Monday, December 12, 2011
The whisperings of the spirit
One of the reasons I can say I have a testimony of the gospel is because of what happened in my temple recommend interview yesterday.
As our bishop’s counselor reviewed those standard questions with me (questions I still have memorized from my own decade of giving temple recommend interviews) I had what is still for me a remarkable experience, even though it’s happened before.
As he asked me the first three questions – about my testimony of God, the Eternal Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, about the atonement of Jesus Christ and about the restoration of the gospel – I felt a distinct change in my own heart as I affirmed my testimony and the spirit, in turn, reaffirmed it.
It was not an emotional thing. It was not earth shattering. But it was enough to remind me, and I’m grateful for that.
I remember the first time I really realized the power of those first three questions. I was bishop in our ward in Venezuela, and our mission president was a member of our ward. He asked me to give him a temple recommend interview. As he and I met in his apartment and he answered simply and affirmatively those basic questions of testimony, the spirit in the room was palpable. That particular interview continues as one of the great spiritual milestones of my life.
I can’t count the number of temple recommend interviews I’ve given, and not all of them are spiritual feasts. Most of them, in fact, were routine – pleasant enough, but routine nonetheless. And, frankly, most of my own recommend interviews have also been rather routine. I would say the spiritual experience I had yesterday is probably the exception rather than the rule. That may be because I’m not as sensitive as I should be, and it may just be that that’s the way it is.
My interview yesterday was not dramatic – I didn’t even mention what I felt to the counselor doing the interview. And I didn’t have the same experience when I later met with our stake president’s counselor for my second interview. But it was still significant to me because I noticed what happened, without my expecting, intending or even hoping it would. It was a small spiritual gift for me, one which I was grateful to receive.