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Don't go through the temple -- let it go through you

While visiting the sisters in Kiev, Ukraine, Sister Barbara Thompson, a counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, was informed by her guide — we will call her Sasha — that someone else would be escorting and interpreting for her the next day. Sister Thompson expressed her appreciation for the service rendered and, curious, asked what the sister had planned for the next day.Sasha explained that early the next morning she and a group of fellow Saints would be boarding a bus to travel to Freiberg, Germany, to attend the temple. Sister Thompson was a bit taken aback, having some sense of the distance between Kiev and Freiberg. Yes, Sasha confirmed, it would be a 27-hour bus ride. But, as she quickly explained, the trip is a joyful experience.These faithful Saints board the bus early Sunday morning, hold sacrament meeting on the bus, sing, sleep, eat and chat. They arrive in Freiberg Monday afternoon and settle into the dorms made available for temple patrons. All day Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, they participate in assorted temple ordinances and it is a "glorious thing!" On Saturday they re-board the bus and for the next 27 hours they drive home. The cost and the time devoted to this venture preclude frequent temple visits. It is possibly a once a year event, but they return renewed, strengthened and changed in marvelous ways.Sister Thompson explained why Sasha takes the time and makes sacrifices to do this: "She hasn't gone through the temple, the temple has gone through her." After four days in the temple these people are glorious, their countenances "shine."A mother and daughter in Chile serve in the Santiago Chile Temple: Every Friday, in the wee hours of the morning, they borrow a car and drive six hours to serve a five-hour shift in the temple and at the end of the day they drive another six hours home. They have been doing this for years. These sisters live in Concepcion, Chile. Imagine the thrill when last conference it was announced that a temple would be built in Concepcion. This mother and daughter have not gone through the temple, the temple has gone through them.As members of Christ's church we are a temple-building people. In the ancient world, temples were omnipresent, breathtaking structures that soared to great heights, serving as the anchors of great civilizations. They were at the heart and center of capital cities and everything emanated outward from them. Powerful priests officiated, rituals were performed to honor the gods, gratitude was expressed, and blessings enjoined. Most likely these temples were a perversion of those ancient performances begun by Adam and Eve or a construction to facilitate man's feeble attempt to engage with deity. Whatever the reason, the ubiquitous presence of temples in ancient times is a compelling concept.It perhaps begs a question today: Are we, as a church, out of touch with the contemporary metaphysical realities of life, with so many individuals today renouncing the concept of temple worship? Or, is much of the rest of the world out of touch with the eternal and enduring religious truths bound up in temple worship? I would suggest the latter. I might even go further and ask if it is only the world outside the LDS Church or do some within the faith fail to comprehend the blessings that come as they participate in temple services?I am not suggesting that LDS temple attendance today compares with temple practices in most of the ancient world. Those individuals sought God through temple rituals but lacked proper keys and authority, while church members today find God and Christ through temple worship. As those who make it a practice to attend the temple in our day recognize it is in the Lord's house that individuals are instructed, edified, uplifted by Lord, and endowed with power from on high.While Sasha drives 27 hours to reach the closest temple and does so gladly, I easily have 14 temples within a day's drive and seven temples within two hours. Each of us can take a powerful lesson from Sasha, from this sweet mother-daughter combination in Chile, and from so many others, who live far from temples and yet make great sacrifice to attend the Lord's house. They understand the privilege that it is, and they experience the innumerable blessings that come with temple attendance because they have not gone through the temple, the temple has gone through them.