I tried to go with an open mind, asking beforehand that I would find some clarity or answers on some of the things that have been on my mind. I do feel that I found some of that, and some of it is things I won't share it here. But there were several "aha" moments which I feel are entirely appropriate to share, because they don't divulge anything of the ceremonies.
Before I even entered the front doors, I noticed the windows above the door. There is etching in the glass of a circle within a square. That's a fairly common decorative motif (and appears in windows in several parts of this temple as well as carved in the stone), but that particular symbol struck me that day. It reminded me of the saying about being a "square peg in a round hole" (even though in this case the circle was inside the square hole). It felt like a little reminder from God that it's ok to be different from other people around me (in or out of the church). So long as I am honest with myself, and honest with my God, and doing my best, I don't have to be the same--or even try to be the same--as anyone else. I can be different. I can be peculiar.
As soon as I stepped inside the front door, I saw a coatroom. There was a little sign that indicated that everyone should leave their coats and shoes in that front room. I have been to several other temples and none of them had such a room. Every Alaskan I know has a shoes-off policy though, it's just common sense in a place with snow half the year (and sand on the snow), and with mud during the other half! So it didn't surprise me that a building with white carpet would have a place near the door for leaving boots. Since the dressing room lockers are usually small, it's also nor surprise that they would offer a place for hanging bulky coats. However, I was not thinking about those things when I saw the sign. What came immediately to my mind was the verse from Exodus 3, where Moses sees the Lord in the burning bush, and as he begins to approach the Lord says "put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." I was struck by the appropriateness of removing our shoes at the door, of the symbolism of it, and I had a wistful moment of wishing that all temples had such coatrooms.
And the lesson I took away from that? There are often unlocked doors right in front of us. They will open with the gentlest nudge. However if we don't know the right way to open them, we will remain stuck outside. We may not even be able to tell that they are open, we may be convinced that they are locked to us. But they are not. Truth is there. Healing is there. Forgiveness is there. Peace is there. We can have these things if we will ask the right questions of the right people, and learn how to open the doors.
And ye shall receive
And ye shall find
And it shall be opened unto you