Lost Temple Recommend

Some spiritual experiences I have had are a little to special or sacred to share publicly. Other experiences are of a lesser sort, and I am not completely certain that they are spiritual experiences. I made a post once on auras, one on bibliomancy, and one on fixing a game which turned out to be an answer to my child’s prayer. Some may think these are coincidences or something else. I tend to look at these as spiritual experiences, but because they are not exactly part of my testimony I am glad to get comments on them, for better or worse.

This is another one, and probably the last, of these types of experiences. It involves losing a temple recommend.
We live about a three hour drive from the nearest temple. When you consider driving there, doing a session or two, getting something to eat, and driving back it can kick the heck out of a day. And when you consider what to do with small kids it can be a challenge to go often. We are hesitant to ask someone to baby sit all day for a chance to go, so we get a little creative once in a while.

We had arranged to go to the temple with another family who had kids about the same ages as ours. We were going to go together, and one couple would go in the morning when the other couple would take the kids somewhere for breakfast or something, and then we would switch for a second session. We would then drive home together.

We wanted to leave early and so were preparing the night before. My wife asked if I had my recommend at about 9 p.m.. I knew right where it was. There is a small bookcase in our bedroom, and on top is a dish that I put keys and change in. My temple recommend was in that dish right on top. I had seen it there several times in the last couple of days. I went to get it, but I could not see it. I looked very thoroughly because I knew it was there. But no luck.

My wife and I searched and searched. We eventually looked ‘everywhere’. To try and be funny and ease my tension I even looked in the fridge, the freezer, the bathtub, the oven. This was getting very frustrating, and it was also getting late. During this time I went back to the dish on the bookcase over and over again. I was sure it was there, but could not find it.

In my frustration, I sat down on the kitchen floor, with my back against the wall, and my head in my hands. I was at the end of my hope of finding the recommend. The practical engineer in me started to think. It was to late to try to get another recommend. I did not know what the policy or resources were at the temple for people who show up from a long distance with no recommend. Just showing up without it is not my style ya know? What do I do? Baby sit all eight kids myself? In Chicago? yuck. Maybe I should just watch the kids at home, with the games and the TV. That made sense. I could cook them a couple of meals, watch some videos, go to the park. This way my wife and the other couple could go in one vehicle. Have a nice quiet trip with adult conversation. My wife would like that. That would be nice. Yeah, that’s what I should do.

I called my wife who was still looking and told her what I was thinking. She was ready to give up looking also. When I was through explaining my plan she looked at me in that way and asked ‘you sure?’ I nodded. She helped me up off the floor and we walked together to the bedroom. We walked past the bookcase. And there, in the dish, right on top, in plain sight, was my recommend. Exactly where I knew it was but could not find it before.

My kids were all asleep, my wife is not at all the practical joke type. I have positively no explanation for this. The dish was shallow and mostly empty. The top of the bookcase was not cluttered. I have no idea how this could have happened. The spiritual romantic in me wants to think of this as a little test God put me through. Once I ‘passed’ I was allowed to find the recommend. Perhaps he had the recommend hidden from my view in some way. Perhaps he had it removed and then replaced. Perhaps I am an unobservant fool.

What do you think? Does stuff like this happen?

6 Responses to “Lost Temple Recommend”

  1. 1 Naiah Earhart April 6, 2006 at 2:17 am

    I don’t know about a test, but I do blieve that we are given challenges as lessons. Maybe you had to learn something? Perhaps, your wife’s need for some quiet adult time wasn’t fully realized until you were willing to alter the plan in a way that recognized and catered to that need. Or maybe it’s a reminder not to trust in the arm of flesh…or the eyes. 😉

    I don’t know; I only have your words to go on. You have your heart. Pray about it, and trust the answer.

    Now, wait. Hmmm. The Lord does give tests. Abraham and Isaac. Joseph Smith. I doubt that they are for His benefit, because he knows our hearts, y’know? Maybe he gives us tests so that we can know that we have it in us to pass them. So, they’re still lessons, just lessons about us. What are tests but assessments? They show us what we need to work on, or what we’ve improved on and can be proud of. It’s not the grade, but the knowledge gained about oneself, and the greater awareness of what one should focus one’s efforts on that matters.

    So, what did you learn?

  2. 2 Eric Nielson April 6, 2006 at 8:42 am


    Thanks for dropping by again.

    So, do these lessons just happen, or are the given, provided, arranged by God? So is it a test from God, or just a thing?

    My lack of ability to provide a rational explanation is what perhaps drives me to provide some other explanation. You’re right, my words aren’t much to go on, so this should probably stay ‘general’. Does God do stuff like this to us once in a while to test us or not?

    Of course you’re right about the pray about it thing. But I can do that on my own time. From a blogging perspective I was wanting to discuss this type of thing in general.

    You mention Abraham/Isaac. I wonder if that is they type of thing, on a 1:1000000 scale that we might go through sometimes.

    What did I learn? Well, one of the reasons we don’t get baby sitters for a 12 hour temple trip is because I don’t want to do something that terrible to my friends. What a torture! The thought of me staying home from a temple trip to baby sit other peoples kids by myself all day fills my sould with dread :). Would I be willing to do that somewhat cheerfully so my wife and some friends could go on a rare and valuable temple trip? Now I know the answer is yes. It may be a stretch but perhaps when God saw that I was willing to go through with it, the recommend was revealed.

    Oh, I hope it doesn’t detract, but once I found the recommend we went back to plan A and all went together. Does that mean I failed the test? Or maybe got a ‘C’?

  3. 3 annegb April 6, 2006 at 10:38 am

    Yes, these things happen. I think they’re God things, of course.

    When I lose stuff, I always say what I (and Cheiko Okazaki) call sparrow prayers. And I always find my stuff. It doesn’t work for big things like (please help my son-in-law find a job).

    You know, Eric, I’ve gotten to the temple twice and forgot my recommend and they called the bishop and they let me in.

    This is off the subject sort of, but we once stayed in a haunted hotel room. I felt something the whole time we were there and it was like little practical jokes and a weird feeling of being watched.

    Then we couldn’t find the hotel room key and we looked everywhere and it turned up right on the dresser in front of the TV. It so wasn’t there before. I’ll never stay there again.

  4. 4 Eric Nielson April 8, 2006 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks Annegb.

    I have not had other evidence of our home being haunted. It did not seem the least ‘spooky’ to me.

  5. 5 RoAnn April 13, 2006 at 3:47 am

    I loved this post, and it prompted me to think of experiences like the one you had in a new way. Most people have had similar experiences, although many just brush them off. Some people might say you were just incredibly forgetful and distracted for a long time, and then finally sufficiently focused and observant to see what was there (perhaps partly hidden) all the time. In similar circumstances, I have tended to think the fault was mine for forgetting where I put something, or not seeing what I was looking at; but that in answer to prayer, through one of those “tender mercies” of the Lord, I was enabled to eventually find the missing object. I don’t think I have considered the thought that the entire experience might be a challenge or a test. Certainly in your case that does seem a valid option. I like what Naiah said about what you learn from the experience as you ponder it possibly being as important, or more important than the experience itself. And I don’t think it detracts from the experience that you ended up going to the temple rather than sacrificing by staying home with all the children while your wife enjoyed “quality” adult conversation time on the trip. If the Lord had really desired that outcome, you probably wouldn’t have found the recommend until after she had left!

  6. 6 Eric Nielson April 13, 2006 at 11:33 am


    Thanks for your thoughts. I’m glad you liked this post. Vey good point about the timing of the find.

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