Normally time spent waiting in lines is utterly wasted. Just scratch it off of the list of productive moments in your life; you might as well not have lived that line-time. Just ask East Germany. Saturday morning I went with some members of my ward to the Mount Timpanogos temple. Because the Provo temple is closed, things were busy up there accommodating many of the Provo folks. This also meant quite some delay. What would normally take two and a half hours took us more like four and a half. I was waiting in line in the temple!
Do you know what? I really enjoyed it! Now, I understand that there are many people with far more restrictive schedules than I have, but for me, waiting in line at the temple is no problem. I find it to be one of the best times to think, read scriptures, pray, and meditate about life. To get in the sort of respectful, reverential frame of mind that temple worship deserves. I feel like this time amplifies the impact of the endowment ceremony on my life. What is that impact?
It’s hard to describe. Sometimes I’ll go to the temple and just feel baffled about why things are done the way they are done. On these occasions, the symbolism and significance of the ordinance will just be beyond me. So you’d think I would get very little out of the experience. But no, in spite of that—how do I say this?—when I leave the temple, it’s like, having approached God in his house, having tried to qualify myself for his guidance and influence in my life, I then carry with me some of his power as I go about my daily life. I feel like my footsteps more frequently are taking me towards good ends, things that help not only me but others of God’s children around me. I gain a feeling of peace. Things just work. I feel happy!
The power of God seems to linger upon those who visit him in his house. But, in a way, that extra strength fades with time, which is why I have to return often. And that’s how God designed it!
Other times, instead of bafflement, I seem to have my mind opened to the significance of the rich symbolism of the temple ordinances. It’s an intellectual feast with a spiritual flavor. I was recently talking with David about seemingly amorphous natural phenomena that are actually built upon elaborate hidden structures. The supposed void of interstellar space is an example, as are the P-NP space in theory of computation, and what was formerly known as “junk DNA” within the fundamental molecule of the genetic code. (Thanks for the tutorial, Maria!) Things that on the surface appear to be mostly uniform (space, problem-solving, junk DNA) often surprise those who spend enough time dealing with them by revealing a depth previously unimagined. That’s been my experience with the temple. For some time I seemed to just be understanding the surface message. But, slowly but surely, a greater subtlety of meaning has emerged. Suddenly it will become clear to me that one thing actually refers to another, and the combined effect of this relationship becomes more significant than those two things are on their own.
And so God seems to have woven many layers of structure and significance into both the physical world that he created (space and dna) and in his dealings with us, his children, as seen in the scriptures and, perhaps after a bit more effort, in the temple.