Today I wanted to do a follow up on the 21 Day Temple Challenge that began on April 1st. I asked some of those that participated in the challenge to share the activities they did during their 21 days and to tell us how the focus on the temple impacted and strengthened them.
I thought it was really great to see the different ways that people participated. I hope you enjoy reading about some of those experiences.
“As part of the challenge I indexed a batch of records. I have indexed before, but I hadn’t done any for a while. I feel like I am helping people find their ancestors when I index. I bought a temple bookmark. Now I see the beautiful Manti temple when I read my novel at night. [It] helps me choose better, knowing that a temple will be used to mark my place. Right after Mandy posted the challenge, the Church News published a map of the world showing where all of the temples are located. That was easy! I posted it on the bulletin board downstairs near the playroom and exercise area. I made several different collections of temple images: temples within a 2 hour drive of Orem, temples with meaning to family members, and temples I have visited/attended open houses for/participated in ordinances in. I enjoyed putting those lists together. The overlap was expected, but the differences were interesting. The best thing I did was to draw the Mesa Temple in ink and color with watercolor washes. I was married in the Mesa Temple and so were my sisters. My sister’s wedding anniversary is in April, so I sent her my watercolor as an anniversary card. She was well-pleased. I did a second one for myself!”
-Jolene, Orem, UT
“I thought this was a wonderful challenge. During the 21 days I did two kinds of things related to family history and temple work. First, I kept doing the things I have been doing. Now that I am “of a certain age” I have time to attend the temple once a week and one afternoon a week I work with my mom and my sister, Jane, on my mother’s life story. The blessings of doing these two things consistently are peace of mind and lots of joy. Second, I did a few things that were new for me. I responded to an email I received from Family Search and I added several obituaries they had found to my family tree. It was so fun! And one Sunday night after dinner my sister helped me find a name to take to the temple. We printed off the temple card right from my own computer. That was also new for me. In the last 21 days I have made some real progress in an area I have been wanting to improve for years. It’s not at all related to family history, but maybe, just maybe my new success is related to help from those heavenly relations who have gone before. I am looking forward to the next 21 Day Temple Challenge”
-Nannette, Orem, UT
“I loved having meaningful experiences at the temple doing work for my ancestors. I always love attending the temple, but there is definitely a different spirit about the work when I am doing it in behalf of my own ancestors. It is a way of thanking them for all that they have given to me. It brings me closer to my Savior. Jesus Christ performed the atonement, but his atonement may be accepted or rejected. I do not know if this work I am doing on behalf of my ancestors will be accepted or rejected, so I still do it for them. But He knew that all of mankind must have the opportunity.
I was really excited to learn more about how to do research on the Family Search web page. I feel much more comfortable moving around on it. I am so thankful for all the millions of people who are indexing government documents from around the world so that I can more easily find information about my ancestors. I am totally hooked. I am also finding that because I know my way around the site better that I can really accomplish good work in a very short amount of time.
I cannot say that all of my stress was gone, but I think I have been able to handle the stress better. My life is super busy, but I just feel such joy and happiness whenever I do any type of family history. I LOVE thinking about my ancestors. I am a product of my ancestors. I also noticed that as I made it a priority I was able to do it. One time I was thinking, “Oh, I didn’t do any family history today.” But then Mandy reminded me that we were right in the middle of a family campout and that was TOTALLY family history. We were bringing our extended family together and we were making some really great history and memories we will not soon forget!”
-Jane, Orem, UT
“One of my favorite things about this challenge was that I felt the Holy Ghost more often. Because I was thinking about the temple more each day I read my scriptures and said my prayers more diligently. I also loved that because I was involved my whole family became involved. I wasn’t perfect at doing something everyday but because I participated my thoughts and feelings were turned toward the temple and the Covenants I’ve made there, and that gave me power and strength.”
Amy, Provo, Utah
“I love the temple! I love all that is associated with the temple; the peace, the serenity, the happiness, the power, the strength, the calmness, and most of all the blessings that come from attending the temple. When I heard of the 21 Day Temple Challenge I didn’t even hesitate to join in! Even though I attend the temple regularly this challenge helped me focus on the family history side of the temple and temple work. My children and I worked on our family history online and I helped them to know their ancestors through stories and pictures. My mother passed away last August and so this was a great time to let them know all about her and her family. I also made a better effort to include my teenagers in temple work. My daughter and I went to the new Provo City Center Temple and enjoyed the beauty and excitement of a new temple so close to us. And we made a special trip with all my children to Salt Lake to take in the beauty of Temple Square at springtime. Usually I attend the temple alone but during the challenge I made a point to go with a few sisters from my ward. It helped me to know them better and to help us build better friendships. I have been so blessed with a peace in my life that I know comes from attending the temple. This year has been one of struggle and heartache and the temple has given me the strength to carry on and learn from these trials. This challenge was perfect timing in helping me to put my focus on what really matters and to keep striving for greater peace in my life.”
I want to thank these great ladies who were willing to participate and share their experiences with us. I also really enjoyed the 21 Day Temple Challenge! The hardest thing that I challenged myself to do was to make the commitment to go to the temple once a week. I found a specific time that I would go. It was a time slot that I had not recognized before as a great time to attend the temple. It was so interesting to me that I have had months where I thought I was too busy to go to the temple and did not attend, but with a little planning and focus I was easily able to fit the temple into my schedule during the week. I loved my time there! It gave me much needed peace and perspective. One afternoon I took my niece and two nephews to do baptisms for the dead. We had a great time, and after the 53 names we completed we were definitely the wettest kids in town.
Another thing that I loved doing was working on Family Search. I have loved going through my family tree and following the sourcing hints that Family Search gives me. I spent a lot of my time during the challenge connecting sources to people. I have started to see these sources as stories with dates. I love the connection that I feel with these ancestors as I learned more about their lives! I also felt very grateful for the people that indexed my ancestors records. It is such a blessing to all of the world to have a greater access to our family records.
I did feel that the Lord blessed me during this challenge. I was able to prioritize my time better. I had a lot more patience with my children and others… and then in moments when I didn’t, I had a greater desire to speedily repent and to change my impatient ways. I felt strength to change and to be more consistent in becoming a better me. I felt more peace with all of the unknowns in life and more faith that the Lord knows it all.
I hope that the 21 Day Temple Challenge was a great experience for you! If you have not had the chance to do the challenge but are feeling desperate for the blessings of the temple, here are some ideas to get you thinking about how you can make the temple more of a focus in your life. We also have a 21 Day Temple Challenge Facebook page where we would love for you to come and share how your challenge is going. There will be another 21 Day Temple Challenge starting on May 1st for any of you who would like to participate with a group.