Last month, I spent several weeks out of town – traveling to Disneyland (for my 7th birthday!) and then to Reno, (to visit my family while Squire was on an away rotation in Boise.) While we were there, I had the opportunity to go to the temple with my mom. Her ward was in charge of temple-cleaning duty that week, so she signed us up to go and help. Our plan was to go through the last Endowment session of the evening, and then stay after to clean.
I was excited. I had never helped clean the temple before and I was looking forward to the experience. As I sat in one of the rooms during our session, dust on the light fixtures on the walls caught my eye. This wasn’t just a little dust – this was dark, grey, and caked on over large parts of the fixtures. I was sincerely bothered. Hadn’t anyone noticed this sooner? How did these light fixtures get this dirty?! And in such a sacred space? I took a breath and relaxed as I turned my focus back to the session at hand, knowing that I could personally do something about this later.
As we gathered to meet for our cleaning assignment, the temple patron informed us ladies that we would be vacuuming. I rose my hand, informed him of the dusty light fixtures, and asked if I could clean those while we were vacuuming. My mom, made a joke about how while visiting her home I hadn’t made any such offerings to dust her light fixtures to which I (and everyone else) laughed. I rolled my eyes, and said something not nearly as witty in my defense. He told me he would get me the duster and that I could take care of it.
When I got into the room to dust the light fixtures, I anxious to get the work done and to do it right. As I got close, I rubbed the duster over the outside of the light and saw no change. I got closer and brushed my hands on the affected areas, even scraped lightly with my fingernails to see if I could unpack the dust – on both sides of the fixture. But to my surprise, the “dust” wasn’t really dust at all. The fixtures were made out of some sort of translucent glass that had some variegated coloring and the darker parts were just veins of variation in the material. They were clean. Perfectly clean. Every single one of them. And believe me, I went and inspected every single one just to make sure. And I laughed to myself and told God, “OK, this is significant, isn’t it? What am I supposed to learn from this?”
I was instructed that the lights were symbolic of God’s chosen servants. I had the impression that these lights specifically were symbolic of Prophets, apostles, individuals in fixed and high ranking positions in the church throughout time. Then, I felt a little guilty. “Father, was it presumptuous of me? To think that the physical lights in this room were dirty in your house? And is it presumptuous of individuals who question the authority of your chosen servants to do so?” He answered, “If the lights were dirty, it would indeed have been good for you to have taken action to make sure they were clean. Now that you know that these light fixtures already were, let it be known that you could question and inspect my chosen servants, with careful, close, detailed examination and you would find the same – that they are clean before me. The light shines through them more clearly in some portions than others, but they are clean, they are mine, and they are worthy to be where I have put them to serve.”
Wow. Isn’t God amazing? I love Him. It warms my heart to be known by Him and to hear His voice. He speaks so personally to each of us, and this one really spoke to me.
This experience came at a particularly good time for me. I am going through what I would call a questioning time, right now. I’m making efforts not to throw out babies I know are babies out with the bathwater so to speak, but I am also digging a lot further in my questioning of institutions at large – some that have been near and dear to me for a long time. (Political, national, cultural, medical, and even some religious - traditions, policies, and actions.) I’m doing this because I’m interested in Truth, and being aligned with it wherever it is. I think God was just lovingly reminding me with this experience in the temple, that His chosen prophets are not bathwater. That, if I need to put on my spectacles and look closely I can, but that my esteem of them and trust in their counsel is not worthy of going down the drain (unlike many old beliefs I have harbored and have recently re-examined.) And I appreciate that very much.
I thought of this experience over and over again as I listened to General Conference this last weekend. I am looking forward to studying all these words further over the next 6 months.
Here were my top three favorites talks, from men I know are called of and clean before God:
Always Retain a Remission of Your Sins, By: Elder David A. Bednar – An answer to a question I have been ruminating on for a while, the relevance of ordinances and their connection to repentance, salvation and sanctification.
He Will Place You on His Shoulders, and Carry You Home, By: President Dieter F. Uchtdorf – I have been pondering on the spiritual law described in Doctrine and Covenants 130:21 and how that works with God’s grace. This talk was at least a very significant portion of the wonderings of my mind and heart on the question.
Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders Among You, By: Elder Jeffrey R. Holland – This talk gave a significant portion of an answer to the same question I mentioned above, but also with some great encouragement. I highly recommend this talk to everyone!
Tell me, how has God spoken to you lately?
Did you tune into LDS General Conference this year?
If so, what spoke to your heart?