Editors’ Note: Mariah Proctor has just returned from four months of study abroad at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.
I always have a little bit of trouble with those conference talks that tell the stories of families that have had to sell everything that they own and then take 14 hours worth of boat, bus, and llama rides to get to the temple. The lazy taketh the truth to be hard. See, If I crab walk on hot gravel to my nearest temple, it would still take me a maximum of 40 minutes to get there. (And for it to take that long I’d also probably have to be sore or have a broken leg or something).
So many are willing to sacrifice so much to get a little piece of what they don’t have immediately available and I have the whole pie right next to me, and it’s too much effort to just reach over and take a bite. It’s not even really a sacrifice; it’s just a guaranteed mouth full of sweetness, and I don’t take near enough advantage of it.
I don’t want the above to be a casual commentary that becomes a defining characteristic just because I said it of myself. So, in an effort to not be the person from above I’m making this past Thursday’s temple trip the first of a very publicly stated once-a-week goal to go to the temple and do baptisms.
I always hear people talking about the temple as though it is a place where you walk through the doors and shed your cares completely. While you are inside there is nothing, but the work and the building up of the kingdom. I find, however, that contrary to leaving all of my cares at the doors, I grasp them tightly because inside those beautiful doors, I will be able to have a clarity about them that I won’t find if I leave them in the cubbies with my shoes.
There is an incredible wholeness to the me that I find leaving the temple that isn’t necessarily a standard feature on the everyday Mariah. This week, though proved to me that the blessings of temple attendance don’t automatically correct and perfect other endeavors in your life.
I found twenty dollars in my purse before I even left the locker room and I thought; “check! Church is true.” But as the day progressed and I realized that Mere Christianity isn’t actually going to read itself before my C.S. Lewis class just because I went to the temple. And even if the temple gives me the peace and reassurance I need to feel confident and calm about my audition that night, it doesn’t guarantee me a role or even a callback.
“We know that thy kingdom shall roll onward and that hosts of the young and rising generation shall yet stand forth in power and great glory as witnesses of thy name and teachers of thy law. Preserve them, O our God; enlighten their minds and pour out upon them thy Holy Spirit, as they prepare for the great work that shall rest upon them.”
That I will yet stand forth in power and great glory was a promise given at the dedication of the Provo Temple and that promised measure of the spirit to be poured out on my heart and mind is more important to me than any other temporal efforts. It’s that spirit that will help to organize my life and develop my talents in a way that I am able to accomplish those other goals.
It really bowls me over to think that the Lord didn’t have to make his work this way. He could just as easily have given everyone a chance to hear his gospel in this life, but instead he gave his children a chance to become interdependent on their brothers and sisters. Not only does the temple teach me a new and incredible kind of love, but it gives me the chance to do for others what they cannot do for themselves. And in that way, I can become a savior on Mt. Zion; and do for someone else, in some small part, what my Brother did for me.