“Let us prepare every missionary to go to the temple worthily and to make that experience an even greater highlight than receiving the mission call.” –Pres. Howard W. Hunter
Say whaa? I think sometimes, actually, too often, going through the temple is overlooked in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for your mission. As exciting as it is, going on a mission is not a prerequisite for the celestial kingdom but temple ordinances are. It is a very, very important, exciting, serious, wonderful, beautiful day as you make sacred covenants and promises in the house of the Lord.
Before I went through the temple to receive my endowment (not take out my endowments), I heard lots of things about what to expect. “It’s a lot to take in”, “You’ll feel like a deer in headlights”, “It’s like trying to take a drink out of a fire hose”, and then “It’s nothing you haven’t heard before”, “Don’t worry about remembering everything”, “It’s the neatest thing ever”. Yes and amen to especially the last three, but the fact is that it’s different for everyone. And a lot of what people had to say, honestly, gave me a lot to think (worry) about.
Truth is friends, don’t think or worry at all. Because it is a new experience, don’t go in expecting to know how it works. Comforting news is, there is always some sweet sister (or brother) there to help you and they’ll know it’s your first time. DON’T WORRY. In fact, worrying is quite overrated when you really think about what you’re doing.
And I haven’t even gotten to my main point yet! Here it is: spiritual maturity should precede temple worthiness. That is what I would say to anyone preparing to enter the temple. How do you become spiritually mature? Those precious (not primary) answers we already embrace. Study the scriptures with all your heart, really talk to God as your friend (Exodus 33:11), and seek and yearn for the Spirit with an innermost desire. Spiritual preparation is key prior to entering the temple. I believe that the more spiritually mature you are, the more rich and rewarding will be your experience.
So let me sum this all up and add some other pointers:
PRIOR TO ENTERING THE TEMPLE FOR THE FIRST TIME
- Realize it is one of the most important days of your life, more so than the day you opened your mission call.
- Talk to church leaders, friends, family members who have gone before. Ask them whatever. They will tell you all they can while keeping sacred things sacred.
- Don’t stress about it.
- Be spiritually mature by being spiritually prepared
- Study this list of things from Elder Russell M. Nelson’s Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings in the April 2001 General Conference. He says: “Spiritual preparation is enhanced by study, I like to recommend that members going to the temple for the first time read short explanatory paragraphs in the Bible Dictionary, listed under seven topics: “Anoint”, “Atonement”, “Christ”, “Covenant”, “Fall of Adam”, “Sacrifices”, and “Temple”. Doing so will provide a firm foundation.”
- Read Boyd K. Packers’ The Holy Temple
- If possible, attend temple prep classes.
- Do all of these pointers.
- Be so excited!!!
Congrats on your big day, embrace it with all of your heart, and go again and again as much as you can.