I got to go to the neatest Relief Society Fireside with my Mom and Ada tonight. It was given by Elder and Sister Newitt who were some of the missionaries that were key in helping repurpose the Provo Tabernacle into a temple after the fire 5 years ago. He talked a lot about strong and water tight foundations. He also talked about after devastation in our own lives that the steps to rebuilding are the same steps they took to rebuild while maintaining the walls of the original tabernacle. It was amazing. Ada was adorable because she drew pictures of all the slides that he showed as they talked. It made me think of something that I've been thinking about since I went into the MTC in 2000. Standing in Holy Places.
In Young Women's, they talk about standing in holy places and associate it mostly with temples (at least my leaders did.) They emphasized about temple marriages and temple ordinances. Those are the end goals, but they never talked about any other faucets of standing in holy places. In Seminary, they brought in the idea that you can make any where that you are into a holy place by living gospel principles. That was brought home better to me while serving my mission. I learned that teaching on the dirt floor in a house made of bamboo was just as holy as learning in a tabernacle or church building.
Lately, I've been thinking about living the gospel intentionally. That choices have consequences, like my sister in law Diane has been writing about. Jer has been challenging me to live the Sabbath day intentionally, not just as a day to rest but as a day to invite the spirit into our home and to teach our children. Making our home into a holy place and being in other holy places by choice.
I love the General Conference talk given called 'Choose to Believe' by Elder Whitney Clayton. He says, "Belief and testimony and faith are not passive principles. They do not just happen to us. Belief is something we choose—we hope for it, we work for it, and we sacrifice for it. We will not accidentally come to believe in the Savior and His gospel any more than we will accidentally pray or pay tithing. We actively choose to believe, just like we choose to keep other commandments."
With that in mind, I've been thinking about intentionally putting myself and family in places that can be holy places (not just making where we are be the holy place). We try to go to all our Sunday meetings even with toddlers in tow (even during nap time...) Making sure that they are trying to pay attention in Sacrament Meeting is always hard but is becoming more rewarding as the kids get bigger. We've started going to Activity Days and going to temple open houses. I want to start walking on temple grounds with the kids and we've enjoyed listening to the missionaries when they come to our home. We've been making an effort to direct our thoughts towards the speaker/teacher instead of playing on our phones or thinking of other things (like how long it will take to make dinner tonight with the ingredients I have at home). I've been thinking about listening to and being respectful to the teachers whether we agree with everything they said or not. Not just being present, but being an active present. We can start by just being there and that will open the door to being able to accidentally let the spirit in. BUT when we are actively present, there is a guarantee that the Spirit will teach us something.... anything.... that he will be present because we choose to be present. Intentionally standing in holy places.
Ted Barnes wrote, "Someone asked President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985), “What do you do when you find yourself in a boring sacrament meeting?” His answer was a little surprising: “I don’t know. I’ve never been in one.” Maybe he hadn’t ever been to your ward—or maybe he looked at going to church a little differently. Maybe he prepared differently, participated differently, and lived differently as a result of his experiences." I love that last sentence. "Maybe he prepared differently, participated differently, and lived differently as a result of his experiences."
That's something I want to teach my kids. I want to teach them to choose to stand in holy places intentionally so that they can learn and grow as a result of their experiences.