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.


MindySue said...

Every time you post I quickly click in because I know you will always have something worthwhile to say. Thanks for this post. It was beautiful and 100% spot on.

Tara said...

So cool that I read this today because I was just thinking about this exact thing while mowing my lawn (it's one of my rare moments to think). I once heard someone say that your character is comprised of the things you choose to do when no one else is watching. Those parts of my yard/house/self that no one ever sees are important to clean because I see them and knowing they're what they should be is what gives me a feeling of satisfaction and worth. Ditto to what Mindy said!!

chellae said...

As always, you are full of wisdom and insight. I have been particularly thankful for the blessings of the temple the last couple of weeks. Your post is a good reminder that we need to spring clean our spirits, too. I realized the day before yesterday that we haven't chatted for several days. I've been missing our conversations. I guess I could just pick up the silly phone and call you rather than hoping you'd love in when I happen to be online, too. Silly me.