Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lights out!!!

Last night I had quite the unique experience. Quinn and I decided to go to the Los Angeles Temple to do an endowment session. We arrived 10 minutes before the 6:30 session began, and somehow were able to change clothes in time to avoid waiting an hour for the 7:30 session. Our quick dressing abilities would prove to be essential in helping us to have the marvelous experience that we had.

Much of the things that happen in the many temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are kept secret. Many people speculate upon the reasons why. The reason is simply this: the temple is a sacred place, the House of the Lord. It is a place where to enter we must maintain certain standards which separate us from the rest of the world. It is a place where once we enter we shed the clothes that we entered in for white clothing. It is a place where we essentially leave the world behind to enter a holier sphere. Our secretiveness about the temple helps us to maintain the temple as a unique place, a sacred place. As such, the details of my experience can only be shared if you want to take a trip to the temple with me; as for this post, I will only give a vague description of the happenings, and a little principle that I had reinforced as I reflected upon my experience.

The temple is a place of repetition, but where even amidst repetition, new principles are learned. I was sitting in the endowment session, listening and thinking about the covenants that are made in the temple, when all of a sudden, the lights went out. The darkness only lasted a moment as the emergency lights came on. Even with the emergency lights on, the room I was in was still dark, but you could still see some light creeping in under the doors from the hallway. My first thought was the circuit to the room was overloaded. We were quickly moved to another room, which had half of it's lights on. We resumed the session, whereupon the whir of electricity once again left us sitting in the dark. For some reason there was enough electricity to hear what we needed to, but that was it. No emergency lights, and no power to anything else.

After learning in the dark for a few moments, the temple president, and a few other workers entered brandishing flashlights. Their attitude was one "The work must go on." Although finished the ordinances required a bit of improv, the work was done, and the 30 or so people that we were representing had the opportunity to accept the ordinance we performed on their behalf.

The experience had me thinking much about a scripture which I have recently committed to memory:

For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

2nd Nephi 25:23

Within this scripture lies one of the powerful if... then... statements of the Book of Mormon. Such a promise has brought me so much peace in my life, as the experience of trying my hardest and coming up short of my goals is a familiar one. Each time it happens, I find comfort in knowing that if my best effort was truly put forth, the grace of Christ can make up the difference; through His sacrifice my efforts become enough, and they are accepted of God.

As I went through the temple in the dark, I couldn't help but think of how easy it would have been for all the workers and the temple President to have just said "What are we to do? Without electricity we can't lift this, we can't see that... We tried, it wasn't within our power. Better luck next time." Instead, they recognized the importance of the if clause of the promise and went about fulfilling their part. As they did so, God provided the necessary small miracles which allowed the work to go forth. In the future, when it comes time to ask myself if I have truly done all that I can do, I will look back fondly on the temple workers of last night, and give that question a little more thought.

1 comment:

Dennis Phillips, Ph.D. said...

Ngoh yiu tuhng lei yatchai hui singdin, teng lei gong soyauh gingyihm. Geisih hui?