the temple. Because of the way I heard friends or family talk about needing time in the temple or taking their questions to the temple, I assumed the temple was a place for us—a place set apart, built, consecrated, and designed for me to receive answers from heaven. How many times have I visited the temple wondering what I could gain or learn from the experience, not what I could give? How many times are my thoughts focused inward in the temple, on my own problems and questions, instead of outward and upward?
But now, after recent experiences, I know the temple is infinitely more than that. The temple is about eternal family. It is about bonds, service, peace, and Christlike love. It is about following Jesus Christ. It is about forgetting ourselves and being wrapped up in the whole human family. It is about allowing God to shape us into saviors as we play a small part in extending the work of salvation and exaltation to others.
The next time I attended the temple, I remembered the advice that the temple sealer gave me. During that session, I spoke to angels. I thanked the person whose name I carried for allowing me, as flawed as I am, to represent her in this sacred work. I told her I loved her and that I hoped she would accept this wonderful gift of the endowment. I repeated her name with every gesture and uttered word, saying, "This is for you."
And in return, I felt more awake and more filled with love and light than I had in the temple since I first received my endowment. In return, I felt six simple words whispered to me—words I had heard before when my Savior spoke them directly to me. Only this time, they didn't capture my relationship with my Redeemer. Instead, they captured my relationship with one of my glorious, eternal sister. In truth, they capture my relationship with all of our Heavenly Parents' children: "I know you. You know me."
We've known each other for longer than any of us can fathom, and we will all be family for a long time yet. While we might forget about that in the world, treating each other as strangers, acquaintances, or even enemies, in the temple we gain a glimpse into our true, shared, divine nature. In the temple, we come to realize that we all at times must act as saviors and in turn have the humility to be saved because it is only with each other that we can inherit eternal life. In fact, it is only because of each other that eternal life will be worth living.