Some of the best moments in conversation come when someone pipes in to say, “Can I add something?”
Such was the case during recent episode of the Latter-day Saint Women podcast with guests Dorah Mkhabela, matron of the Johannesburg South Africa Temple, and her daughter Thembi. Near the end of the episode, as Thembi wraps up her thoughts on her temple sealing, Dorah jumps in with something to add. She then shares advice for Latter-day Saints who may not now love the temple or who have fears or anxieties about returning after receiving their endowment. Her heartfelt advice draws on her own experience of learning to love the temple over time.
Dorah explained that after receiving her endowment she wasn’t able to return to the temple for a while—not because she wasn’t worthy, but because she was busy. During that time away from the temple she found herself becoming fearful of returning. She did eventually go back and was later called to teach a temple preparation class. When teaching the class, Dorah was always eager to help her students have a better experience.
“When I got an opportunity to be a teacher, I told members of my class that once you go the first day, you must go [back that] week if it’s possible. It’s very critical. You need to go back so that you can be able to get used to it,” she says. “I think it’s very critical—it’s better to go there again and again in order to understand. And when you understand, you appreciate [it] more.”
I think it’s very critical—it’s better to go there again and again in order to understand. And when you understand, you appreciate [it] more.
Dorah’s advice rings true to what President Russell M. Nelson said in his October 2021 general conference talk “The Temple and Your Spiritual Foundation.”
He advised, “If you don’t yet love to attend the temple, go more often—not less. Let the Lord, through His Spirit, teach and inspire you there. I promise you that over time, the temple will become a place of safety, solace, and revelation.”
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Such was the case in Dorah’s life. By repeatedly attending the temple she learned how to access God’s power and now helps others do the same in her role as temple matron.
“I love the temple—for me it’s [about] the covenants that we make... We access [God’s] power through covenants. As we access them, He gives you the power that whatever happens in this mortal sojourn we are at peace to know that we have an eternal goal,” she says. “And, by the way, that power comes step by step... I am reminded of Hymn 131 were we say, pleading, ‘More holiness give me.’ He will give you more if we want to increase our capacity, but if we don’t increase, He cannot give us more power.”
Dorah has seen this power in people’s lives during her service as temple matron. For example, she knows a family from Zimbabwe who gifts their children with a trip to the temple on their 12th birthday. A gift that involves driving over 1,000 miles to get to the temple in South Africa.
“I know that they receive divine help from Heavenly Father to be able to come,” she says. “Those who are coming from far [away], He is able to give them more in their pockets to come and enjoy the tranquility and the peace of the temple.”