My first experience inside the temple was sealed to my family at six years old. My father had been recently baptized, and my family was excited to be sealed in the temple. I remember feeling the Spirit and recognizing the importance of being inside the temple walls. It was a special day for my family, and the Spirit left an impression on my heart of a feeling of home and a desire to return. Throughout the rest of my childhood and my teenage years, I eagerly look forward to the day that I would go back to the temple to partake of ordinances myself.
I had the opportunity to go to the temple before serving my mission. After my mission, I have had the opportunity to be an ordinance worker for several years. This has allowed me to become comfortable with the temple and make it a space of my own, a place of mediation, and a place between heaven and earth. My 20s have proven to be filled with unexpected challenges, like is the experience of many people. When I was 23, I experienced a devastating heartbreak that really shook me to my core. I made it a point to regularly attend the temple outside of my temple shifts to seek comfort and guidance. Oftentimes I wouldn’t necessarily receive any answers or any grand epiphanies. But it helped me carry on during an immobilizing time. Usually, through symbolism and rituals, I felt like I was personally being hugged by our Savior. The temple didn’t give me clear answers to what to do with my life or where to go. Still, I was able to learn how to utilize the atonement through meditation within the temple walls.
Through my time as an ordinance worker, as a patron, and for serving my deceased family, I learned that I can create a safe space for me. The Temple ultimately provided a space where I could feel my emotions. It gave me a space to be my authentic self during my particular circumstances and to commune with our Heavenly Parents and our Savior, Jesus Christ. This has encouraged me to create a safe space at home, work, and church for marginalized communities, communities such as the LGBT+ community, BIPOC communities, and any other marginalized identity within our society today. I strive to create spaces for them to authentically be themselves and express their specific and individual concerns, circumstances, challenges, and emotions. I am grateful for the temple and the template that it provides for me to personally create a safe space for the broken-hearted, out-casted, and marginalized.