We are so blessed in our area as we are preparing for a new temple. Our youth are practicing for the cultural celebration -learning both new dance moves and music. We are focusing our lessons on the temple. This month, one of our new temple presidency members will be addressing our youth – answering their questions about the temple. We also will get to go through the temple open house.
My testimony of the temple derives from my father. He would live there if he could! He served in the Chicago Temple with my mother for many years. When he was first called to serve in the temple, he was petrified. He constantly worried that he was uneducated and would never be able to do what was required of him. He claimed to have no ability to memorize. He claimed that he was always lost. But, the longer he served, the more comfortable he became. He lost himself in temple service. At times, he would just decide to take off and drive the four hours to the Chicago Temple so that he could do a little more work. The day after my parents’ home was destroyed in a tragic fire; he and my mother were found at the temple.
My family often jokes about grandpa’s testimony of the temple. He would drive seventeen hours to visit us and then spend as much time as possible in the Denver temple. He would get up early in the morning, get himself ready, and then walk up the hill to the temple. Sometimes, when we are lucky, he would come back to join us for lunch instead of eating in the temple cafeteria.
However, the testimony of the temple which he has instilled in his grandchildren is no joke. Our oldest daughter prayed and could hardly wait for the opportunity that she would have to attend the temple with him. She craved the opportunity. Her grandfather promised her that he would take her and he did. She counted down the time until she was twelve years old and able to do baptisms for the dead. Her testimony of the temple is secure because he taught it to her through his example.
But what exactly happens within our temples? What do the members do while they attend these magnificent edifices?
The temples of the Lord are sacred buildings where only the most valiant of church members can attend. Within its sacred walls, we participate in beautiful covenants with the Lord and learn the truths of the Plan of Salvation. We are invited to commune with Him, feel of his Spirit, and know of Father’s plan for each of us. Within these amazing walls, we are also invited to be sealed together as an eternal family.
Teaching our children to be temple-loving people does not have to be difficult. It is actually very simple. My children gained their testimony because they witnessed their grandparents and parents attending the temple. They heard about the temple. Small items were slipped in -like “when you go to the temple …” They learned to look forward to going to the temple for the first time as their grandfather made the day a special one for them. Pictures of temples were hung in our home, both on family walls and in their bedrooms. When we returned from the temple, we shared the sweet spirit we experienced inside those holy walls.
The easiest way to teach them to love the temple is to provide them with our examples of attending the temple and bringing them to that holy ground even before they are too young to go inside.
By Tracy Atkinson
Tracy Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education and a master’s in higher education. Her passion is researching, studying and investigating the attributes related to self-directed learners. She has published several titles, including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.