Is the Temple Truly Closed?

Of all the socially impactive troubles we’ve seen, the closing of the temple has been the saddest to me.

Yes, some of my dearest friends frequent those halls, but there is something far deeper. The temple is where Heaven and Earth meet in a sweet and sanctifying way… Let me tell share with you my last days before the temple closure.

I was anxious to do the work for several of my kindred dead. But leading up to the temple closing, a woman named Harriet, in particular was pressing on my mind. She was a wonderful deceased matriarch of a large posterity, and she wanted her temple work completed. The impression was so strong, I promised her I would have her work completed before the temple closed due to the Corona pandemic, but despite searching and praying for two days for help, I could find no one who would do this sister’s work. It was Friday, and the temple would close its doors the next day.

I had taken time from work to be in the temple that afternoon, and felt I would fail in my promise. I was in a small group there when a special invitation was given to join a sacred prayer. I motioned for another brother to help, but he instead encouraged me, so I stood, and as I did, I caught a sister’s eye and nodded to her to join me. This surprised me, as I thought, “I’ve never invited a sister I don’t know to join me in these prayers…”

Afterwards, I stood alone pondering the Lord’s hand in my life in a very special room of the temple that was full of light. As I did so, this sister came by. She hesitated and then asked, “Do I know you from Sounds of Zion?” (a song/dance group at Utah State University). As I considered her question, I realized she looked familiar. She told me her maiden name and then I just knew, I named a dear sister living in our church ward, and said, “You are her sister, aren’t you!” She was a bit surprised, but said she was and then added, “So we didn’t know each other at USU…” I corrected her, “Oh, yes we did. We were in Sounds of Zion together…” over 30 years ago. I told her how special her entire family is to us and then I told her of Harriet.

Hearing my plight, she agreed to help and come back to do Harriet’s temple ordinance work even though she hadn’t intended to return to the temple. I gave her Harriet’s name and left the temple full of thanks.

The next day, the last day before closure, I spent many hours in the temple. I completed all the work I could and then the Lord gave me the responsibility to lead one of the sacred prayers there. The Spirit filled my heart with gratitude and gave me words for this simple prayer. I thanked the Lord for living in a time when the signs of the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ were being fulfilled more fully. I told Him we are grateful for the difficult experiences that build our faith, and prayed that when things don’t make sense, that we would have guidance and comfort and knowledge of how to continue on. I asked a special blessing on each person who had faith to come that day, and I ask the same blessing to be on each who reads this, that they may find comfort.

That night, after my temple shift, I checked the ordinance work, and I saw that the work that I asked to be completed for Harriet was done. My heart filled with joy!

Brothers and sisters, the temples are not truly closed until our hearts are closed and hardened. The Lord will dwell in our mortal tabernacles and encourage us and love us. Let us prepare for the day quickly coming when we can again walk the halls of the Lord’s House, but for now let our walk continue to be in holy places, even with our Savior, Jesus Christ, in our own homes and serving our neighbors when we can. And then, when the temples reopen, I pray we will do as Brigham Young instructed the members at the St. George temple dedication. He told them to fill those halls to capacity! This is one way we will turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children. This is a work of love!