After saying “hello”, I heard a gentle, older voice on the other end of the phone. “Is this Sister Jepson?” Uh-oh. Now I remembered why I screen my phone calls: because I’m a Mormon and there’s always something that needs to be done.
I answered that, yes, this was Sister Jepson. The small voice on the other end introduced herself, but all I heard was, “...and I’m calling from the temple. The Temple Presidency would like to meet with you whenever you can, as soon as you can.”
Of course, all sorts of things raced through my head. It is not a common thing to get a call from the temple with a request for you to meet with the presidency. Rick said that I must have done something really bad and they were calling to chastise me. I couldn’t remember doing anything too terrible, so I decided that it couldn’t be that. Unless they heard what I said when I dropped that glass jar of spaghetti sauce on the cement floor of the garage. But even then...nah. So at least it wasn’t because I was in trouble.
I went to the temple that night, where I was issued the call to help clean the temple on a regular basis as a volunteer. I said I could start the following Monday and I showed up at the temple a little before 9:00 AM in my church clothes. Having never cleaned the temple before, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had imagined flitting around with a white feather duster, the angels lifting me as I dusted the crystal chandeliers. But, oh, was I wrong.
When I arrived, I was immediately greeted by the Custodial Supervisor, who hurried me along and took me down a hallway that led to an area of the temple I’d never been to before, and never imagined existed. There were pipes! The temple was industrial! Somehow I never thought of the temple as having pipes or machinery of any type within its walls. I know…it’s silly. But really, everything just seems so magical inside the temple, that I never really think of there being anything behind the scenes.
I was shown a rack of white scrubs in different sizes and lengths, and was invited to find a pair that would fit comfortably. I was introduced to the woman who would train me and followed her to the dressing room where I donned my new white scrubs and a pair of white slippers. Then I joined the other volunteers for a prayer and a spiritual thought before being turned loose.
My shift is three hours every other Monday. I clean the women’s dressing room, the bridal room, the first aid room (did you even KNOW that there’s a FIRST AID ROOM in there??), a waiting room, and a few other rooms.
All of that in just three hours.
I clean the wood mouldings that are up high, the wainscoting that’s down low, every locker, every locker handle, every dressing stall, dust every surface, empty every trash receptacle, and vacuum without leaving lines. NO LINES MAY BE LEFT! They are serious up in here. It’s exhausting, and not for the faint.
After my shift, I was sore. SO sore. I felt muscles throbbing that I didn’t know even existed! I couldn’t believe what an endeavor it was to clean the temple. And that was only a very small portion of the work that was being done that day.
On Thursday, Rick and I went to the temple again. This time as patrons. What an amazing feeling it was to look around and know that I am a part of maintaining the beauty and peace that exists inside the House of the Lord. As we walked in through the main hall, I steered Rick’s attention to the beautiful dark wood mouldings.
“You see how clean that wood is?” I asked.
“Don’t take that for granted.”
I’m glad I answered that call. And I hope that every time the Lord calls upon me, I’ll answer it readily, and not screen it.