In the Summer of 2009, I interned for a non-profit in Philadelphia. That summer I was finally baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That summer was also one of the most emotionally turbulent ones of my life, as I struggled with deep doubts over certain church teachings regarding same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights. I have written elsewhere about the lengthy struggle that I had with God all throughout that summer. Day after day on the way home from work, I would walk along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and wrestle with my feelings on this subject. And every day at work I would be criticized by my co-workers for the position my newfound Church had taken. For a new convert this was an agonizing crucible. It was only through the gift of the Holy Ghost that I had received weeks prior that I was able to continue onward in faith.
Flash forward seven years later. I am currently spending the night in Philadelphia while searching for housing in the Wilmington, Delaware area. And tonight, I decided to go for a late night walk along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the new Philadelphia LDS Temple as well as to reminisce about my summer in Philadelphia.
But I wasn’t expecting to be so emotionally overwhelmed as I looked on the temple. I saw the beautiful Angel Moroni flying high above the sky within sight of where I had once struggled with grave doubts. This place of my agony had become a consecrated place. Just as Gethsemane was hallowed by the savior’s blood, this spot has become exceedingly precious and hallowed to me. For me, it symbolizes how the Lord can transform even the our worst moments into sanctifying ones. It was a reminder that the Lord sees our divine potential even when we see nothing but rubble. I am so grateful to my father in heaven for letting my struggle and helping to turn my weak spot into a mighty fortress of strength.