I'm not a big temple goer but I recently was an escort for a young friend getting married whose family couldn't participate. We were at the Mt. Timpanogos Temple in Lehi, Utah (or thereabouts—all those towns slide together to me). Being there just for someone else, not thinking about myself, was a really good experience for me.
During some of the waiting around in the sealing room, I thought of the last and only time I'd been to this temple in particular. I will take you back in time now to 1996 when Mt. Timpanogos Temple was first opening …
I was an 18 year old sophomore at BYU-Provo, just known as BYU back in the day. I was engaged (it is so hard to keep typing this without throwing up) to the former roommate of my former boyfriend. I KNOW! He'd gotten baptized at the University of Utah over the summer and we decided to go to the temple open house with his mother in town visiting.
Lines, lots of people, heat, white booties over shoes. The whole time as we three walked around to see luscious carpets and great stained glass, my fiancé was lovely-dovey. "We'll get married here, I'm so happy to be here with you, I love you," blah blah blah.
Before we got inside, literally on the sidewalk outside the temple, I immediately knew that I should not marry this man boy.
Imagine if you will how awkward the next hour was. Room by beautiful room, feeling nothing but abject horror at being there as your brain/heart/soul constantly yell, "What is wrong with you? You should not marry this person!!!"
In retrospect the whole relationship is cringe inducing, but at that time I had not felt that this was a bad life choice. I was active, scripture reading, praying all the time; while I hadn't had any dramatic inspiration that He Was The One, I felt good.
Until I didn't.
The rest of the day is foggy in my memory. I think we ate, then ditched the potential mother-in-law. We parked at my pink apartment building down the hill from campus and walked over to a little park.
You don't need details. There were a lot of tears. A diamond ring was returned and thrown. I still can see his face in my mind, all these years later. I have never felt like a worse human being in my entire life.
But once I heard, not even felt, that this was the wrong thing for me, I couldn't stay in the relationship a minute longer. And for that I'll always thank the Timpanogos Temple, strange as it may seem, for making it possible to receive inspiration in the most unlikely way.
Eliana Osborn was raised on cold weather and wild animals in Anchorage, Alaska, setting the stage for her adult life in the Sunniest Place on Earth in Arizona. She grew up in the church and didn't know there were places where conformity was preached. She has degrees. She writes. She teaches. She has some kids. She even has a husband. She's trying to do her best. Twitter: Eliana0Eliana. Website: elianaosborn.com.
Image credit: More Good Foundation (used with permission).