Washington D.C. Temple, My Experience
One weekend in May of 1983, I drove from Hagerstown, Maryland to Alexandria, Kentucky to visit family. When Sunday morning arrived I attended Church services at the nearest chapel which was about a forty minute drive. During Sunday School they discussed a trip to the Washington D.C. Temple, which was about an eleven hour drive. I sat there thinking, “I live so close to the D.C. Temple compared to these folks, I want to go.” I had been a member for two years and no one had talked to me about going to the temple, so, I decided when I arrived back home I would inquire about attending the temple.
As I sat thinking about the temple I had feelings of gratitude for the Atonement of Jesus Christ as I partook of the Sacrament. Feeling the beautiful words of hymns we sang, listening to talks and especially a talk given by a young Elder getting ready to go home after serving a two year mission. He expressed his love for the people there and to an older brother he became good friends with. He talked about this brother buying him a new suit of clothes and shoes, because he had worn out the soles of his old shoes. I was sitting alone wishing my family could be with me and feel the Spirit that rings out so very powerfully to the truthfulness of the gospel. There are no words to express those beautiful feelings.
A story told by Elder Don R. Clarke in a talk he gave on Blessings of the Sacrament. Elder Clarke said: The following story is told about passing the sacrament: ” The sacrament never really meant much to me until the Sunday I was ordained a deacon. That afternoon I passed the sacrament for the first time. Prior to the meeting, one of the deacons warned me, ‘Look out for Brother Schmidt. You may have to wake him up!’ Finally the time came for me to participate in the passing of the sacrament. I handled the first six rows quite well. Children and adults partook of the bread with no noticeable thought or problem. Then I got to row seven, the row where Brother Schmidt always sat. But I was surprised. Instead of being asleep he was wide awake. Unlike many of the others I had served, he took the bread with what seemed to be great thought and reverence.
“A few minutes later I found myself again approaching row seven with the water. This time my friend was right. Brother Schmidt sat with his head bowed and his big German eyes shut. He was evidently sound asleep. What could I do or say? I looked for a moment at his brow, wrinkled and worn from years of toil and hardship. He had joined the Church as a teenager and had experienced much persecution in his small German town. I had heard the story many times in testimony meeting. I decided finally to gently nudge his shoulder in hopes of waking him. As I reached to do so, his head slowly lifted. There were tears streaming down his cheeks and as I looked into his eyes I saw love and joy. He quietly reached up and took the water. Even though I was only twelve then, I can still remember vividly the feeling I had as I watched this rugged old man partake of the sacrament. I knew without a doubt that he was feeling something about the sacrament that I had never felt. I determined then that I wanted to feel those same feelings.”
Brother Schmidt had communicated with heaven, and heaven had communicated with him. (Blessings of the Sacrament)
As I entered the Hagerstown Chapel the following Sunday, I asked the first person I saw, “I would like to go to the temple, what do I do?” They said, “You meet with the bishop.”
I vividly remember my first visit to that beautiful landmark there in the D.C. area. It was a very special experience. One day while attending the temple, a voice spoke to my mind saying, “Someday you will live in Utah.” I thought, “There is no way I will ever live in Utah, I don’t really know anyone in Utah.”
I have lived in many places but none of them felt like home. I know the old saying, “Home is where I am living now.” I’m talking about a special feeling. I would visit family in Kentucky, my native state and think, “No, it isn’t home.” I lived eighteen years in Hagerstown, Maryland and “No, it wasn’t home.”
My first visit to Utah I walked alone along a canal in Logan, stopping and looking at those majestic mountains tears filling my eyes. I thought, “Wow! This is home.”
I was a temple worker for two years in the Ogden, Utah Temple. Experiencing pure joy as I spent time in the House of the Lord serving others. A satisfying and productive experience.
A quote by Spencer W. Kimball which hangs in the Washington D.C. Temple: