As a Latter-day Saint in my mid-20s, I have several friends (male and female) who wonder whether it is the right time for them to receive their temple endowment. When the topic comes up among us, I always hesitate in how to respond—because my instinct is to grab them by the shoulders and say, “What are you waiting for? Go! Go! Go!” But I don’t want to scare anyone with a spirited outburst.
More than that, however, I sometimes hesitate to share my gut-reaction excitement for the temple because I don’t want to project a holier-than-thou attitude by telling my friends they really should go. I also hesitate because there is an appropriate time and place for temple worship, and I wouldn’t want to rush anyone.
But I do love the temple. I received my own endowment about six years ago, and in that short time I’ve grown to rely on the power of Christ found in the temple—and I want my friends to have the same opportunity. I worry that perhaps unwarranted anxieties about worthiness or about what happens inside the temple holds them back. And lately I’ve worried that my friends’ hesitation comes from the fact that no one has sufficiently jazzed them up about the blessings that await them through temple worship. Maybe I could do a better job of expressing my excitement. For example, if I were going to use some of the slang my friends and I have fun with to describe how I feel about the temple, it would sound like this: “I recommend the temple endowment 10/10. 5 stars. I stan the temple. I <3 the temple. #myfav.”
I absolutely don’t want to rush anyone into receiving the temple endowment too soon. But in my abundance of caution to talk about the temple with reverence, maybe my tone has lost a helpful element of excitement. Do I adequately express how joyful—exciting, even—the temple ordinances of initiatory and endowment truly are?
So please, friends of mine, read the temple prep pamphlet and go to your lessons, but don’t forget to get excited amidst the formalities of it all. Going to the temple is definitely something to smile about, maybe even do a little happy dance over.
To helped get you amped, here are eight reasons you should look forward to receiving your endowment. I hope these points help you see that while you reverently prepare to enter, you can also feel thrilled at this opportunity. Welcome to my pep rally for the temple (please excuse the lack of pom poms).
1. God loves it when His children make covenants—and you will feel that
In a recent devotional for young adults, President Russell M. Nelson said, “In all of eternity, no one will ever know you or care about you more than [God] does.” I believe we can intensify the ennobling, comforting feeling of that love by moving along the covenant path. Making covenants in the temple is way to almost literally take a step closer to His perfect love. In that same devotional President Nelson also said, “God has a special love for each person who makes a covenant with Him in the waters of baptism.” (And I am going to safely assume that same love also applies to each person who makes covenants with Him in the temple.) In President Nelson’s talk there is an interesting footnote that says: “In the Hebrew language of the Old Testament, the word for God’s covenant love is hesed.”
I’m usually not one to get hyped about studying up on biblical languages, but this word, hesed, and the idea of a covenant love caught my attention. I remembered something I recently learned from Tammy Uzelac-Hall, host of the Come, Follow Me podcast Sunday on Monday. Tammy was a seminary and institute teacher and has spent years studying Hebrew. I love how she elaborated on this covenantal love we can choose to be a part of.
Read what she said in in a podcast episode and tell me it doesn’t make you excited:
In Hebrew, [hesed] it is this deep-seated love that the Lord has for us. It combines all these feelings of mercy, grace, kindness, love. It’s a Godly love; how God feels towards His children. It’s a kinship love. It’s the love where He says, ‘Come into my tent and let me take care of you. And let me provide for you and let me help you out of all of the stuff that’s making life difficult. …’
And it’s kind of cool, too, because the word … actually stems from the Hebrew root word for a woman’s womb. [It’s] like that love between a mother and a child, and the nurturing experience that the baby’s receiving all of its nourishment, all of its protection from the mother. Think about that. Isn’t that incredible? [God] is like, ‘I’ll do the same for you. I’ll give you everything you need. Let me show that to you if you love me.’
I believe receiving your temple endowment is opening the door for more of God’s love to flow into your life. And His love changes how you see yourself.
The spirit I feel in the temple makes me feel like a million bucks—like I’m God’s favorite. Some of my peak moments of self-confidence are in the hours after a temple session. Other people’s hurtful comments or setbacks I experience don’t feel quite as important when I remember how much God loves me and the incredible future He has planned for me. Of course, you can feel that love outside of the temple, but inside it’s almost like you can reach out and grab it.
2. The stillness and quiet of the temple is unmatched
OK. I want you to be honest with me for a minute: When was the last time you sat in a quiet space and did nothing but think or pray?
In our world of smartphones, easily accessible books, and an endless stream of movies and entertainment, it really can be nearly impossible to just quietly sit still. Even at church, the sacrament ordinance only lasts for about 15 minutes, and with crying children or chatty people in hallways, even the sacrament isn’t always guaranteed quiet time.
But the temple gives us a place to be still and be silent. In our holiest place of worship—the celestial room (where you’ll end your temple experience)—there is no formal instruction, no music, no discussion. Just silence. Yes, you can communicate in whispers as necessary, but the purpose of this holiest of spaces is to be quiet—so being quiet must be important.
In fact, when the Washington D.C. Temple open house took place earlier this year, Church News shared this video all about the quiet nature of temples. Give it a quick watch, it’s only two minutes long.
Did you catch what Sister Eubank said? “I need the silence of the temple in order to hear the voice of God.”
So do I, Sister Eubank. My life is too full of noise everywhere else.
The world is so busy. Give yourself the gift of a quiet, beautiful place. Friends, receiving your temple endowment providies you with a singular space to hear God speak to you.
3. You get to wear the temple garment
I am sure some of you have wondered about the temple garment and have maybe heard various perspectives on wearing it. For me, wearing the temple garment is a beautiful part of my life. While now I perhaps take its presence for granted, I can remember feeling more complete when I first began wearing it, like it was always supposed to be this way.
In a Church magazine article, a young adult convert from the East Coast shared her experience beginning to wear the garment, and I loved what she said:
Going to the temple felt like returning home. Even putting on garments for the first time felt like the missing piece to a puzzle I was trying to solve. I understood that my covenant to wear the garment was an important step in my spiritual progression, and although this decision is sacred and personal, I made it happily because I knew that the knowledge I would gain about my divinity as a daughter of God was above anything the world could offer me.
After I received my endowment, the biggest adjustment was not in how I felt when wearing garments but in the new wardrobe I had to build up thereafter. I purged a lot of clothes in my closet that wouldn’t cover my garments.
However, making those changes in my life felt right. Because I put in the time to prepare for the temple, the adjustment to my wardrobe was a happy, easy experience.
The garment is my daily reminder of my commitment to faith and that reminder brings spiritual power. In another Church magazine article, a different young adult wrote:
The protection the garment gives doesn’t come from any sort of magic in the physical garment itself, as some mistakenly believe. Rather, the promised protection is the protection the Lord provides both physically and spiritually when we keep our covenants and express our faithful commitment to Him every day.
Temple covenants and the garment are not for perfect people. They are meant to help shield and protect imperfect people who are trying their best to become better. People who repent when they fall and keep going forward. People like you and me.
I also love the temple garment because while we may be out of God’s physical presence right now, the garment is a physical reminder that we are not out of His spiritual presence. Latter-day Saint author Melinda Wheelwright Brown wrote something about the garment given to Adam and Eve when they left the garden that I think is true for us as well as we start wearing the temple garment:
Following their decisions to partake [of the fruit], Adam and Eve were empowered by a final period of tender preparation. While the precautions and warnings of what earth life would hold for them were certainly valuable, the gift of lovingly prepared coats was imperative. These practical reminders, personally crafted by Christ, symbolized the power and protection available to them through His infinite atonement. Wrapped in His warmth, they were ready. … Though Adam and Eve would now leave divinity’s immediate presence, in a very tangible way, Christ would leave with them.
Christ will be with us, too, as we walk through life.
4. You can vary your temple worship
Before receiving your endowment, you can participate in baptisms for the dead in the temple. But after receiving your endowment, you can do baptisms, initiatories, endowments, and sealings. On one visit you could do an endowment session, which will take about two hours, and on another you could do proxy initiatory work for a few people, which could be as quick as 40 minutes. Having some time flexibility can help you more easily fit the temple into your schedule and keep temple worship a consistent part of your life.
Each of these ordinances are centered on Jesus Christ, of course, but they are different in structure. Introducing that variety into your temple worship can help you think about the gospel and your role in the plan of salvation in new ways. In the October session of conference last year, President Nelson said,
“Everything taught in the temple, through instruction and through the Spirit, increases our understanding of Jesus Christ. His essential ordinances bind us to Him through sacred priesthood covenants. Then, as we keep our covenants, He endows us with His healing, strengthening power.”
5. You can physically submit names for the temple prayer roll
As part of the endowment ceremony, everyone in the room prays for people whose names have been submitted by temple patrons. In various places in the temple, there are tables with little slips of paper for you to write names on and slip them into a box. On the box is a little plaque with these instructions:
“Those with a special relationship or interest may submit the names of up to five individuals per request who are sick or otherwise afflicted and are in need of the faith and prayers of temple patrons. Names remain on the prayer roll for two weeks.”
You can also submit names online by going to your temple’s information or under the “Temples” section of the Member Tools app. This is a great and convenient option, but for me, the act of writing names on a slip of paper and dropping them into a box is more meaningful. It feels like physically sending a message to God that I care about these people and seek His blessing on their lives.
6. It is much easier to believe in the temple
During the Washington D.C. Temple open house, something interesting happened for the first time: cameras not owned by the Church were allowed to film inside. Elder David A. Bednar and his wife, Susan, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson and his wife, Kathy, gave CBS News Sunday Morning reporter Ed O’Keefe—and his cameras—a tour of the temple. As the group walked across the temple’s entry bridge O’Keefe posed an interesting question to his tour guides:
“Are we walking into another realm?” he asked.
Without missing a beat, Elder David A. Bednar replied, “Yes—symbolically. We’re leaving the world and entering a more heavenly place where we learn about God.”
You’ve got to give Elder Bednar points for quick thinking; he seems to turn any question into a learning experience.
When you walk into a temple, you enter a more heavenly place. And I’ve found that in that heavenly environment, spiritual things are much easier to understand. Take this as an example: it is much easier to understand math equations in a classroom with a teacher and other students who also are trying to learn, than in a packed soccer stadium where you are the only one trying to figure out what the heck y = mx + b is supposed to mean.
The temple provides the ideal setting for you to learn and believe in spiritual things. For me, I find I feel much more comfortable with the reality of life after death while in the temple. That belief just settles in me. When life and all the voices in it get confusing and loud, the temple gives you a space to go and believe.
7. You have another means of seeking heaven’s help
When I am seeking guidance or comfort in my life, I find going to the temple to do an endowment session is a way I can focus my nervous energies in a positive way. Of course, that doesn’t mean that by going to the temple you will immediately find answers to all your problems, but it does help keep you on the right track. Performing baptisms for the dead can bring a powerful spirit into your life as well, but for me there is something special about listening to the teachings about the plan of salvation during the endowment that really grounds me.
In the October 2021 general conference President Nelson said:
If I could speak to each man or woman who longs for marriage but has not yet found his or her eternal companion, I would urge you not to wait until marriage to be endowed in the house of the Lord. Begin now to learn and experience what it means to be armed with priesthood power.
And to each of you who has made temple covenants, I plead with you to seek—prayerfully and consistently—to understand temple covenants and ordinances. Spiritual doors will open. You will learn how to part the veil between heaven and earth, how to ask for God’s angels to attend you, and how better to receive direction from heaven. Your diligent efforts to do so will reinforce and strengthen your spiritual foundation.
8. Your temple journey begins, not ends, with your first time going through
Before receiving my own endowment, I went down a bit of a nervous rabbit hole. I heard words such as weird, frightening, and confusing used to describe the temple ceremonies, and I became nervous about what that might mean. But, man, do I wish I could go back and tell my past self that there was nothing to fear. In my case, every anxiety I had about going to the temple was unfounded.
I believe people when they say they didn’t enjoy their temple experience. I would just like to add my voice that my own first temple experience was beautiful. Not weird. Not frightening. Not confusing. It felt like the beginning of a journey. I didn’t clearly understand everything, and the ceremony can a feel long your first time, but I sensed I was on the cusp of something. I was excited.
My pre-temple anxieties also could have been eased if someone had told me that I wouldn’t be expected to really do anything during the temple endowment. You sit and listen and follow along. Any action you are asked to take, you will have someone right by your side directing you what to do, and every action is very simple. You can’t mess this up—really. I’d say that about 80 percent of the time you just sit and listen and feel the Spirit. And then actions taken are guided step by step with no potential of offending anyone. You will not be put on the spot or asked any questions to answer by yourself. Just observe and follow along. This isn’t going to be difficult.
If you have anxieties about the temple like I did, I suggest going and doing baptisms for the dead. When I was preparing to receive my endowment, the closest temple was the Logan Utah Temple, one of the pioneer-era temples. As you can see in the picture below, back then temples were built to look a bit like fortresses (go look at pictures of the St. George, Manti, and Salt Lake Temples and you’ll get what I mean). The buildings are still beautiful, but they have tall, imposing walls with battlements at the top (battlements are those regularly spaced squared openings surrounding the roof that a literal medieval castle would have had for soldiers to shoot through). The architecture of the Logan Temple is somewhat intimidating compared to other, newer temples.
In the midst of my anxieties about the temple endowment, I went to do baptisms at the Logan Temple, and while walking in, I looked up at the tall, imposing walls and distinctly heard this sentence in my mind: “You don’t ever need to be afraid to come here.” A calm feeling settled over me as I was reminded of all the times that I had felt peace and God’s love in the temple before. I was able to make the connection that if I had been comfortable and safe doing baptisms for the dead, then I would be comfortable and safe anywhere else in the temple. And that has been true again and again over the past six years.
Well, friends, there you have my eight reasons to be excited about receiving your temple endowment. Let’s end our pep rally with this testimonyfrom President Nelson:
“[The Savior] is the One who wants you to experience fully His sacred ordinances. He wants you to comprehend your privileges, promises, and responsibilities. He wants you to have spiritual insights and awakenings you’ve never had before. This He desires for all temple patrons, no matter where they live.”
I love the reminder these words give that the Savior, more than anyone else, is excited about you entering the temple.
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