Ryan Jensen: How ‘seeing inside the temple’ gave our daughter a glimpse into eternity

The announcement of a new temple’s location brings joy, then comes renewed spiritual preparation

Over the last four years, my family has watched as the Church built the Layton Utah Temple only a few blocks from our home. The anticipation was palpable among our friends and neighbors and came to a crescendo with the beginning of the open house for this new house of the Lord.

The week prior to the doors opening to welcome those who have long waited to see inside the temple’s walls, modern prophets, apostles and other Church leaders taught about temple covenants as part of their April 2024 general conference messages.

“There is nothing more important than honoring the covenants you have made or may make in the temple,” President Henry B. Eyring said in his message Saturday, April 6, adding, “Visit as frequently as circumstances will allow. Make and keep sacred covenants with God.”

The second counselor in the First Presidency, President Eyring recently faced the passing of his wife and eternal companion with faith and hope. To hear him speak of Heavenly Father’s promised blessings that come through honoring covenants made in the temple renewed my own hope after the death of my younger sister. When I heard his words and felt the Spirit as he spoke, I became more excited to have a temple so close to my home.

On the day that the photos were released of the inside of the Layton temple, I excitedly yelled to those in our house to come and see them with me. Two of my daughters rushed to look with me. But one daughter flatly refused. Shocked, I asked her why she didn’t want to see them.

Ryan Jensen and his family stand in front of the Layton Utah Temple during the temple's open house in April 2024. | Lynette Checketts

“I want to see it when we go inside,” she said.

She had seen photos of temples before. She had been in other temples to do baptisms for the dead. But this temple is her temple. And she wanted to see it in person, not on a computer screen.

She has now toured the temple both with our family and with the other youth from our stake. When all the youth of the stake entered the celestial room and the doors closed, the room was silent. Hundreds of youth stood and sat without making a sound. They looked around. They bowed their heads. They watched each other. They felt something special.

Looking at the photos of the temple was exciting. But I understood what my daughter was yearning for. She wanted to be there, and she went. She wanted that feeling, and she got it.

It will be a few years before she can make covenants of her own in that temple. But she has now had the feeling that she knew she needed in order to point her in the direction of having that feeling with her for eternity.

As parents, her mom and I look forward to that time when she and her siblings will make their own covenants in the temple. We hope we have set an example by honoring those we also made in a house of the Lord. And we hope that she will follow through in order to receive another promise President Eyring made in his conference message in April.

“As we attend the temple and remember our covenants, we can prepare to receive personal direction from the Lord.”

Because, as her parents, we know that “personal direction from the Lord” will last longer than our counsel to her.

Heavenly Father knows all of His children and knows exactly what guidance to provide, even when mortal parents do not. So if she felt His guidance when she walked through His house, that is the best thing we could have asked for. And that puts her on the path to making the decision to be sealed and having her own family one day, as well.

President Eyring taught in his conference message that it is through that covenant that we can be together as a family forever.

“It is through the sealing covenants in the temple that we can receive the assurance of loving family connections that will continue after death and last for eternity.”

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