I am going to take as much care as I possibly can when I write this post, because the temple is a sacred place where sacred things are taught and it's an incredible blessing to be able to go.
On November 21st, I had the blessed opportunity to go through the temple to take out my endowment. I made the 2.5 hour drive to Twin Falls so I could meet up with my parents for the first time in 2.5 months. It was great to see them. Ben came with me, and we were all there at a Jamba Juice to get some food (I had hardly eaten at home because of anticipation but my appetite was in full force by the time we got there, an hour early) in our Sunday best.
The experience that followed was incredible and life-changing. But I won't talk much about it at all. Other than the fact that it was very overwhelming and probably 98% of what happened there went right over my head.
The thing about the temple that I will say is that what goes on inside is not of the world at all. We do not discuss it outside of the temple because it is sacred (not secret). I've said this three or four times by now, but what does it mean? Because the learning and the ordinances that we participate in the temple are so important and of God, we cannot allow the world to tarnish them. They are the greatest gifts we can receive on this earth and they are the key to the kingdom of heaven. So when you go for the very first time, you have no idea what you're going to do. When you're there, you really aren't 100% sure what is going on. When you leave, you aren't entirely sure what to think of it. But although it felt overwhelming and unfamiliar, so many of the truths I found there were little more than what we learn on Sunday and what we read in the scriptures. It all felt true, and as I have pondered on the temple since, I have come to understand bits and pieces and I anticipate every opportunity I have for the rest of my life to go back and learn more.
The temple is a great place of peace and solace. I felt welcome there, I felt like I was at home, when in actuality I was in a place that I have driven through twice in my life. It was beautiful and I felt the spirit so strongly. I could really feel the love of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. It came through in every word spoken. Having my mother by my side was a blessing. I will always cherish the memory of my first visit.
Unfortunately, I must also give this post with a warning. There are plenty of things you can find out on the internet about the temple. Keep in mind that those who understand how sacred it is will not reveal it to those who are unprepared, because that gives an unfair accountability to that person. Those who do not understand its sacred nature have no moral obligation to avoid lying about what is taught. They defile what is most precious to us on this earth and seek to confuse and turn away our hearts from the things of God. So if you have a desire to learn more, stick to lds.org and the members of the church you know. Ask questions but understand there can only be so much answering with something as special and holy as the temple. Above all else, pray with a heart seeking truth and light to know whether temples really are the house of the Lord, whether or not you are LDS yourself. Pray about the sacredness of what is inside. Visit a temple, walk on the grounds, if there's a visitor center, go inside. There is such incredible peace to be found at the temple, whether you are inside or not. I promise this to you.
I testify that temples are God's houses, and that they are pieces of heaven on earth. They bring peace to troubled souls, comfort to those in need, and blessings to all who come as they are and as they can.