Monday, September 26, 2011

First Anniversary

It wasn't til I was halfway done watching the RS broadcast online yesterday that I remembered: it was September 25th! Exactly a year before, I took out my endowment at the Las Vegas temple when I was home for my brother Marcus' mission homecoming (he was more or less happy to share his glory with me that weekend, thanks boo).

I can't believe it's been a year, mostly because my feelings about the temple have changed so wildly in that short amount of time. It really is "The Lord's University," as some quaint General Authority quipped some unknown time ago. I've learned so much. I could literally sit down and write a 20-page paper on the various learning experiences I have had thus far in God's house (but I won't. Blog and journal instead).

Women who are neither missionaried nor engaged can just kind of go when they feel like it, anytime around or after they turn 25. It's a pretty personal decision. I don't know how many actually choose to go around that age or how many wait for a while. I only know three other girls out here that have voluntarily gone. I bet that number could be higher, though. All of us need to go through it at one point in our lives or another, the church teaches us that the endowment is an ordinance that is essential to eternal happiness, akin to baptism.

NYC Temple Celestial Room,
Courtesy of USA Today
OK, that's why the church encourages women like me to go. But why did I choose to go? Welp, I turned 25 last June. I'd been listening to the thoughtful stories of many returned-missionary girlfriends out here in DC. Sooooo many of them spoke of going to the temple in times of distress, or when big decisions needed to be made, or just because they loved it and they liked the shot of peace it injects into your week. These women spoke with so much contentedness, so much trust, of sitting and praying in the Celestial Room, the last room you move to in the course of the endowment. (It's a gorgeously decorated sitting room where you can hang out as long as you want and meditate or pray... or talk to the friends you came there with). We believe it is basically "God's living room," where he would be most comfortable visiting on his jaunts down to his little planet.

Last June, I had just finished my first year of grad school, and I knew I wanted a place like that in my life, a place filled with the Spirit where I could get a better, more holy perspective on things. It was important to me. Also, I wanted to feel like I had a home out here. It's been 2.5 years in DC and I still feel like I am just sort of wandering in the midst of it all. So I set about reading temple prep materials and getting the necessary interviews from priesthood holders that would make it possible.

An important sidenote: I come from a long line of faithful, sweet parents and grandparents who have made frequent mention of their temple service in their everyday conversation. I grew up with manifold mini-testimonies of how the temple has impacted my family members' lives, how their little prayers uttered here or their little frustrations encountered there were always answered or resolved with wonderful eclat as they did their thang in the temple. This was probably the great original spur for me to attend the temple to the fullest capacity, as soon as I was able. I've always held a special place in my heart for these wonderful buildings. Oh, and being the child of an architect who worked on and off for the church and who hung his model temple design in our hallway helped, too.

As some of you know, my first time through the temple, 366 days ago, was a less-than-enlightening experience. I would like to state that for the record, because I don't think I'm alone in having such an experience, and maybe some other people need to be validated. BUT, I was directed to some Old Testament scriptures afterwards that helped me put the endowment ceremony into context, and I can't state this enough: I had amazing, thoughtful, inspired friends who accompanied me the first time and many times afterwards that really helped guide my growing testimony of the temple ordinances. I am so happy to report that, as I have returned to the temple again and again this year, even with tears of fear in my eyes the first two subsequent times, I was able to make connections and find explanations that satisfied, soothed, and ultimately enlightened me and made me excited about this particular brand of service for mankind. It was certainly work, finding out what I liked about the temple and what I really believed. But it was incredibly rewarding work.

If anyone wants to talk more of these things, we can do so one-on-one. But this is for any and everyone. I hope I have shared an ok amount of my thoughts. I kept a record of my experiences throughout the year, of the impressions I got, of my every aha! moment. It is sweet to read back through it, last night and today, and see my growth, and understand and acknowledge that a real Deity accompanied me in my learning process and was anxious for my happiness, peace, and faith as I learned to love him and serve him to a greater degree in temple. I am so grateful for the opportunity to return there frequently in DC, and I hope these first 365 days are only the start of a long life of service in the House of the Lord.

I have a testimony that the church and gospel of God has been restored to the earth, that it can be found in the precepts and principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Joseph Smith really had a vision (look it up, read it again, the feeling I get when I read that is EXACTLY the same feeling I get in the Celestial room). Such precepts and principles have been slowly revealed over the last 160ish years to make you happy, to make the world a better place. I'm so happy to be here. OK that's all for now.


Olsen Family said...

Congrats Lindsey! We love you and your testimony just shines through your writing. I can see you speaking and your eyes getting teary. You are an amazing lady!!

Katie said...

yay! I made the blog, even if it is just a little bitty portion on the bottom on the collage. :) This was a beautiful post, and I think you and I must chat about these experiences sometime. I wish we lived in the same city and could go to the temple together. Ah! Someday???

MOM said...

I am thrilled for you dear Lindsey. You took it on, and the Lord rewarded you for your efforts and good desire. I would love to read your thoughts and "ah-hahs". :) Loving and missing you, MOM