Menu

Holly Richardson: How I came to know the power of the temple does not reside in the building

I love the temple and was heart-broken when a global pandemic caused them to be temporarily closed. 

Sister Wendy Nelson, in her book “Covenant Women” invited us to try a 21-day experiment: make a sacrifice of time to attend the temple. I took her at her word and have a testimony that the Lord will multiply my time and my abilities if I would put Him first by making a sacrifice of time to attend the temple. 

The blessings of time management and increased capacity are notable and extend beyond my capabilities as a wife and mother. Last year, in the middle of a hectic semester of classes for the PhD degree I am pursuing, I had many assignments due within one week, including two big papers. I did not know how I could possibly get everything done, so I went to the temple every day that week. In the end, I got all of my assignments done and submitted on time. It was truly a miracle. 

I had come to rely on the temple as one of my primary sources of spiritual strength. When they closed, I moped around for longer than I should have. Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said recently, “Limited access doesn’t change the impact the temple can have in our lives” and I started to look for the power of the temple, outside the temple.

I found some things that work for me. First, I am being reminded that the power of the temple does not reside in the building, but in the power of our covenants. I miss the quiet peace of the temple and so began extending my meditation time so that I could be still and listen longer. I’ve increased my time in nature, where I feel God’s presence. I’ve spent more time in scriptures and more time in journaling. 

Then one day in August, when I was wishing I could just put my friend’s name on the temple prayer roll, God gave me an uncomfortable insight. I had been using the temple prayer roll as a crutch, as the easy way out.

I had gotten into the habit of putting names on the prayer roll of those who I felt needed additional prayers and support. I told myself I had done my part and thought about how great it was that so many people were praying for my friends. I forgot about my part.

That day in my garden, I realized that I had not actually been exercising my faith on behalf of my friends and family in specific and personal ways. I had generally not been praying for them by name, or asking specifically for the blessings they needed in their lives. I had been leaving that to the temple and its patrons.

My prayers changed immediately. I’ve started praying for people each day by name and by need. I do not toss off a “bless our family” and call it good, but spend the time to talk to God about the people I love and whom I am praying for. My love for them has increased as I have done so. 

It has also led me to ask myself: what other parts of temple attendance have become more rote than they should be? How can I make my time in the temple richer and more meaningful once I go back? And what more can I do to use the power of my covenants even when I cannot attend the temple in person?

I don’t know all the answers, but I am working on finding what works best for me. And, I’m looking forward to returning to my happy place. 

— Holly Richardson of the Pleasant Grove Utah Manila Stake is a wife, mother and temple worker in the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple.

Related Stories
Latest temple updates: 72 of Church’s 170 dedicated temples now returning to normal operations
Video: President Nelson talks about the 'painful' decision to close temples amid COVID-19
Elder Renlund explains how to access the power of the temple — whether it’s open or not
Watch: What ancient and present-day temples mean to scholars of other faiths and Latter-day Saints
Newsletters
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed