Hannah and Rob in front of the Frankfurt, Germany Temple
On Friday, my husband Rob and I are leaving Paris, where we have been living for three months. Rob has been busy working for an NGO (non-government organization) while I have been learning French and enjoying some time off before I start graduate school in the fall. As exciting as it sounds, moving to a different country is full of adjustments and ups and downs.
One major change was that we had just moved from Utah, where there are 13 active LDS temples, to France, where there are none. Depending on where you live in France, a visit to the temple can mean a trip of several hours, since the closest temples are in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain. (The same can be said of other countries in which there are no temples. Rob grew up on a small island in the Pacific Ocean, and the closest temple is a 7-8 hour plane ride away in Hawaii.)
The temple is a place where members of the Church go to perform vicarious saving ordinances for those who have died, and this act of service has provided a great amount of comfort and relief for me in times of need. Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has described frequent temple worship as “the source and strength and power in times of need.” He said, “[W]hen we keep the temple covenants we have made and when we live righteously in order to maintain the blessings promised by those ordinances, then come what may, we have no reason to worry or to feel despondent.” (1)
We scheduled a trip to the Frankfurt Germany Temple in the middle of June, when we had been in Paris for just about six weeks. Some family friends of ours were kind enough to host us for the weekend at their house and to let us accompany them to their stake temple day. At the time I was struggling with the French language, the culture, the exchange rate, and being home alone all day while my husband was working. I couldn’t even understand the proceedings of our church meetings without Rob leaning over and telling me what was going on. In all aspects of my life I felt like I had hit a wall, and the world was still going about its business while I was stuck in my own world of self-pity. In short, I needed to reconnect with my spiritual self.
Sitting in the temple, surrounded by friends, my husband, and other members of the Church brought me such a warm feeling of peace and familiarity that I had been craving for so many weeks. I thought that our weekend visit to the temple was going to be the vacation from my so-called “problems” that I needed. In fact, being at the temple was an opportunity for me to learn what I needed to change in my life to feel better about my situation, a situation that would not be solved by sitting at home while eating spoonfuls of plain Nutella out of the jar.
I left Germany that weekend with a renewed desire to quit resisting and resenting change. (After all, this stage in my life marks the beginning of countless changes I’m going to be making.) More importantly, I also had a renewed desire to make my home a temple by making a bigger effort to invite the Spirit into our home, since I no longer had the luxury of driving the five minutes from our apartment to the Provo Temple. Almost every Sunday since we have been here, someone in our Paris ward has mentioned the importance of making our homes a temple because the prospect of a temple in France is still so far away. Who knows where life will take us next? I learned that I need to be prepared for any situation that puts us far away from easy temple access. Elder Gary E. Stevenson [a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy] said, “There exists a righteous unity between the temple and the home… Whether our living space is large or small, humble or extravagant, there is a place for… gospel priorities in each of our homes.” (2)
This small, seemingly unimportant trial that passed as quickly as it came was an important lesson for me: that “you are never lost when you can see the temple,” (3) no matter what country it is in.
1) Elder Richard G. Scott, “Temple Worship: The Source of Strength and Power in Times of Need,” May 2009 Ensign
2) Elder Gary E. Stevenson, “Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples,” May 2009 Ensign
3) Elder Gary E. Stevenson, “Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples,” May 2009 Ensign
While living in Europe, Hannah visited two other Latter Day Saints meetinghouses, pictured below.
These pictures are of the Hyde Park LDS meetinghouse in London, England.
And this picture is from an LDS ward building in Bayonne, France.
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Thank you for sharing this personal essay about the temple Hannah. This week, the Oquirrh Mountain Temple will be dedicated just a short walk from our home. It will be a great blessing to those who attend.
Although Carrie and I have lived near a temple for most of our married life, we remember the many times when they were very far away. This week, I’ve posted an entry every day about the temple as we prepare for the dedication of this beautiful new temple.
Starting with Philo Dibble and the Three Degrees of Glory, each post is a reminder of the importance and efficacy of the covenants we made in the House of the Lord. We hope, even though you live far away, that the feelings you have in the temple can be carried with you wherever you live.
This message really resonated with me Hannah. Not the Nutella part, I don’t like Nutella, but 1. the peace and familiarity I also feel at the Temple and 2. the methods I use to recreate those peaceful feelings in my own home. When things are really going right at home, when I’m treasuring my husband and children, when I’m sticking to my regular scripture study and prayer I can get nearer to the peace I have inside the Temple. I am thankful for your Paris ward for being positive about the long distance to the Temple. It sets a very good example to us who have Temples so close.
Great post Hannah – but then I’m your mom and hold a certain bias.
But in this case, you have truly “hit the nail on the head” and there are lessons here for all of us.
I have not been working in the temple since my knee surgery and do miss it. I will be going back in October and look forward once again to having that extra boost every other week!
What a unique experience. Great post!
Your mom sent this to me and it was certainly worth the read. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Hannah. No matter the circumstances we are always facing changes and challenges. I don’t know why, but we humans are so resistant to this constant! Attending the Temple usually puts things in perspective for me and for this I am ever grateful. I remember visiting the Swiss Temple 30 some years ago and finding it so comforting, that in the midst of our travels so far from home there was this beacon of spiritual light.
O que Elder Scott disse realmente é verdade: “Nunca iremos estar perdidos se soubermos onde está o Templo!”
Amo estar no Templo, renovando meus convênios sagrados.
Camilla – Brasil
Translation: What Elder Scott really said is truth: “We will never be lost if we know where the temple is!” I love being in the Temple, renewing my sacred covenants.