From Wings to the Temple

From Wings to the Temple

From Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul

From Wings to the Temple

And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.

1 Ne. 11:25

Growing up in an LDS family doesn’t always guarantee you’ll listen to everyone’s counsel. As a teenager, I definitely was not a listener—and I rode on the wings of other people’s testimonies. That continued until I was an adult, when I decided I was tired of riding and wanted to be the pilot. It was only after a series of not-so-pleasant events and my friend’s cutting words about my marriage that I decided to take a serious look at what I really wanted from life.

I began a quest for my own knowledge of the truth through much prayer and scripture reading. For the first time in my life the scriptures were no longer “Greek” to me. Not only did I understand them, but the words came to life as they played out each scene in my head. My heart swelled as I read and finally had a confirmation of their truthfulness. I was now the pilot, and I longed to soar to everyone and share this great treasure I had found!

That experience set my compass on a whole new life course. After some coaxing from my mom, I attended the temple again to perform baptisms with the youth. This turned out to be another pivotal event in my life. As I prepared to go to the temple I could feel Satan trying to get his hooks into me through the ways of the world. I did my best to avoid anything “evil,” even if it was just in appearance. Listening to uplifting music during the seven-hour drive to the temple helped promote the Spirit. As we got closer to the temple I anxiously looked for glimpses of Moroni. As we rounded the corner I saw him, high above the temple, shimmering in the sunlight, nobly grasping his trumpet. Tears filled my eyes as I remembered being at the temple as a youth. I was so grateful to be near the temple and feel the Spirit there once again.

It was the greatest feeling to be at the temple, but I literally felt like my heart had been ripped out when I saw all of the endowed chaperones (all of the adults other than me) leave to change into their temple clothes. There I sat in the temple waiting room—and even though the room was filled with youth, I felt alone. I felt like I had been left behind or left out. It was something like being picked last for a sports game in elementary school, but a hundred times worse! Avoiding eye contact was the only way I could keep from bursting into tears. At the time I didn’t understand why I was feeling this way. I was at the temple! You’re not supposed to feel like that at the temple! The rest of my day at the temple was filled with the Spirit and was awesome as I spent it performing baptisms and confirmations.

A few weeks after my temple trip, I had a vivid dream that reminded me of those moments in the temple waiting room. In my dream I stood in a dark, smoky room. In the middle was an iron rod that ran from one end of the room through an opening at the other end of the room. On one side of the rod people were gathered around a bar—drinking, smoking and watching those of us by the iron rod. As I held on to the rod and walked toward the door, I saw people from my ward, dressed in white, standing at the door. I was happy to see several recognizable faces. I then noticed that the people around me holding on to the rod were also dressed in white and were allowed to go through the door.

When I reached the door and looked through it, I could see the temple in the distance. The rod led all the way to the temple, and along its path people in white were walking toward the temple doors. There were families. There were couples. There were friends. As I drew closer to the door I could feel the love of all who passed through it, but then I realized I couldn’t go through the door. Those who did had a temple recommend. I didn’t. I again experienced the feelings of being left out and alone.

When I woke up and began thinking about my dream, I remembered the way I felt in the waiting room at the temple. During the next few months, I had several other dreams with similar themes. Those dreams put into motion the necessary steps I needed to take to receive my own endowment.

When I began working to achieve that goal, I was warned that the journey would not be an easy one. Many obstacles stood in my way—especially as the time drew closer for me to go. This change in me was difficult for my then-inactive husband, and it caused a lot of contention in our marriage. Additionally, I suffered a miscarriage; the engine in our family car cracked, leaving us with a small pickup truck to transport our family of four; our finances were very limited, and the money I had set aside to purchase garments had to be used to buy special shampoos and sprays when our children contracted lice. I lived by the saying, “I never said it would be easy. I only said it would be worth it.”

Despite the obstacles, I continued to have faith and refused to give up. Four months after the youth temple trip, I once again took the seven-hour trip and returned to the temple—but this time I didn’t feel left out. I finally belonged. I had a temple recommend to receive my endowment.

I received many blessings through my experience. The day before I left for the temple, a check arrived in the mail from a great friend who wanted to be there with me but couldn’t. She sent the check to help with the cost of purchasing garments. She never knew the money I had set aside was gone! After attending the temple I became pregnant and gave birth to our third son on the Fourth of July. We were able to purchase a minivan to accommodate our growing family. My inactive husband slowly began attending church again (when I requested this in lieu of gifts for every occasion), and one day decided to start wearing his garments, too!

Although I continue to experience obstacles, I find strength through faith and a growing testimony of the gospel. I know if I had continued riding on the wings of others and had not become the pilot, I would have fallen off—and my parachute at the time was full of holes!

Kirsten Fitzgerald

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