I awoke with a start! A quick glance at the clock and relief replaced the fear that I had overslept. It was 4am. I am going to the Temple.
“I have time,” I mused. I could lay there and enjoy teasing myself with how far back into slumber I dared go … only to be jarred back to life when the sounds of KTAR 92.3 fill the room. No, it wasn’t worth the risk of waking my wife. I’m up!
As I leave the house dressed in white shirt and tie, the sweet smell of dew arouses my senses. I think “sweet!”
Five minutes later, I take my place in line to enter the freeway. My pulse quickens just a little. I glance at the cars speeding ahead and wonder why so many people are up at this hour of the morning, already dressed, breakfast in hand (or cup), listening to the traffic report giving time-saving instructions every hour on the “9’s.”
I think ahead, reminding myself not to get lost in my thoughts and miss the freeway exit … a costly mistake when you drained every drop of extra time out of the snooze alarm. But this morning was different. I beat the alarm; a trophy day already. I am going to the temple.
For Latter Day Saint members, going to the temple means service, sacrifice, and fulfillment. It is service and sacrifice that brings fulfillment, and it is voluntary.
Hundreds will visit the LDS Temple and its grounds in Mesa, Arizona, today. Some will come as visitors and curiously wander into the Visitors Center located adjacent to the temple, where the purpose of life is explored and presented in audio and visual form. Questions are answered here, connections with a spiritual self are often made, and no one leaves without feeling just a little better.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or more commonly known as the “Mormons,” or “LDS,” has owned and operated this sacred edifice, the Mesa Arizona Temple, since its dedication in 1927. It stands today as a “light unto the world,” for it represents a place of holiness and peace apart from the world as we know it. As in the days of ancient Israel, where its people worshiped regularly in the synagogues, but reserved the performance of more sacred ordinances for the temple, Latter-Day Saints also embrace the temple as the house of the Lord, a place of sanctity.
I arrive at the temple at just after 5am. The sweetness of the morning fills my lungs as I breathe deeply to soak in as much as I can before the hot desert sun wakes with a vengeance and strips the desert air of any hint of coolness.
I love to walk the temple grounds and smell the fresh citrus blossoms that announce the beginning of spring. On this day (October 10,2008), however, fall is in the air ever-so-lightly, but it is there, nonetheless. Fall and winter flowers have been planted, still in their infancy, yet radiate so much potential. They adorn the House of the Lord, as if they knew.
As I climb the steps to the temple entrance, I pause for a moment and listen. The sounds of the world are so loud, even at daybreak. Rarely do we get to meditate in solitude anymore. There is always sound, even the sound of a fan at night, white noise, I believe they call it. Inside the temple, people use their “temple voice” when they must talk; otherwise, they just listen. It is a time of re-connection, re-dedication, a time to focus on the family and its eternal nature; a time to shut out the noise of the world and leave behind those cares that seem to mean so much during our mortal stay, but are quickly shed once we are called back to that home before this.
All too soon, I will be returning through the same doors that carried me in, my service complete for a time. Yet, I know I will return a better man for having attended a temple of our Lord.