I had plans to visit the temple this week. Then my addiction struck, unexpectedly, and forced me to ask the question, “What is temple worthiness?” What determines worthiness? Is it a determined amount of time of being “clean.” What does that even mean? No pornography? What about sneaking looks at attractive women that I inevitably will come into contact with on a daily basis? A little flirtation? Some fantasy? Replaying things in my mind? None of those will register as pornography, but don’t they have the ability to affect my worthiness?
And if, after giving into my addiction in a relapse, I resist the temptation to hide/minimize/isolate – and do what recovery demands by reaching out, being honest, taking inventory, etc. does this make me worthy again? Hasn’t my heart changed again? I turned away, and now I turned back? I honestly don’t really know all the answers to these questions. I suspect that the answer lies in being sensitive to the spirit.
As I prayerfully considered my plans to attend the temple this week, I revealed them to my sponsor, who interestingly enough is not a member of the church. While not a Mormon, he knows a lot about God and God’s characteristics. What he told me spoke to me. After we talked, it seemed like a good idea to me to go ahead with my plans to attend the temple. There’s a catch here, though, because my ways are not God’s ways, and I do well to remember that. So even though I had a good feeling about it after talking to my sponsor, the Spirit whispered to my heart to give my bishop a call to tell him what I was thinking. I’m grateful I did. He did not answer. So I texted him. He did not respond to my text right away, so I decided to go ahead with my plan. I had done my due diligence. On my way to the temple, the Spirit whispered again, telling me text the bishop and tell him what happened (I suspected he already knew), tell him what I was thinking, and tell him where I was going.
I know my bishop’s work schedule, and I did not expect him to be able to see my text until after I was at the temple, but I figured it couldn’t hurt, and after all, I think it really was a prompting from the Spirit. This is just me, but I was surprised when he called back shortly after my text. He was out of work unexpectedly early. We had a good chat. I told him everything he wanted to know about what happened. I felt the spirit confirming to me that he is called of God to be bishop. He gently suggested that I wait to enter the temple. The sacrament ordinance is that important he told me. Something I hadn’t even considered.
My ways are not God’s ways, but here was God again reaching his arms around me through the counsel of a loving bishop. He encouraged me to go to the temple still. Since I had already committed to do this with my sponsor, and told my sponsor I would try to connect with God and others by going to the temple, I thought it was a great suggestion. I didn’t realize it would mean going to the visitors center, but that’s exactly where I found myself, making a connection with the first missionary who looked at me reflecting the LIGHT they were open to in their life. Sharing with me D&C 50:24. So it turns out there are more than one way to worship and receive light at the temple. I left feeling edified and uplifted. More than I would have doing things my own way.