Chapter 18: Beacon in the Storm

Once on a spring morning, I left my home to attend the Mt. Timpanogos Temple.  My life needed the peace and the spiritual direction that temple attendance can bring into our lives.  As I looked to the south, I could see the clouds and darkness of an approaching thunderstorm.  I hadn’t driven more than a mile when a gust of wind forced my vehicle to the right, giving notice the storm had arrived.  The new leaves of spring caught the wind and caused the trees to bend. The clouds, now in front of me, were moving at a tremendous speed.  My mind was sidetracked from the thoughts of temple attendance to amazement at the power and speed of the storm.  By the time I turned on to State Street, it began to sprinkle.  The wind added a unique dimension as dust and rain mixed to form interesting patterns blowing across the road and put specks of mud on my windshield.  I turned off State Street towards the Temple and hoped to arrive before the rain really began to fall.  I was surprised to see the parking lot nearly full and ended up parking near the west end of the lot.  As I came to a stop, the rain began to increase, and I knew I wasn’t going to make it dry to the doors of the Temple.  

10" Christus Statue, Click Here!

10" Christus Statue, Click Here!

I looked around at the surrounding darkness and was again amazed at the power of nature’s storms.  I had planned to ponder and feel the spirit of the Temple, but my attention was turned to watching the storm move across the sky.  I looked toward the temple and noticed it was dark enough for the lights inside to shine outward.  In the dark of the storm, here was a beacon of light encouraging me to come.  I opened the car door and found that the temperature had dropped considerably.  As I was quickly walking down the sidewalk, the hail started, pea sized and mixed with rain, but falling thick and fast enough to lay a white coating over the green grass and the beautiful spring flowers.  I raised my suit coat over my head to protect myself from the wind, hail, and rain as I continued walking.  When I arrived at the entrance, the doors opened automatically to allow me into the safety of the Temple.  I was soaked and covered with hail, but I was now within the reassuring walls of the Temple.

After changing, I went to the chapel, sat down and looked around me.  I was dry and warm.  Above me were the lights that I could see from the parking lot that had beckoned to me.  The organ was quietly playing a hymn, and everything was beautiful and clean. A feeling of peace came over me.  As I waited for the next session, I picked up the scriptures, opened to the topical guide and turned to “storm” and began to look up scriptures.  I throughly enjoyed this experience as the storm, raging outside, was used by the Spirit to teach me wonderful gospel principles. 

First, there was the story from Nephi. “And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work . . . there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest . . . and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea . . .  And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists . . . and great was the soreness thereof.  Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions. . . . And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.  And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:12-22).

Nephi and his family were nearly destroyed because of wickedness.  The compass would only work according to “the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.” (1 Nephi 16:28)  Nephi remained faithful, praising God even though he was about to be destroyed by the “storm” around them.  What an example of faith and hope.   Like Nephi, we have a compass in the scriptures, our living prophets, and personal revelation.  They will guide us to the “promised land,” but the journey is based on our faith and diligence and heed which we give unto them.  

The Lord taught Joseph Smith, “And all they who receive the oracles of God [prophets], let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house” (D&C 90:5).  

The storms can be calmed as we live the gospel and follow the prophets and revelations from a loving Savior.  Joseph Smith also recorded, “For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations;  And that the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes, may be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth” (D&C 115:4-6).  

As the “storms” gather around us, it is comforting to know that the Lord has provided a means for His people to survive them.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is our protection against the raging storms in the world.  If we are strong in our faith, these storms cannot touch or injure us.  The Lord will bless us and raise us up in the last day.

We learn from Helaman 5:12, “Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, . . .  yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”

We must build our foundation upon the rock of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus calmed the seas for his disciples in the New Testament, and he will provide safe passage for us through the storms of today.  We live in a world filled with commotion and troubles on the right and the left.  Storms of opposition, sin, temptation, hypocrisy and dishonesty.  We live in a day that is as wicked as the days of Noah.  We see evil called good, and good, evil.  The media portrays lifestyles of violence and immorality that would make Sodom a quiet neighborhood.   It is important for each of us, and especially our young people, to obtain a testimony that will guide us forward to meet the storms and opposition of life with faith and power.  

I think back on the beauty of the white Temple with a backdrop of black clouds.  I think of the lights shining through the windows through the darkness of the storm.  I think of how much I wanted to get through the storm to the safety of the Temple.  The Temple was a shining symbol of Jesus Christ with its beacon of light pointing the way to peace and comfort and the promised land--the Celestial Kingdom.  

We have been promised by President Benson that our homes will be happier and a more peaceful place if we attend the temple.  President Hunter asked us to make the temple a symbol of our membership.  President Hinckley has told us we will be better parents and spouses, and that our life will be better.  Elder Widstoe stated that revelation will come when we need it if we faithfully attend the temple.  President Harold B. Lee said, "Just as a floodlighted temple is more beautiful in a severe storm or in a heavy fog, so the gospel of Jesus Christ is more glorious in times of inward storm and of personal sorrow and tormenting conflict" (Conference Report,  April 1965, p. 16).

I know my visit to the temple that stormy morning has truly strengthened my testimony and my faith.  It brought a peace and calmness to my troubled soul.  My hope was renewed, my faith strengthened,  and my prayers answered.  The daily trials and troubles of life are still there, but with the Lord’s help, I can face them with greater faith.  I know the answers I am seeking will come.  I am not perfect, but I know which rock to build on.  I know Heavenly Father and Jesus love me.  

I am grateful for spring storms and the Temple.