Last week I had the chance to return to the temple for proxy ordinances for the first time since March 2020. The joy that I felt when I walked through the doors was indescribable.
As COVID-19 restrictions ease, temples have begun to gradually reopen, and many temples around the world are opening in Phase 3, meaning all healthy patrons can attend by appointment.
Because capacity is limited, there have been a few logistical changes to attending the temple, so here's a checklist of things I’d recommend you do before you head out the door:
✅ Check Your Temple's Status
Not sure if your temple is open yet or when it will move to Phase 3? Click here for the most current announcements and phase change dates.
When your local temple makes ordinances appointments available—for the Ogden Utah Temple it was about a week before the temple moved to Phase 3—you will receive an email from the Church (pictured below) with more details and links to book appointments.
✅ Make an Appointment Online
You can visit https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/temples/schedule/appointment to schedule an appointment at your local temple. For temples in Phase 3, you can make appointments for proxy baptisms, initiatories, endowment sessions, and sealings.
Note: Some temples have very busy schedules, limited space, and many anxious patrons, so be sure to make your appointment sooner rather than later!
✅ Find Your Temple Recommend
If it's been in your wallet for the past year, great! If not, make sure you know where it is before you leave for the temple.
✅ Check Your Temple Recommend's Expiration Date
Once you track down your temple recommend, check the expiration date. If it's expired, make an appointment with your bishopric and stake presidency ASAP to get it renewed.
✅ Wash Your Temple Clothes
For most of us, our white temple clothes have been sitting, zipped up in our bags for 12+ months. Make your first trip back to the temple a fresh one with clean clothes. And after you wash them, consider trying on your temple dress or pants to make sure they still fit.
✅ Bring a Mask
Because of local conditions, temples currently vary in COVID-19 precautions, so be sure to bring a mask free of graphics or labels just in case.
✅ Submit Names for the Temple Prayer Roll Online or Through the Church's App
When I went to the temple last week, the prayer roll name submission boxes were gone, so if you would like to add names to the temple prayer roll, be sure to do so beforehand at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/temples/prayer-roll or through the Church's Tools app under Temple > Prayer Roll.
✅ Print Your Family Name Cards At Home
Temples are currently not printing family name cards for patrons, so if you‘ve been doing your own family history work, make sure you print out those cards before you go. One other thing to note: you won't receive your family name cards after the ordinance(s) has been recorded, so you will need to print those cards again to do other ordinances for that individual.
✅ Talk to Your Family about How Excited You Are to Be Returning to the Temple
Chances are you haven't had as many opportunities to talk to your children or other family members about the temple since they closed last year. Make a special point to actively talk about your enthusiasm to return to and love for the temple. You might consider holding a special family Come, Follow Me or Sunday night lesson about the temple in preparation for your return.
✅ Study the Importance of the Temple
This article on the Church's website is a great resource for learning more about and studying the personal and powerful covenants we make in the temple. And President Eyring's talk from last general conference is a wonderful reminder of the importance of the temple in our lives.
✅ Go to the Temple Seeking
Much like general conference, the temple is a great place to receive personal revelation and be close to the spirit. Elder Dale G. Renlund said, “When the day comes for us to attend the temple again, our hearts and our spirits will be hungry for the experiences of the temple. And it’s that desire, that hunger, that will result in a powerful temple experience.”
Think about your last year, or if you have any questions or struggles. If 2020 left you grasping for inspiration, peace, or guidance, take that need with you to the temple. Record any special experiences you have or answers you receive in your journal, and take advantage of the desire and hunger Elder Renlund spoke of as you are blessed to be able to enter the house of the Lord once more.