Sunday, July 20, 2014

I See… How to Clean Your Temple

The Mormon Third Eye boasts a long and glorious tradition of providing timely, insightful “how to” guides that, when applied to daily life, enrich and enliven the user’s experience as a Latter-day Saint.  From how to get your kids to watch General Conference, to how to disembowel a really good joke, and everything in between, the Mormon Third Eye is a venerable font of essential knowledge.  You can find a more exhaustive list of Mormon Third Eye life instructions here. Today we offer handy instruction on how to clean your temple.

Last week I was afforded the singular opportunity to spend a Thursday morning cleaning the Raleigh North Carolina Temple.  I often use time in the temple to ponder on the more eternal perspectives of life, and so my mind naturally wandered there again as I reverently vacuumed the men’s changing room. The analogy engine fired up in my big thinking head and I thought “Wait a minute… if our bodies are temples… and cleaning the temple is such an important duty… then how do we clean our ‘body temples?’ hmmm…” The result was a quick list, received via personal revelation, of interesting insight on efficiently cleaning your temple. 

Clean Often- Volunteers clean the temple every Thursday and Monday morning. We should be consciously cleaning our own body temples from corruptive moral, temporal, and intellectual input at least that often.

Go Where You Usually Don’t Go- I was assigned to vacuum the women’s changing room, which at first made me very uncomfortable- a place I thought I would never have a need to visit.  However, it had to be just as clean as any other part of the temple. Likewise, there are parts of our inner temple we like to avoid- like the part that justifies watching an R-rated movie or wonders what the Lord was really thinking when He called brother so-and-so to serve as a bishop.  As uncomfortable as it may be, we need to go there and appropriately clear those errant thoughts and beliefs.

Seek Perfection-  I was instructed to clean surfaces that by all appearances were already spotless.  They had to be cleaned again, however, because of the extremely high threshold- after all, this is where the Lord comes to visit his people- could it ever be clean enough? Probably not.  But I felt the Lord would accept my earnest efforts. Why should our temple body be any different?  We should be constantly cleansing our body temple to prepare it as a suitable place for the Lord to visit us in uniquely personal ways.

Be Sacred-  I was humbled by the opportunity to clean the temple.  Actions as ordinary as sweeping bathroom floors were transformed into sacred experiences.  The work of scrubbing down our body temples from the poison and stains of the world should be as equally holy.  Be reverent as you work on keeping your temple clean.

Someone Will Help You-  I had never cleaned the temple this way before. What do I do when this red alarm light on the vacuum starts blinking?  Should I vacuum under ALL the chairs in the endowment rooms?  Fortunately, there was a temple cleaning supervisor available to answer these questions.  Do you have questions about cleaning your temple?  There are living prophets, apostles, and local ward leaders who want to help you, but you have to ask. (BTW, that blinking red light indicates that you need to adjust the height of the vacuum brush, and yes, you need to vacuum underneath chairs in the endowment room, but DO NOT move them in the process).

Be Thorough and Pay Attention to the Small Stuff- Surfaces in the temple need to sparkle, which requires an uncharacteristically high level of attention and effort.  Several years ago, during a business trip to Seoul, Korea, I joined the American Branch one evening on a temple spring cleaning assignment.  An elderly Korean grandmother handed me a rag and a bottle of polish, and politely asked me to polish an elegant freestanding oriental room divider with an expensive cherry wood frame that adorned the temple lobby.  I spent a few minutes quickly applying a perfunctory coat of polish, then returned to ask her for my next task.  “I’m done!” I proclaimed reverently but proudly.  “Oh no you’re not!” she replied in a firm but loving voice.  “Here, let me show you.  It should take you about two hours to finish this task.”  She then proceeded to spend 15 minutes lovingly polishing just a few inches of cherry wood on the divider.  Cleansing our temple body of immoral thoughts and influences takes time and constant, loving effort.  Don’t hurry the job. 

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