Friday, February 17, 2012

"Increased Understanding"

There was a query in February's Ensign Magazine about feeling confused about "increased understanding I hear Church leaders describe" as a result of temple worship and a sense of concern that one is not making attending the temple "a learning experience".  Actually I think that sometimes we get anxious that each temple experience fall into the category of "unfolding the mysteries of God" in order to be acceptable, when, actually, learning through temple worship is far more varied and subtle.

My experience is that temple learning comes to me in multiple ways.  Three of them are: 1) from contemplation of the various things I can learn from the symbols there, 2) from personal revelation about my personal concerns that comes more easily to my mind and heart in a peaceful place, and 3) from thoughtfully reviewing the principles of righteous living and blessings that I am reminded of there.  At some times in my life learning has come in one of those ways and at times in another.  So sometimes when I feel that my learning curve has slowed it is because I have been focusing on one of those three learning methods and its time for me to learn better how to increase my understanding from one of the others.

That third way of learning is one that we sometimes overlook or discount as “increased understanding” simply because it involves nothing “new”.  I have found that, on occasion, I will learn something from the Lord during my temple worship which he hopes that I, personally, will consider and implement carefully into my life.  That consideration and implementation can sometimes take a long time.  During that time my temple worship changes and becomes a time for the Lord to peacefully review what he has taught me, and for me to celebrate that gift and to recommit myself to that process of living in a way that I have already felt inspired by him to do.  I am not necessarily learning new principles or new symbolic meanings, but instead, at those times, my temple worship leads me to reflect and turn my heart to the Lord, which in turn helps me to remember that understanding which I previously received, recommit to incorporating it wisely into my particular life and to perceive, with divine help, how to better do so with love and courage.  That is also “increased understanding”.

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