Latter-day Saint Life

Professional athlete shares surprising, special impact of a temple tour on her teammate

Screenshot (362).png
Ashley Hatch, #33 of Washington Spirit, celebrates a goal during the second half against Orlando Pride at Audi Field on April 3, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Getty Images

Latter-day Saint Ashley Hatch is in the National Women’s Soccer League, playing as a forward for the Washington Spirit. She was recently a guest on the All In podcast with host Morgan Pearson and shared a special experience she had with a Swedish teammate after they attended a temple open house together. This excerpt has been edited for clarity.

Morgan Pearson: You brought your teammates to the Washington D.C. Temple open house. What was that experience like?

Ashley Hatch: I was invited to be a part of the sports and cultural committee for the open house, and my responsibility was to invite anyone and everyone to come into the temple. I was super excited telling my teammates about it, and I was fortunate enough to have a handful of them come. I had walked through the temple the week previously to prepare myself; I was focusing on the architecture and the things that I thought they would be interested in.

But what we do inside of the temple, and the purpose of the temple, is what has real importance; that’s the real stuff. As I was going through the temple with my teammates, who know nothing about it, I felt so vulnerable. This is a really big part of my life and a really big reason why I am the way I am. I’m sharing this with my teammates, and I don’t know what they’re going to think about me or about this. To my surprise, they actually had a lot more questions about the substance of what goes on in the temple, really good questions. I felt so silly for focusing on the architecture of the building. I learned a lot, and I really enjoyed it.

We had a really cool experience where me and my teammates got to sit in the celestial room in silence for two minutes. Before we sat there in silence, the tour guide talked about how the temple was a place where we can escape from all the outside noise and how we can feel God’s love for us, a place where we can have this sense of peace. We then went into the sealing room, and we talked a little bit about the feelings that we’d had. My friend said that she felt it was so quiet it was loud. She said she felt so much peace and that it was a really cool feeling, something that she’d never felt before.

Fast-forward to a week later, we had a Challenge Cup game that went into penalty kicks. The top five players take the kick, and then everyone else can go, if needed. Well, we went through 10 penalty kicks, so everyone but one player had to do it. My friend stepped up—and she’s a defender, so I know she was nervous—and she smashed her penalty kick beautifully, and we won.

After the game, I went up to her, and I said, “That was amazing; good job. I’m so proud of you.” She said, “You know what helped me step up and take that penalty kick?” I had no idea what she was going to say. She said, “I knew that I needed help from a higher power than myself. I was so nervous. So I [mentally] went back to your church and the feeling that I felt when I was there, and it calmed me down. And I was able to step up and do it.”

I was so happy that she was able to get a glimpse into what I’m able to feel when I remind myself of the peace and the love that my Savior offers me. I haven’t talked to her more about it since then, but it was really cool to know that I was able to share that with one of my best friends. To have that follow-up experience with my teammate was kind of surreal, something I’ll never forget.

Listen to the rest of this episode, and find more of All In, wherever you get your podcasts.

▶ You may also like: Coach Andy Reid says he never misses sacrament meeting, even helped bless a baby hours before Super Bowl win

Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content