This past week I had to make a relatively significant career choice. I did what I usually do when I have a significant decision to make: I went to pray at the temple. Living only minutes from the temple has been an immense blessing as I’ve received pure insight and revelation from my visits. I actually tend to get more spiritually out of my unplanned prayer trips than when I go with a group and perform baptisms for the dead. I am able to commune powerfully and directly with God and get inspired answers to my questions
Yet, this latest trip to the temple has got my wondering if I am guilty of a minor form of idol worship in my practice. By focusing my spiritual locus on a physical location I wonder if I am shortchanging my self spiritually. The benefit of the companionship of the holy ghost is that I an entitled to receive such revelation and insight on a day to day basis. Yet, My regular prayer and scripture reading does not yield the same quality of insight.
A few weeks ago as I canvassed in Arlington catching a glimpse of the temple was a beacon of light in a cold dreary day. Yet, as a Christian shouldn’t that light be at my very core? As I looked at the mighty bricks of the temple, I was reminded of the western wall in Jerusalem. Millions of petitionary notes are slipped into that walls cracks by those longing for a connection to God. Yet, the first vision powerfully shows that God does not need walls, notes or tabernacles in order to communicate with us.
It is interesting to think about how we as a church navigate this spiritual paradox. As a church instituted around sacred covenants yet obsessed with personal revelation and spiritual answers, we navigate a pretty fine line. If Gordon B. Hinckley’s presidency will be remembered as the great temple building era, then perhaps all of the talks in this past conference about personal revelation and prayer are an attempt to recapture the other side of the equation.