It wasn’t the typical setting for a gathering of believers — or at least not something I had ever witnessed before.
The building was all locked up with the exception of one entrance. Sunday School classrooms were closed. Ushers stood at the door greeting each member of the congregation. People were directed to sit at specific pieces of tape that were on the pews exactly 6 feet apart. During opening and closing hymns, music played over the organ so beautiful and sweet. Church members, however, were not to sing along in worship. We were to sit quietly and ponder. Prayers were not given at the pulpit, but rather on a separate microphone that was sanitized by a man sitting on the front row. Even sacred ordinances were accomplished differently.
There were some funny moments, too, as we can be a quirky bunch of folks. Although we were instructed not to sing, some members were belting the music at the top of their lungs. Even though the priesthood holders were careful to wear masks and gloves as they prepared the sacrament, they would randomly reach up and adjust that mask before breaking the bread. (Not to worry; this was quickly corrected and no one was harmed in the making of this meeting!) When directed to sit in a specific spot, some people still sat where they wanted. Some masks were Halloween-themed with skulls on them. It was comical, but it was clear that we were all a little out of our element and trying to make things work.
Yet even with all the changes, what struck me as amazing was how deeply reverent and Spirit-filled the meeting seemed. Messages were varied depending on who spoke. The bishop taught about the ways the Lord, through His prophet, had prepared us for times as these. Another member expounded scripture and taught us from the lives of Book of Mormon prophets. Going back to the simple elements of the gospel really helped me to focus on our purpose to worship and unite in faith.
That purpose was illustrated well for me by one of the speakers. He shared the story of a man who had an ox pass away in the field. Seeking wisdom and counsel, he sought out the wise man of the village. In their discussion, the man vented about how this was the worst thing that could possibly happen and his farm would be lost. The wise man listened and said, “Maybe, maybe not.” The villager was frustrated and went home and was complaining to his family. Suddenly he looked out the window and saw a horse. He was able to capture the horse and his gardening went faster and more smoothly than it ever would have with an ox. He returned to the wise man and told him this was the best thing that could ever happen. Again the wise man said, “Maybe, maybe not.” The next day, the villager watched as his son fell off of the horse and broke his leg. Again, he was angry and thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen to him. A few days later, all of the able-bodied men were called to war except for the son who had broken his leg.
The moral of the story is that sometimes we think in extremes. We feel that something is either the best or the worst thing that has ever happened. For me, I thought not going to church and the temple was that worst thing — but being there in that meeting feeling the Spirit, and really simplifying the gospel in my life and in my personal study, has turned out to be for the best. As I have taken time to be on temple grounds, I have found more peace than I can ever remember. God can make hard things great and great things hard, but with Him we can learn that all things are working together for our good.
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.