Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Thorough Cleaning

I love the beauty and serenity of the temple. I love all that it represents, the meaning it gives to relationships, the eternal light it shines on death, and the hope that it brings to life.

I’ve had the blessing of living in various areas of the world amongst people of different religions, cultures, and customs. In the midst of all of the beautiful, unique differences of Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Christianity, a common ideal exists: each people seems drawn to the divine. Each is moved to worship something or someone greater than themselves, and in most cases each is inspired to build spiritual sanctuaries not only as places of religious communion, but also as symbols of their devotion.

For my friends who are reading this who are not Mormon (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), our temples are sacred places of worship for members of our faith all around the world. You might have seen one of these beautiful buildings in Salt Lake, Hong Kong, Hamilton, Boston, Houston, London or Chicago and wondered about it. We revere these temples as houses of God, even more sacred than our churches, and in them we make covenants with God and perform sacred ordinances, such as marriage, that will bind and connect us to those we love even after death. The blessings of the temple are glorious and are available to every person who lives the standards of the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed through his living prophets. The goal of each Latter-day Saint is to live a life worthy of entering the temple to receive the eternal blessings God has prepared for us there. Once we have received these blessings for ourselves, we return to the temple often to act in behalf of those who have passed on who did not have the opportunity to receive the ordinances and blessings of the temple during their own mortal lives. What a truly special place the temple is!

Every summer, the temple is closed for about two weeks for deep cleaning and maintenance. During that time, members of the church are invited to come and help with cleaning and various projects there.

Tuesday night we went to help clean the American Fork Temple just up the street from my house. It’s pretty awesome to be able to say I helped clean the Lord’s house. J

I noticed as we were cleaning the temple that nothing is ignored or forgotten. The most minor details are attended to, and even places like the boiler room that most people will never see are cleaned and maintained thoroughly and regularly! This made me think. It stands to reason that if our bodies are temples, just as Timothy says in the Bible, we ought to make sure that we are taking care of the details of our lives, even the aspects of our lives that no one but God and ourselves will ever see. Our thoughts, our motives, and our actions when we think no one is watching are parts of our character that need regular cleaning and maintenance. At the temple, even though the floors had already been swept, the carpets vacuumed, the walls dusted, and the door handles disinfected just a day earlier, there were again scuffs, crumbs, dust and fingerprints that needed to be cleaned again. We too may find scuffs, crumbs, dust, and fingerprints in our temples that need cleaning on a daily basis, and because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can feel that cleansing power in our lives as frequently as we choose to use it.

I love being in the temple. I love the Spirit, the peace, love, simplicity, and clarity I feel there. Even being close to the temple, looking at it from the outside, being on the grounds calms my Spirit and gives me peace and joy. I can feel the same way in my own temple if I keep it clean. And I want others to feel those feelings radiating from my temple when they’re close to me.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I love spring flowers--sometimes even just thinking about tulips and daffodils and pink tree blossoms makes me happy. I always loved walking down the stairs south of BYU campus in the springtime because bunches of red and yellow tulips and daffodils were starting to pop up in the beds on the hillside. And when the breeze would blow, a shower of pink and white petals would fall down lightly from the trees onto your head. I think the Lord was thinking about me when he said, "Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart..."(Doctrine and Covenants 59:18). Happy spring!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Second Wind

I like to run. I think it can be really therapeutic sometimes. And I like to run without headphones because it gives me a chance to clear my mind and think.
Just the other day as I was out pounding the pavement, I realized that running is a lot like life. What I mean is this: For the longest time, I never really knew what it felt like to get that second wind that everyone always talks about. I never knew, because I had never let myself run far enough to get or need one. I would run until I was tired, and then I would simply stop.
What I never realized was that sometimes, even though you're tired and out of breath, or think you've gone as far as you can go, or are ready to give up,
if you just keep running, the second wind really will come--and suddenly you're able to run further than you ever had before.
Sometimes in life, we never let ourselves "run far enough" in a relationship or in a job, or in the direction of our goals to let the second wind kick in. Sometimes we just stop when we hit a slope or start to get tired or think we can't go any further. Why not keep running? You'll never know how far that second wind can take you unless you try.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


So, I guess I kinda left everyone hanging after my skydiving post. FYI I didn't end up going... but never say never!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

About Life

As miraculously strong and resilient as these amazing bodies of ours are, they can also be so vulnerable and fragile. The recent death of a friend's mother after a long and well-fought battle with cancer has made me think a lot about life. Her funeral Thursday was the first I've ever attended, and what a beautiful tribute to the courageous, positive, selfless, fun, full life she led! What touched me the most however, was that there seemed to be no question about her love of life, and about the deep love and care she had for the people around her. There was no question that she loved them, and no question that they knew it! Life, and the people in our lives are two of the most magnificent and generous gifts God has given us. So, the question is, what are we really doing with these gifts?
What are we doing with life? Are we truly living it, creating opportunities for ourselves to see and do all those things we always hoped we’d experience someday? Are we living our dreams, or are we always just dreaming?
Who are we helping? Are we trying to see others as God sees them? Are we really looking beyond ourselves and lifting those around us? G.K. Chesterton wrote: "How much larger your life would be if you could become smaller in it...You would begin to be interested in others. You would break out of this in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freeer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers."

Are we opening our hearts and letting those around us know how much we care about them? Are we letting others into our own lives? Are we allowing ourselves to love, even at the risk of being heart broken? Perhaps the ability to experience heartbreak is a blessing—a reminder of how fortunate we are to have a heart that is alive, open, and able to deeply love and care about others.

There are aspects of my life and of my relationships that I'm trying to improve each day--I think that's how it is for just about everyone. I realize that I don't always express it in my words and actions, but I hope my family, friends, and associates realize how much I love and care about them. I hope that God can see that I'm trying my best to fully live this amazing life He's given me. Life can be really, truly wonderul if we just make it that way. God wants us to be happy. He knows us. He knows our needs and our wants. He knows our potential, and He wants us to succeed. He wants us to be kind to each other. He wants our relationships to be good and strong. He wants us to love each other and serve each other. It really is because of Him that death has so much meaning, and life has so much purpose!