Saturday, June 21, 2014
After weeks of thought, I have decided to write about one of the most special experiences of my life. The feelings I have from this sacred event are still very fresh and vivid, and very personal. As you read this, if you do, please keep that in mind.
At one point in my life, I really pursued going through the temple. I think I went about it the wrong way. I say this because it just never worked out. I think my bishops sensed that I may not be spiritually mature enough yet for that special experience. Then, several years later, I began thinking about it again, and my significant other encouraged me not to. This puzzled and troubled me. He mentioned that if I did it and then screwed up in any way that I would be under greater duress. When I expressed that maybe I wanted to go through to protect me from such an issue, he shared instances of other women he had known that had made grievous mistakes after going through the temple, and then referenced himself. And for some stupid reason, I listened to him and stayed in a bad, controlling relationship.
After I finally rid myself of the aforementioned relationship, I reconnected with Mike, my fiance. Almost instantly after beginning my journey with him I felt like I should try and get myself to the point that I could go through the temple. Because of my previous experience with my former partner, I was deathly afraid to bring up the subject. I talked it over with a girl friend of mine on our way home from a trip to St. George, and she encouraged me to pursue this because it was a righteous desire. She then shared with me that going through the temple for herself was the greatest decision she had ever made. Sure, she had made mistakes. I don't know what they are but they happened. And she was still a member in good standing. The atonement of Jesus Christ had worked in her life and she felt clean again.
When I got home from that trip, I sat Mike down and asked him what he thought. He told me that he would support me in any righteous desire I had. He told me he would help me get ready. That evening was another confirming moment in our relationship that further convinced me that I needed to stick with this guy. I hadn't had that kind of support in so long.
I immediately began preparing, in true Emily Sorensen fashion. I always hit the ground running in things like this. I began taking the temple prep class during Sunday School (the middle session of the 3 hour block). I learned there that preparing for the temple wasn't going to be as hard as I had thought - so many things taught there were things I had known my whole life and membership in the church. They were just presented in a different light.
During all of this, Mike proposed to me on April 12. We discussed the matter, and his preference (if the bishop was ok with it) was for me to go through the temple before we got married - then we could attend the temple together for date nights and get me more comfortable with everything. My bishop was delighted at the decision we made. We made arrangements for me to receive my endowment on April 30, 2014.
That day, April 30, was incredibly stressful. I was dealing with my old apartment complex (who was screwing me out of hundreds of dollars over stupid things). They were really rude to my roommates and I, and I was just having an awful time. And, I had found out that none of my grandparents were going to be able to be in the temple with me. This was hard for me, because I deeply love my grandparents. As I was walking into the Jordan River temple that night, feeling sad and frustrated, my Grandpa Jones called my mom and said he would be able to make it afterall, with my grandma. But my Grandma Sorensen would still be missing. (Grandpa had passed away previously).
Mike went and did an ordinance called "initiatories" while I prepared for my own. I will have to speak in generalities from here on out, but I think the message will still be there.
At this point in the temple, I worked with only women. This is important. Not a single man was in that room. As I entered one of the little areas, women proceeded to share with me blessings and promises that were mine. My favorite part was when this woman pronounced me clean. I sobbed. I had not felt that I was truly clean in years. From there, more women assisted her in officiating (under the direction of the temple president) in ordinances with me. It was beautiful. And in that moment, an experience happened that proved to me that my grandparents that had passed (both of my dad's biological parents (my Grandma Sorensen that was vacationing in Florida with my aunt is the best step-mom my dad could have ever asked for) were there. Again, I sobbed. My Heavenly Father knew my heart. He knew that I needed more strength and he sent it through people I love. I will never, ever forget that moment and how it felt.
I continued to learn in the temple about covenants and promises that I need to keep. None of these seemed odd, weird, or different than I had ever experienced. Again, they were all just said in a different way. As I have gone back, it has all felt familiar. And, as I have gone back, I have been reminded that as a not-married woman, I still have the priesthood with me always, IF I keep my covenants and wear my garments appropriately. I hope that this will always stay in my memory. And I hope that it touches someone else as well.