Living in Utah, being able to attend the temple had always been easy. Maybe too easy! There wasn’t just one temple nearby but several! When the pandemic made it necessary for the temples to close, it was the first time in my life I couldn’t go any time I wanted to. Naively I thought surely the temples wouldn’t stay closed for long, maybe a month or two. At the time, I had been serving as a temple worker for nearly two years. Going weekly was part of a routine that I not only enjoyed but also very much needed. As the months passed, oh how I yearned to be in the temple!
A while ago, I read this quote by Neal A. Maxwell, “We cannot reenter His house until our behavior would let us feel at home.”1 Until now, I doubt the word reenter would have caught my attention. After months of being away, I was asked to come help with an early morning session for a limited time. It is impossible to describe my feelings as I walked into the temple that first day. I was overcome with emotion and profoundly grateful to be there! It really did feel like home!
Although not quite back to their pre-pandemic schedules, many temples have recently opened or are soon opening for more patrons to attend. There is so much excitement and anticipation. We have been away so long. So much time has passed. Are we ready to reenter? Will we feel at home? That was my initial thought when I first read Elder Maxwell’s words. But the more I have thought about it, the more I have come to realize that it doesn’t really matter if it has been a year, a month, a week, or even just a day. What has my behavior been like since the last time I was in the temple? Has it been such that I will feel at home when I go back?
Do you remember when President Russell M. Nelson reminded us that “every time [we] worthily serve and worship in the temple, [we] leave armed with God’s power and with His angels having ‘charge over’ [us].”2 That is an amazing blessing! One that we should never take for granted. And one we should not assume comes without effort on our part.
Elder Maxwell teaches us, “We cannot share in [God’s] power without sharing in His attributes.”1 How do we share in God’s attributes? We become like His Son. Because of our Savior’s perfect example, we can know God’s attributes. And by following Him, we can acquire those attributes. Becoming like the Savior is a lifelong pursuit. Some days will be more successful than others. But because of Him, we can try again when we don’t quite get it right. With His help, we can always do better and become better. As our behavior becomes aligned with His, we will feel at home in His house.
L. Whitney Clayton has taught, “As we become more like Him, we will feel at home in His house, and He will feel at home in ours.”3 Isn’t that a beautiful thought!
1. God Will Yet Reveal – Neal A. Maxwell
2. Spiritual Treasures – Russell M. Nelson
3. The Finest Homes – L. Whitney Clayton