I had some powerful spiritual experiences as a youth during those baptismal temple trips that really helped me gain a testimony of the temple. I remember one time in particular when, as I was waiting for my turn to be baptized, that I felt the spirit of one of the women whose name I was going to do. I felt her like she was standing next to me and it was an incredible feeling. I realized that what I was doing, what I was participating in-- was real-- and that there were things happening in the temple that I could not see.
Over the next decade of my life I continued to attend the temple to do baptisms for the dead, was faithful about personal prayer and daily scripture study, and was active in all my church responsibilities. Yet as I neared my 20th birthday I began to have a hunger, a spiritual hunger, like I had never experienced before. I had so many questions and I felt like no one had the answers. I struggled with questions with women and the church, women and the priesthood, women in the scriptures, women in the world, women in politics, and just about every other topic you can think of to stew and worry over women. I'd done a lot of searching, studying, pondering, praying and crying about it but I felt like I was just not understanding things how I wanted. People kept telling me to put my questions on a "shelf" to wait patiently to have answered in heaven, but the problem was that my shelf was getting too heavy. I had so many questions.
I remember one night having a heartfelt discussion with my dad about the gospel, particularly about the story of Adam and Eve. The conversation ended with me exclaiming "Dad, I just feel like I am beating my head on a brick wall! There has to be more to understand and I just feel like I can't get at it. It is so frustrating." He, oh so sweetly, looked at me and just said, " Heather you are going to love the temple." In fact, the answer that I got to most of my questions, over and over again was, "You are going to love the temple."
And I did, but maybe not in the way that everyone expected I would.