I was just about 8 weeks from my 10th birthday when we drove to Salt Lake to be sealed. We had been members of the church less than a year, but our mission president had petitioned for us to go early. Only many years later did I see the letter from Elder Ezra Taft Benson to our mission president granting the permission that we go early.
We were baptized in September, but went to the temple in August because that's when Dad could get a week away and when my siblings and I wouldn't have school conflicts. We drove out and back pulling our six-man travel trailer behind the station wagon. My parents drove nearly straight through from Pittsburgh, and as an adult now I can only imagine how fatiguing the trip must have been.
We stayed at a KOA campground just north of Point of the Mountain, and on Tuesday morning we all drove together to the temple. My older brother, two older sisters and I were ushered in to a waiting area while my parents went through their endowment session. I don't remember much, except that we were dressed in white while we waited, and we were entertained by another much younger boy (a toddler, I think) while he waited for his parents, too.
When the time finally came, a sister walked us to our sealing room. I have no idea the route we took, since it was my first of only three times in the Salt Lake Temple (and the other two would be as an adult for weddings). I remember lots of chandeliers, a large staircase, and the sealing room itself. It was a small oval-shaped room with just a few chairs and of course mirrors in gold-painted frames hanging opposite one another.
My parents were in the room as was our branch president and his wife and probably another witness and the sealer of course, though I don't remember that.
What I do remember is kneeling around the altar with my parents. I have no idea if they had already been sealed or if we witnessed that (I assume we did not witness it), but I do remember the six of us around the altar together. And I remember the free flowing tears following the sealing itself. We looked at one another in the "eternal" mirrors, we hugged and cried.
I can't pretend that I understood everything then that I do now about the sealing (nor can I pretend I understand everything about the sealing now!), but I do know how I felt: The temple was a place of peace, of happiness, and a place where I wanted to return. Even at that young age, I attributed the peace that I felt to the influence of the spirit, and that experience kneeling around the altar with my parents has been and continues to be a key landmark in my path to testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and His restored church.
I am grateful that my own children have been born in the covenant, owing to my wife's and my having been sealed at the time of our marriage, but I sometimes wish they could have had the powerful spiritual experience I did as a young boy.