I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about life and my goals, only to have the conversation come to a halt with a comment that he made. Which was very unfortunately because technically, the conversation hadn't ended. But he had said that he had noticed that recently, I had been going to the temple grounds more often, as if there was a pull there. Which really got me thinking, why had I been going to the temple more often?
I didn't used to be a fan of the temple, when I first saw the Salt Lake Temple I thought that Disney had built an amusement castle in the middle of Salt Lake. And after being converted to the LDS faith and going to the Vernal temple to do baptisms, I found it to be quite intimidating. It had almost felt too quiet and solemn, a heavy weight placed upon you when you went inside. I wasn't too impressed with it, the best part about going to the temple was the trip to Golden Corral afterward. When I graduated from college, the institute class had been awarded with a road trip to Nauvoo, Illinois. I was growing more curious about this faith that I had, for some reason or another, just jumped right into, so I signed up to go.
After that, things seemed to change. The temple wasn't just a large, ominous building where heavy weights and expectations were set upon your shoulders the moment you entered the doors. It became fascinating, the inside of it so beautifully decorated and clean, I just wanted to explore all of it. The outside of the temple is beautiful in its own right, but the inside is something completely different. It's still quiet, but no longer the heavy silence that I used to feel.
I haven't been able to go to the temple for the past 3 or 4 years because of personal life choices that I had made, and to be honest, I didn't really miss it. But this past summer, life had started to become really difficult. Work was cutting hours, finances were strained, relationships didn't seem to be working out at all. Then last month I had a thought enter my mind. Why don't I take my pocket sized Book of Mormon and just visit the Provo temple? Just wander around for a bit until I decide to leave. After all, I would be driving so I could choose my own schedule. So I went. And ended up spending 4 and a half hours there. I have no idea where the time went.
My mind wasn't in a very good place when I went, it was in turmoil and full of discouragement. After all, nothing was going as it should be. Life sucked, to be frank. I felt tiny and forgotten, an unnoticed speck drifting through time and space. But that trip turned out to be more than just a trip. It was special. After the first few hours of feeling conflicted and alone, I started to calm down. My mind went quiet, something that is very rare for me. And I dreaded leaving. I only left because the sun was going down and it was getting cold. And I hadn't eaten dinner and was feeling pretty hungry. The temple has become a place of comfort for me, a place where I can go if I've had a rough day. Once I step onto the grounds and sit in front of the temple doors, I start to calm down and my mind quiets. I feel peaceful, no longer lost in the rushed turmoil of life. I've made several trips back to the grounds, always when my mind is conflicted and I need peace. Each time I went to the temple I wasn't able to go inside, but I didn't need to.
I heard once that one of the reasons why the temple seems to glow in the light is because the Spirit of the Lord seeps from the building onto the surrounding grounds. And I believe it. The Spirit doesn't only dwell in the temple building, it also surrounds it. You don't have to go into the temple to feel peace, you just have to be willing to open yourself up to the Spirit, allow it to touch you. For me, the temple isn't just a place to go to do baptisms, endowments and sealings. It is much more than that. For me, the temple is a place of safety, a place that is quiet and is a refuge for the pained soul. It will always be more than just a building that requires a recommend to enter. It is a piece of heaven given to us here on earth.