The Temple Experience (Hardcover)

Passage to Healing and Holiness

by Wendy Ulrich

9781462110858
9781462110858

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When you're used to instant Internet answers, it can take practice and patience to recognize the multiple meanings in sacred temple ordinances. Perfect for new and longtime temple worshipers alike, this priceless volume is guaranteed to help you use the temple experience and its rich symbolism to find healing and hope that will let you see yourself more truthfully, then seek God more trustingly.

About the Author

Wendy Ulrich, Ph.D., M.B.A., was a psychologist in private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan for almost fifteen years before moving with her husband to Montreal (where he presided over the Canada Montreal Mission), then Alpine, Utah. She founded Sixteen Stones Center for Growth, which offers seminar-retreats for LDS women (sixteenstones.net). She is a mother and grandmother, a columnist for Deseret News, a former president of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapist, and a business consultant with The RBL Group. Her books include Forgiving Ourselves, Weakness Is Not Sin, and national best seller The Why of Work, co-authored with her husband, Dave Ulrich.

Chapter One

The Search

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul for thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?—Psalm 42:1-2

This is a book about the temple’s role in helping us find the passageway to holiness—the Holiness that is God and the holiness we may become. That passage is clearly marked, but it is indeed strait and narrow. Christ is the only river pilot experienced enough to guide us to it and through it. The temple provides the chart, the compass, and a kind of 3-D virtual tour of what we can expect and how we can succeed on this crucial journey. If we learn its lessons well, then we will find God and obtain all the Father has. “And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:38).

Temple ordinances depict simultaneously a journey and a destination. The temple is God’s map for this journey of healing, his blueprint for a house of personal holiness. The journey involves birthing, bandaging, cre- ating, covenanting, discerning, loving, and receiving. The house requires healing and sanctifying principles and tools for turning the raw materials of our daily experience into a House of the Lord. Along that journey and within that house is a strait and narrow passageway that leads us to the pearl of greatest price. The temple shows us where.

Thanks to recent building efforts, over 90 percent of Church members today can travel to a temple within four hours. Some members still make great sacrifices or surmount enormous obstacles to get to the temple, but the sacrifices and obstacles many of us encounter are more internal than external. These obstacles include feelings of unworthiness, competing priorities, and confusion about the temple’s real value in our lives. Too often we see temple attendance as one more demand on our busy schedules rather than as a resource, a glowing white stone to give us light as we travel in the dark. We strain to understand temple teachings. We struggle to access its promised endowment of power. We can get to the temple, but we don’t always get the temple. And when we don’t, the temple may not satisfy the deepest longings of our souls. We want more than to get to the temple, more even than to get the temple. We want to get home. Home to the God who gives us life. Home to the truest light within us.

Obviously, getting to this home is not about renting a moving van or buying a plane ticket. This “getting home” is a process of becoming, of being shaped into the home we seek. The temple not only takes us home but also makes us home, creating in each of us a living place for God to dwell. This is a home that, as Deity’s full heirs, we will inhabit throughout eternity. As Paul states, “Know ye not that <i<ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16; italics mine). The Church is busy building temples so God can use them to build temples of us. In that cause we are not building hundreds of temples, but millions. With the reverence the temple requires, the purpose of this book is to explore this healing house and journey.

The Destination
Before taking a journey, we like to have some idea of what we should be looking for when we arrive. When it comes to the temple journey, the answer is simple: We should be looking for God. God himself has encouraged us in that expectation:

And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;
Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God.
(Doctrine and Covenants 97:15–16)

My husband and I love to hide Easter eggs for our children in the most obscure places we can think of. Sometimes we are so successful they don’t find all our handiwork for years. But we don’t hide Easter eggs to keep them away from our children. We hide them to enrich the experience of finding. I think maybe God is a little like this. He does not make us search for him because he wants to stay hidden, but because the very process of seeking helps prepare us to discover him. In the end, God wants to be found. He says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Too often we blame God for the distance between us when we are the ones who hold the door shut. Sometimes we keep our distance through disobedience or neglect. Often I think we keep him away out of fear of the very intimacy we seek. It can make us feel vulnerable to get too close.1 We feel exposed and afraid when we have to stand too near the light. We may seek, but not with all our self-protecting hearts.

Throughout the world, people seek God in many ways. They build cathedrals and mosques, read holy books, walk on burning coals, retreat to monasteries, fast, pray, take hallucinogenic drugs, and trek to mountain retreats, all in attempts to connect with a power beyond them that will give meaning to life and death. A chosen few somehow find the hidden portal, pierce the veil, and perceive the infinite. The places where they find God become holy sites others seek. Through visiting such places we try to make the otherworldly more real and imaginable. We try to feel something that transcends the daily humdrum and gives us courage and hope as we live in the dark. When Muslims travel to Mecca, Catholics to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jews to Sinai, or Latter-day Saints to the Sacred Grove, they all go to find some vestige of the sacred that might light up the hidden passage to God.

When someone makes a trip to a sacred place with a sacred purpose, we call it a pilgrimage. A pilgrim differs from a tourist, even though they may visit identical locations. A tourist goes to see a place; a pilgrim goes to demonstrate holy desires, engage in a process of personal transformation, and seek out the divine.

I once made a pilgrimage to Bethlehem Square on Christmas Eve, seeking the Prince of Peace while soldiers with machine guns patrolled from rooftops overhead. I guess it was personally transforming, but not in the way I hoped. Perhaps you have made a pilgrimage to the Sacred Grove and wondered which trees shared the witness of the young boy whose name God spoke there. Pilgrims travel to now-empty pyramids built by ancient Egyptians trying to ensure the survival of their souls or visit Muslim mosques in Istanbul or Muscat and marvel at the devotion of those who heed a call to prayer five times each day. Pilgrims join the reverent Jews who pray at the Western Wall that once flanked Jerusalem’s temple or climb the legendary mount where Moses saw God face-to-face. Pilgrims weep in the Garden Tomb, accepting the inscription on its door, “He is not here. He is risen.”

While I have felt the Spirit in such places, I have also learned searching for someone else’s old Easter eggs is not the solution to my current hungers. Historical sites of pilgrimage might help me imagine God revealing himself to others, but exotic places and mysterious traditions are not the objects of my search. Fortunately, I don’t need to book a flight to a distant city to find the gateway to heaven. The “house of my pilgrimage” (Psalm 119:54; italics mine), the living door to the living God, is the temple. Within these sacred walls, God promises he can be found, today, by “all the pure in heart.” A hefty qualifier to be sure, but is there a more astounding, radical, consummate promise?

So the temple is much more than a place to commemorate sacred history. It is a place of living fountains of eternal life. Elder Boyd K. Packer states, “All roads lead to the temple, for it is there that we are prepared in all things to qualify us to enter the presence of the Lord.”2 “Without [temple] ordinances,” the Lord reminds us, “no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:21–22). Well then, with such ordinances, what might we see? God invites us to the temple today so we might seek his face and so we might find him.

People seek the face of God for many reasons, of course, some good and others not so good. Sometimes I am still tempted to think seeing his face would end the rigors and uncertainties of my mortal journey and put my doubts, struggles, or feelings of unworthiness to rest. Church history suggests I am wrong about that, however. More purely perhaps, I seek him for forgiveness. I seek him to worship at his feet. I seek him to learn about his ways. I seek him because I love him because he first loved me (1 John 4:19). I want to acquire his identities, his attributes, and desires, for when it comes to holiness, I know I can see only what I have at least in part become. I seek him because I want to be his, both by lineage and by nature, engraving his image upon my countenance and shaping my life to the pattern of the Son. I seek him because I want him to find me.

Given such a destination, it goes without saying this will be a journey like no other. It is a personal journey. Although we may enjoy the company of fellow travelers from time to time, much of this journey is taken alone, without earthly purse or scrip to rely on. The Savior alluded to this journey when he said to his Apostles near the end of his life:

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2–3)

What is “my Father’s house”? While it is certainly heaven, is it not also the temple? Brigham Young University religion professor John Welch pointed out to a class of his I attended that at the time of the King James translation of the Bible, the word mansion did not refer to an elaborate, expensive home but to a stopping place on a journey, a way station for a traveler. The Greek word translated as “mansion,” monai, can also have this meaning of a resting place or way station. Welch also taught us the word translated here as “receive” connotes escorting a person or taking someone with you. So this passage of scripture might be understood to communicate, “In my Father’s temple are many way stations along a journey. I go to get everything ready for you, and I will return and be your escort, taking you with me to where I am, that where I am, ye may be also.” These words reiterate the idea of the temple as a series of way stations on the road through mortality that leads to the face of God.

The Journey of Healing
On this mortal journey, even our perfect Savior experienced great injury and was left with many scars. This journey entails danger to the body and the spirit, and no one gets through it alive. Christ blazes this trail, making everything ready. He assures us his power is sufficient to heal and redeem every wound we might sustain in our travels.

And wounded we are! Just as most of us eventually break a bone, run a fever, strain a muscle, or skin a knee, we also experience broken dreams, feverish emotions, strains on our most important relationships, and abrasions of regret we cannot will away. Our personal journey may not entail a heart attack, cancer, a snakebite, or starvation, but we can hardly escape heart blockages to our creativity, malignant struggles with power or powerlessness, or some poisonous or hungry parenting practice we pass on to yet another generation. Imprisoning addictions, soul-shaking failures, heart- wrenching betrayals, and personal tragic flaws unravel the spirit as well as the body. Mortal experiences that leave us physically wounded and emotionally disabled can also lead to “secondary infections” of spiritual doubt, disillusionment, or despair.

Among many things that drew early converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the promise of spiritual gifts of tongues, prophecy, visions, healings—gifts they eagerly claimed and explored. I am especially moved by their attempts at spiritual healing. I don’t pretend to understand how healing occurs, whether through gifts of the spirit or medical interventions, but as I read those early accounts of laying on of hands and pouring on of oil, I touch my sores and remember wistfully where I hurt. I need those healing gifts.

Surely I am not alone. The road of life we all set off on with such high hopes is quickly revealed to be the legendary road that descends from the Holy City toward the city of Jericho on the banks of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth. This is the path we take as we leave our holy home and descend to earth, and indeed this path is trod by murderous thieves who leave us beaten and bleeding by the wayside. “All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers,” Jesus says, “[who] cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:8,10). In the story, the Samaritan finds the wounded traveler and brings him to an inn to heal. Christ is our good Samaritan, the outcast and despised one who joins us on every step of our long descent. As he journeys, he comes where we are, sees us, and has compassion on us (Luke 10:33). He brings us to the healing inn of the temple and pays in full for our care.

When Christ finds us, he does not merely offer to nurse us back to what we were, however. He says, “I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). He offers us abundance—enough and to spare of the things that matter most. The temple teaches us what matters most and how we might obtain it, generously measured, pressed down, and running over. Temple ordinances point us to the Abundant God and to Jesus Christ, whom the Father has sent. Our Rescuer and Healer is also our Daily Bread, our Living Water, our Tree of Life laden with the fruit of God’s incomparable love.

Healing versus Cure
As I have noted before, each of us must find the temple’s meaning through the lens of our own understanding. Because I see the temple as a hospital does not mean that is the “right answer” or that it is not also a ship, a switchboard, an umbilical cord, a tree, a fountain, a kitchen, or a stone.

Since I am exploring the metaphor of healing, let me first distinguish healing from cure. Cure returns us to our previous state of wellness, which is usually what we long for. But the scriptures never speak of the gift of cure. They speak of the gift of healing. Healing is a different process from cure. Healing involves a spiritual and emotional reweaving of our life story to incorporate, not merely remove, our injuries. It involves growth and personal change, maturation into a new state of deeper trust in God despite, not in the absence of, suffering. It includes acceptance of our lost innocence, while reaching toward greater wisdom. Healing does not mean going back to Eden, but going forward through the wounding world of mortality to a wholeness that transcends rather than excludes evil. While we cannot expect the temple to cure all our mortal ills, returning us to what we were before, it can help us heal from all our ills as God comforts, redeems, and changes us into something new. The temple helps us regain momentum and direction when we become paralyzed. It offers relief and calm when our hearts race amid life’s challenges. It teaches us of God’s most powerful healing promises: forgiveness, sanctification, resurrection, and redemption. We can begin to access these healing promises today, even if a cure must wait for tomorrow.

A colleague once told me he appreciated my holding out for healing in a discipline (psychology) that speaks mostly of coping. Actually I hold out for both. God’s promise to those who want only cure is that we can get along in a leper colony if that is our lot, and we can find even in such a place the ways we are not poor or broken as well as the ways we are. In contrast, he tells those who settle for coping out of fear of the surgeon’s hand that we can also truly, deeply, permanently heal, although such healing will not just return us to what we were before. In fact, his healing is an act so radical it partakes of dying and of being born again.

Within that new birth, the temple journey cannot only turn our holes into wholeness but our wholeness into holiness. The words healing, health, wholeness, and holiness have much in common, in fact. Oxford English Dictionary definitions of healing include both restoring to wholeness and saving spiritually. Salvation salves the wounded soul. Christ teaches:

[If] they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart . . . I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them. (3 Nephi 18:32; italics mine)

Christ saves and heals us through the instrument of his own wounds:
He shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and . . . will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people . . . that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. (Alma 7:11–12)

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities . . . and with his stripes, we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

Among the Savior’s miracles, the most common, sought after, and freely offered was healing. He is compassionate for our wounds because he joins us in them all.

The Journey of Holiness
Healing is only a beginning, however. As we make the journey of healing, the temple walks us toward a holiness that transcends our wounds and our losses. Christ wants to do more than heal us; he wants to sanctify us— to touch our eyes that we might truly see; to purify our hearts; to foster our creativity, power, and compassion; and to bring us toward glory. He wants to help us become fully alive and fully ourselves and then capacitate us to engender that spiritual life in others. Yet even among those he taught, fed, healed, and loved so personally, relatively few stuck around for holiness. Will we?

The principles of holiness include purity of heart, charity and compassion, humility, sacrifice, repentance, and forgiveness. Even as our physical health fails, these spiritual capacities can increase. The <LDS Bible Dictionary includes this definition of holiness:

According to the [Old Testament], things or places were holy that were set apart for a sacred purpose. . . . The Israelites were a holy people because they stood in a special relationship to Jehovah. Under the guidance of the Prophets it was seen that what distinguished Jehovah from the gods of the heathen was his personal character. The word holy therefore came to refer to moral character. (pp. 703–4)

Holiness entails (1) being set apart for a sacred purpose in a special relationship to God and (2) a refined moral character. Holiness is essential to our journey toward the face of God. Paul enjoins the Hebrews to “Follow . . . holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Paul also tells us we can increase in holiness by submitting to God’s corrective chastening “for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness” (v. 10). Paul doesn’t promise this will always be fun: “Now no chastening for the present moment seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (v. 11). The sting of being chastened is more than worth the blessings we can receive as God coaches us toward the righteousness or holiness we need if we are to find the passage that will allow us to see his face and live.

We can gratefully seek God’s correction or avoid it out of shame or fear. To avoid chastening is to leave the path that leads us to him. No unclean thing can enter his presence—end of story. Unless we see our rebelliousness for what it is, we cannot change our minds and repent, and we cannot get home.

Thankfully, the story is a little different when we are dealing with mortal weakness, which does not have to hold us back from him and which does not in itself make us unclean.3 Weakness includes being subject to emotion, temptation, physical and emotional illness; predispositions we are born with; the fallout of trauma; or any limitation on our energy or capac ity. God gives us weakness as part of our mortal experience (Ether 12:27), but we can be clean from sin only if we repent and exercise faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Jacob teaches that even when we have qualified through repentance and effort for great spiritual power, far beyond what most of us would claim, we will continue to have weakness to remind us of our dependence on the Lord:

Wherefore, we search the prophecies, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.

Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things. (Jacob 4:6–7; italics mine)

If we are willing, there is perhaps no quicker route to spiritual growth than to humbly and sincerely ask the Lord to show us our sins. In my experience, this is a prayer he always answers. We can also ask him to show us our weakness and help us grow into the strengths weakness can engender— strengths of compassion, humility, patience, trust, wisdom, hope, and charity. These are the very characteristics that make us more like our Father. They are the gifts mortal weakness can lead us toward as we rely humbly on Christ’s Atonement. In contrast, when we are unwilling to see ourselves clearly, our spirituality stagnates. We wander off. We lose sight of the path. If we want to see the Lord, then we must first accurately see ourselves.

Rules of the Road
Having clarified both our destination and something of the nature of the trip, we realize how much we stand to gain from the temple journey. However, a few caveats are in order before we proceed.

First: Expect the Unexpected
Pilgrimages are not always orderly affairs. In the temple, as in life, we may feel as though we are being thrust onto a road to an unknown destination before we have even had time to pack. This is not how we imagined it would be when we set out for our endowment, a mission, marriage, parenting, therapy, a calling, aging . . . or just our morning walk. But here we are, trudging nervously along as the smooth, paved road of personal transformation turns to gravel, then a dirt trail, then a faint row of footsteps in the sand, visible only in retrospect. Enemies appear from nowhere. Familiarity drops out from under us. At times, everything we thought we knew about life, ourselves, or God seems suspect. Is all this uncertainty really necessary? we wonder.

Life unnerves us and stretches us in many ways. Sometimes the path of growth is gently watered with a soft, accumulating recognition that we are not yet who we want to be. Other times a sudden storm floods and unbalances us, threatening all we own. Introduction to the inner rooms of the temple can feel like such a flood, sweeping us without warning onto unfamiliar ground. Shaking us up a bit may be part of the temple’s purpose. Enoch, Samuel, and Joseph Smith remind us that a prophetic call disturbs the initiate’s comfortable world, and the endowment is in many ways such a call. The temple announces our priestly and prophetic mission. It calls to us from our personal burning bush. We begin this journey not by putting our shoes on but by taking them off.

Second: Safeguard the Sacred
Once inside the temple, we quickly recognize we are in a new country with a different language and culture from our ordinary life. This place has more in common with our dreams than with offices or kitchens or even chapels. Remember though: our most intimate human relationships unfold in privacy. So must our most intimate encounters with God. Just as healing unfolds somewhere under the dressings that block it from view, the temple unfolds its mysteries in privacy. Holiness is not bought in the marketplace. We approach these deep alchemies in whispers. They distill on our soul as dews from heaven as we wonder, seek, and grow still. Latter-day Saints are not the only ones to expect reverence and a cer tain silence to surround the sacred. As Malidoma Patrice Somé, an African of the Dagara tribe, says of his native rites of initiation,

Every initiation has its esoteric and exoteric parts. As years have passed, I have realized that some things can be told and others not. Telling diminishes what is told. Only what has been integrated by the human aspect of ourselves can be shared with others. I have also come to believe that things stay alive proportionally to how much silence there is around them. Meaning does not need words to exist.4

Temple ordinances also have their esoteric and exoteric parts—things that can be told and things that cannot be told outside of their sacred context without diminishing them, or rather, us. For this reason, one- dimensional explanations of temple meaning will not help us much. Words and ideas without soul-level understanding are not only inadequate but also potentially dangerous, since people do not keep searching for something they think they have already found. Nor can words alone communicate the meanings of temple ordinances to those unprepared by desire, expe rience, and righteousness to receive them. Temple ceremonies ultimately claim their meaning within the sacred confines of the spiritually prepared human heart.

Simplistic explanations of temple meaning will also fail because temple wisdom is simply too large a pearl for anyone to circumscribe. Elder John A. Widtsoe explains:

The endowment is so richly symbolic that only a fool would attempt to describe it; it is so packed full of revelations to those who exercise their strength to seek and see, that no human words can explain or make clear the possibilities that reside in the temple service.5

Like the parables of Jesus, temple ordinances house both broad, universal truths and the potential for private discovery. We rightly search for both. While the temple’s “meaning” resides in a private relationship between us and the Lord, that meaning must be engaged and cultivated if it is to bear fruit in our lives, and others’ perspectives can be useful as we clarify our own. There is no need for concern if the sweetest fruits are on branches “way over our head.” As we continue to grow, our reach will be extended. Meanwhile, patience is called for, along with gratitude for blessings and understanding we already grasp.

Third: Stay with the Journey
I have gone for years without resolving some temple questions only to have an answer pop! into my awareness with sudden clarity. Many answers come only after completing the prerequisites: specific experiences, problems, relationships, repentance, study, or prayer. We rightly expect temple lessons to be accompanied by intellectual insight, feelings of comfort, increased perspective. But sometimes these gifts come only after long stretches of intellectual confusion, tremendous discomfort, and groping in the dark. The temple may not immediately illuminate the yellow-brick road to our future. More often it confirms we are on a good path only after we have headed out into the dark, no flashlight in hand.

A friend recently told me, “Everything will be all right in the end. If everything is not all right, it is not the end.” Pop! This is also true in the temple: if everything does not yet feel all right, then remember we are not yet at the end. We may need to go more often to become more immersed in temple language and images. We may need to ask different questions or look in more diverse places for answers. We may need to wait patiently and enjoy the view already before us. And sometimes we may just need to get back to living for a while, trusting God will help us figure it out as we go.

The House of the Soul
As noted earlier, the temple experience implies both taking a journey, which requires leaving home, and building a house, which implies staying home. In ancient myths, journey-taking was primarily a man’s task that took him out into the world to find himself. An oft-repeated phrase in the Doctrine and Covenants is the call to someone to “take his journey.”

In contrast, psychotherapist Maureen Murdock writes, “Women find their way back to themselves not by moving up and out into the light like men, but by moving down into the depths. . . . The spiritual experience for women is one of moving more deeply into self rather than out of self.”6 The temple takes us deeply into ourselves, rebuilding our foundation stones and reorganizing our inner identities. Perhaps this is one reason God refers to the temple, this place of deep self- reflection, as “the house of the daughters of Zion” (Doctrine and Covenants 124:11).7 Both men and women build this inner temple, though perhaps in different layouts or with different furnishings. Both men and women take the journey of the soul, but perhaps at different times or in different vehicles.

Our temple destination is God, our Home. The journey of healing and holiness we will explore here, tentatively and from one person’s vantage point, is designed to take us to him by making us like him. Taking this journey is itself a way of building and rebuilding the house of the soul. The tools and the blueprints are found on the journey, enabling us to make of the raw material of our lives a fitting home for the spirit—both God’s and ours. The temple path leads us away from the sleepy comforts of home and civilization and wanders through an inhospitable wilderness so vast and dry it can suck the life out of us. And then, mysteriously, the path brings us to a fulness of life and a sweetness of connection, opens our eyes, and makes us whole.

Don’t be put off by surprises. Reverence the sacred. Be prepared to change and change. Keep walking. Stay alert for a man in camel’s hair or a woman by a well—faithful witnesses who know the Lord and can point us toward Living Water, the Carpenter’s Son. Then trust. Even when your feet are dirty, your knees buckle, or your heart fails—trust. Though we cannot imagine how, God can heal our hearts and hallow our eyes to see his face and live. His promises are sure.

    Healing Practice for Chapter One: The Search
    At the end of each chapter are a few questions and exercises to invite you to experiment with the ideas you’ve read. I try to provide a variety from which to choose. Those exercises that seem the most interesting or the most threatening may give the most useful information. In most cases, you will gain more if you write things down rather than just think about them, so consider getting a notebook or opening a computer file for the written exercises.
  • Observing prayer. Think of yourself getting ready to pray. Where are you? What posture do you assume? Where do you look (even if your eyes are closed)? Where do you imagine God? What do you imagine him doing? If you have any interest in pursuing this exercise, don’t read further until you do this part.
  • Observing more. Again, think of yourself getting ready to pray. Imagine inviting the Father to sit very close to you. Imagine him listening to you with full attention. Listen for what he says to you. Notice what feelings this evokes in you. Write down what you learn.

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Not what I expected

by  April  -   reviewed on  October 30, 2012

I am very disappointed with this book. The real name should be "How Psychology Pertains to the Temple"! I didn't learn anything new about the temple experience, just how to psychoanalyze everything!

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Excellent and Informative

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  August 14, 2012

Reading books by this author is always a pleasure. She has a gift with language and her books are a pleasure to read. This book is also excellent. The author's insights add a lot of depth to understanding the temple.

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Insightful

by  Norm  -   reviewed on  August 14, 2012

This book is a thoughtful reference and is full of ideas. I have had the opportunity to talk with Wendy about the symbolism of the temple while in the temple and she brings a deep and insightful perspective to this topic.

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Special Experience

by  Jayne  -   reviewed on  September 03, 2012

If you are looking for a way to deepen your experience with the Temple, this is a book I would recommend. The author does a great job at highlighting and teaching concepts about the temple that I had not thought about, but will definitely think about as I go now and in the future.

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Exquisite insights

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  August 13, 2012

Wendy has a knack for making gospel principles come alive. She integrates work from psychology, religion, and temple worship to help people heal. The ideas in this book with help thoughtful people learn more about themselves and their relationship with the divine. The book is insightful and thoughtful. It has marvelous stories that capture profound principles. it is a must read to help faithful Saints recognize and renew their covenants.

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Best single book on temple

by  Customer  -   reviewed on  August 15, 2012

The author does an incredible job of deepening my understanding of the temple without compromising in anyway the sacred nature of the material she is covering. Usually I hope to get just one or two insights in a book on the temple. This one gave dozens. It helped me open my mind to new ways of thinking about things so that I was more receptive to my own personal revelation. The temple is now accessible to me in a way it wasn't before. This book is definitely in my permanent library.

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Excellent book!!!

by  Jeremy   -   reviewed on  April 19, 2013

I was a student of Wendy's at BYU this last semester and our curriculum included readings from this book as well as the healing exercises. This book had a profound impact on my life. I feel like I have a greater understanding of not only the temple, but how the temple can be "carried with us everywhere we go." As a soon to be military chaplain, I feel like this book will help me as I work with people who are stuggling with trauma and trying to deepen their relationship with God. I highly recommend this book to everyone, even if you are not LDS.

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