Monday, January 23, 2017

March on Raleigh, part II: the temple

I've heard stories about people believing that Satan is doing everything in his power to keep them from attending the temple. The first I heard this was from my neighbour across the street when I used to babysit her boys (who no longer need babysitting) quite regularly—often so that she and her husband could go to the temple. They had some sort of code word for talking about the temple, as if they could trick Satan into thinking they were going somewhere else and thus he wouldn't stir up chaos to keep them from getting to the temple. I've heard similar stories since then.

But what if there's a greater power paving the way to the temple, clearing obstacles, sending out a homing beacon, calling us home (or at least to His house).

Side story, yesterday in nursery we were talking about prayer, specifically about things we could be thankful for in our prayers. The kids were taking turns pulling items out of a bag to figure out what we could be grateful for next. When the picture of the temple was pulled out a little girl said, "That's the temple! Mommy and daddy live there!" What a sweet misconstruction of the facts. But, yes, the temple is The House of the Lord and we should feel welcome there. (I'm assuming that this little girl was talking about a wedding photograph of her parents, probably standing in front of a similar temple).


Our attendance record in recent history has been rather scant.

When we first got married—and lived with a half hour drive of, like, five different temples—we would go once a week. Once we started adding children to the mix, however, it became more difficult to go that often (especially with wee ones because my babies pointedly refused bottles). And then we moved to Egypt; there is no temple in Egypt so we didn't go at all. And then we moved back to Utah with more children than before and tried to go only once a month. And then we moved here with even more children.

The temple isn't terribly far (a 45-minute drive), but it's been hard to go frequently. I'm sure a lot of our reasons for staying home are mere rationalizations, but going to the temple ends up being a five-hour commitment. It's hard for me to ask anyone to take on our children for that long. There aren't many session to choose from. Our Utah Valley "norm" is having a session available "every 20 minutes from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m." Here we have to call to make an appointment and I find the schedule hard to wrap my head around.

On Saturdays you can go at 8:30 or 10:30 AM or 1:00 or 3:00 PM. But on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays you can go at 5:00 or 7:00 PM as well. Tuesdays through Fridays the regular sessions are at 6:00 and 7:45, but Wednesdays and Fridays have morning sessions as well. On the 2nd and 4th Fridays you can go at 6:00 AM.

If the session you'd like is full then you're out of luck. You have to choose a different session at a different time or on a different day, which is a whole lot more complicated when you have a handful of children and a babysitter's schedule to consider.

I've had times where I've had a willing babysitter on hand but have been unable to secure a spot in any session—for anything. I suppose that's good because that means the temple is full. But if it's that full...add a session?

I've also had times where I've been able to make an appointment but have been unable to find a babysitter.

We also once got stuck in traffic and so they started the session without us. Luckily when I called (almost in tears) to say there was no way we were going to be able to make it, they were able to squeeze us into a sealing session.

Anyway, our ward's ward temple day was on Saturday. I don't believe our ward has done them—in an official ward-wide capacity—in the past, but I felt like we should make an honest effort to go, even though we "just went" for our anniversary. I didn't know who I could ask to babysit, though. Asking someone to babysit four children for five hours, right around bedtime is no small thing.

And then a dear friend sent an email out to us (and a few other families), offering to host a kid's movie night at their house from 4 PM until 8 PM for anyone who wanted to go to a 5:00 temple session.

With a babysitter secured, I tried to make an appointment to do sealings (since word on the street was that our ward had quite a backlog of sealings to do) but the 5:15 session was full.

"How about an endowment session then?" I asked the sister on the phone (crossing all my fingers and toes—because the offer for babysitting was for a specific window of time).

"That we can do," she said.

Thank goodness!

It made Saturday a bit of a crazy day. We woke up, went to the march, came home for about an hour (we fed the kids and tried to get some chores/work done), and then left again. After our crazy day I was looking forward to the quiet peace of the temple. I suppose it would be easy to say that if I felt I needed the peace of the temple after attending the rally then the rally was wrong or evil. But it wasn't. Not at all. No, I was looking forward to the peace of the temple as I look forward to the quiet of bedtime after a full day of mothering. The stillness gives myself time to take a deep breath, to relax, to recharge, to remember that I do actually still love my children even if they, at times, behave like a bunch of wild animals. It's a different sort of energy. Both are necessary.

On Saturday I needed to march as much as I needed to go to the temple.

We made it to the temple about fifteen minutes before our session started, giving us plenty of time to change. I was ushered to a changing stall and quickly began changing out of my street clothes (Sunday best) and into my temple...dress...oh...

I knew I'd forgotten something.

My temple dress—which is my wedding dress—hangs in my closet.

Is it bad that this is my favourite picture from our wedding?
(December 17, 2005–our reception was the day after our wedding)
Everything else I need for the temple is in my temple bag. My dress is relatively wrinkle-free, so I just put it into my temple bag before we leave and hang it back up when we get home. But every now and then I forget to grab it.

The first time I forgot to grab it was when we went up to Alberta for my cousin Heather's wedding.

September 22 & 23, 2006 (Heather's reception was also the day after her wedding)
We'd planned on doing a session at the Cardston temple while we were up there. Fortunately my mom was getting changed in the stall next to me so I said, "Oh, no! I forgot my dress!" and she ran out and rented one for me. Because you can do that at bigger, busier temples.

Smaller temples, though, like the Raleigh temple, don't rent out clothes. You're required to supply your own, which is fine until you forget to bring something important. Like a dress.

Not knowing what else to do, I put my Sunday clothes back on and went out to find a temple worker. It's not hard to do because there are always a handful milling around the dressing room. I ran into the one who'd shown me to my changing stall mere minutes before hand.

"I forgot my dress!" I confessed, quite embarrassed.

"I've done that before," she commiserated.

"I think we have a few in the back," another said.

"We do?!" the first worker said. "I had no idea."

"Me neither!" I said. "If I could borrow one, that would be great!"

I know they have a laundry of sorts since they supply coveralls to wear when you clean the temple. And I think Andrew forgot his temple clothes the first time he went to do baptisms with the youth and I think they lent him things to wear then as well. They aren't, however, set up to be lending out things to everyone or to be washing loads and loads of laundry. Patrons are expected to take care of their own clothing needs and I entirely understand that (and ordinarily am prepared with everything I need).

Still, I was thankful there was a safety net in place to catch me when I needed it.

Our session was lovely and filled me with peace and a hope for peace in our world.

It was the perfect way to finish off our day (and the children reportedly had a wonderful time at their friend's house—Zoë didn't even cry). 


  1. So, I didn't know the thing about smaller temples not renting out clothes (like you, we have lived far, far away from temples for most of the last ten years so it's just not something I was aware of). I went to the Helsinki temple a few months ago and walked over to what kind of looked like clothing rental and just nonchalantly asked to rent a whole set. They were like, umm, we don't really do that? So they rummaged and found a set and I felt bad but I didn't know, sorry! Now I do.

    I think the session thing goes both ways - on that day, I had a time limit for the END of the session due to babysitter reasons, but they ended up starting sooo late to accommodate people who were running late (probably also for babysitter reasons, ha!) and I was sweating by the end because everything went way overtime. Sigh. /rant

    1. That would be frustrating, too. Here they don't wait very long—they take your phone number when you make an appointment and will start calling you if you're running too late (like, if you're not there 15 minutes before the session starts). I think that might be why the sealing sessions start 15 minutes after the hour? So they can squeeze patrons in there who've otherwise missed their session? I don't know.

      Isn't it so funny about renting clothes? I almost feel like places that don't rent clothes are places where it's harder to obtain clothes so renting them out almost makes MORE sense. But that's just me. (But they don't have the huge laundry facilities that I know the larger temples have, so...). you know! :)

  2. Any temple I've been to that doesn't really offer clothing rental does have clothing on hand. It's not a great variety, but they want people to serve regardless of circumstance. I usually don't have my own if I'm traveling or something, and I quietly explain this to the first female temple worker I see and they quietly take me to their small collection. This counsel came from my grandmother who was a temple worker in a small temple for a long time. Hasn't failed me yet! It also makes sense for pregnant women who usually have their own but don't have a maternity dress. I suppose not every temple is as accommodating, but the ones I've had to do this at so far have.