I was sitting inside of the Newport Beach LDS Temple on Saturday night — yeah, I know how to party when visiting southern California — when a temple worker and I had a brief but meaningful conversation.
He asked where I’m from, which led me to telling him about my travel-intensive sports writer job (this Californian likes the Utah Jazz, by the way) and my personal challenge of visiting as many LDS temples as I can this season. I explained that I’d kind of fallen away from the Mormon church to some degree. I’m working on my relationship with God, and my temple tour is one strategy to help keep me on the straight and narrow while I’m on the road.
The thoughtful man, who was dressed in all white clothing, leaned over and said he wanted to share a scripture from the Holy Bible that’s helped him during the many years that he’s been alive, as he put it. Whispering in reverent tones, he recited a powerful passage from the Book of Nahum (Chapter 1, Verse 7) in the Old Testament.
The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.
Trusting in God and having faith to follow His way even in challenging times leads to happiness, the volunteer temple worker explained in his own words. As that scripture points out, not only is the Lord good, but He is also a strong hold in the day of trouble. He is our greatest lifeline. He is our safety net. He is a warm hug on a cold day.
Trusting in God — by having faith to do what’s right even when it’s difficult or we’re having doubts or just not feeling like it — will help us receive and recognize the power from the Savior’s love and atonement. It can lift us up when we’re down, help us breathe when life has knocked the wind out of us with a sucker punch, guide us through the dark with an unfailing source of life. He can be a strong hold for us even when, especially when, we feel weak on our own. This can provide immediate strength and lead to eternal rewards because the Lord will bless those whom He recognizes because they try to emulate Him.
The thoughtful nugget of spiritual wisdom set the tone for a worthwhile visit to this temple.
My original intention was to attend a session at the LDS temple in Los Angeles. However, that one closes early on Saturday nights, so I was grateful that a friend on Facebook reminded about this temple, which is about 20 miles south of Disneyland. I flew into Long Beach (my favorite airport, FYI), so it wasn’t too bad of a drive.
I love the Spanish-influenced architectural style of the Newport Beach temple. The exterior is made of Salisbury pink granite, which is an earth-tone shade of seashell, as described by the temple’s website. The grounds are beautifully adorned with palm trees, ornate flowers and a pretty water feature with fountains. I even saw a couple of small bunnies hopping around on this serene evening.
The session I attended inside the temple was in Spanish, but they provided me with headphones so I could follow along in English. I smiled at one point when I didn’t understand a Spanish prayer being told and then laughed when a temple worker told me something along the lines of “The Lord speaks all languages” when I turned in my headphones. I enjoyed having a multilingual spiritual experience. This might sound weird, but it strengthens me when people who are of other backgrounds have similar beliefs.
The experience was much more fulfilling than what I normally would’ve done with a free night on the road, a routine that generally includes picking up a rental car (which I still did), finding a good spot to eat (which I still did) and wasting time in the hotel room (which I also still did after the temple).
The Jazz return to Los Angeles in December, so I’ll try to make it out to the other LDS temple on that trip. Maybe I’ll call in sick for the game and go to the San Diego temple then, too. (Don’t tell my boss I wrote that.)
Bon Jody Temple Tour 2016-17
Temples visited: Portland, Newport Beach
Next up (Nov. 6-12, hopefully): Manhattan, Philadelphia, Raleigh (North Carolina), Orlando, Fort Lauderdale (Florida)