As I said in my last post, Dan and I attended his niece's sealing in the Rexburg Temple just a couple weekends ago. It had been a long time since I'd been to the temple! Our temple has been under renovation for a year and a half, and I've had a nursing baby until just recently, so driving to another temple and waiting and doing the work there just didn't feel like it was in the cards for me for awhile. In fact, we realized the Sunday before the niece's wedding (she was married on a Saturday) that my recommend expired at the end of August. Of course her wedding would be only three days later! I scrambled and called and texted and managed to get last minute appointments with members of my bishopric and stake presidency. I was feeling so happy to have that recommend renewed! Not only because it meant I would be able to attend the sealing but because I just felt so peaceful, so assured, so happy to have that recommend in my hand.
The questions asked in a temple recommend interview are the same at both the ward and stake levels. I suppose these questions could feel redundant; after all, when you go in for your stake appointment, you've only just been asked the same questions by the bishopric. But I love every single question in that interview. As I answered the questions being asked to me (during both interviews), I felt an overwhelming warmth spread through my chest and an incredible happiness in my soul. It was like I was bearing my testimony to those men, telling them that I do believe in God, my Heavenly Father; I do have a testimony in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and Him as my Savior; I do support and sustain the prophets and all the leaders God has called. I wish I had the words to describe how wonderful it felt to say YES! I do have a testimony! Each interview lasted fewer than five minutes, but each time I felt a witness of the Holy Ghost and a reaffirmation of my testimony. It was a beautiful experience for me.
At our niece's sealing, I again felt the spirit so strongly! Oh, how I love being in the temple! The sealer took the opportunity to talk to the couple (and everyone else) about the covenants and ordinances we make as members of the church, with the covenant of baptism being the first. He mentioned that, in the temple, the floor where we perform proxy baptisms is the very bottom, symbolizing that baptism is the bottom rung of the covenant/ordinance ladder, the first step we must take on our journey back to God and the Celestial Kingdom. Then he talked about how every other ordinance and covenant we make is built on one another. The order of the ordinances and the wording of them became so much clearer to me in that moment! Because of the sacred nature of the covenants and ordinances in the temple, I won't go into details about those things, but it was a very clear experience for me. Each ordinance is necessary, vital, as we move up the ordinance ladder, but then it isn't truly complete without the next ordinance. And every single ordinance, every thing we teach and learn as members of the Church, is to get us to the top floor, to the ordinance of the Sealing. Family is the ultimate goal. Every single thing leads us to families and the creation of our own family. Everything! What a powerful, beautiful truth this is! Every single thing we do in life, everything God wants for us and asks of us, leads us to the ultimate happiness--because there is truly nothing that brings more joy than our families.