Infertility and the Temple
By Sarah Mendoza
“You will not be able to have your own biological children”
Those were the most painful words I had ever heard. As someone who grew up dreaming of having 12 children, those words felt like daggers to my heart. Ever since I was a little girl when people would ask me “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I always responded “a mom.” There was nothing I wanted or dreamed of more. My mother got married at 18, so I thought I would follow in her footsteps. My grandmother had 12 children and I wanted to follow in her footsteps as well. In preparation, I focused my collegiate studies on child and human development and received a degree from BYU in Home and Family Living.
I was 26 when the doctor delivered his crushing verdict. That may seem young, but I felt like I had already waited so long to be a mother. After years of yearning, my dreams broke like a porcelain doll shattering on a marble floor.
What were we going to do now?
I thought to myself, “What!? I waited 7 years (in my eyes) to get married! Now this!?” Why did this have to be hard as well? It was a simple righteous desire. It wasn’t like I wanted something crazy or wrong. We had already experienced a lot of hardships and trials up to this point. We hoped that this good and righteous desire could be fulfilled as smoothly as we had dreamed and planned. I knew a lot of people who suffered with infertility. A lot of them had it even harder than me. However, in that moment, I was overwhelmed with questions, sadness, and despair. This experience pushed my faith to the edge. I’ve had my fair share of very difficult trails, but nothing pushed me like this one.
The Lord promised us individually that we were going to have children. It didn’t make sense how this fit into His plan? How could the doctor tell us one thing while the Lord said something different? Over the course of the next several months, our hopes and dream were repeatedly crushed by more tests and doctors.
How were we going to find hope again?
What were we going to do? How could we receive peace and hope while science and professionals told us there was none? We knew we needed to maintain faith and optimism, to hold on to the promises we had received, but we weren’t sure how.
For many years I wanted to be a temple ordinance worker, but it never felt like the right time. When we got married we talked about the possibility of working in the temple together, but decided against it because we didn’t want to leave after only 9 months of service. We planned to hold off till the timing made more sense. As our future grew more uncertain, it became clear that it was time to start serving.
Regular temple attendance is different for everyone. When I was a senior in high school I made a goal to attend the temple every week. I’ve kept that goal and now enjoy attending with my husband.
Weekly temple attendance has helped me through many different trials in my life. It has helped me stay on the path and gave me the strength to do hard things. Serving in the temple as a patron has been something I have held to, and has brought us much needed peace and comfort. Serving as an ordinance worker has made the temple even more meaningful. We are still inspired as we attend weekly as patrons, but our time officiating in the sacred ordinances has expanded our vision and understanding even more.
My first time officiating in the initiatory ordinance and saying those words really solidified the truth of those promises. As a patron I heard those words hundreds of times, but as a worker I was saying them. No longer do I just believe and trust them. I now know with complete certainty they are true. The Lord promised them to me personally! He suffered everything that I suffer and felt the very pain I feel. Saying those ordinances every week has helped me to put my full trust in the Lord, more than ever before, and hold to those incredible promised eternal blessings.
The temple is a very sacred place and I have had innumerable spiritual experiences there. Most of them are too sacred to share, but what I can share is that I know the temple IS the House of the Lord. He walks the halls. As workers, we are only instruments in His hands. We are acting as His hands as we help those who come to receive the ordinances of salvation for themselves and those beyond the veil. As we regularly attend the temple we can receive the answers, peace, and hope that we need in our everyday lives that we can’t find anywhere else.
I can’t fully express in words how much strength and comfort I continue to receive by attending and serving in the temple.
Through the path of infertility, we have had a lot of disappointment and moments of utter despair, but we have also experienced rays of hope and many miracles. Heavenly Father has given us stronger faith, trust, and surety in the His plan. That firm faith only comes through the ordinances and covenants we made in the temple and participate in each week.
The initial crushing diagnosis has since been overturned. A specialist discovered the source of our infertility and performed a miraculous and successful surgery. The Lord promised us we would have our own children and science has finally decided to agree. How and when those children arrive is still unknown. I still have moments filled with tears and impatience, but I have the sure knowledge that the Lord keeps His promises. As I participate in the ordinances of the temple, Heavenly Father gives me strength to press forward another week and to continue in patience in the timing of the Lord.
This trial could have broken me, but instead, thanks to the temple, it has made me stronger. The temple helps me become more patient, strengthens my faith, and helps me trust in the Lord and His ways. His timing and plan are perfect even though they are different than my own. The ordinances and covenants made in the temple give me confidence and strength to press forward, with steadfast faith in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope for the future, that one day our children will come.