Today I am grateful for the temple.
Most of you know that I am LDS. And a good many of you are familiar with the Salt Lake Temple, which is right across the street from the Family History Library.
A few more may know that there is perhaps a temple in your city, in your state, or in your country.
Actually, there are 158 operating temples across the world, with 12 more under construction and 12 more that have been announced.
At some point, there will be hundreds more of these temples across the world.
Kerry and I met in the Washington, DC temple over forty years ago. He had been working there a few years, and together we would work a few years more.
Once all of our children reached age 19, we began working at the temple here in Columbus. (The Church does not assign people to work in the temple while they still have family at home, which is first priority.)
We have been working in the Columbus Temple since 2002, and 2003 (for me). So, we started out our married lives in the temple, and will finish up our lives there, too.
Some temples are huge. Washington, DC., Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City are examples of the three largest. Our temple is much smaller. But, the important work that we do inside is exactly the same in every way as what is done in the larger temples.
There is no difference at all.
Kerry and I work each Friday. And, when I get in the car at the end of the day, the first picture below reflects what I see in my side mirror. I've been seeing it for fourteen years, and it still makes me stop and think each time it comes into view.
I've read my share of misconceptions about the temple through the years. I've read some very hurtful things as people mock what they think they know about it. During the presidential election when Mitt Romney was a candidate, I had to unfriend several FB friends because of irreverent comments about something I hold very sacred.
It hurt me.
In short, we believe families can be forever. This is where those beautiful ordinances are performed for both the living, and by proxy for the dead.
So, this is not a theology lesson. This is simply another statement of my gratitude for such lovely edifices as these temples. I can walk inside the doors, bring my burdens and my cares there, worship the Lord and listen for answers, and totally -- and I do mean totally -- remove myself from the outside world.
Besides my own home, there is no other place where I feel closer to God.
People sometimes ask me where I get my strength, my fortitude, my anchor, and my kindness from. I am giving you the answer.
Only church members in good standing are permitted to enter the temples. However, if you live in an area where an open house is being held prior to its dedication, or perhaps one is being closed for updating and refurbishing with an open house following, I urge you to attend. Drink in the beauty. Feel the peace. (PS -- Washington DC will be closing March 2018 for two years. There will be an open house after the renovation, it will be open to the public for a short time.)
To learn more about temples: https://www.lds.org/temples/inside-temples?lang=eng