Prayer, The Princess Bride, and Receiving My Own Endowment

[mks_dropcap style=”letter” size=”52″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]M[/mks_dropcap]any moons ago, I spoke to my then-bishop about taking out my own endowments.  I had heard many a lesson on how much strength and power they brought into one’s life, and I knew that I was about to get into a situation that would require much divine assistance.  He politely explained that it was not the right time for me to make such a commitment.  I left his office with a church-distributed copy of “Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple,” and a determination to fully prepare myself.

I read that booklet cover to cover and realized my good bishop had been right: I wasn’t ready.  Because of a promise I had made to myself when I was in high school to never agree to something unless I had an idea of what I was agreeing to, I determined to learn all I could about what promises the Lord was expecting me to make.  (I already had a pretty good idea of what He would promise me.)

For the next two and a half years or so, I spent every conference (stake and general) and every lesson (Sunday School, Relief Society, and Institute) listening for anything anyone said about the temple, especially as it pertained to going for the first time.  I was helped tremendously by an assignment to speak in sacrament meeting on Preparing for Temple Marriage.  I essentially gave two shorter talks: one on preparing for the temple and one on preparing for marriage.

About a year and a half after that assignment, I attended the testimony meeting that the Nebraska Omaha Mission holds for departing missionaries.  That was the night that the lights went out in the temple and the Mormon Trail Center because of a storm.  I had the uplifting opportunity of joining three sister missionaries in serenading the group gathered and waiting for the departing missionaries to finish their endowment session.  With our tongues in our cheeks, we sang songs such as, “The Lord is My Light,” “Teach Me to Walk in the Light,” and “Lead, Kindly Light.”  At some point during the meeting, I received an impression that led me to understand the Lord thought it was time for me to receive my own endowment.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]”Whether I am or not, you’ve been more than fair.”[/mks_pullquote]

So I kicked my preparations up a notch over the next three months.  I started following the steps and suggestions that Elder Nelson gave in his article “Prepare for the Blessings of the Temple” and devoured everything else in the Temples issue of the Ensign (Oct 2010). I talked to my bishop and stake president about my preparations.  My bishop arranged for me to receive the Temple Preparation lessons outside of the regular Sunday School hour, since I was the only one in our small ward making such preparations at the time.  This was a great blessing to me, as the home that welcomed me in to receive the lessons was close enough to walk to, and I used the time to ponder the things I was studying and praying about.

During the six weeks I was taking the lessons, I began feeling nervous.  Like I wasn’t ready.  This was a big deal, even bigger than Ron Burgundy, and I had witnessed the heartache that happens when someone decides they no longer want to keep heir temple covenants. I knew where I had faltered in the past.  I didn’t have enough faith and trust in myself to keep the covenants I was preparing to make.  I talked to a few trusted friends about my doubts, and one asked me if believed that my bishop had authority as a judge in Israel.  Of course I did.  (Still do.)  Well, they pulled out D&C 1:38 on me.  If the bishop said I was ready, wasn’t that akin to the Lord saying I was ready?  Yes, but I still had my doubts about myself.

One night, I happened to read Matthew 26:41, “The spirit is…willing, but the flesh is weak.”  As soon as I finished the verse, my knees hit the floor, and I said, “Heavenly Father, this is me. This is why I don’t feel ready.”

I don’t even think I had a chance to properly close my prayer before a scene from “The Princess Bride” was brought to my mind.  The Man in Black has just scaled the Cliffs of Insanity, and begins to draw his sword to duel, but Inigo Montoya waves his hand and says, “No, no, we’ll wait until you’re ready.”  In the movie, there’s some exposition, but my mind skipped over that and went straight to when the Man in Black stands up again.  Inigo asks, “You are ready, then?”
“Whether I am or not, you’ve been more than fair.”
“Whether I am or not, You’ve been more than fair,” I repeated, still on my knees.

I felt a surge of truth and gratitude as I realized that Heavenly Father had blessings waiting for me in the temple, and He wanted me to receive them.  Because He loves me, He just happened to know that the best way to tell me it was time to go was to show me clips from my favorite movie.

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